Cosy up in front of one of these romantic films for Valentine’s Day. A mix of old classics and new releases, including a selection of the funniest ‘rom coms’, saddest ‘weepies’, and some alternative romances you might have missed. Just add ice cream for a romantic night in for two.
1 A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
A romantic fantasy film, set during WW2, about a dying airman and a radio operator who fall in love when he radios in to give his position as his plane crashes. A beautiful film for die-hard romantics rated at no. 20 in the British Institute’s 100 Best British Films of all time.
2 Brief Encounter (1945)
A romantic drama set in the late 1930s, about a married woman who meets a stranger at a railway station and embarks on an emotional love affair. She tells the story as if confessing to her husband. Moody black and white sequences are brought dramatically to life by an incredible musical score.
3 Gone With the Wind (1939)
An epic tale set in 1861 at the start of the American civil war, it centres around the love between a beautiful Southern belle and a scandalous and dashing blockade runner. Remembered for the (shocking for its time) line, “Quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
4 The Apartment (1960)
Set in New York at the very start of the swinging 60s, this is about a lonely and unlucky office worker who falls in love with a lift operator in the skyscaper office block in which they both work. Sweet and touching, this is a gentle romance with poignant comedic moments.
5 Juno (2007)
A quirky comedy-drama and a very modern love story that started with a teenage pregnancy and ended up winning an Oscar for best original screenplay. The story is told over four seasons and follows the offbeat girl’s decision to give her baby to a childless couple. She ponders: “I need to know that it’s possible two people can stay happy together forever.”
6 Carol (2015)
Set in in New York in the 1950’s, the story follows two women with very different lives: a young woman in her twenties and an older woman with children, as they embark on a love affair, during a time when women were looked on as wives and mothers first, and women in love second. A film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt.
7 Manhattan (1979)
A comedy drama about a twice divorced television writer in his forties who, while dating a teenage girl, falls in love with his best friend’s mistress, and trouble ensues! Shot in striking black and white and set to a spine-tingling Jazz score.
8 True Romance (1993)
An offbeat black comedy crime thriller about a comic-book nerd and a prostitute who fall head over heels in love against an inner-city backdrop of drugs, violence and Mafia mob wars. A film with cult status and the line: “You’re so cool.”
9 Dirty Dancing (1987)
A coming of age romance about a teenage girl on holiday with her parents who falls in love with the holiday camp’s dance instructor. This film won an Oscar for Best Music and who can forget the final scene with the song ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life’?
10 When Harry Met Sally (1989)
A romantic comedy that asks the question, is it possible for men and women to be friends? It follows the eleven year relationship between Harry and Sally who meet in college, then pursue their own lives until they reconnect ten years later. Made forever famous for its simulated orgasm scene and the line straight after it.
11 Love Actually (2003)
A gentle comedy, set in the lead up to Christmas, it follows the lives of several very different couples in cleverly interrelated tales and is, quite simply, all about love.
12 Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
A moving comedy about a recently widowed man whose life changes when his young son calls into a radio talk show asking to find his father a new love. When a newly engaged woman hears the show she realises her destiny may in fact lie with this man and not her new fiance.
13 The Notebook (2004)
A story that spans several decades and starts in the 1940’s in South Carolina. A poor mill worker and a girl from a wealthy family fall desperately in love but cannot be together as her parents do not approve. He goes off to war and this ends their love affair but when he returns it is clear to them both that their love is still as strong as it ever was.
14 The English Patient (1996)
A very moving film set towards the end of WW2, this is an epic story about a young nurse tending to a badly-burned plane crash victim with no identification and no memory, known only as ‘the English Patient’. His past, is revealed in a series of flashbacks that tell the tale of a fateful love affair. Not for the faint hearted!
15 Ghost (1990)
A fantasy film with comedic elements that begins with the murder of a young man, and follows his spirit as it tries to warn his grieving lover of impending dangers, through the help of a reluctant psychic. This film won the Oscar for best original screenplay, and was made famous by its sensuous pottery scene set to the sound of Unchained Melody.
16 The Go-Between (1971)
A tale of forbidden love between an aristocratic young lady and a poor local farmer, told in flashback during the fifties by the narrator, punctuated with a dramatic soundtrack. He looks back to the summer of 1900 when he turned thirteen and became embroiled in a love affair he was then too young to understand. From the book of the same title by L.P. Harley, that begins with the memorable line, ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’
17 Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Set over twenty years, from the early 1960s to the early 1980’s, this film tells the story of the secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their unfolding lives over the years, through marriages and the births of their children, beginning at a time when homosexuality was still a criminal offence. The story shows how they at first try to deny, and then ultimately reaffirm their love for each other.
18 Sing Street (2016)
A musical comedy drama set in Dublin in 1985 about a boy who starts a band just to impress a mysterious girl he likes. Seen through the eyes of the 14-year-old boy, he finds new hope in this emerging young love and immerses himself in music, with his friends, pouring their hearts into their new project.
19 La La Land (2016)
A Hollywood style musical that tells the story of the love between an aspiring actress and a jazz musician as they struggle to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts. This upbeat film won a record-breaking seven wins at the 74th Golden Globe Awards.
20 Me Before You (2016)
When a young man who has everything becomes paralysed in a motorbike accident he loses his desire to live, until he makes a close bond with the young woman who becomes his carer and their lives are changed forever.
21 Atonement (2007)
A story spanning several decades, beginning in the 1930s when a thirteen-year-old girl who dreams of being a writer irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit.
22 Moulin Rouge (2001)
A colourful musical set in Paris at the turn of the last century, it tells the story of a young English writer, who falls in love with a cabaret actress, courtesan and star of the famous Moulin Rouge.
23 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
A very different romantic sci-fi drama about a couple who undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. Through the process of loss, they discover all they had to begin with. This film won the Oscar for best original screenplay, and it’s certainly an original concept for a love story.
24 Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
An unusual but touching black comedy about a former teacher who moves back in with his parents after a stint in a mental institution and sets about trying to reconcile with his ex-wife. When he meets a woman who is equally challenged, they embark on a relationship that leads them to enter a local dance contest.
25 Punch Drunk Love (2002)
Best described as ‘odd, touching and unique’, this tells the story of a troubled man who is lonely and insecure, until he meets the right woman who entices him out of his shell, at a time in his life when he finally needs to find his strength. “I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine.”
There are so many amazing romantic films for Valentine’s Day, and indeed any other night of the year, it has been hard to choose just twenty five. I hope this list offers up some ideas for films you either haven’t yet seen, or might like to see again. Happy Valentine’s Day from the team at Confetti, with love.