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A Star Is Born
Photograph: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The 15 best romantic films on Netflix UK

Whether you're in the mood for a lite rom-com or a smoldering period of passion, Netflix is here to give you the feels.

Written by
Andy Kryza
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Great movie romances come in many flavors, none of which require a Valentine's Day date to enjoy. Whether you're in the mood for an Old Hollywood classic, a modern rom-com, a trashy genre film or a smoldering period piece, cinema's best romances can transform a lazy night on the couch into a full-fledged date night. 

Netflix, typically, has loads of romances on offer. But like love songs, not all movie romances are created equal. We've waded into the waters of the streamer and pulled out 15 superlative cinematic love stories, from modern hits like A Star Is Born and Always Be My Maybe to some of the thirstiest films of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Here are our picks of the best romantic movies streaming on Netflix right now.

RECOMMENDED: the best films streaming on Netflix UK now

The most romantic movies on Netflix UK

  • Film
  • Drama

Starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, this latest version of an old Hollywood staple about the pitfalls of celebrity is officially a cultural phenomenon. Directed by Cooper, it tells the love story of Jackson Maine (Cooper), a successful musician who is also an alcoholic, and Ally (Gaga), an unknown singer who Jackson discovers singing in a bar one night. The pair fall in love but booze soon gets between them, as does his inability to celebrate Ally’s musical success. The songs – by Gaga, Cooper, Mark Ronson, Diane Warren and various other collaborators – are just one more good reason to revisit this weepy. ‘Shallow’ is already a karaoke favourite in the making.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
Photograph: Masha Weisberg/Netflix

2. To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)

To deal with her intense crushes, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) writes secret love letters to the boys she lusts after, which no one is ever meant to see. Of course these letters end up being sent out and Lara Jean must deal with her feelings, and the implications of the letters, head on.

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  • Film

Portobello Road bookshop owner William Thacker (Hugh Grant) and Hollywood superstar Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) have a meet-cute involving some spilled juice and find the stars aligning and unaligning in all sorts of unexpected ways. Bumbling Brit and buttoned-up celeb finding common ground is a Hallo! magazine fairy tale and, sure, this Richard Curtis-penned romance is glossy in the extreme, but Grant and Roberts are delightful together and the non-stop zingers make it a joy to ride along on their London love story.

She's Gotta Have It (1986)
  • Film
  • Comedy

Indundated with prospective partners? Hinge melting down? Take a leaf out of Nola Darling’s (Tracy Camilla Johns) book as she figures out which – if any – of the three men in her life to settle down with. Spike Lee’s lo-fi, black and white charmer is an indie classic and a still-modern-feeling romance about monogamy, polyamorousness and everything in between.

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  • Film
  • Drama

Having become a sleepover rite of passage, it’s easy to forget that Dirty Dancing isn’t just 90 minutes of pelvic grinds, watermelons and babies in corners. Dirty Dancing is dark. This is a film in which Patrick Swayze plays an older dance instructor with a storied history of hooking up with his young students… and who himself laments his status as a sex toy for vacationing cougars. It is a film in which a teenager girl (Jennifer Grey) falls in love with an older guy while trying to raise money for another woman’s back-alley abortion. Yet by the moment ‘(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life’ plays, that darkness is miraculously overwhelmed by two megawatt stars ripping up the dance floor.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
  • Film

This comfy period romance should be a firm favourite with fans of The Dig and films in which Tom Courtenay makes a fairly niche-looking pie out of a root vegetable (a small subgenre, admittedly). Lily James stars as novelist who goes on a journey of discovery to the Channel Islands that involves some long-buried wartime secrets and at least one dashing farmer (Michiel Huisman). A gentle watch with a unquenchable romantic spirit.

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The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
  • Film
  • Action and adventure

Michael Mann’s sumptuous adaptation of American author James Fenimore Cooper’s Colonial-era adventure reimagines the period drama as a chase movie and action spectacle. It also reimagines Daniel Day-Lewis as a smouldering romance-novel hunk, dripping wet with a flowing mane and billowing blouse. The central romance between Day-Lewis’s Hawkeye and Madeleine Stowe’s Cora simmers amid the carnage and verdant forests, and the swelling score captures every moment of burning intensity. Never again would audiences so thirstily desire to go full Method on Day-Lewis again. 

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
  • Film
  • Comedy

John M Chu’s gorgeous ensemble comedy marked the first Hollywood-produced studio film with an all-Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club. Much of the discourse surrounding the film justifiably focused on how deeply problematic that is. But even if Hollywood’s representation problems were nonexistent, Chu’s story of a working-class New Yorker (Constance Wu) whisked away to Singapore to marry her incredibly wealthy Prince Charming (Henry Goulding) sparkles with old-Hollywood charm. The leads are great, capably backed by a cast of ringers that includes Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan and Awkwafina. As the title implies, no expense was spared here. As a result, the film is an opulent, eye-popping fairytale and an instant inductee into the rom-com hall of fame.

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  • Film
  • Comedy

For all the multi-character antics from stars Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, John Landis’s Coming to America is most effective as old-fashioned romantic comedy… and Murphy radiates warmth as Akeem, the heir to a wealthy African kingdom who travels to Queens in search of, well, a queen. The fish-out-of-water comedy is some of the best in Murphy’s career, but the film truly works because of Murphy's sweetheart innocence in pursuit of Shari Headley’s Lisa. For all its iconic scenes, it’s that central relationship that truly makes Coming to America a classic. 

  • Film
  • Drama

Sparkly-skinned vampires and unbridled teenage passion might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this fantasy franchise has one hell of a fanbase. The first movie in the series is the best, as Kristen Stewart’s Bella and Robert Pattinson’s Edward shoot sexually frustrated glances at each other during biology class.

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The Holiday (2006)
  • Film
  • Comedy

A big-hearted rom-com from genre queen Nancy Meyers, The Holiday hangs on a deliciously simple premise that somehow hasn’t become cliche in the age of Airbnb. Kate Winslet’s lonely London-based writer swaps homes with Cameron Diaz’s small-time Hollywood player for the holidays. Jude Law and Jack Black show up to sweep them off their feet in the most charmingly romantic comedy-ish ways possible. This stuff writes itself. But in the hands of Meyers, The Holiday is an emotional hurricane: a holiday classic in every way. 

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  • Film
  • Drama

Backdropped by the real-life discovery of an Anglo-Saxon ship beneath the Sussex countryside, there are a few love stories weaved into this atmospheric slice of Englishness: a platonic one between Ralph Fiennes’s amateur archaeologist and Carey Mulligan’s waning landowner; a romantic one between Lily James’s young excavator and Johnny Flynn’s wannabe pilot; and a bigger one  between England and its past. Between them, they give ‘The Dig’ a lingering emotional payload.

Someone Great (2019)
Photograph: Sarah Shatz/Netflix

14. Someone Great (2019)

Some of life’s great romances are the ones you share with your mates. That’s the premise behind Someone Great, a Netflix Original movie that follows Jenny Young (Gina Rodriguez), a music journalist on the verge of moving across the country for her dream job who has also just been dumped by her boyfriend (Lakeith Stanfield). In a bid to bring Jenny out of a funk, her best friends Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow) plan a night out to end all nights out.

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Always Be My Maybe (2019)
Photograph: Ed Araquel / Netflix

15. Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Ali Wong and Randall Park star in this brilliant Netflix Original romantic comedy about two childhood friends who lose touch after a teenage fling turns sour, only to be reunited in adulthood. It traverses familiar romcom territory, sure, but it does so well and in such a relaxed manner that you don’t mind any retreading. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a show-stealing cameo from Keanu Reeves.

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