Despite being single I can appreciate the importance of romantic films during this holiday, and since here at Elementary Politics we’ve already done a list of films for those who are single and looking to avoid the romantic overtones of this holiday, it seems only appropriate that we also go over the best films to curl up with a loved one for the next week or so.
Any of these movies is a great film to cuddle up with the other half of your heart and watch…but given the variety of tastes out there, I’ll be putting both drama and comedy suggestions.
So find a couple you can both agree on and leave the rest of the night to laughs and tears.
#21 The Cutting Edge
Obviously this is one of the happier ones on this list, of course that might have something to do with the fact that I couldn’t quite decide whether to put this in the comedy or drama list. Obviously drama won out by the slightest of edges. You know you love it. Our star-crossed lovers are endlessly screwed up but together they find the balance and success they were looking for.
“Remember, I said it first.”
#20 The Lake House
“She’s more real to me than anything I’ve ever known.”
Long distance relationships are usually a problem…more so when it’s time not distance separating you. For a movie where the two main characters hardly have any screen time together, and spend most of it in voiced over conversations between letters, it has more passion and romance than most of what Hollywood churns out. It’s never explained how or why they’re able to communicate through a magical mailbox…but who cares. What matters is that Reeves and Bullock make their romance come alive without even being in the same shot.
If ever there was a movie that showed that a lot of times it’s type-casting and directing that conspire to make or break an actor, it’s this film. I’m not going to say that Keanu deserved an Oscar for this performance, but it is not the lifeless and hollow performance that we have come to expect from him in every other film.
“Don’t look for me. Don’t try to find me. I love you.”
#19 50 First Dates
“There’s nothing like a first kiss.”
I am not a fan of most of Adam Sandler’s work (usually it’s a little too crass for my tastes) but 50 First Dates avoids most of that. While completely impractical, there is something unspeakably sweet about a man who loves someone so much he will work to make her fall in love with him every single day.
#18 Bed of Roses
“Every now and then, um, everybody’s entitled to too much perfection.”
Two people who have lost finding joy in life because of various tragedies in their lives. Oh the tragedies Lewis (Christian Slater) and Lisa (Mary Stuart Masterson) have endured. But together, eventually, we hope, they work everything out and have each other to lean on.
This is the part where you’re supposed to say “Wait!” I’m supposed to leave, and that’s where you forgive me for being such a coward, and for being the last one to figure out what everyone already knew. Then you call “Wait! Don’t go! Stop!” and we hold each other and we know everything’s going to be okay.
I guess I’m not familiar with the procedure.
Yeah…I guess not…. …Um… I’ll see you around.
Wait don’t go.
#17 Heart and Souls
Harrison: “Who came up with this ridiculous concept anyway? Resolve your entire life in one bold stroke? What if I fail? And I will. I’ll fail. I’m telling you. I always fail. Then my whole life will be a complete failure. “
Thomas:”No offense, Harrison. But you died a failure because you never tried.”
It’s hard to imagine a movie where two-thirds of the cast dies in the first 10 minutes being a comedy, but it is. (Oh, wait until we get to the drama, there is death aplenty there…9 of the top 14 somebody dies in 2 others there is serious injury). Four souls are given the chance to use Robert Downey Jr. to help them solve whatever problems they had in life. This leads to some serious issues with Downey Jr.’s love life, which his personality was already ruining, but eventually everything gets worked out. I’ll grant it’s more comedy than romance, but it’s still a good film.
P.S. I love you.
“Dear Gerry, you said you wanted me to fall in love again, and maybe one day I will. But there are all kinds of love out there. This is my one and only life and it’s a great and terrible and short and endless thing, and none of us come out of it alive.”
A love story after the fact, about a man who loved his wife so much that when faced with imminent death he is more concerned with how she will be able to get past the loss. Now that’s love.
#15 ANY Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn Comedy, but especially Desk Set & Adam’s Rib
“Well you know what the French say, viva la difference”
Do I even have to justify the works of these two? A constant locking of heads and wills between two very intelligent, very stubborn people who whether it’s on film or in real life are completely in love. These are comedies that never get old.
“Democracy can be a wickedly unfair thing Sabrina. Nobody poor was ever called democratic for marrying somebody rich.”
If you think I meant that horrible remake, shame on you! I mean Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart…there exists no other version. None. Bogart and Hepburn are perfect in this story of love and business.
#13 An Affair to Remember
“If you can paint then I can walk.”
I could try to say something original about this classic, but why bother when someone has pretty much covered it…
Okay it’s actually not the best description of the film as it actually leaves out the whole part where they fall in love…but nothing is perfect (except maybe the two top films on this list).
#12 It happened one night
Alexander Andrews: Oh, er, do you mind if I ask you a question, frankly? Do you love my daughter?
Peter Warne: Any guy that’d fall in love with your daughter ought to have his head examined.
Alexander Andrews: Now that’s an evasion!
Peter Warne: She picked herself a perfect running mate – King Westley – the pill of the century! What she needs is a guy that’d take a sock at her once a day, whether it’s coming to her or not. If you had half the brains you’re supposed to have, you’d done it yourself, long ago.
Alexander Andrews: Do you love her?
Peter Warne: A normal human being couldn’t live under the same roof with her without going nutty! She’s my idea of nothing!
Alexander Andrews: I asked you a simple question! Do you love her?
Peter Warne: YES! But don’t hold that against me, I’m a little screwy myself!
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in this story of a reporter helping a rich girl escape her oppressive lifestyle for a story is nothing short of perfect (and the best writer, best actor, best actress, and best director Oscars this movie got seems to back up my point). Probably nothing is funnier than when the fabled walls of Jericho come down. (On a side note that will probably get me much hate mail, I don’t know why Roman Holiday isn’t more often referred to as a cheap rip off ofIt happened one night…because that is all it is, and one with a much crappier ending).
“It’s amazing, Molly. The love inside, you take it with you. See ya.”
Okay, let’s ignore that three-quarters of this movie is either a thriller or a reminder that Whoopie once was funny and that this movie also has some of the creepiest moments in the history of film (bloody hand slides along glass)…This movie contains a truly beautiful love story and reminds us that love lasts far beyond death, and this movie shows that so wonderfully. (Hell it deserves to be remembered if for no other reason than making Unchained Melody popular again…and somehow making pottery look sexy).
#10 While you were sleeping
Lucy: So what should I do?
Jerry: Pull the plug.
Lucy: You’re sick.
Jerry: I’m sick? You’re cheating on a vegetable.
Sandra Bullock has been in a slew of romantic comedies but probably none is better than this one where a lie leads her to true love…although not with the man she thought she loved. (Although I think Two Weeks Notice deserves an honorable mention, if for no other reason than the faces Hugh Grant makes throughout the film). Personally I will always take Bullock in a romantic comedy over a drama (even though she is very good actress) but this is also one of those movies I look at and never fully understand why Bill Pullman doesn’t have a more successful career as he makes a perfect leading man in this bizarre comedy of errors.
#9 Meet Joe Black
“Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head, and you listen to your heart. And I’m not hearing any heart. Cause the truth is, honey, there’s no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven’t lived a life at all. But you have to try, cause if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.”
Probably the most under appreciated film on this list. This is a great movie (even greater if you’ve seen the POS it was based on). This movie not only has a beautiful love story (love-triangle?) between Death and the Doctor he falls in love with, but also shows the peak experiences of life in other forms than falling in love (the beauty of simple marriage between Hopkins older daughter and her husband, the love of parents and children, the love of creating something of value)…not to mention the beauty of sticking it to a crook.
…And the fact that Death gave his beloved one final gift in the last scene always brings tears to my eyes.
“I want you to sing with rapture and dance like a dervish.”
#8 My Man Godfrey
“You mustn’t come between Irene and Godfrey. He’s the first thing she’s shown any affection for since her Pomeranian died last summer.”
The story of a ditzy socialite, Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) who, upon finding what appears to be a homeless and destitute man who isn’t afraid to tell off her shallow rich friends, gives him a job as her household butler. There this man, Godfrey (played by William Powell), finds that his ditzy boss is actually the best person in her family of thieves and idiots. All of them look down on Godfrey for one reason or another at first because they assume from her story that he is poor as poor can be…to hell if he’s smarter and more honorable. And of course there’s that other thing about the fact that he’s about ten times richer than they are, and had only been found looking like a bum after a year-long bender from getting his heart broken. Of course Godfrey falls for Irene, against his good judgment, while rediscovering how to live life and not be simply self-pitying.
# 7 Love is a many splendored thing
“I do not know what is to happen darling, but what I do know – life’s greatest tragedy is not to be loved, God has been good to us”
This is possibly one of the worst books I have ever read in my life, which makes the fact that movie is near perfect all the more impressive. Yet another tale of star-crossed love torn apart by society and circumstance. The acting, the writing, the direction are all some of the finest in film history. If you know the film you know how it rips your heart out. If you haven’t seen it you need to, and prepare for buckets of tears. And you might not ever look at butterflies the same way ever again.
“We have not missed that many – splendored thing.”
#6 Romeo & Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing
“For never was there a tale of more woe, than this of Juliet, and her Romeo”
Look I get that Shakespeare isn’t for everyone…but if as a couple you both appreciate Shakespeare, there are few choices better than Romeo & Juliet or Much Ado About Nothing
The 1968 version by director Franco Zeffrelli is perfection as far this tale of the Bard’s is concerned. Why there have been film versions after this I’m not sure. Not only is the acting and directing what the film needed, but the soundtrack is timeless.
As for Much Ado, you can’t do better than Joss Whedon’s 2013 version. It provides a human side to the comedy I have never seen, not to mention making the the love Beatrice and Benedict sweeter than I have ever seen.
The 3 movies starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, Bringing up Baby, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story.
“Now it isn’t that I don’t like you, Susan, because, after all, in moments of quiet, I’m strangely drawn toward you, but – well, there haven’t been any quiet moments.”
Tracy and Hepburn, great. Grant and Hepburn, well it’s sad that the English language lacks a super-superlative. But what would you expect when you team up the greatest actor of all time and the greatest actress of all time? From the madcap insanity of Howard Hawk’s Bringing up Baby (and the only time I think I have ever seen Hepburn play a ditz) to the two more witty Philip Barry playsHoliday and The Philadelphia Story these two are always perfect together and can be watched over and over and over again without their genius ever losing anything.
#4 Gone with the Wind
“Open your eyes and look at me. No, I don’t think I will kiss you. Although you need kissing badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often and by someone who knows how.”
It’s also the 2nd best movie of all time. Period. And it’s one of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
This is the kind of movie that doesn’t need to really be discussed because its virtues are self evident.
All I will say is that if you know the characters you know that she will get Rhett back, because there was never a man she couldn’t get. (Don’t even bring up that trash someone thought was a sequel).
“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow….Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all… tomorrow is another day.”
And of course the greatest romance, hell the greatest film of all time.
“What happened after he climbs up and rescues her?”
“She rescues him right back.”
The perfect modern interpretation of the classic fairy tale that acknowledges that love and rescuing in the field of romance is always a two way street (because he is in far more need of rescuing than she is). You are not fully human if you don’t love this movie.
Honorable Mention: While not as good as Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride is delightful in how it plays off of all the little moments in Pretty Woman.
Tied for #1 Casablanca
The greatest Romantic Drama of all time!
Singing the praises of this movie seems almost pointless. We all know it’s a great film that brings us to tears at multiple points…but I’ll bring up a few things…
“Play it Sam, play As Time Goes By.”
Is there a line in this movie that hasn’t been come a classic? Is there a scene that is not perfect?
And while no one we care about dies in this film, it’s probably the most tragic of the lot. It’s the only one where our romantic couple does not get together in the end. And despite this, it tugs at our heart strings like nothing else can.
And yeah it also speaks to my patriotic side…but first and foremost it is a great love story about what we have to sacrifice for the people we care for.
“I think this is beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
And of course…
I assume you want to know what the greatest romantic comedy of all time is…
Well since you asked for it…
All I can say is…
As you wish.
Tied for #1
The Princess Bride
“Death cannot stop true love…all it can do is delay it awhile.”
It would say it is safe to say that 50% of the people reading this blog know every single line in this movie.
It never gets old. It never ceases to warm my heart. It could not be any better in any way shape or form. It is perfect.
If anyone in Hollywood ever gets the idea that they can remake this movie, then the only punishment fitting for such arrogance and stupidity is death. This movie is perfect for all ages, all times and circumstances. There is nothing that can be improved. It is the greatest romantic comedy of all time and if you haven’t seen it then your life is unspeakably sadder for not having this in it.
Other Honorable Mentions in particular order: