Almost from the time that there were movies and movie houses to show them in, there have been people who went to the movies on dates. That tradition continues to this day and there have always been romantic movies for people to ooh and ahh over. But, if you had to pick just five movies to watch this Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart or heart-throb, what movies would they be? Here are my suggestions, in no particular order.
West Side Story - Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno. Don’t you hate it when the street gangs in your neighborhood just keep bursting into loud songs about the local police and holding up traffic with elaborately choreographed dance numbers? OK, technically speaking, this is a modern take on the classic Shakespeare tragedy Romeo & Juliet. The tale takes place in 1960s New York and involves the ever-going feud between the native New York street gang versus the Puerto Rican street gang that they feel is horning in on their territory. Maria and Tony are from opposite sides and, of course, they fall in love. It’s got romance, it’s got some of the greatest dance numbers that have ever been recorded on film, it’s got songs that you can probably sing by heart and it’s about young love. It’s so close to the perfect love story that you’d like Shakespeare himself would have approved.
Dr. Zhivago - Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Rod Steiger, Alec Guinness. If you feel that your love is epic, then you need nothing less that one of the most sweeping and epic films that has ever been filmed. It is also the perfect movie to watch if you want to snuggle up under a blanket with the one you love, because no matter what time of year you watch this movie, the epic, snow-and-ice-covered panoramic shots will chill you the the bone. The story involves a Russian doctor whose entire life is to try and get back to the woman he loves, find his family and get back to the quiet and simple life that he wants. If only the Russian wars and revolutions would stop getting into his way. Seldom has epic filmmaking been this grand nor have as many epic films stood up as well as this one still does. It has heartbreak, sweeping romance, an epic score, fantastic acting and an ending that will leave you with tears in your eyes and applauding.
The Notebook - Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands. There are already some guys out there rolling their eyes at this one. If your guy rolls his eyes at this, ladies, then you need to reconsider your choice in men. This is the sweet story of a young man who sees a rich girl while at a carnival and falls hopelessly and helplessly in love. It is framed by a story set in modern times that seems to show an elderly couple at a rest home and how the old man entertains the old woman with tales out of his notebook. To say too much is to give away the fantastic and heart-wrenching ending. Guys, if you want your lady to end up sobbing on your shoulder, this is the movie that will do it. But be warned, guys, if you have a heart you could end up being the one sobbing uncontrollably with this one. Remember, you have been warned.
Love, Actually - Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Kiera Knightley, Rowan Atkinson. This movie is actually set at Christmas time, however, it is also one of the funniest, fun and most romantic films of recent memory. It tells the story of a whole variety of couples that are at various stages within their relationship. As some couples fall out of love, others fall into love, and some fall in love for the first time. The actors are all having a ball, the story lines are fluffy and entertaining without too much gravitas to spoil the night and there are some great laughs along the way. Bill Nighy may not actually be an aging rock star, but after seeing this movie I think he should be. Even Hugh Grant manages to play his usual bumbling-but-lovable self and not be grating on the nerves. If you want a modern movie filled with laughs, romance and even some great music, then you need go no further.
The Princess Bride - Cary Elwes, Peter Falk, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Fred Savage, Andre the Giant, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Christopher Guest, Chris Sarandon. The movie that could potentially be the biggest and best compromise between men and women. It has all of the romance and kissing parts to warm any females heart mixed with the action, adventure, sword play and derring do to please the guys. This is Rob Reiner’s finest film and tells the story of Buttercup, the woman who pines for her Westley, but it set to marry another. What follows is hilarious, thrilling, heartbreaking and, just simply, wonderful. By the time the end comes and the villains get their comeuppance and the heroes are walking off into the sunset, even the most jaded guy in a relationship will be like the little kid in the movie and won’t mind all of the "kissing stuff."
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