Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Just a little something to put you in the mood for Valentine's Day: 13 supremely romantic movie scenes that get to us every time.
"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: As Roberts tentatively reached for the necklace, Gere snapped the jewelry case shut just to make her laugh. Her reaction was so perfect they kept it in the movie.
"Summer of ’42" (1971)
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, kisses him and then 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.
"When Harry Met Sally..." (1989)
After years of being just friends (not counting a recent night they spent together that put the friendship in jeopardy), 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, "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."
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, Resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). "If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it," Rick says in the movie's famous final scene. "Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life." Hey, they'll always have Paris.
"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. 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.
"Romeo and Juliet" (1968)
For women who were in their 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 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 witnessed a murder. While fixing his car in a barn during his convalescence, the two dance in the headlights as the car radio plays Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World." It's an unforgettable romantic moment—and they never even kiss.
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 the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" swells on the soundtrack.
"The Graduate" (1967)
Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) and Elaine Robinson (Katherine Ross) are in love but seemingly doomed to remain apart. For starters, Elaine knows about Ben's illicit affair with her mother (Anne Bancroft). Oh, and she'd engaged to someone else. But 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—she in her wedding gown, he in a golf shirt and hooded jacket—to catch a city bus.
"On Golden Pond" (1981)
Retired 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. "Listen to me, mister," she tells him. "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...." Fun fact: The hat that Fonda wears in the film—a gift from Hepburn—originally belonged to Spencer Tracy.
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 sinking in the frigid water.
"An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982)
There's nothing more romantic than being swept off your feet by the man you love. Factory worker Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger) gets literally carried-away 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: Gere's role was originally offered to John Denver.
"From Here to Eternity" (1953)
Sergeant Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster) is having an affair with his commanding officer's wife, Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr). Their famous kiss on a secluded beach in Hawaii remains one of the most iconic romantic images in film history.
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