This unforgettable scene with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in "Pretty Woman" still gives us butterflies. In anticipation of Valentine's Day, here are 13 epic romantic moments throughout cinema history.
Summer of ’42 (1971)
Near the end of this coming-of-age film, Dorothy (Jennifer O'Neill), a beauty in her early 20s, learns by telegram that her husband has been killed in World War II. In this scene, 15-year-old Hermie (Gary Grimes) drops by her Nantucket beach house and finds Dorothy in tears. Needing to be comforted, she rests her head on Hermie's shoulder, slow-dances with him, then kisses the teenager and leads him to her bedroom. It's the last time they see each other, but Dorothy leaves Hermie a note—much like one that screenwriter Herman Raucher received in 1942 and has kept to this day.
Pretty Woman (1990)
The hooker with the heart of gold is a timeworn idea, but it works here thanks to the chemistry between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, which comes across as spontaneous and genuine. In fact, the famous necklace scene was improvised. Roberts wasn't feeling well, so to make her laugh, Gere snapped the jewelry case shut just as she was tentatively reaching for the necklace. Her reaction was so perfect they kept it in the movie.
When Harry Met Sally ... (1989)
After years of being just friends (not counting a recent and very awkward lovemaking encounter), Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) rushes to a New Year's Eve party to once and for all profess his love to Sally Albright (Meg Ryan). "I came here tonight," he tells her at the end of Rob Reiner's film, "because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." The character of Harry was based on Reiner, who had just gone through a divorce. Sally was partly based on screenwriter Nora Ephron.
You must remember this: Saloon keep turned patriot Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) tells the woman he loves, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), that she must board a plane to Lisbon with her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), the fugitive Resistance leader. "If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it," Rick tells Ilsa in the final moments of this classic. "Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life." In real life, neither Bogart nor Bergman had much use for Henreid, who called Bogart "a mediocre actor," while Bergman said Henreid was "a prima donna."
Lost in Translation (2003)
We can't hear what Bob (Bill Murray) whispers to Charlotte (Scarlett Johansen) as they embrace to say goodbye on a Tokyo street at the end of Sofia Coppola's film. But we don't have to. The middle-aged movie star and younger woman develop such a sweet and tender bond in their brief time together that we can feel their love for each other, and the deep sadness over saying farewell. Some audio geeks have since digitally enhanced Murray's ad-libbed dialogue, claiming he says, "I have to be leaving but I won't let that come between us, OK?"
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
For women who were in their early teens when the Franco Zeffirelli production came out, everything about this gorgeous movie was romantic, from the lush Nino Rota score to the beauty of its young stars, Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. But pick a moment we must, and so we choose the kiss on the balcony. Zeffirelli's take on the Shakespeare classic was the first to use actors close in age to the characters, though it was rumored that the director's first choice for the part of Romeo was Paul McCartney.
Detective John Book (Harrison Ford) has been shot and is being cared for by Rachel Lapp (Kelly McGillis), the widowed Amish woman whose son has witnessed a murder. While fixing his car in a barn during his convalescence, the two dance by headlight as the car radio plays Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World." Considering that they never even kiss, the two manage to pull off one of the most romantically charged moments on film that you'll ever, well, witness. The Amish of Pennsylvania, where the movie was filmed, called for a boycott, saying they were "overrun by tourists" due to the film's popularity.
The Graduate (1967)
Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) and Elaine Robinson (Katherine Ross) are in love but seemingly doomed to remain apart in Mike Nichols' classic. For starters, Elaine knows about Ben's illicit affair with her mother (Anne Bancroft). She is also getting married to someone else. In the end, young love triumphs. Ben gets to the church just in time to prevent Elaine from saying "I do," and the two run off to catch a city bus and find their way in life together. Fun fact: In 1968, the film's soundtrack knocked the Beatles' "White Album" off the top of the charts.
Early in this 1990 film, the beautiful young potter Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) is working at her wheel late at night because she can't sleep. Soon her lover Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) appears from behind Molly, kisses her and then places his hands on hers so that they are both working the clay together. The sensual claywork segues into lovemaking as "Unchained Melody" swells on the soundtrack.
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
There's nothing more romantic than being swept off your feet—literally—by the man you love. Factory worker Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger) gets the full carried-away treatment in this romantic drama when her boyfriend Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) turns up at her workplace and whisks her off to celebrate his becoming a Naval officer—in full dress whites, no less! Fun fact: John Denver had originally been cast as Zack. Sigourney Weaver, Anjelica Huston and Jennifer Jason Leigh were all offered the role of Paula before Winger.
James Cameron's adaptation of the ocean liner's sinking ends with two young lovers hanging onto debris in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. In this scene, when Rose (Kate Winslet) appears to be saying goodbye, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) insists, "Don't you do that. Not yet. You're gonna get out of here. You must promise me that you'll survive, that you won't give up." Jack kisses Rose's hand before succumbing to hypothermia and sinking in the frigid water.
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Sergeant Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster) is having an affair with his commanding officer's wife, Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr), in this 1953 war drama. Their famous kiss on a secluded beach in Hawaii, oblivious to the tide surging over them, remains perhaps the most iconic romantic image in movie history. The United States armed forces were reported to be none too pleased with the way the film depicted them, the Navy going so far as to ban its showing to servicemen.
On Golden Pond (1981)
Retired college professor Norman Thayer Jr. (Henry Fonda) feels his memory failing at the lakefront cabin that he shares with his wife Ethel (Katharine Hepburn). In this moving scene on the porch, Ethel tries her best to encourage Norman as he faces his mortality. "Listen to me, mister," she tells her 80-year-old husband. "You're my knight in shining armor. Don't you forget it. You're gonna get back up on that horse and I'm gonna be right behind you holding on tight and away we're gonna go, go, go." Fun fact: The hat that Fonda wears in the film—a gift from Hepburn—originally belonged to Spencer Tracy.
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