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How to Ace Your Interview Just By Watching Movies

Updated on August 29, 2014

Mark Twain is generally attributed with saying something similar to "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." Channeling that vein, it's popular in business to talk about the differences between generations, but not too much is done to help the younger generation see across the gap. For older managers, there is adequate, but often ignored, information on how to understand and communicate with the younger groups. But there are far fewer tools available for those needing to go the other direction. So, for recent graduates, here's a list of 30 movies to watch to get a picture, no pun intended, of the character archetypes and issue treatments that substantially shape the Baby Boomer view of the world. Since most organizations are currently led by Baby Boomers, it behooves the younger group to understand the mental culture (think: how/why decisions are made) of the older.

These movies cover a wide treatment of various concepts: heroes, villians, racism, sexism, patriotism, chivalry, the human spirit, tragedy, honor, duty, history, religious heritage, struggle, sacrifice, faith, purpose, conquest, victory and failure, love and hate. All in all, a broad view of the images and representations that have shaped today's chief executives and senior managers. And from knowing these images and representations comes the opportunity to understand, interact with metaphoric reference, and predict the reactions of older managers and leaders. Not every Baby Boomer will have seen all, or even many, of these movies, but they have all been shaped by them, or perhaps, rather by the culture reflected in them. Some Baby Boomers will read this list and immediately note the absence of some iconic movies...The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption, Apocalypse Now, Billy Jack, American Graffiti, countless war movies, etc. Indeed, this list of 30 was pared down from a list of over 120, so there are many omissions of excellent movies. But the list below covers the major list of character types and issues explored in nearly all of the movies on the larger list.

Since some movies have related remakes, the list below gives the year made and a major actor, generally the first actor listed on, in order to identify the specific movie being referenced. No comment is made here about each movie, but hopefully, viewers of the movies will be motivated to use the Comment Section to give their impressions. Thirty is a large number of movies to watch. One per week would be a good pace. As younger folks know better than anyone, quite a number are available for streaming over various services such as Netflix and Amazon. In the event that someone might not be able to watch all the movies, they are listed in the recommended order to be watched.

-Lilies of the Field, 1963, Sidney Poitier
-The 10 Commandments, 1956, Charlton Heston
-Ben Hur,1959, Charlton Heston
-Lawrence of Arabia, 1963, Peter O'Toole
-How the West was Won, 1962, James Stewart
-Casablanca, 1942, Humphrey Bogart
-Mrs. Miniver, 1942, Greer Garson
-Fail-Safe, 1964, Henry Fonda
-Giant, 1956, Elizabeth Taylor
-Shane, 1953, Alan Ladd
-Seven Days In May, 1964, Burt Lancaster
-Brian's Song, 1971, James Caan
-The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938, Errol Flynn
-To Kill A Mockingbird, 1962, Gregory Peck
-An Affair To Remember, 1957, Cary Grant
-2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968, Keir Dullea
-The Ugly American, 1963, Marlon Brando
-Field of dreams, 1989, Kevin Costner
-Heidi, 1937, Shirley Temple
-Miracle on 34th Street, 1947, Edmund Gwenn
-Rear Window, 1954, James Stewart
-Old Yeller, 1957, Dorothy McGuire
-The Sting, 1973, Paul Newman
-The Babe Ruth Story, 1948, William Bendix
-Apollo 13, 1995, Tom Hanks
-Boys Town, 1938, Spencer Tracy
-Moby Dick, 1956, Gregory Peck
-Magnificent Obsession, 1954, Jane Wyman
-Notorious, 1946, Cary Grant
-Gone With The Wind, 1939, Clark Gable


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      Diana 2 years ago

      Excellent movie choices. I believe I have seen 26 of the 30. Casablanca is probably my all-time favorite movie - a story of heroes and heroines whose desires for safety and happiness are in direct conflict with their sense of duty to their cause and the greater good. Seeing these movies could help younger people relate to us baby boomers. Also, any worthwhile movie enriches and expands the mind of the viewer. The movies on this list meet those criteria. Thanks!