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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Swoon-worthy romantic movies to stream
There’s nothing like a movie night with your significant other. Sure, you can watch a thriller movie, a drama, a comedy, or simply a film that’s considered one of the best movies from the last century, but when it comes to spicing up a romantic night in, nothing beats a good, old-fashioned romance movie. We’ve gathered 50 romantic movies that stand out from the crowd, with a list that includes Oscar-winning Hollywood classics, contemporary masterpieces, the best of international cinema, and love stories that are diverse and inclusive. Fair warning: Viewing them may turn you into a hopeless romantic!
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Memorable Quote: “I think we’re both missing an opportunity here.”
Hugh Grant perfects his shaggy-haired, adorable-British-guy charm in this classic rom-com. Andie MacDowell plays the American who steals his heart while they’re attending a whirlwind of weddings. This is one of those romantic movies that make your heart swell with all the emotions sparked by love and will have you reciting romantic love quotes to boot.
Rated: Not Rated
Memorable Quote: “I just have this talent for falling in love with the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The Apartment is one of those black-and-white, classic romantic movies with a charm that endures. Directed by auteur Billy Wilder, it won the Best Picture Oscar in 1961 for its cynical presentation of relationships that still features one of the most romantic endings of all time. Jack Lemmon plays a junior exec who rents out his apartment (as a love nest) to his oily boss (Fred MacMurray) to score a promotion. Cue some sticky situations.
Memorable Quote: “I’m done being scared. I’m done living in a world where I don’t get to be who I am. I deserve a great love story.”
Adapted from the acclaimed novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, this movie follows Simon (Nick Robinson), a teenager who hasn’t come out to his parents or his friends, which creates coming-of-age-drama galore. The romantic meet-cute, set on a Ferris wheel, will give you allllll the feels, making it one of the most romantic LBGTQ+ movies ever.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Memorable Quote: “I like you very much—just as you are.”
Colin Firth and Hugh Grant play the dashing British boyfriends of Bridget Jones, and their rivalry eventually leads to a riotous (and hilarious) fistfight. Renée Zellweger brings the famous novel’s heroine to life in this rom-com about a woman who’s hapless at love. Get ready for a dash-through-the snow showdown to win the love of the right man.
Love and Basketball
Memorable Quote: “Double or nothing.”
Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are two neighborhood kids who long for basketball stardom and share a deep love of the game. They both grow into exceptional players and their relationship blossoms, but when Quincy’s career takes off, Monica’s takes a backseat. They’re star-crossed rivals who go their separate ways (because sometimes you need a good break-up movie), but their bond ultimately pulls them back together in this classic romance about courtship of every kind.
Memorable Quote: “The love inside, you take it with you.”
Ghost is one of those romantic ghost stories that brings out the underlying passion in pottery wheels—especially if you’re Demi Moore and your art studio is in a spectacular Manhattan apartment. Patrick Swayze stole hearts as a murdered man who just can’t say goodbye yet. Get ready to weep!
Call Me By Your Name
Memorable Quote: “Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.”
Oliver (Armie Hammer) is an American graduate student who gets entangled in a relationship with Elio (Timothée Chalamet), the teenage son of the professor Oliver has come to study with. The gorgeous cinematography captures an enchanting, natural landscape that makes the perfect backdrop for this all-consuming story about the intense burn of first love. Their romantic idea of how to say “I love you”? Calling each other by their names, of course.
Memorable Quote: “If there’s any kind of magic in this world…it must be in the attempt of understanding someone.”
Ethan Hawke, as the original American hipster traveling abroad, meets a luminous, intriguing Parisian played by Julie Delpy. The two walk and talk all night, perusing the streets of Vienna until they’re faced with a morning goodbye at the train station. Talk about a tragically beautiful European love.
Gone With the Wind
Rated: Not Rated
Memorable Quote: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara give off the ultimate love-hate vibes in this classic romantic movie filled with iconic scenes and famous lines like, “You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.” Swoon. Rhett’s the only one who sees straight through Scarlett’s wiles—and instead of judging her, he loves her for it.
Memorable Quote: “If I’m with you, then I’m with you, and I don’t want anybody else.”
Quentin Tarantino wrote the script for what has to be the most romantic madcap crime spree in cinema—and features an unexpectedly happy ending. Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater play unlikely newlyweds who are chased down by mobsters 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.
Memorable Quote: “In moonlight Black boys look blue.”
There’s no doubt that Moonlight is one of the best romantic movies of all time—just ask its Best Picture Academy Award. The movie follows a young boy, Chiron, played by different actors at different ages, as he grows up in sun-soaked Miami and discovers his identity and his sexuality along the way.
Memorable Quote: “We’ll always have Paris.”
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.
Crazy Rich Asians
Memorable Quote: “Remember, every treasure comes with a price.”
This wedding-centered rom-com, based on the best-selling novel by Kevin Kwan, drips with romance, glitz, fashion, and flirtation. Constance Wu plays Rachel, a professor who’s way out of her league when she travels to Singapore with her boyfriend (Henry Golding), who failed to mention a little detail about his family—they’re crazy rich! Cue the princess-y plot twists.
Memorable Quote: “Romance is about the possibility of the thing.”
Get ready for late-’90s nostalgia as you watch Nia Long and Larenz Tate fall for each other over coffeehouse poetry. This is one of the best romantic movies in the game, and it stands out for being a rom-com centered on Black characters who are creative intellectuals with sensitive souls—a departure from movie clichés at the time.
Memorable Quote: “Live life as if there were no second chances.”
Romance and time travel? Yes, please! Domhnall Gleeson plays a man who inherits from his father the ability to travel back in time. He uses the power to woo, and re-woo, Rachel McAdams over and over, proving that romance exists in the tiny moments that make up a life.
Memorable Quote: “You know I would do anything.”
Jane Campion’s Bright Star captures the writing life of the romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw), whose love affair with the English language takes inspiration from the beguiling Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish). The biopic centers on the relationship between the two kindred spirits moved by creative artistry.
Beyond the Lights
Memorable Quote: “What we had was perfect, right?”
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. Cue the romance.
Memorable Quote: “Come back soon.” “What a terrible thing to say in a hospital.”
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. Gervais helps countless spirits make amends with loved ones while he finds his own heart—and against all odds, just might get the girl.
When Harry Met Sally…
Memorable Quote: “I’ll have what she’s having.”
This is hands-down one of the best romantic movies ever: It even 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.
Pride and Prejudice
Memorable Quote: “You have bewitched me, body and soul.”
This version of Pride and Prejudice, with Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen as the arrogant Mr. Darcy, may be the most romantic of all the movie adaptations of one of the most romantic novels of all time. Just picture the cranky Mr. Darcy (now lovestruck to the point of breathlessness) traipsing across an English field in an open shirt, his trench coat wafting on the fog, as he marches toward a woman he can only hope will one day love him.
Memorable Quote: “Everything comes full circle.”
Cate Blanchett plays Carol, a married woman who falls in love with a younger shop girl (Rooney Mara). The 1950s setting provides a sumptuous, stylish backdrop to the women’s tangled love affair. Based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith, the movie seethes with romantic desire, but it also aches with the oppression of loving when your society seeks to repress it.
Memorable Quote: “I gave her my heart, and she gave me a pen.”
What do you do when you fall in love with the class valedictorian, but she’s way out of your league? According to the one of the most romantic movies ever, you hold up a boom box on her front lawn and blast “In Your Eyes.” John Cusack plays Lloyd Dobler, who makes it his full-time job to love the perfectionist Diane (Ione Skye). When her seemingly perfect life falls apart, he’s there to catch her.
Memorable Quote: “We pass the time of day to forget how time passes.”
Travel to Paris with this romantic French movie that captures the magic of infatuation. Audrey Tautou stars as a waifish barista who’s up to trickster mayhem intended to bring romance and whimsy to the lives of those around her. But what happens when Amélie herself falls in love? Prepare to fall for Paris, the young French heroine, and love itself in a movie that’s so touching, it’ll melt even the hearts of cynics.
Sense and Sensibility
Memorable Quote: “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove. Oh no! It is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.”
No one spins romance and courtship like Jane Austen, and this adaptation of her novel about the Dashwood sisters will thrill viewers. Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson play the marriageable siblings, and Hugh Grant and a deliciously dashing Alan Rickman delight as the eligible suitors.
In the Mood for Love
Memorable Quote: “When you’re single, you are only responsible to yourself. Once you’re married, doing well on your own is not enough.”
Prepare for desperately romantic cinematography that captures 1960s Hong Kong awash with deeply rich colors and textures. The story follows two married people living in the same building who discover that their spouses are having an affair. Their shared grief and loneliness leads to unexpected love.
Memorable Quote: “Why love, if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore: only the life I have lived.”
This true story about C.S. Lewis (the author of The Chronicles of Narnia) and the American poet Joy Davidman will soothe your soul and break your heart. Anthony Hopkins plays Lewis with a formality that threatens to boil over from his tightly held passion. At first, he marries Joy (Debra Winger) only so she can stay in England, but soon he’s swept up by her direct, bold intensity.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Memorable Quote: “You can be mad at someone and still miss them.”
In this sweet and dreamy high school rom-com based on the book of the same name, a middle sister (played by Lana Condor) writes letters to all the boys she loves, with no intention of sending them. Then her little sister discovers the letters and puts them in the mail! This is extremely awkward, especially since one was addressed to their older, college-bound sister’s ex. Hijinks and romance abound.
The Portrait of a Lady
Memorable Quote: “Things are always different from what they might be.”
This extraordinary French masterpiece captures the intense romantic pleasures of being seen. It follows an artist sent to paint the portrait of a woman in order to send it to her fiancé so that he may see her face. The artist and her subject fall in love, and the film creates the passion of their mutual gazes and desires.
Memorable Quote: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”
It doesn’t quite make sense that a story about a resort dance teacher and his teenage cha-cha-cha partner would capture the nation’s heart, but it did. No one puts Baby in the corner—instead, she’ll get literally swept off her feet in a leaping dance move made all the more romantic by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ hit song “I’ve Had the Time of My Life.”
The Best Man
Memorable Quote: “For once just live in the moment.”
This beloved rom-com follows a group of college friends who get together for a wedding weekend. The writer in the group, played by Taye Diggs, has authored a novel loosely (or maybe not so loosely) based on the lives of his friends—and its content threatens the upcoming marriage by unearthing secrets from long ago. Drama, comedy, and romance in abundance.
The Fault in Our Stars
Memorable Quote: “It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”
This teen romance is the quintessential tearjerker, so go in ready to cry your heart out. First, you’ll be inspired by the carefree, delicate love that emerges between two teenagers (played by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort) who meet at a cancer support group and take off on an adventure to visit their favorite author, a cranky old fogey who needs saving himself.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Memorable Quote: “There’s no sense in nonsense when the heat is hot.”
Aubrey Plaza plays a magazine intern working on a story about an eccentric inventor (Mark Duplass) who claims he can time-travel. A romance sprouts between the two misfits as they struggle to trust each other, due to tragedies in their pasts. The giddy romance comes from watching them take the risk to fall in love—a feat that seems way more complicated and dangerous than taking a ride on a time machine.
West Side Story
Memorable Quote: “I’ve just met a girl named Maria/And suddenly that name/Will never be the same/To me.”
West Side Story is a Romeo and Juliet update turned movie musical set in urban alleyways and concrete lots that makes forbidden love a relatable dilemma in any era. Two rival gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, rumble over their turfs while a love affair brews between Tony and Maria. Released in 1961, West Side Story uses modern art style, pop colors, and jazz as a backdrop for its tragic tale of love in the face of prejudice.
Memorable Quote: “I remember seeing a condom; I just don’t know exactly what it did.”
Jenny Slate stars as a stand-up comic who uses her disastrous love life as material for her routine to varying degrees of hilarity and catastrophe. Jake Lacy stars a sweet guy who keeps showing up in the aftermath of her one-night stands. Abby Hoffman plays her bestie, with Polly Walker as her professor mom, in a story where romance springs from the unexpected, contemporary experience of women in a story rarely told.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Rated: Not Rated
Memorable Quote: “I just love finding new places to wear diamonds!”
This Howard Hawks musical is a Technicolor miracle drenched in glamorous glitz. The whole production drips with romance and sizzle as two showgirls (Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell) sing, dance, and flirt their way across the Atlantic on an ocean liner. Prepare yourself for a sumptuous double wedding by the end.
Memorable Quote: “I wish I knew how to quit you.”
The low-key passion in this tender, tragic love story will move you to the core. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play ranch hands sent to tend sheep on an isolated mountain, where they fall for each other. They later marry women and go on with their lives, but they can’t let go of their desire and connection, though the world around them demands it.
Rated: Not Rated
Memorable Quote: “It’s awfully easy to lie when you know that you’re trusted implicitly. So very easy, and so very degrading.”
This 1940s classic speaks to everyone who’s ever had a chance meeting or missed connection. Train stations become the ultimate setting for romance as strangers who may be soul mates cross paths. Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson play two strangers, both married, who share a deep but forbidden love after their chance encounter.
The Big Sick
Memorable Quotes: “Can you imagine a world in which we end up together?”
Kumail Nanjiani stars in this rom-com that he co-wrote with his wife, Emily V. Gordon. It’s a story that chronicles their own experiences as an inter-ethnic couple who have to deal with differing cultural backgrounds in addition to a serious illness that hits his grad student girlfriend (played by Zoe Kazan) at the very beginning of their relationship.
An Officer and a Gentleman
Memorable Quotes: “Zack, when you’re through with a girl, what do you do? Do you say something or do you just…disappear?”
There’s nothing like a man in uniform, especially when he’s sweeping you off your feet and right out of your grueling factory job. Richard Gere plays the bad-boy officer candidate Zack Mayo, trying to make it through a strenuous training program during which he inadvertently falls for a local woman, played by Debra Winger.
The Age of Innocence
Memorable Quote: “We can’t behave like people in novels, though, can we?”
If you like your love infused with bittersweet yearning, then The Age of Innocence will be just your thing. Martin Scorsese directed this adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel, and he infuses the story about upper-crust New York society with mobster tension. Daniel Day-Lewis finds himself enraptured by the married Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), but their friends and family won’t allow such a scandalous union.
Memorable Quote: “People like us, half of them think it will never work out. The other half believe in magic.”
This beautiful romance is told through a nonlinear narrative that offers a sensitive character study as it examines love and grief. Ewan McGregor plays a man whose father comes out as gay after he is widowed, which helps McGregor embark on his own love story.
The Goodbye Girl
Memorable Quote: “What is it about you that makes a man with a hundred forty-seven I.Q. feel like a dribbling idiot?”
Marsha Mason shines as a single mom in Manhattan whose boyfriend dumps her, then sublets the apartment they shared to a stage actor played by Richard Dreyfuss, who shows up on a rainy night demanding entrance. Forced cohabitation, with a wisecracking kid (Quinn Cummings) in the mix, provides zany comedy as heartbreak and hatred shift into much more romantic but totally risky territory.
The African Queen
Memorable Quote: “A man takes a drop too much once in a while; it’s only human nature.”
Humphrey Bogart pairs up with Katharine Hepburn in World War I–era Africa for this classic movie rom-com. Directed by John Huston, the film has humor, action, and two of the greatest personalities of the American screen. Hepburn plays a witty missionary on the run from Germans, while Bogie is the alcoholic, grizzled captain of a patched-together-with-spit old tub of a boat who has offered her safe passage.
In Her Shoes
Memorable Quote: “I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart, I am never without it.”
Get together with your sisters and nestle into this story about siblings who lost their mom at a young age and ended up having to raise each other. Things get complicated and painful when the younger sister (Cameron Diaz) sleeps with her older sister’s boyfriend and the two sisters basically break up with each other. This movie is about both sisterly and romantic love and is sure to get you in your feels.
Memorable Quote: “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”
Based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, this very watchable movie tells the story of an elderly man (James Garner) whose wife suffers from Alzheimer’s, so he reads her a chapter from his notebook as a way to jog her memory. The story he weaves is one of two young lovers in the 1940s, in which the woman’s wealthy parents don’t approve. How will it end? Well, you can kind of guess pretty early on. But who cares!
Bonnie and Clyde
Memorable Quote: “We rob banks.”
This classic work of American cinema is as much about the outlaw spirit at the heart of true love as it is about the famous bank robbers—which is why it’s most definitely one of the best romantic movies out there. With each bank robbed and lawman dispatched, Bonnie and Clyde’s love grows. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway play the Depression-era gunslingers in a film famous for its innovative and sometimes very violent style.
Memorable Quote: “I have a love in my life; it makes me stronger than anything you can imagine.”
Adam Sandler proves he’s got acting chops in this wildly romantic story about love at first sight. Emily Watson plays a woman who spots Sandler’s picture and wants to meet him. What should be an easy go at love gets beset with obstacle after obstacle in ways that are funny and moving.
Silver Linings Playbook
Memorable Quote: “You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, you have a shot at a silver lining.”
If you love your romantic movies to swing you around the dance floor, then you’ll fall hard for Silver Linings Playbook. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper play two single people trying to get over heartbreak—and win a professional dance contest while they’re at it. The movie deals with serious subjects, including mental illness, but it infuses the characters and situations with genuine quirk and heart that transcends clichés around dysfunction.
Rated: Not Rated
Memorable Quote: “But, for sending me Sookee out of all the girls in the world, I feel slightly grateful.”
This sumptuous, visually thrilling film takes place in Korea and Japan during the 1930s. A Japanese heiress lives on a sprawling estate with a young maid who aims to double-cross her. But in the midst of this twisty plot full of deception and intrigue, the two women fall in love.
Additional research by Lucie Turkel