|If you like to read romance, you probably like to watch it.
With that thought in mind, the staff of The Romance Reader has put
together a list of our favorite romantic films…those fabulous flicks
that we just can't seem to forget. Not all of the titles are what you'd
call "typical" romance films; just like the books we read, we all like
So if you're looking for a good Friday night date video, or just feel
like trying something new, we highly recommend any of the following.
And don't forget to check out
our Readers All-Time Favorite Romantic Movies and Readers Favorite
Ann McGuire's Favorite Romantic Movies
CASABLANCA - Why is this movie so great after all these years? Bogie.
CHANCES ARE - I love the Johnny Mathis song, and Robert Downey Jr. in
this movie about reincarnation.
CROSSING DELANCY - Maybe its 'cause I'm from New York, but I love the
idea of a "modern" woman falling in love with a pickle salesman.
EMMA - I absolutely loved the chemistry between Gwyneth Paltrow and
Jeremy Northam as Emma and Mr. Knightly. He has become my
quintessential Regency hero
FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL - I love the weddings in this movie, but the
funeral scene and Matthew's moving reading of W.C. Auden's poem puts me
in hysterics every time I watch it.
GIDGET - I can't help it. It's what got me into romantic movies. And I
still swoon over Moondoggie.
IMPROPTU - Hugh Grant (before he was famous) is Chopin and Judy Davis is
George Sand, the "scandalous" writer who chases him all over Paris.
Seeing Grant as the consumptive Polish composer, you'll understand why
everyone fell for him in FOUR WEDDINGS. Also features a wonderful
comedic turn by Emma Thompson.
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS - Featuring one of my all time top ten kissing
LITTLE WOMEN - The Winona Ryder version. I think this movie is
absolutely beautiful, from its cinematography to the wonderful way it
captures the spirit of Louisa May Alcott's famous foursome. I loved the
book but I never understood why Jo would love Professor Baer and not
Laurie-until I saw Gabriel Byrne as Professor Baer.
THE MORE THE MERRIER - The original version of one of Laurie's pics,
(WALK DON'T RUN) stars Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea as roommates during a
Washington room shortage during the war.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING - Kenneth Brannagh and Emma Thompson
(pre-divorce) in Shakespeare's tale of the feuding Beatrice and Benedict
and how they fall in love despite their hearts. Brannagh's soliloquy is
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE - The BBC/A&E version. Colin Firth IS Mr. Darcy!
THE QUIET MAN - Yes, you watch it every St. Patrick's Day, but forget
the "quaint" diddly-idle Irishness of the film. It's the hot tempered
romance between John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara that makes this a classic.
If you never thought of John Wayne as sexy, catch the scene in the
graveyard in the rain.
THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER - A wonderful old Jimmy Stewart movie (how
can anyone not like this man?) wherein he discovers that his secret
penpal is actually the woman he dislikes at work.
STAKE OUT - A real action/comedy, but with fabulous chemistry between
Richard Dreyfuss and Madeline Stowe.
TIM - Mel Gibson at his most beautiful. And…he takes his shirt off a
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING - Sandra Bullock is the quintessential
everywoman. This is such a nice movie I cry every time I see it.
WHO AM I THIS TIME? - An "American Playhouse" drama from the '80s,
directed by Jonathan Demme. It stars Christopher Walken as a man who is
so shy he can only express himself when he becomes the character he is
playing on stage. Then Susan Sarandon comes to town and gets cast
opposite him in "A Streetcar Named Desire." It's a charming little slice
Dede Anderson's Favorite Romantic Movies
I'm afraid this list will let out my guilty secret. I really like action
movies more than traditional romantic movies. So some of these may
seem strange for a romantic movie list. But, hey, it's what I like!
THE BIG COUNTRY - Gregory Peck is wonderful in this old movie and Jean Simmons
BRAVEHEART - History, kilts and Mel Gibson in love -- need I say more?
BULL DURHAM - Yes, a romance, but would you believe I really liked the
baseball? Probably not (well, some of you might!)
DOC HOLLYWOOD - An actual romance, so maybe I'm more traditional than I
A FISH CALLED WANDA - This movie made me giggle and sigh and Kevin Kline
wasn't ALL bad!
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK - I loved the Karen Allen character in this movie, she
was tough and, best of all, she didn't scream!
KINDERGARDEN COP - Ok, I like Arnold, too, so all my secrets are out!
OVERBOARD - Dumb, silly, but fun.
QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER - Adventure, Australia, Tom Selleck and I loved Laura
SanGiacomo as the crazy lady.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE - Forget Westley and Buttercup -- Inigo Montoya was
my kind of guy.
ROB ROY - What is it about a guy in a kilt?
ROMANCING THE STONE - Who wouldn't love a movie about a romance author!
ROXANNE - Okay, this really IS a romance.
WHAT'S UP, DOC? - I'd forgotten how much I liked this until I saw it on Meredith's list.
WITNESS - Maybe not technically a romance, but what great sexual tension
and Harrison Ford
Thea Davis's Favorite Romantic Movies
Does this prove I can find romance in anything?
THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS
FIRST MONDAY IN OCTOBER
THE STAR WARS TRILOGY
Lesley Dunlap's Favorite Romantic Movies
BRIGADOON - Beautiful music, beautiful dancing, and time travel in
Scotland decades before "Outlander"!
LADYHAWKE - Romantic, funny, artistic. One of the few movies I've been
able to watch over and over.
THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER - The movie that illustrates that sometimes a
gotta do what a man's gotta do and, of course, that includes getting the
girl. And breathtaking scenery besides.
MARNIE - Stupid plot. Bad acting on Tippi Hedren's part. The lousiest
set that's supposed to be Baltimore ever. But Sean Connery "overcomes"
Tippi's resistance…mine too. I watched it twice in the week it came out
back when I was a high school student with virtually no money. And Sean
Connery was worth every penny!
TIM - Mel Gibson's breakthrough role where he plays a retarded man. But
hey! Brains aren't everything.
THE WIND AND THE LION - Sean Connery gives Rudolph Valentino competition
for the sexiest thing in flowing white robes in the desert.
Laurie Gold's Favorite Romantic Movies
CINDERELLA - The Leslie Ann Warren version I saw as a child and now show
to my child.
CHOOSE ME - Terrific off-beat film w/great Teddy Pendergrass Soundtrack.
COLD COMFORT FARM - Off-beat, funny, and romantic to boot (in an
DYING YOUNG - Romantic tragedy.
THE ENGLISH PATIENT - Epic romantic tragedy.
EMMA - Regency romance with terrific acting (Gwyneth Paltrow version.)
FUNNY FACE - Musical romantic comedy.
GONE WITH THE WIND
THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET - Goofily funny little romance.
IT STARTED WITH EVE - Romantic comedy from the 1940's.
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS - Victorian-set musical romantic comedy.
THE MOON IS BLUE - Romantic comedy from the 1950's.
ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER - Reincarnation romance with Barbara
Streisand - she sings too.
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY - Hepburn and Grant.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE - A funny and dashing fairy tale.
ROB ROY - Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange in the Highlands.
THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH - It's about Selkies and Ireland.
SABRINA - The original version for the story-line and the Harrison Ford
version because I think, and this is the only re-make I've ever thought
this of, that the remake is more romantic.
SENSE & SENSIBILITY - Regency romance.
16 CANDLES - Wonderful teen-age romance.
SWEPT AWAY (Italian) - Two mis-matched people on a deserted isle, and
one of them is Giancarlo Gianinni.
THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING - Daniel Day Lewis and Juliet Binoche;
you'll never eat an apple without blushing.
THE WAY WE WERE - Streisand and Redford; nuff said!
WALK, DON'T RUN - Farcical romance set at 1964 Olympics in Japan.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING - Delightful modern day romantic comedy with
wonderful chemistry between Bill Pullman and Sandra Bullock (plus the
looks of Peter Gallagher.)
Jean Mason's Favorite Romantic Movies
The following are mostly oldies but goodies.
CASABLANCA - This is probably my number one favorite movie. I think
between Rick and Ilsa is so beautifully handled. It is quite clear that
they were lovers in Paris, that they were two lost souls who finally
found the perfect other. And, they found it again that night in
Casablanca. But duty and honor prevail. I have always hoped that
somehow they find each other again.
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT - Clark Gable was just great as the newspaper
reporter nosing out a good, juicy scandal and Claudette Colbert was a
wonderful society belle who rejects the artificiality of her fiancée in
exchange for the reality of the rough and ready Gable (but who
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY - (or just about any romantic movie with Cary
Grant) What a great romantic comedy! I love stories of love lost and
then found again. The fact that Katharine Hepburn had to grow up and
accept human frailty (including her own) before she could admit that
Cary was the right man for her made the love story more meaningful. And
imagine having a choice between Cary Grant and James Stewart. (HIGH
SOCIETY wasn't bad as a musical remake either, but Bing Crosby was no
ROMAN HOLIDAY - For someone who loves happy endings, my two favorites
are sure out of
character. I always wanted to be Audrey Hepburn (when I didn't want to
be Grace Kelly). I thought watching Gregory Peck fall in love with
Audrey and refuse to use her story (can you imagine this happening with
the modern press?) was so poignant. And that scene in the car - how
touching. After seeing ROMAN HOLIDAY I went back and wrote a sequel as
to how *they* could end up together. (If I can't have my happy ending,
I'll create my own!)
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE - I know that purists don't think much of the
Laurence Olivier, Greer
Garson version, but as a 13-year-old, it began my fascination with Jane
Austen, Georgette Heyer and the whole regency era, so I guess it has to
be one of my favorites. I realized when I watched it again last year
how inaccurate it was in costuming and setting, but I still think
Olivier was a great Darcy and Garson had the spirit of Elizabeth.
Others on my list include:
SABRINA (the original)
Tracy/Hepburn films and other too numerous to mention. And then
there's that frontier drama with Loretta Young, William Holden and
Robert Mitchum whose name I can't recall.
Of more current films, I have enjoyed:
WHEN HARRY MEETS SALLY
Leslie McClain's Favorite Romantic Movies
GONE WITH THE WIND
THE BIG EASY
AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE
Meredith Moore's Favorite Romantic Movies
THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBYSOXER - Can't get enough Cary Grant. This also
Shirley Temple in one of her only (semi) grown-up roles.
BRINGING UP BABY - A great old screwball comedy with Cary Grant and
DANCES WITH WOLVES - Great script, great performances, great production
values, great musical score, Costner, 'nuff said? I only wish someone
had tried to give Stands With A Fist a historically accurate hairdoo.
DEAD AGAIN -- A very strange sort of thriller with Kenneth Brannagh and
Emma Thompson. There are some really bizarre plot twists and an
over-the-top dramatic climax, but fine performances and wonderful
chemistry between the hero and heroine. Andy Garcia has a supporting
EMMA -- The Gywneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northrup version is terrific, but
also look for the Kate Beckinsale version made by A&E.
FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL - One of my all time favorites, this film is
the pantheon of romantic comedies. Just try to forget that in real
life, Hugh is a very naughty boy.
THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN - This film is divided into two parts, a
modern and Victorian one. I like to ignore the modern part and just
watch the Victorian one. It has beautiful historical costumes and sets,
and wonderful performances by Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons.
THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR - Another great old black and white Hollywood
classic. Much better than the TV series. Did Gene Tierney ever look
HIS GIRL FRIDAY - Yes, more Cary Grant. You have to be fast to hear all
the snappy dialogue, but if you love repartee, Grant and Rosalind
Russell are tops.
HOBSON'S CHOICE - A superb but little known British flick, with a very,
very strong heroine. Someone else mentioned this one, I believe. I
strongly second the recommendation!
I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE - More zany screwball comedy with Cary Grant in
JANE EYRE - I'm very fond of the old Hollywood version with Joan
Fontaine and Orson Welles. I think they captured the atmosphere very
well, and for a short movie, its fairly faithful to the book. The BEST
screen version of Jane Eyre is the BBC 2 volume set, with Timothy Dalton
as Mr. Rochester. Timothy Dalton too gorgeous to play Rochester, you
say? Yes -- but this man can ACT. He's incredible, absolutely
incredible. I really hated the Franco
Zefferelli version of Jane Eyre. Despite some pretty production values,
it just mutilated the book, and Zeferelli had no understanding
whatsoever of Jane's character.
THE LADY EVE - Also mentioned previously, I strongly second the
Barbara Stanwyck is incredible in this, and a very young Henry Fonda is
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS - The Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe
version. Though this film has almost nothing to do with the Cooper book,
it doesn't bother me, since I didn't like the book. What a movie! Its
visually gorgeous, has wonderful historic production values, and an
amazing cast. Can Daniel Day-Lewis act or what? In one movie, he's a
twit. In THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, a hunk. Though the romance is not the
full emphasis of this action
picture, there's enough hormones here to last a lifetime.
THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR - This is an extremely silly old comedy, and one
of my only favorites with Ginger Rogers. The synopsis would sound too
absurd to even describe. But its a whole lot of fun.
MY BRILLIANT CAREER - Though the heroine doesn't marry gorgeous Sam
Neill at the end, this film based on the life of writer Stella Franklin
has history's most erotic pillow fight.
MY MAN GODFREY - A fast, funny riches to rags to riches story. Carole
Lombard plays a dippy heiress in love with her butler, William Powell. A
romantic screwball comedy of high form.
NINOTCHKA - Greta Garbo's only comedy! Too bad she didn't make more of
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE - The A&E/BBC production.
REBECCA - The Joan Fontaine and Lawrence Olivier version is a classic of
ROMAN HOLIDAY - In my opinion, Gregory Peck ought to have made more
romantic comedies. Also BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S.
ROMEO AND JULIET - The lavish Franco Zefferelli production. Whatever
happened to Leonard White and his bedroom eyes?
A ROOM WITH A VIEW - At first I wasn't too keen on this movie. It
seemed to be a story about passion told in a passionless way.
Eventually, I saw that as being intentional. It has grown on me, and I
now watch it often.
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL - This was, I believe, a TV film, but its readily
available on video. This is one of my favorite classic romances, and
this is a good screen version. Great cast. (Note: I think MM is
referring to the Jane Seymour/Anthony Andrews version.)
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE - This film is part of my Meg Ryan video
SOME LIKE IT HOT - Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in drag, running away
the mob. Tony falls for Marilyn Monroe, but how can he tell her, when
she thinks he's a woman?
STRICTLY BALLROOM - Even if you don't like ballroom dancing, you'll love
this terrific Australian film. I love this movie because of its plain
but determined heroine, dazzlingly sexy hero, and a hysterically funny
cast. You may just never think of ballroom dancing as dull again!
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW - Another lavish Zefferelli film. I'm not much
an Elizabeth Taylor fan, but she and Richard Burton were glorious
together in this.
THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE - A musical taking place in the roaring 20s,
Julie Andrews as Millie. Millie is a country girl come to the big city
to find a rich man to marry, but must compete with Mary Tyler Moore of
all people. But watch out for those white slavers, Millie!
TRULY MADLY DEEPLY - A talky British movie, but one that gently and
tenderly explores loss of love. It proves Alan Rickman can play more
than bad guys!
WHAT'S UP DOC? -- a hysterically funny 70s screwball comedy, based
loosely on 30s screwball comedies. As for me, this is my favorite Barbra
Streisand movie. She's at her fiesty, funny best, and Ryan O'Neal is
amazing as Professor Howard Bannister. Also notable is Madeline Kahn as
"Eunice". One of the best chase endings ever.
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
Linda Mowery's Favorite Romantic Movies
AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN - Debra Winger and Richard Gere. Steamy sex
and tender triumphs highlight this story of two misfits who discover
that friendship and love can develop from a lusty beginning.
PRETTY WOMAN - Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Hooker with a heart of
gold and tycoon with faults prove that love is in the eye of the
beholder. I grin every time I hear Roy Orbison sing the title song.
SWEET NOVEMBER - Anthony Newley and Sandy Dennis. Sara Deever chooses
a new man each month to be her "project." She takes him under her wing,
and at the end of the month, chooses another man. Charlie Blake is
Sara's November project. She finds him anal-retentive about time and
plans to show him that there's more to life than schedules. But Sara is
also on a mission. She's dying. Her hope is that the more lives she
touches, the more she'll be remembered. I woke up in the middle of the
night with tears on my face from this one.
TWO FOR THE ROAD - Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. TFTR chronicles
the lives of our two lovers from their first meeting through their tenth
anniversary and shows that, while the road may be rough, the journey
together is what it's all about. Albert Finney is fine in this one.
THE WAY WE WERE - Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Bittersweet
classic which dramatizes that sometimes love demands trust and
acceptance or it never has a chance of lasting. A two hankie movie.
Cathy Sova's Favorite Romantic Movies
THE BIG EASY
BLINK - Aidan Quinn and Madeline Stowe in a good detective thriller.
CANNERY ROW - Nick Nolte and Debra Winger in a fine adaptation of
Steinbeck that hardly anyone saw.
CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
THE COMPETITION - Anyone else remember this one? Richard Dreyfuss and
CROSSING DELANCY - I watch it at least twice a year.
THE CUTTING EDGE
THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER and RETURN TO SNOWY RIVER - Adventure romance
with lots of horses and great scenery as a plus!
THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS
Susan Scribner's Favorite Romantic Movies
THE AFRICAN QUEEN - Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart. A classic
between tough guy Bogart and prissy Hepburn as they make an impossible
down an African river to stop the bad guys. My favorite line, after
been captured by the Germans: "I now pronounce you man and wife.
Proceed with the hanging."
THE LADY EVE - Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck. A screwball romance
between naive Fonda and card-shark con-artist Stanwyck. Of course she
falls in love despite herself, and then has to devise a bizarre scheme
to make Fonda fall in love with her as she is pretending to be someone
else. Stanwyck does the tough-with-a-heart-of-gold like no one else and
Fonda is adorable.
ROXANNE - Steve Martin, Darryl Hannah (I really don't like Darryl Hannah
that much but she sure picks good scripts). An updated, happy ending
version of Cyrano de Bergerac in which Steve Martin learns to his
disbelief that he is lovable despite his large probiscus after he agrees
ghost-write the courtship of Darryl by a sweet but dim-witted hunk.
SPLASH - Tom Hanks, Darryl Hannah. A sweet and funny romance between
man and mermaid. I particularly love the scene when Tom Hanks complains
to his brother that "all my life I've been searching for someone and
when I find her she's a fish," and his brother tells him to shut up and
stop whining. A great example of lovers sacrificing to be together.
STARMAN - Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen. I cried for hours after this one.
An alien comes to earth and takes the form of Karen Allen's dead
husband. They share a short poignant relationship before he returns to
his home planet.