Romantic drama movie

Romantic drama movie DEFAULT

The 60 Best Romantic Movies

Love comes in all shapes and sizes, not least when it's being projected tall and wide on the silver screen. Some of the movies that are easiest to fall head-over-heels in love with are the ones about people falling head-over-heels for each other – from the high-stakes drama of The Notebook to the delicate summertime sweetness of Call Me By Your Name__. Swoon. We’ve channelled our inner romantics to present Empire’s list of the 60 Best Romantic Movies – one filled with grand gestures, heart-swelling forbidden romances, the cutest of meet-cutes, and dreamy dates. Dig in.

60. Love Actually

What, exactly, was Richard Curtis trying to say with Love Actually? It’s alright to deliver secret love messages to your newly-wed best mate’s wife? Husbands will eventually cheat on you with younger mistresses? It’s somehow okay to keep calling Martine McCutcheon fat even though she categorically isn’t? Who cares: it’s (mostly) good fun, it’s the only decent Christmas film for the last 15 years, and the airport-dash finale smooths over all the sour bits. Plus the final scene with Bill Nighy and his manager is guaranteed to thaw a frozen heart!

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59. Ghost

Can you make pottery sexy? Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore can. Jerry Zucker, better known as one third of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker comedy trio, mixes laughter with just the right amount of tears, and Swayze is the ideal romantic hero, who comes back after he’s murdered to check on his grieving ex. Much more than a trivia question answer (‘for which film did Whoopi Goldberg win an Oscar?’), Ghost wins at life, and life after death.

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58. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

99.percent of romance films would be better off with a few kung fu fights and bass guitar battles, and Edgar Wright’s hyper-stylised graphic novel adaptation is packed with them. The titular Canadian slacker literally fights off the past lovers of new beau Ramona Flowers, facing her seven evil exes in Street Fighter-inspired brawls where the ultimate special moves are the powers of love and self-respect.

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57. Love, Simon

Director Greg Berlanti is better known right now as the big boss of the Arrowverse on US TV (and approximately 736 other shows), but his second film is a subtle, funny exploration of a young man's romantic journey. Simon (Nick Robinson) has been hiding being gay from his classmates and family (even though they're understanding and loving), but when his secret is discovered and he's threatened with exposure, he decides to embrace the love of another young guy who reaches out clandestinely.

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56. Bridget Jones’s Diary

Renee Zellweger’s heroine was way ahead of her time on the big pants and novelty Christmas jumper front, but elsewhere this loose adaptation of Helen Fielding’s novel-in-diary-entries is a time portal to the early 00s: Hugh Grant and Colin Firth at peak dreaminess, gags about 'Saddam Hussein’s arse', and the pre-internet concept of actually keeping a physical diary.

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55. The Wedding Singer

More discerning cineastes might choose Punch-Drunk Love as Adam Sandler’s best romance film — but the rest of us will stick with The Wedding Singer, Billy Idol cameo and all. Sandler and Drew Barrymore make a charming will-they-won’t-they couple, and it goes one step further than the typical catch-them-at-the-airport climax by getting all parties onto the plane for a big ol’ singalong.

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54. The Way We Were

Basically an anti-romance, Sydney Pollack’s melodrama stars Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand as a couple who were never suited to each other and didn’t end up staying together. Opposites attract, but they don'’ necessarily work out. The story, however, told mostly in flashback, somehow still manages an elegiac tone, and demonstrates that there were some good times in there somewhere. Focusing as it does on people trying to make a relationship work despite bitterly divided politics, it also now seems quite timely again. The maudlin title song is one of the biggest hits of all time.

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53. Cyrano De Bergerac

“Mon nez! C’est enorme!” Gerard Depardieu’s casting as the unrequited romantic of Edmond Rostand’ classic play is (ahem) right on the nose, and director Jean-Paul Rappeneau just lets him rip: chewing the scenery one moment and tugging the heartstrings the next. His tour-de-force performance is larger than life: much like the facial proboscis that keeps him from his great love Roxane. Until it doesn’t after all, and everyone lives happily ever after. The definitive version of the story, but Steve Martin’s Americanised Roxanne, released three years earlier, gives it a run for its money.

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52. Sliding Doors

Peter Howitt’s high concept romantic comedy might hinge on how much you’re wanting double the Gwyneth Paltrow, but she still manages to make you root for her (and at no point tries to to sell you magic vagina eggs). She’s Helen, who catches a tube train – or doesn’t – and the film follows the romantic misadventures across parallel storylines. It refuses to rely on the gimmick, and both Paltrow and John Hannah make respectably adorable leads.

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51. The Notebook

The high-water mark of Nicholas Sparks adaptations, this sweeping weepie aims firmly for the tear-ducts. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are the young lovers separated through the years by prejudice, World War II, and eventually dementia in a film meticulously designed to leave viewers drowning in a pool of their own tears.

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50. Chasing Amy

Kevin Smith’s Gen X indie rom-com depicts an obviously-doomed dalliance between comic book artist Holden (Ben Affleck) and lesbian Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams). Its sexual politics are hopelessly outdated, but the pop culture-literate screenplay (the Jaws-inspired scene swapping sexual scars, the Star Wars racism rant) is still one of Smith’s best.

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49. A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born (2018)

It might be the third remake of this story – after Janet Gaynor and Fredric March in 1937, Judy Garland and James Mason in 1954 and Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in 1976 – but the love still feels brand new. Bradley Cooper marks his directorial debut and also stars as leading man Jackson Maine here, a hardened, alcoholic country musician who mentors and very quickly falls in love with a rising star of a singer, Ally, played by Lady Gaga in a major dramatic turn. There’s heaps of chemistry between the two, as much in music and lyrics as through whispered sweet nothings. As with many great loves, there’s also great sorrow – but that only makes the romance all the more affecting.

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48. Titanic

Yes, yes, we all know that Jack could’ve easily fit on the floating door. Geometric frustrations aside, James Cameron’s spectacular disaster movie is anchored by a cheesy but gripping class-busting love affair that gives a human scale to the catastrophe. Bonus points for quite literally the steamiest sex scene ever committed to film.

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47. William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet

Shakespeare: the dead English guy with the massive ruff knew how to write a good romance, even if he over-did it on the downer endings. Baz Luhrmann brought his explosive visual pizzazz to the original star-crossed lovers, decking the Montagues and Capulets out with Hawaiian shirts, pistols, and a colour scheme that even most nineties pop groups would describe as 'a bit garish’.

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46. Obvious Child

Far from obvious, this showcase for the comedic (and dramatic) talents of Jenny Slate has more on its mind than just a simple rom-com, but the love story that forms part of its heart is still successful. Sharp, funny and feeling, this isn't just Juno-meets-Girls but a smart film that tackles real-life issues with rare frankness.

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45. The 40 Year-Old Virgin

Judd Apatow’s cinematic debut tore a new patch in the Hollywood landscape like a wax strip off Steve Carell’s exceedingly hairy chest. The 40-Year-Old-Virgin defined the next decade of mainstream American comedy (crude, largely improvised, ultimately sweet), an era perfectly characterised by Andy's charming search for true love, peppered with eye-wateringly sharp gags.

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44. Sleepless in Seattle

These days far-flung romances between people who have never met result in dramatic Catfish confrontations on MTV. But in 1993, Nora Ephron spun it into an exceedingly wholesome rom-com where the grieving Sam (Tom Hanks, 'sleepless in Seattle') and unsatisfied Annie (Meg Ryan, 'bored in Baltimore') form a bond through radio broadcasts and typewritten letters. It’s somewhat less heartwarming for poor Walter, whose fiancée ditches him for someone she’s never laid eyes on.

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43. Truly, Madly, Deeply

Think Ghost, but British. And without the pottery. It’s the heartbreaking story of Nina (Juliet Stevenson), grieving the loss of boyfriend Jamie (Alan Rickman) when he returns to her life in supernatural form. Anthony Minghella, but the pair burn with chemistry.

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42. Up

Pixar quietly delivers emotional devastation in the opening five minutes of Up, a mini-masterpiece of an ordinary, extraordinary love-filled lifetime between soulmates Carl and Ellie. But the rest of Carl’s South American adventure as a pensioner is also shot through with a sense of romance. Don’t even bring up the scrapbook scene, which offers the animation studio’s most profound meditation on what true love really looks like.

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41. The African Queen

A Hollywood classic with one foot in Britain and the Ealing Comedy tradition, The African Queen manages to make a romance out of a WWI suicide mission. Katharine Hepburn is the Methodist missionary who convinces rough-and-ready captain Humphrey Bogart to refit his steamboat for a dangerous journey down the Ulanga River for a torpedo attack against the Germans. And who wouldn’t be seduced by a line like that? John Huston directed when he could be distracted from shooting the local fauna – if Clint Eastwood’s biopic White Hunter, Black Heart is to be believed.

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40. Carol

Todd Haynes never lets the lush period setting get in the way of the story for this one, which sees Phyllis Nagy adapt a Patricia Highsmith novel in which – surprise! – no one is murdered. It’s soulful and settled, while never denying the churning emotions between young photographer Therese (Rooney Mara) and the glamorous, tragic Carol (Cate Blanchett).

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39. The Big Sick

Undoubtedly the best screen romance where half of the couple spends most of the runtime in a coma. Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon adapted the rocky, illness-stricken beginnings of their own real-life relationship into a contemporary culture-clash rom-com with life-or-death stakes. Less crude than most Judd Apatow-poduced films, while still boasting a belter 9/11 gag.

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38. Say Anything

Cameron Crowe made his directorial debut with the film after proving he had a keen ear for realistic and memorable dialogue in previous work. John Cusack is the instantly iconic Lloyd Dobler, while Ione Skye is more than a capable romantic foyle. John Mahoney (who recently died) is the secret weapon as the father of Skye’s Diane Court. It’s clear-eyed about the torturous path that love can take and features moments that linger longer than most, including the much-referenced boombox scene.

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37. Dirty Dancing

Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze's sizzling chemistry steams up the screen in this eighties banger-laden ode to summer flings, pissing off your parents, and doing whatever it takes to end up in the ludicrously buff arms of a fit dance instructor. Warning: don’t attempt the famous climactic lift unless you’re ripped like Swayze.

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36. Shaun of the Dead

Edgar Wright’s big-screen debut still has heart and brains like any other rom-com, but smears it across the faces of hundreds of zombie extras. A film about choosing to commit to your girlfriend, growing out of your twenties and ditching the dregs of your record collection (“The Batman soundtrack? Throw it!”), Shaun of the Dead is Richard Curtis put through a mincer.

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35. (500) Days Of Summer

Though it occasionally leans a little too heavily on the guy's side of a relationship, Summer remains a fantastic exploration of human connection. Stand-out moments include Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Tom in a giant post-coital dance number, and great work from Zooey Deschanel as his titular paramour.

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34. Manhattan

Currently undergoing a process of being critically downgraded thanks to its protagonist’s far from comfortable fixation on a much younger woman, Manhattan still has loads to offer. As much as it’s about off-kilter interpersonal relationships, it’s also, famously and arguably much more successfully, Woody Allen’s most passionate love letter to the city of New York and the music of George Gershwin. "New York was his town, and it always would be," is the line he lands on at the beginning, as Rhapsody in Blue explodes into life and fireworks illuminate the skyline. And it’s a hard heart that resists being swept along.

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33. Paterson

Some would think to write off Paterson as simply That Film Where Adam Driver Drives A Bus And Writes Poetry. But some would be wrong. At its core is the deep, if sometimes troubled relationship between Driver's Paterson and Golshifteh Farahani Laura. This is love, Jim Jarmusch-style.

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32. La La Land

There are two romances going on here: the one between Ryan Gosling’s ivory-tinkling musician Sebastian and Emma Stone’s wide-eyed actress Mia, and the one between director Damien Chazelle and his beloved city of Los Angeles. Beyond the jazz-splaining is a charming, toe-tapping (and yes, swooningly romantic) musical — just beware its heart-shattering encore.

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31. Roxanne

Not many romantic comedies starring Steve Martin can claim to be based on an 1897 verse play…. In fact, this is the one, which adapts and updates Cyrano de Bergerac for an eighties audience. Martin is CD “Charlie” Bales, who pines for Daryl Hannah’s Roxanne, but despite an abundance of charisma, is held back by his large nose. When he helps a fireman friend woo her, complications arise… There is much mistaken identity and frustrations on the path to true love, but even though you know where the story is headed, the light touch and sheer charm of the cast carries it.

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30. Secretary

Long before Fifty Shades whipped audiences into a frenzy, there was Steven Shainberg's odd indie romance. James Spader (because of cause it's him, and he's even called Mr. Grey!) is the boss who hires the troubled Lee Holloway (a bedraggled Maggie Gyllenhaal, who slowly blossoms into luminosity) and discovers a kindred spirit in kink. But it's more than cheap S&M titillation, showing two damaged people finding deep, comforting love with each other.

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29. Once

Musician-turned-director John Carney brings a lyrical reality to this story of a street busker/hoover repairman (Glen Hansard) and a flower-flogging immigrant (Markéta Irglová), who meet on the street and end up making beautiful music together. The soundtrack became a huge hit, and the romance is grounded in detail.

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28. The Philadelphia Story

A triumphant comeback for Katharine Hepburn after a string of disappointments. The original Broadway play was written specifically for her, and she oversaw its adaptation with the support of Howard Hughes. The film sees her torn between accepting the affections of Cary Grant or James Stewart – and if the idea of that love triangle wasn’t already tantalising enough, it’s actually a square (quadrangle?) since John Howard is in there too. George Cukor’s breezy direction captures the immense fun that all involved were apparently enjoying in real life.

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27. The Shape Of Water

Only Guillermo del Toro could propose a romance between a human woman and the Creature from the Black Lagoon and elevate it beyond something you’d find on Pornhub. Sally Hawkins is endlessly charming as Elisa, effortlessly selling her wide-eyed attraction to Doug Jones’ scaly, egg-scoffing leading ‘man’. It’s so heart-floodingly romantic, you’ll forget about the cat corpses left in its wake.

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26. Her

Joaquin Phoenix falling for an Alex-alike operating system in the near future? You could scoff, but Spike Jonze and his cast (including Scarlett Johansson as the phone-based crush) make it work with real emotion. It's the Black Mirror movie you never knew your heart desired.

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25. Notting Hill

Richard Curtis’ Four Weddings follow-up is pure fantasy: its romance between an everyman and a Hollywood star is only slightly more believable than the concept of affording a flat in Notting Hill from the profits of a second-hand book shop. But the film’s charms are irresistible — Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts at career peaks, a Curtis script packed with classic lines (“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”), and some stonking product placement for Horse & Hound magazine.

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24. Cold War

Polish auteur Pawel Pawlikowski returns with a sophisticated, devastating love affair that spans countries and decades in Cold War. Zula (Joanna Kulig) sings, Winter (Tomasz Kot) listens, they connect. The attraction is instant, but the unstable political landscape tears their relationship apart time and time over. In jazz clubs and work camps, they cross crowds to find each other in a glorious black and white romantic portrait of a lifetime – that somehow is still under 90 minutes.

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23. God’s Own Country

Johnny (Josh O’Connor), the twentysomething son of an ailing sheep farmer (Ian Hart), doesn’t expect much from his life in rural Yorkshire beyond several pints and an anonymous bunk-up. But his perfunctory existence is turned upside-down when Romanian farmhand Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) arrives for lambing season. A dig into the nature of humanity from Francis Lee, a director already fluent in the language of brutality and tenderness. A stunning love story that in its finest moments is pure poetry.

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22. Long Shot

Playing off the idea of the unlikely couple, Long Shot delivers more laughs and more authentic emotion than you might think. It's thanks to some sparky, easy chemistry between Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen as the central pair. Director Jonathan Levine has a history of finding joy in odd places, while the script from Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling is sharp. This is one that deserved a better reception at the box office.

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21. Call Me By Your Name

First real love on one side, unexpected feelings on the other. Luca Guadagnino’s look at love has rightfully been showered with praise and Oscar nominations. Teenager Elio (Timothée Chalamet), juggling at least one girlfriend, finds himself developing a deeper relationship with Oliver (Armie Hammer), who has arrived at the family’s summer home to become his father’s research assistant. Theirs is a carefully drawn connection, shot in sun-dappled, beautiful countryside locales. See it also for Michael Stuhlbarg’s wonderful performance as Elio’s father, acting the hell out of a relatively small role. It’s a peach.

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20. Gone With The Wind

Strap in for an extended romp through the tumult of the American Civil War and beyond via the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, a Southern Belle who’ll do whatever she needs and marry whoever she likes to get what she wants. A true Hollywood epic, with iconic performances from Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable — just prepare yourself for the shockingly crude language (“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”) and bum-numbing four-hour runtime.

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19. 10 Things I Hate About You

10 Things I Hate About You

The film that raised the bar for teenage romantic gestures everywhere: hijack a marching band or don’t even bother. Julia Stiles delivers maximum snark and Heath Ledger is his bad-boy best alongside a cherubic Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this high school Shakespeare adaptation, featuring angsty adolescent poetry, pop-punk perfection on the soundtrack, and the ugliest prom dress ever.

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18. An Affair To Remember

A classic romance with a valuable lesson: look both ways before crossing the road. Cary Grant’s Nickie and Deborah Kerr’s Terry are conflicted lovers who fall for each other on a cruise. There’s one problem – they both have partners back at home to return to. The pair make a pact to meet at the top of the Empire State Building after six months if they still like each other, but Terry misses the reunion after being hit by a car. Like a Green Cross Code video, but with way more emotional impact.

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17. Crazy, Stupid, Love.

©rex features

It was a love affair for the ages – the world, and Ryan Gosling's abs. Okay, so it also marks the beginning of a double act (Gosling and Emma Stone) that would go on to Oscar-winning musical effect with La La Land. Frank and honest, it's also warm and witty, showcasing Steve Carell's separated dad searching for new love (or lust) even as his daughter (Stone) kicks off her own relationship with the very player (Gosling) he's taking advice from.

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16. Pretty Woman

Julia Roberts became instant rom-com royalty playing Vivian, the hooker with a heart of gold who enters a different kind of transaction with Richard Gere’s uptight businessman Edward. She gets a makeover and a white knight fairytale ending, he discovers true love and a new perspective on relationships. Just don’t think too hard about the sexual politics.

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15. The Apartment

Billy Wilder at the height of his powers guides Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine through a film that explores not just burgeoning attraction, but also loneliness, despair and finding yourself in a world that thinks nothing of you. The result was five Oscars (including Best Picture) from 10 nominations, all of them well-earned. Lemmon is CC Baxter, currying favour with his bosses by letting use his pad as their spot for liaisons. But upon meeting elevator operator Fran Kubelik and saving her life, complicated love blossoms. It’ll win over the hardest heart.

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14. Groundhog Day

Sarcastic weatherman Phil Connors gets stuck in a time loop where he’s forced to become his best self in order to be worthy of wooing co-worker Rita, while also managing to sleep with half of Punxsutawney along the way. Sarcastic weatherman Phil Connors gets stuck in a time loop where he’s forced to become his best self in order to be worthy of wooing co-worker Rita, while also managing to sleep with half of Punxsutawney along the way.

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13. Brokeback Mountain

“I wish I knew how to quit you…” Searing performances from Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal and sensitive direction by Ang Lee (who won an Oscar for his work) combine to create an instant, memorable classic that hinges on tender talk and taboo (for the time it's set, at least) longing. The tale of two cowboys who slowly fall for each other is powerful because it’s so perfectly performed by an impressive ensemble that also includes Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway.

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12. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Leaving aside some of the more problematic elements that emerge when the film is viewed with a modern eye, Tiffany’s is powered by Audrey Hepburn’s nuclear-level charm as Holly Golightly, the socialite with an eye for a new neighbour and a dark past. Hepburn has commented about how tricky she found it to play Holly, but you’d never know it from the film, which grabs your attention and rarely lets go.

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11. Amelie

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ultra-quirky, hyper-stylised romance couldn’t be more Gallic if it whacked you with a baguette and draped a string of garlic around your neck. For the whimsy-tolerant it’s rich and bold, with a fruity finish in Audrey Tautou’s charming lead performance. For others, it may be Simply Too French.

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10. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

With a Charlie Kaufman script and Michel Gondry behind the camera, Eternal Sunshine dispenses with romantic conventions for ponderous ruminations on love, memory, and painful emotion. The non-linear narrative front-loads the break-up scenes, later offering a warmer look at the happy days of the relationship between Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet), who make the drastic decision to forget each other entirely through a memory-erasing procedure.

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9. Jerry Maguire

Cameron Crowe’s genre mash-up combines the pure joy of falling head over heels in love with the thrills of, erm, sports management deals. It’s more romantic than it sounds, delivering two of cinema’s greatest ever declarations of love within fifteen seconds: Tom Cruise’s “you complete me” dovetailing neatly into Renee Zellweger’s “you had me at hello”.

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8. Before Sunset

Leave it to Richard Linklater to experiment with the format and find something new to say about how love evolves across the years. A follow-up to 1995’s Before Sunrise, it catches up with Ethan Hawke’s Jesse and Julie Delpy’s Celine nine years later for more walking, talking and romance. Written by the cast with their director, it feels like it emerged organically instead of being forced into existence. And it’s warm, witty and real when dealing with affairs of the heart, for good and ill.

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7. Annie Hall

How far Woody Allen’s private life can be extricated from his work is still an ongoing conversation, but viewed in a cultural vacuum (if such a thing is possible or even advisable), Annie Hall stands as one of the finest rom-coms ever made. Diane Keaton is the titular Annie, the laid-back lover of neurotic stand-up comic Alvy. The film avoids emotional grandstanding and instead focuses on the minuscule everyday moments that bring flashes of muted joy and disappointment on a daily basis, topped with fourth-wall-breaking gags and wry asides. It’s unlikely to win new fans, but hard to forget for those who have already seen it.

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6. True Romance

That title’s not ironic — underneath the cocaine, the murders, and Gary Oldman’s dreadlocked Drexl, Tony Scott’s Tarantino-penned crime saga has a raw, beating heart in Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette’s ride-or-die lovers. The film that changed the meaning of ‘three little words’ from “I love you” to “you’re so cool… you’re so cool… you’re so cool…”

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5. The Princess Bride

Rob Reiner’s cult classic flings sickly fairytale tropes off the Cliffs of Insanity on its way to happily ever after. The swashbuckling romance between Princess Buttercup and her faithful farmhand-turned-pirate Westley is so witty, feisty, and engaging that even 10 year-old boys don’t mind the kissing bit. Relationship goals: find a partner that you’d hurl yourself down the world’s longest hill for.

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4. Four Weddings and a Funeral

In one fell swoop Richard Curtis made the jump from Blackadder to the big-screen, propelled Hugh Grant and Mike Newell’s careers, and defined a whole new era of British rom-coms. Four Weddings and a Funeral delivers on the bittersweet promise of its title, balancing foul-mouthed dialogue with chocolate box London locales, all topped off with a rain-soaked feel-good finale.

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3. Brief Encounter

With its ‘a stable husband is better than a passionate lover’ message (hey, it was the 1940s), Brief Encounter is both achingly romantic and poignantly melancholic. Laura and Alec’s first grit-eyed conversation on the train platform is perhaps the original meet-cute, but the duo’s profound connection faces scrutiny from the social mores of the era. The end of the affair is enough to leave you with more than just a speck of dust in your eye.

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2. Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart. Ingrid Bergman. One iconic gin joint. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the story of emotionally bruised bar owner Rick and the return of Ilsa, the old flame who left him emotionally distant, is univeraslly regarded as one of the all-time greats. Its central love story is bittersweet, with a sacrificial pay-off that only bolsters its emotional impact. When you’ve seen it once, you’ll be desperate to play it again.

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1. When Harry Met Sally

It can be hard to find something new to say about Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron’s romantic classic, because it has topped lists and been so praised in the past. How it hits you in both the heart and the funny bone is just part of why this one works, putting together Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal’s initially unlikely lovers. There are the endlessly quotable exchanges, Carrie Fisher stealing scenes like she’s wearing a mask and a striped jumper and the sort of lasting impact that so many movies in the genre have failed to match before or since.

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The 25 Best Romance Movies of the 21 Century (So Far)

By William Bibbiani


Love is in the air.

Narrowing down the greatest love stories, of any era, may very well be a fool’s errand. After all, practically every movie has a romantic subplot of one kind or another. It doesn’t matter if it’s a horror movie, an action movie, a biopic or a conventional rom-com; it seems like Hollywood doesn’t even know how to tell a story that doesn’t have a little love in it.

That means there’s a lot of competition for the best romantic movies of the 21st century. Whittling the list down to 25 was an agonizing process, like assembling a puzzle that came with way too many pieces. No matter how we assembled it something noteworthy got left out.

So before we get started, let’s offer up our sincerest apologies to the celebrated Gosling Triad; The Notebook, Crazy Stupid Love, and La La Land just barely missed the cut. The same goes for feel-good Disney flicks like Enchanted andWALL-E, superhero blockbusters like Wonder Woman and Spider-Man 2, and Oscar-winners like The Shape of Water and Lost in Translation. It seems like The Fault in Our Stars had just a few too many faults. And we sincerely hope we haven’t offended too many vampires by omitting both Only Lovers Left Alive or The Twilight Saga.

But what remains is, we feel, a rich assortment of romances from a variety of perspectives. Each one of these films will make you swoon, laugh or cry, and probably a combination of all three. If hard-pressed, yes, we think these are the best romance movies of the 21st century (so far).

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon isn’t, as many films are, an action movie with a love story in it. It’s a love story with an action movie in it. What’s more, it’s one hell of a love story, and one hell of an amazing action movie. Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-fat star as martial artists who are in love but, through a stroke of fate, cannot allow themselves to be together. When they encounter a young martial artist, played by Zhang Ziyi, who refuses to abide by the rules that kept them apart, it sparks a heated conflict with lots and lots and LOTS of amazing sword fights.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon plays like a Merchant Ivory film, the kind where everybody holds their emotions back except for young people who, inevitably, create chaos by following their hearts. That those emotions are unleashed in astounding fight choreography by the legendary Yuen Wo Ping only elevates Lee’s film further. It’s a glorious ballet of love and war.

In the Mood for Love (2000)

It’s a cliché to use the word “aching” when describing a forbidden romance, but there’s no other way to adequately describe Wong Kar-wai’s masterpiece. In the Mood for Love stars Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung as people who discover that their spouses are having an affair. Over time, they grow closer and closer, and have to decide whether to let themselves fall in love as well.

In the Mood for Love takes place in a conservative era, where any relationship our protagonists have will draw scrutiny, and even condemnation. Being together would ruin their happiness. Being apart would be just as miserable. And so they ache, in a world gorgeously photographed to emphasize the power of their connection and the depths that separate them. Cheung and Leung are astounding, and few romances before or since have captured such a profound sense of longing.

Love & Basketball (2000)

Gina Prince-Bythewood’s directorial debut is more gloriously assured than the films of many industry veterans and remains one of the high water marks for romance movies over the last 20 years. Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps star as Quincy and Monica, next-door neighbors since childhood who both dream of playing professional basketball. Over the course of their lives, they fall in and out of love, they get swept up in their ambitions and their family struggles, and eventually, they always find their way back to each other.

Love & Basketball never plays like a romance built on contrivance, or manufactured melodrama. It’s full of thoughtfully drawn, rich characters who attract and repel each other naturally, making good and bad choices, and never once ringing false. Lathan and Epps feel just right together; their chemistry is phenomenal throughout, whether they’re on or off the court. Gina Prince-Bythewood’s film never rings a false note.

Amélie (2001)

Lots of romantic movies aim for “quirky” and wind up somewhere in the vicinity of “cloying” by accident. Not so with Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s charmingly weird Amélie, starring Audrey Toutou as a seemingly timid waitress who has a hidden streak of wild imagination. She gets it into her head to improve the lives of everybody around her, and she insists on doing it in whimsical ways like sending their garden gnomes on holiday without them, or tricking her friends into delightful romances.

Along the way she winds up finding true love herself, and it’s easy to imagine why. Jeunet’s film is pure love itself, a passionate ode to eccentricity, taking place in a cinematic realm where the kooky can thrive. Toutou captures our imaginations through her impish fascination with the people around her, and through her eyes, we appreciate all the wonders of the world.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

There were a couple of great adaptations of Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice" in the early 2000s, but it’s this charming modern update that stands out the most. Bridget Jones’s Diary stars Renée Zellweger stars as Bridget, a woman caught in a love triangle between the dashing Daniel, played by Hugh Grant, and the seemingly disinterested Mr. Darcy, played by Colin Firth (who, in a bit of stunt casting, famously played Mr. Darcy in a straightforward Pride and Prejudice adaptation six years prior).

It’s Zellweger’s film - she earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance - but director Sharon Maguire has wonderfully furnished it for her. Bridget Jones’s Diary brings all the smoldering romance and biting commentary of Austen’s novel into the modern-day, finding the tale just as relevant as ever and contemporary romantic expectations just as rife for cunning commentary as those of the 19th century.

Secretary (2002)

Not everybody loves each other the same way, and yet few romantic movies seem genuinely interested in truly exploring a lifestyle of sexual kink. At least we have Steven Shainberg’s Secretary. Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as a young woman who discovers, through an unexpected BDSM relationship with her new boss, that she’s a submissive who yearns for just the right dom. James Spader plays her new lover, but even he doesn’t seem wholly comfortable with who he is and what he really wants.

Secretary is an unusual film about people with very specific needs who find each other. Their desires may be specific but their fantasy is universal: they’re looking for someone who loves them for who they are, who can provide what they need, and with whom they can be mutually happy. That’s a dream that should not merely be reserved for the sensually milquetoast. The kinky deserve true love too, and Secretary is that rare love story that respects that everyone has unique needs, and tells a lovely story that suggests there’s someone out there for everybody.

Love Actually (2003)

Richard Curtis’s Love Actually seemed to come and go, and then come back again as a perennial yuletide classic. It’s easy to see why Love Actually didn’t find an audience right away: it’s astoundingly schmaltzy. It’s also easy to see why the film eventually became a holiday cult favorite: it’s astoundingly schmaltzy.

Love Actually tells a variety of short romantic stories, loosely connected, if only by geography. People fall in love, people fall out of love, people make hit Christmas music. Each story is pretty thin on its own but Curtis’s film intercuts between them so sharply that the film practically becomes a deadly weapon. If you can’t stand one tale, another is bound to charm you. And if you merely like them all, as a whole they take on genuine grandeur. (And if you don’t like any of these tales, you may very well be a Grinch.)

Before Sunset (2004)

Nine years after making waves with his enchanting love story Before Sunrise, Richard Linklater returned with his stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke to find out what Celine and Jesse have been up to. After spending one perfect night together, meeting and falling in love, and then saying goodbye, they reunite for a few short hours. Did their love story continue when we weren’t looking? And if not, is there any chance to rekindle their romance, or will they write off the whole beautiful first film as a young fling?

Before Sunset somehow manages to feel fleet-footed and severe at the same time. Delpy and Hawke have the kind of on-camera connection that few actors could ever dream of, but they have such a short amount of time together, and nearly a whole decade of each other’s questions to answer. Linklater’s film reminds us why we loved them and, perhaps, why they should love each other, but the answer to what happens next is reserved only for the very end, which may very well be the best ending to any romantic tale this century. Heck, maybe even the last century too.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Ang Lee’s powerful Oscar-winning romance Brokeback Mountain is one of the most resonant modern westerns. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star as mid-20th century cowboys who fall in love on the job and then go their separate ways, each settling for heterosexual marriages that bring them social safety but no happiness. They reconnect and rekindle their romance but each clandestine meeting comes with the danger of discovery.

Told with elegiac restraint, adding even more significance to a love affair where little is said, Brokeback Mountain relies on an overwhelming ensemble of performances. Ledger’s quiet dignity and Gyllenhaal’s energy seem to capture lightning, and Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway both steal key moments as the women who come to realize they married men who always wanted something more.

The Holiday (2006)

The films of Nancy Meyers tend to portray the lives of the bourgeoisie in fairy tale terms, and never was it more successful than in The Holiday. Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet play women who, searching for a change of pace after failed relationships, decide to switch houses. Winslet ventures into Southern California, moving into a palatial mansion next to a charming Golden Age of Hollywood screenwriter, and starts to fall for a film composter played by a pitch-perfect Jack Black. Meanwhile, Diaz moves into Winslet’s cozy, super expensive cottage and romances the dapper Jude Law, who turns out to be Winslet’s brother.

The perfection on display in The Holiday would be suspect if the title didn’t perfectly frame it: this is an exceptional vacation from everyday life. The problems are emotionally intense but solvable, and the characters have the freedom to worry about their foibles without serious concerns to distract them; stupid little things like bills, for example. And the whole cast is just so unimaginably delightful that you cannot begrudge them this happiness. You can only revel in it, fall a little in love, and then begrudgingly go back to real life. Like those stupid bills.

Once (2007)

John Carney is famous the world over for making passionate, character-driven films full of awesome music, like Begin Again and Sing Street. But his masterpiece is still this infectiously low-key, lovely romance. Once stars Glen Hansard as a busker in Ireland, working in his father’s vacuum cleaner repair shop when he isn’t singing songs about his latest breakup in the street. When his music catches the ear of a Czech immigrant played by Markéta Irglová, they strike up a friendship based on mutual, musical appreciation.

And naturally, they fall in love, but sadly, there’s nothing they can do about that. All they can do is scrape together whatever money they can, write some songs, and cut a record. Carney understands that the real thrill of watching their tale play out lies in watching the art his characters make, not in the contrived machinations of a story pushing them this way and that. There’s an intoxicating realness to Once, revelry in the power of music to connect with other human beings, that shines through and makes it truly special.

They Came Together (2014)

There’s a specific brand of romantic comedy that doesn’t get made much anymore, but was a box office powerhouse in the 1990s. Fans of films like You’ve Got Mail, While You Were Sleeping and Notting Hillcan recognize every gloriously hackneyed storytelling convention from a mile away, and if they have any sense of humor whatsoever about that, David Wain’s brilliant parody They Came Together is just about the perfect comedy.

Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler star as people who are so different they couldn’t possibly get together, who discover they have something in common when they realize they share a unique passion for “fiction books.” But will their love survive phony plot points, twee digressions, and wacky supporting cast members? Will it almost be like New York City is a character in the film? You know the answers, but that just makes it more hilarious to Wain and his wacky cast go through those motions in the weirdest, most self-aware ways imaginable.

And yet, They Came Together doesn’t feel vicious or condescending. The only way you’d even get all these jokes at the romantic comedy genre’s expense is if you genuinely loved the romantic comedy genre. Wain’s film is a wonderful comedy roast of the genre, giving it endless guff for its foibles, but hugging it out when the act is done.

Carol (2015)

Patricia Highsmith’s groundbreaking novel The Price of Saltwas transformed into one of the most stunning romances in decades. Carol, directed and adapted by Todd Haynes, stars Rooney Mara as a clerk at a department store who meets, quite by chance, a rich socialite played by Cate Blanchett. Their relationship grows into a romance but social mores and the effect a scandal could have on a divorce threatens to tear them apart.

Few films are as stunningly photographed and elegantly designed as Carol. It’s a film that understands the effect of affect, where style becomes substance and substance is, itself, a certain manner of style. Haynes’ film cuts through its own aesthetic and sinks into the difficult decisions and stymied inner lives of its heroines. Their story is profound and beautiful, and the harsh realities of conventional and conservative society can only hold them back for so long.

Sleeping With Other People (2015)

There haven’t been a lot of great, naughty rom-coms in the 21st century, but Leslye Headland’s Sleeping With Other People would have stood out even if the competition were stiff. Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star as Jake and Lainey, two sexually overactive people who realize that their drives are ruining their lives. So they vow not to sleep with each other no matter how aroused they get. And they get very, very aroused.

Sudeikis and Brie keep the sexual chemistry at a low boil for all of Sleeping With Other People, and yes, we know where this is going and yes, it’s only a matter of time. But Headland’s spry screenplay and winning sense of humor work wonders, and she constantly mines the strong set-up and delightful characters for laugh-out-loud jokes and genuine romance.

Deadpool (2016)

Quite a lot of superhero movies have a love story to tell amidst all the costumed crimefighting, but for some reason it’s the one about a mass murderer who knows he’s in a movie that stands out. Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds as a mercenary who finds the love of his life, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), a hilarious and sensitive and intelligent and sensual partner who makes his life worth living. So when he finds out he’s dying of cancer he flees to spare her the horror of watching him die, and he runs headlong into a secret government program that tortures him ruthlessly, in the hopes it will cure him and restore his life.

It is, of course, a devil’s bargain, and Deadpool emerges with superhuman healing powers but permanently marred skin, which only makes him more self-conscious about reuniting with his partner after so much of their relationship was physical. And at that point yes, there’s lots of action and violence and potty humor, but Deadpool would merely be a lark without a genuine, human story to ground it. And the story of a man whose insecurity nearly robs him of the relationship he wants, who ignores what his lover is telling him because he’s terrified that it’s not what she really needs, is far more thoughtful, accessible, and real than most of the other films in its genre.

Richard Tanne’s intimate and absorbing Southside With You would be one of the best romantic movies of the decade if its subjects were fictional. That it’s also based on the true story of Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson’s first date is but another intriguing selling point. Southside With You follows Robinson, played by Tika Sumpter, as a young lawyer and Obama’s supervisor, who agrees to meet the summer associate for a community meeting. She hesitantly agrees to meet up earlier, but has no interest in an office romance.

Southside With You takes place over the course of the afternoon and early evening as these two individuals with powerful personalities share their thoughts on life, on politics, on race, and find a connection building between them. It’s not love at first sight, and it’s not a passionate love affair. It’s two complex individuals with big ideas and serious dreams coming to realize, for the first time, that they could be more. Tanne’s film may not be able to fully escape a sense of mythologizing, and yet few romance movies in recent memory approach love and dating with the same confident maturity, regardless of the context.

The Big Sick (2017)

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon wrote the screenplay for this observant and extremely funny romance, which is based on their own true story. Nanjiani plays a version of himself, a standup comedian who falls in love with a woman named Emily (Zoe Kazan) who, suddenly, falls into a coma due to a mysterious ailment. While she’s sick, he strikes up an uneasy friendship with her parents, played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.

The Big Sick isn’t afraid to show Kumail in a pretty harsh light, when he deserves it, and it’s that brutal honesty that makes this otherwise humorous film so richly emotional. It’s the kind of movie that uncorks your tear ducts, sometimes without warning, and yet it leaves you feeling nourished and warm and fulfilled.

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

A teenager finds his first true love, and it’s fleeting, in Luca Guadagnino’s sumptuous romance Call Me By Your Name. Timothée Chalamet stars as Elio, a young man whose father enlists the dashing Oliver, played by Armie Hammer, as his research assistant for the summer. It’s a summer of longing glances and will-they-or-won’t-they suspense, until it finally consummates in a passionate love affair they won’t soon forget, even if fate has other plans for their future.

Call Me By Your Name is a love letter to practically everything. The film’s glorious Italian villa locale is the ideal setting for a romantic drama, the music is intoxicating, and the cast has never been more ethereally captured on camera.

A Star is Born (2018)

By the time Bradley Cooper got around to remaking A Star is Born, it was already the fourth adaptation of the story. (Possibly even the fifth, you consider that the original 1937 film is suspiciously similar to 1932’s What Price Hollywood?) Once again it’s the story of an aspiring artist taken under the wing of an alcoholic has-been, who uses his clout to lift her to stardom, only to fall in love with him as he sinks into alcoholism and scandal. And once again, the danged story really works.

A Star is Born is a love letter to the entertainment industry just as much as it is a vicious screed against it, portraying the whole environment as an exploitative den of selfish behavior and lifelong human sacrifice. Cooper’s rendition, in which he co-stars along with a stellar Lady Gaga, keeps that contrast front and center, but never loses track of the fact that if the love story doesn’t work, nothing does. Cooper and Gaga have four-alarm fire chemistry with each other, and the Oscar-winning music that accompanies their rise and fall tells their story beautifully too.

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Jon M. Chu’s charming and funny adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s novel stars Constance Wu as Rachel, a Chinese-American professor who travels to meet her boyfriend’s family in Singapore, only to discover they’re astonishingly wealthy. And so begins a familiar tale of class conflict, as a young woman from a working-class upbringing suddenly gets immersed in fabulous privilege and glorious excess. Not to mention the constant leers of disapproval.

Crazy Rich Asians is an old-fashioned throwback to Hollywood romance movies, larger than life, riddled with memorable character actors, and adherent to a feel-good formula. But it’s more than that, it’s a distinctive and transportive romantic comedy with performances that would elevate any material, and an appreciation for a culture that mainstream Hollywood rarely even attempts to explore. It’s one of the best rom-coms of the last 20 years.


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William Bibbiani (9 Articles Published)

William Bibbiani is a professional critic who has written for publications like The Wrap, Fangoria, Collider and Bloody Disgusting, and who hosts multiple podcasts every week on The Critically Acclaimed Network.He is a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, a connoisseur of pop culture esoterica, a cult film enthusiast and a horror movie fanatic. Most importantly he just loves movies, dang it.

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We love a love story—which explains the endless stacks of romance novels piling up on our nightstands. Thanks to romantic movies and rom-coms, we can fall in love over and over again, without the risk of heartbreak. All it takes is one viewing of Titanic for us to feel "on top of the world." (Well, in the first hour, at least.)

While Titanic may be one of the most epic films on this list, there are many more where that came from—including hidden gems you may not have seen yet. We've assembled a broad range of romantic movies from Hollywood to Bollywood. And since there's no one kind of love, these movies are about everything: Instant connections (Before Sunrise) and short-lived affairs (Brief Encounter); celebrations (Monsoon Wedding) and the travails of dating (Love Jones). Some, like The Big Sick, are even based on true stories. Period pieces like Sylvie's Lovetransport us back to bygone eras with universal themes.

Since romantic movies beg to be revisited, almost all of our selections, from popular to hidden gems, are available to stream either on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or other services. Movie marathon, anyone? Happy endings are not guaranteed, but unforgettable stories are.

Family Drama Movies 2019 - Full Movie (Hallmark Comedy Romance) 2019 2019

Romance film

Film genre

"Love film" redirects here. For the UK-based video service, see LoveFilm.

For other uses, see Romance.

Romance films or romance movies are romantic love stories recorded in visual media for broadcast in theaters and on TV that focus on passion, emotion, and the affectionate romantic involvement of the main characters and the journey that their love takes them through dating, courtship or marriage. Romance films make the romantic love story or the search for strong and pure love and romance the main plot focus. Occasionally, romance lovers face obstacles such as finances, physical illness, various forms of discrimination, psychological restraints or family that threaten to break their union of love. As in all quite strong, deep, and close romantic relationships, tensions of day-to-day life, temptations (of infidelity), and differences in compatibility enter into the plots of romantic films.[1]

Romantic films often explore the essential themes of love at first sight, young with older love, unrequited romantic love, obsessive love, sentimental love, spiritual love, forbidden love, platonic love, sexual and passionate love, sacrificial love, explosive and destructive love, and tragic love. Romantic films serve as great escapes and fantasies for viewers, especially if the two people finally overcome their difficulties, declare their love, and experience life "happily ever after", implied by a reunion and final kiss. In romantic television series, the development of such romantic relationships may play out over many episodes or different characters may become intertwined in different romantic arcs.

Screenwriter and scholar Eric R. Williams identifies Romance Films as one of eleven super-genres in his screenwriters’ taxonomy, claiming that all feature length narrative films can be classified by these super-genres. The other ten super-genres are Action, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Slice of Life, Sports, Thriller, War and Western.[2]


Historical romance[edit]

Main article: Historical romance

Also known as Epic romance, this is a romantic story with a historical period setting, normally with a turbulent backdrop of war, revolution or tragedy. This includes films such as Titanic, Gone with the Wind, Reds, Doctor Zhivago and Cold War (Zimna wojna).

Romantic drama[edit]

Romantic dramas usually revolve around an obstacle which prevents deep and true love between two people. Music is often employed to indicate the emotional mood, creating an atmosphere of greater insulation for the couple. The conclusion of a romantic drama typically does not indicate whether a final romantic union between the two main characters will occur. Some examples of romantic drama films are Casablanca, Before Midnight, The Artist, Slumdog Millionaire, Up in the Air, Gloria Bell, Before Sunset, Before Sunrise, Shakespeare in Love, The Bridges of Madison County, The English Patient, María Candelaria, Daughters of the Dust, Sommersby, Coming Home, Big Night, Memoirs of a Geisha, Last Tango in Paris, Water for Elephants, On the Waterfront, Love Story, Man's Way with Women, Like Water for Chocolate and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Same-sex romantic dramas, which tackle LGBT issues include Brokeback Mountain, Blue Is the Warmest Colour and Call Me by Your Name.[3]

Chick flick[edit]

Main article: Chick flick

Chick flick is a term often associated with romance films as many are targeted to a female audience.[4][5] Although many romance films may be targeted at women, this is not a defining characteristic of a romance film and a chick flick does not necessarily have a romance as a central theme, revolve around the romantic involvement of characters or even contain a romantic relationship. As such, the terms cannot be used interchangeably. Films of this genre include Gilda, The Lost Weekend, The Red Shoes (1948 film), Sense and Sensibility (film), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Dirty Dancing, The Notebook, Dear John, A Walk to Remember, and Romeo + Juliet.

Bromantic comedy[edit]

Main article: Bromantic comedy

A bromantic comedy is a comedy film genre that takes the formula of the typical “romantic comedy” but focuses on close male friendships.[6] The word “bromance” is a close but non-sexual relationship between two or more men.[7] Notable bromantic comedy films are Shaun of the Dead, Superbad, I Love You, Man, Step Brothers, Bull Durham, and About a Boy (film).[8] Popular and common elements or themes of bromantic comedies include; male bonding, bromance, and conflicts with walter white bonding, with the addition of humour.[9] Aspects of bromantic comedies, including male camaraderie, were first seen in Barry Levinson's 1982 film Diner.[10]

Romantic comedy[edit]

Main article: Romantic comedy

Romantic comedies are films with light-hearted, humorous plotlines, centered on romantic ideals such as that true love is able to surmount most obstacles. Humour in such films tends to be of a verbal, low-key variety or situational, as opposed to slapstick.[11] Films within this genre include City Lights, A Night at the Opera, It Happened One Night, The Philadelphia Story, Intolerable Cruelty, Roman Holiday, The Big Sick, Enough Said, Lost In Translation, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Dave (film), Say Anything..., Moonstruck, As Good as It Gets, Something's Gotta Give, When Harry Met Sally..., Annie Hall, Manhattan, The Apartment and Pablo and Carolina.

Romantic action[edit]

Romantic action is a film that blend romance and action. Examples include Foreign Correspondent, The Best Years of Our Lives , The Adventures of Robin Hood, From Here to Eternity, The Quiet Man, The Torch (film), The Town, Killers, Knight and Day, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, This Means War and The Bounty Hunter.

Romantic thriller[edit]

Main article: Romantic thriller

Romantic thriller is a genre of film which has a storyline combining elements of the romance film and the thriller genre. Some examples of romantic thriller films are To Catch a Thief, Vertigo (film), The Adjustment Bureau, West Side Story, The Phantom of the Opera, The Tourist, The Crying Game, Unfaithful, The Bodyguard, and Wicker Park.[12]

Gothic romance[edit]

Main article: Gothic romance film

Gothic romance is a film genre which includes gothic elements and affirms feminine experiences, perceptions and interpretations of their “fear, anger, and distrust of patriarchal order”.[13] A key feature of gothic romance films is the “Bluebeard motif”. This typically refers to secrets or forbidden rooms or areas in a house, which represent female protagonists’ repressions. This common characteristic is based on a variation of the Bluebeard folktale of a wealthy man who forbids his new wife from entering his castle's underground chamber, to which she finds the corpses of his many former wives. Some examples of gothic romance films include Crimson Peak, Rebecca, Suspicion and Gaslight.

Romantic fantasy[edit]

Main article: Romantic fantasy

Romantic fantasies describe fantasy stories using many of the elements and conventions of the romance genre. Some examples include The Lady Eve, Top Hat, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg), Singin' in the Rain, Groundhog Day (film), Enchanted, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast (2017 film), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Midnight in Paris, and Her.[14]

Paranormal romance[edit]

Paranormal romance is a popular genre of film which features romantic relationships between humans and supernatural creatures.[15] Popular tropes include vampirism, time-travel, ghosts and psychic or telekinetic abilities - i.e. things that cannot be explained by science.[16] The genre originated in literature and moved on to the screen in the early 2000s, following the success of the Twilight Saga adaptations from Stephanie Meyer’s books.[17] By 2007–8, film studios were producing various paranormal romance films, many adapted from novels.[17]  Examples of paranormal romance films include The Shape of Water, Warm Bodies, The Twilight Saga, Emerald Green, Vampire Academy, I Am Dragon and The Exterminating Angel.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^"Romance films". Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  2. ^Williams, Eric R. (2017). The screenwriters taxonomy : a roadmap to collaborative storytelling. New York, NY: Routledge Studies in Media Theory and Practice. ISBN . OCLC 993983488.
  3. ^Dixon, Wheeler W. (2000), Film genre 2000: new critical essays, The SUNY series, cultural studies in cinema/video, SUNY Press, p. 238, ISBN 
  4. ^Simpson, John, ed. (2009). Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, on CD-ROM Version 4.0. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN .
  5. ^Stevenson, Angus; Lindberg, Christine A., eds. (2010). New Oxford American Dictionary, Third Edition. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 300. ISBN .
  6. ^"Patterson, John Edward, (died 4 April 1919), littérateur", Who Was Who, Oxford University Press, 2007-12-01, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u201429
  7. ^"Reading the bromance: homosocial relationships in film and television". Choice Reviews Online. 52 (2): 52–0739-52-0739. 2014-09-22. doi:10.5860/choice.52-0739. ISSN 0009-4978.
  8. ^"Best "Bro" Movies (Bromance)". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
  9. ^Moss, Chris (2016-02-01). "A fine bromance: the 12 rules of male friendship". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
  10. ^Macdougall, John (2014-01-18). "The New Yorker & Me: Barry Levinson's "Diner": Kael vs. Wolcott". The New Yorker & Me. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
  11. ^"Romantic Comedy". AllRovi. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  12. ^"Wicker Park (2004)". AllRovi. Archived from the original on 27 October 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  13. ^Waldman, Diane (1984). ""At Last I Can Tell It to Someone!": Feminine Point of View and Subjectivity in the Gothic Romance Film of the 1940s". Cinema Journal. 23 (2): 29–40. doi:10.2307/1225123. JSTOR 1225123.
  14. ^William C. Robinson (October 2004). "A Few Thoughts on the Fantasy Genre". University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
  15. ^Panse, S.; Rothermel, D. (2014-04-24). A Critique of Judgment in Film and Television. Springer. ISBN .
  16. ^Tobin-McClain, Lee (2000). "Paranormal Romance: Secretsof the Female Fantastic". Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. 11 (3 (43)): 294–306. ISSN 0897-0521. JSTOR 43308461.
  17. ^ abCrawford, Joseph. (2014). The twilight of the Gothic. Vampire fiction and the rise of the paranormal romance. University of Wales Press. ISBN . OCLC 894201495.
  18. ^"paranormal romance". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-11-27.

External links[edit]


Movie romantic drama

  • 1

    Released: 2005

    Directed by: Joe Wright

    Pride & Prejudice is a 2005 British romance film directed by Joe Wright and based on Jane Austen's novel of the same name, published in 1813. The film depicts five sisters from an English family of...  more

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  • 2

    Released: 2004

    Directed by: Nick Cassavetes

    The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a young...  more

    #2 of 12 Movie Endings That Are Better Than The Books They Were Based On#15 of 48 Great Romance Movies Set During World War II#3 of 13 Other Guys From Movies Who Never Should Have Lost The Girl

  • 3


    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

    Released: 1997

    Directed by: James Cameron

    Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat (Kate Winslet) falls in love with a kind but poor artist (Leonardo DiCaprio)...  more

    According To This 'Titanic' Theory, Jack Is From The Future#35 of 46 Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes#25 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture

  • 4

    Released: 2002

    Directed by: Adam Shankman

    A Walk to Remember is a 2002 American coming-of-age romantic tragedy film directed by Adam Shankman, based on the 1999 novel by Nicholas Sparks. Popular rebel Landon Carter (Shane West) is forced...  more

    #44 of 99 The Best Film Adaptations Of Young Adult Novels#16 of 46 The Best Movies to Watch When Getting Over a Breakup#4 of 29 Powerful Movies About Sick & Dying Children

  • 5

    One Day

    Anne Hathaway, Patricia Clarkson

    Released: 2011

    Directed by: Lone Scherfig

    One Day is a 2011 romance drama film directed by Lone Scherfig. It was adapted by David Nicholls from his 2009 novel of the same name. It stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. Focus Features released...  more

    #351 of 781 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#147 of 176 Movies That Need Sequels#51 of 51 Romantic Movies Your Girlfriend Forces You To Watch

  • 6


    Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch

    Released: 2007

    Directed by: Joe Wright

    Atonement is a 2007 British romantic drama film directed by Joe Wright and based on Ian McEwan's 2001 novel of the same name. The film stars James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola...  more

    #58 of 378 The Best Movies Based On Books#206 of 223 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time#8 of 81 The Best Period Romance Movies

  • 7

    Released: 2019

    Directed by: Justin Baldoni

    Five Feet Apart is a 2019 American romantic drama film directed by Justin Baldoni. Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse) are young cystic fibrosis patients being treated at the same...  more

    #44 of 52 The Best Musical Love Story Movies#8 of 53 The Best Movies About Cancer#94 of 155 The Best Doctor Movies

  • 8

    Released: 2014

    Directed by: Josh Boone

    The Fault in Our Stars is a 2014 American romantic drama film directed by Josh Boone, based on the novel of the same name by John Green. The film stars Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Nat Wolff,...  more

    #169 of 456 The Most Quotable Movies Of All Time#12 of 116 The Best Movies That Pass the Bechdel Test#1 of 14 14 Teen Movies That Definitely Made You Cry

  • 9

    Released: 2004

    Directed by: Michel Gondry

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories, written by Charlie...  more

    #71 of 245 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#3 of 28 The Best Movies About Memory Manipulation#4 of 48 The Best Memory Loss Movies

  • 10

    The Vow

    Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum

    Released: 2012

    Directed by: Michael Sucsy

    The Vow is a 2012 romantic drama film directed by Michael Sucsy, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. The film is inspired by the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. The Vow was a box...  more

  • 11

    Released: 2013

    Directed by: Lasse Hallström

    Safe Haven is a 2013 American romance film starring Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel and Cobie Smulders. It was released theatrically in North America on February 14, 2013. The film was directed by Lasse...  more

  • 12

    Directed by: Kasra Farahani

    The Age of Adaline is a 2015 American romance fantasy film about a woman (Blake Lively) who stops aging after an accident at the age of 29. It was directed by Lee Toland Krieger and written by J....  more

    #13 of 54 The Best Movies About Older People Falling in Love, Ranked#34 of 76 50+ Quirky Romance Movies That Are Unique in Their Own Way#10 of 61 The Most Romantic Science Fiction Movies

  • 13

    Released: 2003

    Directed by: Richard Curtis

    Love Actually is a 2003 British Christmas-themed romantic comedy film written and directed by Richard Curtis. The screenplay delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate...  more

    #28 of 127 The Best Christmas Movies Of All Time#80 of 311 The Best Ensemble Movies#16 of 37 The Best Single Dad Movies Ever Made

  • 14

    Released: 1987

    Directed by: Emile Ardolino

    Dirty Dancing is a 1987 American romantic drama film. Written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino, the film stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the lead roles, as well as...  more

    #1744 of 2,810 The Greatest Albums of All-Time#41 of 512 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked#1 of 112 The Best Dance Movies Ever Made

  • 15

    Released: 1942

    Directed by: Michael Curtiz

    Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's. The film stars Humphrey...  more

    #1 of 225 The Best Black And White Movies Ever Made#23 of 65 Movies You Wish You Could Still Watch for the First Time#92 of 155 The Greatest Movie Quotes Of All Time

  • 16

    Released: 1996

    Directed by: Baz Luhrmann

    Romeo + Juliet is a 1996 American romantic drama film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It was directed by Baz Luhrmann. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the...  more

    #2 of 29 The Best Classic Movies Streaming On Hulu#14 of 23 23 Movie Soundtracks That Have Absolutely No Business Being As Good As They Are#3 of 38 The Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations

  • 17

    Released: 2007

    Directed by: Richard LaGravenese

    P.S. I Love You is a 2007 American drama film directed by Richard LaGravenese. The screenplay by LaGravenese and Steven Rogers is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Cecelia Ahern. It stars...  more

    #16 of 60 The Best Romantic Comedy Movies On Netflix#11 of 15 Comedies That Are Horror Films From the Supporting Character's Perspective#15 of 31 31 Movie Trailers That Made You Weep

  • 18

    Released: 2010

    Directed by: Lasse Hallström

    Dear John is a 2010 American romantic drama film starring Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum. It was made by Screen Gems, a Sony company. It was released theatrically in North America on February 5,...  more

    #42 of 52 The Best Movies About Autism#3 of 20 The Best Sad Romance Movies On Netflix#24 of 32 The Best Movies About Rekindled Romance

  • 19

    Directed by: Thea Sharrock

    Me Before You is a 2016 American-British romantic comedy drama film directed by Thea Sharrock and adapted by Jojo Moyes from her 2012 novel of the same name. The film was released on June 3, 2016....  more

    #59 of 136 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked#7 of 38 Great Movies About the Death of a Spouse#34 of 71 The Best Disability Movies

  • 20

    Released: 2018

    Directed by: Bradley Cooper

    A Star Is Born is a 2018 American musical romantic drama film directed by Bradley Cooper. A movie star (Cooper) helps a young singer/actress (Stefani Germanotta) find fame, even as age and personal...  more

    The Best Songs on the 'A Star Is Born' Soundtrack#67 of 272 The Greatest Movie Soundtracks Of All Time#171 of 204 Musical Movies With The Best Songs

  • 21

    Released: 2017

    Directed by: Luca Guadagnino

    Call Me by Your Name is a 2017 Italian-American romantic coming-of-age drama film directed by Luca Guadagnino, based on Andre Aciman's novel of the same name. In 1980s Italy, a romantic relationship...  more

    Things You Didn't Know About Call Me By Your Name (And How Shia LaBeouf Almost Starred In It)#37 of 97 The Best Movies of 2017, Ranked#126 of 315 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

  • 22


    Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg

    Released: 1990

    Directed by: Jerry Zucker

    Ghost is a 1990 American romantic fantasy/crime thriller film starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn, and Whoopi Goldberg. It was written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker....  more

    #24 of 50 The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked#11 of 45 The Best Movies Coming to Netflix in October 2021#306 of 1,436 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • 23

    Released: 2009

    Directed by: Robert Schwentke

    The Time Traveler's Wife is a 2009 American romantic science fiction drama film directed by Robert Schwentke. The story follows Henry DeTamble, a Chicago librarian with a paranormal genetic disorder...  more

    #187 of 1,236 The Best Novels Ever Written#41 of 117 The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written#22 of 61 Novels with the Best Love Stories

  • 24

    Released: 2012

    Directed by: Scott Hicks

    The Lucky One is a 2012 romantic drama film directed by Scott Hicks and released April 2012. It is an adaptation of the 2008 novel of the same name, by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Zac Efron as...  more

    #22 of 43 The Best Iraq War Movies Ever Made#6 of 27 The Best Zac Efron Movies#17 of 24 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Drama Movies

  • 25

    Released: 2009

    Directed by: Marc Webb

    (500) Days of Summer is a 2009 American romantic comedy-drama film by first time director Marc Webb. On January 8, Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel), his boss's...  more

    #169 of 247 The Best Rainy Day Movies#56 of 127 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time#140 of 175 Movies That Should Be Made Into Broadway Musicals

  • 26

    Released: 2008

    Directed by: David Fincher

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a 2008 American romantic fantasy drama film directed by David Fincher. The storyline by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord is loosely based on the 1922 short story of...  more

    #70 of 89 The Best Movies That Are Super Long#22 of 51 The Best Movies Based on Short Stories#85 of 165 Live Action Movies With The Best CGI Effects

  • 27

    Released: 2016

    Directed by: Ross Katz

    The Choice is a 2016 American romantic drama film directed by Ross Katz and written by Bryan Sipe, based on Nicholas Sparks's 2007 novel of the same name. The film is about two neighbors (Benjamin...  more

  • 28

    Released: 2010

    Directed by: Allen Coulter

    Remember Me is a 2010 American romantic coming of age drama film directed by Allen Coulter, and screenplay by Will Fetters. It stars Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin and...  more

    #6 of 26 The Best Movies About 9/11#120 of 277 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry#28 of 54 The Saddest Romance Movies That Will Make You Cry

  • 29

    Released: 2010

    Directed by: Julie Anne Robinson

    The Last Song is a 2010 American coming of age teen romantic drama film developed alongside Nicholas Sparks's novel by the same name. The film was directed by Julie Anne Robinson in her feature film...  more

    #37 of 123 The Best Father-Daughter Movies#38 of 38 The Best Movies Ever to Come Out in March#61 of 97 The Best Movies About Vacations

  • 30

    Released: 2011

    Directed by: Francis Lawrence

    Water for Elephants is a 2011 American romantic drama film directed by Francis Lawrence. Richard LaGravenese wrote the screenplay, which was based on Sara Gruen's 2006 novel of the same name. It...  more

  • 31

    Released: 2005

    Directed by: Ang Lee

    Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American epic romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee. It is a film adaptation of the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx; the screenplay was written by...  more

    #350 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#291 of 557 The Best Film Scores Of All Time#170 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

  • 32

    Released: 2020

    Directed by: Brett Haley

    All the Bright Places is a 2020 American drama romance film directed by Brett Haley, based on the novel by Jennifer Niven. As they struggle with the emotional and physical scars of their past,...  more

  • 33

    Released: 1992

    Directed by: Mick Jackson

    The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic thriller film directed by Mick Jackson, written by Lawrence Kasdan, and starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Costner stars as a former Secret Service...  more

    Every Song in The Bodyguard, Ranked by Singability#32 of 135 The Best Movies About Movies#9 of 20 The Best Movies Where the Guy Doesn't Get the Girl

  • 34

    Released: 1970

    Directed by: Arthur Hiller

    Love Story is a 1970 romantic drama film written by Erich Segal, who also authored the best-selling novel of the same name. It was directed by Arthur Hiller and starred Ryan O'Neal, Ali MacGraw, John...  more

    #277 of 306 The Greatest Movie Themes#12 of 43 30+ Very Preppy Movies with the Preppiest Characters#36 of 101 The Best Oscar-Winning Scores

  • 35
    Romanos Araviadis added


    Jennifer Grey, Jesse McCartney

    Released: 2008

    Directed by: Todd Kessler

    Keith is a 2008 American, independent drama film directed by Todd Kessler. It was written by Todd Kessler and David Zabel based on the short story "Keith" by author Ron Carlson, from his book The...  more

  • 36

    Released: 2020

    Directed by: Andrew Erwin, John Erwin

    I Still Believe is 2020 Christian biographical drama film directed by the Erwin Brothers and based on the memoir of singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp and his first wife, Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp. It...  more

    #249 of 315 The Best Movies Based On True Stories#171 of 198 The Best Movies About Music#25 of 40 The Best Medical Movies Based on True Stories

  • 37

    Released: 1998

    Directed by: John Madden

    Shakespeare in Love is a 1998 British-American romantic comedy-drama film directed by John Madden, written by Marc Norman and playwright Tom Stoppard. The film depicts an imaginary love affair...  more

    #43 of 50 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the '90s#110 of 440 The Best Movies Of The 1990s#13 of 13 These Are The Most Historically Inaccurate Movies Of All Time

  • 38
    futurelove963 added


    Scarlett Johansson, Olivia Wilde

    Released: 2013

    Directed by: Spike Jonze

    Her is a 2013 American romantic science fiction comedy-drama film written, directed, and produced by Spike Jonze. The film's musical score was composed by Arcade Fire, with the cinematography...  more

    #552 of 1,195 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#8 of 104 Great Quirky Movies for Grown-Ups#83 of 126 The Funniest Movies Starring SNL Cast Members

  • 39
    Romanos Araviadis added


    Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová

    Released: 2006

    Directed by: John Carney

    Once is a 2007 Irish musical film written and directed by John Carney. Set in Dublin, Ireland, the naturalistic drama stars musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Collaborators prior to making...  more

    #271 of 370 The Best Musical Movies Of All Time#21 of 35 30+ Great Movies About Dating in Your 20s#5 of 12 Hidden Gems On HBO Max You Don't Want To Skip Over

  • 40

    Released: 1996

    Directed by: Anthony Minghella

    The English Patient is a 1996 romantic drama directed by Anthony Minghella from his own script based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ondaatje and produced by Saul Zaentz. The film was...  more

    #223 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked#432 of 566 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made#17 of 22 The Weirdest Willem Dafoe Performances That Prove He's Great In Everything

  • 41

    Released: 1994

    Directed by: Mike Newell

    This film is a 1994 British romantic comedy film directed by Mike Newell. It was the first of several films by screenwriter Richard Curtis to feature Hugh Grant. It was made in six weeks and cost...  more

    #331 of 1,142 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time#234 of 926 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

  • Sours:
    Top 10 Romance Movies of 2020

    The idea of the mental retardation of their owner. However, the friends of such a scum as Sanyok could hardly have looked differently. Yes, Sanyok answered. - It's most convenient here - over there on this couch. Ami and Suzanne were still staring at the inner torment of the aspiring lesbian.

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    Come on. Natalya Ivanovna took some of the linen and went to the shore, took some soap with her. Egor took the rest of the things, too, went after her, hand straightening the member that had risen. On the bank, he had a good position, cross-legged, so that she did not notice the standing tower under her shorts.

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