Our 10 Favorite Romance Movie Couples of All Time!Published on August 23, 2013. Updated February 14, 2017
If you’re a fan of the Romance genre of films, you’re probably captivated by the interactions of love interests onscreen, and how they tell us something about our own hopes and dreams. Here are ten of our personal favorite couples from our favorite films:
10. Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman (No Strings Attached)
No one who has seen it can forget the way Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman turn “No Strings Attached” into a commentary on our age. As friends who think they can keep their feelings out of the equation, their story is a lesson on how sometimes we don’t realize that love is at our doorstep. Great lines from the film like “I’m warning you, if you take one step closer, I’m never letting you go” are a bit corny, sure, but they also speak for how we all feel when we learn we’re in love.
9. Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama)
In this captivating romance, Witherspoon plays a country girl from Alabama who heads to the big city to learn the ropes of high society — but along the way learns some major life lessons when she returns to the south to confront a husband who refuses to agree to a divorce. It’s a story about the way that the values we grow up with can’t be trumped by the draw of success, and it earned Witherspoon and Lucas an adoring fan base for this charming film. As one character has it, “You can take the girl out of the honky tonk, but you can’t take the honky tonk out of the girl.”
8. Mandy Moore and Shane West (A Walk to Remember)
After a popular student is forced to do community service — including starring in a school play — he meets an unconventional reverend’s daughter and suddenly learns that life has more to it than just the shallow rewards of popularity. Moore and West are perfect as an unlikely couple, and the life lessons here are grounded in reality. As West’s character Jamie says, “Maybe God has a bigger plan for me than I had for myself. Like this journey never ends. Like you were sent to me because I’m sick. To help me through all this. You’re my angel.”
7. Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger (Jerry Maguire)
“Jerry Maguire” was the sort of rom-com hit that practically defined its age. Featuring catchphrases like “Show my the money” — which catapulted the actor Cuba Gooding Jr. to stardom and massive success, as well as Zellweger’s comment to Cruise’s character that “You had me at hello,” the movie came to define a large slice of American culture. But what audiences really responded to was the vulnerability of both Cruise’s and Zellweger’s characters. Both played adults who were confused and at ends in life, who gained strength from knowing one another. While they were an unusual match in cinema, it was their on-screen chemistry that pushed the film into box office history.
6. Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum (The Vow)
When a coma leaves a young woman’s memory of a loved one totally wiped out, their love must be rebuilt from the ground up. It’s a story which makes us ask the hard questions about what we would do if we lost the person we loved, but had the chance to win them back — would we have the strength to? As Tatum’s character Leo says, “I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love. And to always know in the deepest part of my soul that no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find our way back to each other.”
5. Julia Roberts and Richard Gere (Pretty Woman)
Probably among the best films of the romance movie form, “Pretty Woman” is still striking for the unorthodox material it deals with. Gere’s character Edward, who is successful but unhappy with the ethical downfalls of his career, meets Roberts’ character Vivian, a lady of the night with a wonderful personality that belies the harshness of her job. But what really sets “Pretty Woman” apart is the sheer charm of Julia Roberts, who takes on her most distinctive and most audacious role. “You’re late,” she tells Edward at one point. “You’re stunning,” he replies. “You’re forgiven,” comes her response.
4. Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze (Dirty Dancing)
Sure, “Dirty Dancing” has dated a bit — it would be hard not to see this movie as a running list of 1980s film cliches (montages, big hair and the whole nine yards) but it’s also timeless in its sophisticated use of deep emotion to draw the viewer in. Not only does the film deal with taboo subjects such as pregnancy out of wedlock, but also the way that snobbery can often turn good people bad. Swayze’s announcement that “No one puts Baby in a corner,” before a huge dance number, may seem unintentionally funny, but it also speaks volumes about the lessons of confidence and self-belief that form the basis of the movie’s message.
3. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (Titanic)
If “Titanic” was the most successful film of its time, its leading couple was a major factor in its spectacular appeal to audiences. DiCaprio, who exclaims “I’m king of the world” as a result of Winslet’s character’s love for him, speaks for all of us in the way special someones can make us feel.
2. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (Twilight)
Fans of the “Twilight” books and films have been fascinated by Kristen Stewart’s and Robert Pattinson’s romance both on- and off-screen. Revisiting “Twilight” shows you why: The real-life passion the couple has for one another comes right through the story, with chemistry abounding in this otherworldly tale. As Stewart’s Isabella tells Pattinson’s Edward, “I’d rather die than to stay away from you.”
1. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams (The Notebook)
No actor in Hollywood has a brighter star at the moment than Ryan Gosling, and it’s largely because of roles like this. With McAdams as his love interest, here Gosling, who plays a young man raised in poverty courting a wealthy young woman, creating conflict along the way, reaches a career peak only rivaled by his recent starring role in “Drive.” But “The Notebook” is a more emotional tale, and one that shows what really matters in life is emotion, not money. Gosling’s character Noah puts things in perspective when he notes, “I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”