Cinema Romantique – Our guide to the Top 10 Movies of all time for you and your Valentine.

Cinema Romantique – Our guide to the Top 10 Movies of all time for you and your Valentine.


Whether you’re 19 or 90, there’s still not a more romantic way to spend an afternoon or evening than sitting back with your sweetheart to enjoy a good film, especially if it features one or two of your favorite Hollywood heartthrobs. So get a bucket of popcorn and some Milk Duds. We’re going to take a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the top romantic movies of all time. And if we missed any of your beloved blockbusters, let us know. There’s always time for a double feature.

  • City Lights (1931)
    Perhaps Charlie Chaplin’s best film, City Lights turns the age-old notion that “love is blind” on its head. The little tramp falls for a beautiful blind girl who sells flowers on the street. Eventually, he helps her raise enough money to pay for a miracle cure. But will she love him in return when she can see that he’s just a poor tramp? It’s amazing to see how sweet and innocent love was portrayed back in the early days of Tinsel Town, Yet it shows that true love doesn’t need to be physical to be incredibly touching.
  • Gone With the Wind (1939)
    It’s hard to fathom how far the movie industry had come in less than a decade, from Chaplin’s relatively simple black & white, silent films to David O. Selznick’s colorfully grandiose production of Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel. Gone With the Wind set the standard for period-piece dramas with spectacular costumes, sets and visual effects. But more than any saga of its time or since, it captures an epic love story in great detail. As Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable lit up the screen in a relationship developed and destroyed by the tumultuous times in which they lived.
  • Casablanca (1942)
    With stars like Bacall, Hepburn, Lancaster and Stewart shining on the silver screen, the 1940s were the Golden Era for romantic films. But none of them rekindled the flame of a passionate unrequited love affair quite like Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. Blessed with a remarkable supporting cast, some of the greatest movie lines ever, a popular theme song that just gets better “as time goes by,” and an unforgettable surprise ending, here’s looking at Casablanca as one of the best films of any kind ever.
  • An Affair to Remember (1957)
    No list of romantic movies would be complete without a starring role by Cary Grant. The debonair and definitive leading man was at his best in screwball comedies like Bringing Up Baby and spy thrillers like Charade and To Catch a Thief. But An Affair to Remember makes the list as a classic Hollywood tearjerker. The key moment, fittingly enough, takes us to the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day. What happens next? You’ll just have to watch it – or Sleepless in Seattle – to find out.
  • West Side Story (1961)
    The greatest love story ever written – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – has inspired at least 30 different film versions to choose from. West Side Story, of course, is the same tragic tale set amidst rival gangs in New York’s Upper West Side in the late 50s. The film, including its amazing score by Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim (“Maria,” “Tonight,” “America,” “Somewhere,” etc.) and choreography by Jerome Robbins, won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Need we say more?
  • Annie Hall (1977)
    Coincidentally, New York is also the backdrop for our next two films, and is almost as much a character in the movie as Annie, a Midwestern ditz played to perfection by Oscar-winner Diane Keaton. Widely considered the pinnacle of Woody Allen’s illustrious and enigmatic career as a writer, director and, in this case, lead actor, the film won the Oscar for Best Picture. Watch for hilarious cameos by Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum.
  • When Harry Met Sally (1989)
    A great script by the late Nora Ephron, a classic soundtrack by Harry Connick, Jr., and stellar performances by Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan make this the definitive modern romantic comedy. The pair gets off to a rocky start, highlighted by an unforgettable scene in a deli. But eventually they forge a relationship that makes them consolation dates on New Year’s Eve and phone friends watching Casablanca in bed before falling asleep alone. The question, though, is can two friends get past the awkwardness of an unplanned sexual encounter and ultimately become lovers?
  • Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
    Meg Ryan, the queen of romantic comedies in the late 20th Century, gets another turn here, but this time playing opposite Tom Hanks in another Nora Ephron screenplay. The odd thing is, Ryan and Hanks hardly share the screen until the very end, when they recreate the Valentine’s Day Empire State Building scene from An Affair to Remember. But with a much happier ending.
  • Titanic (1996)
    Undoubtedly the greatest love story within an epic historic setting since Gone With the Wind, Titanic introduces us to a modern-day crew exploring the wreckage of the SS Titanic. In the process, they uncover a tragic love story as told by an actual survivor of the horrendous disaster. Kate Winslet stars as the unhappy rich girl betrothed to an upper-class snob. Leonardo DiCaprio is the free-spirited pauper who steals her heart during the ill-fated cruise. The Oscar for Best Picture was just the tip of the iceberg of accolades for this great film.
  • The Notebook (2004)
    Bring a whole box of tissues for this one, folks. This is a story of two common people falling in love in 1930s North Carolina, but their undying love for each other that lasts until the couple is in failing health is anything but common. It’s a classic tale of a poor country boy (Ryan Gosling) and a rich city girl (Rachel McAdams) falling madly in love as teenagers, only to have the relationship disrupted by her blueblood parents and the outbreak of WWII. Ah, but ultimately, true love conquers all. Even the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Honorable Mentions
    Of course, these are just a few of our favorite romantic films from the first century or so of motion pictures. (Incidentally, 2017 marks the 100-year anniversary of the Charlie Chaplin Studio.) You could easily add films like It Happened One Night (1934), Ninotchka (1939), Roman Holiday (1953), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Love Story (1970) and Sense and Sensibility (1995) to the list.

In fact, you could also say that Hollywood still hasn’t lost its romantic touch. If you’re up for seeing something new that’s still in theaters, take your sweetheart to La La Land. This critically acclaimed modern-day musical will most surely be added to the All-time Romantic List after collecting some hardware at this year’s Oscars. Watch for it to win big on February 26. And tell us about some of the romantic movies that bring back fond memories for you.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living

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