The Most Romantic Movie Scenes In History

Some films just have it: that one scene that you can watch over and over again until you have it memorized, but you still burst into tears whenever you revisit it. So when you need a good, cathartic cry, all you have to do is pull up your favorite scene on YouTube, and boom, cue the waterworks. It doesn't matter if the movie was made last week, or over half a century ago — the moments are timeless, forever occupying a special and sentimental space in celluloid history.

To that end, we decided to compile some of the most romantic, sob inducing, and memorable scenes in all of film history. And while it's hard to narrow down the field given how many great movies tug directly at our fragile heartstrings, here's a tenderly curated sample of the top contenders. So grab a tissue and gird yourself: here are some of the most romantic movie scenes in history.

Casablanca and an unforgettable line

It's only right to start with one of the most legendary movies of all time: Casablanca. Released in 1942, the film stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as Rick and Ilsa, former lovers who unexpectedly run into each other at Rick's night club in Casablanca, Morocco during World War II. Rick is an American expat who's still deeply in love with Ilsa — and it's clear that the feelings are mutual. But in the end, however, he lets her go and helps her and her husband escape to America in an iconic, tear-jerker of a scene. Just before they part forever, Rick utters the now-legendary line, "Here's looking at you, kid." Who's sobbing now?

Although their chemistry on screen is utterly incredible, rumor has it that Bogart and Bergman didn't really like each other on set. But according to Bogart's son Stephen, that's not quite the truth. "I don't think they didn't get along, but I think there was a very professional atmosphere," he said in an interview with The Telegraph. "They respected each other's work." That work was clearly good, because the film endures to this day.

A smoldering proposal in Jane Eyre

Orson Welles is best known for his masterpiece Citizen Kane. But the Hollywood icon also shone in the 1943 Gothic romance Jane Eyre, in which he stars as Edward opposite Joan Fontaine in the titular role. Welles plays Edward as only he could, with a mysterious aura and a wild streak. So by the time he and Jane finally reveal their feelings in the proposal scene, after the tension has been simmering on a slow boil, you can't help but shriek for the bride and groom to be. Top it off with a strike of lightning, and you have one of the most unique proposal scenes in all of cinema. And though the wedding is interrupted, they find each other once again in the end. Sigh.

Welles did more than play the romantic lead in the film, according to The AV Club. In fact, he was also an uncredited producer, and was likely responsible for some of the low-angle shots he's famous for. But it's his smoldering good looks and brooding temperament that make the film so romantic. He's dreamy, ladies.

When the dancing gets dirty in Dirty Dancing

One of the sexiest movies of the 1980s — and surprisingly, one of the most woke — is Dirty Dancing, which stars Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze as the two romantic leads. Set on a resort in the Catskills, the film introduces viewers to Baby, a young burgeoning scholar from a well-off family, and Johnny, the resort's impoverished-yet-alluring dance instructor. After Johnny's dance partner has to bow out, Baby volunteers to step in — and of course, falls in love with her sexy-yet-vulnerable teacher. And when she finally reveals her true feelings to him in an unforgettable scene, fireworks shoot off in every direction.

The chemistry between Grey and Swayze is off the charts, which is part of the film's lasting success. And Swayze, who had legit dance experience, spent a lot of time on set showing Grey the ropes, resulting in the magical dance scenes in the film. "I think Jennifer, at that time and still, is one of the most gifted actresses around in terms of her ability to be present, in the moment, right now," he shared in a 2009 interview with AFI. Amen to that!

Today is tomorrow in Groundhog Day

What if you had to relive the same day over and over again until you finally got it right — and make the woman of your dreams fall in love with you within a mere 24 hours? That was the premise for the 1993 rom-com Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray as Phil, a weatherman, and Andie MacDowell as Rita, a news producer. Viewers were swept along for the ride on Phil's existential time loop, sharing in everything from his endless frustrations, his run-ins with quirky former classmates, and, of course, his courtship of the gentle and kind Rita. So by the end the film when he wakes up and it's finally tomorrow — with Rita by his side — you can't help but share in the joy.

MacDowell shone in the role of Rita because of her beauty and authenticity. "The way I go about comedy is to try and be a real character," she shared with The Wrap. "The reason I was funny was because I was honest; I was purely honest." Opposite Murray, it was a match made in... Punxsutawney.

An erotic art session in Titanic

It's impossible to discuss romantic movies without mentioning the box office juggernaut Titanic, which had everyone bawling when it was released in 1997. It stars both Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in their prime as Jack and Rose, who come from two very different worlds. But before the doomed lovers meet their inevitable fate, we're treated to scenes both passionate and tender, such as Jack teaching Rose to fly on the bow of the ship, and a super hot love scene in a steamy automobile. But nothing compares to the scene wherein Rose asks Jack to "draw me like one of your French girls." You can't help but hold your breath as he sketches her in all of her beauty. And those eyes of his!

Winslet knew she had to have the role immediately. "I closed the script, wept floods of tears and said, 'Right, I've absolutely got to be a part of this,'" she revealed in Rolling Stone. And she implored DiCaprio to sign on too, at his hotel room at the Cannes Film Festival. The rest is history.

The ending of 50 First Dates

50 First Dates debuted in theaters in 2004, starring Adam Sandler as Henry and Drew Barrymore as Lucy. Initially, Henry isn't interested in commitment, as he's happy living his player lifestyle. But after he meets Lucy at the Hukilau Café, he's smitten — even after he learns she loses her short-term memories every night due to an accident, and doesn't remember him the next day. But after a number of romantic encounters, Henry realizes he's fallen in love, and is determined to find a way to make it work. So at the very end of the film, when Lucy wakes up on a boat unsure of where she is, she finds a VHS tape that chronicles her entire life up to that point. It's then that she realizes she's on his boat with the man of her dreams. We're not crying, you are.

Barrymore was smitten with the concept of the film out of the gate. "I love the idea of someone trying to make someone fall in love with them every day," she shared with Snapsnap. We do too, Drew!

Ennis with Jack's shirt in Brokeback Mountain

In 2005, Brokeback Mountain mesmerized audiences with its devastatingly romantic and utterly heartbreaking plot. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack, a charismatic rodeo cowboy, and Heath Ledger as Ennis, an intense and brooding ranch hand. The couple fall in love while herding sheep on the sweepingly picturesque Brokeback Mountain, but can never share their romance with a homophobic world — so for decades, they steal away in secret so they can be together. And while Jack sadly meets an untimely end at the hands of bigoted gay bashers, their love endures beyond his death. In the unforgettable final scenes, Ennis recovers their shirts entwined together from Jack's childhood home, and keeps them close so he'll always remember their love.

For Ledger, Ennis was the perfect role, a decade in the making. So even though he was a bit nervous to take the part, he knew it was the right move. "It was a perfect script, and Ang Lee was the perfect director," he shared with Rolling Stone. Truly, the film was as groundbreaking as it was heartbreaking.

The most tear-jerking montage ever in Up

Pixar blew everyone's minds in 2009 with the release of Up, an animated film about a widower who goes on an unexpected journey. But before Carl's house is swept away, attached to a plethora of balloons, Pixar managed to have viewers in tears — within the first five minutes of the film. That's because the opening montage that chronicles Carl's relationship with his beloved Ellie shows an entire marriage in images — including their struggles with infertility and Ellie's early death to illness. After that, there wasn't a dry eye in the theater. We can't even think about it without tearing up.

That brilliant montage almost didn't make it into the film intact, according to director Pete Docter. "We got some notes from people in the studio that thought that the moment where they couldn't have kids was going too far," he revealed to Yahoo! Movies. But after trying a version without that scene, Docter knew they had to keep it as he knew it gave people an important emotional connection to the film. And of course, he was right. 

Soaked for good in The Shape of Water

The premise of the 2017 Academy Award winner for Best Picture sounds a little, well, weird at the outset: in the 1960s, a mute woman who works at a government facility falls in love with a captive, amphibious-human creature — and rescues him.

Once you watch the film, though, you can't help but be dazzled by the unconventional romance as it plays out in front of you. In fact, the chemistry between Sally Hawkins, who plays Elisa, and Doug Jones, who plays Amphibian Man, is palpable from the second they meet. By the time they're embracing in the bathtub, you're in love too. And the ending, wherein Elisa is made amphibious so she can be with her love forever, is nothing short of magical.

Hawkins credits Jones for fueling the romantic spark between the lovers. "This relationship wouldn't work without Doug, and the incredible heart that sings out under this rubber suit, soaked through with water, weighing a ton," she mused in an interview with Deadline. And the heart of the film? "It's love, which, like water, can cut through rock," she continued. Truly stunning, all around.