19 Movies That Had Iconic Love Stories

Sarah Kester
Noah and Allie in The Notebook
IMDB | New Line Cinema

Romantic movies are usually a hit-or-a-miss in Hollywood.

While some leave you longing for a similar love, the majority are filled with cheesy clichés and tired, predictable plot points. How many of the same meet-cutes can there be?!

A good romantic film needs three main things. First, likable characters that even a skeptic would root for. Second, a powerful build-up that has you on the edge of your seat. And three, a remarkable first kiss that would make even your knees weak.

Those with all three elements are cemented in romantic history forever and ever.

'A Star Is Born'

A Star is Born
Guardian | Warner Bros.

If you like music and romance mixed together, this film starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga hits all the high notes!

Their chemistry was so strong, many were convinced that the two stars were actually in love.

'Pride & Prejudice'

Pride & Prejudice
USA Today | Lionsgate

If you love Netflix's Bridgerton, you need to watch the romantic period drama that started it all. Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen play lady and gentleman in this film based on the novel by Jane Austen.

'Love Jones'

Love Jones

Although this movie wasn't appreciated in its time (it was a box office dud), it deserves all the praise today. It follows the main character, Nina, who has to choose between the possibility of new love or the memory of her ex.

'The Vow'

The Vow
Imbd | Columbia

Some of the best love stories are based on true stories. That's the case with this film starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams.

It tells the true story of a real-life couple, Kim and Krickett Carpenter. After a car accident caused Kim to lose her memory, her husband had to make her fall in love with him all over again.

'Call Me By Your Name'

Call Me By Your Name

Can't get enough Timothée Chalamet? You'll love him in this movie, based on the book by André Aciman. It shows the highs and lows of first love after a young man falls in love with one of his dad's grad students.

'In the Mood for Love'

In the Mood for Love
Indie Wire | Saint Entertainment

This romantic film is quite the mood. Wong Kar-wai's melancholic period drama follows two neighbors who just learned that their partners are sleeping with each other. Cue the drama!

'Shakespeare in Love'

Shakespeare in Love

It doesn't get much more romantic than Shakespeare. This film, starring Gwyneth Paltrow (who won an Oscar for the role), tells the story of William Shakespeare's own love story with one of his muses.

'If Beale Street Could Talk'

If Beale Street Could Talk
New Yorker | Sony

Barry Jenkins’s film has so much depth to it. It follows the story of teenage sweethearts who are torn apart when Fonny (Stephan James) is falsely accused of rape by a racist cop.



A love affair between two women wasn't something that was highly publicized in the 1950s. That's why this film, based on the novel The Price of Salt, is so alluring. It features Oscar-nominated performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

'When Harry Met Sally'

When Harry Met Sally diner scene
USA Today | Columbia

It's the age-old question: Can men and women be just friends? This movie set out to explore the answer with knockout performances from Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. The fake orgasm scene is still playing in our heads.

'Brokeback Mountain'

Brokeback Mountain

We wish we knew how to quit this movie, but we just can't! It's an iconic film about two cowboys who carry on an affair in secret. Despite not winning the Oscar nominations, it goes down in history as one of the late Heath Ledger's best performances.


Cinema Blend | Columbia

This historical film by director James Cameron truly had it all: a talented cast featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, a steamy sex scene (including a nude portrait), and the most iconic soundtrack song ever, "My Heart Will Go On."

'The Princess Bride'

The Princess Bride
Giphy | 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

When you weren't busy laughing throughout this cult-favorite film, you were infatuated by the love story between Wesley and Princess Buttercup. He was willing to do anything to save his princess!

'Roman Holiday'

Roman Holiday
Parade | Paramount Pictures

This film sure is a special one. It was Audrey Hepburn's first starring role and it earned her an Oscar. She plays a princess who meets a newspaperman while sightseeing in Rome. The thing is: he knows her true identity.

You'll have to watch to see if he gets a good story or something more. Warning: this film may make you want to book a trip to Italy ASAP.

'Dirty Dancing'

Dirty Dancing
Giphy | Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Nobody puts Baby in the corner! That's just one memorable line from this iconic film, starring Jennifer Grey and the late Patrick Swayze. It has romance, dancing, and soul music all mixed into one fantastic film.

'Beauty & the Beast'

Belle and the Beast
Empire Online | Disney

Nobody does Happily Ever Afters quite like Disney. It's a tale as old as time: a cursed beast must find a woman to love him in order to break the spell. If you love this one, check out the live-action version starring Emma Watson.

'Before Sunset'

Before Sunset

At the heart of any good romantic movie is amazing dialogue between the main characters. That's the basis of this film, which features the characters walking around a European city and not much else. If you love it, catch the two sequels, Before Sunset and Before Midnight.

'Romeo & Juliet'

Romeo and Juliet
Thoughtco | 20th Century

Out of all the Romeo & Juliet adaptations, this one stands out the most. It features Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as starcrossed lovers.

'The Notebook'

The Notebook

When it comes to romantic movies, The Notebook is the crème de la crème. It follows the story of young lovers spanning decades.

The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams is off the charts (and so are Gosling's abs!).