The 50 Best Romantic Movies of All Time
If you’re in the mood for love, you’ll adore this list of romantic movies that will woo you, stir your soul, and set your heart on fire.
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Quentin Tarantino wrote the script for what has to be the most romantic madcap crime spree in cinema. Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater play unlikely newlyweds who are chased down by mobsters and kingpins when all they want to do is get away with a happy ending. Get ready for gunfights, Tarantino’s signature violence, and a crazy sweetness that infects the whole thing with a sense of true love surviving in a chaotic world. The movie also includes unforgettable performances from Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Christopher Walken, and Gary Oldman in small roles.
Best Picture Oscar winner Moonlight joins romantic movies that woo the viewer with stunning and unexpected moments masterfully photographed with beauty and candor. The movie follows a young boy, Chiron, played by different actors at different ages, as he grows up in sun-soaked Miami, which the audience views through his singular perspective. Scenes between adult Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) and Kevin (André Holland) capture a sense of the intimate romance of gazing at another, of looking and being seen, while sharing an unspoken history.
Casablanca features the most romantic airport goodbye of all time. The fog is just as perfect as the tilt of Humphrey Bogart’s fedora as he gives his love, played by Ingrid Bergman, those famous movie lines that drip with romance as the two face the inevitable. Rick and Ilsa will always have Paris, but since they’re also in the midst of World War II, their problems don’t amount to a hill of beans by comparison. In the end, Bergman goes off with her war-hero husband (Paul Henreid) and Bogie exits with his new BFF, played by the incomparable Claude Rains. The film’s famous line, “We’ll always have Paris,” definitely qualifies as one of the best romantic quotes.
Crazy Rich Asians
This wedding-centered rom-com, based on the best-selling novel by Kevin Kwan, drips with romance, glitz, fashion, and flirtation. Watch for the clothes, the centerpieces, and the chic bridal style, as you visit lavish set pieces across Asia. Constance Wu plays Rachel, a professor who’s way out of her league when she travels to Singapore with her boyfriend (Henry Golding). He failed to mention a little detail about his family—they’re dripping in money. Rachel’s up against a society who deems her way too basic for such an eligible bachelor. Princess-y plot twists ensue! If you swoon over great costumes, here are the movies to watch just for the clothes.
Get ready for late-’90s nostalgia as you watch Nia Long and Larenz Tate fall for each other over coffeehouse poetry. This romantic movie recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary, and it stands out for being a rom-com centered on Black characters who are creative intellectuals with sensitive souls. At the time, such representation was a departure from movie clichés that centered on violent stereotypes. In Love Jones, the primary conflict concerns whether the heroine should go back to her ex or choose the guy who writes poems and sweeps her off her feet in the rain.
If you love romantic movies about time travel, About Time will sweep you up with its sweetness and sentiment. Domhnall Gleeson plays a man who inherits the ability to travel back in time from his father. He uses the power to woo, and re-woo, Rachel McAdams over and over. The film’s theme has to do with the romance in the tiny moments that make up a life and the magic of experiencing them over and over again. Check out these 12 time travel movies that will make you question everything.
Jane Campion’s Bright Star captures the writing life of the romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw), whose love affair with the English languages takes inspiration from the beguiling Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish). The biopic centers on the relationship between the two kindred spirits moved by creative artistry. They are pulled apart by a rival poet and circumstances that take Keats far from Brawne’s side. Don’t miss the enchanting scene in which the heroine yearns for love in a room full of butterflies. This film captures the poetic heart of longing and tells a tragic true story infused with fiery passion and striking beauty.
Beyond the Lights
If you love Notting Hill and The Bodyguard, give Beyond the Lights a twirl. It’s another movie about a superstar who falls for a regular Joe. Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays a pop star struggling with depression who’s lonely despite her fame. Nate Parker is the cop who comes along and saves her during a moment of despair. Along the way, love helps her discover and unleash her true calling as an artist. It’s a little-seen film with a loyal following, and the music is just as good as the story. Here are 12 more films with rockin’ soundtracks.
Ricky Gervais seems an unlikely romantic leading man, but he grows on you as a cranky dentist who has the uncanny ability to talk to ghosts after a hospital procedure gone wrong. Greg Kinnear stars as a deceased playboy who tries to get Gervais to give messages to his widow, Téa Leoni. The afterlife vibe gives the film a sweet soul as Gervais helps countless spirits make amends with loved ones while he finds his own heart—and against all odds, just might get the girl. If you’re fascinated by stories about the afterlife, here are the 12 best movies that are set in that realm.
When Harry Met Sally…
This is the romantic movie that made high-maintenance restaurant ordering totally adorable. Nora Ephron’s screenplay captures love in the late ’80s as lifelong friends Harry and Sally discover that they might just be perfect for each other, despite the hate-fest when they first met. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play the title couple with now-iconic performances. Also pay attention to a stellar performance from Carrie Fisher, who steals her scenes as the supportive friend who makes a perfect match after being set up with Harry and choosing his friend instead.