Do You Believe in Magic
When you think about it, it's all kinds of shallow—two good-looking people lock eyes across a crowded room and are instantly smitten. To hell with inner beauty! Then they spend the rest of the movie overcoming a series of plot twists and scheming friends before they either live happily ever after, or die (beautifully) in each other's arms. Here, 12 classic cases of Love at First Sight.
West Side Story (1961)
They're just two kids hanging out at the gym social when Tony and Maria spot each other across the sweaty room, and they're so gobsmacked by love that the screen literally goes fuzzy. As everyone else dances out of focus, the star-crossed lovers sway toward each other with dreamy looks in their eyes. This story ends with a slightly lower body count than its inspiration, "Romeo and Juliet," but let's just say there's no happily ever after.
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
When that Montague kid crashes the Capulet family's party, he's wearing a mask so he doesn't get thrown out on his iambic butt. But then he spots the lovely Juliet, and all bets are off. As he watches her dance, he says, "She doth teach the torches to burn bright! … Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night," setting the bar pretty darn high for teenage love poems for the next few centuries.
Valley Girl (1983)
"That chick Julie, she's truly dazzling." Yep, that's the early-'80s update of "She doth teach the torches to burn bright," spoken by Nicolas Cage's punk-Romeo Randy in this high-school rom-com classic. Sticking with that plotline of meeting at a dance, Randy and Julie first make googly eyes at each other across a living room in the Valley as big-haired girls dance with popped-collar preppies.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Adorable little Mary is madly in love with George Bailey from the moment she first spots him scooping ice cream behind the counter at Gower's drugstore. Never mind that he calls her "brainless" and brags that he's going to have a harem when he grows up, with three or four wives. It takes George another decade or so to catch on that the cutie with the big bow in her hair is the only wife he needs.
Forrest Gump (1994)
In another classic film with children falling in love at first sight, little Forrest knows that Jenny is the carrot to his peas the first time he sees her on the school bus. Though she is the picture of angelic blond sweetness, he really falls for her because she's the first person who's nice to him. All together now: Awwwww.
The Godfather (1972)
Michael Corleone is just strolling through the beautiful Sicilian countryside when he spots the raven-haired Apollonia, looking like a Greek goddess of the harvest. As he stares in disbelief, his compadre Fabrizio says it best: "I think you just got hit with the thunderbolt." But as Apollinia soon finds out, marrying into the Corleone clan is definitely not the path to happily ever after.
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Well, who wouldn't fall head over heels in love with Zooey Deschanel at her most adorkable? Especially if she sings along to your headphones on the elevator and tells you she, too, loves the Smiths. Tom falls so goofily in love with Summer that he performs a choreographed number to "You Make My Dreams Come True" complete with dancing pedestrians and marching band. Unfortunately, Summer does not believe in love of any kind.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
What would a Disney musical be without some over-the-top, fairy-tale love? When Ariel first spots Eric goofing around with his doggy aboard a ship, her oversized Disney eyes grow even bigger: A human man! With legs! Instead of fins! (And who knows what else is under those pants!)
Mean Girls (2004)
When Aaron Samuels first turns around in math class, bats his big brown eyes and asks Cady to borrow a pencil, love hits her "like a big yellow school bus." Too bad he's deemed off-limits as the ex-boyfriend of the Queen of the Plastics, Regina George. This crush begets one of the most-quoted movie lines by teenage girls: "And on October 3rd, he asked me what day it was. 'It's October 3rd.'" Trust us, it's funnier in context.
Before Sunrise (1995)
When la belle fillefrançaise Julie Delpy sits down next to American dude Ethan Hawke on a train from Budapest to Vienna, his heart goes BOOM. Though he falls in love with her at that first bonjour, it takes three movies over 18 years to unravel their complicated love story.
Taxi Driver (1976)
We never said love at first sight had to be reciprocated to be legendary. Robert De Niro's Travis Bickle spots Cybill Shepherd's Betsy walking down the street in slow-mo in a white dress (of course), and says, "She appeared like an angel, out of this filthy mass." She's actually charmed by him, until he decides to take this angel to a porn theater for their first date.
Come on, you couldn't expect us to do a love-at-first-sight roundup without the weepiest of all romances, could you? Kate Winslet's Rose is practically bathed in a golden halo as she wanders across the upper deck, right into the sightline of Leo DiCaprio's Jack. "You're as likely to have angels fly out your arse as get near the likes of her," a friend helpfully informs him. But when you've got a villainous boyfriend played by Billy Zane, working-class Jack looks mighty fine.
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