20 Great Romantic Movies to Watch on Valentine's Day
Do you have plans for Valentine's Day? Are you going out to a romantic dinner with your significant other (or, maybe soon-to-be-for-real significant other?) Good for you. We're thrilled. As for the rest of us, who plan on skipping Valentine's Day out of protest (or because, well, we have no choice in the matter), this year's holiday will be another night at home with a bottle of wine and our TV. But never fear: You can still inject some romance in your life—albeit the vicarious kind. If you're looking for something to warm your heart, make you laugh, or reduce you to a pile of tears, here's a list for you: 20 great romantic films that will make you feel all sorts of emotions this Valentine's Day, whether you like it or not.
When Harry Met Sally...
Even the biggest rom-com defector cannot help but fall for Rob Reiner's modern classic. With a script by the great Nora Ephron, and infectious and incredible chemistry between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, the film is arguably the greatest romantic comedy in movie history.
You've Got Mail
Nora Ephron's remake of The Shop Around the Corner for the digital age stars Meg Ryan as a Manhattan bookseller whose business falters when a big-box bookstore run by a devious Tom Hanks moves into the neighborhood. But little do these enemies know, they have fallen in love with each other while communicating anonymously via email.
Love & Basketball
Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan play childhood sweethearts who simultaneously aspire to become basketball stars. While they fall in love on and off the court, they must balance their ambitions and their emotions in this romantic drama written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.
Based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Sparks, this romantic tear-jerker stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as two young lovers who are kept apart by their social circles—but still find a way to express their true love (particularly by kissing a lot in the pouring rain).
The classic drama is one of the greatest romantic movies ever made. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman star as two former lovers who unexpectedly reunite in Morocco during WWII, and their reunion is disrupted when the woman needs her old flame's help to escape—along with her new husband—to America.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet play two lovers, both distraught over the end of their relationship, who undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories—which only reignites their passion for each other in this inventive and emotional film from Michel Gondry.
Crazy Rich Asians
Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) has no idea that her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) comes from one of the wealthiest families in Asia. But she's in for a rude awakening when she travels to Singapore to meet them—and butts heads with his impressive and intense mother (Michelle Yeoh). Best of all, this movie will make you curious about actual crazy, rich Asians.
Blue Is the Warmest Color
Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos star as two French teenagers who fall in (and out) of love in this sexy and intense coming-of-age drama that picked up the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival—and will put you through the emotional ringer.
James Cameron's Oscar-winning masterpiece is one of the great technical feats in the modern Hollywood era, but it also features the compelling love story between a poor artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a upper-class debutante (Kate Winslet) who have an affair aboard the infamously doomed RMS Titanic.
Erich Segal's bestselling novel became a Hollywood classic, with Ryan O'Neal playing a young Harvard man who meets—and falls in love with—a working-class Radcliffe student played by Ali MacGraw. Their relationship is tested, in classic weepy fashion, when she's stricken with a terminal illness.
Heath Ledger's shy Ennis del Mar falls in what he cannot articulate as love with Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist over a long, lonely winter. Their lives bounce off each other's for years afterward—but their clandestine, undefined romance becomes emotionally tumultuous for both of them.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Lara Jean (Lana Condor) is your typical lovelorn teenage girl who drafts love letters to her former crushes for her eyes only. But when the letters wind up being mailed to the former objects of her affection, her life is turned upside-down—and she finds unexpected romance in this comedy based on Jenny Han's novel.
The Princess Bride
Rob Reiner's swashbuckling fairy tale send-up, based on William Goldman's novel, tells the tall tale of a farmhand named Wesley, his true love Buttercup, and the many wild and wacky individuals they meet on their long journey to live happily ever after.
Romeo + Juliet
The seminal love story about a pair of doomed, star-crossed lovers got the Gen-X treatment with Baz Luhrmann's brash and inventive reimagining of William Shakespeare's most famous play. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes star as the teenage lovebirds, whose feuding families keep them apart—and whose love story meets a tragically romantic end.
This 1990 tearjerker proves that death isn't the end of true love. When Sam (Patrick Swayze) is murdered during a mugging, his soul is trapped on Earth—which is how he discovers that his best friend is behind his death, and is already making moves on his girlfriend, Molly (Demi Moore). Sam soon enlists a psychic (Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg) to help him safe Molly from peril.
Timothée Chalamet plays the precocious Elio, a teenager living in Italy who becomes infatuated with an older American student, Oliver (Armie Hammer), who is staying with his family for the summer. What begins as a contentious friendship turns into a full-blown love affair as the two young men spend their idle summer days in the lush Mediterranean locale, bracing themselves for an inevitable heartbreak.
The Wedding Singer
Adam Sandler plays the titular character in this '80s-set rom-com, a beaten-down wedding singer who falls for Drew Barrymore's Julia, a similarly down-on-her-luck waitress who's engaged to a womanizing meathead. As far as dumb Adam Sandler movies go, this one is one of the sharpest.
Four Weddings and a Funeral
This Best Picture-nominated film is almost the platonic ideal of a British comedy. Charles (Hugh Grant) meets Carrie, a flirty American woman played by Andie MacDowell, who quickly becomes the object of his romantic pursuit over the course of a several weddings (and, yes, a funeral).
The Pygmalion story gets another contemporary twist in this rom-com from Garry Marshall, in which Richard Gere plays a high-powered L.A. businessman who hires a beautiful young escort (Julia Roberts) to be his companion—and, naturally, he falls head over heels in love with her.
The classic Hollywood love story gets yet another modern musical spin, this time with first-time director Bradley Cooper starring as washed-up country singer Jackson Maine, whose life is given a boost when he falls for an aspiring pop singer, Ally (Lady Gaga). But as Ally's star rises and Jackson's falls, their rocky relationship is put to the test.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.