To celebrate Valentine’s Day, tour our photo gallery above of the 25 most romantic films of ever, ranked from worst to best. Hollywood’s greatest romantic movies don’t feature all cooing and kissing, if you think about it. Before Love Can Conquer All, there must be struggle, redemption, confusing mishaps, mayhem and sometimes a sinking boat.
But in many surprising cases, love doesn’t win out. Remember, Doctor Yuri Zhivago dies of a heart attack just moments after he finally rediscovers Lara after three hours of frozen, bloody Russian hell on screen. Sebastian and Mia end up married to other people at the end of “La La Land” and, as everybody by now has heard, Rhett Butler didn’t give a damn about Scarlett O’Hara as soon as the wind was gone.
But the unhappy ending is sometimes what makes a romantic masterpiece so thrilling. Consider the denouement of our #1 choice for Most Romantic Movie Ever: “Casablanca.” Rick doesn’t escape with Isla on the plane in the fog at the end. He pulls out a gun and even kills a man while trying to force her to escape with her husband without him, telling her that she’ll later regret her decision if she stays behind: “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” In “Casablanca,” Rick expresses his grand love by making the greatest sacrifice of all.
Be sure to vote today for our Gold Derby decade awards featuring the best of the best from 2010 to 2019. You can keep changing your ballot as often as you like until the event closes on February 21. All 1,500 candidates you’ll see across 22 categories were nominees at either the Oscars, annual Gold Derby Film Awards or both. And join in the fun debate over these contenders taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.