Movie love scenes, done properly, and with chemistry, turn your heart into melted bliss. Legendary romantic interludes are sweet, guilty pleasures, like molten chocolate trickled over strawberries, and leave you wanting more. Here are ten unarguable contenders for all-time best romantic moments:
1. Boys on the Side. Jane (Whoopi Goldberg) sits at a piano, playing a Carpenters song. Earlier, she dissed the band thoroughly, but now sings sweetly, yielding to the idea that love has many guises, and woman-to-woman love can be beautiful. The audience witnesses her shifting her stance on stale attitudes and old thinking. Love defies rules.
2. Ghost. In night’s soft sleeplessness, Demi Moore sits creating beauty at her potting wheel. Patrick Swayze misses her beside him in bed and looks for her. He sits down behind her. As her hands work the clay, his work her. Unchained Melody crescendos. If you don’t feel heat, your soul is on ice. Hands down, nearly every movie-goer survey puts this one up front.
3. The Way We Were. There was never better chemistry. Barbara Streisand bumps into life-long love Robert Redford after years spent apart. They know they cannot, will not be together, but they truly love each other. It’s imprinted on their faces. Yet you know they will never share the daughter they made.
4. Ghost (again). This time we consider the final scene, wherein Swayze says goodbye to Moore forever and tells her the true meaning of life. It’s what you’ve always hoped for: Love stays with you. Believe it.
5. Bridget Jones’ Diary. This funny, sarcastic romp ends with the loveliest of moments. Bridget, played by Renee Zellweger, has dumped Hugh Grant. You must suspend disbelieve to swallow that. She has argued with her man, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), and believes him gone for good. Clad in a sweater and panties, she dashes after him, into the snowy night, and chases him for blocks. Suddenly, Mark’s there. He wraps her in his coat, kisses her soundly. Ladies and gentlemen, that is romance.
6. Pretty Woman. Richard Gere, rich business mogul, stands beneath Julia Robert’s tenement fire escape. She is a reluctant hooker. He tells her of a prince rescuing a princess from life’s disappointments. She rescues him right back. If you ever longed for happily ever after, this is it.
7. Dirty Dancing. The coming-of-age movie has more than one romantic moment, but we chose Swayze and Gray dancing together in his cabin one sultry afternoon. The music, lighting, and chemistry are exemplary. Swayze teaches this teenager how a woman feels with a man, but without a hint of sleaze. Her face, her body, her trembling openness remind us how special that first time can be. We’ve been there, haven’t we?
8. For Me and Gal. This is a vintage Hollywood treasure. Search it out. Vaudeville troopers Judy Garland and Gene Kelly are war-time star crossed lovers. Kelly seems an irresponsible no-good-nic. He wants Judy. She loves him, but refusing to be an enabler, leaves him. He redeems himself as a frontline hero, but she thinks he’s dead. Giving a benefit concert, she sees him in the audience. Singing, crying, laughing, she moves through the crowd and into his arms. It’s a perfect Hollywood melting moment.
9. Romeo and Juliet (1996). The greatest love story of all time is modernized for Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. The classic balcony scene transmutes to a swimming pool scene – hip, fun, warm, and ultra romantic. A rose by any other name…
10. The Notebook. What could be more romantic than a kiss in the rain? This one is smoking! Two angry lovers quarrel about their past transgressions. Both realize they misunderstood something, but they can’t stop fighting. He shuts her up with a kiss – a deep, consuming toe bender. This scene is a 36-second gift to the audience.
As summer nights simmer under the timeless light of the moon, revisit some of these films and stir things up in your love life. Don’t forget the popcorn, and a bit of molten chocolate.
What are your favorite on-screen moments of romance?