There is usually one standout scene in a movie where the romance is cranked up to 11.
It could be a grand gesture, a song and dance number where the hero/heroine tries to win over the object of their affection or a more subtle intimate moment where the characters realise that they are a perfect match.
Romantic scenes often include rain, an up-tempo ballad and some running but the best and most memorable romantic moments include an element of personal sacrifice. (Not just dashing good looks).
In no particular order here are 10 of the best romantic scenes from movies.
1 Casper – Can I keep you?
A charmingly funny and spooky family film, Casper (Siberling, 1995, US) is also tinged with tragedy.
The cute, animated ghost Casper who haunts Whipstaff manor was once a young boy who died of pneumonia.
When Kat’s dad is killed in an accident Casper sacrifices his opportunity to ‘come back to life’ so that Kat (Christina Ricci) can be reunited with her father.
As a reward, Kat’s dead mother gives Casper the opportunity to become a boy again for a few hours so that he can dance with Kat at her Halloween party. Nineties dreamboat Devon Sawyer plays the ‘real’ Casper.
The two teens share a magical dance together but it can’t last.
2 Ghost – One last touch
Sam (Patrick Swayze) has been murdered by work-mate Carl and has become a ghost. Phony medium Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) is ironically the only person who can hear him.
Together they must warn Sam’s grieving girlfriend Molly (Demi Moore) that she is in danger. Oda Mae lets Sam possess her body so that he can have one last moment with Molly.
This moving moment from Ghost (Zucker, 1990, US) could have been uncomfortable (It’s really Oda Mae, not Sam) but the scene works so well that it is hard for viewers not to imagine what it would be like to have one last touch from the person they love.
3 27 Dresses – Bennie and the Jets
During this ‘always the bridesmaid’ rom-com, Jane (Katherine Heigl) and wedding reporter Kevin (James Marsden) find themselves stranded after her car skids off the road.
They start drinking in a local bar. High-strung Jane loosens up when Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets comes on the jukebox, Kevin starts to sing the wrong words and before long the pair are dancing on the bar with the other drinkers singing along.
27 Dresses (Fletcher, 2008, US) proves that just being able to have a really great time with someone can be romantic.
The hung-over pair wakes up to discover that they have become local heroes thanks to their musical performance.
4 Sense and Sensibility – Colonel Brandon to the rescue
In this adaption of Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee, 1995, US/UK) Marianne (Kate Winslet) has been making a big show of her affections for the dashing yet unsuitable Mr. Willoughby and has shunned Colonel Brandon’s (Alan Rickman) more subdued advances.
After Willoughby breaks Marianne’s heart she intentionally walks out into a rainstorm to visit the spot where they first met. Brandon rushes to rescue her and carries her back to the house.
Alan Rickman looks incredibly dashing carrying Kate Winslet through the mist across the rolling English countryside.
Marianne finally realises that a fulfilling relationship needn’t be based solely on passion.
5 Jerry Maguire – You had me at hello
Jerry (Tom Cruise) is a flawed hero; he’s oblivious and self-centered, happy to let single mother Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) pin all her hopes on him in a bid to help his sports agency to succeed.
Their marriage is failing when out of the blue Jerry’s only client becomes a national news story.
Realising he can’t enjoy success without his wife Jerry rushes home to win her back with his ‘you complete me’ speech.
This moment from Jerry Maguire (Crowe, 1996, US) is timeless. Cruise gives an emotional performance as Jerry tries to open up in front of a divorced women’s support group, prompting Zellweger to utter the immortal line ‘you had me at hello’.
6 10 Things I Hate About You – I Love You Baby
In the Shakespeare-inspired teen movie 10 Things I Hate About You, (Junger, 1999, US) the most eligible girl in high school, Bianca Stratford, can only date if her older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does too.
Bad boy Patrick (Heath Ledger) is paid to take Kat out on a date but needs to win her over. He hijacks the schools PA system and sings Can’t Take My Eyes Off You while running up and down the bleachers.
This scene hits the heights of romance thanks to Heath Ledger’s sensitive performance. Tough guy Patrick makes himself vulnerable to Kat by very publicly doing something out of his comfort zone.
Heath wasn’t a natural singer which added authenticity.
7 Speed – an intense experience
Action classic Speed (Jan de Bont, 1994, US) also included plenty of romance.
Having already survived a terrifying ordeal on a bus, Jack (Keanu Reeves) and Annie (Sandra Bullock) must fight terrorist Dennis Hopper on a runaway train which shoots off the tracks, ending up on a city street.
Safe at last, they kiss for the first time while broken glass falls around them like confetti and bemused tourists take photos.
Speed is a tense thriller and when Jack quips that ‘relationships based on intense experiences never work’ we feel as though we have survived the ordeal with them.
Sadly the relationship didn’t last into the sequel.
8 Bridget Jones’s Diary – a kiss in the snow
Sometimes it’s nice to see a realistic hero for a change. In Bridget Jones’s Diary (Maguire, 2001, UK/FR/US/IE) mild-mannered and ‘boring’ Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) has fought ‘exciting’ philanderer Daniel Cleaver and won Bridget’s (Renee Zellweger) affections.
But after a misunderstanding over her diary, Bridget chases him through the snow in leopard underwear to discover that he has only gone to buy her a new diary. They kiss in the snow.
The real romance comes from Darcy’s unrepeatable response to Bridget’s statement; ‘nice boys don’t kiss like that’ blowing apart Bridget’s expectations of what it might be like to date a boring nice guy.
9 Pretty Woman – Knight in shining armour
At the end of Pretty Woman (Marshall, 1990, US) millionaire Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) has his limo driver take him to prostitute Vivian Ward’s (Julia Roberts) apartment to win her back.
He scales the fire escape to reach her window despite having a terrible fear of heights and, like a Prince in a fairy-tale; he has the power to transform her life.
However, what is really romantic about this classic scene is Vivian’s insistence that she will ‘rescue him right back’ despite their different backgrounds in life.
He might be freeing her from poverty, but she is freeing him from stuffy social conventions and teaching him compassion.
10 Blue Valentine – You Always Hurt the One You Love
A beautiful exploration of a romantic relationship for the 21st century, Blue Valentine (Cianfrance, 2010, US) is also bruising depiction of the evolving love between its two main characters.
Blue Valentine moves continuously between the beginning of Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy’s (Michelle Williams) relationship and the present day.
We see them as young, starry-eyed optimists and also as overworked parents suffocating each other.
In the most adorable scene of the movie Ryan Gosling plays the Ukulele and sings You Always Hurt the One You Love while Michelle Williams tap-dances in the street.
It is a happy moment, full of promise, while the song reflects how their relationship will develop.