The 100 best romantic movies: filmmakers

Filmmakers including Richard Curtis and Michel Gondry vote for their favourite romantic films

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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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Michel Gondry

Michel Gondry is writer-director of ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ and the upcoming ‘Mood Indigo’.


‘“L’Atalante” is one of the most romantic movies I know, one of the most free-spirited movies that exists. Shirley MacLaine in “The Apartment” was one of the first crushes I had on an actress, or maybe any woman. I love Jack Lemmon’s character, the archetypal loser in love. I can very well identify with him.

‘In “Summer with Monika”, there’s this moment where she decides that she doesn’t love him anymore. And there is a look that Monika gives to the camera. It’s a bit like “Le Mepris”: a moment in time defined where the girl stops being in love with her boyfriend. Something he did to her, that he couldn’t even perceive – it creates a really strong impact.’


Scott Graham

Director Scott Graham’s debut film ‘Shell’ was released in March 2013.


‘“Show Me Love” is a realistic, uplifting first feature about two small-town girls who fall for each other in northern Sweden. The sense of romance sneaks up on you through urban landscapes, grainy 16mm stock and natural performances from an amateur cast.

‘In “À Nos Amours”, we’re thrown in and out of Sandrine Bonnaire's coming-of-age flings but it's her scenes with Maurice Pialat that are extraordinary in the way they relate to one another – both in and out of character. It’s melancholy and unusually brave.’


Sally El Hosaini

Sally El Hosaini is the writer-director of British indie drama ‘My Brother the Devil’, which is on DVD now.


‘I first saw “Trust” when I was 16 and have been a Hal Hartley fan ever since. An alienated, pregnant girl meets an earnest boy with a suicidal streak who carries a grenade around in his pocket – just in case he needs to check out. Philosophical deadpan dialogue and dark humour. Unconventional. Simple. Sincere.

‘“Les Amants du Pont-Neuf” is wildly romantic. Flamboyant and fearless filmmaking. The cinematography is visual emotion. What other film has the heroes joyriding a speedboat and waterskiing down the Seine at night with fireworks exploding behind them?’


Gideon Koppel

Gideon Koppel is a filmmaker whose films include ‘Sleep Furiously’.


‘“Carry On Camping” is my formative image of cinema romance. OK, so I’m not a very romantic monkey. In “The Aristocats”, the friendship between Napoleon the Bloodhound and Lafayette the Bassett Hound warms the cockles of my heart. And “Window Water Baby Moving” is an essential intimacy.’


Bruce LaBruce

Bruce LaBruce is a Canadian-born photographer, writer and director and provocateur whose films include ‘Otto, or Up With Dead People!’ and ‘Gerontophilia’.


‘One of the greatest buddy movies ever made, the “bromance” in “Scarecrow” between Gene Hackman and Al Pacino is so pure and heartfelt that it breaks your heart every time. And despite the fact that Godard called it “casually fascist”, I've always loved “Klute” for its unlikely but somehow believable romance between a naive, suburban cop and a streetwise, proto-feminist call girl.

‘“My Own Private Idaho” is one of the great modern stories of unrequited love, with starry-eyed hustler River Phoenix falling hard for impossibly beautiful and unattainable hustler Keanu Reeves. What could be more romantic? And sure, “The Way We Were” is a big weepy Hollywood potboiler, but the star-crossed love affair between nonconformist Communist sympathizer Barbara Streisand, the ultimate Jewish superstar, and upper echelon conformist Robert Redford, the ultimate goy superstar, is ridiculously irresistible. The scene in which an unconscious Redford lays the perfectly coiffed and highly conscious Streisand is shockingly kinky.’



‘“In the Mood for Love” might have made the list even without that lunatic genius Christopher Doyle's mind-blowing cinematography. “Out of Sight” is an Elmore Leonard caper movie paired with a love story and a surprisingly good (and smoking hot) Jennifer Lopez – what's not to like?

‘I remember my Mum encouraging me to watch “Summer of ’42” in my very early teens, and I can still remember the tingling of what that 15-year-old boy must have felt like losing his virginity to a much older woman whose husband was at war. And anyone who claims “When Harry Met Sally...” isn’t for them must be dead inside.’




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