CATEGORIES Top 25
Just like true love, the perfect romance movie is hard to find.
Of course, we have high standards -- we want palpable chemistry between the stars, enormous odds for our lovers to overcome ... and a devastating death scene never hurts.
From rom coms to epic tearjerkers and everything in between, we fell in love all over again with the 25 best romance movies of all time.
25. 'Sleepless in Seattle' (1993)
It reads like a stalker tale: A woman crosses the country for a stranger. But when it's Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, it's just adorable. That we fell for a love story in which the stars only spend two minutes on screen together speaks volumes.
24. 'The Notebook' (2004)
This story of star-crossed lovers (Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling; Gena Rowlands and James Garner) captures the heartbreak and beauty of enduring love, and it's pretty hot to boot. Teen girls hadn't swooned like this since 'Titanic.'
23. 'Dark Victory' (1939)
Bette Davis got an Oscar nod for playing a socialite who finds love with the doctor set to operate on her brain tumor. She's dying, but ironically she's also finally living -- and it's caring about someone other than herself that's made her a person worth loving.
22. 'Amelie' (2001)
A shy Parisian waitress daydreams of finding love while spending her free time improving the lives of her neighbors. Uniquely French and extra quirky, the movie is irresistibly charming. And only the hardest heart could resist gamine star Audrey Tautou.
21. 'Love Story' (1970)
He's a rich, handsome jock (Ryan O'Neal), she's a beauty his parents don't accept (Ali McGraw). They stay together despite formidable obstacles, but there's one whopper still ahead -- and it's a tearjerker. Grab your tissues, and don't say we didn't warn you.
20. 'Jerry Maguire' (1996)
Forget "Show me the money!" The most memorable quote in this film -- the closest thing you'll see to a "bro-mance" -- comes when Tom Cruise admits to Renee Zellweger, "You complete me." The follow-up is perfect: "Just shut up. You had me at hello." Sigh.
19. 'West Side Story' (1961)
It's 'Romeo and Juliet' in New York City AND there's dancing -- who could ask for anything more? Apparently not Oscar voters, who awarded the classic musical 10 statues, including Best Picture. If only Shakespeare had had a librettist and a choreographer.
18. 'Atonement' (2007)
An unlikely yet alluring couple (James McAvoy and Keira Knightley) is torn apart by a lie in this devastating Oscar contender. Don't hold out for a happy ending, but sometimes yearning for love lost is the most powerful heartstring-tugger of all.
17. 'Lady and the Tramp' (1955)
Who says love can't be just as touching in animated form? (See also 'Beauty and the Beast.') Ever since this Disney film about dogs from opposite sides of the tracks, no dating couple has looked at spaghetti in quite the same way.
16. 'Wings of Desire' (1988)
It's about an angel (Bruno Ganz) who gives up immortality to be closer to the French circus performer (Solveig Dommartin) he's fallen for, but this is no conventional fairy tale. The angels here explore much deeper themes of love, life and connection.
15. 'Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind' (2004)
Discovering that his ex (Kate Winslet) has had him erased from her memory, Jim Carrey follows suit. But it's not that easy, and his poignant struggle to remember what was good rings true to anyone who's ever loved and lost.
14. 'An Officer and a Gentleman' (1982)
The passion between a naval officer-in-training (Richard Gere) and unhappy factory worker (Debra Winger) here is about as torrid as you can get. And his rescue of her from minimum-wage hell is pure romantic poetry.
13. 'Harold and Maude' (1971)
A suicidal 20-year-old (Bud Cort) falls for a funeral-obsessed senior citizen (Oscar winner Ruth Gordon) in one of the strangest and most charming romances of all time. It may be slightly creepy, but the two are sweetly irresistible.
12. 'Brokeback Mountain' (2005)
Two handsome cowboys, the great outdoors and the heartbreak of forbidden love. It doesn't hurt that stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger turn in incredible performances on top of it all. RIP Heath. Oscars were in your future.
11. 'The Princess Bride' (1987)
This fan fave takes your standard fairy-tale formula -- a princess (Robin Wright Penn) and her true love (Cary Elwes) struggle to unite -- and injects it with comic twists at every turn. But funny as it is, the adventure has a mushy romantic center.
10. 'Ghost' (1990)
While Whoopi Goldberg's dead-people-seeing psychic borders on the wacky (she did win an Oscar, go figure), this drama has one of the best love scenes of the decade. Messy clay. 'Unchained Melody.' Demi Moore and that perfect teardrop. Priceless.
9. 'Dr. Zhivago' (1965)
Who knew snow could be so sexy? Surgeon-poet Yuri (Omar Sharif) is married, but he can't resist the idealistic and soulful Lara (Julie Christie). It's sappy, it's sad, and the theme song will drive you insane, but these two beautiful adulterers are impossible not to root for.
8. 'Annie Hall' (1977)
Audiences fell hard for this bittersweet love story between Alvy (a comically neurotic Woody Allen) and Annie (Diane Keaton, in an Oscar-winning performance) -- about as hard as Alvy falls for Annie, you might say. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll "luurve" it.
7. 'Moonstruck' (1987)
Cher is a widow marrying a nice-but-boring man (Danny Aiello) -- until she meets his wildly passionate brother (Nicolas Cage). How nice it is to remember the 'Treasure'-hunting Cage as a brooding bad boy -- and a surprisingly seductive one at that.
6. 'The Way We Were' (1973)
Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford may not seem like a love match (he's an uptight WASP, she's an idealistic socialist), but that's what makes them so memorable. Because she wants it to work out so badly, so do we.
5. 'Gone With the Wind' (1939)
This sweeping Civil War drama about a Southern belle (Vivien Leigh) and a rogue (Clark Gable) is a love story with as many heart-stopping victories and reversals as the war itself. Frankly, my dear, we do give a damn.
4. 'An Affair to Remember' (1957)
Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr meet on a cruise and promise to reconnect six months later atop the Empire State building. If you get sucked in, don't feel bad. 'Sleepless in Seattle' director Nora Ephron loves it, too.
3. 'Wuthering Heights' (1939)
A rich girl (Merle Oberon) rejects her stable boy/true love (Laurence Olivier), but soon realizes her mistake. Of course, it's not until she's on her deathbed that the two lovers reconnect. Haunting has never been so romantic.
2. 'Titanic' (1997)
The ultimate date movie, this weepy flick has a big boat, awesome special effects and Kate Winslet to keep guys entertained. Women have plenty to swoon over thanks to the tragic love story and dreamy Leonardo DiCaprio. King of the world, indeed.
1. 'Casablanca' (1942)
When Humphrey Bogart tells Ingrid Bergman she has to leave him or regret it "maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon, and for the rest of your life," waterworks are unavoidable. Sixty-five years later, no film has better nailed a true romance.