The Academy Awards–yawn–are this Sunday. I have seen just one of the films nominated for Best Picture and hardly any of the other films whose sets, actors, songs, and special effects have led to their nominations. (I do love, the next day, looking at the outfits!) It will shock absolutely no one that not a single romantic film–OK, there is a lovely romance in Top Gun: Maverick, but it’s a very small part of the story–is nominated.
My favorite romance-y film I saw last year is the excellent The Wedding Season followed by very sweet Something from Tiffany’s.
Neither would make it in to my romance film hall of fame, but they were fun, well-done, and reasonably smart. What, you ask would be in my romantic film hall of fame?
My favorite teen love story is a tie between 1o Things I Hate About You and Say Anything. I’ve seen each film at least four times and I never tire of either. (I do tear up when Heath Ledger marches about the stadium–he is so missed.)
My favorite break your heart love story is The Way We Were. Just hearing the song makes me tear up.
Other favorites are The Big Sick, The Notebook, Notting Hill, About Time, and Bend It Like Beckham.
And the film I’d give my Best Romantic Movie Ever award to: Moonstruck. To me, it is perfect.
How about you? What romantic films would you award your Best ofs to?
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I defy ANYONE who can find a better romantic hero than Cary Grant. Pair him with Ingrid Bergman in “Notorious” and you have, IMO, a better romance than “Casablanca,” both made in the middle of WWII. If you haven’t seen “Casablanca,” turn in your badge as a romance-lover. If the scene in the bar of everybody singing doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, well, you have heart. It gets me every time, especially when you know that with the exception of Bogart and the black piano player, EVERYBODY in the scene had fled the Nazis for their lives.
But back to “Notorious.”
First, it’s an Alfred Hitchcock without any violence. Shot in beautiful black and white, it opens with Ingrid’s being approached by Grant, who belongs to whatever organization that evolved to be the CIA, later. Ingrid’s father was convicted of treason against the US (this is set in WWII) and Grant wants her to go down in South America, where so many Nazis are during the war, and spy–and more– on Claude Rains. It has the most romantic ending, complete with poetic justice I have ever seen.
I forgot about Ever After. It is my favorite fairy tale retelling.
The most romantic film hands-down for me is “The Last of the Mohicans.” A line in the film I find most unforgettable is when Hawkeye (an adopted Mohican played by Daniel Day Lewis) tells Cora, when all seems lost and the murderous Huron is seconds from capturing her English party and subjecting her to the harshest retribution, “Stay alive. No matter what happens. I will find you.”
More sedate but just as powerful for me in its own way is the classic 1995 Persuasion film, where Capt. Wentworth (played with a restrained but mesmerizing performance by Ciarian Hinds) and Anne find their way back to each other despite years of estrangement, bitterness and regret. I also love Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice.
I enjoyed many films mentioned such as You’ve Got Mail. I thought Mr and Mrs. Smith, although not realistic, was great fun and compulsively watchable. The online chemistry of stars are palpable. I wish there were more good romance movies out there.
Love with angst or at least hard-won is so much more satisfying to watch. Insta-love doesn’t work for me.
Memoirs of a Geisha, Phantom of the Opera, BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice”, Love, Actually, Love & Friendship, The Importance of Being Earnest, North & South, Immortal Beloved, My Fair Lady, Belle (2013), Ever After, Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Holiday, Stardust, The Young Victoria
I suppose I appreciate historical love stories more than modern love.
Sanditon may be added to my list but since there is not an HEA yet for Charlotte still TBD.
Oh I also want to add RRR (Netflix)…the film has out of this world action (and violence) but also includes love stories.
I can’t believe I didn’t mention A Walk in the Clouds but that is one of my favorites. I tend to think of Keanu Reeves as an action hero but he is absolutely wonderful in this love story.
I have never seen that!
It’s set in the 1949s and is about a candy salesman who falls In love with a rich girl. Very sweet and romantic.
This is one of my favorite topics. There are many movies mentioned already that I really like, if not love. In spite of Micky Rooney’s role, I’ve always had a soft spot for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard are perfection. And despite the underlying topic, I’ve always thought Gigi was wonderful with a cast that’s perfection, including Leslie Caron and Louis Jourdan. One of my favorite lines ever is from that film uttered by Eva Gabor, when she says of the man she’s cheating with, “But he’s so conceited. So superior in an inferior way.” Lastly, I’ve always loved the film noir movie, Laura, which has a very interesting romantic subplot. It stars Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews.
As for others, The Lake House with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves is just swoonworthy. It’s so romantic.
Firelight is an historical romance come to life with Sophie Marceau and Stephen Dillane.
Fools Rush In with Selma Hayek and Matthew Perry is very good.
The very strange movie, The Adjustment Bureau, with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt is romantically compelling, but not everyone’s cup of tea.
A Letter to Juliet is sweet with Amanda Seyfried and Christopher Egan, but the real heart of the movie, in my opinion, are Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero, who are real life husband and wife. Their storyline touched me because it was about lost love and they had a romance during the filming of Camelot but didn’t remain together, only to find each other again years later. (Kind of like in the movie.)
And speaking of the past, movies with Doris Day and Rock Hudson and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are just delightful as you probably all know.
Finally, swashbuckling films like Captain Blood, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia deHavilland are wonderful as well as The Black Swan with Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara.
I like a lot of the films mentioned and will add A Room With a View, Shakespeare in Love, Dirty Dancing and Pretty in Pink.
A miniseries I loved was the 1980’s A Town Like Alice starring Bryan Brown.
I think my favourite rom-com is Four Weddings and a Funeral – for everything about it except for the central romance, which is really weak IMO. Hugh is lovely, but the female part needed stronger writing or much stronger acting. Andie MacDowell was no match for the rest of the female cast, unfortunately.
I loved the book “A Town Like Alice” – I’ve read it several times! And I’m totally with you on “Four Weddings and a Funeral”. The movie is so good, but Andie MacDowell is so bad, she almost makes it unwatchable. The only movie I’ve ever seen in which I think Andie MacDowell was decent in was “Green Card”, which is actually a very cute romance.
I loved A Town Like Alice, book and miniseries. I agree about about Four Weddings and a Funeral, too.
I am always rooting for Duck Face in Four Wedding and a Funeral.
I love many of the movies already mentioned – Notting Hill, When Harry Met Sally, A Walk to Remember, Stardust, The Princess Bride. A few that I don’t think have been mentioned are:
Before Sunrise – a young French woman (Julie Delpy) and American man (Ethan Hawke) meet on a train in Europe, get off the train and spend the day together. The whole movie is the pair talking with each other and it is charming.
The American President – story about a widowed president (Michael Douglas) falling in love with an environmental lobbyist (Annette Bening)
Brooklyn – Saoirse Ronan plays an Irish immigrant in the early 1950s who emigrates to New York to have a better life and falls in love with an Italian guy.
I adore Brooklyn. Ronan is so great in it and the sense of place in both countries is palpable.
As to Brooklyn: Read the book and saw the movie. The problem I have is that Eilis, the Saoirse Ronan character, lets the young man in Ireland think she is free to love him back. He is so vulnerable and it is actually cruel to lead him on and not to tell him that she is married.
I was less bothered by that than I probably should have been. I think it’s because he, brilliantly played by Domhnall Gleeson, seemed like he’d be just fine.
When Ellis returned to Ireland, it was like a dream – she meets a handsome young man, gets romanced. It was what she wanted before she left but she eventually realized that she wasn’t the same person that she used to be. I forgave her for living that dream for a little while (I wouldn’t have forgiven if she stayed in Ireland – I adored Tony).
The Philadelphia Story and His Girl Friday aren’t romances, but there is a love story and romantic couple at the center of each of them – probably not a coincidence that Cary Grant is in both.
A more modern film that swept me away is Ladyhawke, with Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer. The couple has been cursed by an evil bishop. Isabeau (Pfeiffer) becomes a hawk by day and Navarre (Hauer) a wolf by night; despite being always together, they are eternally apart. Swoonworthy and very, very romantic. Again, the actors who play the leads are in large part what makes the film work.
An Affair to Remember with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant is my number one pick. The final scene where he sees the painting on the wall….well it gets me every single time.
Honourable mention to The Ghost and Mrs Muir. I never found Rex Harrison handsome but in this movie, he was . The chemistry between him him and Gene Tierney was magnificent.
“very sweet Something from Tiffany’s.” Agree to disagree. I went on a NOTABLE rant about that one that included, “I finally understand, “hate watching”.”
Notting Hill and Pretty Woman are my favourite romance focused romance movies, Groundhog Day, Four Weddings and The Princess Bride my favourite comedy focused ones.
Love The Princess Bride and Groundhogs Day.
I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s (shame the Mickey Rooney character makes bits of it unwatchable nowadays), While You Were Sleeping, When Harry Met Sally … The Shop Around the Corner is waaaay better than You’ve Got Mail, and I completely agree with whoever suggested The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
There is an exhibit at the NY Historical Society about Jewish delis. The exhibit is fun, but the best part is that it’s called “I’ll Have What She’s Having” and among the film clips that are part of the exhibit is that scene from When Harry Met Sally.
I’ve always hated that scene. There is NO WAY the Meg Ryan character as presented to us would have done that.
I am the rare person who thinks the best couple in When Harry Met Sally is the the one with Carrie Fisher and Kirby. I never sense any sexual chemistry between Harry and Sally!
I agree with you on Wedding Season and Something from Tiffany’s – not mind blowing but good nonetheless.
My favourite teen love story is A Walk To Remember – first saw it as a teenager and have loved it ever since.
Favourite break your heart love story is Me Before You – each time I watch it, my heart breaks extra for his parents especially his mother.
Other favourites are When Harry Met Sally, Baby Boom, About Time, About Last Night, Two Weeks Notice and The Bridget Jones movies.
My Best Romantic Movie isn’t a movie – it’s a series, North & South. The scene where Margaret tells John that she needs to get Charles to better explain her finances & John takes her hand instead, telling her she can talk to him alone without Charles, is just so beautiful to me.
A Walk to Remember and Me Before You are such beautiful tear-jerkers. There is a lovely poignancy and depth to the storytelling in them. Hope Floats doesn’t have the gravitas of those two films, but it goes beyond the typical rom-com in exploring life’s ups and downs. I had forgotten about Baby Boom, but it is hilarious and romantic. The scene where she has to go to the doctor and winds up at the veterinarian is so funny! I don’t know if you have ever seen New in Town with Renée Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr., but it has the same Big City Girl meets Small Town Boy vibe as Baby Boom and is sweet and funny too
I have seen New In Town – the scene where she has to pee outside and her zipper gets stuck is very funny.
Hope Floats – I just know it stars Sandra Bullock and an actor whose name and face I forget
The male lead in Hope Floats is Harry Connick Jr.
I was leaving series out, but I have to agree with you that North and South is right up there as one of the best!
It sure is
Best kiss ever…..
I really love most of the films others have already mentioned, especially Moonstruck. An older film that I think is one of the most romantic stories ever filmed is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison.
Wow, this is a tough one.
My favorite teen love story is John Hughes’ “Some Kind of Wonderful”. It’s probably his least well known but, I think, one of his most under-rated.
My favorite heart-break love story is probably “Brokeback Mountain”. What a tragic story.
Favorite love story comedies: “The Princess Bride” and “Bull Durham” (not technically a romance but a big romantic component).
Favorite overall: BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice” tied with Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia” (Hugh Jackman – swoon!).
As a flip, I think the most over-rated love stories (as in, I just don’t get it at all) are “Love and Basketball” (the hero is SO mean to the heroine!), “Say Anything” (I hated Ione Skye’s acting), and “The Notebook” (can you say TOXIC hero?).
Oh I love The Notebook–he is not a modern hero but he is so hers. Bull Durham is the best–it was filmed in my world and I have many friends who were extras in it. Kevin Costner was LOVELY to all.
I agree – Moonstruck is my favorite romantic film. Whenever I see it’s on TV, I stop & watch, even if it’s only last 30 minutes.
I’m not good with choosing “the best” of anything! :-) It’s not how my brain works, I guess. But some of the movies I return to include While You Were Sleeping, You’ve Got Mail, The Holiday, Sabrina (newer version is my favorite, but I like both), plus I love the love story in Jumpin’ Jack Flash. So sweet. Stardust is also wonderful.
Not a typical romance story, but there is a bittersweet love story of sorts at the heart of Proof of Life, a film about a desperate woman (Meg Ryan) who hires a private hostage negotiator (Russel Crowe) to to bargain for the release of her husband kidnapped in South America. We see what’s happening before they do, and it’s emotional.
As an aside, Meg Ryan is wonderful in this drama, as she is in Courage Under Fire. I really really wish she’d been given more dramatic roles. In her role in Courage Under Fire she plays the same character in a flashback scenes shown through the testimony of several different witnesses. That means she plays the same role but with widely different interpretations of the character. It’s quite amazing. Denzel Washington stars, and it was one of Matt Damon’s breakout early roles. It’s an underrated film, imo, as is Proof of Life.
Have you ever seen her in Flesh and Bone? She’s amazing in that. A very dark role. The film is also the first I ever saw Gwyneth Paltrow in and she too blew me away.
No, I haven’t! Thanks for the rec.
I don’t have a favorite teen romance, but I do have quite the list I’d recommend: 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s All That, Clueless, Sixteen Candles, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and (get ready to cringe) Twilight. The romance movie I have rewatched the most is the excellent Bride and Prejudice. My favorite heartbreak romance is Love, Actually or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. House of Flying Daggers also has a beautiful doomed romance. My favorite classic romance is Bachelor Mother starring Ginger Rogers and David Nivens. I love About Time and think most movie lovers seriously underrate it. For an 80s romance, I would recommend An Officer and a Gentleman. No list would be complete without the 90s classic Sleepless in Seattle. You’ve Got Mail is another good pairing of this couple. I love the love story in That Thing You Do, and The Holiday is absolutely lovely. The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society is wonderful. It’s hard to make a list – there are a lot of really good romance movies out there.
I’d second An Officer and a Gentleman and, from my very young years, perhaps The Sound of Music.
I adore The Sound of Music but it’s so much more than a love story so I don’t lump it in with romances.
Twilight gets such a bad rep but I loved all three movies especially part one (team Edward all the way). My brother got me to watch about time and I absolutely loved it. The scene where a young Tim walks on the beach with his father for the last time is so heartbreakingly good – I cry anytime I watch it
That is a beautiful scene in About Time. That movie is really touching all the way, through. There are so many scenes in it that are just fabulous – when he meets her and has to go through it over and over, or the best man speeches, or meeting the parents. All of it is fabulous. Twilight doesn’t deserve its bad rep imo.
It truly is. IMO, most of the people who badmouth twilight do it to look ‘cool’. Were they the best movies ever made? Nope, not even by a long shot. But they were good movies, I’ll even say they were okay movies. I’ve never understood all the hate for them
I don’t think people say stuff like that just to be cool. People simply have different tastes. I try to remember that every time a movie or book I love gets panned by someone else. Enjoy what you enjoy! There is so much out there.
I don’t usually have a problem with people not liking what I like I think I’m a bit sensitive with twilight because it’s one of the few movies my brothers and I watched together and enjoyed. Our tastes have diverged a lot since then and so I’m a bit ‘protective’ of the things we all felt the same way about. Any criticism of things we all loved is upsetting to me because (in my head) it’s trashing cherished memories (I don’t know if that makes sense).
You’re right though, there’s so much out there, I’ll work on enjoying what I enjoy. Thanks
The Twilight hatred was big enough that it has generated articles discussing the phenomenon, so it went beyond the mere issue of different people liking different things. https://screenrant.com/twilight-movies-bad-hate-criticisms-reputation-explained-reasons/
Interesting article. I didn’t know all that, although I heard some Twilight dissing. I read the first book when it came out (prereading because my young daughter wanted to read it) and felt it was underdeveloped, but ok, so I let my daughter read it. She didn’t care for it, but several years later, when the movies were coming out my youngest two daughters read the books and liked them, and we got the movies.
Like I said, I thought (and still think) they were fine movies for the kids to watch. My girls enjoyed the first couple and I think we still have them kicking around the house.
The strong hatred does seem overblown. It’s fine not to like something, but I doubt too many young women will truly base their relationships on a fantasy novel they read as a teen, so the pearl clutching seems extreme.
I’m with you on MOONSTRUCK. It’s an absolutely perfect romance movie: a Cinderella story with a wonderful supporting cast.
Interesting, I’d have pegged Moonstruck more as Beauty and the Beast. It is a really sweet romance movie, though.