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Some people living with dementia no longer have the ability to sit through long films quietly. While the movie is playing, many people will want to talk, sing along, or get up and move around. This isn’t an issue at home, but it can be an issue at the cinema.

The introduction of music can transform an over-the-top or complicated movie into a memorable one. Complexity and over-the-top films can be complicated to follow, while music can enhance the experience.

According to Dr Hilda Hayo, CEO and Chief Admiral Nurse of Dementia UK, choosing the right film can have a profound effect on an individual’s mood.

Families are always in the best position to decide which movies or other activities would appeal to their family member with dementia, said Hayo.

Mamma Mia

As a mother and daughter duo, Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried star in the 2008 musical hit. Just the name of this movie will bring back nostalgic memories for many and you may even have your toes tapping and just the thought or distant memory of the music

The story revolves around Streep’s character, Donna, trying to find out who her daughter’s father is.

The film is centered around and set to the popular music of Abba, and Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard are in the running.

Music and a simple plot make the film suitable for those with dementia, according to Dementia UK.

What makes Mamma Mia special for us is that it’s very interactive. It encourages interaction, it encourages people to sing and dance. Whether you are 15 or 85, people of any age can easily pick up and sing along to the catalogue of Abba tracks in this film. It helps connect people with dementia. It’s long known that music brings out strong emotions, feelings and happy memories for people living with dementia

Laurel and Hardy

The comedy legends Laurel and Hardy are known for a variety of short comedies that are regularly collected on one disc.

Stan Laurel of England and Oliver Hardy of America were a comedy duo from Hollywood’s early days and regularly toured England and the north with their brilliant stage shows. From 1927 to 1955, their clumsy, childish routines became known as “slapstick”. A more recent adaptation of their story, Stan and Ollie, is also recommended. In this film, Steve Coogan plays Lakeland’s own Stan Laurel and brings it to life. The film also shows the glory of Hollywood days and the glories of British theatre in a glowing light. There’s nothing rib-tickling about Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy, but this film is a sweet film of immense charm.

Stan & Ollie may provide more than a few chuckles, but it is mostly a morose, even melancholy account of the pair’s 1953 UK tour, the last time they toured together.

Laurel and Hardy’s slapstick routines allowed many people with dementia to reminisce, according to Dementia UK.

They can provide entertainment as well as distraction. Films like these are great to share with the whole family. Children and grandchildren with dementia can even make invaluable connections through these films.

“Mr Bean is another similar recommendation.”

Top Gun

Top Gun is a classic action movie starring Tom Cruise as Maverick and Val Kilmer as Iceman. Their class is the best in the American Navy’s elite fighter weapons school.

Those with dementia who are younger can benefit from watching Top Gun, which has a straightforward plot line that holds their interest.

Ghost and Pretty Woman are also recommended for younger people with dementia.

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music was first released in 1965, and audiences have been captivated by it ever since. As a film filled with well-known songs, it’s a great choice to watch with someone with dementia. The beautiful setting makes the movie enjoyable to watch as well as the famous tunes. You loved one should be able to follow the story as it is fairly easy to follow. In the event that they cannot, the music should be enough to keep them entertained throughout the movie.


Casablanca represents an era that many people living with dementia will recognise due to its setting during the Second World War and its release in the early 1940s. Casablanca is set in the Moroccan city of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman and stars Bogart and Bergman. Black and white makes it easier and more relaxing for some people with dementia to watch, while its relatively short running time helps viewers keep their attention.

The Wizard of Oz

One of the most popular films of all time, The Wizard of Oz is another classic from Hollywood’s golden age. Several well-known songs appear in The Sound of Music. This lets your loved one participate in the movie and sing along. Since the storyline is so familiar and the film was originally made for kids, viewers should have no problem following the action.