Romance on the Big Screen

‘Tis the season of pink hearts, heart-shaped candy boxes, red roses, and romance. I have never been a huge fan  of Valentine’s Day–way too many Valentine’s Days spent in disappointment in my younger days–and my husband and I made a pact when we married that we would never celebrate it. (Just as well, as we were apart for this one.)

But I am, of course, a fan of romance, and I have enjoyed my fair share of romantic movies. With the release of “Fifty Shades” on the big screen–which I haven’t seen yet–romantic movies are on every one’s mind. No, this will not devolve into a discussion of where Fifty Shades falls on the romance scale. But I did think it was a good opportunity to spend a little time talking about my favorite romantic movies.

1. The Princess Bride (1987)

Those sultry eyes of Cary Elwes, the innocence of Robin Wright, the allure of True Love–how can you not put this near the top of the best romantic movies of all time?

2. Pretty Woman (1990)

Okay, so it’s one big cliche, but I can’t help it, I love this movie.  Julia Roberts is endearing as the hooker with a heart of gold, and Richard Gere is romance personified.

3. The Sure Thing (1985)

I was still in college when this came out, so it must have resonated with me. John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga are marvelous in this classic opposites attract flick.

4.  Notting Hill (1999)

Another Julia Roberts, I know, but she is just as endearing in this one as the lonely, misunderstood movie star. And Hugh Grant is adorably swoon worthy.

The Philadelphia Story. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Screenshot from The Philadelphia Story. [Public domain], viaWikimedia Commons.


6. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

A classic love triangle (quadrilateral?) with two of my favorite leading men–Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant. It was the movie that taught me how fabulous Katherine Hepburn was.


Bringing Up Baby publicity photo.  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


7. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Cary Grant as the absent-minded paleontologist, pursued by the flighty heiress, played by Katherine Hepburn, and her pet leopard, Baby.




8. Before Sunrise (1995)

Two attractive twenty-somethings spend one perfect night together, then go their separate ways. I really wish they hadn’t made a sequel to this, because it didn’t live up to the first one.

Still from Sabrina (1954). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


9. Sabrina (1954, 1995)

I have seen both of these–the original with Humphrey Bogart and the remake with Harrison Ford. I don’t think I could choose which one I like best.




10. Lone Star (1996)

Okay, so technically this isn’t a romance, but there is a passionate, rather scandalous love story woven into the mystery, and it is amazing.

I could have chosen about 20 more, but I thought restraint was in order. Now it’s your turn–what are your favorite romances?

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About Marin McGinnis

A lawyer in real life, Marin McGinnis feeds the more creative part of her soul by writing Victorian era romance and mystery. She's spent almost half her life in a tree-lined, unabashedly liberal suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She's been married to the same great guy for over 20 years, and has one teen-aged son. They all live together in a drafty old house with their two standard poodles, Larry and Sneaky Pete. While her very first book will languish under the bed, the next book, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next two books, Secret Promise and Tempting Mr. Jordan, are also available from Wild Rose Press. Marin currently serves as President of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Romance Writers of America and is hard at work on the next book. You can find her here, at, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

20 Responses to Romance on the Big Screen

  1. Terry Newman says:

    I absolutely love Bring Up Baby! I fell in love with Cary Grant and adored, admired, and idolized Kate Hepburn! Sigh!

  2. I really love some of the old screwball romantic comedies, but one of my favorites is His Girl Friday, with Cary Grant as the newspaper editor who will do anything for a story and Rosalind Russell as the reporter who is his equal and more.

    I also love Romancing the Stone — a sexy young Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner who goes from someone who just writes about romantic adventure to living it and loving it.

  3. I agree with your great choices – especially “Notting Hill.” My all time favorite is “An Affair to Remember.” Such a classic. Wonderful post, Marin!

  4. Barbara Bettis says:

    Great list, everyone. When I started this, I couldn’t think of any romantic movies, but reading the you’ve mentioned, I thought “Yes, I like that one. And that one!!” In addition I like “While You Were Sleeping”–sweet and funny–and “It Happened One Night,” among those screwball comedies Rebecca mentioned. Now I have loads of titles crowding in my mind. Thanks for making me smile!

    • Marin says:

      While You Were Sleeping is adorable–I do like Sandra Bullock. It was not a great movie, but I loved her and Aidan Quinn in Practical Magic. And I am embarrassed to say that I don’t think I ever saw It Happened One Night, or if I did, it was much too long ago. I will have to pick it up at the library tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion, Barb!

  5. Mary Morgan says:

    What a great list, Marin. I love some of the others that were mentioned, too, especially, Practical Magic. For me, Pride & Prejudice always stands out–from the one with Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy) to Matthew Macfadyen. Whenever there is a new version, I’ll watch it with greater appreciation.

    • Marin says:

      Thanks, Mary! Pride & Prejudice is one of my faves too, although I far prefer the BBC version with Colin Firth over any of the others. I do like Sense & Sensibility with Emma Thompson very much as well. Oh, far too many to list!!

  6. Alicia Dean says:

    Great list. I love movies, and love sharing my favorites and hearing about other favorites. I loved It Happened One Night and An Affair to Remember. Some of my favorite older romantic movies were the Doris Day ones, especially when she was paired with Rock Hudson. Pillow Talk might be my fave of theirs. Some of my top modern ones are The Notebook, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Return to Me (OMG…LOVE it!), Made of Honor, Leap Year, Life as We Know It, Hmmm….I could go on and on. 🙂

    • Marin says:

      Great list, Alicia! I loved Return to Me too–forgot all about that one. I never saw the last two you mentioned, so I guess I’ll need to look for those! Thanks for the suggestions. 🙂

  7. Gone With The Wind, The Proposal, Dirty Dancing, Hope Floats, and The Body Guard are some other favorites of mine. Oh, who doesn’t love a good romance? Great post.

  8. Kym says:

    I like “Love, Actually,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “He’s Just Not Into You,” and all your choices, of course. At least the ones I’ve seen. 🙂

    • Marin says:

      I’m going to have to see Love Actually again. When I first saw it I didn’t like it, but you have mentioned loving it more than once–I’ll have to give it another try. 🙂 I almost put When Harry Met Sally on the list too, but it was getting really long!

  9. Kathleen says:

    One of my favorites is Shining Through, a WW2-era romance/suspense with Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith. But I’ve seen and adore all that you mention!

  10. I love, love, love Love Actually. There are also movies without a happily ever after that are great love stories: Ryan’s Daughter and The Thornbirds come to mind.

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