5 Great Movie Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together

Movie couples that should have stayed together include Jack and Rose, and Harry and Sally.

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

Romantic movies have swept audiences off their feet for generations. Romance invades every genre because it is one of the most profound and universal human experiences. In movies, romances don’t always go the way we want them to (unless you are the director, according to Entertainment Weekly), but when a romance is truly great, its story lasts forever. From old school classics to modern epics, here are five movie couples who should have ended up together, whether they did or not.

5. Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Joel and Clementine may not belong together, but some movie couples need to experience each other. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kate Winslet plays the free-spirited Clementine, while Jim Carrey delivers one of his most powerful performances as Joel. Joel and Clementine’s relationship ends, and Clementine erases her memory of Joel.

Joel finds out and opts to do the same, but as Clementine is being wiped from his mind, he resists with all he has. He eventually fails, but the pair find each other and realize they had a life together neither can remember.

Knowing how it ended before, they decide to take the leap with each other again. Joel and Clementine represent the fragile truth that no one can predict how a relationship will end. This movie couple’s story is a reminder that all experiences, no matter how joyful or painful, are valuable because they make us who we are.

4. Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater – Titanic (1997)

If Romeo and Juliet is the most famous love story of all time, Jack and Rose’s tale in Titanic comes is a close second. In it, James Cameron fuses epic scale and adventure with blistering humanity.

Leonard DiCaprio and Kate Winslet deliver career-making performances as one of the steamiest movie couples ever, Jack and Rose. Jack, a poor artist, and Rose, a wealthy aristocrat, were never meant to be together. But their chemistry is undeniable, and the love that grows between them aboard the Titanic is ready to overcome the barriers of class and wealth.

The story is a tragic one. The sinking of the Titanic rips the couple apart, sending Jack to a watery grave (the door could have supported both of them!). They deserved to end up together and never got the chance, but Rose carried the memory of their love for the rest of her life.

3. Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court – Say Anything (1989)

John Cusack was a heartthrob like no other, and though he was on his way out of his teenage roles in 1989, he still suited up for Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything

John Cusack and Ione Skye star as Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court. Lloyd is a goofy kid with dreams of being a kickboxer. Diane is a straight-laced valedictorian with her eye on the prize. Diane takes a chance on Lloyd the summer before college as one of the oddest movie couples falls in love.

The film delivers iconic moments, like Lloyd lifting a stereo over his head outside Diane’s window, and a host of brilliant lines. “No one thinks it will work, do they?” Diane asks Lloyd. “No,” he responds, “You just described every great success story.” This is one movie couple with undeniable chemistry and head-over-heels passion. Their fate at the end of the movie is uncertain, but they are determined to face it together.

2. Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund – Casablanca (1942)

Rick and Ilsa are one of the most heroic movie couples because they make a true sacrifice: their love for one another. Casablanca is 80 years old, but it is a classic that holds up thanks to its heart-wrenching characters and gripping plot twists.

It is a tale of star-crossed lovers. Rick and Ilsa have a passionate affair in Paris, Ilsa believing her husband died during the war. It turns out he is alive, and Ilsa must leave Rick in an abrupt and dramatic fashion.

When Rick and Ilsa cross paths in Casablanca, the smoldering embers of their love are stoked again. Rick makes the heartbreaking choice to let Ilsa leave Casablanca with her patriot husband for the good of the Allies. Rick and Ilsa shared a passionate love and deserved to be together, but they opted instead for the greater good.

1. Harry Burns and Sally Albright – When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

When Harry Met Sally is one of the greatest romantic comedies ever, it concluded director Rob Reiner’s epic 1980s run, coming off the heels of Stand By Me and The Princess Bride.

The film asks a simple question: Can men and women be friends without sex getting in the way? Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan put the premise to the test as one of the snappiest, most electric movie couples in history. Harry and Sally meet in college and again years later, but not until their third meeting do they finally forge a friendship.

The pair form a bond not founded on sex or romance, but Harry runs scared when the relationship goes to the next level. The script by Nora Ephron originally had Harry and Sally going their separate ways, but Reiner changed his heart when he fell in love. Harry and Sally should have ended up together, and thanks to Rob Reiner, they did.