Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. But wait, a pandemic! For most of us, that’ll mean staying in on the celebratory day. So instead, you’ll need to create the ultimate night in for you and your loved one, beginning with choosing the right movie to set the mood.
When it comes to the perfect flick, there are plenty of romantic ones to choose from. Maybe a classic like Titanic is the right choice, if you’re willing to risk bawling mid-movie. Looking for a good laugh? You can’t go wrong with a ’90s throwback like 10 Things I Hate About You. Or maybe you’re all alone, and just want a reminder that love isn’t dead, in which case, might we recommend You’ve Got Mail?
With so many options to explore, we’ve compiled the best. Here are 50 Valentine’s Day movies worth watching now:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine tells a heartbreaking story of a man desperate to forget a bad relationship. As he re-lives the experience through a technology that erases his mind of their time together, he soon regrets having made the choice.
Sure, Her isn’t a rom-com in the traditional sense, but it’s romantic nonetheless. In a seemingly dystopian future, a professional letter writer (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his virtual assistant/AI operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The ending is bittersweet, but damn if this film doesn’t make you rethink the sentience of your Alexa.
The Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
This French flick takes a devastating look at two lovers, together for a short, life-altering time and later separated by circumstance. We won’t spoil it, but those final scenes are bittersweet.
Valentine’s Day (2010)
Sure, the movie isn’t great, but in 2020, maybe a terribly predictable movie with an otherwise stellar cast is exactly what you need right now.
The Notebook (2004)
No one can deny this is the most romantic film of all time—or at least, the 21st century. Starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, the movie explores a couple’s love story—from first awkward meeting to their dying breaths. Isn’t it romantic?
Love and Basketball (2000)
With Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan as leads, the film depicts two aspiring basketball players (and next-door neighbors) who struggle between following their hearts or their careers.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
A movie about two teenagers coping with cancer diagnoses isn’t the most romantic premise to a movie, but somehow (based on a John Green novel), the film manages it. It’s a tragic love story benefited by the charisma of Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.
Is it a romantic drama? Is it a thriller? What if it’s actually both? Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, and Whoopi Goldberg star in the 1990 classic, centering around a young woman whose murdered lover attempts to save her from the same fate.
The Bodyguard (1992)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Jeff Daniels and Mia Farrow star in this film about a couple who fall in love…in a movie. (Literally.) Quirky, fun, and just the right flick to stream this Valentine’s Day.
Love, Simon (2018)
Runaway Bride (1999)
Because every Valentine’s Day movie marathon deserves at least one Julia Roberts film in the mix. In this rom-com for the ages, a bride runs from the altar after realizing her fiancé isn’t the one.
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
It’s the hit movie which put a young, charismatic actor named Timothée Chalamet on the map. The story of a closeted gay couple in 1980’s Italy not only won the hearts of critics and fans alike, but shocked audiences, too, with some x-rated scenes involving a stone fruit no one will forget.
The Wedding Planner (2001)
You can’t have a romantic movie marathon without J. Lo. The singer/actress plays a woman who falls for the groom of the grand wedding she’s planning…which feels super unprofessional in retrospect?
Only Will Smith can make a Casanova-type “date doctor” somewhat funny and romantic all the same. The 2005 hit—also starring Kevin James and Eva Mendes—was a smash at the box office, and a decade and a half later, it’s just as funny as the first time you watched it.
Stuck in Love (2013)
Following a family of aspiring writers as they go through the trials and tribulations of love, this indie comedy isn’t for the faint of heart. With Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins and Logan Lerman leading the cast, the film is delightfully quirky.
Notting Hill (1999)
All good British rom-coms in the 1990s had two distinct requirements: a predictable plot line with a happy ending and Hugh Grant. This film—also featuring Julia Roberts as a beloved movie star—makes people believe they actually can have a chance with the person of their dreams.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
What exactly makes this 2002 indie film a classic—the chemistry between Nia Vardalos and John Corbett? Or is it the completely ridiculous family dynamics which someone has experienced at some point or another? Either way, be prepared for hijinks and laughs, because it’s just that funny.
Southside with You (2016)
Ever wondered exactly how Barack and Michelle Obama’s love story came to be? Well, now you can see where it all began… starting with their first date on the South Side of Chicago. It’s beautiful, romantic, and proves that love can withstand anything.
Telling the story of a star-crossed couple on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, it touched the hearts of many… including a certain singer whose heart will go on.
The Princess Bride (1987)
As you wish, dear movie fans. The classic fairy tale of the Man in Black and the Princess Bride is not only a favorite amongst film buffs, but will forever be quoted by future generations.
The Photograph (2020)
Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield star in this romance about a journalist falling for the daughter of the subject of his story. Now that’s what we call media bias!
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
This romantic comedy is equal-parts hilarious and romantic. Following a Chinese-American professor as she’s about to marry into the richest family in Singapore, the movie introduced the world to new comediennes (Awkwafina) and the suave of Henry Golding.
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan dominated the American rom-com market back in the 1990s, and this classic is no exception. It’s the beginnings of online dating, filled with dial-up messages, awkwardly-worded emails, and a chance meeting which would change the characters’ lives forever.
What Men Want (2019)
A somewhat loose re-telling of Mel Gibson’s What Women Want, the movie explores a stuffy business executive who discovers she can hear the inner thoughts of all men.
A Walk to Remember (2002)
Before Mandy Moore was causing tears on This Is Us, she was playing a young girl who captures the heart of the resident bad boy in her small town.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
We’ll all take what she’s having. The 1989 Billy Crystal/Meg Ryan rom-com became an instant classic. Enjoy watching the film that cements the familiar trope of friends turning into lovers.
Two Weeks Notice (2002)
What happens when a lawyer is so sick of her client that she puts in her two weeks’ notice? Just ask Sandra Bullock who appears along rom-com favorite Hugh Grant in this 2002 classic movie.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Netflix’s runaway hit of 2018 was a thing of rom-com magic, combining a charismatic lead actress (Lana Condor) with an up-and-coming male heartthrob (Noah Centineo) and a story line which everyone can relate to.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Come what may, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The 2001 musical drama figured out a way to blend a touching late 1890’s love story with modern day classic tunes every music fan knows and loves.
Maid in Manhattan (2002)
Following a single mother who falls in love with a high-profile politician while working in a fancy NYC hotel, this film relies on plenty of rom-com movie tropes, but is still worth the watch.
The Proposal (2009)
An assistant (Ryan Reynolds) agrees to marry his type A-boss (Sandra Bullock) to save her from deportation…which is just as messed up as you think. The two fall in love, but not without begrudgingly doing so.
Brown Sugar (2002)
Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan play high-powered executives and friends who can’t help but be drawn to one another—despite one of them already well on their way to the altar.
50 First Dates (2004)
Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore team up for a love story told over and over and over again. (You’ll get the reference after streaming.)
Jumping the Broom (2011)
The iconic film follows two families as they prepare for the wedding of their two children. But it’s not just about laughs—it also recognizes important conversations about race so rarely discussed in rom-coms.
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
A woman finds herself saving a man from being hit by the Chicago “L” train, and finds herself pretending to be his fiancé. Sure, it’s sort of a ridiculous plot, but the performances by Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman tie the movie together into quite a sentimental romantic film.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star in this romantic western as two 1960’s cowboys trying to decide whether to follow their hearts. It’s a touching film, and its performances led the film to win three Academy Awards.
Playing It Cool (2015)
Just a heads up—Chris Evans can act in other movies besides MCU films. Evans stars as a lone screenwriter who struggles to write the perfect rom-com…and, of course, falls in love in the process.
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, the 2018 drama follows a woman who goes on a long journey to clear her lover’s name, starring Watchmen’s Regina King.
I Still Believe (2020)
Riverdale’s KJ Apa players a young Christian singer who loses his wife to ovarian cancer shortly after their wedding…which means there’s gotta be a happy ending, right?!
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Movie fans will have the time of their lives when watching this 1980s classic. Following a young woman (Jennifer Grey) who finds herself falling for her holiday resort’s dance instructor (Patrick Swayze), the movie became iconic for its performances and equally memorable dance moves.
Let the Right One In (2008)
Romance isn’t all hearts and flowers. In the Swedish horror flick, Let the Right One In, a young boy becomes friends with his next-door neighbor…who happens to be a blood-thirsty vampire. Not for the faint of heart, but surely a film to enjoy for those who hate your standard Valentine’s Day fare.
It’s Complicated (2009)
Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin star as a divorced couple who sneaks around their significant others after their son’s college graduation. If you’ve ever thought of getting back together with an ex, this movie is the prime example on why it’s not always the best idea.
Charlie St. Cloud (2010)
Zac Efron stars in the 2010 drama which explores one important question: are you willing to risk everything for your family or the one you love? No pressure!
Definitely, Maybe (2008)
In the most underrated rom-com of recent history, a political consultant (Ryan Reynolds) tells his young daughter about his past relationships and how his long journey to finding love culminated with the meeting of her mother.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Crazy Stupid Love, a movie that put Ryan Gosling’s abs on the map, revived the stale rom-com formula by telling the interwoven stories of one family dealing with the aftermath of a messy divorce. Backed by star talent like Julianne Moore and Emma Stone, the movie is oozing in all things charisma.
A Rising Tide (2015)
Taking place after Hurricane Sandy, a struggling Jersey city chef (Hunter Parrish) finds himself struggling trying to re-invent his career while falling in love with a married client.
Save the Last Dance (2001)
Sure, dance movies can generally lean pretty cheesy, but Save the Last Dance is probably the least offensive. A story about a teenage coping with her mother’s death and transferring high schools, the movie is as predictable as you’d imagine, but the soundtrack alone is worth a listen.
Kate & Leopold (2001)
What exactly happens when a 19th century aristocrat accidentally stumbles into 21st century Manhattan? Well, he falls in love, naturally. Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan emanate sickeningly sweet chemistry in this classic film.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Take a Shakespeare comedy classic and throw in some modern references and a bunch of good-looking young actors and you’ve got the best teen comedy of the ’90s.
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
Yet another Julia Roberts special. In this one, she becomes entangled in an affair with the man she made a promise to marry as kids. Things get complicated when she befriends his fiancé.
Based on the famous 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, the film explores one interracial couple’s fight to have their union legalized amid the Civil Rights movement.
Sure, Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack drive a played-out plot to perfection, but who cares? New York City during Christmas has never looked better.
A Star is Born (2018)
In this remake of the 1937 classic, A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper star as musicians who fall in love against a backdrop of drug and alcohol addiction. If you are the last person on earth not to see it, at least give the soundtrack a listen.
Love Actually (2003)
Yes, this is technically a classic Christmas movie. But love is love, right? With a dynamic ensemble cast bringing all the laughs and romance, a little bit of winter magic is never bad—any time of the year.
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