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42 Up (1999)



Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 3,034

My Rating

Movie Info

In 1964, England's Granada Television produced a documentary called 7 Up, in which 14 seven-year-old British children from a wide variety of social and economic backgrounds were interviewed about their ideas and opinions on the adult world. In 1971, director Michael Apted tracked down the same youngsters for a follow-up, 7 Plus 7. Since then, Apted has revisited his subjects every seven years in a series of remarkable films that allow us to watch these children grow into adults before our eyes.


Documentary, Drama, Special Interest

Michael Apted

Aug 21, 2001

First Run Features

Watch It Now


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All Critics (35) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (4) | DVD (5)

Their largely negative or only superficially positive responses make me feel guilty about finding the series so fascinating -- and should make the filmmakers feel even guiltier.

August 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

On some level, 42 Up is a startling home-movie time capsule. Simply to behold the aging process with such intimacy is enough to give you a shudder.

September 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the best movie series ever is a true-life drama like no other. Miss it at your peril.

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As beneficial as helmer's influence may be to that aging franchise, his work here reps a fascinating use of the docu form.

January 21, 2003 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The grand, class-society-embracing conception of this film has become too rich for its narrow stylistic confines.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This series should be sealed in a time capsule. It is on my list of the 10 greatest films of all time, and is a noble use of the medium.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

42 Up is a delightful and moving look at humanity through the singular stories of this captivating group.

September 8, 2009 Full Review Source:

Perfect. An absolute must-see.

May 25, 2008

Part of Apted seminal docu series that began with 7Up, then 14, 28, and 35, this chapter centers on the subjects as they head into middle-age, with all its compromises and disappointments.

August 8, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Two subjects acknowledge their conjoined lifeline, become best friends, and as a result a life is forever changed.

October 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

This movie is a living artifact that does what movies do best: exist in time. May this series continue up, up, and beyond.

November 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

This series remains as fascinating as it did when it started - a lifetime ago.

November 5, 2002

A fascinating entry in Michael Apted's long-running documentary series.

June 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

This fascinating ongoing sociological document and human drama by its very nature gets better with each progressive installment.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

42 Up engages you in ways that other movies can't; it works emotional muscles you may not know you have.

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Convinces us that the journey of every human being is eminently edifying and compelling.

March 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Let it go, Michael. Your subjects are obviously ready to do the same.

September 10, 2001 Full Review Source:

If only because its foreignness allows it to come to terms with one of the great taboo subjects in our national life, 42 Up is a tremendously valuable film.

March 18, 2001 Full Review Source:

Apted's strength is his straightforward approach. He is not here to judge, or to say what it all means.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

The series is the longest running documentary in the history of the cinema. And the best.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

Audience Reviews for 42 Up

One in the series of the greatest documentary ever made.
May 18, 2010

Super Reviewer

It continues. We are still missing three of the "kids" as one who came back last time dropped out again and one that was missing in the last installment has returned.
As the folks head into the middle years of their lives they all seem to be leveling out. Sure there were hard times but they have managed to overcome them and find a balance on which to live.
Relationships have come and gone and the one thing that is evident as we continue on the journey of life with these people is that no matter the social standing you are in life will always be chaos. Nothing will be as you see it for yourself.
It was nice to see one of the gentlemen who was having a hard time at life seems to be on the track to a better life. The ones that have managed to stay married after all this time give you hope that not all of the "kids" marriages are going to end up like much of their parents.
As I started this installment I did have a nice reaction of It's-good-to-see-these-people-again that I enjoy.
May 13, 2009

Super Reviewer

Great series, have really enjoyed all these movies.
January 30, 2009

Super Reviewer

It's good to see lives turning around and to see the mothers start to think about careers again. It's quite clear how the effect of documenting these people has changed them, though some more than others.
May 22, 2012

Super Reviewer

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