Best Romance Movies, Ranked by Metacritic

Discover the best romance movies, ranked by Metascore

Hedy Phillips


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The best romance movies all have one thing in common: they're steeped with love, whether it's breezy and pure or complicated and ultimately meant for disaster. These movies are perfect for any type of movie night, whether it's an evening at home alone while you avoid all other responsibilities, a date night with a significant other, or a casual night with friends. They contain beautiful and sometimes tragic stories of love found and love lost, many of which will make you laugh and cry while you get lost in the film.

Though scores of romance films have been made throughout cinematic history, some of the absolute best are those made decades ago, proving that Old Hollywood knew exactly what it was doing in making movies. 

On the following list, romance fans will find the best romance movies ranked by Metascore. And while it's rare to see, a few of these films even have a perfect 100 Metascore, making them even more worthy of a spot on your viewing scheduling.


Metascore: 100
Best for: Fans of classic romance
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 102 minutes

Set in World War II, this 1942 film is set in Casablanca and finds American expatriate Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) as a nightclub owner amid the conflict. One of his former loves Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and her new husband, Czech rebel Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), show up on Rick's turf, and he has to decide between his feelings for Ilsa and helping the couple escape Casablanca.   

"A peerless example of Hollywood studio moviemaking, director Michael Curtiz turning the Warner backlot into a gloriously romantic vision of WW2-era Morocco crammed with real-life European exiles and larger-than-life character actors." — Neil Smith, Total Film


Metascore: 100
Best for: Alfred Hitchcock fans
Where to watch: Tubi
Runtime: 101 minutes

This classic movie directed by Hitchcock in 1946 is part spy film, part romance film. American government agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) is out to take down the Nazis and recruits Alicia Huberman (Bergman), the daughter of a prominent German leader, for help. Though the two start to fall in love, it's all derailed when she has to seduce Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains) during her spy mission. The three lives become intertwined in a mess of espionage, love, and determination to accomplish their individual goals. 

"One of the more remarkable things about Notorious is that it hasn't seemed to age; if anything, it grows more timely." — Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Some Like It Hot

Metascore: 98
Best for: Marilyn Monroe fans
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 121 minutes

Inspired by the real-life Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, this 1959 movie is the story of two musicians — Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) — who want to escape the mafia so they disguise themselves as women and set out for Miami. They link up with the all-female band, Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators, which is where they meet Sugar Kane (Monroe). Both Joe and Jerry win over Sugar Kane, but it's Joe who falls in love with her, all while he's still disguised as a woman. Joe and Jerry continue their run from the mafia, but eventually, it all catches up to them and Sugar Kane finds out their real identities. The question is, will she love Joe back as himself? 

"If Billy Wilder achieved nothing else in his entire career, he would still rank as one of the great masters of cinema for pulling off this comic tour de force." — Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle

Gone With the Wind

Metascore: 97
Best for: Fans of historical romance, people who love long movies
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 238 minutes

In this 1939 epic romance, Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) is a Southern belle who lives on a plantation named Tara in the Civil War south. The oft-considered controversial movie centers on Scarlett's dalliances, first with Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) and then Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). Scarlett and Rhett marry and have a daughter and find themselves in a troubled marriage for years, as Scarlett is convinced she's still in love with Ashley. Scarlett experiences trauma after trauma on her journey to figuring out herself and what she wants, but in the end, her discovery comes too late.

"A towering landmark of film, quite simply because it tells a good story, and tells it wonderfully well." — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Jules and Jim

Metascore: 97
Best for: Fans of foreign films
Where to watch: 

, , iTunes
Runtime: 105 minutes

In this French film from 1962, both Jules (Oskar Werner), an Austrian author, and Jim (Henri Serre), a Frenchman, fall for the same woman, Catherine (Jeanne Moreau). However, Catherine chooses Jules. As time passes, Jim finds his way back to Catherine, visiting her and Jules in their new home in Austria. But rather than finding his feelings have faded over the years, Jim discovers that he loves Catherine as much as ever — and she feels much the same.

"Elliptical, full of wit and radiance, this is the best movie ever made about what most of us think of as the Scott Fitzgerald period (though the film begins much earlier)." — Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

Children of Paradise

Metascore: 96
Best for: Fans of foreign films
Where to watch: 

, iTunes
Runtime: 190 minutes

This 1945 French movie is told in two parts, "Boulevard of Crime" and "The Man in White." Set in the 1800s, Garance (Arletty), an attractive courtesan, is the object of the four central characters' affection. A mime named Baptiste Deburau (Jean-Louis Barrault), an actor called Frédérick Lemaître (Pierre Brasseur), a thief named Pierre François Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand), and an aristocrat named Édouard de Montray (Louis Salou) all chase Garance for her love, and she bounces between them, unwilling to settle into a true romance that's not guided by her own head and heart.

"As a piece of romantic/dramatic cinema, its peers are few, its superiors simply nonexistent." — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

The Lady Eve

Metascore: 96
Best for: Fans of classic romance
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 94 minutes

Jean (Barbara Stanwyck) is a beautiful con artist hellbent on taking wealthy men for everything they're worth in this 1941 movie. When her mark Charles (Henry Fonda), falls for her, Jean is surprised to find that she's falling for him right back. However, Charles starts to suspect that Jean isn't who she says she is and kicks her to the curb. Unwilling to just walk away from him and his money, Jean devises a plan to win him back — and also seek revenge — by creating an alter ego called Lady Eve.

"Stanwyck, in her absolute prime, is hard to touch — even Katharine Hepburn, or Claudette Colbert, who was originally supposed to play Jean, might have struggled to make her quite such sly and mesmerizing company." — Tim Robey, The Telegraph

The Shop Around the Corner

Metascore: 96
Best for: Fans of You've Got Mail
Where to watch: 

Google PlayiTunesVudu
Runtime: 99 minutes

Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) work together but don't like each other in this 1940 feature. The two work in a small shop in Hungary, and the highlights of both of their days is getting letters from their mysterious pen pals. What neither realizes is that they're falling in love with those pen pals — and they're actually each other. Through their writing, they learn to fall in love with the other's deepest self and see their true beauty. 

"Samson Raphaelson's marvel of a script unfolds in six sequences that rise and fall with the surprising weight of mini-lifetimes. ... The emotionally transparent Stewart and the electric, conflicted Sullivan create an immortal comic courtship." — Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Metascore: 95
Best for: Disney fans
Where to watch: 

, , Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 84 minutes

One of the most beloved Disney classic animated movies, this film is a tale as old as time about learning to become the best version of yourself and falling in love with someone despite their outward appearance. Belle (voiced by Paige O'Hara), a quiet girl from town, finds herself in a castle full of enchanted furniture with a terrifying Beast (voiced by Robby Benson) after striking a deal for the Beast to let her father go free. Belle teaches the Beast — who is actually a prince transformed as a result of his wicked ways — to be softer, gentler, and more loving. His time is limited, though, and if he can't learn his lesson before the last enchanted rose petal falls, he'll stay the Beast forever.

"With its strong characters and lively storytelling, animated or not, this deserves its place alongside the cinema greats." — Emma Cochrane, Empire

My Fair Lady

Metascore: 95
Best for: Fans of musicals
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu
Runtime: 170 minutes

This beloved 1964 musical is based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play Pygmalion. Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) turns to Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) for speech lessons to improve her thick accent and loquaciousness so she can fit in in high society crowds. Henry is willing to accept the challenge but he is surprised to find how much he enjoys Eliza — after the two get past their many differences. 

"The picture is exquisite, extraordinary, a unique gem of filmmaking." — The Hollywood Reporter