On Valentine's Day, our favorite romantic movie scenes
But on Valentine's Day, even jaded people like us can get a little sappy. In that spirit, we've compiled this collection of our favorite scenes from a dozen of our favorite romantic movies. Consider viewing any of these fine films in their entirety tonight with your sweetheart or, if you happen to be sans sweetheart, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
Disclaimer: Celebritology is not responsible if, while viewing these clips or the films that spawned them, a salt-watery substance begins to leak from your eyes.
"Before Sunrise" (1995)
Richard Linklater's film is essentially a 105-minute conversation between a recently jilted American (Ethan Hawke) and a jaded French woman (Julie Delphy) who meet on a train, then decide to disembark so they can spend one day together in Vienna. While that concept might sound a little, um, talky, Hawke and Delphy bring their characters to such thoroughly relatable life that their conversations, furtive glances and tentative stutter steps toward romance come across as completely authentic and charming. Watch the chemistry they share when they have a pair of pretend phone conversations over cups of espresso.
"Say Anything..." (1989)
Honestly, there isn't much more I can say about Lloyd Dobler that hasn't already been said. So I'll just go right to the clip, which isn't the obvious one in which Mr. John Cusack holds up a boom box while his heart bursts with love and his speakers burst with the sound of Peter Gabriel. It's the one in which Lloyd explains to the father of Diane Court that, really, all he wants to do is hang with his daughter.
"Moulin Rouge" (2001)
Plenty of rom-coms attempt to infuse their soundtracks with ooey gooey retro tunes. But no movie elevated silly pop songs to operatic levels quite as effectively as the gorgeous, insane, genius "Moulin Rouge."
I never, ever tire of watching this Academy Award-winning film, which, by the way, comes out on Blu-ray Tuesday. I think that's because it establishes such a strong sense of place. I adore returning to the dim lights and clattering dishes of the Gran Tocino. (Bobo! Why aren't there more waiters like Bobo?) I love tagging along with Cher as she gets a makeover, then wows Nicolas Cage when she shows up -- dolled up in burgundy velvet and lipstick -- at the Met. But above all else, I cherish this moment on a snowy New York sidewalk, when Cage tells Cher that love has nothing to do with fairy tales and delivers one of the best monologues in rom-com history. (Note: There's one NSFW word in there, so keep the volume low.)
"Annie Hall" (1977)
Woody Allen's quirky valentine to relationships beat "Star Wars" to win the Best Picture Oscar -- for a reason. This is the romantic comedy that created the template that all subsequent romantic comedies would try to follow. And few even come close, especially not to the bittersweet but true-to-life conclusion, viewable below. (Don't watch if you've never seen it.) Just perfect.
"When Harry Met Sally..." (1989)
Speaking of borrowing from the "Annie Hall" template, Nora Ephron's oft-quoted classic did so pretty blatantly. And yes, it's become somewhat of a cliche for a chick to say this is her favorite movie. But I don't care. It still stands as one of the sharpest rom-com screenplays ever written. And I never tire of hearing Billy Crystal explain to a perplexed Meg Ryan that "when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
"Some Kind of Wonderful" (1987)
I was, I think, 15 when this John Hughes-penned teen movie (one of the later ones in the oeuvre of the interpreter of '80s teen angst) hit theaters and was soon to experience my own first kiss. Maybe it's Stephen Duffy's jangly "She Loves Me" playing as the action unfolds. Maybe it's the perfectly shot scene. Or maybe it's because Eric Stolz was smoking hot in a sensitive artist kind of way. Whatever the reason, watching Mary Stuart Masterson "teach" Stolz how to "deliver a kiss that kills" still releases a herd of butterflies in my stomach.
"Pride and Prejudice" (1995)
There are probably at least 200 scenes -- some as short as a heart-melting glance -- that would qualify. But my favorite romantic scene is not -- as some might assume -- the moment Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy visits the Bennet household to finally, sincerely ask for her hand in marriage. Nor is it the moment a shirtless Colin Firth emerges from the lake in front of his considerable mansion. No, it is instead the scene in which Darcy begins to give in to his passion for Jennifer Ehle's Elizabeth:
"Notting Hill" (1999)
Okay, it's Julia Roberts. But who could possibly resist the "I'm just a girl" speech?
Also, big-time bonus points to the opening/closing credits song, Elvis Costello's "She," a tune that every man should learn to sing, accompanied by piano. Start lessons now in time for next year.
Jack and Rose and love at first sight and all that icy water and heartbreak. It was almost too much to bear. But our hearts will go on, even if Celine Dion is a part of the memory:
"Lady Jane" (1986)
Back in the days before she was married to Tim Burton and wore carnival costumes to the Golden Globe Awards, Helena Bonham Carter was a young, delicate actress who starred opposite Cary Elwes in her first movie -- about Lady Jane Grey, who lived a lifetime of love in nine days before it was, ahem, off with her head. My favorite scene involves the young couple -- forced into marriage -- actually falling in love with one another. Of course, I can't find it online, so here -- just watch the whole movie:
"The Princess Bride" (1987)
Cary Elwes again? Inconceivable! Not really. Elwes was dashing as Westley (a.k.a. the Dread Pirate Roberts). He loved Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) so much he even came back from the dead to be with her. And we bet he wouldn't forget to thank her in an Oscar acceptance speech, either. I wasn't able to pick just one moment, so here's a 10-minute fan tribute trailer:
Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney
| February 14, 2011; 3:48 PM ET
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