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  • Adam Carr

Best Romance Movies of All Time: Top 20

What is romance? It's a connection and stirring of emotions two people arouse in one another. This feeling doesn't mean they'll be together forever but we hope they will. Romantic films should give the audience the pleasure of watching two characters meant for each other plot their course so they can fall happily in love with each other. Sometimes they do. Other times fate keeps them apart. Pain is part of the romance. These are the films (as of this moment; pretty sure it will be a different list next year) that Movies or Cinema feel are the most romantic- as of today, at least.

20. Mississippi Marsala (1992)

Mira Nair's romantic tale of Indian refugees' daughter (Sarita Choudhury) falling in love with the local carpet cleaning business owner Denzel Washington. Their love is tested by cultures clashing and business rivalries but the chemistry between Washington and Choudhury is the glue that keeps the story together.

19. Notebook (2004)

A recounting of how a man, James Garner, fell in love with his sweetheart. Who are the two kids in love? Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. 'Nuff said.

18. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

The version where Keira Knightley tangles with Mr. Darcy and the rest of the Bennett sisters navigate the rough waters of finding a suitor in 18th century England. This is a fun version with Knightley's Elizabeth using her wit to take down Mr. Darcy while also securing a future husband with the intent of falling in love along the way.

17. Splash (1984)

To paraphrase John Candy, so what if you're in love with a fish. Remember when you were happy? Some people will never be that happy. He'll never be that happy. Hey, who said love is perfect?

16. An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

Two lost souls, Richard Gere and Debra Winger, with two different agendas grow as people and fall in love in the process. Great film to watch the seeds of love blossom in rough terrain.

15. Love & Basketball (2000)

A love triangle between Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps and both their passions: basketball. Omar wants Sanna to put her passion aside to be with him but she's not having it. It may be hard for a woman to play a sport that doesn't have much of a future, compared with the men, but she may be more passionate for the game then for Omar. And she won't let it go- the game of course.

14. Remains of the Day (1993)

The tension runs high between butler Anthony Hopkins and housekeeper Emma Thompson. Their duties to the mansion owner are the priority and they put up a wall of which their affections cannot climb. The squabbling and bickering may seem like two people at odds but their respect for each other arouse feelings they're afraid to explore. When Hopkins does accept what he's feeling, the moment has already passed.

13. Brief Encounter (1945)

Those moments when you meet the unexpected stranger who may be the one true love of one's life. It's those encounters that are unhealthy for marriages.

12. Sense & Sensibility (1995)

18th century England again but this time it's the Dashwood sisters who are looking for suitors and more to the point, love. Emma Thompson's wonderful script filled with rumors, false hopes and misunderstandings. In the end the girls get their men and we're happy to see love triumph.

11. Notorious (1946)

It may be surprising to find the Master of Suspense on a list of best romantic movies but Alfred Hitchcock was devoted to the art of cinema and always looked to manipulate viewers' emotions. His technique only amplified the romance between his two main characters during one of his best spy capers. A spy falls in love with his mole but she must use her body to infiltrate the enemy's network. Needless to say it strains the relationship, but their love is strong enough to not only relight the flame, but save the world as well.

10. Say Anything (1989)

The "going nowhere" boy hitting on your daughter got you down? And now he's outside your house holding up his boom box pointing it in your direction and blasting the music? Thinking he doesn't understand the importance of impressions? Well, the daughter thinks different. Cameron Crowe's story of passion conquering class differences and how love conquer all.

9. Romeo & Juliet (1996)

Baz Luhrmann's high octane take on the first romantic classic. This is early Leo and it is fun, raw with a whole lot of action.

8. The Way We Were (1973)

The ultimate relationship movie from the first days of flirting to the final divorce to the random meeting on the streets of New York City. This has it all including a titanic hit song.

7. Desert Hearts (1985)

Director Donna Deitch's film about two women who take the chance to show their feelings for one another in a time when doing such things was potentially dangerous for a woman's career. It's a brilliant look at how two people with an attraction for each other take the risk to find love.

6. Shakespeare In Love (1998)

The story of how the greatest love story ever told (see #9) was inspired by the Bard's own romance. Fun, exciting and incredibly witty. Certainly, in the top ten most original scripts ever written.

5. Journey to Italy (1954)

Roberto Rossellini's study of a marriage at the end of its romance. The couple take a trip to post war Europe and when they're confronted with the tragedies the human race inflicted upon each other they change their perspective towards their partner. Because within this tragedy they discovered from the people around them and before them had relied on love to survive. They're able to rekindle the flame that had burned out at the beginning of the movie.

4. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Ang Lee's great film on two lovers (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) navigating the dangerous path through the hyped up ultra-male world of cowboys. They are tired of repressing their feelings and let loose when they meet each other. It's a heartbreaking yet exhilarating film about love.

3. Casablanca (1942)

A world war can't dampen the fire of these two lovers, but the return of a missing husband might. The classic and still great love story with two of the greatest film stars of all time: Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman (she's in 3 of the movies on this list). It doesn't grow old.

2. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Ernst Lubitsch's romantic tale of two shop clerks who despise each other even though they are romantically linked through their anonymous correspondence as pen pals. Mr. Lubitsch could easily have five films on this list. His sly observations of people are both funny and ahead of its time. This is a wonderful romantic movie but its undercurrents of adultery, suicide and jealously add depth and make the conclusion that much more satisfying.

1. Moonstruck (1987)

Nicholas Cage lost his hand and bride. Danny Aiello explains that adultery happens because Adam lost his rib to Eve. It ain't modern times in Sicily. La bella luna! Puccini's La Boheme. And Cher won her Oscar. What else do you need?


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