Top 25 Classic Romantic Movies ...

By Katie

Top 25 Classic Romantic Movies ...

When you think of romances, don't those same classic movies keep popping into your head? I think we've all got a list of great, timeless love stories that we watch over and over. Here are my favorite 25 classic romantic films!

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Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid
How could this one not top my list? Casablanca is the ultimate classic romantic movie. If you only watch one movie off my list, please make it this one. It is the exotic story of the love triangle between Rick (Bogart), Victor (Henreid), and Ilsa (Bergman). Everything about this movie, from the cast to the setting to the dramatic ending, is timeless.
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Gone with the Wind

Starring: Clark Gable and Vivienne Leigh
This is my all-time favorite movie! I could watch GWTW over and over and over again. I love Scarlett's (Leigh) fiery personality and Rhett's (Butler) southern charm. This epic saga is set in the pre-Civil War South, and it follows Rhett and Scarlett through the war and Reconstruction. A beautiful tale of lovers fated never to be truly happy, this one is just too good too miss!
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Starring: Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson
Okay, we all know that Rock Hudson wasn't exactly the ladies' man that Hollywood advertised him to be back in the day, but he's still a great looking guy in my opinion, and he makes a great leading man in Giant. Elizabeth Taylor is one of my favorite actresses of all time, and she's great in this film. This movie (over 200 minutes long!) is too much to summarize in one sentence, but it follows several generations of a ranching family, and it delivers some major romance and drama.
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Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Claude Rains
I love this movie because it is not only a classic romance, but also an exciting spy thriller with a surprising twist. Bergman stars as an innocent young woman working with secret agent Grant to infiltrate a Brazilian spy ring. This one's got it all - betrayal, romance, danger. The tension between Grant and Bergman is just great as the plot builds.
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The Philadelphia Story

Starring: Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant
This is a cute little romance starring two of my favorite classic actors, Hepburn and Grant. Katharine Hepburn stars as Tracy Lord, a society girl who is torn between her fiancee and a dashing reporter (Grant). To me, this is such an example of glamorous old-time Hollywood!
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Famous Quotes

Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.


The Quiet Man

Starring: John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara
I love Ireland, and the country is almost another character in this movie... the cinematography is breathtaking! But of course, love is the real reason to watch this story, and there's a great romance here, too. Wayne is a boxer who returns to his native Ireland, and O'Hara (one of my favorite actresses from this era) is a saucy little redhead that he wants to marry. These two are so great together that I almost imagine them married in real life!
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The Shop around the Corner

Starring: James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan
I love this precious movie, and if you liked You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, you will love this one too! This movie is about two lonely coworkers who don't realize that they're actually each other's beloved penpal. Very sweet movie!
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Starring: Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford
Rita Hayworth is amazing in this movie! Her little striptease while singing "Put the Blame on Mame" is one of the classic scenes in Gilda. The plot of this one is complicated, with Hayworth's husband being hired to work in a casino owned by her former lover. Don't worry about all the details - I watch this one for Hayworth's sultry performance as a vulnerable yet tough dame.
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Ball of Fire

Starring: Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck
This movie is exciting and romantic, two of my favorite categories all rolled into one! Cooper, a nerdy professor, hires showgirl Stanwyck to help him write an article about Jazz Age slang. When he falls for her, there's her jealous ganster boyfriend to contend with. I think this movie has such a great storyline.
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An Affair to Remember

Starring: Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
Don't judge this movie by the remake with Annette Benning and Warren Beatty... I hated that one. Instead, rent this version of An Affair to Remember (it's actually a remake, too). Kerr and Grant star as strangers who meet on a cruise and fall in love, but both are involved with other people. They agree to split up, see if the feelings remain, and meet in six months atop the Empire State Building if they still feel they want to be together. Bring your tissues - I always cry when I watch this one!
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Starring: Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, and Humphrey Bogart
Sabrina is one of my all-time favorite romances! Audrey Hepburn stars as a chauffeur's daughter who falls in the love with the younger son of the family employing her father. She lures the son (Holden) out of a profitable arranged marriage, prompting the older brother (Bogart) to influence his brother to stay away from Sabrina. Of course, who can stay away from her? No one, and Bogart falls in love withe. Skip the remake (starring Harrison Ford), and watch the original - its a classic romantic tear-jerker.
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Some like It Hot

Starring: Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis
This cute little romance is about two ladies' men musicians (Lemmon and Curtis) who are on the run after witnessing a violent crime. They dress in drag to escape with their lives, and meet up with Sugar Kane (Monroe). Curtis falls in love with Monroe, and the results are both funny and romantically sweet.
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The Lady Eve

Starring: Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda
I think Barbara Stanwyck is such a great actress of this generation... pretty, funny, and smart. She plays Lady Eve in this movie, a gold-digging con artist who sets her sights on the hapless Henry Fonda. The romantic tension between those two is classic movie fun, and this screwball romantic comedy is great for laughs and for love!
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Roman Holiday

Starring: Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck
To me, Audrey Hepburn is just too sweet, and I love any movie she makes. I'd watch anything she's in! This movie is one of those classic romances that I always think of when someone asks me about timeless love stories. I didn't put it higher on the list because I'm not a huge Gregory Peck fan ... I think Cary Grant would've been a perfect leading man for this role. But, this is still a great romance about a European princess who sneaks off and falls in love with a tough-guy reporter.
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Meet John Doe

Starring: Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck
I know a lot of people don't like Gary Cooper, but I think he's got such great chemistry with Barbara Stanwyck, and never more so than in Meet John Doe. This movie is about an average guy (cooper) who gets swept up in a corrupt political campaign. Stanwyck is the reporter who falls for him and winds up saving him in the end.
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His Girl Friday

Starring: Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell
This is a madcap comedy all wrapped up in a romantic love story, so I love it because it is the best of both worlds... funny and charming! Grant plays a newspaper man whose star reporter (Russell) just happens to be his ex-wife. When she wants to leave his paper, he assigns her one tough last interview with a convicted killer. Jail breaks, shootings, and a corrupt administration add lots of excitement to this love story. This is one classic that I watch over and over again!
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Bringing up Baby

Starring: Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant
This is a movie that surprised me. I didn't think I'd enjoy this romantic comedy nearly as much as I did. Grant plays a very straight-laced paleontologist, and Hepburn is a flirty heiress whose dog steals Grant's dinosaur bone. This is a love-hate story, with lots of juicy conflict and flirtation between the two main characters. I was so surprised by Hepburn's ability to play this role and play it well!
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My Fair Lady

Starring: Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison
My Fair Lady is a classic Hollywood romance, and if you're like me, you grew up knowing and loving this story! Hepburn plays Eliza Doolittle in this rags to riches story. She's a street girl who's taken in by the charming Henry Higgins (Harrison), who uses Eliza for his own little social experiment. The whole thing doesn't turn out quite as Henry planned! I love all the songs in this one, too.
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A Matter of Life and Death

Starring: David Niven and Kim Hunter
This is a romance with life and death consequences! I watched this one with my husband a few years ago, and it got a lot of interesting conversations started. Nivens stars as a downed pilot who should've died. He has to justify his life before a heavenly panel to convince them that he deserves to live and stay with his love, played by Hunter.
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The Palm Beach Story

Starring: Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert
This is a movie that a lot of my friends haven't watched, but I caught it on a classic movie channel a few years ago, and I just fell in love with it. Set in the years following the Great Depression, McCrea and Colbert play a down-on-their-luck couple who ultimately decide to divorce. Both fly off to Palm Beach, where they meet rich suitors. Ultimately, their love brings them back together, but the journey along the way is both romantic and witty!
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Breakfast at Tiffany's

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard and Patricia Neal

This is a movie that is an absolute classic, not only does it have the beautiful Audrey Hepburn in it, but the entire movie is what I would imagine she is like. She is a young New York socialite that becomes interested in a neighbor that moves into her apartment building. The ultimate love story!

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Sleepless in Seattle

Starring: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

This is one of those movies that will warm your heart, mind and soul. It's all about a recently-widowed man and his son. His son, who wants to make his dad feel better calls into a radio talk show in an attempt to find a partner for his father. What he finds is so, so much more!

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Pride & Prejudice

Starring: Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen
No classic romantic movie list would be complete without this one. The spirited Elizabeth, the amazing Mr. Darcy and just the way the entire story unfolds is all so beautiful. If you haven't seen this classic love story, it's time!

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When Harry Met Sally

Starring: Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan
If you are looking for a love story that is all about romance, all about good friends and all about sex, this is it! This is a story that unfolds right before you! Basically, there are two friends that have known each other for quite a while, however, they fear that sex will ruin their friendship -- does it? See it to find out!

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Starring: Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore
Ah, of course, the classic Ghost movie. This movie is absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful -- all at the same time. It is all about a man that loves his girl so much, he remains on earth, as a ghost. It's a must see romantic classic!

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Those movies are my favorite love stories on film of all time! Sometimes, you just can't beat romance in black and white. Do you have a classic romantic movie that I've not seen? If you do, I'd love to hear your review of it!

This post was written in collaboration with editor Heather Jensen.

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Great list. I am a huge classic movie fan but have never seen the last one with Joel McCrea and I'm also a fan of his movies, as well as Claudette Colbert. My favorite movie of his is something like Sullivan's Travels where he is a movie producer and decides to find out about being a hobo and ends up in prison and finds out all people really need is to laugh. Great movie with great moral about having fun and laughing. I'll watch for that movies.

Where's Wuthering Heights? That has to be top 5 best classics. Slacking on the list there ;P

I woul like to meet people and be friends is that possible abs get some advice too

I love Casablanca. I watch it once every year and I cry every time. :(

wow thats such an awesome list. for the longest time ever i thought i was the only one in love with "Gone with the Wind" but yaay another fan!

Hi Katie, Thank you for your list. I've seen many time and time again; Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Roman Holiday to name a few. I can not wait to get started on more classics that you suggested : ) Some others you might like which have that boy meets girl, struggle and then the ahhhhhh ending; 1.Chocolat: with Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche, and Judy Dench. 2.Family Man: with Tea Leoni and Nichols Cage (my all time fav.) because it reminds me of my husband and I. Our first five years of marriage we had three children and he commuted to Cleveland, Ohio from Orlando 50 out of 52 weeks a year/5 days a week---home on weekends when the plane didn't ice over. He lived at the Hilton Hotel, had a per diem to entertain clients/aerospace corp. and a Cadillac to drive. When he came home he was lost. 3. Shadowlands: Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. An actual true story.....get your tissues ready. This story takes you to places of the heart, transitions of what is important, and a committment like in the "Notebook." 4. Moon Struck: Nicholas Cage and Cher----I'm half Italian and half Hick, yes Hick/redneck. My parents met a dance in Georgia. My Dad was from Long Island. I was raised in Long Island and totally get the family. It's so animated, quirky, and the "Moon," seems to bring love to all. 5. Sweet Home Alabama: Andy Tennant,Reece Witherspoon, and Patrick Dempsy and Here is my "Hick side." My family roots on my Mother's side are good faithful people, some in mobile home/trailers with hound dogs etc. for hunting on up to a lawyer and a dentist.....very big family. On occassion people break out from my family, get educated, get a little high faloot n', and then return back to enjoy the tender simple life and what is real. The antics are fun and care free but the stuggle hits home and you actually root for the home town boy....even though the city slicker is every womans dream.... 6. Dr. Shivago (abc on the spelling please)Omar Shariff and ? My mother and I's favorite together. I even have a Jewelry box that plays "Laura's Theme," that my Mom and Dad gave me. It's complexity at it's best, war time in Russia, passion, choices, and ultimate sacrifices. A very poinent master piece of the human struggle and love. 7. The Wedding Planner: Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConnauhey. I've seen this so many times and I love how much the young Italian man loves her, makes her a beautiful doll house/to give her a dream home and proposes to her offering his heart. Mean while her heart belongs to the Groom of the couple she is planning their wedding.....I saw this movie at least 20 times with my daughters---Once with several of our friends/neighbor couples in Leu Gardens/at night on a three story blow up screen. There we were watching a movie in a park, seeing JLo watching a movie in the park with Mathew McConnauhey. It was a perfect place to feel what they were portraying. 8. Maid in Manhattan: JLo again, with Bob Hoskins, and Ralf Fiennes.....and my favorite quote, To serve people takes dignity and intelligence. But remember, they are only people with money. And although we serve them, we are not their servants. What we do, Miss Ventura, does not define who we are. What defines us is how well we rise after falling. ---the movie depicts how many of Americans work. All of us are not blessed to have comfy office jobs or perks. I feel fortunate to have risen above my parents struggles; Dad-family came from Italy and my Mom--literally Cotton pickers/share croppers. It was there vision and hard work that paved my way. 9. Juliette; the 1960's version Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussy----my favorite quote,"Romeo andGive me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun." ---this introduced me to Love, Shakespear, and wonderful lyrical dialogue. 10. Shakespear in Love: Joseph Fiennes, Judith Dench and Gwyneth Paltro----Pure fun and a look at what Shakespear might have lived; his desires, dreams, and inspiration. You are the fly on the wall. ****Also It Happened one Night; Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. All black and white...a laugh from beginning to end....saw this the first night they had the movies in Leu Gardens(Orlando, FL) several years ago. It was a treat back then...they didn't post the name of the just went and then you found out. This movie is so Clark Gable. Lastly, "The African Queen," Humpfrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. A likely unlikely pair, suspense, and courage. Man saves woman....a tough one at that. Okay, I hope you have enjoyed reading my top ten. They are not in any particular order. On any given day my number 1 could change. Definately for Christmas time though, "The Family Man." I fall in love with my husband all over again. We have been married 24 years and laugh at how it started. Again, thank you.....getting the pop corn ready. with much sincerity, Deb G.

Hi Katie, I think you have a great taste... I've also watched "Casablanca" and "Gone with the wind" and they are really good! I've also watched other classic movies like "The Great Gatsby" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's". I am also a great fan of all these classic movies.I've been dying to watch "an affair to remember", "Sabrina" and other movies like "Bed of roses" and "sixteen candles", can you please tell me on which website I can get free downloads for these movies (if you know any)? Thank you From Sapna