1. Casablanca – If you haven’t gotten around to seeing Casablanca, drop what you’re doing and watch it immediately. There’s a reason it makes so many best movie lists. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are fantastic and the romance will make your heart swell, but that’s just the beginning. The whole world of Casablanca is richly detailed – you care about even the smallest characters – and it has some of the smartest, funniest dialogue to ever hit the screen. This might be as close to a perfect movie as it gets.
2. The Princess Bride – The movie that made “As you wish” everyone’s second-favorite three-word phrase. It’s not only a great romance, it’s a great comedy and a wonderful couple movie – there’s enough fun and fighting that most men are just as happy to watch this one as you are. Swordfights, Christopher Guest, André the Giant, and true love. What more could you ask for?
3. West Side Story – Romeo and Juliet set to music in the city streets of New York sound like the worst idea ever… Until you see it in action. In the middle of the amazing choreography and Leonard Bernstein’s incredible score is the same timeless story of love reaching across all boundaries.
4. Ghost – Were Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore ever better than this? “Til death do us part” is just not enough in this touching fantasy. Watch it at home so you can hit pause for a bit after the pottery scene.
5. When Harry Met Sally – Everyone remembers the prickly friendship with a budding attraction between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, but one of the best things about this movie is the series of couple interviews that are interspersed throughout. Actors retell real stories that director Rob Reiner gathered from real married couples. It’s a sweet testimony to the way love begins – and last over the years. Plus it has one of the best deli scenes in the history of film.
6. Sleepless in Seattle – Can you fall in love with a voice on the radio? Judging by the number of women who swoon at the mention of this movie, you just might. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star in this movie that became an instant classic.
7. Sense and Sensibility – At first, you may wonder why Emma Thompson, who adapted the screenplay from the Jane Austen novel, cast herself in such a mousy role. And then you get to that scene. You don’t often find romances with casts as incredible as this, including Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, and the wonderful Alan Rickman.
8. Jerry Maguire – Who would have thought that a movie about a guy trying not to be a jerk would set so many hearts aflutter? But it had us at hello. Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger are the romantic focus of the movie, but The Tidwells, played by Cuba Gooding Jr. and Regina King are just as interesting a couple, and they give the movie a lot of its heart.
9. Strictly Ballroom – This quirky, hilarious Australian comedy about the cutthroat world of ballroom dancing turns into a beautiful old-fashioned love story with a lesson in living life for the fullest.
10. Slumdog Millionaire – This year’s sleeper hit-turned-Best-Picture-nominee stayed in theaters for weeks based almost entirely on incredible word-of-mouth. It’s a wonderful story of never giving up on love.
But what if you’re looking for some romance off the beaten path? Try one or all of these:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Charlie Kaufman’s offbeat script seems to be all about the brain, but it’s really about the wonderful, scary depths of the human heart. Telling you any more than that would spoil it.
Cyrano de Bergerac – This amazing movie is adapted from one of the all-time classic romantic plays – it’s really only “off the beaten path” over here because it’s in French. The great Gerard Depardieu plays Cyrano so well your fiancé will try to lengthen his nose.
Harold and Maude – This is a May-December romance like you’ve never seen. Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort star in a black comedy that, somehow in the middle of all the fake suicide attempts, ends up being one of the most romantic movies you’ll ever see.