Love is in the air and on the calendar. Valentine’s Day is only a few days away, and for most of us this means our thoughts turn to love. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of my favorite love movies. My new book Love Magic means I have love on the brain, and my Masters degree in Cinema means I always have movies on the brain. This love movies list contains epic love stories, classic love stories, weird love stories, and wonderful love stories featured here. You may need to search a bit to find some of the titles but I promise it’s worth your time. They aren’t in any particular order, I could never rank them I just love them all. May they bring a little love and magic to your lives !
Like Water for Chocolate (1992) – This is one of my favorite love movies of all time. When the film was released Playboy magazine called it “erotic and delectable,” and it is certainly both of those things. Written by Laura Esquivel, who also wrote the book, the film is powerful, magickal, inspiring, and tender. In my Love Magic book I even include a recipe for Roasted Rose Chicken inspired by this film. The recipe is designed to grace your table with loving blessings.
Lovers of the Arctic Circle (1998) This is a love movie about two people destined to be together, but always forced to be apart. One of the best quotes from the film is ” I could tell my life story as a train of coincidences. ” Writer/director Julio Medem said “wanted to write a movie about the love as the most powerful force, something that never ends and it’s forever between two people.” This lesser known foreign film is definitely worth seeking out.
Harold and Maude (1971) Legendary director Hal Ashby crafts us an amazing masterpiece about love, death and everything in between. Starring Bud Cort and film great Ruth Gordon this film is funny, charming, and also inspiring. The tagline for the film is “They were meant to be. But exactly what they were meant to be is not quite clear. ” I feel like most people know what that statement means. The best magical quote from the movie is when Maude says “The earth is my body; my head is in the stars.” But Maude continues to give us deep wisdom in the brilliantly written script. Her most quoted moment is when she says “You know, at one time, I used to break into pet shops to liberate the canaries. But I decided that was an idea way before its time. Zoos are full, prisons are overflowing… oh my, how the world still *dearly* loves a *cage.*”
True Romance (1993) Written by Quentin Tarentino, and directed by Tony Scott this is one of the best love films of all time. The cast is full of Hollywood legends – Patricia Arquette, Christian Slater, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Walken, James Gandolfini, and Gary Oldman. Arquette’s insightful monologue about love says –
“I had to come all the way from the highway and byways of Tallahassee, Florida to MotorCity, Detroit to find my true love. If you gave me a million years to ponder, I would never have guessed that true romance and Detroit would ever go together. And til this day, the events that followed all still seems like a distant dream. But the dream was real and was to change our lives forever. I kept asking Clarence why our world seemed to be collapsing and things seemed to be getting so shitty. And he’d say, “that’s the way it goes, but don’t forget, it goes the other way too.” That’s the way romance is… Usually, that’s the way it goes, but every once in awhile, it goes the other way too.”
Wild At Heart (1990) This film is auteur David Lynch’s romantic masterpiece. It won the Palme d’Or award at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, and it is clearly a classic. Without giving away any spoilers, it tells the story of love on the run. It features one of the best film lines ever spoken by female lead Laura Dern – ” This whole world’s wild at heart and weird on top.” This is one of the hottest films of all time, just check the trailer and see for yourself.
Of Human Bondage (1934) The tagline for this film is “The Love That Lifted a Man to Paradise……and Hurled Him Back to Earth Again”The cinematic adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s novel of the same name. It stars Bette Davis in one of her earliest and best performances. One of her best screen moments ever is when she yells : “after ya kissed me, I always used to wipe my mouth! WIPE MY MOUTH!”
Submarine (2010) Written and directed by comic genius Richard Ayoade this films shows us young love in all it’s awkward glory. My favorite line is “Well, you know, I thought it would be nice to get some mutual interests… now that we’ve had sex… other than spitting and setting things on fire.”
Witches of Eastwick (1987) The tagline for this film is “Three beautiful witches, one lucky devil.” Ultimately the film stresses the important magickal principle – Be careful what you wish for. The witches conjure up their best wishes and their worst nightmare- handsome…nice eyes, nice a**. The solution quickly becomes the problem. It stars some of the most famous names in cinema – Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer. It features the classic line “I hope his dick is bigger than his I.Q.”
Say Anything (1989) Watch John Cusack at his teenage best saying”I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.” In a way this is the defining love movie for my generation. Everyone I have ever dated has threatened to re-create the boom box scene (I’m still waiting.) This is a tale of love hard won, and of an underdog triumphing in the end.
Waterloo Bridge (1940) This movie stars Vivien Leigh, in her first film after Gone with the Wind ( which is also a classic romance not to be missed.) It portrays some deep moments of love and pain as our heroine turns to prostitution. It features some great lines like “If I don’t feel sorry for myself, who will?”
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) This film stars Daniel Day Lewis. It contains some powerful and profound thoughts about love. One of my favorite speeches talks about the difficulties of love – “I was forced to love my mother, but not this dog. You know, Tomas… maybe… maybe, I love her more than I love you. Not more. I mean in a better way. I’m not jealous of her. I don’t want her to be different. I don’t ask her for anything.”
Across the Universe (2007) – I couldn’t create a list of love movies without including at least one musical, and this is one of the most spectacular. Julie Taymor builds and artful masterpiece around the music of the Beatles. The lines and the lyricism transport you to another place and time.
Jude: Where are we going?
Lucy: Out of our minds!
Jude: Where are you taking me?
Lucy: Down the rabbit hole!