The movie industry is a billion dollar industry and narrowing down favorites in the myriad of possibilities is hard. We all know this from wandering up and down the movies aisles at the video store saying “I don't know, what do you want to watch?” While this may be a subjective list of favorites, the mix of romance, drama, historical fiction and comedy provides a tantalizing array of choices to suit the mood.
Traveling through time, defying all the odds to be together or just missing the opportunity for love that is right in front of you are just a few of the ways that these movies will touch your heart.
1. Gone With The Wind 1939 – Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh
Having all the essential brilliant movie elements, with eight Oscars wins to back it up, Gone with the Wind is ultimately a love story. Yes, I know it is long and do not recommend watching it on regular television since the theme song will drive you crazy with all the commercial breaks. But rent it or stream it for a lovely evening that will take you back to the grandeur of Pre-Civil war and the drama of the Civil War. Scarlett O'Hara is the quintessential movie heroine and as in love as any woman could ever hope to be. Throw in Rhett Butler; a charming, roguish man oozing with Southern Charm and you have movie history.
2. An Affair to Remember 1957 – Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
A classic American movie with four Oscar nominations, this movie is beautiful and touching. A little forbidden vacation romance turns to love and these two lovers decide to meet on top of the Empire State Building in six months to test their true feelings. One person will show up, one won't; but who and why and will they ultimately be together? Watch it and find out.
3. The Graduate 1967 – Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katherine Ross
A coming of age love story puts Benjamin, fresh out of college, in the midst of the complex and beautiful Robinson women. Dustin Hoffman is spectacular in the complicated love story with a twist.
4. The Way We Were 1973 – Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford
Hubbell and Katie make their way through an arduous and compelling romance with on again off again heartbreak. Robert Redford is at his movie star peak and Barbra Streisand is spellbinding. I would contend that this is some of their individual best work. The depth of the characters and chemistry between the actors is sublime.
Hubbell Gardner: “People are more important than their principles.”
Katie Morosky Gardner: “People ARE their principles.”
5. Somewhere in Time 1980 – Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour
Filmed at the breath-taking Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, Michigan, this love story spans decades and introduces time travel. Christopher Reeve is a young writer who falls in love with a beautiful actress. If you think Christopher Reeve was only Superman, I urge you to see this classic movie that will help you to remember that love is truly a force to be reckoned with throughout time.
6. Message in a Bottle 1999 – Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn
The title grabs the viewer in immediately with the intrigue of the message in the bottle. Robin Wright Penn finds the bottle and tracks down the broken man who penned the thoughtful note that was tossed into the sea. Set amongst the North Carolina dunes and Windy City as contrast, these two flawed and emotionally vulnerable characters take you on a journey much like that of the bottle being tossed into the ocean: floating, bobbing and heading towards an unknown destination.
7. Love Story 1970 – Ryan O'Neill and Ali McGraw
Another tale of opposites attracting, the witty dialogue and red-hot chemistry between Oliver and Jenny in undeniably intoxicating. Family relationships are also explored in this emotional exploration of life, fate and two people who fall in love.
Oliver: “Love means never having to say you're sorry.”
8. The Princess Bride 1987 – Cary Elwes and Robin Wright Penn
A classic fairy tale with all the enticing elements to interest the whole family: pirates, a princess and an evil prince. The story is touchingly read by a grandfather to his grandson while he is home sick. The full cast of characters drives this movie including noteworthy performances by Mandy Patinkin and Billy Crystal. Will the beautiful princess be saved by the handsome, masked man? Watch and see!
Westley” “This is true love, do you think this happens everyday?”
9. Titanic 1997 – Leanardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
More love on the high sea as Jack and Rose sail aboard the Titanic. This labor of love, with great attention to detail, captured the elegance of the Titanic as it set off in 1912. The sharp class differences between first and third class are evident but irrelevant to Jack and Kate as they fall in love. The theme song “My Heart Will Go On” performed by Celine Dion is as haunting as the footage of the wreck of the Titanic on the ocean floor.
10. Serendipity 2001 John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale
Is true true love the work of fate or human intervention? After meeting one night in New York City, Jonathan and Sara throw caution, and her phone number, to the wind with Sara believing if they are meant to be together that they will be. Years go by and they do not forget each other, continuing to look for the signs in the universe to find each other and true love.
11. PS I Love You 2007 – Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler
Movie tag line: Sometimes there's only one thing left to say.
Holly Kennedy is married to the love of her life, a gorgeous free spirited Irishman named Gerry. Life has other plans for this young couple and I don't want to spoil anything about this touching story of their love and life together. Please watch it.
12. When Harry Met Sally 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan
Saving the very best for last last, ten years transpire in this funny and realistic look at love with the major theme “can a man and women be friends, without sex getting in the way?” Interwoven through the tale of When Harry Met Sally are stories of how other couples met and fell in love. This classic, New York movie is set in so many iconic places such as the Metropolitan Museum and Carnegie Deli. Timeless with a fabulous soundtrack, this Rob Reiner classic will always be in my top movie list.
These are a few of my very favorite romantic movies, what are yours? Did I miss a classic or movie that you would like to share? Love to hear from you!
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Bruce Sallan says
Great list Peg…did you know that An Affair to Remember was a remake of an Irene Dunne movie? She is a forgotten star – who was incredible – mostly forgotten because most of her best movies were remade and hers went in the trash-heap of movie history!
A favorite of mine is “And Now My Love,” a Claude LeLouch film about love at first sight. I also love his “A Man and a Woman.”
‘Love Story?” “LOVE STORY?” – hmmm, you could do better than that one! lol…I used to play racquetball with Ryan O’Neal…another one of “those” stories!
Joe Passkiewicz says
Great list! Forgot about a few of your choices! Maybe a movie on V-day,