13 Greatest Romantic Movies To Restore Your Faith In True Love
Who doesn’t love getting swept up in a heartfelt movie love story? I know I’m a sucker for a good on-screen romance that tugs at the heartstrings.
13 of my favorite romantic films spanning classic love stories to modern relationship tales
Whether you’re in the mood for an epic love against the odds, a quirky meet-cute, or passionate emotional drama, you’ll find the perfect romantic movie on this list.
Grab some tissues and your sweetheart to cuddle with while you enjoy these love stories made for the movies!
1. Casablanca (1942)
This iconic classic stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, an American club owner in Morocco whose lost love Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) unexpectedly re-enters his life during World War II.
Their chemistry makes this one of cinema’s greatest love stories. Rick has to decide if he should help Ilsa and her husband escape the Nazis or let her go again.
Fun Fact: The famous ending line “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” was improvised by Bogart.
Key Takeaway: True love means sacrifice, as Rick proves by putting Ilsa’s welfare above his own desires.
2. The Notebook (2004)
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams star as young lovers Noah and Allie who fall for each other from different social classes in 1940s America.
But Allie’s parents disapprove, leading her to break Noah’s heart. When they reunite years later, their passion is rekindled, but obstacles remain before they can have a happy ending.
Fun Fact: McAdams and Gosling’s on-screen chemistry spilled into real life – they dated after filming concluded.
Key Takeaway: Love can overcome any barriers if it’s truly meant to be, as Noah and Allie show through their unwavering devotion across years and hardships.
3. Pretty Woman (1990)
Corporate raider Edward (Richard Gere) hires Vivian (Julia Roberts) as his escort for business events.
As they spend an unlikely week together, their initially cold arrangement blossoms into a real emotional connection. But can their love overcome their vastly different lifestyles?
Fun Fact: Roberts’ legendary laugh during the snails scene was unscripted and genuine.
Key Takeaway: Finding common ground can lead to love in unexpected places, as Vivian and Edward discover through their week together.
4. The Princess Bride (1987)
A fairy tale adventure about farmhand Westley (Cary Elwes) on a quest to rescue his one true love, Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) after she is kidnapped by an evil prince.
To save Buttercup, Westley must outwit kidnappers, sword fight, and battle Rodents of Unusual Size!
Fun Fact: Billy Crystal came up with many of his one-liners as the wizard Miracle Max on the fly.
Key Takeaway: “True love” means sacrificing everything for your soulmate, a value Westley lives by to save Buttercup.
5. Annie Hall (1977)
Neurotic comedian Alvy (Woody Allen) falls for the ditsy Annie (Diane Keaton). Their quirky love blossoms and withers as they navigate their messy relationship and personalities in 1970s New York City.
Fun Fact: Many scenes were improvised based on Allen’s real relationship with Keaton.
Key Takeaway: Lasting love is about accepting your partner’s flaws and peculiarities, as Alvy and Annie learn during their up-and-down courtship.
6. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Rugged cowboys Ennis and Jack (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) fall into a secret romance while herding sheep in 1960’s Wyoming.
They struggle with the pressures of masculinity and homophobia that threaten to tear them apart.
Fun Fact: Ang Lee became the first Asian director to win a Best Director Oscar for the film.
Key Takeaway: Societal disapproval should not stop true love, though sadly Ennis and Jack cannot ultimately be together as they desire.
7. Say Anything (1989)
Lloyd (John Cusack), an underachieving romantic, pursues studious beauty Diane (Ione Skye) against her father’s wishes after high school.
His iconic boombox serenade makes this quirky relationship one for the ages.
Fun Fact: Cusack held the boombox over his head without aid, requiring several takes as it grew heavy.
Key Takeaway: Grand romantic gestures like Lloyd’s boombox song outside Diane’s window can make an ordinary relationship extraordinary.
8. Sixteen Candles (1984)
Samantha’s 16th birthday is a disaster. But a crush on older boy Jake (Michael Schoeffling) makes the day dreamy, even though he barely notices Samantha.
Will her birthday wish to get his attention come true?
Fun Fact: Molly Ringwald was directly involved in rewriting her character to be less vapid and more empowered.
Key Takeaway: High school crushes feel monumental, as Samantha’s pining for Jake across the hallways illustrates. But often it’s better left as a fond memory than acted upon.
9. The Princess Diaries (2001)
Teen Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) discovers she’s heir to the throne of fictional Genovia.
Under the tutelage of her grandmother Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews), Mia reinvents herself and crushes on a cute peer unaware she’s now a princess.
Fun Fact: Anne Hathaway’s eyebrows were waxed entirely off so she could have the proper eyebrows drawn for her makeover.
Key Takeaway: Discovering your worth helps you find self-confidence and worthiness of love, as Mia does when she embraces her inner royalty.
10. The Big Sick (2017)
Pakistani-American Kumail connects with grad student Emily despite cultural differences. When she falls ill, he bonds with her parents and examines how his upbringing impacts relationships.
Fun Fact: It’s based on the real-life romance and illness that brought together actor/writer Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon.
Key Takeaway: Love conquers cultural barriers, as Kumail proves through his devotion to Emily despite family opposition.
11. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
In quirky director Wes Anderson’s tale, 12-year-olds Suzy and Sam run away together in 1960’s Rhode Island.
While authorities search, their young love remains steadfast during their idyllic secret adventures.
Fun Fact: To depict such a remote island, Anderson had an entire town and lighthouse built as a practical set.
Key Takeaway: First love’s innocence endures hardship, as Suzy and Sam’s idyllic secret hideaway from the world shows.
12. The Sound of Music (1965)
The blossoming romance between Austrian governess Maria (Julie Andrews) and stern widower Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), brought together by their love of music and family.
Fun Fact: Andrews climbed over the Austrian Alps for the iconic opening shot instead of using a stunt double.
Key Takeaway: Shared passions like music, as Maria and the Captain discover, help form common bonds beyond initial perceived differences.
13. Roman Holiday (1953)
Runaway royalty Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) explores Rome with American reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) who pretends ignorance of her identity.
Their spontaneous adventures seed a bittersweet romance.
Fun Fact: Hepburn won an Oscar for her luminous film debut playing the incognito princess discovering freedom.
Key Takeaway: Escaping rigid conventions allows you to find what you truly want, as Ann does during her life-changing whirlwind with Bradley.
Whether you prefer swooning over classic romances or quirky modern pairs, you’re sure to find a new favorite love story on this list that speaks to your heart.
Because sometimes only a great movie romance can provide the perfect vicarious escape we need into a beautiful love story.
Enjoy these romantic gems with someone special!