Romantic longing has provided the cinema with some of it’s glorious and idealistic movies. Movies such as Gone With the Wind and Doctor Zhivago lent something grand and epic to romantic love, but it was perhaps the much-loved weepie An Affair to Remember that did the most to introduce us to the more domestic idea of the chick flick or the date movie – the romantic film adored by women and tolerated by their husbands and boyfriends.
Here we are with our list of most romantic Hollywood movies of all time.
1. Casablanca (1942)
During WWII, Rick, a nightclub owner in Casablanca, agrees to help his former lover Ilsa and her husband. Soon, Ilsa’s feelings for Rick resurface and she finds herself renewing her love for him. Much more fun than its stuffy “Greatest Film Ever Made” tag suggests, with a literate script, stylish direction, a great song and cinema’s most romantic couple in Bogie and Bergman. The movie is directed by Michael Crutiz and had won three academy awards for three different categories.
2. Brief Encounter (1945)
Brief Encounter is a 1945 British romantic drama film directed by David Lean about British suburban life, centring on Laura, a married woman with children, whose conventional life becomes increasingly complicated because of a chance meeting at a railway station with a stranger, Alec. They inadvertently but quickly progress to an emotional love affair, which brings about unexpected consequences.
3. Before Sunrise (1995)
A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. They alight in Vienna, amble around for 14 hours and shoot the breeze. Yes, the plot of Before Sunrise could be written on the back of a Eurail ticket, but it’s what Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) say and don’t say during their Austrian walkabout that makes the film what it is: a gentle but canny Gen-X fusion of My Dinner With Andre and the Judy Garland shore-leave romance, The Clock. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.
4. Before Sunset (2004)
Nine years after Jesse and Celine first met, they encounter each other again on the French leg of Jesse’s book tour. The couple steal away on a stroll around the city, but things have changed. No longer hopeful young things with life spread out before them, Jesse and Celine must now confess to disappointments and resentments. Even the span of their conversation is cramped; they only have 80-or-so minutes (played out in the film in real time) before Jesse must return to his wife and child in the US. Out of this melancholy scenario comes an honest but affectionate portrait of an amorphous romance – not to mention one of the most tantalising and ingenious endings in all cinema.
5. Wings Of Desire (1987)
Wings of Desire is a 1987 Franco-German romantic fantasy film directed by Wim Wenders. The film is about invisible, immortal angels who populate Berlin and listen to the thoughts of the human inhabitants and comfort those who are in distress. Even though the city is densely populated, many of the people are isolated or estranged from their loved ones. One of the angels, played by Bruno Ganz, falls in love with a beautiful, lonely trapeze artist. The angel chooses to become human so that he can experience the human sensory pleasures, ranging from enjoying food to touching a loved one, and so that he can experience human love with the trapeze artist. The film is shot in both a rich, sepia-toned black-and-white and color, with the former being used to represent the world as experienced by the angels.
6. Three Colors : Blue (1993)
Three Colours: Blue is a 1993 French drama film directed and co-written by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski. Blue is the first of three films that comprise the Three Colours trilogy, themed on the French Revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity; it is followed by White and Red. Set in Paris, the film is about a woman whose husband and child are killed in a car accident. Suddenly set free from her familial bonds, she attempts to cut herself off from everything and live in isolation from her former ties, but finds that she can’t free herself from human connections.
7. Gone With The Wind (1939)
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel Gone with the Wind. Gone with the Wind has been criticized as historical revisionism glorifying slavery, but nevertheless, it has been credited for triggering changes to the way African-Americans are depicted cinematically. It was re-released periodically throughout the 20th century and became ingrained in popular culture. The film is one of the best romantic movie of all time. Directed with pace and spirit by tough guy Victor Fleming, this is a love story to get your teeth into.
8. An Affair To Remember (1957)
For those of us who like to immerse ourselves in sense-assaulting love stories, this 1957 Leo McCarey classic is as good as it gets. A relentlessly heart-tugging tale of two soul-mates whose love even great tragedy cannot tear asunder, An Affair to Remember tosses and turns the emotions but never descends into schmaltz; it stays compelling – partly down to its smart, surprisingly sassy script, which often holds back when it could go for the cheap weep, but also because it is brought to us by two of the classiest acts in Hollywood history: Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.
9. Sense And Sensibility (1995)
Sense and Sensibility is a 1995 British-American period drama film directed by Ang Lee and based on Jane Austen’s 1811 novel of the same name. Actress Emma Thompson wrote the script and stars as Elinor Dashwood, while Kate Winslet plays Elinor’s younger sister Marianne. The story follows the Dashwood sisters, members of a wealthy English family of landed gentry, as they must deal with circumstances of sudden destitution. They are forced to seek financial security through marriage. Actors Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman play their respective suitors.
10. In Mood For Love (2000)
Wong Kar-wai takes his time shooting a film, setting out without a conventional script and waiting to see where the mood takes him; his actors rarely have possession of the bigger picture. As it turned out, this is a sizzling romance about two cuckolded next-door neighbours (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) who fall in love with one another. It is an unorthodox romance, widely regarded as the director’s finest work. And it is as impeccably turned out as you would expect from a Wong Kar-wai film. Audiences might well emerge craving props and costumes featured in the movie – the silk and gossamer dresses worn with perfect Audrey Hepburn poise by the regal Cheung, or the brilliantine that gives Leung his authentic Clark Gable sheen, or the snazzy noodle-flasks with which these almost-lovers collect their supper from a basement cafe.
11. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Doctor Zhivago is hardly unusual in David Lean’s oeuvre for its huge ambitions but, for fans of movie love stories, the 1965 classic is often regarded as the most epic of them all. Breathtaking landscapes, multiple story arcs covering decades, grand historical themes, 197 minutes of emotional devastation – films don’t get much bigger than this. Based on Boris Pasternak’s famous novel, it is a long and complex journey through the chaos of the first world war and the Russian revolution, but at its heart it remains first and foremost a love story.
12. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
The Philadelphia Story (1940) is an intelligent, sophisticated, classic romantic comedy-farce (part screwball) of love and marriage, human growth and class distinctions. Its screenplay is a witty, sparkling, and bright adaptation of Philip Barry’s Broadway hit play. The setting of the film is among the privileged upper class society in Philadelphia. Hepburn’s character, a self-willed young aristocratic heiress (nicknamed ‘Red’ by her ex-husband), is on the verge of a second marriage. The Philadelphia socialite has divorced her dashing, colorful, pompous, playboyish husband (Cary Grant) and become involved with a chilly, solitary, self-made and dull business tycoon/millionaire (John Howard). The plot thickens and becomes complicated when her irresponsible ex-husband appears on the eve of the wedding, with intentions to keep her shielded from an overly-ambitious, cynical tabloid newshound (James Stewart) – a second male principal who is also vying for Hepburn’s love on the day (and night) leading up to the ceremony.
13. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Girl gets fed up with boy. Girl erases all memories of boy from her mind in a dubious brain-zapping procedure. Boy finds out and does the same. This is a romantic movie, Charlie Kaufman-style. It takes its title from a 1717 poem by Alexander Pope and charts the side of love that movies usually try to ignore: the arguments, the boredom, the irritating habits that drive couples apart and the dreadful, stilted moments that accompany a break-up. Love Actually, it ain’t.
14. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (1964)
Against a sumptuous backdrop of jewel-coloured houses filled with candy-striped rooms, two of the most enchanting young leads ever captured on celluloid – Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo – fall passionately in love. From the off, Jacques Demy’s 1964 masterpiece, in which every line is sung, impresses as a super-stylish paean to the MGM musicals, complete with a swinging score by Michel Legrand and bustling street scenes choreographed with the minute precision and contagious energy of Gene Kelly’s finest work.
15. In The Mood for Love (2000)
Wong Kar-wai takes his time shooting a film, setting out without a conventional script and waiting to see where the mood takes him; his actors rarely have possession of the bigger picture. As it turned out, this is a sizzling romance about two cuckolded next-door neighbours (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) who fall in love with one another. As rendered by Wong’s regular cinematographer, Christopher Doyle (and his replacement, Mark Lee Ping-bin, who took over when the shooting schedule overran), the lush colours on screen are mellowed with nostalgia and ripened by sensuality. As much as this is the story of love blossoming out of rejection, it is also a testament to its director’s ongoing infatuation with cinema. What he can do with a passage of music, a close-up or an adjustment in film speed makes most other directors look unfit to shoot a nativity play.
16. The Apartment (1960)
Fresh off Some Like It Hot, the director, Billy Wilder, his co-writer, IAL Diamond, and their star, Jack Lemmon, bowled straight into making The Apartment. Insurance worker C.C. Baxter lends his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs. When his manager Mr. Sheldrake begins using Baxter’s apartment in exchange for promoting him, Baxter is disappointed to learn that Sheldrake’s mistress is Fran Kubelik, the elevator girl at work whom Baxter is interested in himself. Soon Baxter must decide between the girl he loves and the advancement of his career.Wilder said it was “the picture [of mine] that has the fewest faults.” Everyone else knows it as a masterpiece.
17. Breathless (1960)
Michel Poiccard, an irresponsible sociopath and small-time thief, steals a car and impulsively murders the motorcycle policeman who pursues him. Now wanted by the authorities, he renews his relationship with Patricia Franchini, a hip American girl studying journalism at the Sorbonne, whom he had met in Nice a few weeks earlier. Before leaving Paris, he plans to collect a debt from an underworld acquaintance and expects her to accompany him on his planned getaway to Italy. Even with his face in the local papers and media, Poiccard seems oblivious to the dragnet that is slowly closing around him as he recklessly pursues his love of American movies and libidinous interest in the beautiful American.
18. All That Heaven Allows (1955)
Wyman plays a widow slowly emerging from mourning to embrace the world again, caught between the daredevil impulses which see her step out in a gossip-generating, low-cut, crimson dress, and her deep sense of propriety and responsibility to her children. She rejects a marriage offer from an older man who promises her companionship and affection, but is drawn to her gardener, Ron, who is impetuous, bold, direct and opens wine bottles with his teeth. Everything you want from a tumultuous weepy is here: hard, breathless kisses; big, brave declarations of violent, undying love; battle-weary, star-crossed lovers who meet obstacles at every turn. But Sirk surpasses melodramatic cliches by securing an exceptional performance from Wyman.
Source : TheGuardian