65 of the Best Romantic Movies of All Time
Whether you care to admit it or not, everyone loves a good romantic movie. Hollywood has mastered the art of tugging at our heartstrings with swoon-worthy storylines, from A Star Is Born to The Notebook. But of course, these only scratch the surface of countless romance titles. We’ve rounded up some of the most beautiful, devastating, passionate and mushy flicks through the ages. Here, 65 of the best romantic movies of all time that will make you laugh, cry and, yes, believe in true love.
1. ‘Just Wright’ (2010)
A physical therapist, Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah), lands her dream job working for a professional basketball player, Scott McKnight (Common). Things take a romantic turn when she begins to fall for her new patient, who’s completely oblivious to her over-the-top gestures.
2. ‘In the Mood for Love’ (2000)
Set in 1960s Hong Kong, this beautifully-shot film tells the story of two neighbors (played by Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) whose spouses are having an affair. As they confront this betrayal, the two begin to spend more time together and eventually develop feelings for each other.
3. ‘A Star Is Born’ (2018)
When popular musician Jack (Bradley Cooper) accidentally discovers (and falls in love with) struggling artist Ally (Lady Gaga), he brings her into the spotlight and jumpstarts her career. But like any great love story, tragedy is just around the corner.
4. ‘Notting Hill’ (1999)
“I'm also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” Gah, we don’t even care how cheesy it is, this story about a charming English bookstore owner (Hugh Grant) and a famous American actress (Julia Roberts, essentially playing herself) is pure rom-com gold.
5. ‘Love & Basketball’ (2000)
Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are two childhood friends with the same competitive dream: to become a professional basketball player. The movie follows their years-long journey as they’re forced to choose between their relationship and their budding careers.
6. ‘Love Actually’ (2003)
A bunch of stars (Hugh Grant and Colin Firth included) try to figure out their love lives with plenty of laughter and tears thrown into the mix. Plus, there’s an epic cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas." (But you can totally watch this one all year round.)
7. ‘It Happened One Night’ (1934)
This oldie but goodie centers around a spoiled heiress (Claudette Colbert) who runs away from her family and meets a charming man (Clark Gable) who is willing to help her. The snag? The kind stranger is actually a reporter looking for a story. This was the first movie to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay).
8. ‘Moonlight’ (2016)
It follows a young black man at three different chapters of his life. Along the way, he questions his sexuality, meets new friends and learns the true meaning of love. Oh, and did we mention it won the Oscar Award for Best Picture? (Sorry, La La Land.)
9. ‘Amélie’ (2001)
When a young and slightly kooky girl, Amélie (Audrey Tautou), moves to the central part of Paris to become a waitress, she discovers a lost treasure belonging to the former occupant of her apartment and decides to dedicate her life to helping those around her. She meets plenty of colorful characters along the way including what could be her perfect match. Charming, fun and an instant classic.
10. ‘Ghost’ (1990)
The heartbreaking tale follows Molly Jensen (Demi Moore), an artist who’s coping with the loss of her beloved husband, Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze), who returns to earth as a powerless spirit. You just haven’t lived until you’ve seen that scene with Moore, Swayze and some messy clay.
11. ‘The Lovebirds’ (2020)
Moments before breaking up, Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) accidentally become involved in a murder scheme. Afraid of getting framed, the pair embark on a journey to clear their names. Can they save their relationship during the most uncertain of circumstances?
12. ‘An Officer and A Gentleman’ (1982)
While Pretty Woman is a true rom-com classic, this Richard Gere drama about a young man completing his navy pilot training is a more mature look at love and human growth. Keep the tissues on standby—you’ll thank us later.
13. ‘Casablanca’ (1942)
Others have tried, but no movie couple is as iconic as Ilsa and Rick (Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart) are in this epic wartime romance about two old flames who cross paths after years of no contact. (Black and white films FTW.)
14. ‘Basmati Blues’ (2017)
A young scientist, Linda (Brie Larson), is sent to India on assignment to sell genetically modified rice. When she learns that it’ll destroy jobs, she teams up with a local farmer named Rajit (Utkarsh Ambudkar) to make things right.
15. ‘Love Story’ (1970)
We’re not sure we can get on board with this flick’s famous last line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” (it doesn’t), but this ’70s cult classic is perfect for those nights when you just want a really good ugly cry.
16. ‘Something New’ (2006)
Kenya (Sanaa Lathan) is torn between two completely different men. (Sound familiar?) It all starts when she backs out of blind date after realizing her suitor isn’t Black. Will she let her past biases stop her from finding her soulmate?
17. ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (1961)
Those pearls, the Givenchy LBD and that iconic 'do—this classic is worth watching for Holly Golightly’s (Audrey Hepburn) enviable style alone. But this story based on Truman Capote’s famous novella has plenty else going for it—comedy, romance and swanky Upper East Side locations.
18. ‘Blue Valentine’ (2010)
Some romances are made for curling up with your S.O. and reaffirming your love for each other. Others, like this one, are better watched alone (or with your besties). A bittersweet portrayal of marriage and heartache starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.
19. ‘Someone Great’ (2019)
It might not have the happiest of endings, but this movie tells the story of a girl (Gina Rodriguez) who gets dumped by her boyfriend. So, she embarks on one last hoorah with her closest girlfriends before moving to San Francisco for a fresh start.
20. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (1991)
This enchanting hand-drawn Disney animation film is a classic for all ages. Equally good? The 2017 remake starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. The live-action version gives the fairy tale a modern, feminist twist we didn’t see coming.
21. ‘The Big Sick’ (2017)
This isn’t your standard rom-com. Instead, this funny and smart film (based on Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon’s IRL love story) explores cross-cultural themes and feels delightfully refreshing. Pakistan-born comedian Nanjiani (played by himself) falls for grad student Emily Gardner (Zoe Kazan), but when she contracts a mysterious illness that leaves her in a coma, Kumail must confront her parents, his own family and his true feelings.
22. ‘Focus’ (2015)
When a veteran con artist (Will Smith) takes a novice (Margot Robbie) under his wing, it isn’t long before their friendship turns romantic. That is, until she breaks up with him and becomes an accomplished femme fatale. *Adds to streaming queue*
23. ‘West Side Story’ (1961)
On the upper west side, two gangs—the Sharks and the Jets—battle for control of the neighborhood. Things get complicated when Jets member Tony (Richard Beymer) falls for Maria (Natalie Wood), the sister of the Sharks leader. It's a modern-day Romeo and Juliet with a musical twist.
25. ‘The Photograph’ (2020)
When Mae’s (Issa Rae) mother dies unexpectedly, she’s left with countless questions. After finding an old photograph of her late mom, she dives into her family history for the first time, which results in an unexpected romance. You had us at Issa Rae.
26. ‘Garden State’ (2004)
Zach Braff directed and starred in this sweet and sensitive film about a troubled young man (Andrew) who returns to his hometown in New Jersey for his mother’s funeral after being estranged from his family. Natalie Portman co-stars as the quirky love interest with plenty of other offbeat characters and a killer soundtrack.
27. ‘The Notebook’ (2004)
Oh, come on. We had to include this classic story about a couple who beat the odds to find their way back to each other. That scene with Noah (Ryan Gosling) shouting “What do you want?” at Allie (Rachel McAdams) will forever strike a chord.
28. ‘About Time’ (2013)
From the man behind Love Actually, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary comes this uplifting flick about a young man who realizes he has the ability to time travel. A wonderful reminder to cherish each and every day (and also that Rachel McAdams is amazing in everything).
29. ‘Carol’ (2015)
This melodrama about two women who fall in love with each other in the ’50s is beautifully crafted and full of subtext and atmosphere. The story begins when Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) spots Carol (Cate Blanchett) in a department store, and the rest is history.
30. ‘Atonement’ (2007)
You won’t be able to tear your eyes away from the screen during that scene in the library with James McAvoy and Keira Knightley (and her stunning green dress). Shortly after, things take a devastating turn as these two lovers are torn apart by meddling families.
31. ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (2004)
After a gruesome breakup, an estranged couple (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) erase all memories of their relationship in this heart-wrenching, imaginative comedy-drama that hit theaters back in 2004. Can they cope with the loss of someone they didn’t know existed?
32. ‘Titanic’ (1997)
We’re not ashamed to admit that we saw this in theatres two three times. And even though we know how it ends (spoiler: the ship sinks), our hearts still go on leap for joy every time Jack and Rose dance together and sketch nude drawings.
33. ‘Call Me By Your Name’ (2017)
This blossoming romance between a seventeen-year-old boy and his father’s research assistant takes place in picture-perfect 1980s Italy. A tale of first love based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman and starring the incredible Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. Need we say more?
34. ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (2018)
Based on Kevin Kwan's 2013 best-selling novel of the same name, this romantic comedy is the first major Hollywood film with a majority Asian cast and crew since The Joy Luck Club in 1993 (NBD). It follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding) to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. Upon arrival, she learns that not only is Nick super rich but he's also one of the country's most eligible bachelors. How will Rachel navigate this new world of wealth and glamour... and his disapproving mother?
35. ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ (2013)
When 15-year-old Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) meets the blue-haired Emma (Léa Seydoux), it sparks something within her. Audiences of all ages will be mesmerized by this complicated and passionate French love story that evolves over the course of ten years. (Disclaimer: It’s three hours long, so be sure to carve out enough time in your schedule.)
36. ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ (2018)
Lara Jean (Lana Condor) keeps to herself—so much so that she has a stash of love letters in her closet, where she confessed her feelings to each of her crushes. When her younger sister (Anna Cathcart) accidentally mails the letters, hilarity ensues.
37. ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ (2001)
We love cursing, boozing and laugh-out-loud funny Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) just as she is in this irresistible comedy that spawned two sequels. If there’s one thing that’s still up for debate: Are you team Darcy or team Cleaver? (Trick question: Darcy, obviously.)
38. ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ (2018)
Tish and Alonzo (Fonny) have been friends since childhood but their plans for the future are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Set in 1970s Harlem, this moving flick centers around a couple's unbreakable bond and the obstacles they must overcome to be together. Beautifully shot, you'll marvel (and cry) at this touching love story.
39. ‘Dirty Dancing’ (1987)
When Frances 'Baby' Houseman (Jennifer Gray) spends the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, she falls in love with the camp's bad boy dance instructor, Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). It's a classic story with few surprises but we'll watch it again and again for that lift.
40. ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ (2014)
If you couldn’t stop weeping during A Walk to Remember, this is the movie for you. It introduces viewers to two cancer patients slash hopeless romantics: Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort). This is their heartbreaking story.
41. ‘One Day’ (2011)
Sure, this film adaptation from David Nicholls's smash-hit novel of the same name isn't perfect (Anne Hathaway's accent, in particular, received a lot of flack) but it's impossible not to fall in love with Dex and Emma as we watch the two friends meet on the same day over 18 years.
42. ‘The Proposal’ (2009)
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is a ballsy editor-in-chief of a book publishing company, and Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) is her hard-working assistant. When Margaret faces deportation to Canada, she hatches a plan to marry Andrew in order to keep her visa status, and in exchange offers Andrew a promotion. We think you can guess what happens next (hilarity and love, of course).
43. ‘Brokeback Mountain’ (2005)
This moving tale of a secret love affair between two cowboys is powerful, heartbreaking and beautifully crafted. The story focuses on a rancher named Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid), who hires Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) to work on his ranch.
44. ‘When Harry Met Sally’ (1989)
Meg Ryan, Nora Ephron and the Big Apple—matches made in rom-com heaven. It’s a delightful film about a pair of quirky New Yorkers (Billy Crystal included) who are convinced that men and women can’t be friends—or can they?
45. ‘The Way We Were’ (1973)
All you need to know is that Barbra Streisand stars in this opposites attract love story that takes place over the course of several years. OK fine, Robert Redford also stars in the film, and it’s undeniably fabulous. The end.
46. ‘Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight’ (1995/2004/2013)
In the first movie, American man Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and French woman Céline (Julie Delpy) meet on a train, get off in Vienna and spend the night walking around the city, talking and falling in love. The sequel follows up with the duo nine years later in Paris, and the third another nine years later in Greece. You’re going to want to set aside an entire weekend and watch them all. Trust us.
47. ‘The English Patient’ (1996)
This adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's novel stars Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas as two hapless lovers in Northern Africa during World War II. It received 12 nominations at the 69th Academy Awards in 1997 and won nine awards including Best Picture. If you’re not bawling by the end, then you’re a monster. Only joking. (Sort of.)
48. ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ (1997)
Julia Roberts is her typically charming self in this screwball romance, but it’s the film’s surprising plot twists that make it worth watching. Oh, and how could we forget about the ah-mazing sing-along scene to Aretha Franklin’s “I Say a Little Prayer.”
49. ‘Like Crazy’ (2011)
You never forget your first love, but unfortunately for a British college student (Felicity Jones) and her American classmate (Anton Yelchin), their love story takes a tragic turn when she violates the terms of her visa and they’re forced to separate. If the movie feels true-to-life, it’s likely because a lot of it was actually improvised.
50. ‘Lost in Translation’
Two strangers (Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray) form an unlikely bond after meeting in a hotel bar in Tokyo. Basically, it’s a moving (and at times, laugh-out-loud funny) film about finding a connection with someone when you’re least expecting it.
51. 'Last Christmas' (2019)
Kate (Emilia Clarke) is exhausted by her job working as a year-round elf in a holiday stop. When she unexpectedly meets a man named Tom (Henry Golding), she suddenly discovers the true meaning of Christmas. “Alexa, play ‘Last Christmas’ on Spotify.”
52. '10 Things I Hate About You' (1999)
Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) and her younger sister, Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), couldn’t be more different from each other. So, their dad (Larry Miller) develops a household rule that states Bianca can’t date until Kat has a boyfriend. The plan, of course, backfires.
53. 'Love, Guaranteed' (2020)
Nick (Damon Wayans Jr.) has been on 1,000 first dates, and he’s still single. So, he hires a lawyer to sue the dating app, which supposedly has a high success rate. As predicted, Nick soon finds love when he’s least expecting it. (And yes, it also stars Rachael Leigh Cook.)
54. 'Forrest Gump' (1994)
Despite his slow development, Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) is a kind and optimistic young boy, thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field). Sure, it’s sad as hell. But on the plus side, you can totally ease the pain with a box of chocolates.
55. 'Rebecca' (2020)
A young newlywed (Lily James) visits her husband’s family estate, which is located on the English coast. The problem? She can’t seem to forget about her husband’s ex-wife, Rebecca, whose legacy is practically written into the walls of the residence.
56. 'Love, Simon' (2018)
Simon is a 17-year-old high school student who’s never told anyone—including family and friends—that he’s gay. Well, that’s all about to change. (After you’ve watched Love, Simon, be sure to check out Hulu’s equally binge-worthy sequel series, Love, Victor.)
57. 'Five Feet Apart' (2019)
Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse) are both cystic fibrosis patients. Due to their illnesses, they aren’t allowed to touch each other and must maintain a six-foot distance. Since Stella is determined to live by her own rules, she changes the doctor’s orders to five feet apart (hence the movie title). Sounds awfully familiar in the age of the coronavirus pandemic.
58. 'Me Before You' (2016)
In an attempt to make ends meet, Louisa “Lou” Clark (Emilia Clarke) is constantly changing jobs. Her newest venture involves becoming a caregiver for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a wealthy, paralyzed banker who desperately needs a new outlook on life.
59. 'The Sun Is Also a Star' (2019)
Daniel (Charles Melton) and Natasha (Yara Shahidi) come from two different worlds. While Daniel wants to achieve more than his parents have planned for him, Natashia fears her family will be deported. When they randomly meet and fall in love, sparks fly. (Not to mention, it’s based on the namesake book by Nicola Yoon.)
60. 'Love & Other Drugs' (2010)
Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a handsome pharmaceutical salesman who’s never had an issue picking up women in his female-driven industry. When he meets a young Parkinson’s patient named Maggie (Anne Hathaway), they develop an intimate relationship he didn’t see coming.
61. ‘Sylvie’s Love’
From the stunning ‘50s attire and musical score to Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha’s beautiful chemistry, it’s impossible to not fall in love with this film. Sylvie’s Love follows the romantic relationship between aspiring filmmaker Sylvie Parker (Thompson) and Robert Halloway (Nnamdi Asomugha), a struggling jazz musician.
62. ‘Southside with You’ (2016)
If you've already devoured the entirety of Michelle Obama’s best-selling memoir, then you’ve already got a sense of how her love story with former U.S. President Barack Obama began. In this sweet romance, Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter portray the beloved couple as they go out on their very first date in 1989.
63. ‘Loving’ (2016)
The biographical drama chronicles the real-life story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs who helped pave the way for countless married interracial couples through the landmark Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia in 1967.
64. ‘The Incredible Jessica James’ (2017)
After going through a devastating breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Jessica James (Jessica Williams) strikes up a new relationship with the most unlikely person. It'll make you laugh and give you all the feels.
65. ‘Always’ (2011)
This touching South Korean drama follows a parking lot attendant and former boxer who falls for a girl who is blind. Prepare the tissues, because it’s filled with tearjerker moments.