The 100 best romantic movies: 100-91

The 100 best romantic films voted for by experts including Tom Hiddleston, Joan Collins and EL James

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100

Out of Sight (1998)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Cast: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez

Best quote: 'Jack, please don't make me do this.'

Defining moment: J-Lo and Clooney get up close and personal in the boot of a getaway car.
 
 

Junk in the trunk
It's got to be the sexiest meet-cute in the movies. Clooney is a bank robber who’s just bust out of prison. Lopez is the federal marshal who gets in his way. We already know she likes a bad boy, so when he bundles her into the boot of a getaway car, sparks fly.

The chemistry between Clooney and Lopez is smokin’ hot in Soderbergh’s down-and-dirty adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel. Sandra Bullock was originally tested for the marshal role, but it’s impossible to believe she would have sizzled like J-Lo. ‘Out of Sight’ will also go down in history as the movie that finally made TV pin-up Clooney a bona fide Hollywood star. CC

Read the Time Out review of 'Out of Sight'

99

Buffalo '66 (1998)

Director: Vincent Gallo

Cast: Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci

Best quote: 'You adore me, you love me, you cherish me. Jesus Christ you can't live without me.'

Defining moment: Ricci's fantasy tap dance in a deadbeat bowling alley.
 

I wanna be adored
Nothing about Gallo's winningly strange debut feature approaches romance in a fashion most viewers are likely to recognise, or even desire. Stockholm Syndrome is a tricky concept at the best of times, and when the captor is Billy, a maladjusted, abusive ex-con played by Gallo, it's fair to say our perceptions of love's limits and limitations are being tested.

Yet as Layla, the zoned-out tap dancer Billy kidnaps so she can pose as his wife at his ghastly parents' house, gawkily luminous Ricci somehow persuades us that there's something to be saved in this lonely wastrel – though probably not in their bizarre relationship. It's a love we can believe, even if we can't quite believe in it. GL

Read the Time Out review of 'Buffalo '66'

98

Un Chant d'Amour (1950)

Director: Jean Genet

Cast: Java, André Reybaz, Lucien Sénémaud

Best quote: no dialogue

Defining moment: Phallic substitutes (flowers, cigarettes, a pistol) we expect in a film from 1950, but full-on tumescence we don’t.
 

Let yourself go
Jean Genet had already been discharged from the French Foreign Legion for indecency, bummed around Europe as a thief and rent-boy, and forged a strong literary reputation before he made this silent, clandestinely-shot 26-minute short in 1950. It’s a potent combination of the raw and the poetic, as male prisoners writhe under the lustful eye of a peeping guard, dreaming of encounters metaphorical and corporeal.

Its explicit gaze is still pretty eye-popping by conventional standards, and in 1966 a California court banned ‘Un Chant d’Amour’, pronouncing it ‘cheap pornography calculated to promote homosexuality, perversion and morbid sex practices’. Needless to say, it became an underground sensation (though nowadays it’s on Youtube), and a touchstone for future film-makers including Kenneth Anger, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Todd Haynes. TJ

Read the Time Out review of 'Un Chant d'Amour'

97

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

Director: Steve Kloves

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Beau Bridges

Best quote: 'You're not going to start dreaming about me and waking up all sweaty and looking at me like I'm some sort of princess when I burp?'

Defining moment: Michelle drapes herself atop Jeff’s piano for a smoky rendition of ‘Makin’ Whoopee’.

Another season, another reason
He knows he shouldn’t. She knows she shouldn’t. But they can’t help themselves. For decades, talented but feckless Jeff Bridges has been working hotel lounges in an easy-listening piano duo with his steady-Eddie brother (and real-life sibling) Beau, but when the work dries up they take on a vocalist – Michelle Pfeiffer’s Susie Diamond, a world-weary former escort seeking the showbiz spotlight.

Suddenly, the trio’s a hit, but there’s something in the air between Jeff and Michelle, which could break the act apart if they choose to respond to it. First-time writer-director Steve Kloves matches awkward adult emotions to razor-sharp dialogue, so naturally Hollywood picked him to adapt the ‘Harry Potter’ saga (!). Still, we’ll always have the Airport Ramada… TJ

Read the Time Out review of 'The Fabulous Baker Boys'

96

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Director: David Lean

Cast: Julie Christie, Omar Sharif, Geraldine Chaplin

Best quote: 'There's an extraordinary girl at this party.' 'I know. I'm dancing with her.'

Defining moment: Years after their parting, Yuri catches a glimpse of his beloved Lara from a crowded tram and runs after her – a mirror image of his first sighting.

A balalaika made for two
David Lean’s super-sized epic of love lost and found – several times over – across a half-century of tumultuous Russian history may seem to have fallen slightly out of fashion these days. But you need only have counted the not-so-subtle references to its florid aesthetic in Joe Wright’s recent ‘Anna Karenina’ to see how it captured the imagination of more than one generation. Not for nothing was Maurice Jarre’s swirling ‘Lara’s Theme’ a Top 10 hit in its day, after all.

Still, the lush sound and iconography of ‘Zhivago’ – that wedding-cake ice palace, those fashion-spread furs – has rather superceded the knotty, compromised politics of its love story, a cruel triangle in which different viewers may find themselves sympathising with different sides. GL

Read the Time Out review of 'Doctor Zhivago'

95

Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)

Director: Jean-Paul Rappeneau

Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Anne Brochet

Best quote: 'You give me milk instead of cream. Say how you love me!'

Defining moment: Cyrano's 'Non, merci!' tirade against the world.
 

Where’s John Nettles?
Russia’s most celebrated film talent since Eisenstein – the inimitable Gérard Depardieu – achieved the unusual feat of securing an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a foreign language film for his portrayal of France’s answer to the Elephant Man.

Despite his unconventional looks, Cyrano is a spectacular lover – at least on paper, writing letters that cause sexy cousin Roxane (Anne Brochet) to fall deeply in love with the man from whom she erroneously believes she’s received the billets-doux – the dashing but inarticulate Christian (Vincent Perez). Unlike José Ferrer, who did win the Oscar for his 1950 portrayal of Cyrano, Depardieu didn’t take home the little gold statue in the end, but it’s probably his take on Cyrano that’s become the more iconic. CB

Read the Time Out review of 'Cyrano de Bergerac'

94

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Director: Arthur Penn

Cast: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway

Best quote: 'When we started out, I thought we was really goin' somewhere. This is it. We're just goin', huh?'

Defining moment: That orgasmic ending, with the two outlaw-lovers going out in an hail of bullets.

When they met, it was murder
From the start you know this can only end badly. Bonnie Parker has been dreaming her whole life of getting out of Texas. Then along comes Clyde Barrow, a small-time thief – the kind of man momma warned against. Bonnie and Clyde commit their first robbery before they’ve even stopped to find out each other’s name.

Were the real-life Depression era outlaws (whose robbing spree left at least nine policemen and several civilians dead) really as glamorous as Beatty and Dunaway in gangster chic? No, of course not. But as veteran critic David Thomson once wrote, ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ was a film as much about the 1960s as it was about the 1930s: ‘The picture caught the mood of the late 1960s, with kids angry at society.’ CC

Read the Time Out review of 'Bonnie and Clyde'

93

The Fly (1986)

Director: David Cronenberg

Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis

Best quote: 'Help me be human.'

Defining moment: The climax. Is there anything more romantic than attempting to fuse on a genetic level with your intended?
 

2 become 1
Wait, isn’t that the one where the guy mutates horrifically into an insect? The origin of the phrase ‘Be afraid, be very afraid?’ What could possibly be romantic about that? Well, kind of everything.

The opening is a flawless meet-cute – ballsy reporter meets mad scientist, love blossoms – helped along by the fact that real-life partners Goldblum and Davis are a screwball couple to rival Grant and Hepburn. Then, when disaster strikes in the form of a teleportation accident, she’s forced to make a choice: stick by the man she’s fallen in love with despite his terrifying, irrational transformation, or flee for the sake of her unborn child. Cronenberg’s masterpiece may be grotesque, but it’s as heartfelt, honest and endearingly human as any film on this list. TH

Read the Time Out review of 'The Fly'

92

Roman Holiday (1953)

Director: William Wyler

Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck

Best quote: 'I'm not two hundred years old. Why can't I sleep in pajamas?'

Defining moment: A swooningly sad, near-perfect love-story ending.
 

I wanna live like common people
It was the film that made Hepburn an overnight star at the age of 22. She fizzes as tomboyish Princess Ann, who is bored to tears of dreary ambassadors’ balls and hobnobbing with crusty old majors with walrus moustaches.

On a state visit to Rome, Anne slips away to see how the other half live. Peck is the American reporter who can’t believe his luck, picking up a real-life runaway princess. Sure, he tells her, he’ll show her the sights… On the sly he’s cooking up the scoop of the century. Of course they fall in love. Swoon at its near-perfect ending, with its tender message that a moment’s happiness can last you a lifetime. CC

Read the Time Out review of 'Roman Holiday'

91

Submarine (2010)

Director: Richard Ayoade

Cast: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige

Best quote: 'This is the moment where you leave him and come with me.'

Defining moment: A fortnight of atavistic lovemaking is turned into the Super-8 footage of memory.
 

Sperm Wales
15-year old Oliver Tate (Roberts) is desperate to lose his virginity to indifferent pyromaniac Jordana Bevan (Paige). He attempts to convince her with three good reasons: 1. You are fatally in love with me. 2. Best to do it before legal. 3. Bound to be disappointing, so why wait?

Writer-director Ayoade does a superb job of taking Joe Dunthorne's darkly comic debut novel and, rather than turning it into the Brit-com one might expect from somebody so integral to shows like ‘The IT Crowd’ and ‘Garth Marenghi's Dark Place’, he creates a lithe and oddly elegant deadpan romance that recalls the French New Wave at least as much as it does its other clear ancestor, the Adrian Mole books. CB

Read the Time Out review of 'Submarine'

Continue to numbers 90-81 in our list of the 100 best romantic movies



Users say

8 comments
Michael O
Michael O

GREAT LIST! And its not the only the modern day bullshit most lists are made up of.

Very excited to watch the ones i have not seen.

HeatherAnnS_
HeatherAnnS_

Notting Hill, Cinema Paradiso and the utterly flawless Pride and Prejudice all robbed of rankings. Inexplicable.

Chris
Chris

I'd have to put Cinema Paradiso in there as one of my favourites. A story of companionship, love and loss.

gee
gee

How come movies like Notting hill, My bestfriends wedding and Runaway bride are not in this list?? I really couldn't agree with this, i feel it's generation biased and one sided. Although i haven't seen most of the films as some are from older generations, i've seen more romantic movies than in this list. Don't get me wrong for saying this, for i'm not against third sex or gay people, it's just that, they've put same sex romance in this list, when not all can appreciate it. I mean, seriously, is Brokeback Mountain more romantic than 50 first date?? I really think the following movies should be on this list; 1. Notting Hill, 2. Run away bride, 3. My bestfriends wedding, 4. Sleepless in Seattle, 5. You've got Mail, 6. Prelude to a kiss, 7. She's all that, 8. Love Happens, 9. Definitely Maybe, 10. One Day, 11. When in Rome, 12. Crazy stupid love, 13. Pride and Prejudice, 14. Eat Pray Love, etc. See i can fill up the 100 list and still can get going. i only have to worry about how to arrange it from most romantic to just romantic. I really hope, they would reconsider this list..

mari
mari

<3 like it very much

litllesarahk
litllesarahk

Dr. Zhivago only number 96, are they kidding? And where is David Leans other classic Ryans Daughter? Know it got panned by the critics when released, but is now acknowledged as a (tragic) love story. The English Patient should have been much higher too, fantastic film.