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25 Best Romantic Movies Of All Time from A Star is Born to Casablanca
The romance genre is wide and sweeping: you can either lean in the emotionally dramatic direction or in the way of comedy. That’s what makes it so great; in a way, the romance category has a little bit of something for all of us. And while everyone has a favorite, we’ve put together the most iconic from Titanic (there was room on the door and you know it) to Casablanca (“Here’s lookin’ at you, kid”), with a couple new favorites scattered in, too. These are some of the most romantic movies ever made.
It’s hard to top being king of the world. Titanic sets the bar incredibly high for romantic epics. The only issue we have is that there was definitely room on that door, but someone had to sprawl out and get cozy.
The Big Sick (2017)
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s real-life hospital romance turned movie is one of the most original and thoughtful romances in years. In the face of tragedy, an estranged couple grows closer somehow by one of them being in a coma. Also, Holly Hunter is the best mom.
Snap out of it! The film that stars Nicholas Cage and Cher helped lock in Cher’s long-deserved Oscar. The perfect Italian-American film set in New York, Moonstruck is a late-80s classic.
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
That peach scene is something else. The Luca Guadagnino-directed film perfectly encapsulates the feelings of first love and love lost in a beautiful Italian setting. Bonus points: CMBYN is the rare gay love story where someone doesn’t get beaten or end up with HIV.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The first real entry of the Cooper/Lawrence film trio, Silver Linings Playbook is the story of what happens when perfectly flawed people find love together. The film also won Lawrence her first Oscar, and that’s pretty outstanding for a picture loosely categorized as a romantic comedy.
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Young love set in the Catskills, perfectly punctuated with an iconic ’80s movie dance lift? Romance gold.
Love & Basketball (2000)
Love & Basketball is one of the ultimate sports movies. It just so happens to also be one of the ultimate romances, too. As two friends start establishing themselves as true basketball stars, they fall for each other—but their respective careers may keep them apart.
Elizabethtown is quirky and cosmetically indie, but it’s still a sweetly thoughtful romance wrapped up in existentialism. Orlando Bloom is the perfect working guy finding his roots again and Kirsten Dunst is nothing if not the poster child for Manic Pixie Dream Girls.
The Bodyguard (1992)
The chemistry between Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner is a disaster, but something about the security guard/pop star dynamic works. It also has one of the most iconic soundtracks in film history.
Who doesn’t love a lesbian love story adorned with mid-century forbidden temptation and department store customer service that can’t be beat?!
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Crazy Rich Asians was long overdue—a film that both sheds light on heritage while also telling a very entertaining romantic story. And even if you’re not the most inclined to watch a romcom, the movie’s incredible scenery alone is worth watching for.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
It is perhaps the romantic comedy that stands above all others. Set across the expanse of a year, Harry and Sally were clearly always supposed to end up together. It just took a minute for it to happen.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
If saying “I love you” isn’t enough, follow it up with “you complete me.” It’s a classic Jerry move, and it made for one of the most well-known scenes in the current romance canon.
Notting Hill (1999)
A romance movie list without Julia Roberts is asinine. While it might be easy to fall back on Pretty Woman, the nuanced and sometimes unbelievable story between a commoner and a movie starlet is near the top of Roberts’s heap of films.
The Notebook (2004)
Read me this story, and I’ll find you. Damn. Nicholas Sparks is cheesy and oftentimes over the top, but The Notebook is a romantic story of love that just beautiful enough that it transcends all of the cheesiness it takes to tell it.
West Side Story (1961)
It’s the quintessential movie musical, but it’s also still unfortunately relevant for our times. Two teens, torn apart by their attachment to rival gangs, fall in love for it all to end in tragedy. The film is currently being remade, but it’s hard to beat the original.
This is the only time a pottery wheel will ever be sexy. Thanks Patrick and Demi.
A film about teen pregnancy shouldn’t be able to be as romantic as Juno ended up being, but there’s something about love blossoming between friends who literally screwed themselves into a predicament that’s incredibly sweet and relatable.
It’s the love story of our time: a man in love with his OS. But the sci-fi film actually breaks into some uncharted territory regarding what it means to be in love with someone (or something), and what it can offer back to you.
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
“You’re never gonna be jello.” The ’90s classic is a romance that focuses a little more on what it means to be in love and a little less on the endgame. It’s also a good reminder to check yourself in the dating process: you might be chasing her, but who’s chasing you?
Bull Durham (1988)
The premise of Bull Durham is weird: Susan Sarandon plays a baseball-loving minor league groupie. Kevin Costner plays a veteran baseball player. The premise doesn’t sound super promising, but the delivery is outstanding.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
Crazy, Stupid, Love came out in the era when ensemble romantic movies were trying their damnedest to be a thing. Of all of them though, the Steve Carrell-led comedy might have gotten the closest. It’s extremely easy to watch, and if you’re not invested in one of the stories, don’t worry: there’s at least two more to watch.
San Junipero (2016)
Is it a movie? Maybe not. But the near feature-length story from Black Mirror might as well be. One of the few stories from the dark anthology series to end without tragedy, “San Junipero” is deserving of a place on the list. And you can watch it on Netflix.
A Star is Born (2018)
At first, it seems a little preemptive to put a movie released three months ago into the most romantic films category, but when you account for the fact that it’s been made a total of four times, it’s not hard to justify its status as a romantic must-watch.