Happy Valentine’s Day! If you want to celebrate the holiday of love by watching some romantic movies, we can help you pick the one (or ones, if you want to make it a long night) to watch. Our list of the best romantic movies to watch right now includes sexy, swoonworthy dramas that are available to watch on Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon, and more. Whether it’s an epic love story for the ages, a tragic tale of star-crossed lovers that will have you reaching for a box of Kleenex, or a silly but sexy guilty pleasure, this list is chockfull of movies that will sweep you off your feet.
Our list includes Best Picture-winning classics like Gone with the Wind and Titanic, indie hits like Call Me By Your Name and Bright Star, and bad but entertaining movies like Fifty Shades of Grey and After We Collided. If you love love, you’ll love this list.
Looking for the best movies to watch on Valentine’s Day? Or the most romantic movies to watch on Netflix? We also recommendations for Netflix (movies/shows), Amazon Prime Video (movies/shows), Hulu (movies/shows), Disney+ (movies/shows), HBO Max (movies/shows), Apple TV+, and Peacock.
This gorgeous period drama from director Jane Campion — who is probably going to win an armful of Oscars this year for her movie The Power of the Dog — is about the 19th century poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his romance with Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), for whom he wrote many of his most beautiful poems. The story is a tragedy (if you know anything about Keats, you know why), but it’s a moving exploration of passion, loss, and the artistic spirit, with Campion’s signature painterly cinematography.
This gorgeously shot, emotionally poignant Black romance drama from writer-director Stella Meghie is powered by the movie star chemistry of LaKeith Stanfield and Issa Rae. Every time Stanfield looks at Rae, your heart will flutter. The story unfolds over two timelines. In the past, aspiring photographer Christina (Chanté Adams) has an intense but short-lived relationship with a man named Isaac (Y’lan Noel). In the present, Christina’s daughter Mae (Rae) has a similar relationship with a journalist named Michael (Stanfield). Will she repeat her mother’s mistakes, or will she let love take hold of her whole heart? You’ll love watching her figure it out.
Titanic is one of the highest-grossing, most-lauded, widely beloved movies of all time because it’s the complete revelation of what blockbuster Hollywood filmmaking can be. It has passionate, doomed romance between beautiful young people Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet), life-or-death struggles on the most epic scale imaginable as the world’s biggest ship sinks, and historical scope, all delivered with top-of-the-line production value and visionary director James Cameron’s obsessive attention to detail. It’s an Old Hollywood epic for modern times. There aren’t a lot of movies that capture the heart and the imagination like Titanic, which is why it always provokes big feelings, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
Beauty and the Beast
Emma Watson and Dan Stevens star in this billion-dollar remake of Disney’s animated classic. Beauty and the Beast tells the tale as old as time of the prince who was turned into a beast by an enchantress and has to learn to love and be loved before the curse becomes permanent and his domestic servants change from anthropomorphic household items into inanimate ones. Enter Belle (Watson), a young woman from the local village who dreams of having a less ordinary life and love. The remake is very faithful to the original, to the point of being somewhat redundant. But it is an interesting exercise in repurposing nostalgia for the original and combining it with echoes of Harry Potter and Frozen (in the casting of Emma Watson and Josh Gad, respectively) into a fantastical love story for a new generation of fairytale romantics.
Call Me By Your Name
Director Luca Guadagnino’s coming-of-age romance film is a wise and emotionally resonant depiction of first love and first heartbreak. Call Me By Your Name turned Timothée Chalamet into Hollywood’s most delicate heartthrob and the third-youngest Best Actor Oscar nominee. He stars as Elio, an Italian teenager who falls in love with Oliver (Armie Hammer), an American graduate student who is staying with his family for the summer of 1983. Their romance is brief, but it’s powerful and formative for Elio. The film is beautiful thematically — Elio’s father’s (Michael Stuhlbarg) monologue advising Elio to allow himself to feel his feelings is unforgettable — and visually, as Guadagnino’s camera takes in the stunning Italian scenery. Screenwriter James Ivory won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his devastating script. It’s one of the best movies of the 2010s.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Director Barry Jenkins followed up his Best Picture-winning breakthrough Moonlight with this aching James Baldwin adaptation set in 1970s New York. Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) are young and in love and have their whole lives ahead of them, but then Fonny is framed by a racist policeman for a crime he didn’t commit and sent to jail. While Fonny awaits trail, Tish and her family work to clear his name. It’s a gorgeously shot, intimately observed romantic drama about commitment and perseverance. Regina King won an Oscar for her performance as Tish’s mother Sharon.
If you want to watch a romance movie that will make you bawl your eyes out every time you watch it, queue up The Notebook, the beloved Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. The 2004 film is about the courtship of Allie (McAdams), a rich heiress, and Noah (Gosling), a poor lumber factory worker, in 1940s South Carolina. They fall hopelessly in love, are separated by war and circumstance, break up, and get back together, all in a melodramatic style that would be unbearably schmaltzy were it not for Gosling and McAdams’ chemistry. And the ending is so poignant it’s hard to even describe it without getting a lump in your throat.
Pride and Prejudice
Before he was Tom Wambsgans on Succession, Matthew Macfadyen was the sullen but soulful Mr. Darcy to Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Bennet in this lively 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel. Lizzie is an independent-minded young woman who is under pressure to marry a rich man to preserve her family’s standing. At first she doesn’t like the cool-tempered Darcy, but after a while, she comes to realize they’re perfect for each other. There have been many adaptations of Pride and Prejudice over the years. This is probably the most fun, thanks to Joe Wright’s clever direction that skirts the stuffiness of period pieces while still being true to the form.
This classic World War II romance drama turns 80 this year, and it’s lost none of its power. Humphrey Bogart — a No. 1 seed in the “coolest movie star” tournament — stars as Rick Blaine, a jaded American nightclub owner in the titular Moroccan city. Rick used to be a freedom fighter, but having his heart broken turned him cynical. Into his humble gin joint walks Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), the woman who broke his heart. She’s come to Rick for help getting her and her husband, Czech Resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), to safety in America. Rick has to decide whether to do what’s right or let his bitterness get the better of him. Casablanca is a timeless tale of star-crossed love and self-sacrificing courage that’s probably the best Best Picture winner in Oscar history.
Romeo + Juliet
Director Baz Lurhman’s stylish modern retelling of Shakespeare’s most romantic play is a defining ’90s film. Young Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes are the original star-crossed lovers, who in this version are members of warring mafia families. The bard’s dialogue is retained, and the updates are aesthetic — and what an aesthetic it is, with the brightest Hawaiian shirts ever captured on film. It’s gorgeous to look at. And it has one of the best soundtracks of the ’90s, with original songs from Radiohead and Everclear, as well as the Cardigans’ disco-pop classic “Lovefool.” Romeo + Juliet is the perfect mash-up of old and new (and at this point more than 25 years after it came out, the “new” is pretty nostalgic, too).
After We Collided
Critics hate the After franchise, which are cheesy adaptations of novels that began as fan fiction about Harry Styles, but horny audiences love it enough that they keep making them. After We Collided is the second installment in the tetralogy that started with 2019’s After (the third, most recent chapter, After We Fell, recently arrived on Netflix, and the fourth, After Every Happy, is in the works). The franchise is basically a young adult Fifty Shades of Grey (more on that one later), charting the tumultuous relationship of Tessa (Josephine Langford) and Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin). In After We Collided, Tess and Hardin are broken up, and Tessa starts a fling with her coworker Trevor (Dylan Sprouse), which makes Hardin toxically jealous. An interesting thing about this movie is that the leads are relatives of more famous people — Katherine Langford, Cole Sprouse, and Ralph and Joseph Fiennes. If you want a movie that’s pure, uncut guilty pleasure romance that will give you feelings in your heart and other places while leaving your brain untouched, check this one out.
Fifty Shades of Grey
The infamous movie based on E.L. James’ even more infamous erotic novel. Timid college student Ana Steele (Dakota Johnson) meets young billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and they strike up a psychologically and sexually intense affair. Christian is into BDSM and really not into traditional relationships, and Ana has to figure out if she wants him enough to agree to the terms of his contract. He’s a businessman, so he loves contracts. No one thinks this is a good movie, but everyone knows it’s a sexy movie, and if that’s what you’re looking for this Valentine’s Day, this will get you fifty shades of red.
The Fault in Our Stars
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort have Pfizer-level chemistry in this tragic romance film based on a bestselling young adult novel by John Green. Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old with cancer who goes to a support group and meets Gus Waters (Elgort), whose bone cancer is in remission. They bond, but she’s resistant to let herself fall in love with him, as she believes she’s going to die soon. But he loves her so much that his lust for life begins to wear off on her. If you haven’t seen it, you can probably guess how it ends just from that description. But knowing how it ends won’t make you cry any less when it happens.
A Walk to Remember
It’s hard to believe that this coming-of-age romance tearjerker movie is 20 years old this year, but it is. Mandy Moore was 17 when it came out, and now she’s been on This Is Us for six years. As a wise man once said, “the years start coming and they don’t stop coming.” Anyway, this is another Nicholas Sparks adaptation. It’s a high school romance about an unexpected relationship that develops between a rebellious popular kid Landon (Shane West) and an uncool preacher’s daughter Jamie (Moore). It starts like a typical, if unusually chaste, teen romance, but then Jamie reveals the tragic secret that makes this into a romance movie people born between 1982 and 1992 will always… remember.
Gone with the Wind
Its whitewashed depiction of slavery is wrong and indefensible, but Gone with the Wind remains an important piece of American cultural history. Adjusted for inflation, it’s still the highest-grossing movie ever made. The Civil War and Reconstruction-era epic tells the story of Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) and her yearslong love triangle with Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), the man she desires, and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), the man who’s there for her, as well as her attempts to hold on to the Southern way of life. No matter how you feel about its politics, it’s hard to not get swept up in its passionate splendor while you’re watching it.
The Big Sick
Kumail Nanjiani co-wrote and stars in this semi-autobiographical dramedy about Kumail, a Pakistani American aspiring comedian who falls in love with a white woman named Emily (Zoe Kazan). He keeps their relationship secret from his parents, who are trying to arrange a marriage for him. Emily breaks up with him after he tells her he’s not sure if they have a future. Shortly after that, Emily gets super sick and is put into a medically induced coma. He has to serve as Emily’s emergency medical contact until Emily’s parents (Ray Romano and Holly Hunter) get there. When they do, he gets close to them, and they help him figure out what he really wants out of life. But when Emily comes out of her coma, they’re still broken up. The story has a happy ending – Nanjiani is still married to his co-writer, Emily V. Gordon, the real-life Emily, and they were nominated for an Oscar for their script. It’s a remarkable romantic true story that keeps over-sentimentality to a minimum.