10 Amazing Classic Love Story Movies
How do you judge how good a love story movie is? Is it by the amount of hankies you’ve got through? Perhaps it’s the amount of times your pulse has beat wildly in your heart?
There are all kinds of ingredients that make up a classic love story. There is unrequited love, love that cannot be because of circumstances and frustratingly missed appointments, because one of the lovers missed their train, leaving the other forlornly stranded at the train station, wondering where their mate is.
There are tales of a woman being hard-to-get, of two people falling in love despite hating each other at the start of the movie, and of two people getting together despite the odds being stacked against them all the way.
In the end, of course, love conquers all. It always does. And when it does, it makes us feel great.
If you’re the kind of person who gets weepy while watching a romantic movie, let’s take a look at 10 of the most amazing classic love story movies of all time.
Beauty and the Beast
Disney used to make consistently good movies all the time, and one of their best of the nineties was the achingly romantic cartoon The Beauty and the Beast.
Essentially a fairy tale, the film features a young beauty (obviously) who has to rescue her dad from a pretty frightening-looking castle, where he has been enslaved by the local Beast.
Not much is known about the Beast, except that he’s pretty scary and lots of vigilantes want him dead.
It turns out that he’s actually just a bit cantankerous because he somehow got turned from a good-looking, well-built chap into a beast. Belle can’t help but fall in love with him and bring out the “human” in him. Aww.
As Good As It Gets
In As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson proves that he’s lost none of his cheeky charm, as he plays a misanthropic writer with obsessive compulsive disorder who somehow winds up falling in love with a nubile, life-loving waitress at his local diner.
She brings the best out of him, eventually extracting the killer line from the world’s meanest grump: “You make me want to be a better man.”
The 2001 French film surprised everyone when it became a worldwide hit upon its release. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s previous movie, Delicatessen, was little heard of outside France and the arty world (hardly anyone has heard of it even to this day), yet the whimsically romantic Amelie captured hearts everywhere.
Its central character, the quirky Amelie, lives in her own little fantasy world, playing cupid with her neighbours and generally causing good-intentioned havoc with her fervent imagination.
Yet she is also a little emotionally immature, and when she starts to fall in love with a man who doesn’t know she exists, she simply doesn’t know how to handle life. All she needs is a bit of courage …
The “Before” Trilogy
In 1994, film director Richard Linklater had a big idea: He wanted to create three films shot over twenty years that would as realistically as possible detail the relationship that blossoms between two strangers from two different continents who happen to get talking on a train ploughing its way into Austria.
American Jesse strikes up a conversation with the petite French girl Celine on board a train to Vienna. Realising their mutual attraction, the pair continue their chatter once they have left the train, and go onto spend the night together (not in that way).
The next morning, they have to part. In an age before cell phones, their parting is particularly wrenching. Jesse has to head back to America, while Celine will be returning to her normal life in France. Will the pair ever see each other again?
Fans had to wait nine years before the second instalment to see what had become of the pair; the film was followed by a third in 2013. The first and the second movies are terribly romantic, and terribly upsetting, while the third ably demonstrates what can go wrong in a long-term relationship.
James Cameron was the man who gave us The Terminator 2, but he showed his softer side in 1997 when he released Titanic, a romantic film about blossoming love onboard a doomed ship.
The real sad bit is, of course, at the end when youth’s first love is cut-short by a, um, sinking ship that has just hit an iceberg.
My first relationship ended because he watched too much football.
Not all love story movies have happy endings, but Ghost is hands down one of the most romantic films of all time. You simply cannot watch it without feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
You will, though, need at least two boxes of tissues to keep you company. Candy bars alone will not get you through this one.
In this supernatural romance, the lovely Demi Moore is widowed when her husband is stabbed to death. Struggling to come to terms with her grief, she is visited by a clairvoyant who claims that she has been connecting with her deceased husband.
The paranormal concept is handled wonderfully and strikes a chord with anyone who imagines what life will be like without their partner. We’d all love to believe that they are still with us in spirit.
The Shop Around The Corner
The Shop Around The Corner is one of those beautiful Christmas films that has more charm than a very charming thing.
Set in snowcapped Budapest, it tells the story of two shop employees – a man and a woman – who detest each other. Each of them, no matter how hard their life is at work, find escape and happiness by writing to their pen pals. Both are falling in love.
Little do they know who their anonymous pen pals really are.
It’s A Wonderful Life
It’s A Wonderful Life has quickly become everyone’s favourite Christmas film, yet it bombed on its initial release back in 1946. Its box-office failure was possibly something to do with circumstances (the war had just ended), because nobody who has seen this fantastical film cannot help but fall in love with it.
The film follows the life of George Bailey from boyhood to adulthood, as he struggles to come to terms with the fact that family ties have to come before his dream of travelling the world. He falls in love with a local maiden, gets married, buys a home, has children … and then has a financial crisis which leads to a personal meltdown.
Will an angel from above save the troubled man just in time for Christmas? Well, you’d hope so.
Lost In Translation
Lost In Translation uses a similar premise to Before Midnight as its starting point: Two strangers get to know each other in Japan, knowing full well that circumstances are against them. Both are married, and both are only here temporarily. They have their ordinary lives to return to soon.
There is also an age-gap of about forty years.
But rather than making it creepy (as she could easily have done accidentally), director Sofia Coppola injects her story with so much humanity and pathos that you cannot help but blubber by the time the final credits roll.
If you’ve ever fallen in love fleetingly on vacation, knowing full well that nothing could ever come of it, you’ll relate to this film.
Yes, I am crying right now.
Manhattan is directed by Woody Allen, so you know you’re going to get plenty of laughs. But the wacky comedian also shows us his softer side, as he tells a story about a forty-something man who is dating a teenager.
The funny thing is that it’s the older man who is trying hard to break off the relationship, while the young girl is the one who wants to keep it going. He tells her she has to go to college where she’ll meet plenty of young guys. She insists she just wants him.
Typically, the man breaks up with her … and then wants her back. But, wait a minute, isn’t she off to college by now? In another country? Oh dear!
What are your favourite love story movies?