Valentine’s Day is a great day to cuddle up and watch a movie about love. In fact, they actually made a movie called Valentine’s Day, but it was just a rip-off of Love, Actually. With so many sappy movies out there, it’s hard to sift out the good from just more of the same.
So we’ve done the work for you! Here are twenty-three of the best romantic movies ever made to watch on Valentine’s Day.
23 – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
In this moving film, it is slowly revealed that a couple chose to have a procedure that erased memories of each other. Jim Carrey plays Joel, opposite Kate Winslet playing Clementine. As the movie slowly reveals loving and intimate moments in their relationship, you become more and more emotionally involved in the story.
Joel: “I could die right now, Clem. I’m just… happy. I’ve never felt that before. I’m just exactly where I want to be.”
22 – About Time (2013)
Tim Lake (played by Domhnall Gleeson) discovers a superpower when he turns 21: he can travel in time and change past events. While he could try doing any number of things to make the world a better place, he decides to use his power to…get a girlfriend. His romantic interest is Mary (played by Rachel McAdams), and their relationship endures its share of trials and tribulations.
This film is from the creators of Love Actually, and it’s worth a try for anyone looking for a well-done romantic comedy.
Tim: [voiceover] “We’re all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.”
21 – The Notebook (2004)
The Notebook is beloved by women everywhere for good reason. Allie (Rachel McAdams) is such a warm and likable character, pursued by the equally charming Noah (Ryan Gosling). Their love story withstands many tests but we realize that it lasts into their old age.
Wonderful performances by McAdams and Gosling have made this a super-popular and award-winning film. It might be cheesy, but it’s heartwarming and genuine too.
Noah: “I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”
20 – Love and Basketball (2000)
While many romance movies are difficult for men to watch, Love & Basketball helps draw male viewers into this “chick flick” genre becuase of its underlying sports theme. Quincy (Omar Epps) and Monica (Sanaa Lathan) meet on the basketball court as kids. Their love/hate relationship develops as their lives continually intersect – they’re both pursuing their individual dreams of playing pro ball.
If you’re young, enjoy sports, or crave passion, this movie’s for you.
Monica says, “It’s a trip, you know? When you’re a kid, you see the life you want, and it never crosses your mind that it’s not gonna turn out that way.”
19 – Cactus Flower (1969)
Kate Hudson’s mom, Goldie Hawn, won an Oscar for her portrayal of Toni Simmons, a confused 21-year old woman in a relationship with an older man (Walter Matthau). Although it sort of looks like an Austin Powers film, Hawn’s wit and charm allows you to still get into it.
The complicated love story is about the various lies a dentist tells to keep a relationship. Interestingly enough, the story was appropriated by by Adam Sandler in Just Go With It (2011).
Toni Simmons: “Now why don’t you go back and mind your own business like everyone else in New York City?”
18 – Lost in Translation (2004)
Although it’s one of those bleak comedies, Lost in Translation has a great romance at its heart. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) really capture what it feels like to be traveling somewhere completely unfamiliar and wanting a connection. The brief moments of Anna Farris spoofing Cameron Diaz add just the right amount of laughs to tide you over, until the moment when Bob whispers something in Charlotte’s ear and they say goodbye.
Charlotte: “Let’s never come here again because it would never be as much fun.”
17 – When in Rome (2010)
Although Forgetting Sarah Marshall is Kristen Bell’s most popular role, her performance in When in Rome (2010) is underrated. Bell plays Beth, an ambitious New Yorker who steals some coins from a famous love fountain in Italy during her sister’s wedding. Because of her theft, she’s chased down by Danny DeVito, Will Arnett, Jon Heder, and Dax Shepard, who are under a love spell.
The movie is lighthearted, funny, and a great way to create and celebrate a happy Valentine’s Day.
Beth: “Dad. When you married Mom, did you ever think that you wouldn’t make it?”
Beth’s Dad: “Elizabeth Ann. Honey, you cannot learn from my mistakes. You’re going to have to go out there and make your own. Now, you could get your heart broken or you could have the greatest love affair the world has ever known, but you’re not going to know unless you try.”
16 – 50 First Dates (2004)
You’d be hard pressed to come up with a more likeable couple of people than Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. In 50 First Dates, they’re in Hawaii, and after they meet, Henry Roth (Sandler) turns from a playboy to a devoted boyfriend—the only problem is the girl of his dreams has no short-term memory, so she relives the same day over and over. This movie brings laughs, but it’s also a sappy romance movie as only Sandler can do. It’s a chick flick anyone can enjoy.
Dr. Keats: “Tom was in a hunting accident and he lost part of his brain. His memory lasts only ten seconds.”
Ten Second Tom: “I was in an accident? That’s terrible.”
Dr. Keats: “Don’t worry, you’ll totally get over it in about three seconds.”
15 – Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
A testament to just how far a man will go to win over the woman he loves. Slumdog Millionaire portrays a poor man being tortured by the police for being suspiciously good at Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Dev Patel plays one of the most lovable characters on film.
This compelling film won no fewer than eight Oscars and garnered a lot of critical acclaim. The mixture of love, violence, and socioeconomic messages makes for a great date night screening. It’s a great pick to watch with someone who appreciates good films and with whom you want to share an intelligent conversation.
Jamal Malik: “I’ll wait for you at the train station every day at five.”
14 – The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) always has problems—the media hates him, the police hate him, other superheroes hate him, and he’s constantly struggling with his love life because of it. Regardless of how you feel about the new Spider-Man series, they made the right move dropping Mary Jane for Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Their romance is one of the most memorable in comic book history.
Peter Parker: “We all have secrets: the ones we keep… and the ones that are kept from us.”
13 – The Tourist (2010) (Runner Up: Original Sin)
It’s not just that Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie are beautiful people; the location shots in Paris and Venice are simply stunning. This cat-and-mouse tale has enough thrills going for it to satisfy your intellectual needs, and it has some nail-biting action scenes to boot. You’re never quite sure who to believe, but you can’t deny there’s chemistry between the two—if there’s anyone who could steal Jolie from Pitt, Depp seems like the type.
Hotel Waiter Guido: “Bongiorno!”
Frank Taylor (Depp): “Bon Jovi!”
12 – This Means War (2012)
Reese Witherspoon is omnipresent in chick flicks – for good reason! All of her romantic comedies are enjoyable, but This Means War wins for mixing spy-versus-spy action into the mix. Chris Pine and Tom Hardy do a great job of keeping men distracted from Reese’s message that it’s OK to date multiple people. Adventurous couples will love this action-packed romp.
Trish (Chelsea Handler) “Don’t go with the better guy, go with the guy who makes you better.”
11 – (500) Days of Summer (2009)
Zooey Deschanel is that quirky and beautiful girl everyone wants to be or be with. In short, the boy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets the girl (Deschanel), and falls in love, but she’s just that into him. The movie highlights their relationship in a non-linear fashion, and is a great portrayal of modern love and relationships. (500) Days of Summer isn’t your traditional romantic comedy, and maybe that’s a good thing – unlike all the others, it’s a thought-provoking film about love.
Rachel Hansen: “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate.”
10 – Walk the Line (2005)
This portrayal of Johnny and June Cash is an epic biopic. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon beautifully capture the essence of the romance. Johnny loved June Carter so much, he knew he had to marry her. Seeing their love blossom over the course of their lives is a great way to celebrate life and a relationship with someone you truly love beyond anything. These two real life people even died around the same time. It’s said Johnny died of a broken heart after June passed.
June Carter: “Well, then start loving yourself, so we can go back to work.”
9 – Ghost Town (2008)
The cynical among us love Ricky Gervais. In Ghost Town, he plays a man who can see dead people and is now doomed to help them with their love problems. It’s a wonderfully unique Valentine’s Day romance story. Everyone’s tired of people bragging about their relationships on Facebook, and Gervais portrays this feeling perfectly. Love isn’t always as much fun as it sounds; sometimes, you just end up involved in other people’s drama.
Bertram Pincus (Gervais): “All work and no play makes Jack- a vital member of society.”
8 – Shrek (2001)
It’s hard to believe it’s been over a decade since Shrek came out (!). This is a fun, backwards fairy tale where the ogre gets the girl. Featuring the voice talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow, Shrek is a feel-good movie that’s perfect for the young – and mature – at heart.
Shrek: “For your information, there’s a lot more to ogres than people think.”
7 – Seems Like Old Times (1980)
Ahhh, the classics. One of the best movies from the 80s, Seems Like Old Times is a Neil Simon film that still maintains its charm. Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn are a divorced couple, and, after being forced to take part in a bank robbery, Chase hides out at Hawn’s house. The only problem is Hawn’s husband (Charles Groden) is the district attorney, so a lot of hijinx ensue. If you pine for an old flame, Seems Like Old Times is the Valentine’s Day romantic comedy for you.
Glenda (Hawn) “Chester. You just went through a stop sign.”
Chester (Chase) “I can’t help it. I don’t like to read when I drive.”
6 – About a Boy (2002)
You’d think watching a man hang out with an unrelated boy would be a little weird – and not great romantic-film fodder. But in About a Boy, it plays out beautifully. This is a buddy flick and a romance rolled into one, and it teaches men that parenting isn’t scary. If you’re a slacker who still hasn’t grown up, About a Boy is for you.
Marcus: “After a few visits, Will seemed to think he had to ask me serious questions, when I knew he really wanted to watch Xena Warrior princess.”
5 – True Romance (1993) (Runner Up: Natural Born Killers)
Quentin Tarantino isn’t exactly known for the romance in his films, but True Romance, which he wrote, is an epic romantic crime drama. There are drugs, hookers, and all sorts of guns. The love between Clarence (Christian Slater) and Alabama (Patricia Arquette) is something we all wish we had. By the time this movie reaches its bloody climax, not only will you be in love with Elvis, but you’ll know the origin of Sicilians.
Clarence Worley: “You just said you love me, now if I say I love you and just throw caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may and you’re lying to me I’m gonna fuckin’ die.”
4 – Titanic (1997)
If you’ve never seen Titanic, you must! And if you have, consider watching it again for Valentine’s. This classic romantic-disaster film won eleven Oscars, because of its superb cast, plot, and music.
Spoiler Alert: The ship sinks, and it takes like half the movie. Before it happens though, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) steals Rose (Kate Winslett) from her rich husband-to-be. Titanic is a tear-jerker with an epic romance that is fated to failure.
Jack Dawson: “Where to, Miss?”
Rose DeWitt Bukater: “To the stars.”
3 – Bride and Prejudice (2004)
This Bollywood take on the classic “Pride and Prejudice” is a musical delight. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan may not be well-known in majority-English-speaking countries, but she is beautiful and talented – her acting, singing, and dancing expertise is on full display. This movie is beautiful, tells an old story; and you’ll look sophisticated for suggesting it. The colorful costumes and set designs are like taking an exotic vacation from your couch.
Lalita Bakshi (Rai): “You should be stirring your husband’s dinner not trouble.”
2 – Love, Actually (2003)
Love Actually follows the intertwining stories of eight British couples dealing with love in very different ways. It’s a romantic comedy and a Christmas film, but its sappiness is matched by genuine and heartwarming moments. It’s impossible to watch this movie without laughing, crying, and falling in love with at least one character! Love Actually may be the best romantic comedy ever written.
Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) “Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!”
1 – The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
This Oscar-nominated flick might not come to mind as a movie perfect for Valentine’s Day. But you and your Valentine’s Day date just might find that refreshing!
Martin Scorsese is known for his thrilling films, and Wolf of Wall Street does not disappoint. It’s a raw and emotional movie, with some violence, nudity, and drug use – all to show the underbelly of the high-octane world of finance. DiCaprio’s performance is compelling and exciting – this movie is worth your time!
Jordan Belfort: [to the waiter] “Oh, I’m good with water for now.”
Mark Hanna: “It’s his first day on Wall Street. Give him time.”