Love — one of the most basic of human feelings — has been the subject of countless stories since time immemorial, and movies are no exception. Moreover, romance is one of the most famous genres in cinema. So, Valentine’s Day becomes an extra-special occasion for those who like to cuddle up on the couch and binge-watch their favourite romantic movies.
Valentine’s Day, celebrated annually on 14 February, is a special day for romantics around the world. Though ‘love’ is something that should be celebrated every day, having a day dedicated to it indeed gives an opportunity to the fluttering hearts to go all out for their loved ones.
From dinners to travel plans, those who celebrate it chalk out a variety of ways to spend time with their special someone.
Films and the idea of a love story
For decades, cinema has been trying to convey the meaning, message and methods of love through changing times. It has encouraged lovers with stories of timeless romances and left their hearts shattered by the tragic fate of star-crossed lovers.
Cinema has presented love as something inexplicable; it can be expressed in many words and can be conveyed without uttering a single syllable. According to how the romantic movies portray it, love is a feeling that is felt by almost everyone but its true meaning is understood by those who genuinely want to know it.
And even though there may not be a concrete definition of love, nothing has captured the idea of romance better than films. So, what are the best Valentine’s Day movies to watch? While many films celebrate love in all forms, some are true classics.
From the happily-ever-after to those evoking feelings for a lost love, here are some unforgettable gems to stream with the one you love.
Some of the best movies to watch on Valentine’s Day
(Main image: Dale Robinette/IMDb; Featured image: © 1997 – Paramount Pictures/IMDb)
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Directed by: James Cameron
Release date: 19 December 1997
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates
Synopsis: Sailing on the ill-fated RMS Titanic, a teenage girl from an aristocratic family and a poor young artist defy societal prejudice to fall in love.
Image credit: © 1997 – Paramount Pictures/IMDb
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Release date: 25 December 2016
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, J.K. Simmons
Synopsis: Amelia “Mia” Dolan (Stone) is an aspiring actress while Sebastian “Seb” Wilder (Gosling) is a struggling jazz musician. Their paths cross and they fall in love. However, their attempt to build their careers puts pressure on their relationship.
Image credit: Dale Robinette/IMDb
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Release date: 22 December 2017
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon
Synopsis: Elisa Esposito (Hawkins) is a mute government worker at a secret US research facility in the 1960s. She comes across a humanoid amphibious creature who is being held captive and forms a unique bond with it.
Image credit: Kerry Hayes – © 2017 – Twentieth Century Fox/IMDb
Directed by: William Wyler
Release date: 2 September 1953
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck
Synopsis: A European princess named Ann (Hepburn) slips away from her country’s embassy in Rome to have a fun night by herself. She has a chance meeting with Joe Bradley (Peck). Though he hides the fact that he is an American reporter and wants an exclusive interview with her, love blossoms between Bradley and the princess.
Image credit: IMDb
Directed by: Michael Curtiz
Release date: 23 January 1943
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Synopsis: Rick Blaine (Bogart) is an American nightclub owner in Casablanca in French Morocco during World War II. One day he finds his former love Ilsa (Bergman) in the city with her husband Victor Laszlo (Henreid). Ilsa requests Blaine for help in getting them out of the country as Laszlo is being chased by the Nazis. But Blaine is not sure if he should help.
Image credit: © 1942 – Warner Bros./IMDb
Directed by: Nick Cassavetes
Release date: 25 June 2004
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, Gena Rowlands, James Garner
Synopsis: In the 1940s, the life of young Noah (Gosling) and Allie (McAdams) is affected by World War II and class differences. Later in life, Allie pens down a record of her life with Noah in a notebook which becomes the single most important emotional thing in their lives.
Image credit: Netflix
Directed by: Garry Marshall
Release date: 23 March 1990
Cast: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere
Synopsis: Vivian Ward (Roberts) is hired by the rich businessman Edward Lewis (Gere) as an escort for some of his business meetings in Los Angeles, US. Over the course of their association, Vivian and Edward begin to develop feelings for each other. However, their respective social standing is in their way.
Image credit: Ron Batzdorff – © Disney/IMDb
Directed by: Nora Ephron
Release date: 25 June 1993
Cast: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Ross Malinger
Synopsis: Jonah (Malinger), the young son of a recently widowed Sam (Hanks), calls up a talk-radio programme in Seattle, asking them to find a partner for his father. Meanwhile, Annie (Ryan), who is engaged and lives in Baltimore, has just tuned in to the radio and listens to Jonah speak, before Sam reluctantly gets on the line only to pour out his feelings. Annie then requests Sam for a meeting in New York City.
Image credit: TriStar Pictures – © 1993/IMDb
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Release date: 9 October 1987
Cast: Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin
Synopsis: A farmhand named Westley (Elwes) is in love with the beautiful Buttercup (Wright). However, fate separates the two. Years later, Buttercup is forcibly taken away by the nefarious Prince Humperdinck (Patinkin), who has a dangerous political plan up his sleeve. Westley returns as the ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ to save his love.
Image credit: © 1987 – MGM/IMDb
Directed by: Peter Segal
Release date: 13 February 2004
Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Sean Astin, Rob Schneider
Synopsis: Lucy (Barrymore) is suffering from short-term memory loss, a condition that makes her unable to remember things from the day before. Henry (Sandler), a veterinarian who falls in love with her, decides to continue wooing her every day, hoping she would remember him.
Image credit: Darren Michaels – © 2003 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved./IMDb
Directed by: Michael Showalter
Release date: 14 July 2017
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan
Synopsis: Emily Gardner (Kazan) is a grad student who is in love with Kumail Nanjiani (Nanjiani), a Pakistan-born comedian. When Emily falls ill, Kumail must step up to face the challenges in their love life, which includes their families.
Image credit: Nicole Rivelli – © WHILE YOU WERE COMATOSE, LLC/IMDb
Directed by: Richard Tanne
Release date: 26 August 2016
Cast: Parker Sawyers, Tika Sumpter, Vanessa Bell Calloway
Synopsis: A young Barack Obama (Sawyers) tries to woo Michell Robinson (Sumpter) on their first date on a summer afternoon across Chicago’s South Side in 1989.
Image credit: IMDb
Directed by: James Ponsoldt
Release date: 13 September 2013
Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Kyle Chandler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Bob Odenkirk
Synopsis: Sutter Keely (Teller) is a high-school senior who leads a carefree lifestyle and is a heavy drinker. One night after partying, he wakes up on the lawn of Aimee Finecky (Woodley). Sutter is drawn to Aimee’s innocence and tries to bond with her.
Image credit: © 2013 – A24/IMDb
Directed by: Jung Ji-woo
Release date: 28 August 2019 (South Korea)
Cast: Kim Go-eun, Jung Hae-in
Synopsis: During the 1990s International Monetary Fund (IMF) crisis, two young people — Mi-soo (Kim) and Hyun-woo (Jung) — meet at a bakery. The ever-changing world around them keeps them apart. Despite that, they do not give up on their struggle to find each other.
Image credit: Netflix
Directed by: Nahnatchka Khan
Release date: 31 May 2019
Cast: Ali Wong, Randall Park
Synopsis: Estranged childhood friends Marcus (Park) and Sasha (Wong) have a chance meeting in San Francisco 15 years later from the last time they saw each other. Their meeting triggers their suppressed attraction for one another, but they are also reminded of bitter memories.
Image credit: Netflix