Story

Golden Years begins with retirees Arthur (Bernard Hill) and Martha (Virginia McKenna) Goode enjoying a quiet, comfortable life. They socialise with friends and play bowls and bingo at their local community club. This all changes in a single day when Arthur learns that Martha is no longer eligible for health care and that his retirement fund has collapsed, leaving him and Martha penniless. Several of Arthur and Martha’s friends from the club have suffered similar fates.

Feeling desperate, Arthur decides to rob the local bank. A series of errors and some unexpected outcomes mean he manages to get away with £50 000. When Martha accidentally discovers Arthur’s secret stash of bank notes, together they decide to do it again. After all, if Arthur can get away with robbing a bank by accident, they could definitely be successful with more planning. They embark on a spree of bank robberies.

Because the robberies are so successful, the police believe that they’re looking for a well- organised gang of professional criminals. Ageing detective Sid (Alun Armstrong) and his trusty younger sidekick Dave (Nigel Allen) are determined to catch the gang, but they’re hampered at every turn by the ambitious and backstabbing DI Stringer (Brad More).

When their community club needs to be saved, Arthur and Martha decide to call on a few of their close friends for help with robbing bank executives of their bonus funds. But all doesn’t go as they plan.

Themes

Ageing and the treatment of the elderly; relationships; bank robbery

Violence

Golden Years has some violence and accidental harm. Much of it is slapstick. For example:

  • Several scenes show a man driving a car in a fast and reckless way along a suburban street. The speeding car narrowly misses an old man, who drops his shopping as he jumps out of the way. Towards the end of the movie, there’s a similar scene, but this time the old man confronts the driver of the car with a paint gun and covers the car’s windscreen with paint.
  • An old man complains that he’s being mistreated. He says he’s being starved and locked in his room.
  • We hear how an old man has attempted suicide by taking three times the amount of his prescribed pain medication. He says, ‘I just wanted to go’.
  • A security guard trips over a man’s walking frame, crashes headfirst into an armoured van, and is knocked unconscious. Later we hear that the guard broke his nose in the incident.
  • In several scenes a man and woman rob banks. They’re wearing masks and raincoats. They use cucumbers wrapped in bags. They tell people that the cucumbers are guns and they will use them. They use paintball guns to fire at cameras and cover bank staff in paint. They place a fake bomb on the floor of the bank, telling staff and customers that the bomb will explode if anyone moves. They also detonate smoke bombs to fill the bank with smoke while they escape.
  • A man runs into an old couple pushing a shopping trolley. The force of the impact nearly knocks the couple to the ground.
  • A man is accidentally hit in the face by a caravan door and knocked unconscious. A short time later we see the injured man with a bloody nose and bloody cuts and bruises to his face. In a later scene the same man is hit in the face by a door and is knocked unconscious again.
  • Police snipers armed with assault rifles are positioned on rooftops, but they don’t fire any shots. 

Content that may disturb children

Under 8
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Golden Years has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight years. For example:

  • An old man becomes distressed when he believes his wife is dead. She’s actually just asleep.
  • A man collapses in a shop. In the next scene we hear that the man died, and we see a coffin being carried at a funeral. 

From 8-13
Younger children in this age group might be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Golden Years has implied sexual references and innuendo throughout. For example:

  • An elderly woman says to another woman, ‘How’s your toy boy, still off his game?’. The other woman responds, ‘I haven’t had any tickle, let alone slap’.
  • A woman says that another woman pined away for the want of a sausage.
  • A woman refers to having sexual relations with male prostitutes. She says, ‘If my wig’s not on back to front when we’re through I want my money back’.
  • A woman opens her bag and shows several other women the contents. She refers to using sex ‘playthings’, and we hear the sound of motors whirring.
  • A police officer talks about an unsuccessful date and is ridiculed by other police officers for handcuffing his date to his bed.
  • A woman reminisces about her past sexual activity, saying, ‘I had him in 1965 up against a wall’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Golden Years shows some substance use. For example:

  • Adults drink alcohol socially.
  • A man steals a bottle from a drug cabinet at a clinic. He later pours some of the bottle’s contents onto a cloth, which he then sniffs. He immediately loses consciousness but is uninjured.

Nudity and sexual activity

Golden Years shows some partial nudity. For example:

  • A man is seen dressed in a short dressing gown, which reveals a small part of his buttocks.
  • A man stands in a tanning salon, naked except for G-string underpants. His body rotates while being sprayed with tanning solution.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Golden Years: Valencia caravan.

Coarse language

Golden Years has low-level coarse language and some name-calling. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

for the movie’s unlikely heroes. The cast includes some of Britain’s finest film and TV drama actors. This movie isn’t recommended for children under 13 years because of its themes, sexual innuendo and several scenes that might scare younger children.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • Crime does pay if you’re a victim of crime to start with.
  • Sometimes you have to take the law into your own hands to get justice.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include fairness, selflessness and generosity.

You could also talk with your children about whether the characters in the movie are criminals, the victims of crime, or both. Is breaking the law the only way the characters can get justice?