20 movies that celebrate ageing

After decades where any silver-haired silver screen character either played the protagonist’s parent or walked with the aid of a stick, is Hollywood finally waking up to the fact that the over 55s are just as capable of outrageous and heroic behaviour as 20 somethings? Citro decided to track down some movies that jettison the tired, old cliché that anyone of a certain age should be portrayed as tired and old. Here’s what we uncovered…

By Paul Merrill

Watch an 80-year-old fly high in Indiana Jones & the Dial of Destiny

Watch the trailer

Indiana Jones & the Dial of Destiny (2023)

Harrison Ford is as Indiana Jones at the age of 80 as he was at 40.

One of 2023’s cinematic highlights has been beholding the whip-cracking octogenarian archaeologist still teaching those pesky Third Reich fiends about what should be in a museum 42 years on from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It turns out the answer isn’t him as he can still ride a horse, leap through windows and punch a henchman, all without losing his hat or bus pass.

Be inspired by Nyad

Watch the trailer

Nyad (2023)

Annette Bening trained relentlessly for her role in Nyad, and swam every stroke herself - no stunt doubles allowed.

If you thought Jodie Foster was tough in Silence of the Lambs, wait until you see her play marathon swimmer Diana Nyad's coach, Bonnie Stoll, in Nyad, a gripping drama about the unstoppable power of determined athletes. Foster's performance is crucial because this is a buddy picture about Nyad’s relationship with the salt-of-the-earth friend and trainer who got her through personal and physical storms to swim from Cuba to Florida through shark and jellyfish-infested waters. Read more about the strength and lengths Jodie and Annette went to for their Nyad roles.

See a masterpiece Killers of the Flower Moon

Watch the trailer

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023)

There's murder, there's money and there's a love story. Director Martin Scorsese was 80 when he brought his latest visual masterpiece to life. It's an historic crime drama set in 1920s Oklahoma about a villain named William King Hale (played by Robert De Niro) who orchestrated a series of real-life murders of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation.

Laugh with Going In Style

Watch the trailer

Going In Style (2017)

Going In Style may not have received the best reviews, but it tells the story of 3 retirees from Queens who rob a bank in Groucho Marx masks - there's no little old men feeding the pigeons until the sun finally sinks under the horizon.

Michael Caine’s been over 50 for some 40 years, so he’s indulged in more middle-aged misbehaving than most. Here, he’s a wronged senior who teams up with Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin to rob the bank that robbed them of their supers. The heist scene doesn’t rival Reservoir Dogs for blood-letting, but would have played havoc with their knee joints.

A whole new take on 50 Shades of Grey in Book Club

Watch the trailer

Book Club (2018)

Book Clubs are not a place for little old ladies to read quietly in this movie.

After 40 years, a genteel, over-60s book club becomes a hotbed of frenzied friskiness and rediscovered romance when the unfulfilled ladies - Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen - read 50 Shades of Grey.

Queue some unadulterated experimentation, Viagra-spiked beer and proof that silver screen sex can be safely performed by women over 25.

See Helen wield a machine gun in Red

Watch the trailer

Red (2010)

Watch Helen Mirren shoot in Red

Sub machine gun-wielding Helen Mirren, 66 at the time, is a way cooler action hero than some chiselled youth as she teams up with her gang of ex-CIA assassins including 74-year-young Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, 56 and Bruce Willis, 55.

The age-defying stars may have been more hip op than black ops, but it was such a hit that it spawned a sequel three years later with Anthony Hopkins, 72, along for the joyride.

Watch love blossom in Never Too Late

Watch the trailer

Never Too Late (2019)

James Cromwell and Jacki Weaver in Never Too Late, filmed in Adelaide.

Four Vietnam vets plot to escape an Adelaide retirement home so their former commander (James Cromwell) can propose to the army nurse (Jacki Weaver) he fell for all those years ago. The Old Dear Hunters, who also include Jack Thompson, Roy Billing and Dennis Waterman, summon the skills that helped them break out of a prison in Vietnam in a life-affirming, uplifting tale of camaraderie and colostomy bags.

Watch Maggie Smith in The Lady in the Van

Watch the trailer

The Lady in the Van (2015)

Maggie Smith's Oscar-winning performance is worth tuning into.

Fearsome Downton Abbey doyen Maggie Smith won the second of her two Oscars 45 years ago, but has had much more fun in her later years eating up the screen as a series of outrageously non-conformist rebels, including this tour-de-force as an indecently sprightly former concert pianist who lives in a battered old van in the driveway of playwright Alan Bennett. As the film reflects, ‘sometimes going downhill is an uphill job.’

See Robert De Niro be Dirty Grandpa

Watch the trailer

Dirty Grandpa (2016)

Watch Robert De Niro outshine a teen heart throb in Dirty Grandpa

Surely the greatest joy of getting on a bit is embarrassing your children, and even grandchildren, as Robert De Niro proves in this hilariously cringe-inducing road trip odyssey.

Zac Efron is the hapless grandson, a week away from his wedding, but soon mired in sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll as Pops pursues the girls at Daytona Beach with the vigour of a man a quarter of his age. It ain’t clever, but it’s liberating to see a sexed-up 73-year-old outshining one of Hollywood’s pretty boys.

Watch Viola Davis go wild in The Woman King

Watch the trailer 

The Woman King (2022)

Viola Davis is majestic, right?

Set 200 years ago in the kingdom of Dahomey, the modern day west African country of Benin, this compelling true story of tribal warfare and slave trading was arguably the most under-appreciated film of 2022 and features a barnstorming central performance from Viola Davis as the leader of a fearless all-female fighting unit.

The veteran Oscar winner may have been more than twice the age of her fellow warriors, but that doesn’t stop her pummelling the baddies and being given the prestigious, but not very #metoo, title of Women King.

Try this Swedish comedy for a change of pace

Watch the trailer

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2014)

The film adaptation of Jonas Jonasson's best-selling novel The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared" is the quirky story of a man looking for a bit of adventure before he meets his maker.

If only more movie titles gave away the entire plot. Well here, as you may have surmised, said centenarian escapes from his nursing home and does lots of things people of his age don’t do nearly enough: blow up a fox, fight gangsters, infiltrate a drug deal and live with an elephant.

Hard to follow but plenty of action in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Watch the trailer

Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)

By far the freakiest and most left field film ever to sweep the board at the Oscars, this laundromat-set, multiverse-leaping ode to downtrodden women everywhere starred 60-year-old Michelle Yeoh, surely now the planet’s gnarliest action star. Alongside her is 50-something Ke Huy Quan as a martial arts master battling evil incarnations of himself. There's also a 92-year-old Gong Gong (James Hong On) who plays Michelle Yeoh's father and alter ego. A surreal rollercoaster ride where understanding the plot is far from essential.

Shed a tear for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Watch the trailer

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (2023)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is based on the novel of the same name written by Rachel Joyce and published in 2012.

If struggling up the stairs after half a bottle of Chardy seems daunting, spare a thought for retired senior Harold (Jim Broadbent), who sets off to walk 500 miles to visit a dying woman he worked with decades earlier.

Also spare a thought for his wife Maureen (Penelope Wilton) who’s left to cope with an unseemly media circus as her determined and blistered bloke spends long and painful weeks trudging his way across England on his befuddled quest.

You’d have to be made of granite not to shed a tear as Harold soldiers on and Maureen comes to terms with regrets from long ago.

Be carried away by Up

Watch the trailer

Up (2009)

A drawing on the wall at Pixar Studios sparked the creator's (Pete Docter and Bob Peterson) idea for the film.

Not nearly enough movies feature grouchy old men fleeing officialdom in a house carried skyward by thousands of balloons. When septuagenarian widower Carl does just that to avoid being bundled into a nursing home, he accidentally brings a cub scout with him and the two embark on swashbuckling adventures with a talking dog that’d leave a young Indiana Jones gasping for breath.

The first – and, so far, only – Pixar animation with a protagonist over 50, it’s an uplifting (literally) ode to how menfolk of a certain age can and should misbehave in style.

Savour an acting masterclass in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Watch the trailer

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

The Ravla Khempur in Rajasthan, the real hotel where the film was shot, has now been renamed The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel following the success of the film in 2011.

Seven British screen legends, including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy, jet to Jaipur to enjoy their golden years at a ‘luxury’ retirement home, only to find it’s a crumbling ruin run by an excitable-but-hopeless young manager. Reawakened love, infidelity, hip operations and onion bhajis ensue in one of the funniest and most touching parables about never, ever giving up on living life, even if you’ve been living it large since before bread came ready sliced.

Singalong with Quartet

Watch the trailer

Quartet (2012)

Most of the supporting cast were retired professional musicians.

At an old folks’ home for retired musicians, four former opera singers dust off their vocal chords to stage one last performance to save their retirement facility from closing in a dramedy with a stella cast that includes Billy Connolly and Maggie Smith, the latter as a sullen soprano who takes ‘me me me’ a bit far.

The biggest surprise is that such an unmistakably British story marked the directorial debut of one Dustin Hoffman. Perhaps he didn’t hit the high notes he’d hoped for as it’s also the last film he directed.

Hitch a ride with The Straight Story

Watch the trailer

The Straight Story (1999)

Director David Lynch has named this his most experimental movie.

Alvin Straight was a 73-year-old retired labourer from Iowa who set off to visit his stricken brother 390km away in Wisconsin on his lawnmower because his eyesight was too poor to drive. His ride-on broke down twice and, after a six-week journey at a blistering 8kmh, it eventually went kaput just outside the town where his brother lived so a farmer helped him push it the final few metres.

His journey made him a local hero, so it was no surprise when Hollywood came a knockin’ to adapt the touching tale into a road movie with Richard Farnworth as the titular long-haul grass cutter. More Slow & Stoic than Fast & Furious.

Cheer for cranky Tom Hanks in A Man Called Otto

Watch the trailer

A Man Called Otto (2022)

Rita Wilson (Tom Hanks' wife) sang the song "Til You're Home" on the film's soundtrack.

You really don’t want to mess with Otto Anderson, even though he’s played by Hollywood’s Mr Nice Guy Tom Hanks. The grizzled curmudgeon is the ultimate neighbourhood spoilsport after losing his wife, his job and his will to live.

Ironically it turns out the small-hearted hater actually has a dangerously enlarged heart and becomes almost human when a young couple come to his aid and begin to thaw his permafrost exterior. Like Otto, you’ll have your heartstrings pulled, but in a good way.

See Brad Pitt grow younger in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Watch the trailer

Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

It took Brad Pitt 5 hours every day in the makeup chair to achieve the right look for the film since the age of his character was constantly changing.

What if we were born old & wrinkly and gradually became younger with each passing year? That’s the mind-warping premise of this paradoxical fantasy romance with Brad Pitt as the anti-ager and Cate Blanchett as his confused lover, eventually left – literally - holding the baby.

Maybe it’d be a good thing to get those wheezing elderly years out of the way nice and early so you can enjoy letting rip as a hormone-infused teenager when you’re technically well into your 70s. Hmm, possibly. But it might suck being consigned to a cot listening to Fruit Salad Yummy Yummy a decade later.

Go fish with comic legends in Grumpy Old Men

Watch the trailer

Grumpy Old Men (1993)

Following filming this movie in Minnesota in below freezing temperatures, Walter Matthau was hospitalised with double pneumonia

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau had been plying the comedy trade for some 40 years when they teamed up to show any young pretenders to their big screen crown exactly how to extract laughs from an audience.

As a feuding pair of ice fishing next-door neighbours (Some Like It Cold?), their only joy comes from inflicting pain and suffering on each other through a series of pranks even a toddler would deem childish. Enter Ann-Margeret Olsson as a spirited English teacher, and the bitter rivalry becomes a last-man-standing crusade to win her heart before theirs give way. If you like it, a sequel, Grumpier Old Men, followed two years later with Sophia Loren thrown into the mix.

Are there any movies you would add to this list?

Back to feed
Not yet a cardholder?

Start earning cashback today
with a Citro Card

It's easy:

1. Download the Citro App on the App Store or Google Play
2. Apply for your Citro Card
3. Link to your bank account and activate your Citro Card
4. Earn cashback to spend on whatever you want, whenever you want.

For a limited time only, enjoy the premium Citro membership for free!

Get more out of life.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Learn how we collect and use your information by visiting our Privacy policy