25 Best Movies to Watch on Mother’s Day
By Shane Rivers
Mother’s Day is right around the corner, which probably means you’ll be getting dear old mom the usual assortment of cards, candy and small kitchen appliances. In addition to all that stuff, why not surprise her with one of these “25 Best Movies to Watch on Mother’s Day”? From current movies to classic movies, this list has something to appeal to moms of all ages. Films are listed in no particular order.
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Steel Magnolias – Your mother is sure to love this chick flick extravaganza about a bunch of women living life to the fullest in northwest Louisiana. Starring the powerhouse cast of Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts, Tom Skerritt, Dylan McDermott, and Sam Shepard. Keep the Kleenex close on this one.
Terms of Endearment – Adapted from a book by Larry McMurtry, this 1983 comedy/drama stars Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels, and John Lithgow. This one is especially great for daughters to watch with their mothers, as the central plot of the story revolves around the thirty-year mother-daughter relationship between Aurora Greenway (MacLaine) and her stubborn child, Emma (Debra Winger). As with Steel Magnolias, you’d better have some tissues handy.
Stepmom – Another tearjerker, this time starring Julia Robert, Ed Harris and Susan Sarandon. When Luke (Harris) and Jackie (Sarandon) get divorced, both she and her children must get used to the idea of a new woman in Luke’s life (Roberts). For her role as the bitter divorcee, Susan Sarandon received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.
Cheaper By the Dozen – Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt play a married couple with 12 kids. It’s a comedy, so you can probably already imagine the kind of hi-jinx to follow. Piper Perabo, Tom Welling and Hilary Duff play three of the Baker‘s dozen children. It also spawned a sequel.
Forrest Gump – Even though he’s a little slow, that doesn’t stop Forrest Gump from being a champion ping-pong player, a football All-American, and the successful owner of a shrimp business. Tom Hanks is a delight to watch as the lovable Gump, and this heartwarming film captured six Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Actor). Great soundtrack from multiple decades, and an all-star cast including Sally Field, Robin Wright, and Gary Sinise.
Gone with the Wind – If your mom’s a romantic at heart, she’s sure to love this 1939 classic. It nabbed 10 Oscars, plus it’s the highest-grossing movie of all time when adjusted for inflation. Set during the time of the Civil War, this sweeping epic revolves around the complicated romance between Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh). It also includes a few of the most famous lines in movie history, including, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Sleepless in Seattle – After losing his wife to cancer, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) expresses his loneliness on a national radio show. Thousands of women respond with letters, including Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), an engaged woman who feels as though something is missing from her life. It’s great fun watching Annie and Sam slowly move towards a meeting, and they actually share only two minutes of screen time together. One of the great romantic comedies of the 1990s.
Mermaids – Cher stars as a rather unorthodox mother trying her best to raise her two daughters–played by Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci–during the fall of 1963. Bob Hoskins co-stars, and Cher provides a hit song for the soundtrack.
Hope Floats – A romantic drama from 1998 starring Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr., and Gena Rowlands. When she’s confronted on national television with her husband’s infidelity, Birdee Pruitt (Bullock) moves back to her hometown of Smithville, Texas to sort out her life. She brings along her child and mother, and young daughter Bernice (Mae Whitman) blames Birdee for everything that’s gone wrong. Things get even more complicated when Birdee starts getting romantic attention from Justin Matisse (Connick Jr.), her former classmate in high school.
Throw Momma from the Train – Larry Donner (Billy Crystal) and Owen Lift (Danny DeVito) both have problems with women in this 1987 comedy. Larry wants his scheming wife dead, while Owen wants to be rid of his domineering mother (played by Anne Ramsey). Sure, the lead characters are trying to kill people, but it’s still a really fun movie to watch with your mother. Anne Ramsey is hilarious as the unlikable Mrs. Lift, and the scene where Owen shows Larry his coin collection gets to me every time.
Mr. Mom – After losing his job, Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) is forced to stay home and tend to the kids while his wife, Carolyn (played by Teri Garr), earns a living. Needless to say, Jack’s not the best housekeeper or parent, and watching him struggle provides many of the film’s laughs. Martin Mull is also shines as Carolyn’s lecherous boss.
Mother – Albert Brooks plays a science fiction writer who moves back in with his mother (Debbie Reynolds). Brooks is his usual charmingly neurotic self, while Reynolds is a hoot as the critical, yet loving, mother. When it comes to the 25 best movies to watch on Mother’s Day, this one is near the top of my list. A bit of trivia: both Doris Day and Nancy Reagan turned down the role before Reynolds accepted it.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding – This romantic comedy was a surprise hit at the box office in 2002. Toula (Nia Vardalos) is a Greek-American woman who fears she will never fall in love and be stuck in a rut for the rest of her life. Then she meets Ian Miller (John Corbett) and falls in love. Her family is disappointed that she didn’t land a Greek man, so the loving couple has to win them over with hilarious results. Lots of fun, and the importance of family is a centerpiece of the film.
Mrs. Doubtfire – When Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) gets divorced and loses custody of his children, he comes up with an intricate scheme to be able to spend more time with them. Enter Mrs. Doubtfire, an English nanny who gets the job as the family’s new housekeeper. Of course, Mrs. Doubtfire is really Daniel in disguise. A great family film co-starring Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan.
Mask – The touching story of Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz), a boy suffering from a rare bone disorder. Cher plays his tough biker mom, and Sam Elliott and Laura Dern also co-star. Both uplifting and sad, this is a Mother’s Day film which I highly recommend.
Mommie Dearest – You and your mother should get a big laugh out of this 1981 drama starring Faye Dunaway. Based on a book about the life of actress Joan Crawford and her adopted daughter, the film takes an over-the-top look at Crawford’s bizarre parenting skills. Especially on Mother’s Day, this film serves as a perfect example of how not to raise a child.
Parenthood – This comedy-drama from 1989 is all about family. Directed by Ron Howard, it stars Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Tom Hulce, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves, Jason Robards, Dianne Wiest and Mary Steenburgen. Great performances all around, and everyone should be able to identify with at least a few of the film’s numerous characters.
Thelma & Louise – Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) hit the road to escape life‘s problems. After a freak encounter leaves a would-be rapist dead, the two women flee from the police and a sympathetic detective (Harvey Keitel). A huge hit from 1991, and one that’s sure to be popular with most women. Brad Pitt also shows up in his first major role in a Hollywood film.
Love Actually – A British romantic comedy from 2003, Love Actually follows the lives and loves of a number of interesting characters around the Christmas holidays. Stars Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Laura Linney and Rowan Atkinson.
A League of Their Own – If your mother’s ever played any kind of sports, you might think about watching A League of Their Own with her. It features the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and stars Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna and Lori Petty. Hanks is particularly great as an alcoholic ex-player who winds up coaching the Rockford Peaches.
Dirty Dancing – The film that made women the world over lust after Patrick Swayze. This is a great movie to watch with your mom, especially if she grew up in the ‘50s or ‘60s. Featuring a soundtrack full of hits and loads of sultry dance numbers (especially the final one).
Titanic – Since it’s the highest-grossing film ever, there’s a good chance your mother has already watched this epic romance starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. But why not watch it again? Set aboard the doomed RMS Titanic, the film tells the story of two youths from different classes who meet and fall in love. The film made a jaw-dropping $1.8 billion worldwide.
What’s Love Got to Do With It? – The uplifting story of Tina Turner (Angela Bassett) and her struggle to free herself from the abusive control of Ike Turner (Laurence Fishburne). Bassett gives a realistic and nuanced performance, and Fishburne’s Ike is rotten to the core. This is a can’t-miss for fans of Tina Turner.
Casablanca – Considered by many to be the greatest film in cinematic history, Casablanca stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund. It’s a tale filled with passion, intrigue, and great performances from everyone involved. Casablanca is also chock-full of some of the most memorable lines in movie history. Seeing this film is a must for any true movie buff.
It Happened One Night – A 1934 screwball comedy starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. She’s a socialite running away from her father, and he’s a reporter in search of a story. During their travels together, the two start falling in love despite their many differences. It Happened One Night became the first film to win all five major Academy Awards categories, and it still holds up well after all these years.