Valentine’s Day Flicks
To Make You Laugh, Cry and Swoon
Text by Kathryn Brooks and Tyler Phillips

It’s that time of year again and love is in the air. What better way to enjoy it than curled up on your couch watching a movie? Get ready to laugh, cry, swoon, and everything in between with your favorite hunks, lovers, and heroines. Whether you’re taking some “me time,” celebrating (or commiserating) with friends, or cuddled up with that special someone, here, in no particular order, are 12 of the most romantic movies out there. And be sure to have popcorn and tissues at the ready. 

Pride & Prejudice (2005),

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: There are a slew of adaptations of Jane Austen’s classic. We like this one for its earthy sensibility that still maintains the humor, wit, and sexual tension between Lizzie Bennet (Keira Knightley) and Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfayden).

Favorite Quote: “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” —Mr. Darcy

The Notebook (2004),

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: That iconic rain-soaked kiss makes The Notebook a romantic classic, powered by the palpable chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, but what really brings on the tears is the relationship between their older characters, played by James Garner and director Cassavetes’s mother Gena Rowlands.

Favorite Quote: “So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.” —Noah

Breathless (1961), 

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: This romantic caper defined the French New Wave, inspired a pixie-cut craze, and introduced us to Jean-Paul Belmondo as the coolest hunk in France as the Bogey-worshipping scamp Michel.

Favorite Quote: “When we talked, I talked about me, you talked about you, when we should have talked about each other.” —Michel

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (1961), 

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: Who hasn’t fantasized about erasing all the painful memories of lovers lost? The remarkable thing about Gondry’s surreal fantasy is that it reminds us how indispensable and fundamental those memories and experiences are—they make us who we are.

Favorite Quote: “Random thoughts for Valentine’s Day, 2004. Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.” —Joel

Harold and Maude (1971), 

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: This most unconventional and life-affirming romance proves misfits can find connection in the unlikeliest places. The Cat Stevens soundtrack is pretty great too.

Favorite Quote: “A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They’re just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.” —Maude

Valentine’s Day (2010), 

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: Sort of the Love Actually of Valentine’s Day, this rom-com follows a handful of Los Angeles locals as they navigate the most romantic day of the year (for some). An all-star cast makes this movie the perfect, feel-good V-Day treat. 

Favorite Quote: “If you’re ever with a girl that’s too good for you, marry her.”

La La Land (2016),

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: A big red Valentine to Los Angeles, and the dreamers who inhabit it, La La Land has gorgeous costumes, dizzying choreography and a singing, dancing Ryan Gosling. What’s not to love?

Favorite Quote: “You could just write your own rules. You know, write something that’s as interesting as you are.” —Sebastian

The Thin Man (1934), 

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: Fast-talking, cocktail-swilling married detectives Nick and Nora Charles are the definition of #relationshipgoals.

Favorite Quote: “The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a dry martini you always shake to waltz time.” — Nick Charles 

Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1996),

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: Shakespeare’s greatest love story, rendered in Baz Luhrmann’s inimitably pop culture pastiche style—with teen heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio no less.

Favorite Quote: “And when I shall die, take him and cut him up in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will fall in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.” —Juliet

Beginners (2010), 

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: Aside from the sweet romance between Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent, his father’s (Christopher Plummer) late-in-life coming out reminds us that romance is ageless, and for everyone.

Favorite Quote: “We didn’t go to this war. We didn’t have to hide to have sex. Our good fortune allowed us to feel a sadness that our parents didn’t have time for and a happiness that I never saw with them.” —Oliver (McGregor)

It Happened One Night (1934), 

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: The definitive screwball comedy features Clark Gable in his prime (those dimples!), hitchhiking with Claudette Colbert. It’ll take you back to the good old days, when heiresses were sassy and reporters wore three piece suits and hats.

Favorite Quote:

Ellie Andrews: Aren’t you going to give me a little credit?

Peter Warne: What for?

Ellie Andrews: I proved once and for all that the limb is mightier than the thumb.

Peter Warne: Why didn’t you take off all your clothes? You could have stopped 40 cars.

Ellie Andrews: I’ll remember that when we need 40 cars.

When Harry Met Sally (1989), 

Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: Nora Ephron’s classic examination of male-female friendships that turn into love is best remembered for Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan’s portrayals of Harry and Sally, but the true relationship-goals romance is between pals Jess (Bruno Kirby) and Marie (Carrie Fisher) who show what communication and humor in a relationship is what it’s all about.

Favorite Quote: Marie: “Tell me I’ll never have to be out there again.”

Jess: “You’ll never have to be out there again.”