Many of us, whatever we’re doing for Valentine’s Day—going out, cooking Ro Howe’s recommended feast, or sharing our love for all of our friends—make this a week for romantic movies. What’s your favorite? Here are a few of ours:

The Philadelphia Story (1940). “When a rich woman’s ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.”  Good-looking suitors, high fashion, and Katharine Hepburn: What could be more romantic?

Now, Voyager (1942). Bette Davis as the troubled spinster Charlotte Vale, who reinvents herself . . . and finds true love. Its poignant last line: “Don’t let’s ask for the moon—we  have the stars.”


Casablanca (1942). This most unintentionally timeless movie, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, set in unoccupied Africa during World War II, ends up celebrating many kinds of love. Just think of the last line.

An Affair to Remember (1957), with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, was named by  the American Film Institute as one of the most romantic movies of all time.  We find it hard to disagree.

Dirty Dancing (1987). This woman-written film uses its historical moment (1960) to touch on universal truths about race, class, youth, and the bravery of truth-telling.

Roxanne (1987). Even for those who weren’t fans of the early Steve Martin, this retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac was enthralling. We dare you to see this and not fall in love with both Martin and Daryl Hannah all over again.


When Harry Met Sally (1989). We were reminded of this film last month by WVFC’s Alexandra MacAaron; we think that watching this early exploration of the friends-with-benefits puzzle is a great way to prepare for next week’s Oscars.


There are many more, of course. Which romantic movie do you like best? We challenge you to choose just one, and tell us in our Comments section which  it is. Psychologist Cecilia Ford has weighed in with her list; we’ll post her picks tomorrow.

And while it’s too soon to call any 21st-century films Valentine classics, we were persuaded to end this post with Love, Actually (2003). There’s something for everyone in this, one, including Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, and more plot twists than a Sunday serial. As Rosemarie MacPherson summed it up for the Internet Movie Database,”The characters are falling in love, falling out of love, some are with right people, some are with the wrong people, some are looking to have an affair, some are in the period of mourning; a capsule summary of reality. Love begins and love ends.”

Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Carol Arrington February 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    “The Thomas Crown Affair” – the McQueen Dunaway version

  • Carol Arrington February 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman” – food and romance. “Bossa Nova” – Romance for all ages. “Man and a Woman” – all! Foreign films

  • Diane Vacca February 15, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Sorry– forgot the links: for BaT and two for ESILY (love that movie!) and

  • Diane Vacca February 14, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Breakfast at Tiffany is a longtime favorite for me. Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You, like Love Actually, has several very different but connected love stories.

  • Rachel Rawlings February 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Just one, really? Just one?

    Well, even though it’s not a lesbian movie, the softest part of my heart has to go to Always, with Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfuss.

  • Rachel February 14, 2012 at 11:30 am

    It just occurred to me that although the ending is sad, Brokeback Mountain probably has a place on this list.

  • RozWarren February 14, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Blazing Saddles for me! Or maybe Airplane?

  • Elizabeth W February 14, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I’m a little ashamed of how many of these I haven’t seen… to the library I go!!!

    You inspired me to make my own list of favorites.

  • hillsmom February 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Casablanca, forever! However, Now Voyager is my favorite 5 handkerchief movie.

    To digress a bit. I happened to pick up a “used book” which was a continuation of the Casablanca story. Captain Reynaud was quite the ladies’ man. I have passed it on and forget who wrote it.

    What about “Sleepless in Seattle” (An Affair to Remember sort of “remake”)
    I can go way back to Random Harvest, too.

  • Marjorie Goldman February 14, 2012 at 10:20 am

    “Truly, Madly, Deeply” Funny, sweet (but also a little dark, so it’s not too sweet), original, very well done.

  • Chris Lombardi February 14, 2012 at 9:41 am

    “Dirty Dancing” was my idea, though I agree with you that Harry and Sally are better role models. But I think my heart will always belong to “Casablanca.”

  • Theresa Raidy February 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

    My favorite romantic movie will always be “When Harry Met Sally.” I love quirky Sally who reminds me so much of myself and I love that Harry is a good guy despite his shortcomings and that he eventually comes through for Sally in the end. I believe that it does take years for some men to find their inner “good guy” and with patience and being strong about not putting up with them when they are being jerks, love can eventually win out.