Scenes from classics like Dirty Dancing and even Star Wars make our top ten list of the most romantic movie scenes.
The world of cinema has brought to life some of history’s most memorable romantic movie scenes. From grand gestures to subtle moments, these moments have the power to captivate and transport viewers to a world of love and passion. Some have become so iconic that they are etched in our memories forever, replaying long after the credits have rolled, and this list compiles our top ten unforgettable romance scenes.
10. The garden confession scene in Atonement
This scene from the 2007 romantic war drama Atonement takes place as Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) and Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) confess their love for each other in the garden of the Tallis family estate. The gorgeous scenery and music add to the moment’s intensity, which sees the characters reunite after being torn apart by the events of the war.
Unfortunately, the romantic movie scene didn’t end happily for Robbie and Cecilia. The film, directed by Joe Wright, is based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Ian McEwan. The movie features an ensemble cast that includes Romola Garai, Saoirse Ronan, and Vanessa Redgrave. Atonement was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It took home the trophy for Best Original Score.
9. The final dance scene in Dirty Dancing
The final dance scene in 1987’s Dirty Dancing has become etched in cinematic history. This romantic movie scene, which begins with the famous line, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” features Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle and Jennifer Grey as Baby Houseman, dancing in front of a cheering crowd. The moment is significant as dance serves as a metaphor for their growing attraction throughout the story.
The moment culminates in the iconic “lift,” where Johnny lifts Baby high above his head, a move the pair practiced in previous scenes. It’s made even more powerful by the song “I’ve Had The Time of My Life,” which was composed specifically for the movie. The scene has become a cultural touchstone, inspiring countless imitations and parodies over the years.
8. The dancing in the park scene in La La Land
La La Land’s dancing in the park scene is a beautiful and enchanting moment that captures the essence of the film’s whimsical romance. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, the scene features Ryan Gosling as Sebastian and Emma Stone as Mia as they dance to the movie’s original song “A Lovely Night.”
The romantic movie scene captures the essence of the film’s love story with its dreamlike quality and enchanting choreography. The moment also represents the characters’ shared love of jazz music and passion for pursuing their dreams. The film, directed by Damien Chazelle, was released in 2016 and features an ensemble cast that includes John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, and J.K. Simmons.
7. The kissing on the dock scene in The Lake House
This romantic movie scene features Keanu Reeves as Alex Wyler and Sandra Bullock as Kate Forster as they share a passionate kiss on the dock of the magical lake house. It sees the characters unite after communicating through a mailbox that connects them across time. The scene is a testament to love overcoming time and distance.
The Lake House, directed by Alejandro Agresti, was released in June 2006 and is based on the 2000 South Korean film Il Mare. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Christopher Plummer, Dylan Walsh, and Lynn Collins. Due to its popularity, an original motion picture soundtrack was later released digitally and in physical format.
6. The I’m just a girl scene in Notting Hill
The I’m just a girl scene in Notting Hill features Julia Roberts as Anna Scott and Hugh Grant as William Thacker. This super romantic movie scene comes after Anna messes up their relationship and asks for a second chance. She tells him about her struggles with fame and loneliness, expressing her deepest feelings.
In a moment of honesty, she says, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” The line has become one of the most memorable quotes ever. The music in the scene is also noteworthy, as “She” by Elvis Costello plays in the background, underscoring Anna’s raw emotion. Directed by Roger Michell, the film was released in 1999.
5. The I know scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
While Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back may not be a love story, this mini exchange between Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is definitely a romantic movie scene. As Han is about to be frozen in carbonite, Leia confesses her feeling by saying, “I love you.” In the original script, Ford was supposed to say, “Just remember that, Leia, because I’ll be back.”
But at the time of filming, Harrison Ford wasn’t entirely sure about doing a third movie. So he improvised the line “I know,” which has become one of the most iconic lines in the Star Wars franchise. The scene is notable for its emotional depth and has cemented its place in popular culture. Released in 1980, the movie was nominated for three Academy Awards.
4. The I love you scene in Love Actually
This romantic movie scene from 2003’s Love Actually takes place as Mark (Andrew Lincoln) confesses his love for his best friend’s wife, Juliet (Keira Knightley). On Christmas Eve, Mark shows up at her door and plays a video montage of her smiling and laughing. When the clip ends, he holds up a series of cards that read, “To me, you are perfect” and “I love you.”
As the scene unfolds, Mark struggles to contain his emotions. The tension builds as Juliet reads each sign, realizing the depth of his love for her. The film, directed by Richard Curtis, features an ensemble cast that includes Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, and Emma Thompson. The movie is considered one of the most romantic stories ever told.
3. The kiss in the rain scene in The Notebook
The kiss in the rain scene in 2004’s The Notebook is one of modern cinema’s most touching romantic movie scenes. It begins as Allie (Rachel McAdams) confronts Noah (Ryan Gosling) about their past and their future. Noah says he wrote her a letter every day for a year, but she never received them. Noah’s confession moves Allie, and the two passionately kiss after he tells her to come closer.
Directed by Nick Cassavetes, the movie is based on the 1996 Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. The story follows a young couple who fall in love in the 1940s. Read from a notebook in the present day; the final scenes reveal that the elderly man telling the story is Noah, and the person listening is Allie – who is suffering from dementia.
2. The I’ll never let go scene in Titanic
Released in 1997, Titanic’s I’ll never let go scene takes place at the end of a whirlwind love story set against the backdrop of the ill-fated voyage of the RMS Titanic. The romantic movie scene occurs when Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) and Jack Dawson (Leonardo Dicaprio) find themselves stranded in the freezing ocean.
As he slowly succumbs to hypothermia, Jack tells Rose that she will survive and live a full life, only dying of old age. Jack professes his undying love for her and asks her to make him a promise. “Promise me you will survive… that you will never give up… no matter what happens… no matter how hopeless… and never let go of that promise. Rose responds with, “I promise. I will never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go.”
1. The you had me at hello scene in Jerry Maguire
As romantic movie scenes go, Jerry Maguire is the unassuming gold standard, as love isn’t the story’s central focus. The moment unfolds as Jerry, a struggling sports agent played by Tom Cruise, confesses his love to his assistant, Dorothy Boyd, played by Renee Zellweger. Following a failed attempt at a relationship, Jerry visits Dorothy to tell her about their company’s success.
Jerry starts by telling Dorothy the company had a big night. But the one thing preventing it from being complete is her. He says he misses and loves her since she completes him. Dorothy tearfully responds by telling him to “shut up” because “you had me at hello.” The scene is the culmination of Jerry’s transformation from being career driven to needing a meaningful relationship.