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10 Terrific Movie Love Stories

Romantic Movies in 10 Different Genres


As Sam sings in Casablanca, "the world will always welcome lovers," and Hollywood will always welcome movies with great love stories. In no particular order, here's ten classic romantic movies with deeply satisfying love stories - each very different, and each very good.

1. Chick Flick - 'An Affair to Remember'

An Affair to Remember
20th Century Fox, 1957
Guaranteed three-hanky tear jerker with lovers separated first by their duty to others, and then by fate, unbeknownst to one another. Deborah Kerr is lovely and Cary Grant has never been more urbane and desirable. Yum. An Affair to Remember is classic chick flick material - but I bet the boys get lumps in their throats, too.
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2. Adventure - 'The African Queen'

The African Queen
United Artists, 1951
A mature love story and a rollicking adventure movie, the only screen pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. A spinster well past her prime meets a scruffy ship's captain in the midst of World War I in Africa. Their intrepid journey down a wild African river on his boat, the African Queen, and their charming, almost shy devotion to one another are unforgettable.

3. Musical Comedy - 'My Fair Lady'

My Fair Lady
Warner Brothers 1964
The enduring story of the little cockney flower seller turned into a proper society lady by linguistics professor Henry Higgins. Played to opposites-attract perfection by a cool and detached Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn as an irrepressible, determined gamine. My Fair Lady has great tunes, fantastic period costumes and a sweet love story in the Broadway musical based on George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion.
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4. Musical Drama - 'West Side Story'

West Side Story
United Artists 1961
Romeo and Juliet played out on the tough streets of New York. Natalie Wood is dreamily beautiful as the Puerto Rican Maria, hopelessly in love with Tony (Richard Beymer), former head of the rival gang. With fierce and haunting songs, vibrant choreography and a fiery turn by Rita Moreno as Maria's friend Anita, West Side Story is a Broadway smash brought lovingly to the screen.
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5. Screwball Comedy - 'It Happened One Night'

It Happened One Night
Columbia Pictures, 1934
A down-on-his-luck reporter crosses paths with a runaway heiress, and realizes he's got the story of the century on his hands - if he can hang onto her. The two embark on a madcap cross-country trip by overnight bus, Model A motorcar and shoe leather. Clark Gable is the irascible reporter and Claudette Colbert is the willful rich girl in this fast-paced, captivating comedy.

6. Fantasy - 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir'

20th Century Fox, 1947
The inspiration for a 1968 sitcom, Rex Harrison is the thundering ghost of a ship's captain who haunts the seacoast cottage of lovely widow Gene Tierney. He tries to drive her and her daughter out - but when he realizes they're in desperate need of funds, he dictates his salty life story to the proper widow. She takes it to a London publisher, and it becomes a best-seller. An impossible love story, impossibly tender. If you don't need a Kleenex at the end of this one, you've got a heart of stone.
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7. Suspense/Thriller - 'Vertigo'

Paramount Pictures, 1958
Kim Novak is the ice-cool blonde and Jimmy Stewart her protector and pursuer in this riveting story of obsession and doomed love. Vertigo was received with mixed reviews in its day, but is now widely viewed as one of Hitchcock's masterpieces, with almost surreal cinematography and dark undercurrents of voyeurism, madness and manipulation.

8. Romantic Comedy - 'Desk Set'

Desk Set
20th Century Fox 1957
One of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn's later vehicles, 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.
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9. Drama - 'A Star is Born'

A Star is Born
Warner Brothers - 1954
Judy Garland and James Mason meet as her career is just beginning, and his is peaking. She's a gifted singer and he's an alcoholic actor in a tale of the pitfalls of fame. Mason's character self-destructs in the film, but Garland's intense, involving performance is made all the more moving by the knowledge of her real-life tragedy. A Star is Born was restored in 1980s -- be sure to watch the restored version.
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10. Wartime Epic - 'Casablanca'

Warner Brothers, 1942
Casablanca has it all - adventure, patriotism, suspense, witty dialogue, a terrific ensemble cast, and a passionate romance. For all their chemistry on screen, Ingrid Bergman said she and Humphrey Bogart were never close: "I kissed him, but I never knew him." Hollywood magic.

11. Honorable Mention - Sci Fi - 'King Kong'

King Kong
RKO Radio Pictures 1933
A girl, a skyscraper, and a great big ape. Now, that's a love story!
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