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Must-See Classic Movies List

These 21 best classic movies are required for ALL adults to watch (no exceptions)

Singin' in the Rain is one of the 20 most essential films for people over 50+

'Singin' in the Rain' star Gene Kelly sings and dances in the rain, 1962 — Photo by Everett Collection

Singin' in the Rain, 1952
The Ultimate Musical

It's set in the late 1920s, but Gene Kelly's musical about the shift to sound movies is cutting edge to its happy core, bristling with athletic dancing and a smart, knowing script. Ahead of its time, and timeless.
 

Bride of Frankenstein is one of the 20 essential movies for people over 50+

'Bride of Frankenstein,' (from left): Elsa Lanchester, Boris Karloff, 1935 — Photo by Everett Collection

Bride of Frankenstein, 1935
Horror With a Heart

"The Monster Demands a Mate!" the poster screams, but director James Whale has more than savage titillation in mind. In a miraculous performance that penetrates inches of makeup, Boris Karloff's lonely, doomed monster draws not only shrieks of horror, but also tears of compassion.
 

Lethal Weapon is one of the 20 most essential films for people over 50 +

'Lethal Weapon,' from left: Danny Glover, Mel Gibson, 1987 — Photo by Warner Bros/Everett Collection

Lethal Weapon, 1987
Action to the Extreme

As the suicidal cop who literally doesn't care whether he lives or dies, Mel Gibson rewrote the Movie Detective Handbook. Later installments were played for laughs, but in one heart-stopping set piece after another, director Richard Donner doesn't let us catch our breath, not for one second.
 

Citizen Kane is one of the 20 most essential movies for people over 50+

Orson Welles among stacks of newspapers in 'Citizen Kane,' 1941 — Photo by Everett Collection

Citizen Kane, 1940
The Greatest Movie Ever Made

It tops nearly every list out there, so of course you should see it. But — surprise ­— in eating your cinematic spinach you'll discover a funny, tragic-yet-triumphant study of a man who tried to buy love and respect, and ended up with the opposite of each, whatever that is.

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Movies for Grownups Awards

AARP honors the films and filmmakers who make the movies we want to see. Read

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100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

By Bill Newcott
E-book
January 2015


A treasure trove of delightfully offbeat recommendations for discerning moviegoers, from the beginnings of film right up the present.

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