Iconic Romance Films (From The Past 9 Decades)

Maybe I’ve been feeling lonely, or maybe I’m perfectly fine and just enjoy a good romance every now and then. It’s probably the latter. Either way, I’ve chosen my favorite romance movies from the last 9 decades.

Watch if you still believe in love.


Gone With The Wind (1939)


Starring: Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Decisions, decisions. Act on your emotions before it’s too late! Nobody will wait around forever. People can literally be gone with the wind. Everyone has regrets. This all goes down during a “reconstructive,” untamed period in American history. The wishy-washy relationship makes for an entertaining look at fanatical love and equally as fanatical hate. At the time, their narrative was considered un-cliché and not your typical ending.


Casablanca (1942)


Starring: Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman

“Here’s looking at you, Kid.”

When someone is cynical but learns to believe in love and the bitterness fades away… so CLASSIC. Ex-lovers in newfound communication can be complicated, especially when one of them is married. A café in Morocco is the setting for these unforeseen events and foreshadowing heartbreak. Their freedom is yearned for in more than one way, internally and geographically. This movie may lack color, but it’s vibrant with desire. Also, it involves love letters, which are always riveting.


Roman Holiday (1953)


Starring: Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn

“I have faith in relations between people.”

Quite ahead of its time, this is the story about a man and woman who are both extremely over their jobs. Stressed and overworked, they find each other in an unexpected way. Their spark is contradicting, as she is a princess on a European tour and he is the reporter who was supposed to interview her. Instead, they run away together hoping for one day of freedom. You’ve experienced this before, a tale of two people whose feelings of admiration affect their future decisions and career paths.


Bonnie and Clyde (1967)


Starring: Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway

“You made me somebody they’re gonna remember.”

A waitress and an ex-con: true love, right? It sounds just as saucy as it is. They have vastly dissimilar lifestyles and personalities, and that’s what initially interests Bonnie and Clyde. Crime and lust go hand in hand, as an immediate physical attraction inspires them to hit the road and rob small banks along the way. They confide in each other their hopes and life ambitions. They make plans to live out the perfect life, happy and free.


The Way We Were (1973)


Starring: Robert Redford & Barbra Streisand

“You hold on and I don’t know how. And I wish I did.”

The title alone represents the challenges these two lovers face, as they come from different backgrounds and are planning for different futures. Fundamentals and politics are what strain a relationship built on friendship and wonder. It’s a desperate kind of love. A relationship based on past passion and fate-based encounters. Can people evolve together? Or, do individual transformations over time drive them apart?


When Harry Met Sally (1989)


Starring: Billy Crystal & Meg Ryan

“When you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

It all starts with an 18-hour car ride from Chicago to New York. It’s one of those come together, fall apart, and come back together type of stories. Harry and Sally build a close friendship over time, strictly platonic. The problem is sex. Can a man and a woman really just be friends? That question is timeless. This film feels like falling in love with your best friend. You see each other, you know each other and despite everything, you love each other.


Titanic (1997)


Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet

“I’ll never let go.”

Titanic is one of the paramount romances OF ALL TIME, no matter the decade. I used to listen to the soundtrack in my room as a 9-year-old girl, so I guess age isn’t a necessary boundary for this story either. You get social class separation, the traveler meets the straight-laced, and love at first sight. An entire lifetime amount of love was developed in only a few days on a ship. They make each other better and take each other out of the societal constrictions of wealth. Like Celine Dion mentioned, their hearts have lived on and on.


Brokeback Mountain (2005)


Starring: Heath Ledger & Jake Gyllenhaal

“I can’t quit you.”

Freaking tragic. These two cowboys suffer from a forbidden love. Not only do they each have families of their own, they are trapped in the “traditional” confinement of society and masculinity. Think of their relationship as a blissful summer romance that absolutely cannot trail into the fall. It’s a battle, angsty and erratic. At the time, the concept of a same-sex love story was exceptionally rare on the big screen. The point is that you love who you love.


La La Land (2016)

LA LA LAND, 2016

Starring: Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone

“I’m always gonna love you.”

The last film to be named Best Picture… Wait, just kidding. That didn’t end up happening, but it certainly made an impact on dreamers everywhere. Not only is it a romance, but it’s a story of romantic aspirations, a romantic city, romantic music and, of course, romantic people. It’s an amazing notion, the old fashioned Hollywood lovers meshed with the modern twist of – really real – reality. What do you do when you love love and you still fancy a career? Can we have both? Follow your heart and break it at the same time. Love is sacrifice.


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