Top 10 Most Romantic Movies

Posted by Brandy Dean February 14, 2013 21 Comments 24655 views

Happy Valentine’s Day all! Love is a pretty fundamental part of the human experience, so it’s no surprise that Hollywood wants a piece of that. Cinema past and present is just littered with tales of love. From the will they-won’t they screwball comedies to ruminative meditations on love lost, the list of romantic movies is thousands strong. But who has time for that? In the spirit of V-day, and in no particular order, here’s my…

What are your favorite romantic movies? Tell us in the comments!

Top 10 Most Romantic Movies

The Cameraman-Buster KeatonThe Cameraman (1928)

Sure, it’s a classic Buster Keaton comedy, but the point of Buster’s travails in The Cameraman is to win the heart of a sweet young thang. Though he scores in the end, there’s a moment of pure, agonizing heartbreak when he thinks he won’t, proving how great Keaton was an actor. Also, there’s a monkey.

Still image from "Casablanca"

Casablanca (1942)

On the Richter scale of romantic movies, this is the be all and end all. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are star crossed lovers who have to sacrifice their own romantic desires for a cause greater than themselves. Fortunately, they’ll always have Paris… and some steamy moments in Morocco.

Still image from "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2005)

This movie is a rare bird, a love story about the loss of love and the importance of forgetting. It’s is achingly beautiful with a surprising performance from typically rubber faced Jim Carrey, though Charlie Kaufman’s script manages to be both moving, sad, and flat out funny all at once.

Still image from "Singin' in the Rain"

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Good morning, good morning, it’s great to stay up late! For the sheer joy of falling of love, you don’t get better than Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in Singin’ in the Rain. Also, you don’t get better for sheer joy of singing and dancing, in the rain or in the sunshine.

Still image from "King Kong"

King Kong (1933)

A psycho sexual nightmare involving a scantily clad starlet and a giant ape, King Kong is the most powerful story of trans-species love to grace the silver screen. While Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake has little to recommend itself, I applaud the filmmaker for being bold enough to make Kong’s love overtly requited.

Still image from "City Lights"

City Lights (1931)

City Lights was Chaplin’s love letter to the silents, coming several years after the adoption of sound. But if the Tramp’s selfless love for a blind flower girl doesn’t leave you balling like a tiny baby, then you have no heart.

Still image from "Vertigo"

Vertigo (1958)

Love comes in many varieties and creepy obsession is one of them. Hitchcock’s vertigo inducing tale of sexual suspense still ranks as one of the most startling depictions of love gone sideways. Also, you gotta love that just before the moment of climax a nun appears and rains on everyone’s parade.

Still image from "Ninotchka"

Ninotchka (1939)

Greta Garbo always smolders on screen, but Ninotchka is one of the few instances where she seems warm and perhaps even attainable. This love affair between a stern Russian and a Parisian bon vivant is your classic opposites attract love story.

Still image from "Love Affair"

Love Affair (1939)

Man meets woman and they fall in love. They part ways but promise to meet again six months later. Fate has other plans. If this sounds familiar, it is. Leo McCarey’s classic Love Affair is the romantic movie that launch a thousand imitators. The original is still the best.

Still image from "The Shop Around the Corner"

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Here’s your classic “they can’t stand each other, they were made for one another” tale of romance. Ernst Lubitsch’s classic romantic comedy features James Stewarts and Margaret Sullavan as co-workers who spend the day at one another’s throats and the night unwittingly penning love notes to the other.

What are your favorite romantic movies? Tell us in the comments!


About Brandy Dean

Social media consultant, blogger for hire, and lover of classic movies and silent films.

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There are 21 Comments

  1. - February 14, 2013
      -   Reply

    glad you listed King Kong. Always thought that this was the undiscovered romantic film of all time. And interestingly for the list there are 2 monkeys involved in romance. hmmm

    • Brandy Dean
      - February 14, 2013
        -   Reply

      What’s more romantic than a monkey! (Insert tasteless joke here). I always think of King Kong as a love story, and I really did admire Peter Jackson for making that more overt in his otherwise horrendous remake. I thought Naomi Watts was really convincing as a monkey lover.

  2. - February 14, 2013
      -   Reply

    Vertigo? Boy oh boy. It is a romance, to be sure, but I wouldn’t watch it on Valentine’s Day. Too much plumbing of the psychosexual depths. Love as dizzying terror.

    • Brandy Dean
      - February 14, 2013
        -   Reply

      I would watch it any day of the week, including all major federal and state holidays. However, it might not the best V-day choice if you’re in a kind of creepy, stalkerish relationship. Then you should probably watch some lighthearted rom-com, probably one with Sandra Bullock.

      • Jack
        - May 8, 2013
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        My embarrassing tale concerning Vertigo:

        I had heard many people claim Vertigo as their favorite Hitchcock film. I did not understand why, but to each his or her own. You see, I had seen the movie not once, not twice, but THREE times! And I was left feeling flat every single time. Sure, it was interesting and all, but I felt there was no real conclusion to it.

        Then, in 2008, I was at my parents’ house (my father had just died), and one day AMC (or one of the movie channels) was playing Vertigo. I decided to watch it again, just to be sure I wasn’t missing anything. When the end came and about to go into a break, the announcer said to stay tuned for the conclusion of Vertigo.

        I had never seen that part of the movie, not in any of the three previous viewings. I had watched it on a flipper disc, and there was no indication for me to flip the disc for the rest of the movie.

        Suddenly, the whole thing made sense! And now I understood why so many people claimed it as their favorite Hitchcock.

  3. andy
    - February 14, 2013
      -   Reply

    True Romance!

    • Brandy Dean
      - February 14, 2013
        -   Reply

      I didn’t consider True Romance but Wild at Heart was inches away from making my top 10.

  4. Blanche
    - February 14, 2013
      -   Reply

    I like the Nora Ephron chick flick movies. When Harry Met Sally. You’ve Got Mail. Sleepless in Seattle. Also, The Way we Were.

    • Brandy Dean
      - February 14, 2013
        -   Reply

      Love Affair is definitely a big inspiration for When Harry Met Sally.

  5. - February 15, 2013
      -   Reply

    I like all those movies, although I’m always a little sad that Fay Wray and the monkey don’t get together at the end of King Kong.

    But there are two other romances that are even more in my wheelhouse, in that they remind me the most of Katie-Bar-The-Door — 1938’s Holiday with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, and The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Throw in The Thin Man, put those three female leads in a metaphorical blender, and you’ve got Katie in a nutshell.

    • Brandy Dean
      - February 16, 2013
        -   Reply

      What a lovely Valentine to Katie-Bar-The-Door. You are a prince among men, Monkey!

  6. Richard
    - February 19, 2013
      -   Reply

    For romance, I prefer silents (what does that say about me?), especially Borzage: 7th Heaven, Street Angel, Lucky Star, and, my favorite, The River, despite, or because of, missing the first and last reels. All star that all-American boy Charles Farrell. Throw in some edgier Murnau: Sunrise and City Girl (more Charles Farrell!). To get to 10, 4 of my fave Bollywood romances: Pyassa, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil Se, and Mast.

    • Richard
      - February 19, 2013
        -   Reply

      Oops, Pyaasa.

    • - February 20, 2013
        -   Reply

      “Sunrise” is a beautiful movie, Richard. Good choice!!!

  7. - February 20, 2013
      -   Reply

    Nice list, although I think it’s a stretch to call “King Kong” a romance (I tend to root for human couples over interspecies ones). I’d put “Room with a View” and “La Belle et la bête” on my own list.

  8. dbrgss
    - April 25, 2013
      -   Reply

    I would like to suggest Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Not only was this movie a major departure from the usual Ferrell type movie but personally I thought the chemistry between the two leads to be heart warming. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie… this won’t make much sense… but Will’s line “I brought you flours. (spelling intentional)” when he was wooing Maggie’s character was very romantic.

  9. Ary
    - May 17, 2013
      -   Reply

    Yes, A Room With A View is wonderful – also, I would like to add Laura, and another film I long to see again, A New Leaf – funny and romantic !

  10. - June 16, 2013
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    Richard, so glad you mentioned Borzage — History is Made At Night (1937) with Jean Arthur and Charles Boyer is right up there at the top of my list for most romantic film of all time. It’s got everything: Boyer & Arthur in a truly sublime love story; hilarious comedy relief from chef/sidekick Leo Carillo; Colin Clive as Arthur’s insanely jealous ex-husband; Boyer plays “Paul Dumond, the Greatest Headwaiter In All Europe!”; and oh, did I mention the finale, where Boyer and Arthur are on the transatlantic liner Colin Clive designed and which is on it’s maiden voyage from Paris to New York and which hits an iceberg? Uff da, it’s deliriously romantic from beginning to end. *le sigh*

  11. Ryan Burns
    - August 6, 2013
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    I’d nominate Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight. Together they capture the magic, complications and challenges of finding and sustaining romance. And the chemistry between Delpy and Hawke us palpable.

  12. - December 31, 2013
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    I am very surprised that “True Romance” (1993) did not make it on this list.

  13. - November 10, 2014
      -   Reply

    Great list, I especially liked the inclusion of King Kong & Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Omitting An Affair to Remember- good call.
    I would add:

    Dark Victory
    Silver Linings Playbook

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