Valentine’s Day is fast approaching so thoughts are turning to romance. Now romance is subjective and what we consider romantic and what you consider romantic could be very different. Here are our picks for the best classic romantic movies. This list is skewed toward Cary Grant. What can we say except he is a great romantic lead. Sigh.
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Director: Michael Curtiz
No romantic movie list is complete without “Casablanca”, which is considered to be one of the best ever. It is the story of Rick, a pessimistic, expatriate and nightclub owner in Casablanca who encounters Ilsa, the ex-lover who broke his heart. She needs a significant favor from Rick, but will he help her?
Won Academy Awards for Best Picture; Best Direction; and Best Writing, Screenplay
Some Like It Hot
Starring: Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe
Director: Bill Wilder
When two musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all -female band disguised as women, but further complications set in and hilarity ensues.
Won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White.
His Girl Friday
Starring: Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell Ralph Bellamy
Director: Howard Hawks
An unscrupulous news editor attempts to convince his ex-wife to return to work to chase a hot news story and to stop her from remarrying. Quick, witty repartee.
The movie did not receive a single Oscar nomination but remains a true classic.
The Philadelphia Story
Starring: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart
Director: George Cukor
Based on a Broadway play, this remains one of the best classic romantic movies. When a rich woman’s ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself. I have watched this movie so many times I can quote dialogue.
Won Academy Awards for Best Actor (James Stewart); Best Writing, Screenplay
It Happened One Night
Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
Director: Frank Capra
A spoiled heiress, running away from her family, is helped by a man who’s actually a reporter looking for a story.
Won Academy Awards for Best Actor; Best Actress; Best Director; Best Picture; Best Writing, Screenplay
Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
You don’t usually associated Alfred Hitchcock with the romance genre. When a young German woman is asked, by the United States government, in infiltrate a German spy ring in Brazil, she never expected to fall in love with her American agent. However, when she is asked to marry the leader of the spies, to further infiltrate the ring, what will she choose?
Amazon Instant Video – not available
The Quiet Man
Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara
Director: John Ford
Sean Thorton, a retired boxer, returns to his home country Ireland, to settle down to a peaceful life on his family farm in Innisfree. He falls in love at first sight with the fiery red-head Mary Kate, when he sees her herding her flock in a field. However, it’s not just her hair that’s fiery, but her temper and pride as well, along with her brother’s. Before Sean will be able to live happily with Mary Kate, there are many obstacles in he will have to overcome, including a dark secret from his past.
Won Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Cinematography.
An Affair to Remember
Starring: Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
Director: Leo McCarey
Kerr and Grant star as strangers who meet on a cruise and fall in love, but both are involved with other people. They agree to split up, see if the feelings remain, and meet in six months atop the Empire State Building if they still feel they want to be together. Bring your tissues – I always cry when I watch this one!
The Lady Eve
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda
Director: Preston Sturges
Barbara Stanwyck plays Lady Eve, a gold-digging con artist who sets her sights on the hapless Henry Fonda. The romantic tension between those two is classic movie fun, and this screwball romantic comedy is great for laughs and for love!
Bringing Up Baby
Starring: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn
Director: Howard Hawks
While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard “Baby.”
Starring: Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, Gig Young
Director: Walter Lang
It’s the charming story of man vs. machine, or rather woman vs. machine, as Tracy and his computer seek to replace Hepburn and her crack staff of reference librarians. Witty and good-natured, it’s a bit of fluff, but enjoyable – and memorable – for the two stars at the peak of their craft in an affectionate, easy-going performance.