January 17th, 2020 | Updated on June 14th, 2023
Watching a romantic movie can sometimes be the perfect way to relax and feel all of the emotions that come with a good romance. While some people enjoy funny romantic movies, others may want to watch a movie where the characters meet a tragic separation. This can be cathartic for some people and allow them to feel all of the emotions that come with a good romance.
If you’re looking for romantic movies, you can find some of the best of all time on Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video and other streaming platforms. Here are some of the best romantic movies that have stood the test of time.
These best romantic movies of all time want to make you feel all the romantic emotions, not just laughter. They want to show you the beautiful kisses, the longing for a lover and the heartbreak when it doesn’t work out.
Best Romantic Movies
1. Sylvie’s Love (2020)
Sylvie and Robert are a young couple who meet in 1957 and fall in love. They experience many highs and lows throughout their relationship, but ultimately Sylvie and Robert find happiness together.
2. The Photograph (2020)
The Photograph is a romantic movie that follows Mae (Issa Rae) in the present day and her mother, Christina (Chanté Adams), in the past. It explores whether romantic history repeats itself.
3. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (2019)
This film festival favorite has been praised by critics for its nuanced depiction of a woman’s struggle against patriarchy as well as being written and directed by women.
The story is set in 18th century France, where women were not allowed to be artists. So when Marianne is commissioned to paint a portrait of Heloise, she’s excited at the prospect – even more so when she’s told that she will be traveling to the Isle de Bréhat, a remote island, to complete the work.
But when she arrives, she finds that Heloise is not who she expects her to be. She soon finds herself falling in love with her subject, and a forbidden romance ensues.
4. A Star Is Born (2018)
“A Star Is Born” is a movie about a famous singer, Jackson Maine, who falls in love with a waitress named Ally. Ally has a lot of talent, but is shy about her singing. Jackson helps her to come out of her shell and become a famous singer.
A Star Is Born (2018) is a musical drama film produced and directed by Bradley Cooper. It stars Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, and Dave Chappelle. The film follows a musician who helps an up-and-coming singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
5. Phantom Thread (2017)
Phantom Thread is a 2017 romantic drama film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and written by Anderson and Jonny Greenwood. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a dressmaker in 1950s London and Vicky Krieps as his muse.
The direction, music, and cinematography were all great. The storyline felt a little long but it’s a character study so that can be forgiven. The acting is also excellent with Day Lewis being his usual genius self and Krieps stealing almost every scene she appears in. It’s a beautiful production and one of Anderson’s strongest films.
6. La La Land (2016)
La La Land is a 2016 American musical romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and an actress who fall in love. The plot follows their struggles to succeed in Hollywood.
The film’s title is a play on the name of Los Angeles as well as a reference to both a nickname for the city of Angels and the idiom describing an over-the-top praise for something. The scenes in which Mia and Seb meet were filmed along Hollywood Boulevard, where director Damien Chazelle gave Gosling directions while walking backwards.
The film opens with Seb practicing on the piano when Mia enters his bar, sitting in a reserved seating section of the restaurant. As he plays “Somewhere in the Bartok”, she taps her feet along to the music and you can see her looking up at him adoringly (she thinks he’s cute).
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7. Carol (2015)
Carol is a film based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. The story follows an affair between two women in the 1950s. The film was released in 2015 and has been praised for its sumptuous period costumes and sets as well as its Oscar-nominated performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
8. About Time (2013)
About Time is a British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Richard Curtis and written by Curtis and Rowan Atkinson. It stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson, and Margot Robbie.
The film tells the story of Tim Lake (Gleeson), a young man who learns he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place leads to unexpected and hilarious consequences.
9. Anna Karenina (2012)
The story is set in late-19th century Russia and follows the life of Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley), a married woman who has an affair with Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Vronsky pursues Anna relentlessly, and she eventually leaves her husband and child to be with him. However, their relationship is ultimately doomed and Anna kills herself.
10. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
The movie is set in 1965 on an island off the coast of New England. It tells the story of two young lovers, Sam and Suzy, who run away from their homes to be together. The adults in their lives, including their respective parents and Scout Master Ward, try to track them down.
11. Notting Hill (1999)
William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is a travel bookshop owner who lives in Notting Hill, London. One day, Hollywood superstar Anna Scott enters his shop, and the two soon become friends. William is amazed when Anna (Julia Roberts) begins to return his calls and visits him at his shop. However, their relationship soon becomes complicated when William discovers that Anna is only in London for a few days.
12. Lust, Caution (2007)
The plot of the film follows a group of university students who are asked to form a resistance group against the Japanese occupation during World War II. Wong Chia Chi, played by Tang Wei, is a student at the university who becomes involved in the group.
She is later tasked with seducing Mr. Yee, played by Tony Leung Ka Fai, in order to gain information on his activities. While she is successful in gaining Mr. Yee’s trust, their relationship soon becomes complicated and dangerous.
13. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
The film is set in the 1960s and revolves around the lives of two cowboys, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, who meet one summer while working as sheep herders on Brokeback Mountain. They form a close bond and eventually fall in love.
However, their relationship is plagued by discrimination and homophobia, which ultimately leads to their break-up. The film was directed by Ang Lee and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, and Anne Hathaway.
The story first appeared as a short story called “Brokeback Mountain” on the New Yorker on October 13, 1997. It was later published in the 1999 short story collection “Elephant Rocks.” The film is based on this collection of stories, which are set in Wyoming and depict gay male sexuality.
14. The Notebook (2004)
The Notebook is a romantic drama film released in 2004. The film was directed by Nick Cassavetes and stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. The story follows the life-long love story of Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams), two young lovers who are separated by war and social class.
Allie’s parents move her away from Noah to keep her safe, and the two are forced to part. Years later, Allie is engaged to another man but still thinks of Noah.
She visits her grandmother, who tells her the story of Noah and Allie’s love. After hearing the story, Allie rushes to find Noah. The two reunite and share a kiss in the rain.
The film was a critical and commercial success and has been credited with revitalizing the romantic comedy genre.
15. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is a 2004 romantic science fiction film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry. It tells the story of a couple who have had their memories of each other erased from their minds.
It is a psychological drama that explores the nature of memory and romantic love. The movie received universal acclaim from critics and audiences, praising the plot, screenplay, Gondry’s direction, and the performances, specifically Carrey and Winslet.
16. Moulin Rouge (2001)
Moulin Rouge! is a 2001 Australian-American musical romantic drama film directed, produced, and co-written by Baz Luhrmann. The movie is set in the year 1900. Christian (played by Ewan McGregor) is a British writer who came to the village of Montmartre in Paris in 1899, when the Bohemian movement was at its most popular.
He sits in a flat looking down on the closed-down theatre called the Moulin Rouge while writing on a typewriter. The story he is writing is about the woman he loved, Satine (played by Nicole Kidman).
17. Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Monsoon Wedding is a 2001 Indian-American romantic comedy film directed by Mira Nair. The film tells the story of a Punjabi Hindu wedding in Delhi and the chaos that surrounds it.
The wedding occurs during a monsoon season in Delhi, symbolizing a stormy situation. During this time, there are several disasters that exploit the family and friends involved. However, they all come together at the end of the film for a happy ending.
The wedding is chaotic and expensive and brings together family from all over the world. The film explores the dynamics of the family as they all come together to celebrate this momentous occasion.
18. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)
“Y Tu Mamá También” is a coming-of-age film set in Mexico about two teenage boys who take a road trip with an older woman.
One of the main themes of the film is how sexuality impacts a person’s identity. The title itself, “Y Tu Mamá También,” can be seen as a reference to sex. The older woman in the film constantly flirts with both of the teenage boys, and is often drawn as an eroticized character.
One of the main ways that we see this idea challenged is through our protagonist, Tenoch (Diego Luna). Although he initially rejects his attraction to Luisa (Maribel Verdú), ultimately he comes to embrace his sexual identity and begins a relationship with Luisa.
19. Shakespeare In Love (1998)
In “Shakespeare In Love”, a young William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is suffering from a case of writer’s block. He is trying to write a play about Romeo and Juliet, but he can’t seem to get started. In the meantime, he falls in love with Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is an aspiring actress.
Unfortunately, Viola is already engaged to Lord Wessex (Colin Firth). Will tries to keep his distance from Viola, but he can’t help but be drawn to her.
One day, Will comes up with an idea for a new play. He gets permission from Lord Wessex to use Viola as the female lead. However, he soon discovers that she is not very good at acting.
20. Titanic (1997)
The film tells the story of the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, a British passenger liner. Aboard are passengers of different classes in life, from the upper-class White Star Line passengers to the poorer immigrants in third class.
It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage. The film was directed by James Cameron and written by Cameron and his wife, Gale Anne Hurd.