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The Best Romantic Movies You Need to Watch

Whether you’re in love or just feel like rooting for two people who are, a romantic movie can be the perfect remedy. Much like every girl’s search for that perfect somebody, you’ve got to find a film that fits. While Some Like It Hot and others like them sappy, everyone can agree that love conquers all. Her Campus has collected the best of the best romantic movies of every genre from steamy to sweet.
 
High School Romance

  • She’s All That
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Never Been Kissed
  • Say Anything
  • Sixteen Candles
  • Dirty Dancing

 

Before the Justin Bieber captured teenage hearts, there was Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Heath Ledger at the turn of the millennium. Gather the girls to rewatch the movies (and men) you used to adore and to reminisce about young love. Sure She’s All That is a little bit shallow, but that doesn’t make it any less sappy or fun. Watch as uber-jock Prinze gets the girl and the guts to stand up to his friends.

In 10 Things I Hate About You, Heath Ledger’s character serenades the object of his affection on the bleachers in front of the whole school. If that’s not a public display of affection, we’re not sure what is. Unlucky-in-love Drew Barrymore goes back to school in Never Been Kissed and finally finds her dream man in this sweet movie.

Say Anything predates all the other films by a decade but it is teenage love at its best. The scene where loyal Lloyd Dobler hoists up his boom box blaring “In Your Eyes” has been copied many times over in pop culture. But there’s nothing like the original with a baby-faced John Cusack looking up so earnestly in the hopes of winning over his dream girl Diane Court. For extra credit, try teen romances like Sixteen Candles or Dirty Dancing. Your teenage years don’t last forever but luckily these movies will. 
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Classics

  • Adam’s Rib
  • Woman of the Year
  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  • To Have and Have Not
  • The Big Sleep
  • It Happened One Night
  • Casablanca
  • Gone with the Wind

 

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, kisses in romantic comedies were few and far between, yet the films we call classics set a standard. With dialogue dripping with sexual innuendo and black and white to set the mood, the films featured private detectives, well-coiffed leading ladies or perfect pairs meant to share the silver screen.

Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn brought out the best in each other as loyal and quick-witted equals. The love they secretly shared off-screen radiated large in all nine of the movies they made together including Adam’s Rib, Woman of the Year and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

An age gap of 25 years didn’t stop sultry Lauren Bacall from sizing up gruff Humphrey Bogart on and off the screen in To Have and Have Not and film noir film The Big Sleep. Clark Gable, the McDreamy of his day, and Claudette Colbert fall for each other in the screwball comedy It Happened One Night. Of course, no classic romance list would be complete without Casablanca or Gone with the Wind. Better add these to your Netflix queue – you’ve got a lot of classics to cover.
 

Good Cries

  • Shakespeare in Love
  • The Notebook
  • Titantic
  • Moulin Rogue
  • Ever After
  • Roman Holiday
  • Tristan and Isolde

 

Grab a box of tissues before you pop one of these romantic movies in the DVD player – there’s devotion, death and plenty of drama in these tragic picks. Shakespeare in Love follows the man himself as he finds his muse in Gwyneth Paltrow and pens his play Romeo and Juliet. The couple’s story parallels the star-crossed lovers, but spoiler alert — no poison or happy dagger here.

We’re willing to bet there’s not a dry eye in any dorm room after a screening of The Notebook. Characters Allie and Noah prove that love can last a lifetime in this WWII era tearjerker. Who didn’t fall in love with Leo in Titanic? Kate and Leo had a whirlwind romance aboard the doomed ship that included a steamy session inside a car and an au naturel portrait sitting.

Another movie that will break your heart is the musical Moulin Rogue about a cabaret star in Paris and poor poet who loves her. If you can ignore the misplaced Madonna songs, you’ll get an epic albeit tragic romance set to music. Not done tearing up? Watch Ever After, Roman Holiday or Tristan and Isolde. Just remember that it’s OK to cry once in a while. 
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Literary Love Stories

  • Emma
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Lost in Austen
  • Becoming Jane
  • Romeo + Juliet
  • Much Ado About Nothing

 

Hollywood loves to borrow ideas from great books and has returned to the plays of William Shakespeare and novels of Jane Austen countless times. You gotta hand it to the Bard and Ms. Austen – they knew how to write a love story. From Emma to Pride and Prejudice, Austen’s strong-willed heroines, their dashing suitors (Mr. Darcy, anyone?) and the cat-and-mouse courtships make for excellent screen translations. It’s enough to make any girl wish she could go back in time and be wooed.

One lucky modern girl got to live out her deepest Darcy fantasies in the miniseries Lost in Austen. And for a look at Austen’s own love life, watch Becoming Jane. As for the playwright and poet Shakespeare, just try to name a love story more tragic than his Romeo + Juliet. And if you like your love with more wit and less weep, try Much Ado About Nothing. Watch Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson verbally spar as sparks fly. It’s up to you to decide the age-old debate of what’s better – the book or the movie.
 
Foreign Flings

  • Once
  • Amélie
  • Chocolat
  • Lagaan
  • Bride and Prejudice
  • Like Water for Chocolate
  • A Very Long Engagement

 

Whether you are studying abroad or are in the mood for an exotic adventure, pick a romantic foreign film.

If your sights are set on Europe, start in Dublin with Once and its Oscar-winning soundtrack. Music fans will recognize the two leads from the band, The Swell Season, and romance fans can enjoy the fact that the pair started dating in real life during this film. Francophiles will love Amélie for its gorgeous Paris backdrops and whimsical, sweet story of two dreamers. In the film Chocolat, temptation, in the form of Johnny Depp and cocoa, beckons as Juliette Binoche opens a chocolate shop in a small French village during Lent.

Head east to imperial India in the Bollywood movie Lagaan if you crave four hours of love triangles and loyalty expressed in song. Finally Bride and Prejudice is, yes, you guessed it, a global retelling of the classic love story that sends you from L.A. to Bombay. Need some more? Try Like Water for Chocolate or A Very Long Engagement. Just watch out ladies, you may just fall in love with that exchange student after watching some of these films.
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Off the Beaten Path

  • Sliding Doors
  • Penelope
  • High Fidelity
  • Mostly Martha

Blink and you can miss great movies that don’t stay long at the Edwards. But all love deserves a chance, right? Most of these films have a big celebrity in them but we bet you might have missed at least one. Would you have met the love of your life if you had caught that train? Sliding Doors shows what happens to Gwyneth Paltrow in both situations, jumping back and forth from two parallel realities and her relationships.

Penelope is a quirky fairytale starring Christina Ricci as a girl born with a pig nose due to a family curse. Penelope thinks she needs true love to break the spell and James McAvoy is up for the task. In High Fidelity, music aficionado John Cusack’s world is in shambles when his girlfriend dumps him so he turns to his exes to see where he went wrong. He counts down his five great loves as he tries to win his girl back.

Finally, you may have seen the American remake (No Reservations)but it is the vastly superior German original Mostly Martha that takes the cake. Martha is a stressed out chef who must take care of her orphaned niece while fighting off the advances of the charming sous-chef. If you missed seeing these films when they first came out, give love a second chance. 

Watch With Mom

  • Bridget Jones
  • Must Love Dogs
  • Last Chance Harvey
  • Doctor Zhivago
  • The Thomas Crown Affair

 

Sometimes there’s nothing like watching a cute guy on the silver screen and bonding with your mom. Bridget Jones has Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and tons of sweet and cheeky moments you’ll both enjoy. In Must Love Dogs, the always adorable (and mom favorite) John Cusack romances dog lover Diane Lane and proves that it is never too late for love.

Last Chance Harvey came and went without much notice at the box office but featured A-listers Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. The pair has a chance encounter across the pond in London and strike up a beautiful friendship. Your mom may have watched Doctor Zhivago years ago so revisit snowy Russia in the film that defines the epic love affair.

Finally, my own mom swears by The Thomas Crown Affair. She loves how former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan is matched with an age-appropriate love interest and thinks the film is suave and sexy. You and your mom may have different tastes but you can always agree on these romantic movies (and George Clooney).
 
Even More to Love

  • Someone Like You
  • Notting Hill
  • You’ve Got Mail
  • Love Actually
  • Love and Basketball
  • Serendipity
  • The Wedding Singer
  • 500 Days of Summer
  • Adam
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Pretty Woman
  • The Princess Bride
  • Kate & Leopold
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • 27 Dresses
  • Hitch
  • 13 Going on 30
  • Sweet Home Alabama

 
 
 
Sources:
 
IMDb.com
 
Netflix.com
 
Wikipedia.org

Jessica Stringer is a senior journalism major at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is originally from Woodbridge, VA. At UNC, she is the editorial director for Rival Magazine, a joint publication between UNC and Duke. She has previously written for the Daily Tar Heel, interned at DC Magazine and CNBC, and is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Jessica fell in love with London during her semester abroad and dreams of moving across the pond. Some of her favorite things include coconut cupcakes, Carolina basketball, old Hollywood movies, and her Havanese puppy Max.
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