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Romance Films Buying Guide

Romance  is a genre of film where typically the plot or narrative is driven by a central romantic relationship between the movie's main protagonists.  The film's dominant theme will be romantic in nature and will feature scenarios and situations closely associated with popular notions of love and relationships. These often include dates, travelling/holidays and exotic or lavish backdrops. Romance films often follow a series of common narrative structures.  One such plot line is where an event or individual(s) is preventing the couple being together, eg. a disapproving family, an impending war or one character engaged to be married. The rest of the narrative then follows the progression of the relationship between the two main characters as they try to overcome the obstacle to their love. Another common plot line is the 'will they, won't they' scenario, whereby two people begin the film disliking each other and gradually grow more attached leaving the audience wondering whether they will get it together, which invariably they do. Another popular narrative device is the 'she/he doesn't even know I exist'. In this example one character will be in love with an individual who has no concept of them whatsoever, let alone any romantic interest in them. Sometimes, one or more of these narrative devices will be combined within one film. The romance genre can be further split into sub-genres the most common of which are the romantic-comedy and drama-romance .  

Famous Romance Films

Classic Romance Films

The classic romance. One of the most influential of all romantic films, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman's chemistry is evident and Casablanca  has become one of the most iconic films of all time. 

This wartime drama-romance is one of the highest grossing films of all time. Doctor Zhivago  was banned in Russia until 1994.

The other classic romance! Gone With The Wind  is considered one of the greatest films of all time from the 'golden age' of Hollywood. Despite being the ultimate romance, Vivien Leigh was rumoured not to enjoy her scenes with Clark Gable due to his...bad breath!

Romantic Comedies

Four Weddings and a Funeral  raised the bar for romantic comedies. Hilariously funny with characters both likeable and engaging, this 1994 film sees Hugh Grant  pursue Andie MacDowell  with his unique bumbling charm.

There's Something About Mary  was a huge success appealing to both men and women with it's gross-out comedy and sentimental touches. Famous for a scene in which Cameron Diaz styles her hair with a substance even more powerful than gel...

Richard Curtis does it again in Notting Hill , with Hugh Grant reprising the bumbling Englishman act, this time in pursuit of another Hollywood A-Lister in Julia Roberts ' smoking hot film star.

Drama Romances

James Cameron's Titanic  smashed box office records when it was released. The combination of Leo DiCaprio  and Kate Winslet appealed to audiences the world over.

Tom Cruise 's down-on-his-luck football agent, Jerry Maguire , falls for Renee Zellweger in this tale of football, loyalty and love.

Paranormal love is on the agenda in nineties classic Ghost .

Notable Romance Films

A list, in no order, of some of the most popular and widely acclaimed Romance films ever made. 

  • West Side Story  sees Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet re-imagined on the streets of New York in the award winning 1961 film.
  • Love Story , starring Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw, tunes into the painful side of love as the terminally ill McGraw and O'Neal hold onto their relationship in this 1970 tearjerker.
  • Struggling writer George Peppar] tries to keep up with 'it' girl Audrey Hepburn  in the film version of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's  (1961).
  • The African Queen  (1951) transports us to East Africa where a boozed up Bogart attempts to outrun the Nazi's whilst staying sober enough to argue with the lovely Katherine Hepburn along the way.
  • A leopard proves a stumbling block between museum boffin Cary Grant and heiress Katherine Hepburn in 1938's Bringing Up Baby. 
  • Bogart and Bacall fizzle together on the big screen (they were married in real life) in the 1946 screen version of Ramond Chandler 's hard-boiled detective novel, The Big Sleep .

Great Romantic Pairings

Throughout cinema history there have been a number of actors paired together who's on-screen chemistry has become legendary.

Legendary Onscreen Couples

The married in real-life Humphrey Bogart  and Lauren Bacall made a series of films during the forties including Key Largo  (1948) and To Have and Have Not  (1944). Their performances together are particularly noted for some of the most electric dialogue committed to film. 

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn  made films together over a period of 25 years. Their romantic films focused on the 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' dynamic of warring sexes. Adam's Rib  (1949) and State Of The Union  (1948) are among their best work together.

Rock Hudson and Doris Day Sentimental JourneyDoris Day  starred in a series of widely popular films during the fifties/sixties including 1959's Pillow Talk . Day would also star with a host of other leading men from the era including James Cagney and Cary Grant .

Cary Grant and...anyone! Cary Grant made some of the greatest romances ever with a series of classics including Holiday  1938, The Philadelphia Story  1940 andThe Awful Truth  1937.

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