[[quoteright:320:[[Magazine/{{Life}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/life-gen-gap-may68_3241.jpg]]]]

A trope commonly from the period in which it was named, the 1960s. The Generation Gap is the idea that the psychological differences between the UsefulNotes/WorldWarII generation and the Baby Boomers were so significant that they were incapable of understanding each other, and so were in conflict, often devolving into KidsVersusAdults. This mostly occurred because, at the time, the United States' political climate was changing, with many boomers vehemently protesting things like racism and the Vietnam War, all the while using [[ThePowerOfRock rock and roll]] as a weapon against these issues. Many World War II era adults disapproved of this (as did many MoralGuardians), so the generational gap became a widespread phenomenon.

A second and arguably milder generational gap occured between the politically motivated Baby Boomers and more laid-back/openly hedonistic Generation X'ers; a third gap may now be occurring between [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism jaded Gen-Xers and idealistic Millennials]]. For some time, with many mid/late-born Boomers, Generation X'ers and some Generation Y'ers becoming parents, this was gradually becoming a DiscreditedTrope. However, if recent debates over things like same-sex marriage and Internet surveillance prove anything, it's that the generation gap will never fully disappear as long as [[SocietyMarchesOn social standards change]] and [[TechnologyMarchesOn technology advances]].

Frankly, the trope has long been appropriated and manipulated by the popular media and the business community as a marketing gimmick - just look at TheManIsStickingItToTheMan. Many social historians will tell you that the Generation Gap was always to a large degree a "manufactured controversy", and that most of the cultural clashes between young people and old people were concerned not as much with values and belief systems as with codes of decorum and behavior. It's been noted, for example, that most members of the WWII generation disapproved of racism; it's just that [[DontShootTheMessage they disapproved even more of the (to them) radical tactics used to combat it]]. Same with the Vietnam War, although at least there was a fairly solid consensus behind that.

The trope seems to be very common in 1960s and 1970s science fiction; see {{Films of the 1960s}} and {{Films of the 1970s}}. However, it also continued well into 1980s/'90s family sitcoms (even though [[DeadHorseTrope the trope was beginning to die around that time]]).

'''Note:''' A "generation gap" is a significant difference in ''values'' and ''ideas'' between two generations. A simple parent/child conflict (such as a parent disapproving of the music his/her child enjoys) is not an example of this.

* ''RebelWithoutACause'': Probably the first major movie to explore and deconstruct this.
* ''Franchise/PlanetOfTheApes'' has some offhand comments from the younger ape about "adults... always ordering you about".
* ''Film/LogansRun'' has the youths living in a derelict part of the complex, attacking the adults.
* ''Charly'', the movie version of ''Literature/FlowersForAlgernon'', has a sequence where Charly rejects society and goes living a freelovin' lifestyle.
* In ''Film/TheQuatermassConclusion'' it turns out that the Generation Gap is caused by the malign influence of aliens.
* ''Film/AClockworkOrange''
* ''Film/TheGraduate''
* ''Film/DazedAndConfused'', although the issue is only a small part of the movie.
* The dated nature of this trope was one of the main complaints critics had with the 2012 film ''ParentalGuidance''.
* ''Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff'': [[AllThereInTheScript In the shooting script]], Ferris sees himself as part of the second wave of this, and regrets that [[FormerTeenRebel his parents' generation could not maintain their (supposedly) revolutionary ideals]].
* ''[[Film/{{Wings 1966}} Wings]]'': One of the themes is the gap between the generation that suffered through World War II and the new generation of Soviet youth, growing up in the 1960s with no experience of sacrifice and less of a sense of duty. When Tanya suggests that her mother Nadya quit her boring job and let other people teach the snot-nosed punks, Nadya is appalled.
--> '''Nadya''': I never even knew such words as these: "Let someone else do it.”

* ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye'' is a pre-gap example. Holden is disgusted with the superficiality (ie "phoniness") of the World War 2 generation and decides to embark on a life of rough living and debauchery.
* OlderThanYouThink: Consider this passage from the F. Scott Fitzgerald story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair":
-->"Heavens, yes! What [[TheFlapper modern girl]] could live like [[Literature/LittleWomen those inane females]]?"\\
"They were the models for our mothers."\\
Marjorie laughed.\\
"Yes, they were--not! Besides, [[MoralGuardians our mothers]] were all very well in their way, but they know very little about [[TheFlapper their daughters']] problems."

* ''Series/TheMonkees'' TV show was undeniably symbolic of this trope. At the time, it was radical to even think about placing youth rebellion (with no parental figures) as protagonists on a prime time sitcom. However, the show attempted to create an understanding between the gap, and prove that America's youth wasn't all what it seemed, despite outside appearances. Their groovy theme tune (written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart) says it all:
-->"Here we come, walkin' down the street. We get the funniest looks from everyone we meet..." \\
"Hey, hey, we're the Monkees, and people say we monkey around. But we're too busy singin' to put anybody down."\\
“We're just tryin' to be friendly, come and watch us sing and play. We're the young generation, and we've got somethin' to say.”
* ''Series/FamilyTies'' is the Generation Gap after the generation that caused the first Gap... The hippy parents now have a conservative, money-obsessed son.
* ''Series/FreaksAndGeeks'' exemplifies the Generation Gap in its late stages. The Weir parents are clearly pre-Boomers, while the Weir kids are early Generation-X'ers. Needless to say, when it comes to issues like sex and drug use, the Weir parents are little (if any) help.
** And let's not forget Mr. Weir's blind bitterness towards TheSexPistols!
* ''Series/AllInTheFamily'' was heavily fueled by this trope.
* A big reason why [[RacistGrandpa Pierce]] is such an outcast to the rest of the study group in ''Series/{{Community}}''. That doesn't stop the others from having Generation X vs. Millennial conflicts.
* Speaking of, ads for ''Series/TheGreatIndoors'' play up Joel [=McHale's=] jaded, cynical, worldly Gen-X-er's distaste for his [[StrawmanPolitical idealistic but]] [[KnowNothingKnowItAll clueless]], [[ManChild shallow, immature]], [[NewMediaAreEvil distracted]], and [[TheDitz downright odd]] Millennial/hipster coworkers (Creator/StephenFry is there too).
* ''Series/SamuraiGourmet'' is subtly about the Generation Gap, from a specifically Japanese point-of-view. It's especially highlit in "Yakiniku Her Way", where protagonist Kasumi has to confront his twenty-one-year-old niece about her career choices over dinner. Since the series' point of view is a sixty-year-old Japanese man, the reasonable compromise is to insist that deciding to be a musician is fine, but [[ValuesDissonance not against your father's wishes]].

* ''CyberGeneration'' was based a Generation Gap, in this case between the cynical parental generation (the protagonists of the ''[[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/TabletopGame/Cyberpunk Cyberpunk]]'' role playing game) and their vastly more idealistic and NanoTech-mutated children (the protagonists of this game)

* ''WesternAnimation/IsItAlwaysRightToBeRight'': DiscussedTrope, as the parable says that "a gap appeared between the generations" and the animation shows a literal gap between old and young, followed by several more gaps as the various factions of society split off from each other.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'':
** The ability of the adults to be unearthly clueless and allow the children to be WiseBeyondTheirYears is due to that gap, which breaks the possibility of the two parties to share the same wave-length; the show puts this one into an extreme as it exhibits the '''children's''' ''point of view''; essentially: Because the show is about the children, and the children cannot comprehend how adults behave; they perceive them to be stupid.
** Actual example from the show would be "You're getting old"; The parents perceive the children's music to ''literally'' be shit, while the children hear literal bowel movements during the adult's music.

* In the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'', the heroes of past decades sometimes have very different attitudes toward crime and crimefighting than the younger crimefighters. The heroes who are still active from the 40s and 50s, for example, tend to hold a black-and-white view of morality and are much more conservative than the ones who were born in the 80s.
* ''Literature/TheFullMatilda'', which partially takes place in TheSixties, shows this between Matilda and her nephews David and Rodrick. Matilda is an old-fashioned black woman of the World War II generation, David is a hip baby boomer involved in the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement, and Rodrick falls in love with a white woman.
* Music/CatStevens' "FatherAndSon"
* The theme of Music/TheWho's "Music/MyGeneration".
* AlternateHistory and non-American example in CalBear's ''Literature/TheAngloAmericanNaziWar''. By the 2000s, teenagers living in the fifteen Administrative Regions which once made up the German Reich protest the unfairness of being held accountable for the crimes of their Nazi grandparents. When the Prussian wing of this rising political movement makes an armed bid for independence and reunifying Germany, this convinces the victorious post-war Allies to [[spoiler:nuke Stettin from orbit and kill hundreds of thousands of people]] as they're convinced, judging by what happened last time, that a reunited Germany will start WorldWarIII. [[CrapsackWorld You may have noticed this alternate world kinda sucks.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Millennials}}'' webcomics often shows generation gap between X and Y generation, like in the "Generation gap" ''[[http://www.kotopopi.com/millennials-technology-gap/]]'' and the "Vote" ''[[http://www.kotopopi.com/vote/]]''episodes.