15 classic romantic movies to watch this Valentine’s Day

Today we’re turning things over to our interns Linda Cotrina and Radina Vencheva:

Spending this Valentine’s Day indoors? Why not cuddle up with your sweetheart and watch a movie or two? We’ve rounded up a list of 15 classic romantic movies, and share reasons why you should watch them this Valentine’s Day. And while you’re at it, make sure you check out our lists of 15 hottest leading men and 15 beautiful leading ladies.

1. The Notebook
Year: 2004
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams
Why it’s romantic: This movie quickly earned a spot on people’s list as one of the most romantic movies of all time. A big statement considering its predecessors of romance, but who can resist this epic love story? After being apart for seven years, protagonists Noah and Allie showed that their love and passion for each other was far from over. Gosling and McAdams –  true Canadian sweethearts — took their onscreen romance off-screen in 2005 until they broke up in 2007… and broke our hearts! The Notebook will fulfill your need for straight, sweep you off your feet romance. Why not watch it with your ‘Noah’ this Valentine’s Day?

2. Pretty Woman
Year: 1990
Starring: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere
Why it’s romantic: A modern take on the Cinderella fairytale, Pretty Woman delivers in romance with Roberts and Gere’s undeniable chemistry. Edward Lewis, a rich businessman, encounters Vivian Ward, an independent and kind-hearted prostitute on Hollywood Boulevard, and hires her to stay with him for a week as an escort. Both end up falling for each other and we swoon as the underdog gets her fairytale ending.

3. Ghost
Year: 1990
Starring: Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore
Why it’s romantic: A perfect balance of laughter, romance and tear-jerking moments, Ghost offers the hopeless romantic the promise that love never dies. The couple’s infamous pottery scene and their final dance make this movie a blockbuster romance. Who would have thought making pottery could be so sexy and romantic?

4. Notting Hill
Year: 1999
Starring: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant
Why it’s romantic: Famous American actress falls for British bookstore clerk? Only in the movies. Another fairytale of sorts, this love story is the kind that we all wish for. Notting Hill delivers in chemistry, charm, love and humour through two iconic Hollywood classics in Roberts and Gere.

5. Casablanca
Year: 1942
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman
Why it’s romantic:  A classic, Casablanca stars Rick (Bogart) an ex-freedom fighter who runs a nightclub in Casablanca in early World War II and Ilsa (Bergman), as Rick’s one true love who left him after a rendez-vous in Paris. Known for the iconic lines: “Here’s looking at you, kid.” and “We’ll always have Paris.” this film remains timeless and true as one of the greatest romantic dramas ever crafted. We’ll always have Casablanca as time goes by.

6. Before Sunrise
Year: 1995
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Why it’s romantic:  An unforgettable night, Before Sunrise follows Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) as they meet on a train in Europe and spend one evening together in Vienna, talking about life and love, and ultimately sparking an unforgettable chemistry. Indulge in the perfect combination of romance and the wonderful feeling of new love in Before Sunrise.

7. Pride and Prejudice
Year: 1995
Starring: Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle
Why it’s romantic: A beautiful adaptation of Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice follows the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mark Darcy, as they work to get past their family issues, status’ in society and their own vices to find true love with each other. Starring Colin Firth, as the dashing Mr. Darcy, and Jennifer Ehle, as the determined and headstrong Elizabeth Bennet, this movie is a sweet treat for the true romantic heart. And if you’ve already watched it, there’s no excuse not to watch it again — do we need to talk about the scene were Firth come out of the lake with his shirt all wet? *Swoon!*

8. When Harry Met Sally
Year: 1989
Starring: Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal
Why it’s romantic: Can a man and a woman just be friends without sex complicating things? Well, When Harry Met Sally explores this idea through the main characters as we see their relationship develop over the course of a decade. This is a  great romantic comedy to watch this Valentine’s Day about how complicated the relationship between men and women can be. “I’ll have what she’s having.”

9. Titanic
Year: 1997
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
Why it’s romantic: Ever since Titanic came out in 1997, it became an instant hit. The beautiful yet tragic love story between Jack Dawson and Rose Bukater takes place on the doomed Titanic ship, where they meet. What makes this movie so iconic to this day is not just the love story being told, but the historical aspects of it, as well. And with Céline Dion’s theme song of “My Heart Will Go On” to accompany the mood of the film, it’s almost impossible not to shed a few tears at the end… if not a lot.

10. Sleepless in Seattle
Year: 1993
Starring: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
Why it’s romantic: This classic rom-com was inspired by the 1957 hit, An Affair to Remember, in which the lovebirds Nickie Ferrante (played by Cary Grant) and Terry McKay (played by Deborah Kerr) are supposed to meet at the top of the Empire State Building, but never do because Kerr is struck by a car while on her way there. In Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks’ character and Meg Ryan’s character meet on the eve of Valentine’s Day at the top of the Empire State Building, symbolizing Ferrante’s and McKay’s reunion that never happened. If you haven’t watched Sleepless in Seattle, what are you waiting for?

11. Bridget Jones Diary
Year: 2001
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth
Why it’s romantic: In this British rom-com, a woman in her early thirties is frustrated — sexually, emotionally, physically — and the list can go on. As with most normal women, Bridget doesn’t feel very confident in her skin and suddenly realizes she needs a makeover and a change in her life. Her boss, Daniel (played by Hugh Grant), is the charming womanizer who she secretly fantasizes about, while Mark (played by Colin Firth) is someone she knows from her childhood. In this perfect for Valentine’s-Day movie, Bridget needs to decide who she truly wants and what true love is.

12. Romeo + Juliet
Year: 1996
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes
Why it’s romantic: What’s love without tragedy? In this unusual modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragic play, Romeo and Juliet, we see the two rival families as gangs and instead of swords, they use guns to kill each other. But the story is the same: Romeo and Juliet meet at a party, fall in love, but soon realize their love is doomed due to their families and their hatred for one another. We think this film is romantic, not just because it’s Shakespeare’s play and because it’s a beautiful love story where one sacrifices himself for the other, but more importantly – because director Baz Luhrmann gave life to what’s traditional by making it modern.

13. Gone With the Wind
Year: 1939
Starring: Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh
Why it’s romantic: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” – who can forget that famous, powerful line at the end of this all-time classic? Gone with the Wind stars Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in one of the greatest movies in the film industry. The movie is long, and at times hard to follow, as the plot constantly evolves, but it’s clear that Rhett loves Scarlett and tries desperately to win her over throughout the movie. Scarlett however, loves another man and pines for him, even when he marries her cousin and even after Scarlett gets married — twice. Without having to say too much or spoiling the end, we’ll just say Scarlett’s a girl when the movie starts and a woman when the movie’s over. Call it a marathon movie and park yourselves on the couch for a long and epic love story.

14. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Year: 1961
Starring: Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard
Why it’s romantic: Breakfast at Tiffany’s tells the story of a country girl turned socialite in luxurious New York. Hepburn’s character falls in love with her neighbour, Paul Varjak, but fails to admit it due to pride and the image she holds in front of the city. Paul on the other hand loves her dearly and suffers as she brushes him off with her countless flings with richer and older gentlemen. Hepburn’s character is selfish and insensitive at times, but, as with all good movies, we watch as she evolves throughout the plot. What makes this movie romantic is not so much the glamorous outfits and big parties she throws, but her realization that the American Dream is not everything, after all. One can only hope to find a partner as loving and patient as Paul Varjak!

15. The Bridges of Madison County
Year: 1995
Starring: Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood
Why it’s romantic: There’s nothing more mysterious than a woman’s heart! And if you think Rose did a phenomenal job in Titanic when she kept her love story a secret from her granddaughter all these years, wait till you see what Francesca Johnson does in The Bridges of Madison County. This timeless movie stars Meryl Streep as Francesca Johnson and Clint Eastwood as Robert Kincaid — two lovers who just couldn’t get their timing right. The beautiful and sad story of their love is magical and it’ll make you believe soulmates do exist, after all. If you haven’t seen this film and are about to watch it, just be sure to ask yourself one question, at the end:  What would you have done in Francesca’s place if you were her?

If you’re planning on watching one of our classic romantic movies, why not pair it up with a classic and romantic treat? Here are some of our delicious recipes, that will surely make for a wonderful and memorable night.

- Cheesesteak Sandwiches for Two
- Lemon Herb Scallops
- Red Velvet Lovebird Blondies
- 7 super-fudgey, super-delicious, ooey-gooey brownie recipes
- The Ultimate Chocolate Layer Cake

Image courtesy of: Bill Gold, via Wikimedia Commons