5 Movies About Retirement Worth Watching


Finding it hard to imagine your retirement years? If you are accustomed to the daily grind, it certainly can seem foreign to imagine the day when you no longer have to grapple with getting up to your alarm clock, rushed breakfasts, busy commutes or long office hours.

People find inspiration in various ways and movies are a perfect medium to explore themes in life and try to bring lifestyle changes into a new light. Hollywood’s produced some very good movies that explore the theme of retirement that you might want to watch for a little inspiration, introspection or a good laugh. Here are some of our favorites:

Explore Retirement with Randy Neumann Wealth ManagmentGoing in Style: (original 1979) Three elderly, retired, lifelong friends who subsist primarily on Social Security decide to rob a bank for kicks. Thoroughly tired of sitting on the same bench in the same park every day, talking about the same things and feeding the same pigeons has become painfully mundane. They crave excitement. They want to feel young and alive once more—and if they get caught, who cares? They were probably going to die soon anyway.

Veterans George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg play the three gentlemen with ease and grace, handling the snappy banter as deftly as the heavier moments of regret and loss. We enjoyably get to know these men intimately in both the warmth and the melancholy of their twilight.

On Golden Pond: Starring Hollywood greats Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda, On Golden Pond (1981) explores a common theme for many people with aging parents: Rebuilding relationships that were long strained on the journey to adulthood. Norman Thayer (Henry Fonda) is a testy retiree living a retirement lifestyle in New England with his often conciliatory wife Ethel (Katharine Hepburn) when her adult daughter Chelsea (Jane Fonda) pays a visit with her fiancée and teenage son Billy (Doug McKeon) on their way to a vacation in Europe. Chelsea leaves her son behind and then returns from her vacation to attempt and work on her strained relationship with her father while there is still time.  The movie offers hope that people can come home again – at least for a visit.

Cocoon: If you are looking for a good laugh, Cocoon is the perfect retirement-themed movie for you. Cocoon (1985) is a fantasy comedy tale of eternal youth. Heartwarming, and gentle, Cocoon focuses on a group of elderly folks in a Florida retirement home who find themselves infused with youthful vigor after swimming in a pool that has alien cocoon pods that possess the power to restore youth and vitality.  Do they choose eternal life or the acceptance of their own impending death? The film touches on poignant issues of age in a lighthearted and comedic way.

Lost in America: Co-written and directed by Albert Brooks, Lost in America is an amusing satire on the American dream. The allure of throwing it all away for wanderlust has hit a young married couple who decide to take the plunge. David Howard (played by Albert Brooks)has a meltdown at work when he’s not promoted. He then convinces his wife Linda (played by Julie Hagerty) to quit her job and join him in a trip across America living as free spirits. Linda has been near the end of her rope, and David is too wrapped up in himself to notice. So she gives in to his Easy Rider dreams: they buy a motorhome and head out on the highway while “Born to Be Wild” plays on the soundtrack  But the dream soon turns into a nightmare when the Linda loses all of their savings in a Las Vegas casino and their idealized cross-country trip crumbles.  The loss of all of their savings results in an epiphany that their old life was actually quite nice to begin with – even if it was shallow, empty and unfulfilled, they had luxuries. Not your typical retirement-themed movie but still relevant in an age when many a millennial is globetrotting in their early 30s to pursue a romanticized lifestyle as a digital nomad: perhaps in search of a more fulfilling work/life experience.

About Schmidt: About Schmidt (2002) explores the life of a new retiree living a very uninspired life. Warren Schmidt, played by Jack Nicholson, is a senior citizen facing a confluence of events. After spending a banal lifetime working as an actuary at the Woodmen of the World Insurance Company, he is finally retiring and he is feeling lost. He is a man with no intellectual curiosity. To compound his dilemma, his wife of 42 years has died suddenly and his only daughter Jeannie, played by Hope Davis, is about to marry a waterbed salesman he perceives as a buffoon and a fraud.  His life has been wretchedly banal and it is just about to get more wretched. To salvage what is left, he takes a trip in his recently purchased Winnebago to avoid and sabotage his daughter’s marriage. His trip takes him to the places of his past where he will discover a slowing developing hunger, a desire to start living now that the time is almost gone.  As Roger Ebert said in a 2002 review: “Most teenagers will probably not be drawn to this movie, but they should attend. Let it be a lesson to them. If they define their lives only in terms of a good job, a good paycheck and a comfortable suburban existence, they could end up like Schmidt, dead in the water. They should start paying attention to that crazy English teacher.”

We hope you enjoy your own ‘film festival’ and consider wealth planning to plan for your retirement without too much drama. For more information or to get started, contact us today!