The 100 best romantic movies: filmmakers

Experts including Tom Hiddleston, Joan Collins and EL James vote for the best films about love and romance

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How did we choose the 100 best romantic movies of time? We asked the experts, including some of the world’s most in-demand directors. We’ve consulted romcom master Richard Curtis (‘Notting Hill’), Edgar Wright (‘Shaun of the Dead’) and Michel Gondry (‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’). Here are the directors’ lists of their top ten favourite romantic movies.

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Judd Apatow

Judd Apatow is the writer-director of ‘The 40 Year-Old Virgin’ and ‘Knocked Up’. His latest film ‘This is 40’ will be on DVD later this year.

Judd Apatow's top romantic movies

  1. Punch-Drunk Love
  2. Tootsie
  3. Annie Hall

‘I love Adam Sandler and Emily Watson in “Punch-Drunk Love”. It's so weird and yet it makes me cry. For the last 20 minutes I cried, hard.

‘“Annie Hall” is probably the most important movie of my youth. I must have watched it about 100 times. It said so much about so many things. People talk about it like it was changed dramatically in the edit and that's why it jumps around in time. But because of that, it gets to say so much. And they're such a great couple. It’s heartbreaking when they break up.’


Amma Asante

Amma Asante directed the Welsh drama ‘A Way of Life’. Her new film ‘Belle’ is due out later this year.


John Carney

John Carney directed ‘Once’ and the upcoming ‘Can a Song Save Your Life?’ starring Keira Knightley.


‘“I Know Where I’m Going” has to be number one. Apparently it was used as the template for the perfect romantic story by Columbia, who owned the script. It’s the perfect example of a woman trying with all her will to defy what her heart is telling her to do. You know she's going to lose, but it's a lot of fun watching it.

‘“The Quiet Man” is written off by many as a stage-Irish yarn, but it is in fact incredibly romantic and sexy. Just look at that kiss between John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in the graveyard. And there's only a couple of romantic scenes in “The 39 Steps”, but just look at them. Handcuffed lovers, and sex-starved crofter's wives. The film is positively dripping with suggestion and romance. Hitchcock saw romance as adventure: running away across the vales and hills, like a Robbie Burns poem.’


Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins is a writer, critic and filmmaker whose series ‘The Story of Film’ is available on DVD.


‘For me, romance is a belief that love never dies. It has a wildness to it, an unreason, a feel for beauty (in people, life, landscape) contra-mundum. Sokurov's “Mother and Son” not only believes in ideal love, but was inspired by German Romantic art.

‘Hindi cinema (Bollywood) is probably the most romantic in the world. Wellesian masterpiece “Kaagaz Ke Phool” is one of its most pessimistic accounts of love. As for “The Master”... He’d like to take him on a slow boat to China. Nuff said.’


Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis is a British writer-director whose films include ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ and the upcoming ‘About Time’.




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