Couple watching a romance movie at the theater eating popcorn

(Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images)

What’s not to love about love? There’s a reason Valentine’s Day is one of the most exciting days of the year for the smitten (even if it is a so-called “Hallmark holiday”). Let’s be honest: a good romance story can crack even the toughest shells out there. That’s why we set out to find the consensus best romance movies ever made. According to the 12 experts who recommend them, these films will woo you, touch your soul and set your heart afire. So before you pop your ‘corn for possibly corny love-movie viewing, here’s some interesting info about relationships!  

According to a survey of 2,000 parents with kids between the ages of five and 18, 75 percent of the respondents shared that meeting their significant other was “love at first sight.” While another study says if you’ve got a close friend, love may be in the air. That’s because researchers in Canada found two-thirds of couples actually start out as friends. And that number is even higher among people in their 20s and in the LGBTQ+ community at a massive 85 percent.

But regardless of your relationship status, if you’re trying to plan the best possible date night for your love interest, it can certainly feel stressful. If you’re undecided on what to do this year, maybe these ideas from a Valentine’s Day survey of the most perfect dates will inspire you. Respondents leaned toward daytime activities and suggested a romantic walk through a botanical garden. Not into flowers? The second most popular response was going to the zoo, followed by going on a river or canal cruise, visiting a landmark and visiting a historical attraction.

Keep in mind: 76 percent just want to have a new experience on a first date. And 78 percent of those already in a committed relationship think new cultural experiences can really spice things up. Another way to turn up the heat is to go out when it’s sunny. Does that mean you can throw out the roses and cancel your trip to the wine store? A study by researchers from Tel Aviv University found exposure to ultraviolet radiation via sunlight increases romantic passion in humans. So, maybe all you need for a romantic date is a little bit of sunshine!

And when it comes to getting cozy on the couch and watching some fairytale flicks, we’ve got the ultimate list for you. Our list of the best romance movies of all-time is comprised of the most recommended suggestions across 12 expert reviews. There’s certainly no “right” top five as tastes vary, so if you’ve got your own suggestions, please leave your own “top five list” in the comments below!

A Couple Kissing in the Cinema
(Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Unsplash)

The List: Best Romance Movies Of All-Time, According To Experts

1. Casablanca

Parade whole-heartedly puts this movie at the top of the list: “As time goes by, Casablanca remains one of the most unanimously adored and celebrated movies ever. Casablanca’s messages about seeing things bigger than yourself and doing what’s right will always resonate with audiences. Never pass up an opportunity to re-watch one of the highest highs of Hollywood history.” 

“Humphrey Bogart. Ingrid Bergman. One iconic gin joint. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the story of emotionally bruised bar owner Rick and the return of Ilsa, the old flame who left him emotionally distant, is universally regarded as one of the all-time greats. Its central love story is bittersweet, with a sacrificial pay-off that only bolsters its emotional impact. When you’ve seen it once, you’ll be desperate to play it again,” Empire raves.

Gold Derby says generations of people adore this flick: “You must remember this. The legacy of Casablanca continues nearly 80 years later, with new generations of film lovers gripped by Humphrey Bogart’s Rick still carrying a flame for Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa, years after their Paris affair. Like many other films, their romance is all the more intense and compelling because it is forbidden. It is a film about sacrifice, and as Rick and Ilsa part ways, knowing it’s in each other’s best interest, we feel the heartache but understand it was always to be.” 

2. The Notebook

Harper’s BAZAAR oozes love for this movie, writing, “Mixing business with pleasure: a recipe for spicy onscreen love affairs. One in particular we can’t get enough of? Then-real life couple Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling as Noah and Allie in this soapy Nicholas Sparks adaptation. Their chemistry is so hot, it makes our teeth sweat.” 

The Notebook is one of the most cherished romance movies of all time. Allie (Rachel McAdams) and Noah’s (Ryan Gosling) love story is challenged by war, class, and time before they finally get their happy ending,” The Pioneer Woman says.

It’s worth the tears, according to “This is probably the first movie that comes to mind at the mention of a tear-jerking romance with some of the most iconic romantic movie quotes to date. There isn’t a five-minute span throughout the entire film that doesn’t hit the viewer right in the gut and the ending will require several boxes of tissues.”

3. Forrest Gump

Collider loves this love story, saying, “We all know the story of Forrest Gump. It has been at the top of countless lists ever since it was released, and for good reason. It is truly an amazingly well-made film flawless, some might even say. The love story at the heart of this movie is truly poignant and deserves every bit of praise and recognition. As we follow Forrest through his many journeys in life, the one thing that never changes is his love for his momma, and his love for his girl, Jenny. Forrest went through the most horrific heartbreaking events, but his love for those two beautiful women never faded. He has a genuinely loving heart!” 

“There’s no simpler, truer love than what Forrest feels for Jenny in Forrest Gump. Forrest is earnest, devoted, and unashamedly honest in his feelings for his childhood best friend. It’s love that forms his character the love between parent and child, between brothers-in-arms, and between him and Jenny. Even though Forrest is, from a young age, deemed to have a below average IQ, it’s his strength of feeling and sense of duty that the people he encounters in life remember about him,” YP gushes.

4. Notting Hill

Real Simple ranks this film highly for its charm: “Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts pair up for this charming tale of a regular British bookshop owner who falls in love with a superstar actress.” 

And PureWow calls it pure gold: “‘I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.’ Gah, we don’t even care how cheesy it is, this story about a charming English bookstore owner and a famous American actress is pure gold.” 

5. Titanic

But our hearts must go on to the last spot on the list. The Digital Fix recommends Titanic: “A beautiful love story set against the backdrop of tragedy sees Jack, a poor young artist, meet Rose, a wealthy aristocrat on board the maiden voyage of the doomed Titanic. Their tender love story unfolds on the ship that, infamously, sank in the middle of the ocean after hitting an iceberg. This epic and heartbreaking story shows how love can blossom even on the cusp of disaster, and shows how opposites in society can attract.” 

IMDb is also a huge fan: “A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. This has to be in the list … I love this movie so much!” 

If you can’t get enough of romance movies, check out expert recommendations for the best rom-coms

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. Study Finds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. 

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