There are a great deal of romantic movies in the world. Even if the film doesn’t fall under that genre, the element of love finds its way in the mix. But despite the abundance of love stories in cinema, it’s still very hard to find a truly romantic character. The idea of romance has been thrashed and labeled as corny thanks to teen franchises and bad rom-coms. Yup, romance gets a bad rap. But it’s nearly Valentine’s Day and we’re all about appreciation. We’re grateful for the true romantics who’d do anything in the name of the cause. Here are the 10 most romantic characters in movies.
10. Westley, The Princess Bride
Westley represents that prince charming that little girls dream of. In Rob Reiner‘s The Princess Bride, Cary Elwes‘ character is completely motivated by his love for Buttercup (Robin Wright). At first, everything he does is done with the hope that she’ll be impressed. Once she falls for him, his goal is to rescue her from the evil clutches of Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). Despite his imperfections as a man, he makes a great romantic hero.
9. Jean Brodie, The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie
Maggie Smith‘s performance in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is still regarded as one of her best. In the film she plays an outspoken and romantic teacher who puts beauty and art above it all. She makes her students cry with her stories of love and war and travel. She dedicates her life to her girls. But she’s no Marry Poppins. Jean’s progressive views get her in trouble. Many have labeled this character as fascist because she puts her worldview above anyone else’s, and her open admiration for Benito Mussolini. But we can’t help but just see her as a hopeless romantic who can’t contain her emotions.
8. Richard Collier, Somewhere In Time
Somewhere In Time suspends the laws of time and space. Christopher Reeves‘ Richard Collier goes through a mentally painful process to go back in time to find the woman (Jane Seymour) he knows he was meant to be with. This is not just an incredibly romantic gesture (to travel back in time), but Reeves passionate (and sweaty) performance is absolutely stunning and worth a few tears. If you don’t well up during the film’s final scenes, you’re just not human.
7. Alicia Huberman, Notorious
Alfred Hitchcock was the master of suspense, but he was also known for his most memorable leading ladies. Case in point, Ingrid Bergman‘s Alicia Huberman in Notorious. Here’s a beautiful woman who falls in love so hard that she puts her own life at risk. Bergman makes a fantastic romantic heroine. She loves both her country and Cary Grant‘s T.R. Devlin. In the end it might seem like Grant’s the hero (rescuing her from her killers), but he didn’t appreciate her until she was literally on her death bed. And who can dismiss those syrupy closeups? Bergman’s passion is palpable.
6. Jamal Malik, Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog Millionaire tells an unconventional love story. It’s not about falling in love, but saving the one you already love. Dev Patel‘s Jamal Malik was born and raised in the slums of India. It’s there where he met Latika (Freida Pinto) and always felt like it was his duty to protect her, but then he lost her. So he goes on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire to put himself out there and find her. We love that Jamal never gave up hope that he would find Latika. He’s optimistic and romantic. What a great combination!
5. Annie Reed, Sleepless In Seattle
Meg Ryan‘s Annie Reed gets away with a lot in Sleepless In Seattle. If she were a man, her romantic gestures might actually be labeled as stalking. She allows herself to fall in love with a complete stranger (Tom Hanks), whom she’s never met, then writes letters asking him to meet her on top of the Empire State Building and even flies thousands of miles to see him. But she’s a dreamer who believes love should be as romantic as it’s portrayed in Old Hollywood movies. It also doesn’t hurt that she looks like Meg Ryan.
4. Romeo And Juliet, Romeo + Juliet
There’s no better example about teenage love than William Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet. His work perfectly captures young love. At that age, you really feel like nothing else in the world matters. In Baz Luhrmann‘s Romeo + Juliet both Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio exhibit fantastic, passionate performances. Who cares if they’re just kids, they’re quoting Shakespeare, climbing balconies and starring into wonderful fish tanks. This is all worth swooning over.
3. Rick Blaine, Casablanca
If you asked Rick Blaine if he was a romantic, he’d probably say no. But actions speak louder than words. In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart‘s iconic character starts off as a cynical and bitter club owner. But we soon learn than he’s suffering from a broken heart (romantic enough for you yet?). When he finally reconnects with the woman he loves, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), he gives her up. He knows that she’s better off without him. (Edward Cullen could learn a few things from Rick don’t you think?)
2. Noah Calhoun, The Notebook
Admit it: Those ice-cream kisses, kisses in the rain and boat rides made your heart melt. Then there’s the fact that Ryan Gosling‘s Noah Calhoun keeps his vows and stays with the woman he loves (Rachel McAdams) through her Alzheimer’s. Not only is that romantic, but it takes true love and dedicatio. Nicholas Sparks‘ movie adaptations are overrated, but when it comes to Noah, he’s one romantic character who isn’t. He’s everything they say and more.
1. Jack Dawson, Titanic
Titanic may be the most overrated movie ever, but you know what? Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack Dawson automatically pops up when you think about romantic characters in movies. It’s not only about what he does or who he is –he’s a starving artist who sacrifices himself for the woman he loves– but what he represents. Jack is a symbol of freedom and affection to Rose (Kate Winslet). He represents all of the things she’s never known, and then he dies so that she can live her new life. That’s what makes Jack the truest romantic character of them all.
Who do you think are the most romantic characters in film?