Top Ten Romantic Movies of All Time

I asked, you delivered, and today, I am thrilled to share with you all the…

Top Ten Romantic Movies of All Time by The Thinking Closet

I received a whopping total of 162 movie suggestions from y’all, enough to require an Excel spreadsheet!  (That’s serious bidness.)  So, thanks to each and every one of you who contributed a movie…or ten…to the pot!  Through this process, I quickly realized that there are a lot of fantastic romantic films out there.  Oh, the struggle to keep this list to TEN!

So, here’s how I created the list:

  • All of the films in the top ten received the highest number of votes from everyone (I voted, too).
  • However, I only included movies that I had seen and could therefore endorse.
  • The order you see below is similar to what was reflected in the numbers, however, I made a few tweaks in the order according to my own personal preferences.
  • I found a way to cheat and give you 12 movies in this top ten list.  (Gasp!)  You’ll see.

To give you a taste of each film, I’ve included trailers a la YouTube and film deets a la IMDb, along with some memorable quotes.  With over a week until Valentine’s Day, you have plenty of time to add a few of these classics to your Netflix queue or library reserve.

As will any great top ten list, we’ll start at ten, and countdown to one.  Ready…steady…go!

(Those of you following via email will have to click over to my blog to watch the vids.)

10.  The Holiday (2006)

Starring: Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Quotable: “Iris, if you were a melody, I used only the good notes.” -Miles played by Jack Black

9.  Pretty Woman (1990)

Starring: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Quotable: “So what happened after he climbed up the tower and rescued her?” / “She recues him right back.” -Edward Lewis and Vivian, played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts

8.  Sabrina (1954 & 1995)

Starring: 1954 Cast – Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden / 1995 Cast – Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford, Greg Kinnear

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Quotable: “I’ve been following in footsteps all my life. Save me, Sabrina fair, you’re the only one who can.” -Linus Larrabee played by Humphrey Bogart and Harrison Ford

7.  Gone With the Wind (1939)

Starring: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell

Genres: Drama, Romance, War

Quotable: “No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” -Rhett Butler played by Clark Gable

6.  Dirty Dancing (1987)

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey

Genres: Drama, Romance

Quotable: “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” -Johnny played by Patrick Swayze

5.  Love Actually (2003)

Starring: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Keira Knightly, Emma Thompson

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Quotable: “But you know, the thing about romance is…people only get together right at the very end.” -Sam played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster

4.  The Sound of Music (1965)

Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer

Genres: Biography, Drama, Family, Musical, Romance

Quotable: “You brought music back into the house.  I had forgotten.” -Captain von Trapp played by Christopher Plummer

3.  The Notebook (2004)

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, Gena Rowlands, James Garner

Genres: Drama, Romance

Quotable: “Summer romances begin for all kinds of reasons, but when all is said and done, they have one thing in common. They’re shooting stars, a spectacular moment of light in the heavens, fleeting glimpse of eternity, and in a flash they’re gone.” -Noah played by James Garner

2.  TIE – Sleepless in Seattle (1993) & You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Sleepless in Seattle Quotable: “It rains 9 months out of the year in Seattle!  I do not want to move to Seattle.  But what I really don’t want to do is end up always wondering what might have happened and knowing I could have done something.” -Annie Reed played by Meg Ryan

You’ve Got Mail Quotable: “Kevin, this is possibly the most adorable creature I’ve ever been in contact with, and if she turns out to be as good looking as a mailbox… I would be crazy enough to turn my life upside down and marry her.” -Joe Fox played by Tom Hanks

1.  Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Starring: Keira Knightly, Matthew Macfayden

Genres: Drama, Romance

Quotable: “You have bewitched me, body and soul.” -Mr. Darcy played by Matthew Macfayden

Lauren’s Honorable Mentions:

West Side Story (1961)

P.S. I Love You (2007 )

A Walk To Remember (2002 )

Say Anything (1989)

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

The Way We Were (1973)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Now in My Netflix Queue, Thanks to You:

WALL-E (2008)

50 First Dates (2004)

North & South – B.B.C. TV Series (2004)

Love Story (1970)

The African Queen (1951)

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

And to see a breakdown of the votes and every title contributed, you can preview and download my excel spreadsheet here.  For fans of romantic films, this list should keep you entertained for quite a while.

And if you have a hankering for something a little different, especially if you’re coming across this post in the month of December, be sure to check out my round-up of The Top Ten Greatest Christmas Movies of All Time!  Enjoy.

The Top Ten Greatest Christmas Movies of All Time...compiled by The Thinking Closet & Friends!

Collectively Creative

The Lovey-Dovey Edition of Collectively Creative

This post is a part of a fun group posting event called Collectively Creative, which was started by the oh-so-sweet Kelly from Cobwebs, Cupcakes, & Crayons.  Myself and 14 other bloggers are all sharing a post today at 10:00 E.S.T. that relates to the theme, “lovey dovey.”  Check out the links below to soak up the lovey-dovey goodness out there in blogland today!

I Love You More Than… – (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)

Heart To Heart – (Pillows A-La-Mode)

DIY Heart T-Shirt – (NorthStory)

[DIY] 12 Pre-Planned Date Cards – (Inspire and Indulge)

The Love Letters – (Mrs. And The Misc.)

Valentine’s Day Bon Bon’s – (Happy Little Kiwi)

Lovey Dovey School Lunch Ideas – (Time With Thea)

Loving These Products – (Neaten Your Nest)

Kniting Hearts – (Gentle Stitches)

A little Lovie magic – (The Thing About Joan)

Sending hugs – (Cul de Sac)

Give a Fortune of Love – (Green Door Hospitality)

Will You Be My Valentine? – (A Ponytail Kind Of Day)

Love Languages – for adults and kids! – (My Healthy ‘Ohana)

{Linking up here.}

This is Lauren, signing off.

Lovely comments so far...

  1. says

    Lauren! This list makes me want to play hooky and watch movies all day! I haven’t watched Love Actually in a while…that movie is one of my favorites. There are just so many amazing moments, both heartbreaking and hysterical. Thank you so much for adding such a love-filled post to this month’s Collectively Creative! I’m so happy to have found your blog. xo, Kelly

    • says

      My husband informed me that he hasn’t seen Love Actually yet…so you can guess what we’ll be watching this Valentine’s Day! And thanks for the welcome to join your Collectively Creative group this month; I’m a huge fan of collaborating, and it has been such a treat to get to know other bloggers in the process…especially you!

    • says

      Oh yes! I’m a huge fan of the old classics…grew up on black and white films usually involving Fred Astaire. They’re part of my DNA.

      My mother-in-law recommended African Queen, too! Can’t wait to see it. Katherine Hepburn on the silver screen usually always results in brilliance.

  2. says

    What an awesome list you’ve compiled! I think you just made us all crave a romantic movie marathon!

    Welcome to Collectively Creative – I’m glad I was able to stumble upon your blog!

  3. says

    Hi Lauren, I’m glad you posted this, I will make sure to see the Notebook again with hubby, we both love this movie. In December we both watched Love Actually at least 5 times, it was on Netflix and on W network and with my 20 month old son being the “guardian of remote controls” in our house, I don’t know why, but Love Actually was always on and I never complained about it! :-)

    • says

      Ha ha! I love that you watched Love Actually 5 times! That’s just a testament to how good it ACTUALLY is. That one is on our queue right now, too. I haven’t seen it in ages, and Mark tells me he has NEVER seen it. We must remedy that situation immediately! 😉

  4. says

    Great list, Lauren! There are a few I’ve never seen that I will be checking out. I loved the quote from Gone With the Wind. I had totally forgotten that one! Maybe I’ll use it on my husband when he gets home! (But of course I will kiss him, unlike the quote) Thanks for taking the time to whip out the big guns of an Excel spreadsheet to spread some Valentine movie cheer!

  5. says

    Wonderful list. I’m going to pop all of these at the top of my Netflix queue (even the ones I’ve seen before) and break up all the sci-fi action movies that my husband has in there! :)

    My husband and I watch “Love Actually” every Christmas and every year I get all teary over Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman’s characters. Just kills me. And I was so glad to see “Pride and Prejudice” get the top spot — one of my absolute favorites, ever!

    • says

      Hooray! Glad I’ve found someone else who loves P&P as much as I do. It was a no-brainer for me to list it as number one. I re-read the book this summer, and was blown away by the romance of it all…once again. Oh that Jane Austen…such a talent.

  6. says

    HA! This is amazing, and you are totally awesome for making spreadsheets to put this together. Seriously… now all I have to do is convince my husband to watch some of these with me….. hmmmmmmm….

    • says

      I’m sort of a fanatic when it comes to spreadsheets. It makes the type A in me verrrrry happy. Hope you can convince your husband to watch some of these. They’re not all overly gushy chick flicks!

  7. says

    Is it wrong that my favourites are the quotes? Because I am sucker for quotes. Love Actually is one of the only ‘romantic comedies’ that I really liked. It makes me smile. And The Notebook so a case of where the movie is better than the book – before I cause a war Jodi Picoult would agree and she’s like brilliant when it comes to writing. I am totally embarrassed to admit that I have not watched over HALF of the movies on this great list. *runs*

    • says

      Not weird at all. I had the most fun pulling those out! (A fellow quote fanatic, as well.) And I’ve never read The Notebook, but I can believe what you say about the movie being even better. Ha ha, and don’t be embarrassed about not seeing over half of these. Romantic films aren’t for everyone. We don’t watch them as much as other genres, but during Valentine’s Day season, I couldn’t resist compiling a list of them!

  8. says

    Oh my goodness Lauren. I had so much fun with this post. I watched all the previews & re-lived the fun of watching these movies. I wasn’t in on the voting, but I also love Jane Eyre Laws of Attraction & Hope Floats. Did anyone else vote for those?

    Warmly, Michelle
    Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust
    PS – Happy to be following you on Google+

    • says

      Oooo…Jane Eyre is a favorite of mine and my sister…and I haven’t seen the other two you mention! My TO-SEE list keeps growing and growing. (Yes, Jane Eyre and Hope Floats were voted for!)

      Thanks for the google+ follow; following you back and I already follow you in bloglovin’! Love your blog, Michelle.

  9. says

    What a great post. I was pleased to see the 1970 “Love Story”on the list. I had forgotten about it. Also African Queen. Ah. the old days of movie making! No special effects, just incredible acting.! Having said that I also enjoy the special effects and was impressed with Avatar. It was a love story too. With love of home as much as love between beings.

    • says

      You’re right; movies back in the day had to rely a lot more on quality acting and directing…as well as solid plotlines. No bells and whistles to rely on!

      That said, I, too, enjoyed Avatar. That’s a great example of using special effects to enhance a story, not to distract from a poorly acted or written story.

    • says

      Ahhhhh! I’m now kicking myself for not including that in my honorable mentions. I had intended to, but clearly it slipped my mind. That film is one of my favorites of all time. The “Moon River” scene in the rain always steals my heart. Welp, that’s why WordPress has the edit button. Adding it in!

  10. says

    I’m glad P&P made #1! I love that movie. Also, maybe I’m weird, but I actually like the newer version of Sabrina (with Harrison Ford) more than the older one.

    Also, you should check out Holiday (no article) with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. It is also fabulous (though unrelated to The Holiday).

    • says

      Yay! Another P&P fan. Such a classic tale of love.

      And my husband agrees with you; he and his family LOVE the newer version of Sabrina and quote it constantly!

      I actually think I have seen Holiday, though I might need to jog my memory and see it again. Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn are a classic combination. Bringing up Baby, anyone?

      • says

        I love how he’s actually a good musician on top of being a hilarious actor. School of Rock is my other Jack Black fav. Any other good ones he’s in that I don’t know about?

        • says

          Hmmm….besides Nacho Libre…we recently saw “The Big Year” with him, Owen Wilson, and Steve Martin, but we weren’t too impressed. The script wasn’t too strong, and there wasn’t enough of classic crazy Jack Black to keep us entertained.

    • says

      Marilyn, you are a girl after my own heart. West Side Story is my absolute favorite, too. I know it’s a tragedy, but that’s what makes the love all the more powerful. Also, musical theatre just speaks to me. I’ll never forget the first time I saw West Side Story…I was probably 8 or 9…and it made me cry at the end. It was the first time I had been moved emotionally by art. I even wrote my college application essay on the musical and how much it meant to me. Clearly, I could go on and on.

      Thanks for your sweet comment and invite. I appreciate it!

    • says

      Yay! P&P didn’t earn the most votes, but it was number one in my mind. Clearly, yours, too! Enjoy whichever film you end up watching…I’m having a hard time choosing where to start!

  11. says

    Hey Lauren! I totally forgot to give you my list. I had started thinking up movies, but then moved on to something else and forgot. I’m not a traditional romance movie kind of gal, but some of the love stories I enjoy are Jane Eyre, Princess Bride and Juno (the scene with her father in the hospital makes me cry every time). I did like Pride and Prejudice. I only recently read the book, then watched the movie when the fiance was out of town. I LOVED WALL-E, so I am glad to see that in your queue. I had someone I was dating at the time insist that I see it in theater. I’m not the type to watch kid movies, but WALL-E stole my heart. So good!

    • says

      Jane Eyre, Princess Bride, and Juno are all favorites of mine, too…and wonderful love stories (especially Jane Eyre – – so epic!). And another huge WALL-E fan! I’m really excited to see that one. I’m long overdue to watch it.

      • says

        I didn’t even think of Juno as a romantic movie, but I guess it is. I really enjoy the quirkiness of that movie; so much so that my husband bought it for me for Mother’s Day one year and then I watched it in the hospital while in labor with one of my kids! Made the labor scene that much more interesting!

        • says

          I need to re-watch it! I really enjoyed it when I first saw it…and I can see it being particularly relevant if you’re pregnant…and in LABOR! Might be a nice distraction from the pain, though from what I hear, there is very little to distract from THAT sort of pain. Eeska! :-)

    • says

      Yes, I first saw the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice in English class after reading the book. We all thought the scene of Darcy in the bathtub was so funny. So gratuitous. Yet, by the end of the film, we were all swooning over Colin Firth. And the fact that is was a TV series allowed for so much more depth that the film didn’t. But of course, the book trumps all!

  12. says

    I have seen (and own) all of them multiple times. I love both Sabrinas, but the house in #2 on Nantucket or is it Martha’s Vineyard, stole the show for me.

    • says

      Carol, thanks for your comment! I had to look it up and thanks to good ole google, I learned that it was Martha’s Vineyard, and coincidentally the same location that Steven Spielberg used in Jaws. A less romantic film, for certain, but just as beautiful location!

  13. says

    Ooh I love this post! I wish I could sit down with you over a pot of coffee and talk about these movies! I’m so glad that you gave me reminders of these ones I’ve forgotten and need to especially re-watch: Sabrina and Gone with the Wind. I’m so glad The Holiday made it…I really do love Jack Black in that one. And I see that North and South is now in your queue….Lauren’s it’s one of my faves!!! The male actor is Thorin from the Hobbit! If you haven’t gotten into Elisabeth Gaskell books/films yet, you must…you must add Wives and Daughters, too! Plus, your photo at the top is awesome. You are becoming an amazing photographer/designer. I must learn your whays!

    • says

      I didn’t know you have seen North & South! After I finish Downton Abbey season 3 (which I’m resisting…I hear the finale is SO sad), I plan to dive into this series. And the name Elizabeth Gaskell is new to me…you’ll have to tell me where to begin! Is Wives & Daughters a movie or book?

      And the photo at the top was a free stock photo that I edited to look more vintage and I added the letters in pixlr. I’m planning to do a how to post on the basics of pixlr (it’s really quite an easy program!), so look out for that. 😉

      • says

        Ah yes! Elizabeth Gaskell was a novelist that came a little after Jane Austen, I think, and her books are more concerned about the lower/poor working classes. She has a heart for social justicey themes, but she does throw some great romances in there as well! I confess I haven’t read any of her books (yet), but there have been several BBC type series made on her books. Wives and Daughters is one of those film series, as well as North and South. I also think Cranford is her’s too. Ooh, wish I could watch ’em with you!!
        Oh, and I can’t wait to see your pixlr post. You introduced it to me with the Room Tour posting. It really wasn’t too hard to navigate, and it’s so fun to see old ho hum pictures get a face-lift!

        • says

          Thanks for informing me of this, Lisbeth! Gaskell sounds like an author I definitely need to acquaint myself with. And maybe we can have some North and South viewing sessions together in May!

  14. says

    OMG this list is awesome! I totally agree 100%! I kept thinking, well I think it should be Pride & Prejudice but surely she won’t have that in here…and it’s no. 1!!??!! Woop woop!

  15. Lyn says

    I completely agree with your #1. I was a huge fan of the BBC production with Colin Firth – until Kiera’s version came out. Now it’s my #1. I absolutely hate Pretty Woman, and really dislike Dirty Dancing, and really don’t like the Notebook. But we are totally agreed on Pride and Predjudice.


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