Love is the biggest source of joy in our lives, but the best romance movies of all time have shown us that it can also be devastating, frustrating, and exhilarating all at once. From star struck lovers separated by social classes to unlikely couplings that turn into an intense affair, these films unveil every aspect of the human heart and mind, showing us how love makes the world go round.
Now, if you’re a firm believer that money is what makes this planet spin, then take a look at our compilation of the 10 best Wall Street movies, for some cinematic education on how to earn big bucks. However, for now, let’s focus on the grand emotions that arise in the game of love and which directors portrayed them best. These are the best romance movies of all time.
6. Roman Holiday (1953)
Director: William Wyler
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck
If there ever was a charming love story, then this would be it. After the energetic and adventurous Princess Ann runs away from her mansion (and her life) in Rome, she roams the town and falls asleep on a bench…only to be found by an American reporter. While at first he takes her in so he can get the scoop on her escape, they quickly fall in love. Filled with emotion and incredibly funny scenes, this pairing is one to enjoy.
5. Juno (2007)
Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: Ellen Page, Michael Cera
Although the main focus of this movie is Juno’s growing foetus and her struggle with being a teenager and pregnant, there’s plenty of room left for romance. In fact, the relationship with her baby daddy might be one of the most adolescent and endearing portrayed in a movie over the past decades.
4. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Director: David O Russell
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper
One of my personal favourites is this portrayal of two dysfunctional people who find something beautiful within each other. Not only is the on-screen chemistry between the protagonists palpable, but this film gives every emotionally unstable person hope of finding their matching shoe.
3. 500 Days of Summer (2009)
Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Zooey Deschanel
While some may argue that this film is cynical and discouraging of romance, I beg to differ. The story of Tom and Summer, who meet at the office where they work, and start dating is almost a classic modern day meet cute. In fact, the moment where the relationship starts to go downhill couldn’t be a more accurate portrayal of the suffering resulting from unrequited love.
2. Before Sunset (2004)
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
It’s hard to say what makes this one of the best romance movies of all time. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s prequel Before Sunrise was already magnificent and the continuation of the story is perfectly crafted. Or maybe it’s the quick-knit runtime of 80 minutes that keeps us on the edge of our seats wondering, will they or won’t they take a leap of faith and live out their romance? Either way, this movie is brilliant, full of witty philosophical dialogues that play on the prequel and, of course, romantic to the bone. A true ode to love over distance and time.
1. The Notebook (2004)
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams
Nobody can deny that Ryan Gosling caught the public’s eye in this Nicholas Sparks adaptation, but a beautiful man does not a great movie make. However, what does make this my number one choice for the best romance movies of all time is the longevity of the story. The fact that a country boy and wealthy heiress’s love can last a lifetime is inspiring to say the least, and while there are some moments that graze dangerously close to being too cliché, the romance itself is priceless.