Films on Romance

Casablanca

Drama 1942 PG 102 minutes. In this Oscar-winning classic, American expat Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) plays host to gamblers, thieves and refugees at his Moroccan nightclub during World War II … but he never expected Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) – the woman who broke his heart — to walk through that door. Ilsa hopes that with Rick’s help, she and her fugitive husband (Paul Henreid) can escape to America. But the spark that brought the lovers together still burns brightly.

Annie Hall

Romantic Comedy 1977 PG 93 minutes. Winner of four Oscars — including Best Picture and Best Actress — director Woody Allen’s iconic romantic comedy charts the relationship between neurotic writer Alvy Singer and quirky aspiring singer Annie Hall.

When Harry Met Sally

Romantic Comedy 1989 R 96 minutes. Can men and women remain friends without sex getting in the way? Nora Ephron’s episodic screenplay introduces womanizing, neurotic Harry (Billy Crystal) and ambitious, equally neurotic Sally (Meg Ryan) as chums who resist sexual attraction to maintain their friendship — a relationship always teetering on the brink of love. As the two draw closer, the question resurfaces: Can they stay just pals? Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby co-star.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Romantic Comedy 1961 NR 114 minutes. In this Blake Edwards-directed adaptation of Truman Capote’s novel, fortune hunter Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) finds herself captivated by aspiring writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard), who’s moved into her building on a wealthy woman’s (Patricia Neal) dime. As romance blooms between Paul and Holly, Doc Golightly (Buddy Ebsen) shows up on the scene, revealing Holly’s past. The film received Oscars for best song (“Moon River”) and best score.

Romeo and Juliet

Drama 1968 PG 138 minutes. Falling in love against the wishes of their feuding families, star-crossed lovers Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet defy their destiny and elope in secret, only to suffer the ultimate tragedy.

Splendor in the Grass

Romance 1961 NR 124 mins.  Young lovers Deanie Loomis (Natalie Wood) and Bud Stamper (Warren Beatty, in his big-screen debut) find their awakening sexuality at odds with their own moral standards — and those of their 1920s rural Kansas community. But trying to resist their carnal urges leads to mutual heartbreak … and to madness for the fragile Deanie. This is a powerful tale of repressed first love. Natalie Wood was nominated for an Oscar, and Beatty captures his suffering role perfectly.   The screenplay by William Inge (who also wrote “Picnic”) rings so true. Every word and action blends perfectly to reflect the years 1928 and 1929. I think everyone will see something they can relate to in their own lives in this film. I know I did. I have watched it over and over again and cry every time.  Wordsworth’s Imitations of Immortality contains the line “splendor in the grass” that is the theme of this movie. The last 15 minutes is poignant and a powerful ending that left me limp.  Director Elia Kazan’s profile of the repercussions of pent-up pubescent lust netted an Oscar for Best Screenplay.  Everything about this movie is first-rate. To say they don’t make them like this anymore is putting it mildly. This should be required of anyone who wants to call themselves a dedicated fan of good movies.

IL Postino
(The Postman)

Docudrama 1995 PG 108 minutes. Mario Ruoppolo (Massimo Troisi), the mailman on an Italian island, pines from afar for a beautiful waitress. But when exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) comes to live on the island, Ruoppolo delivers Neruda’s mail and picks up lessons on love, life and poetry. Noteworthy extras in this edition include director Michael Radford’s commentary and a featurette about the real-life Neruda.

Marius / Fanny

Marius and its sequel, Fanny were released as separate films, but they are an entirely intertwined pair which are really Part 1 and Part 2 of one story, and are best seen in that order: Marius first and then Fanny.  In early-20th-century Marseilles, Marius is an indecisive and intense youth employed in a pub by his grumpily brusque, but also doting father, César. In his own way, Marius is in love with childhood friend Fanny, but he also longs to see the world and for adventure on the high seas. The couple’s shared story reveals the twists and turns of fate that unfold over the course of the two films. Presented in an old-fashioned and subdued style, these are an absolute delight: well-acted, moving, picturesque, avowedly romantic, and quietly haunting in their conjuring of old-world provincial France and its social mores. Sooo romantic, nostalgic and old fashioned, with such good acting and directing.  These two movies, “Marius” and “Fanny,” are two works of French art about beauty, life and love. (Director Auteuil reportedly intends to round out his envisioned trilogy of stories by the author Pagnol with the third and final chapter, César, in the near future.)

Marius
Romantic Drama 2013 NR 1hr34m.  When the woman Marius loves begins courting an older man to make him jealous, Marius is torn between true love and his dream of a life at sea.

Fanny
Romantic Drama 2013 NR 1hr42m.  When her true love sails away, a pregnant girl marries a much older man — and soon ends up in a complicated love triangle.

Midnight in Paris

Fantasy 2011 PG-13 94 minutes. In this charming romantic comedy, legendary director Woody Allen focuses his lens on an engaged young couple whose experiences traveling together in Paris make them begin to question the kind of life they want to live.

The Notebook

Drama 2004 PG-13 123 minutes. Two young lovers (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) are torn apart by war and class differences in the 1940s in this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s best-selling novel. Their story is told by a man (James Garner) who, years later, reads from a notebook while he visits a woman in a nursing home (Gena Rowlands). Nick Cassavetes directs this heart-tugging romance about the sacrifices people will make to hang on to their one true love

Amelie
(Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain)

Drama 2001 R 122 minutes. When impish gamine Amélie (Audrey Tautou), who lives alone, finds a long-hidden trove of toys behind a baseboard in her apartment, she’s inspired to repatriate the items, an impulse of generosity that sparks more benevolent acts. A celebration of life and love, French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Oscar-nominated charmer stresses the importance of small wonders that surround us, if only we paused to look.

Infinity

Docudrama Romance 1996 PG 120 mins.  Matthew Broderick makes an impressive directorial debut with this biopic about brilliant physicist Richard Feynman (played by Broderick), who participated in the Manhattan Project and played an important role in the Challenger disaster investigation. A touching period drama, the film follows Feynman’s life from his work on the atomic bomb to his passionate love affair with Arline Greenbaum (Patricia Arquette).

Only the Lonely

Romantic Dramedy 1991 PG-13 1hr44m. This film from writer-director Chris Columbus stars John Candy as a Chicago police officer who still lives at home with his overbearing mother. The son is well past the age when his peers were getting married, or at least have a serious love interest. The movie starts by portraying two complete wallflowers well on the way to long-term solitude. They seem to have never dated. The mother thinks she wants her son to find a girl and get married, but when it appears he finds a girl, she suddenly changes her mind when she considers that she will be alone. The story is also poignant and endearing. You will laugh and you will cheer, and you will feel happy you gave this little film a chance. Highly recommended.

Moonstruck

Romantic Comedy 1987 PG 1hr41m. In this slice-of-life comedy about the Italian American residents of a Brooklyn neighborhood, a strong widow falls in love with a one-handed baker. The stoyline does a great job of portraying the the interactions between the generations within the NYC Italian family, and is just hilarious in its finest moments. We just loved the Grandfathers part in the film, his somewhat confused and honest opinions touch you and make you laugh out loud at the same time.  A true classic that lives up to the hype, and leaves you smiling at the end! This is an excellent movie in so many ways. The ethnically-oriented story line is very funny. The characters are engaging and well developed. The cinematography is beautiful. Even Brooklyn looks good. Cher is stunning–she and Olympia Dukakis definitely deserved the Oscars. One of my all-time favorite movies.

Roxanne

Romantic Comedy 1987 PG 107 mins.  Fearless small-town firefighter C.D. Bales (Steve Martin) is seriously smitten with beautiful stargazer Roxanne Kowalski (Daryl Hannah) but is self-conscious about his exceedingly long nose in this contemporary take on “Cyrano de Bergerac.” The fair maiden has also captured the fancy of C.D.’s handsome but tongue-tied chum Chris, so eloquent C.D. woos her vicariously through his handsome rival.   This is a tale as old as time. Ugly man and handsome man both fall for pretty girl. Handsome man has upper hand, but in the end she falls for eloquent ugly guy. Roxanne is an updated version of the famous Cyrano de Bergerac tale, with the wacky humor of Steve Martin added for good measure. Cute tender rom-com that is great for family viewing.  I love the message in this movie, and made sure that my preteen girls got to see it with me. The passion, tenderness and romance in this movie are things that we all should aspire to, though few of us do.  This is one of Steve Martin’s best movies (right behind Planes, Trains and Automobiles). Steve Martin wrote a near perfect screenplay. The performances are first rate from Martin and Darryl Hannah as the title character. The scenery is beautiful.   Without a doubt this is one of the funniest, and smartest comedies ever made.  This one will always rate high up on my list of “must see” movies.

Out of Africa

Docudrama 1985 PG 161 minutes. Hoping to forge a better life, Denmark native Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) enters into a marriage of convenience with a womanizing baron. But when the couple moves to Nairobi, Karen falls in love with a free-spirited hunter (Robert Redford) who can’t be tied down. Director Sydney Pollack’s lush period drama earned seven Academy Awards, including statues for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography.

Love Story (1970)

Drama 1970 PG 95 minutes. Privileged Harvard jock Oliver Barrett IV (Ryan O’Neal) sparks the anger of his steely, demanding father (Ray Milland) by falling in love with and marrying plebeian Radcliffe student Jennifer Cavalleri (Ali MacGraw), prompting his disapproving family to cut off his inheritance. After graduation, Oliver lands a job with a prominent law firm, and the blissful couple has the world by the tail — until tragedy intervenes.

The Graduate

Romantic Comedy 1967 PG 105 minutes. Dustin Hoffman (in his first major film role) turns in a landmark performance as a naïve college graduate who is seduced by a middle-aged neighbor (Anne Bancroft) but ends up falling in love with her beautiful, young daughter (Katharine Ross). Mike Nichols won a Best Director Oscar for this 1960s classic, which boasts an immortal score from Simon and Garfunkel that includes the iconic “Mrs. Robinson.”

Doctor Zhivago  (1965)

Drama 1965 PG-13 200 minutes.  A young physician (Omar Sharif) and his beautiful mistress (Julie Christie) get swept up in the danger and drama of the Bolshevik Revolution in this Oscar-winning epic based on the classic novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Boris Pasternak. The film earned five Academy Awards in all, including statues for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Score and Best Screenplay. Alec Guinness and Rod Steiger co-star.

Doctor Zhivago  (2002)

Remake Miniseries 2002 NR 2 discs / 2 episodes.  As political turmoil rumbles through Russia, Doctor Zhivago is trapped in a love triangle between his wife and his mistress. Meanwhile, the Bolshevik Revolution will change all their lives forever in this miniseries remake of the classic 1965 film.

West Side Story

Musical 1961 NR 152 minutes.  Winner of 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture, this classic musical set among the tenements of New York City finds star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony caught in the midst of a turf war between rival street gangs.

The Quiet Man

Drama 1952 NR 129 minutes. John Wayne hangs up his spurs to star as bachelor ex-boxer Sean Thornton in this endearing classic. Back in his native Ireland, the Duke’s thoughts turn to domestic tranquility after courting the lovely Mary Kate (Maureen O’Hara). But her brother (Victor McLaglen) may need to have some common sense knocked into him — literally — before the deal is done. The customs and lifestyle of Ireland bewilder this Irish-American. The film won two Academy Awards, including Best Director (John Ford).

The Philadelphia Story

Romantic Comedy 1940 NR 112 minutes.  Socialite Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn) prepares to remarry, but her ex (Cary Grant) and a tabloid reporter (Best Supporting Actor Oscar-winner James Stewart) have other ideas as they converge on her home for a fateful visit. The three stars form an incomparable trio in one of the most tantalizing screwball romances ever. And under the direction of George Cukor, this once-urbane Broadway comedy springs to life with precision and wit.

Gone with the Wind

Drama 1939 G 233 minutes.  Director Victor Fleming’s 1939 epic adaption of Margaret Mitchell’s novel of the same name stars Vivien Leigh as self-absorbed, headstrong Scarlett O’Hara, a Southern Belle who meets her match in Rhett Butler just as the Civil War breaks out.

It Happened One Night

Romantic Comedy 1934 NR 105 minutes.  Runaway socialite Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) is en route to the Big Apple to elope with a fortune-hunting flyboy. Along the way she meets a crusty newspaperman (Clark Gable), who’s just been sacked and — unbeknownst to Ellie — plans to sell her story to get his job back. But a string of zany misadventures leads them to realize they’re madly — if reluctantly — in love. It Happened One Night swept every major Academy Award.

The Loving Story
(Long Way Home: The Loving Story)

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr 17M. This documentary profiles Mildred and Richard Loving, who were arrested in 1958 for breaking Virginia’s laws against interracial marriage. This couple fought for what they believed in and as a result a change spread across the nation. Her spirit was so intelligent and motherly and calm. His demeanor was so tough and honest and protective. This story is simply beautiful. A captivating look at the lives of the couple who reluctantly and inadvertently caused the eventual setting aside of the blatant racist laws in 16 states against interracial marriage. The last miscegenation laws was repealed in 2000 in Alabama. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Loving. I would have been proud to be their neighbor, proud have known them. This is a real love story, one man and one woman set the example for the rest to follow. I guess they’re true American heroes we never got to hear about. Amazing story. I do not think I have ever seen a better documentary, one that has better caught and held my interest.  See Full Review

Impromptu

Drama 1991 PG-13 1hr 47m. In this critically acclaimed drama set amid the romance of 19th-century Europe, feminist author George Sand falls for Polish composer Frédéric Chopin, but a number of obstacles stand in their way — including rivals, former lovers and duels.

The Well-Digger’s Daughter
(La fille du puisatier)

Romance 2011 NR 1hr 49m.  Pascale, a widowed laborer, lives in Provence, raising five daughters alone until his eldest daughter returns home to help care for her sisters. But a young pilot and the approaching shadow of World War I change Pascale’s hopes for the future in this story based on a book by Pagnol.

A Royal Affair
(En Kongelig Affære)

Romance 2012 R 2hr17m.  In 18th-century Denmark, the unstable King Christian VII neglects his young queen, Mathilde, who falls in love with his German physician.  This film is based on a true story.  As a Romance, the story reaches its peak when Dr. Struensee and the Queen are united, both physically and intellectually. With her at his side, Dr. Struensee brings about many reforms, ushering Denmark into the Enlightenment. The story as a Romance could have ended there. The director could have had a final shot (of the Queen and Dr. Struensee, or of the people of Denmark living better lives, etc.) with text explaining the rest of the story, including the fact that the King and Queen’s son, Frederick VI, continued Struensee’s reforms. That would have left the romantic females in the audience delighted and satisfied.  But as it is a docudrama, it raises the film to another level to have the ending it actually was historically.  Be forewarned that the ending is violent.  See Full Review

When Strangers Click

Documentary 2010 NR 53m. Director Robert Kenner explores the world of online dating through the stories of five individuals who went looking for love on the Internet. I got lost in the lives and stories of these people–all different, yet all used the same tool to find their other half.  It was entertaining: real people talking about their own experiences. I thought this was going to have more to do with online dating, because the brief review certainly makes it sound that way. But instead of analyzing online dating sites, it’s just five short stories about people who met online in chat rooms and Second Life. It has very little to do with dating websites, their success rates, and stories about that.

LIFE 2.0

Documentary 2010 NR 1hr 39m. Computer users across the globe log onto the virtual world of Second Life. But some users’ lives are dramatically consumed by this alternate reality. See Full Review

 

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