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We get it: You’re a busy lady. But just as there are books you’ll appreciate most before a certain age, there are movies, too. Because think about it—would you still care about the plight of characters like Holly Golightly or Annie Hall if you met them in your fourth decade? Probably not. That’s why you need to get a move on and check the following 40 films off your list.
Because sometimes the only way to pick yourself up is to put on your favorite LBD and enjoy your coffee and croissant with a side of bling.
Damn the man in this kooky musical about three female colleagues (Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda) who unite to turn the tables on their sexist boss.
Ugh, as if you could skip the Beverly Hills adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. Newcomer (at the time) Paul Rudd included.
That scene where they each reveal why they landed in detention in the first place still gives us chills—even at 35.
This New York City-set film—starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal—provides a definitive answer to the age-old question: Can men and women really be friends?
What's it like to be an immigrant and watch your first-generation child grow up in America? These four ladies and their daughters show us just that.
Humphrey Bogart serendipitously runs into the love of his life (Ingrid Bergman) in Morocco during World War II. Too bad she’s traveling with her fugitive hubby, who happens to be on the run from German Nazis.
An impoverished woman (the great Whoopi Goldberg) grapples with her identity after years of abuse in this film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker.
Yes, this inventive film about a Parisian girl following her own sense of justice has subtitles. And yes, it’s one of the greatest movies you’ll ever see/read.
How anyone could have missed this 1994 Oscar winner, we’ll never know. But it’s a beautiful ode to life’s accidental moments, as told by a man (Tom Hanks) who accidentally participates in all the most historic ones.
A Civil War drama to remember, this four-hour flick follows Scarlett O’Hara, a petulant southern belle, and her countless love affairs. (Cue the Clark Gable entrance here.)
It’s Woody Allen and Diane Keaton at their finest, playing a struggling NYC couple trying to salvage a once-great relationship that may have always been flawed.
Julie Andrews leaves convent life behind to nanny and sing with the children of a widowed naval officer—who happens to be equally musical (and dashing).
Anyone who’s ever commuted in sneakers, this one’s for you. Melanie Griffith goes from secretary to CEO overnight, leading the charge on a major merger after learning her boss stole her idea.
All hail 1970s summer nostalgia. Whoever says they don’t believe in ghosts might turn into a believer after seeing this coming-of-age film.
You’ve got Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, plus a summer filled with life lessons. (Namely, nobody puts baby in a corner.)
A riff on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this music-filled romance follows a couple doomed from the start, thanks to long-formed (and quickly escalating) tensions between their friends.
Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand’s on-screen relationship is proof: Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you are meant to be with someone. (“Your girl is lovely, Hubbell.”)
Crime boss Marlon Brando loves doing people favors—unless they jeopardize his family and the dynasty he’s worked so hard to build. Get on board for the quotes alone.
Two inmates bond over the years in prison—and make an epic promise to find each other should they ever make it out.
This film—about a boy assigned to write a story for Rolling Stone about an up-and-coming rock band—might be one of Kate Hudson’s best performances to date.
And now some good old ’90s indie love. Ethan Hawke meets French student Julie Delpy on a train through Europe, then invites her to disembark with him a stop early, even though all they have is a single day together. (Spoiler alert: There are two sequels.)
An Arkansas waitress (Susan Sarandon) invites her best friend Thelma (Geena Davis) on the road trip of their lives. And we do mean their lives.
Four friends—Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon, Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine— connect over their love lives and the serious lack of decent men. (It’s a can’t-miss for the Whitney soundtrack alone.)
Liza Minnelli and Joel Gray light up the stage of the Kit Kat Club in 1930s Berlin as the Nazis rise to power around them. (Then just try to get “Money Makes the World Go Around” out of your head.)
FBI student Jodie Foster enlists the help of a brilliant psychiatrist turned violent psychopath (Anthony Hopkins) to track down a serial killer in this gut-wrenching—and intoxicating—film.
Spying on his neighbors is all fun and games for wheelchair-bound James Stewart until he thinks one of them has committed a murder and enlists Grace Kelly to help crack the case.
In this film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Harper Lee, Gregory Peck defends a black man wrongfully accused of rape—and educates his children about prejudice.
The Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack alone is reason enough to see this film about a college graduate torn between the OG cougar, Mrs. Robinson, and her daughter.
Julia Roberts learns the hard way: The number one rule of being an escort is you do not fall in love. You may, however, eat pancakes with your hands.
Nia Vardalos plays a Greek woman who falls in love with a non-Greek man (John Corbett) and has to break the news to her overbearing—yet totally lovable—clan.
It’s beauty pageant finals or bust in this endearing comedy about a family traveling cross-country in a VW bus and determined to help their quirky daughter make the cut.
Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds sing (and tap-dance) their way through this musical about a silent film company struggling to incorporate sound.
Wise guy Matthew Broderick fakes the flu and paves the way for the ultimate sick day. Too bad his high school principal catches wind of his scheme. It’ll make you feel 17 again in the very best way.
Sylvester Stallone plays a small-time boxer training to fight heavyweight champion Apollo Creed in this film that sparked six sequels, including last year’s phenomenal Creed.
Meryl Streep won an Oscar for her performance as a mom who leaves her husband (Dustin Hoffman) and son, sparking a heated custody battle.
After a tornado tears up Kansas, Dorothy and her dog Toto must follow the yellow brick road to Oz, avoiding the Wicked Witch of the West along the way.
Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke are adjusting to the real world in this ’90s film about finding work (and love) after college. Careful, though—it might just hit a little close to home.
This film is based on the real-deal single mom turned legal assistant who battled a California power company accused of contaminating a small town’s water supply.
Eternally single Bridget (Renée Zellweger) is determined to lose weight, stop swearing and find a man in this delightful British comedy. Let’s just all slide past the fact that she’s only 32.
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