50 Best Classic Romance Movies of All Time | Rom-Com Classics

Most classic movies involve some kind of love story that’s central to the plot. Heck, even Hitchcock movies had their fair share of smoochin’. But after a long cinematic dry spell, it’s safe to say the resurgence of rom-coms upon us, thanks to films like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians. With so much love on the brain, we decided to investigate which classic films hold up as the most quintessentially romantic of them all. (And if you’re looking for more, we also ranked the best romance movies of 2020 and the best rom-coms of all time.)

After scouring the archives of film history, we determined that the 50 movies below tell the story of rom-coms from the beginning of talking films through 1989 (we figured “classic” meant pre-1990—mainly because we just had to include When Harry Met Sally). So what other romantic movies do you simply have to see before you can truly call yourself an expert on the genre? Read on to see what made the cut.

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City Lights (1931)

city lights

(Image credit: John Kobal Foundation)

Charlie Chaplin’s classic character The Tramp finds his new love connection with a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill) in jeopardy when she mistakes him as a famous millionaire playboy. City Lights, like the other films in Chaplin’s repertoire, is a silent movie, but it’s “aww” factor is still seriously strong.

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