Our world might not always be the most loving place but there is one place you can always look to find love: romance movies. Movies about love leave audiences feeling warm and fuzzy and often can teach us things by telling stories in new ways. We wanted to come up with a list of films that tell powerful stories about one of our most essential emotions.
We look to Old Hollywood and new foreign treasures alike to find the most compelling stories of love ever put to film. There are blockbusters on this list as well as some indie gems you might have missed. Unrequited love, queer love, forbidden love, and more are all explored here to great effect. Scroll below to find yourself some romance movies for the next rainy day.
Check Out These Must-Watch Romance Movies We Love!
Starring Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of Scarlett Johansson, Spike Jonze‘s Her imagines a love affair between a human and artificial intelligence. Slightly terrifying if you think too long about it, this film is poignant and feels very relevant to how we are increasingly living.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
A musical with plenty of heart, Moulin Rouge is a weird one as it uses mashups of various pop songs to tell the story. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor are the lovers in this movie but will a jealous duke keep them from being together? As the song goes, “All you need is love.”
An intense film about a one-night-stand that ends up being much more, Weekend is one of the best queer romance movies ever made. This emotional and sexy film will stay with you for years.
I Am Love (2009)
The first film by Luca Guadagnino to make this list, I Am Love will not be the last! This film stars Tilda Swinton who speaks Italian with a Russian accent (yes, she can really do absolutely anything). Lush, romantic to its core, and full of intrigue, I Am Love is one of the best romance movies that you’ve likely never seen. Fix that!
Come for one of the longest continuous shots in film history, stay for one of Keira Knightley’s very best performances! Atonement explores how one lie can change the course of peoples’ lives entirely.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Two rugged cowboys fall in love while tending to a herd of sheep and embark on, what will become, a lifetime of wanting to return to the same mountain they fell in love on. In this challenging movie of queer in love in a time of hate, Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger are at the top of their games.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
As funny as it is heartbreaking, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tells the story of a couple who decide to have their memories erased after their relationship falls apart. This is one of the romance movies on this list that will melt your ice-cold heart.
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
A charming import from India, Monsoon Wedding tells the story of a whole bunch of rain and a whole lot of relatives that come together for a wedding as a result of an arranged marriage. This lighthearted and sweet film is one of the romance movies on this list that you could watch on repeat and tire of.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
If you needed proof (we doubt you do) that a female director should be at the helm of a lesbian romantic drama, just feast your eyes on Céline Sciamma‘s Portrait of a Lady on Fire. A film that’s masterfully composed, this is a period piece that feels truly modern.
Dirty Dancing (1987)
“Nobody puts baby in the corner!” Dirty Dancing is a classic that many of us grew up watching with our parents. There’s romance, dance, and plenty of Patrick Swayze to go around in this joy of a movie from the 1980s.
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
The first film by Barry Jenkins on this list but not the last, If Beale Street Could Talk is a film adaptation of a work by James Baldwin. The movie tells the story of a woman who becomes pregnant and must fight for her lover and childhood friend who has been accused of a crime. The performances and cinematography will take your breath away.
The Princess Bride (1987)
The Princess Bride is not only romantic it is also very funny. A farm boy-turned-pirate must overcomes several obstacles to be reunited with his one true love in this fairytale movie. If you have somehow never seen this one, you must remedy it on the next rainy day!
Roman Holiday (1953)
Audrey Hepburn stars in this classic about a bored princess who falls in love with an American journalist while in Rome, Italy. Hepburn won an Oscar for her vivacious performance in this film that all romance movies lovers must see!
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
We find Keira Knightley once more in this Jane Austen film adaptation. In the movie, Elizabeth Bennet meets rich and proud Mr. Darcy. But Darcy finds himself falling in love with a woman of a lower social class. You’ll both want to live 19th Century England and never find yourself in it.
Michael Haneke is one of the most celebrated directors of all time. In his artful film Amour, he explores how love evolves as we age into our final stages of life. Beautiful, poignant, and meditative this French-language movie will break your heart in the best way possible.
As sensory an experience as an emotional one, Todd Haynes‘ Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara is one of the most meticulously put together period films made in recent memory. From the costumes, to the sets, to the old cars, to the longing looks, to the creamed spinach, this movie has all you want in a lesbian romance set in 1950s New York.
God’s Own Country (2017)
Did you like the actor who played Prince Philip in the latest installment of The Crown? Then, you need to watch God’s Own Country. It stars Josh O’Connor who plays a depressed farmer in Yorkshire who meets a Romanian migrant worker, played beautifully by Alec Secareanu, who helps him understand himself and the world in a better way. It is destined to become one of the most cherished gay romance movies ever made.
“Snap out of it!” Cher is a dream in this romance film that also stars Nicolas Cage. Cher plays Loretta Castorini a bookkeeper who falls for the brother of the man she is engaged to marry. Come for Cher and stay for the legendary Olympia Dukakis.
“Here’s looking at you kid.” If you somehow have never made time to watch the classic Casablanca, we assure you that it is well worth your time. The movie is so romantic it’s almost painful. This movie has Morocco, Ingrid Bergman, fabulous jazz music, and plenty of drama (including some nasty Nazis). You must give this oldie but goodie a try.
Keep Reading for Even More of the Best Romance Movies!
Take a voyage on a fated ocean liner in James Cameron‘s biggest hit of the 1990s, Titanic. We find an aristocrat named Rose who falls for a poor artist while aboard the giant boat. The romance is great until that big piece of ice gets in the way.
The “Magical Negro” trope is strong in this film as we find Whoopi Goldberg who plays a psychic trying to warn a white lady about danger, but the movie is a cultural touchstone, an artifact if you will, of romance movies past. Demi Moore plays a widow haunted by her dead lover who wants to warn her of impending doom.
The Notebook (2004)
Get yourself a box of tissues because you won’t be able to keep your eyes dry in The Notebook. In the film, a poor young man falls for a rich woman and they begin an affair. Social differences come between them but will their love overcome them? Find out by giving this romantic movie a try.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
One of the most fun romance movies on this list, Crazy Rich Asians follows New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore where she is set to meet her boyfriend’s family. While there, she learns a lot about standing up for herself. With a stellar cast that includes Constance Wu and Henry Golding, this fast-paced dream of a movie really delivers.
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Peach jokes aside, Call Me by Your Name is one of the most touching movies about first love ever made. This film is also by Luca Guadagnino so if you loved CMBYN, you must give I Am Love a try! The film finds a 17-year-old student who finds himself falling for his father’s research assistant as they all vacation in Italy. Teeming with the energy of youth, this romantic drama will lodge itself in your heart.
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Adèle’s life is changed forever after she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair. She learns to be assertive and in complete ownership of her womanhood. It’s an exploration of sexuality that you have likely never seen before. We warn those that are weird about sex scenes that this movie did receive an NC-17 rating as the sexy times in it, which are very much the point of the film, might be too much for younger viewers.
Lost In Translation (2003)
Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson sparkle in this very funny movie written and directed by Sofia Coppola. The film finds two strangers in Tokyo who cross paths and form an unlikely friendship. Sweet as it is bitter, Lost in Translation is one of Sofia Coppola’s most beloved films.
The Hours (2002)
Less a straightforward romance and more of a story of the lives of three women from three different generations. The sense of longing is palpable in this film that finds Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore showcasing their acting chops. Try and find a better-acted movie, we dare you!
Okay, so Moonlight could be that better-acted movie we wanted you to name. In this perfect film from Barry Jenkins, Chiron discovers his sexuality amid struggles found in childhood, adolescence, and finally, adulthood. The cast, cinematography, and narrative are all dynamite.
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In the Mood for Love (2000)
Have you ever wondered what a love spell looks like? In the Mood for Love is your answer. In this stunning, sensual, and sumptuous movie, two neighbors form a special bond as they suspect their spouses are having affairs. As they learn more about each other, they agree to keep the relationship platonic. After all, they don’t want to be hypocrites. The romantic tension is enough to stop your heart in this work of art.
There you go! Are you ready to find your next favorite romance movies? We urge you to try a couple from this list! Romance movies are the perfect antidote to a rainy day and will fill your heart with all the feels.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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