The Truth Is, Old Romantic Movies Were So Much Better Than New Ones

Jordan Claes
Julie Andrews dancing in 'The Sound Of Music'.
20th Century Fox | 20th Century Fox

Have you ever wondered why nearly all romantic movies made nowadays are romantic comedies? It's because the notion of true romance in the film industry has become by and large — a joke.

People are too jaded, too desensitized by the no-holds-barred/bare-all approach of modern cinema. The truth of the matter is old romantic movies are so much better than their modern-day counterparts, and there's a fairly obvious reason as to why.

Our society's reliance on technology has tricked us into thinking that newer is always better.

Spongebob technology is scary

People nowadays are obsessed with getting the newest iPhone, they'll stand in line for hours in order to purchase the latest gaming system, and happily replace their laptops/TVs every 3-5 years without argument.

But despite what we've been programmed to believe, this isn't always the case.

Woman eating popcorn

There's an old saying that asserts how a classic never goes out of style. Such is certainly the case when it comes to the books that we read, the clothes we wear, and the films that we watch.

Cinema, in particular, is one area where the whole "newer is better" argument falls apart. Specifically with romance movies.

Classic scene in 'Casablanca'.

You don't need to be an MD in order to pronounce the romance genre dead. With staggeringly few exceptions, there hasn't been a truly great romance movie in years.

The main reason for this all boils down to one thing:

Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer dancing in Sound of music
20th Century Fox | 20th Century Fox

Mainly, it's sex. Julie Andrews wouldn't have been caught dead humping Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music just as Ingrid Bergman wouldn't have done full-frontal in Casablanca.

Instead, these films build toward something which nowadays is considered highly cliche — the idea of true love's first kiss.

Scene from 'Gone With The Wind'.

The first kiss is idyllic, it's romantic — the kind of act that makes you swoon and hope against hope for the happily-ever-after.

Sex, on the other hand, is completely different.

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in bed in 'When Harry Met Sally'.
Columbia Pictures | Columbia Pictures

Sex is carnal, it's animalistic, and the sheer physicality of the act itself eviscerates any hope of romantic idealism between the two characters. In short, sex breaks the spell and shatters any illusion of true love conquering all.

Think of it this way: have you ever wondered why 'Jaws' is considered to be one of the greatest horror movies ever made?

Chief Brody in 'Jaws'.

It all has to do with suspense. That's why we don't see the shark at all until nearly 1.5 hours into the movie, and only for 4 minutes of total screen time.

In romance movies, sex is like a great white shark.

Tony and Maria in 'West Side Story'.
United Artists | United Artists

We know it's there, lurking somewhere beneath our feet. But when we're left to our own imagination, we envision it as something far greater than it could ever actually be.

As soon as sex jumps out of the water and into our boat, metaphorically speaking, the reality of the situation sets in.

cruel intentions

We're immediately confronted with the fact that these characters are just as flawed, messy, and completely self-sabotaging as the rest of us.

Classic romance movies build toward an implied sexual innuendo.

Seth Rogen and Kathryn Hegel in 'Knocked Up'.
Universal Pictures | Universal Pictures

Whereas modern romance movies like Knocked Up, Eyes Wide Shut, and even The Notebook begin with the physical act itself and work their way backward. It's great for shock value, but very little else.

At the end of the day, people don't want to see themselves in romance movies.

Julie Andrews dancing in 'The Sound Of Music'.
Giphy | The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization

They want to suspend their doubts, to believe in a kind of love that transcends the limitations of basic instinct. More than that, they're looking for something to hope for — for something to aspire to. This is why new romance movies can't hold a candle to their classic counterparts.