40 Movies Every Woman Should See Before She's 40

by SelfInflictedOptimism | created - 3 weeks ago | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

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1. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building, but her past threatens to get in the way.

Director: Blake Edwards | Stars: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen

Votes: 153,418

2. 9 to 5 (1980)

PG | 109 min | Comedy

58 Metascore

Three female employees of a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot find a way to turn the tables on him.

Director: Colin Higgins | Stars: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman

Votes: 25,153 | Gross: $103.29M

3. This Is 40 (2012)

R | 134 min | Comedy, Romance

59 Metascore

Pete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they're on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart.

Director: Judd Apatow | Stars: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow

Votes: 120,032 | Gross: $67.54M

4. The Breakfast Club (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama

62 Metascore

Five high school students meet in Saturday detention and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy

Votes: 323,289 | Gross: $45.88M

5. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

Harry and Sally have known each other for years, and are very good friends, but they fear sex would ruin the friendship.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby

Votes: 179,786 | Gross: $92.82M

6. The Joy Luck Club (1993)

R | 139 min | Drama

84 Metascore

The life histories of four Asian women and their daughters reflect and guide each other.

Director: Wayne Wang | Stars: Tamlyn Tomita, Rosalind Chao, Kieu Chinh, Tsai Chin

Votes: 14,207 | Gross: $32.86M

7. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 483,752 | Gross: $1.02M

8. The Color Purple (1985)

PG-13 | 154 min | Drama

78 Metascore

A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery

Votes: 72,405 | Gross: $98.47M

9. Amélie (2001)

R | 122 min | Comedy, Romance

69 Metascore

Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet | Stars: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta

Votes: 660,442 | Gross: $33.23M

10. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,643,068 | Gross: $330.25M

11. Gone with the Wind (1939)

Passed | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance

97 Metascore

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood | Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 267,760 | Gross: $198.68M

12. Annie Hall (1977)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Romance

92 Metascore

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane

Votes: 238,781 | Gross: $39.20M

13. The Sound of Music (1965)

G | 172 min | Biography, Drama, Family

63 Metascore

A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, Richard Haydn

Votes: 185,513 | Gross: $163.21M

14. Working Girl (1988)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

When a secretary's idea is stolen by her boss, she seizes an opportunity to steal it back by pretending she has her boss' job.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin

Votes: 48,349 | Gross: $64.00M

15. Now and Then (1995)

PG-13 | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Four 12-year-old girls grow up together during an eventful small-town summer in 1970.

Director: Lesli Linka Glatter | Stars: Christina Ricci, Demi Moore, Rosie O'Donnell, Thora Birch

Votes: 25,330 | Gross: $27.40M

16. Dirty Dancing (1987)

PG-13 | 100 min | Drama, Music, Romance

65 Metascore

Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the camp's dance instructor, Johnny Castle.

Director: Emile Ardolino | Stars: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes

Votes: 179,576 | Gross: $0.62M

17. West Side Story (1961)

Not Rated | 153 min | Crime, Drama, Musical

86 Metascore

Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.

Directors: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise | Stars: Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn

Votes: 89,181 | Gross: $43.66M

18. The Way We Were (1973)

PG | 118 min | Drama, Romance

61 Metascore

Two disparate people have a wonderful romance, but their political views and convictions drive them apart.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Bradford Dillman, Lois Chiles

Votes: 20,549

19. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

100 Metascore

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,465,852 | Gross: $134.97M

20. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

R | 142 min | Drama

80 Metascore

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler

Votes: 2,135,006 | Gross: $28.34M

21. Almost Famous (2000)

R | 122 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

90 Metascore

A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies them on their concert tour.

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: Billy Crudup, Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand

Votes: 237,299 | Gross: $32.53M

22. Before Sunrise (1995)

R | 101 min | Drama, Romance

77 Metascore

A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Andrea Eckert, Hanno Pöschl

Votes: 242,599 | Gross: $5.54M

23. Thelma & Louise (1991)

R | 130 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama

88 Metascore

Two best friends set out on an adventure, but it soon turns around to a terrifying escape from being hunted by the police, as these two girls escape for the crimes they committed.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen

Votes: 124,102 | Gross: $45.36M

24. Waiting to Exhale (1995)

R | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Based on Terry McMillan's novel, this film follows four very different African-American women and their relationships with the male gender.

Director: Forest Whitaker | Stars: Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon

Votes: 8,861 | Gross: $67.05M

25. Cabaret (1972)

PG | 124 min | Drama, Musical

80 Metascore

A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them.

Director: Bob Fosse | Stars: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Joel Grey

Votes: 44,451 | Gross: $42.77M

26. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,156,314 | Gross: $130.74M

27. Rear Window (1954)

PG | 112 min | Mystery, Thriller

100 Metascore

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter

Votes: 406,408 | Gross: $36.76M

28. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Not Rated | 129 min | Crime, Drama

88 Metascore

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy

Votes: 276,134

29. The Graduate (1967)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

83 Metascore

A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, William Daniels

Votes: 240,665 | Gross: $104.95M

30. Pretty Woman (1990)

R | 119 min | Comedy, Romance

51 Metascore

A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets... only to fall in love.

Director: Garry Marshall | Stars: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo

Votes: 264,712 | Gross: $178.41M

31. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

PG | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

62 Metascore

A young Greek woman falls in love with a non-Greek and struggles to get her family to accept him while she comes to terms with her heritage and cultural identity.

Director: Joel Zwick | Stars: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Christina Eleusiniotis

Votes: 114,568 | Gross: $241.44M

32. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Drama

80 Metascore

A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris | Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Abigail Breslin

Votes: 414,010 | Gross: $59.89M

33. Singin' in the Rain (1952)

G | 103 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

99 Metascore

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly | Stars: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen

Votes: 200,655 | Gross: $8.82M

34. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy

61 Metascore

A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite what the Principal thinks of that.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones

Votes: 294,027 | Gross: $70.14M

35. Rocky (1976)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Sport

70 Metascore

A small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavy-weight champion in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers

Votes: 480,019 | Gross: $117.24M

36. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

PG | 105 min | Drama

77 Metascore

Ted Kramer's wife leaves him, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.

Director: Robert Benton | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Justin Henry

Votes: 120,306 | Gross: $106.26M

37. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

100 Metascore

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Richard Thorpe, King Vidor | Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Votes: 355,914 | Gross: $2.08M

38. Bridesmaids (I) (2011)

R | 125 min | Comedy, Romance

75 Metascore

Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride's best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef.

Director: Paul Feig | Stars: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Terry Crews

Votes: 252,543 | Gross: $169.11M

39. Erin Brockovich (2000)

R | 131 min | Biography, Drama

73 Metascore

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin, Dawn Didawick

Votes: 161,087 | Gross: $125.60M

40. Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

66 Metascore

A British woman is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.

Director: Sharon Maguire | Stars: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gemma Jones

Votes: 209,576 | Gross: $71.54M



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