The Mid-Life Crisis: Brit professor Humbert Humbert (James Mason) is being romantically pursued by his rather full-on landlady, Charlotte Haze (Shelley Winters).
But his eye is really drawn by her young daughter, Lolita (Sye Lyon), and their controversial affair is representative of Humbert’s desperation not to get old and grey.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: We’ll let you know when we can think of one… Nope.
The Mid-Life Crisis: Music-maker George Webber (Dudley Moore) is on the precipice of middle age, something that’s weighing heavily on his mind.
So much so that, despite having a perfectly lovely girlfriend in the form of Samantha (Julie Andrews), he becomes besotted with youthful beauty Jenny Miles (Bo Derek), and promptly chases her all over town…
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Despite acting like the king of all tits, George finally learns his lesson and Samantha takes him back.
Kramer Vs Kramer (1979)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Man is pitted against wife in this domestic Oscar winner.
The crises in question concern Joanna (Meryl Streep) and her hubbie Ted (Dustin Hoffman). She ups sticks to find herself (as far away from him as possible), leaving him alone with their kid.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Sure, Joanna abandons both her husband and her kid (prompting Ted’s own mid-life crisis, how’s that for poetry?), but that gives the pair the room to develop their relationship in ways they weren’t able to before.
The Incredibles (2004)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Bob Parr (aka Mr Incredible) has long since hung up the spandex super-suit and accepted life as a conventional working man.
Sadly, that life basically involves jobbing it as an identity-less drone in an office, with a (tiny little) boss who seems to have caught a lift straight up from Hell.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Bob has a sudden mid-life renaissance, slipping back into his Mr Incredible spandex – and this time he gets to save the world with his whole family.
A Single Man (2009)
The Mid-Life Crisis: George (Colin Firth) has just lost the man he loves and, frankly, he’s feeling a bit shit.
Which is why he decides that he’s going to end his life on the day that we meet him, after setting all of his affairs in order.
Except then he notices the coy glances of a rather attractive young student…
Reasons To Be Cheerful: The rather beautiful Nicholas Hoult wants to get in your pants…
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Mid-Life Crisis: TV weatherman Phil (Bill Murray) is stuck in a rut.
Or, more precisely, he’s stuck in a rather irritating time loop which sees him waking up and reliving the same day over and over and over.
Talk about annoying.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Phil learns that there’s no point sleepwalking through life – you have to seize every day as if it’s your last.
We love a little moralising in our movies.
Old School (2003)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Three of them to be exact, as buddies Mitch (Luke Wilson), Frank (Will Ferrell) and Beanie (Vince Vaughn) refuse to let go of the good old days and set up their own fraternity house in order to show various young misfits a good time.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: These guys make mid-life crises look awesome.
Though their travails are rooted in Peter Pan-style angst, and they cause their fair share of carnage, they have one hell of a good time in the process.
Scenes From A Marriage (1973)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Alright, it was originally a mini-series, but Ingmar Bergman’s chronicle of Marianne (Liv Ullman) and Johan’s (Erland Josephson) marital breakdown is one of the finest on-screen examples of mid-life crises in full swing.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Even if they are facing the dissolution of their union, Marianne and Johan are amazingly eloquent about their feelings.
Which makes fantastic viewing for us.
Office Space (1999)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) may not be quite middle-aged when we meet him in Office Space, but this definitely counts as some sort of mid-mid-life crisis.
See, he’s sick and tired of being an office worker bee who’s subject to infuriating office politics and power plays. After being hypnotised, he decides to take a far more relaxed approach to his job…
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Peter’s actions are pure wish-fulfilment in filmic form.
Who doesn’t dream of doing half the things that he does?
The Mid-Life Crisis: Senator Jay Bullington Bulworth’s (Warren Beatty) life has taken a turn for the worse.
Not only are his leftist views now totally out of date, he’s also having to fake a happy marriage, despite the fact that both he and his wife have had numerous affairs.
Bulworth’s solution? Have somebody assassinate him…
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Bulworth looks damn cool – and his sudden ‘give a shit’ attitude suddenly makes him relevant in the cynical ‘90s.