Must Watch Romantic Movies


It’s that time of year again, the unhurried and imperceptible month of love. The slow and steady countdown to Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re in a relationship and looking for a movie to spark off an evening of ‘netflix and chill’ or single and want a romantic evening to yourself (you deserve it), this list will have a film for you! Of course there are countless classics such as The Notebook or Romeo and Juliet – but who hasn’t seen them? Here is a variety of different romantic stories (in no particular order) which we’re sure can help you narrow down the perfect film to watch! So get ready to curl up on your couch, grab some ice-cream, a blanket, tissues (optional) and enjoy a night of romantic movie goodness.

TITANIC © 1997 Paramount Pictures

Trailer | IMDB 7.8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 89%



Starting strong, what could be more romantic than a maritime classic love tragedy.

Rose Dewitt Bukater (Kate Winslet when younger), is one of the last few remaining Titanic survivors. She recalls her time on the ship to help a research team scavenging for the lost remnants, ‘The Heart of the Ocean’ on one of the most famous shipwrecks. Though it’s fate was always destined for the bottom of the ocean floor, they did not expect to hear a devastating love story which once took place on the famous ship, discovering the true heart of the ocean.

Backed up by wonderful performances (including a young and handsome Leonardo Di Caprio) and the touching yet tragic true events of the Titanic. James Cameron delivers masterful direction and attention to detail (he literally visited the ship and they discovered a new species of fish), and has given us a Shakespearean staple in modern cinema history. This film is long though, so prepare your bladder accordingly.

ALMOST FAMOUS © 2000 Dreamworks

Trailer | IMDB 7.9/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 89%

13. Almost Famous (2000) - Cameron Crowe

Sticking with the Cameron (a different one though), we have the 2000 classic Almost Famous.

If you’re into action but still a sucker for that sweet coming-of-age story we know and love so well, then Cameron Crowe’s ‘Almost Famous’ is the perfect film. Loosely based on Crowe’s teenage years as a music journalist “Almost Famous” is the story of 15-year-old aspiring writer William Miller (Patrick Fugit), who gets the opportunity of a lifetime when Rolling Stone magazine sends him on tour with ‘Stillwater’, a fictional rock band just on the cusp of fame. As they travel, William forges relationships with each of the band members and learns about love, freedom and the true cost of growing up. You can’t beat a rock’n’roll love story.


Trailer | IMDB 7.7/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 88%

12. Brokeback Mountain (2005) - Ang Lee

A close second to the pain that comes from unrequited love, is the forbidden one.

Ang Lee’s groundbreaking tale Brokeback Mountain tells the story of two young men – a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy – who meet in the summer of 1963 while looking for work; where they’re hired as ranch hands in the Wyoming mountains. During the long months of isolation, both men unexpectedly develop an emotional bond which soon turns into a frightfully passionate affair of love and lust. When the season ends, they part ways, only to realise the true depth of their feelings. Thus begins a decades-long relationship that the two of them desperately try to hide from those around them, one which will prove to be a simultaneously beautiful and devastating testament to the endurance and power of love.

Starring the late Heath Ledger and talented Jake Gyllenhaal, this movie broke stereotypes and opened the eyes for many closed minded audiences to see that ‘Love is a force of Nature’.

PRIDE & PREJUDICE © 2005 Focus Features

Trailer | IMDB 7.8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 87%

11. Pride & Prejudice (2005) - Joe Wright

Moving on to another 2005 classic (a lot of romance happened that year).

When it comes to romantic films, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are always on someone’s screen. If you like watching two strong characters overcome the biggest obstacle of all, themselves, then Pride and Prejudice is the perfect slow burn, stubborn romance. Jane Austen’s beloved adaptation begins when Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) meets single and wealthy bachelor Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen). Despite their heated and obvious chemistry, Elizabeth’s reluctance to overcome her prejudice and Mr. Darcy’s reluctance to overcome his pride threatens to destroy any future of a relationship.

This is a must watch if you are a fan of the Jane Austen novel.

MOONLIGHT © 2016 A24

Trailer | IMDB 7.4/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 98%


10. Moonlight (2016) - Barry Jenkins

Now onto the first movie of 2010’s era, an emotionally striking coming-of-age romance and Academy Award winning film, Moonlight.

The story follows Chiron, a young African-American man grappling with his identity and sexuality in a society where he is often overlooked. He is taken under the wing of Juan, a drug dealer who becomes Chiron’s prominent paternal figure, while his neglectful and addict mother Paula, happens to be Juan’s best customer. seeing something good in him, Juan helps and teaches him about overcoming life’s obstacles even though he provides the very product ruining it. Barry Jenkins tells a story about young love in a society charged with toxic masculinity and homophobia. But will love, the world’s greatest truth, prevail?

You may remember this film being famously announced as an Academy Award winner shortly after another film was mistakenly announced as winner. (We don’t do mistakes like that at The South London Film Festival – just saying.) Regardless, this film was definitely a worthy winner, indie film at it’s greatest!

LA LA LAND © 2016 Lionsgate

Trailer | IMDB 8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 91%

9. La La Land (2016) - Damien Chazelle

Do you remember when we mentioned about the Academy Award mix-up in 2016? Well, this was the first film which was announced as winner before being later corrected.

When Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated Jazz musician, and Mia (Emma Stone), a hopeful and aspiring actress, follow their passions and finally achieve success in a city known for destroying dreams, they find themselves torn between their love for each other and their careers. A love that only comes around once-in-a-lifetime? Or a chance under the gleaming spotlight? The dreams they’ve worked so hard to maintain, threaten to rip them apart. Both must reconcile with their feelings for each other and their aspirations for the future.

A modern day classic. This movie is perfect viewing if you’re looking for a musical Oscar Winning Nominated Best Picture love story.

BEFORE SUNRISE © 1995 Columbia Pictures

Trailer | IMDB 8.1/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 100%

8. Before Sunrise (Trilogy) (1995) - Richard Linklater

Fancy a romantic movie night marathon? This trilogy is for you!

Jesse (Ethan Hawke) a young American man meets Céline (Julie Delpy) a French woman on a train in Europe, and ends up spending an evening with her in Vienna. As they wander the city together and their night progresses, their connection makes the idea of separating the next morning a difficult choice. How do two perfect strangers connect so intimately over the course of a single day? What is that special thing that bonds two people together so strongly? A beautiful meeting of the minds, Before Sunrise is an intelligent, unabashedly romantic look at modern love.

Boasting a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, definitely worthy of a watch.

TRUE ROMANCE © 1995 Warner Bros

Trailer | IMDB 7.9/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 93%

7. True Romance (1993) - Tony Scott

As quoted on the poster, Stealing, Cheating, Killing. Who says romance is dead?

Originally written by the genius mind of Quentin Tarantino then adapted by uniquely talented Tony Scott, True Romance is everything you think it will be.

A lonely comic book and pop culture obsessed nerd (Christian Slater) falls for a hooker (Patricia Arquette) with a heart of gold, accidentally steals cocaine from her pimp (Gary Oldman), and then tries his luck by selling it in Hollywood. But their impulsiveness leads to being pursued by the Mob, who track them down in an attempt to reclaim it. Scored by the infamous Hans Zimmer with one of the most memorable theme song, True Romance is an action packed escapist fantasy. If you’re looking for a wild ride, this is just the perfect film.

It also stars Brad Pitt, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken (come on who doesn’t love that guy’s voice?)


Trailer | IMDB 8.3/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 92%

6. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (2004) - Michel Gondry

Moving on to another all star romantic hit, and the second Kate Winslet movie on the list (wonder how she’s spending valentines this year?). Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind.

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories. (If only this was an option – damn you (insert generic ex name here)!!) As Joel Barish’s (Jim Carey) memories progressively disappear, he begins to rediscover their earlier passion. From deep within the recesses of his brain, Joel attempts to escape the procedure. following the intricate maze of his memories, we find that Joel just can’t get her out of his head. Who hasn’t fantasised about erasing all the painful memories of past lovers? But is it too late to save what’s been lost?

With some wonderful perfomances and an interesting plot, this is one to watch, especially if you need that kick up the backside to appreciate the ones you love.


Trailer | IMDB 7.7/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 92%

5. Silver Lining’s Playbook (2012) - David O. Russell

These movies seem to have something in common. Silver Linings Playbook is star filled romantic drama, this one even has Robert De Niro and Chris Tucker. (Googles romantic movie acting auditions in South London..)

After spending time in a mental institution for assaulting his ex-wife’s lover, former teacher Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own. Both Pat and Tiffany agree to strike a deal which may benefit the pair of them, but what happens when the turbulence of real life and their complicated feelings get in the way? Does every cloud really have a silver lining?

Adapted from the 2008 novel ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’ David O. Russell manages to capture powerful performances which lead to multiple awards, including Jennifer Lawrence winning an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

COMING TO AMERICA © 1988 Paramount Pictures

Trailer | IMDB 7.1/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 77%

4. Coming To America (1988) - John Landis

A timeless cult classic and probably the funniest movie on this list (maybe even one of the funniest films of all time).

Coming To America starring Eddie Murphy and his pal Arsenio Hall, accompanied by ensemble cast of hilarious cameos including Arsenio Hall, Eddie Murphy and more Eddie Murphy. The noble young Prince Akeem of Zamunda (Eddie) is set to be married on his 21st birthday to Imani, the young woman picked by his parents and life trained to serve Akeem. Unhappy with this, Akeem, along with his cousin Semi (Arsenio), decides to travel to America to find true love, but for it to be true love, he must not let anyone know he is royalty. 

This movie broke boundaries by being the first movie in history to have an all-black cast and be successful around the world. This is also the first movie Samuel L. Jackson ever appeared in.

If for some reason you still haven’t seen this movie, go watch it now, you won’t regret it!

LITTLE WOMEN © 2019 Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group

Trailer | IMDB 7.8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 95%

3. Little Women (2019) - Greta Gerwig

Moving on to another Oscar Nominated romantic masterpiece. Little Women.

In the years after the Civil War, Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) lives in New York, grappling between what the world expects of her and what she expects of herself, she makes her living as a writer. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women follows the March sisters at two different points in time, the sweet innocence of adolescence and the burgeoning reality of adulthood. As the sister’s each try to make their own way in the world, they learn about the harsh truth of love, loss and relationships and what it means to be a woman in nineteenth-century America.

Adapted from the 1868 novel (same name) This is such a heartwarming tale and directed wonderfully. If you are looking for a smart, feel good pick me up, watch this!

ATONEMENT © 2007 Universal Pictures

Trailer | IMDB 7.8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 83%

2. Atonement (2007) - Joe Wright

The penultimate film on this list and the second movie to appear on our list directed by Joe Wright (what a romantic fella).

Atonement, based on the 2001 novel by Ian McEwan, is a fun romantic drama about a thirteen year old aspiring writer, Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit. Years later, as war breaks out in Britain, an older and more enlightened Briony attempts to seek redemption, but is it too late to fix things?

Starring James McAvoy and Keira Knightly, this is a beautifully directed film full of mystery, twists and turns.


Trailer | IMDB 7.1/10 | Rotten Tomatoes 95%

1. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) - Barry Jenkins

Last but not least (remember this list was in no particular order). Following from the success of ‘Moonlight’, Barry Jenkins went on to make yet another powerful romantic drama ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’.

Teen sweethearts Fonny and Tish are ripped apart when Fonny is wrongly arrested for the rape of a Puerto Rican woman because of falsified allegations from a racist cop. While seeking justice for Fonny (Stephan James), a pregnant Tish (Kiki Layne) relies on her Harlem community for support. Victories are often always written by the winners, but can love still rise above the world’s most abhorrent cruelties and injustices?

Winning countless awards including an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, this breathtaking tale is definitely a must watch.

Honourable Mentions

We hope that you were able to find some that films you haven’t yet seen, let us know if there are any films missing or which one was your favourite, we are keen to know! Follow us on social media to stay updated!

If you are interested in writing an article for The South London Film Festival, please get in touch with our team!

Sawda Hassan

Sawda Hassan

Writer | Filmualize

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