“Nobody puts Baby in the corner” and “You had me at hello” are two of the most well known movie lines of all time. The romance genre has provided its audience with an abundance of entertainment since its inception in 1896, when it was used to introduce the first movie machine ever known called the Vitascope. On that innovative day, the Vitascope played a prominent part in the debut of romantic movies in the first motion picture ever produced featuring a kiss, creatively titled, “The Kiss”. It was a 30 second silent film showing a couple kissing in the distance. At that time, it was unacceptable for people to kiss up close, or even on stage in theatre. Kissing was a private act!
Romance in movies has come a long way since its introduction, and has become a big part of the movie scene. Ranging from romantic comedies to romantic tragedies, there is no limit to the movies that carry the theme of love. From chick flicks to forbidden love, teen classics to heart breaking tearjerkers, their is something for everyone. Below is a list of the top must see romance movies that are all time favorites.
15. Ever After
“No, the part where you said my name!” Danielle de Barbarac
In the modern rendition of the classic tale of Cinderella, “Ever After” (1990), Drew Barrymore plays the kindhearted and super smart orphaned Danielle Debarbarac who unwittingly charms the prince who falls in love with her despite all odds. Voted as the best remake by many viewers, it has additional elements that deepen and modernize the traditional fairy tale. Although it follows the classic storyline of Cinderella, a young lady enslaved by her evil stepmother and mistreated by her two stepsisters, who is destined for greater things. There is no “bibodi bobodi boo”; the magic element has been removed turning it into a realistic yet, “fairy tale” type love story that is not all make believe. For example, the renowned shoe is not made of glass; Danielle or “Cinderella” still does run and fall and lose her shoe, which would be difficult to recreate if the shoes were glass. The prince does indeed go searching for his unknown bride to be, however it is not because he wants to find the beauty who fits the shoe, it’s to find the intriguing, unique woman who captured his soul. A fairy tale love story with a more updated and modern twist.
14. Scarlett Letter
“Love, whether newly born or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Prior to its transformation into the 1995 romance flick starring Demi Moore, Gary Oldmen and Robert Duvall, this 1850 work of fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of the first mass produced books in America, and an instant best seller. The novel portrays the corruption of the original Puritans and their systems of oppression, which were carried through when made into a movie. Told through the eyes of the so called “sinners”, the story is about unconditional love between Hester Prynne and the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. The two conceive a daughter through a prohibited affair. Labeled as such, because of the Puritan laws which did not allow her to leave or divorce her husband even if he had gone missing for many years. The movie adopted a happy ending that the book never depicted probably due to the excruciatingly sad circumstances. On the big screen, love prevails, leaving us feeling content and happy for the couple, their child and the betterment of society.
13. Blue Lagoon
Richard: I feel so a funny in my stomach.
Emmeline: Me too.
Richard: My heart’s beating so fast.
Emmeline: Mine too.
A classic tale of young love between two shipwrecked children who have no one but each other to learn about everything life entails. Stripped away from any commercialism, laws and boundaries, the two are left with raw, unswayed and non corrupted views about anything. Together they experience a pure, unconditional true love for each other. They eventually discover sex. She gets pregnant, gives birth and they start to raise their child before they are accidentally rescued and brought back to civilization. The movie takes place on a beautiful island, with simple, all natural scenery. No gadgets, wardrobe changes or fancy homes; just sea life, bare feet and lots of love. This is a movie a that you think you could watch over and over, but then you discover they made a part two following the same basic story line!
“If Jordan gives birth to a fine Irish son, there will be Cocktails and Dreams for him one day to run. A business that will yield the financial windfall to be franchised in every suburban shopping mall. If a daughter arrives to bless our clan, I guess the s*** will finally hit the fan. But this I shall promise thee, I’ll never let her marry a guy like me. Still if our child is the naughtiest of girls or the wildest of young men, I swear I’ll be the best dad I can…and never ever get spooked again” -Brian Flanagan’s advice to his unborn child:
In contrast to the non materialistic nature of Blue Lagoon, this is a money driven romance, where ambitious Bryan Flannigan, whose reputation for being hungry and obsessed with success, almost ruins his chances at true love. This love story actually goes deep into the heart of all of its characters and touches on many different types of relationships from friendships to business partnerships to marriage. The movie starts out with Bryan leaving the army, unsuccessfully trying to find a job, trying out college life, and ending up as a successful bartender in Jamaica . It is very realistic, no drawn out hype fake fantasy except for the island on which Bryan meets his true love. There we see some extremely beautiful movie scenes, all real, yet not so common for most lovebirds. Cocktail is a great journey about one man lesson on the true meaning of life his desire to make things right, and how hard that journey can truly be.
11. Say Anything
“She’s gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.”
Yes, that is from the famous boom box scene that has been forever embedded in everyone’s head as the aspiring kick boxer Lloyd declares how deep his love is for the girl of his dreams, valedictorian Diane. The theme song “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel is blasted as he stands under her window in an attempt to reconcile after a breakup. It is at that point that the world falls madly in love with actor John Cusack. Coming from two separate worlds, the couple tries hard to overcome the obstacles that stand between them. The biggest is Diane’s very own father, who wants the best for his daughter, but is under investigation by the IRS for embezzlement. This is a love story with a happy ending, as the couple are able to beat all odds and begin the next part of their post high school journey in life together.
10. The Longest Ride
“If we’d never met, I think I would have known my life wasn’t complete. And I would have wandered the world in search of you, even if I didn’t know who I was looking for.”
― Nicholas Sparks, The Longest Ride
There are very few things that are more romantic than movies involving the rough and tough cowboy falling in love. This is true for “The Longest Ride” as it focuses on the internal fight that bull rider Luke goes through as he is torn between following his love for work, and his love for his girlfriend. This story is not only a love story, but depicts the struggles and dangers that exist in his line of work as a bull rider. It also focuses on a cowboy’s difficulities in moving on from this life when it is all he has ever known. The greatest part of this movie is that it intertwines the lives of two couples, one old and one young, and the inspiration the elder couple give while on their death beds to the younger struggling couple. Scenes go back and forth in time, and viewers are able to witness two love stories simultaneously. One in 2007, and one in the 1940’s.
Sara: You don’t have to understand. You just have to have faith.
Jonathan: Faith in what?
“Serendipity” leaves the audience wondering what the fate of two strangers who met by chance will be. The two struggle to move on with their own lives after meeting each other one random snowy day during the Christmas season. For the greater part of the movie, both Jonathan and Sara are involved in other relationships, yet don’t feel 100% sure of their commitments, and begin searching for each other. This movie is very entertaining and has a hilarious supporting cast which includes Eugene Levy as the Bloomingdale’s salesperson who we see repeatedly throughout the movie, and Kate Blumberg who plays the quirky best friend. When all seems doomed for their reunion, and both parties seemed to have given up on what they now view as delusional attempts to justify their actions, they find each other again on a snowy, Christmas-time day. Not only is this a wonderful romance movie, it also qualifies as an annual Christmas movie!
8. The Notebook
“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.” ― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
Another magnificent love story that was turned into a movie by Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook, quickly became famous for its romance story, scenes and cast. In his unfaltering love for his wife as her Alzheimer’s worsens, Noah Calhoun spends countless hours recollecting their lives by reading through a journal that she kept, hoping to bring back flashes of memories forgotten but not lost, even just for a few moments. In flashbacks, we are taken back to their summer love and attempts at intimacy, as well as their mandated separation and exile from each other for many years. The movie is extremely sappy, and over the top with its extreme heart breaking scenes, but it makes the reunion all that much more exciting. The actors in this movie and their natural chemistry has been said to bring this story to life. It could very well be classified as one of the most loved romance movies of all time.
“Find you, love you, marry you, and live without shame.” ― Ian McEwan, Atonement
The mystery and drama in this movie takes viewers to a different level of romance. This romantic thriller leaves viewers on the edge of their seats, never knowing what is around the corner. The title of the movie itself leaves you wondering who will to pay for the misdeeds that leaves two star crossed lovers aloof. It leaves viewers in suspension the entire movie as you watch the lovers not only lose the complete ability to unite as one, but the struggles that ensue in the aftermath. The same story is told from 3 different perspectives, which makes for an interesting and intriguing watch. Then, just before the movie ends, there is a turn of events, breaking our hearts even more. This has sort of a Romeo-Juliet feel to it. Deep, tragic and a great movie even for all those men who hate romances.
6. The Vow
“I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love. And to always know in the deepest part of my soul that no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find our way back to each other.” Leo, The Vow
As the seventh highest-grossing romantic drama film ever created, this is a film worth watching. It’s a“thru thick and thin, in richness and in poor” type of movie where severe tragedy leaves a couple broken, yet desperate to get things back to normal. However, it isn’t your everyday despair, it’s more like a Hollywood romance style despair that makes for a great movie. An accident leaves the wife of the newlyweds with memory loss where she does not remember: her husband, why she broke off their previous engagement, why she left law school, or why she hasn’t had contact with friends and family. While putting all the pieces back together, she and her husband rekindle their relationship, which is more like a fresh start, and we watch as they fall in love all over again. The fact that the film stars two of the worlds prettiest peole certainly doesn’t hurt this movie.
5. Can’t Buy Me Love
“I need to talk to you. Every time I call you’re either taking a bath, washing your hair or you’re out of the country. That was a good one, by the way.” Ronald Miller, Can’t Buy Me Love
Having a theme similar to that of “Say Anything”, “Can’t Buy Me Love” was also released in the same 80’s time frame. A romantic comedy that takes place in high school as a nerdy outcast secretly pays his popular cheerleader neighbor one thousand hard earned dollars to pretend to be his girlfriend. Upon becoming sick of his label, he conjures up a successful plan to break out of nerd hood only to learn that everything comes with a price.
4. Sweet Home Alabama
“Young Melanie: Why would you want to marry me for, anyhow?
Young Jake: So I can kiss you anytime I want.”
Romance movies are always great when the plot starts as childhood sweethearts, goes through the normal trials and tribulations as the couples mature, then ends happily with the couple together. As more of a romantic comedy style movie, in Sweet Home Alabama we watch as
a young woman named Melanie Smooter reinvents herself as a New York socialite but must return to her sweet home of Alabama to obtain a divorce from her alleged husband after seven years of separation. We get to enjoy most of the movie in a good old fashioned southern town, which brings about a city vs country mouse style setting, where true love prevails and breaks all barriers.
3. The Best of Me
“Because you aren’t just someone I loved back then. You were my best friend, my best self, and I can’t imagine giving that up again.” He hesitated searching for the right words. “You might not understand, but I gave you the best of me, and after you left, nothing was ever the same.”
― Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me
Big time tear jerker. Although not necessarily the most realistic story, one can’t help but cry when a lost romance is rekindled after many years, then harshly destroyed by death, thereafter that death saves the life of another very important character. Dawson, born into an underground criminal family with an abusive father, ends up running into major trouble with the law when he is accused of murder, but not before falling deeply in love with Amanda who he attended high school with. The two then developed a deep bond with Dawson’s neighbor, Tuck, who becomes a father type figure to them both.
After Tuck’s death, Amanda and Dawson are forced to meet up after 20 years of separation and learn that according to Tuck’s will, they are to scatter Tuck’s ashes together. The reconnection brings them one night of passion, enough to rekindle the high school flame. The spiral that follows is tragic, yet of love and life.
2. Bridges of Madison County
“In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.” ― Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County
When one chooses commitment to family over love, you feel they are most definitely doing the right thing. But this movie makes you question your morals, and want to encourage this woman to continue her extra marital affair, leave her husband and kids, and follow her heart. You are then devastated when she doesn’t do that! The story begins as two grown children go through their deceased mother’s private chest only to find love letters, photos and paraphernalia which indicate their mother had a secret past and love affair. As they go through her journal, they discover who their mother really was, and the sacrifice she made for her family, giving up her own pursuit of happiness for theirs. This is a movie made from the eyes of a so called adulterer, and the pain in she endures. Its solemn, serious, and a thought provoking, teaching us important lessons about judgement. The love story is unique, patient, and unfolds cautiously with respect and admiration. It was a great insight into the sacrifices that many mothers and wives make for the sake of others’ happiness.
1. Dirty Dancing
“Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.” Baby, Dirty Dancing
This movie was so hot, it got re-released in the theaters twice after its original debut, and even had a sequel. Although it follows the same common theme of love between two very different people, one a rich daddy’s girl who everyone refers to as Baby, and the other a handsome, super sexy professional ballroom dancer played by none other than then the well cast, Patrick Swayze. When their two worlds collide, they are set to dance together in a talent show. While rehearsing they establish a bond of trust, love and confidence that neither has ever experienced. The love scene is so innocent and pure, the dance in the water is entrancing, and the final mambo is beautiful. However, of all the scenes, the actually dirty dancing that takes place in the underground dance world takes the cake as seductive and sensual, and adds flavor to the otherwise innocence of the girl called Baby. It covers a handful of wrong relationships and relationship flaws, but the main love story supersedes the others. Patrick Swayze is the perfect choice to play Johnny, especially because he gets to show off his natural dance talents and physique.
When it comes to romance movies, there is no shortage whether you prefer romantic comedies or romantic dramas, there are plenty to choose from. They come in sappy, sad, and humorous. This movie genre has become extremely popular since its inception, and has influenced how society views relationships, male and female roles and love in general. Yes, it may leave us with some unrealistic expectations, but it has also shown us the importance of love. We’ve watched high school sweethearts reunite, love at first site, love prevailing over time, and love beating all odds. Love makes the world go around, and sometimes watching a romance movie reminds you just of how important love really is.