My Bucket List of Top Ten Romantic Movies of All Time

I love movies. Old movies, new movies, funny movies, romantic movies, suspenseful movies—okay you get the picture. Movies inspire me. I love the dialogue and the expressions. I study movies to learn how to make stories emotional and engaging. Every so often I hear someone say they don’t watch movies—or can’t stay awake through one, and I just can’t imagine it. I love movies nearly as much as I love books. And of course, romantic movies are among my favorites.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.

Someone who has never seen a movie is visiting you. Let’s say, just to make this believable, that they’re from another planet. (Why else would they have never seen a movie? Okay, then.) So Intergalactic Janet will be staying with you while she recuperates from a broken antenna. To keep her occupied, you get out your ten favorite movies. What are they?

You see where this is going, right?

Or—let’s say you have a week to live. You can’t visit the Himalayas or skydive because it’s raining and you have a bunion, so you’re spending your last seven days watching movies. Which ones will they be?

Or—you’re stranded on a deserted island with a big bag of popcorn, M&Ms, a big screen TV and Netflix. What’s in your cue to watch until you’re rescued?

I love lists. And I really tried to do this. I tried to select only ten. It was impossible, so I have alternates. Here are probably—most likely—gee this is tough—my top favorite romantic movies of all time:

* Hope Floats
* Sommersby
* Return To me
* The Con
* Bounce
* Quigley Down Under
* Pay it Forward
* Winter People
* Far & Away

* Phenomenon

And 10 more I have to list because they’re also in my watch-all-the-time bin:


* Mrs. Winterbourne
* Paradise
* High Road To China
* At First Sight
* Notting Hill
* Indecent Proposal
* The Fulfillment of Mary Gray
* A Star is Born
* While You were Sleeping

* The Love Letter

You might think this is strange, but Face Off is another of my favorite movies. It’s character driven, and John Travolta’s character is a wounded hero. I just love it.


Another is The Bone Collector. I watch it all the time. And I can keep adding to this—The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Music & Lyrics, The Substitute Wife….

Okay I confess: I have a Top 100 list of my favorite romantic movies.

I’ll post it after you’ve posted your top ten, because I want to see how many we have in common.

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44 thoughts on “My Bucket List of Top Ten Romantic Movies of All Time”

  1. Oh Gosh, Cheryl!
    My Top Ten (biting lip)

    1. Persuasion (Ciaran Hines and Amanda Root)
    2. Pride and Prejudice(Colin Firth one)
    3. The Notebook
    4. While You Were Sleeping
    5. Fried Green Tomatoes
    6. Steel Magnolias
    7. The Lake House
    8. When Harry Met Sally
    9. Sooner Or Later
    10.Beaches

    I could go on and on as well, and indeed I do love a bunch of the ones you mentioned, too. Like you, I could probably list 100 of my favorites, if not more.

  2. Wow, you actually stopped at ten, Taryn! What discipline. I was actually just now looking at my list and thought, how could I not have included Sense & Sensibility? Another one I love is Practical Magic. Guess that’s why I have a top 100 list, eh?

    I watched The Lake House a second time because I was not in love the first time I saw it. I liked it better the second time. I pretty much love anything with Sandra Bullock. I really like 28 Days, too.

  3. Hmmm, ten?
    1. Last of the Mohicans
    2. Braveheart (except I wish he didn’t die)
    3. French Kiss (Love that one!)
    4.You’ve got mail
    5. Practical Magic (but I liked the book better)
    6. The One, with Jet Li
    Now I have to stop and think of more.

  4. LOL Cheryl..I had to stop myself…otherwise I would have filled up the page with one comment! LOL

    A few more favorites- The Craft, Grease 1 & 2, Rocky Horror Picture Show, 10 Things I Hate About You, Armaggedon, Independence Day, First Knight, A Knight’s Tale, The Princess Diaries, How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days, Two Weeks Notice, Singles, Reality Bites, Empire Records, Enchanted, Music and Lyrics, Dan in Real Life, 50 First Dates, The Wedding Singer, If A Man Answers, Titanic.

    Okay…I’ll stop again before I start singing movie theme songs! LOL

  5. Wow, where do I begin, Cheryl? I’m a Netflix junkie. Like you I crave movies. Couldn’t possibly come up with just ten but here are a few of my favorites.
    Out of Africa
    Inn of the Sixth Happiness
    The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
    Casablanca
    Quo Vadis (a real oldie, just ordered it on VHS)
    and tons and tons of others. Thanks for the fun!

  6. Wow, Cheryl. I must admit you have a very intriguing list of 10 TEN. Some of mine are a bit older classics.

    It Happened One Night (will always be first with me)

    Houseboat
    Pillow Talk
    An Officer and a Gentleman
    Grease I
    Dirty Dancing
    French Kiss
    Music and Lyrics
    Man’s Favorite Sport
    Operation Petticoat

    Almost every Doris Day/Rock Hudson/James Garner/Cary Grant romance!

    I’m sure I’ll think of more as the day goes on!

  7. Oh what a fun post, Cheryl!

    I adore these in no particular order:

    * Romeo and Juliet (Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting)
    * Last of the Mohicans (Sigh. No matter how far, no matter how long it takes: I will find you.)
    * Big Easy (“Lady your luck’s about to change” in that Cajun accent. Whew.)
    * Dr. Zhivago (even though he was a pig for leaving his wife. The music, the scenery, everything fit. The weeping sunflowers, the frozen onion domes…)
    * Armageddon
    * The Way We Were
    * Notting Hill (my ultimate fave)
    * Against All Odds (steamy!)
    * Persuasion (Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root)
    * Hoosiers (Now, I know it’s primarily a sports movie but the way Gene Hackman looks at Barbara Hershey at the end there, wow. All it takes is just one look.)

    Gee, I feel like putting in a DVD right now…but gotta call my mom. No fun.

    Thanks again, Cheryl.

  8. Here I was ready to talk about guilty pleasures!! But movies are a close second. 🙂

    Taryn – I LOVE Grease 1 & 2. The second one is so cheesy, but I can sing all the songs!

    Gosh – There’s NO WAY I could stop at 10!

    My favourites of all time include:
    Xanadu
    Moonspinners
    The Happiest Millionaire
    Summer Magic
    The Lake House
    Blazing Saddles
    Jaws
    The Fifth Element
    The Mummy 1 & 2, can’t wait for 3!!
    Island at the Top of the World
    The Island

    I could go on and on and on…..
    Eve

  9. Cheryl,

    You and I must be sisters. We share the same movie passion and a lot of the same movies. I’d forgotten all about High Road to China until I saw it on your list. OMG! That was one of my all time favorites. I’ve watched it over and over.

    Here are some of the ones on my list:
    Broken Trail
    Lonesome Dove
    Under the Tuscan Sun
    You’ve Got Mail
    The Notebook
    Message in a Bottle
    Maverick
    Rooster Cogburn
    The Searchers
    3:10 to Yuma
    The Outsider
    U.S. Marshal

    And I could go on and on. My list would probably be twenty pages long easily. I just adore good movies.

    Great blog! 🙂

  10. Eve, I only got a couple of–three actually–guilty pleasures sent to me, but I still plan to do that blog. Hopefully next time.

    I am with you on Hayley Mills movies of my youth. And you are younger than I am, so I’m doubly impressed. Also agree on eagerness for Mummy 3! Brandon Frasier, oh yea.

    Charlene, my favorite Doris Day movie is Teacher’s Pet with Clark Gable. It’s my favorite premise–pretending to be someone you’re not. I’ve done that in more than one book. He pretends to take her class, but he’s really a newspaperman, and she badmouths journalists–and his column in particular. Love it!

    Linda, I’m there with you on Lonesome Dove and Broken Trail–you know that. Not to forget The Outsider, which YOU told me about and I had never seen until then.

    I am thinking I will find some more favorites by reading all of yours. OH NO!

    I haven’t seen Dr. Zhivago for years!

  11. Cheryl – I’m blessed with a mom who has very eclectic tastes and we watched a lot of movies when I was a kid. 🙂 I loved when Vault Disney was on and they showed all the movies I love.

    Brendan Fraser is YUMMY!

    Never saw Under The Tuscan Sun, but did read Under the Tuscan’s Son. 🙂

    I saw the remake of Dr. Zhivago on PBS with Kiera Knightly and Sam Neill. Never saw the original, but I did like the newer version.

    I just thought of another one – Last of the Dogmen. It’s got Tom Beringer and Barbara Hershey. If you’ve not seen it – run straight to netflix and rent it!! FANTASTIC!!!

    Let’s see….
    Movies I can watch over and over –
    Cruel Intentions, The Horsemasters, Swiss Family Robinson (with Sir John Mills), any of the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby/ Dorothy Lamour movies, I love really bad 70s and 80s horror movies (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Demon Knight is a personal fave).

  12. I’m going through my movies in the case next to the tv. 🙂
    Never Been Kissed, Stealing Beauty, Mrs. Henderson Presents (not really a romance, but an excellent story and you can’t go wrong with Dame Judy Dench!), Enchanted, all the Disney animated romances (Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty).

  13. If I had to choose, I think Mulan is my favorite Disney romance. Last of the Dogmen is great–and Tom Beringer is SEXY in a cowboy hat!

    Um…George of the Jungle anyone?

  14. Eve – Love your mom. That made me question that I should be giving my kids and grandkids a more dignified education when it comes to movies. While others are showing classics, I bust out Arachnaphobia, Ghostbusters, Galaxy Quest and Jurassic Park!

  15. Well, here are some of my favorites:
    Young Einstein (Yahoo Serious)
    Roxanne (Steve Martin)
    A Fish Called Wanda
    I rabu yu (Japanese movie)
    Kamome Shokudo (Japanese movie, made in Finland)
    A Beautiful Mind
    Birdcage
    Star Wars movies
    Ghost
    “Katariina and the Count of Munkkiniemi”(Finnish movie)
    Addams Family
    Beetlejuice
    Edward Scissors Hand
    National Treasure
    Contact
    Shadow

  16. HI Cheryl et al,

    I love this post. I must admit that I don’t go to newer movies. I’m an old movie buff and they remain (with few exceptions) my favorite movies. Anything with Bing Crosby, Cary Grant and James Stewart and of course Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. How about the old Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddie movies. I fell in love with them when I was oh, so little. And how about Deanna Durbin? So here are my favorite oldies:

    1) Naughty Marietta
    2) New Moon — there’s a scene in this where Nelson Eddie and Jeanette McDonald (who were in love but estranged at the time) — is one of the most sensual scenes I have ever seen in my life. It was this scene that made me realize that they were madly in love with each other.
    3) Holiday Inn
    4) Rose Marie
    5) The Lady Eve with Barbara Stanwich and handsome, handsome Henry Fonda
    6) Libeled Lady — with Harlow and William Powell (who were also in love in real life)
    7) Bombshell 0– with Harlow
    8) Swing Time
    9) Top Hat
    10)Show Boat — the most beautiful and inspiring song in the world — Old Man River
    11) Seven Brides for Seven Brothers with Howard Keel
    12) The Cowboy and the Lady with Merle Oberon and handsome, handsome Gary Cooper
    13) Nice Girl? with Deanna Durbin
    14) If I Were King with Ronald Colman — this should be a must-see movie for all guys on how to woe a girl
    15) The Thin Man with Myrna Loy & William Powell
    16) Meet Me in St. Louis with Judy Garland
    17) The Wizard of Oz — how could anyone leave this one out?
    18) The Scarlet Pimpernel with Merle Oberon and – gosh, can’t think of that guy’s name — he played Leslie in Gone with the Wind.
    19) Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
    20) Mr. & Mrs. Smith with Carol Lombard & Robert Mongomery

    Sigh…I love them.

  17. Okay, I admit I couldn’t let this go without also saying my most favorite Indian and Western movies: Oh, how I love them:

    1) Dreamkeeper
    2) Dances with Wolves
    3) Squanto, A Warrior’s Tale, with handsome, handsome Adam Beach
    4) Windwalker with handsome James Remar
    5) Indian Paint — an oldie but if you can get a copy of it — a terrific movie
    6) Gray Eagle — the older movie Gray Eagle with Alex Cord and Lana Wood
    7) The Last of the Mohicans
    8) Pow Wow Highway
    9) Little Big Man
    10) Song of Hiawatha
    11) Suzanna of the Mounties
    12) The Lone Ranger
    13) Stolen Women, Captive Hearts — with handsome, handsome Michael Grey Eyes
    14) War Party
    15) I Will Fight No More Forever
    16) Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull’s Lesson
    17) Tanka — an old Disney movie

    I could go on and on because like you, Cheryl, I’m in love with these movies.

    Great post!

  18. Cheryl, I forgot one I LOVE

    Moonstruck!

    I love Cher and of course will see anything Nick Cage is in, so the two of them together with a fab script was soooo good!

  19. OH, I just remembered the name of the fellow in The Scarlet Pimpernel — it’s Leslie Howard — I guess his name was Leslie in real life — can’t recall his name in Gone with the Wind. And of course I should mention that the TV version of “The Scarlet Pimpernel” with Jane Seymour and Anthony Andrews.

    I love the performance that Anthony Andrews does in this riviting made for TV movie. I think I fell in love with Anthony Andrew’s character.

    Also, I should mention another Western that I love which is “Can’t Help Singing” with Deanna Durbin — absolutely delightful.

    There are two other older Cowboy and Indian movies that I love — the first part of “The Wide Missouri” with Clark Gable — geez, how could I have forgotten to mention Clark Gable? In this movie, he met the Blackfeet Indian chiefs. Also, the movie “Pony Soldier.” Another good one.

    Okay, I guess I could go on and on. Thanks, Cheryl.

  20. Karen, you have so many great ones listed! I’ve probably only seen about half of those, unfortunately. I love musicals and Judy Garland — so does *lizzie. Clang clang clang went the trolley!

    Yes, Moonstruck, Charlene! I LURV Nicolas Cage, too. I find that women either love him or hate him. I think he’s sexy as all get out. City of Angels? Oh, yeah, baby. He’s one of the TWO reasons I love Face Off. (JT is the other.)

    I really liked the National Treasure movies, too.

    Also like Fool’s Gold a lot. Way more adventure than chick flick – sort of Romancing the Stone-ish.

    Body Heat!
    Romancing the Stone!

  21. Karen–Leslie Howard played Ashley Wilks in GWTW–one of my favorite movies.:)

    There’s too many favorite movies in my head. It depends on my mood. But watching over and over…Any Mel Brooks, Galaxy Quest, GWTW, Ben Hur, Brigadoon, Singing in the Rain,Unsinkable Mollie Brown, Disney animation–Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp are my faves, most other Disney–Yep, Swiss Family Robinson and (duh) The Ugly Dauschund. Hmm. Isn’t it amazing when forced to make a list…Oh, the first first three star wars movies (or are they considered the last three now???) Indiana Jones…Lord of the Rings…

    Actually, I really like big, sweeping epic kinds of things like the Ten COmmandments, Troy and 10000 BC.

    Now I’m working on my collection of 80’s fantasy (and otherwise) movies I’ve loved. Like Xanadu, Legend, Labyrinth, Space Camp, Krull, Flash Gordon…

    Okay, I’ll shut up now…;)

  22. Oh my! There are so many favorites on here now my head is spinning..LOL

    Oh and here’s one I love for sentimental reasons…The Flim Flam Man with George C. Scott. Filmed partially in my hometown long before I was born, my mom said that she remembers when it was filmed. My grandfather had gone to town one day and Harry Morgan (M*A*S*H’s Col. Potter) stopped and asked him how to find a store or restaurant. Very cool. Our courthouse and Main Street play a major role in several important scenes.

    I can’t watch it without getting teared up!

  23. Cheryl,
    you’ve got my love of musical pegged. I tried to keep that list short. How about A Song Is Born? I enjoy movies that have been made of musicians’ lives…oh, like Yankee Doodle Dandy and Deep in My Heart (about sigmund romberg who happened to write New Moon. )

    And of course there’s the new musicals–like Hairspray, and Sweeny Todd!

    I’ve gotta stop thinking movies or I won’t get anything done today.

  24. Okay, another Galaxy Quest fan. whew! That movie cracks me up. I dig Labyrinth, too, especially David Bowie singing Dance Magic–is that right?

    Taryn, I enjoy M*A*S*H the movie. Caught it on TV again a while back.

  25. oooh Moonstruck. How could I have forgotten that one LOL.

    Thanks for a great day, ladies~everybody’s lists are fabulous, and I too loved The Moonspinners.

  26. Well, here are some of my favorites:
    Young Einstein (Yahoo Serious)
    Roxanne (Steve Martin)
    A Fish Called Wanda
    I rabu yu (Japanese movie)
    A Beautiful Mind
    Birdcage
    Ghost
    “Katariina and the Count of Munkkiniemi”(Finnish movie)
    Edward Scissors Hand
    National Treasure
    Contact

  27. I hardly ever watch a movie.
    The only ones on your list I have seen are Hope Floats and Quigley Down Under.

  28. Hey Cheryl, picking my top 10 romantic movies? No fair! I can’t remember them and then I see one on someone’s list and say, yes, that one and oh, that one’s good. 🙂

    Okay, at the moment, my top 10 romantic movies in random order:

    1 – Sleepless in Seattle
    2 – Titanic
    3 – Sommersby
    4 – Pretty Woman
    5 – An Officer and a Gentleman
    6 – Notting Hill
    7 – Country (George Strait)
    8 – Last of the Mohicans
    9 – Sabrina
    10 – Roman Holiday
    11 – Ghost

  29. I love The Ugly Dachshund! Flash Gordon is another fave. *lizzie and I have almost identical movie tastes. Let’s see others, I can’t live without – 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, Kiss Me Kate (LOVE Howard Keel!!), Does anyone remember when they did Electric Shakespears on Mooonlighting and they did Taming of the Shrew???

    Anything with Brendan Fraser is good. Blast from the Past anyone?

    I’m with anyone who loves musicals: Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hairspray, Phantom…

    I have to admit I love those cheesy 80s movies like Girls Just Want To Have Fun and Pretty Smart.

  30. Ohhh, what great lists! I haven’t seen some of these and will look next time I’m in the video store.

    I love Working Girl…

    And Mama Mia comes out tomorrow!!! I’m going with my daughter, we’ve seen the play on stage 3 times. “How can I resist you…?” LOL

  31. Here is a love story list

    Hope Floats
    Return to Me (Have a Box of Kleenex)
    Sleepless in Settle
    An Officer & Gentleman
    Quiet Man
    Somewhere in Time
    Must Love Dogs
    Prince & Me (When he proposes to her I breakout crying everytime)

    WESTERNS
    3:10 to Yuma (the newest one)
    High Plains Drifter
    Little Big Man is great
    Any of John Wayne’s Movies

    MY ALL TIME FAVORITE 2 MOVIES ARE
    “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Can watch it anytime of the year)
    “Ten Commandments”

    I can’t stop at just a few either.

    Oh, yes the new Batman Movie is coming out Friday. Love the Mummy Movies too, Eve.

  32. Don’t forget Sweet Home AL and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.
    I agree on Sandra Bullock, Cheryl. I think she is so pretty.

  33. Wow I will struggle.

    1 Gettysburg
    2 The Music Man
    3 Gods and Generals
    4 the three musceteers (boy i cant spell this monring)
    5 ever after
    6 ok im stuck i love the old time musicals and westerns but not sure i have favourites.

  34. So as not to overthink it & not list WAY too many movies, I’ll just list my Top 10 Favorite *romantic* movies off the top of my head (in no particular order):
    The Goodbye Girl
    Barefoot in the Park
    The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
    Pretty Woman
    When Harry Met Sally
    Somewhere in Time
    Superman 2
    Time After Time
    Splash
    Ghost
    (And I had to leave out Edward Scissorhands, Beauty & the Beast & lots of other favorites.)
    A few of my more recent romantic favorites are:
    Love, Actually, Music & Lyrics, and Stardust.

  35. I absolutly love musicals. Charlene Sands, and Karen Kay and I have very similar tastes. So I am only going to list one of my very favorites: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Opps, I lied, Dirty Dancing is another.

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