13 Great Action Movies That Are Also Perfect Rom-Coms

List Rules
Vote up the best rom-coms masquerading as action movies.

Have you ever left an epic action extravaganza with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart? Then you may have been subject to a covert rom-com hiding in plain sight. What follows are just 13 examples among many instances where a perfect romantic comedy was smuggled within an action movie.

We will detail action flicks that are really, secretly romantic comedies at their core and/or double well as such, per the familiar structural tropes of that genre. Thus, romantic subplots showcase two characters fated to get together by the time the final credits roll. In the meantime, however, they have to face elaborate obstacles, plenty of misunderstandings and/or prevarications, and other hiccups en route to a happy ending.

Which secret rom-coms are your favorite? Vote up your choices below!


  • 1
    140 VOTES

    The Characters: Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a spy posing as a suspiciously ripped computer salesman, and his bored wife, Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis).

    The Meet-Cute: Our first introduction to Harry and Helen's currently strained relationship happens early on in the movie, when Harry's exciting double life keeps him from being available for a surprise birthday party being feted in his honor by Helen and their daughter Dana (Eliza Dushku).

    The Obstacle: Harry discovers that Helen has been lured in by Simon, a used car salesman masquerading as a spy to seduce lonely housewives (Bill Paxton). Harry discovers that Helen is bored with her domestic bliss.

    How They Wind Up Together: After Harry takes over for Simon, he sets up a faux mission for his wife, where she is supposed to seduce a powerful figure (Harry in disguise) for the good of diplomacy. Of course, soon Helen and Harry find themselves on the run in a very real spy mission, which brings them closer together than ever.

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  • The Characters: Alejandro Murrieta/Zorro (Antonio Banderas), a petty thief trained to replace original Zorro Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins), and Elena Montero (Catherine Zeta-Jones), adopted daughter of Zorro's enemy, crooked nobleman Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson) - and secretly the biological daughter of Don Diego de la Vega.

    The Meet-Cute: In a plot to take down Montero, Alejandro and Diego disguise themselves as a nobleman and his servant, respectively, and infiltrate his group. Alejandro impresses Elena at a house party.

    The Obstacle: Alejandro wants to thwart the man Elena believes to be her father and disrupt his crooked schemes. Elena naturally wants to defend her pops.

    How They Wind Up Together: Eventually, Elena realizes her actual birthright, and discovers her father's plot to buy California from General Santa Anna as an independent republic using gold mined (via slave labor) via Santa Anna's own land. Elena and Alejandro stop Don Montero and eventually marry and have a son.

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  • The Characters: Bored couple John (Brad Pitt) and Jane (Angelina Jolie), both covert spies working for rival agencies, unbeknownst to each other.

    The Meet-Cute: John and Jane kvetch about each other and a growing "distance" between them in couples therapy, revealing that they first met in Bogota, Colombia, while each was in hiding following a political assassination. We learn that the sexual spark has left their marriage... for now.

    The Obstacle: John and Jane soon find that they have been tasked with killing each other after failing to take out a federal prisoner.

    How They Wind Up Together: John and Jane destroy their exquisite suburban home in the name of killing each other, but when the moment of truth arrives, they are unable to go through with their assigned tasks. Instead, they rediscover the physical chemistry that has left their marriage, and team up to take down their bosses.

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  • 4
    131 VOTES

    The Characters: LAPD officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and bus passenger turned driver Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock).

    The Meet-Cute: Jack Traven is informed by deranged bomber Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) that a Los Angeles commuter bus has been rigged with explosives that will detonate if its pace dips below 50 miles per hour. Jack boards the bus in an effort to thwart Payne. After bus driver Sam (Hawthorne James), Annie's friend, is wounded, Annie is commissioned by Jack to replace him.

    The Obstacle: The obstacle and the meet-cute are essentially one and the same, as a hostage situation brings these incredibly attractive people together.

    How They Wind Up Together: Jack directs Annie to commandeer the bus while a SWAT team ultimately is able to extract and rescue most of its passengers successfully. They escape later, moments before the bus meets its final end. Annie is later abducted by a furious Payne, and after Jack defeats Payne and saves Annie during a death-defying train chase, they share a smooch. Sadly, their romance is not forever, as three years later Annie will have taken up with SWAT officer Alex Shaw (Jason Patric) for an ill-fated cruise.

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  • 5
    101 VOTES

    The Characters: US Navy pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise), an arrogant naval aviator obsessed with being "top gun," and his instructor, astrophysicist Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood (Kelly McGillis).

    The Meet-Cute: Maverick serenades Charlie in a bar near the elite flying academy TOPGUN in San Diego, employing the singing skills of his co-pilot Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) to the tune of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." The next day, Maverick discovers that Charlie is, in fact, his teacher at TOPGUN.

    The Obstacle: Charlie is resistant to starting a relationship with a student, especially one as hot-headed and self-assured as Maverick.

    How They Wind Up Together: After the just-graduated Maverick and his antagonistic colleague, Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer), heroically salvage a ship from encroaching enemy aircraft, Maverick subsequently celebrates at yet another local bar, where he finds Charlie. They smooch.

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  • 6
    65 VOTES

    The Characters: Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette), a prostitute on the run from abusive pimp Drexl Spivey (Gary Oldman), and Clarence Worley (Christian Slater), an Elvis and kung fu film fanatic.

    The Meet-Cute: Alabama seemingly picks up Drexl during a kung fu marathon at a run-down local theater in Detroit. After they sleep together, Alabama reveals she was hired as a "birthday gift" for Clarence, but they've fallen for each other and decide to wed.

    The Obstacle: Clarence kills Drexl and unwittingly steals a large bag of coke that he mistook for Alabama's clothing because he's not particularly bright (but, hey, he looks like Christian Slater). Soon, Clarence and Alabama are on the run to Hollywood, hoping to sell the powder to a Hollywood power player. Unfortunately, it turns out this is mob coke, and the mob wants it back.

    How They Wind Up Together: After an epic shootout, Clarence loses an eye (and, earlier in the movie, a dad) due to his drug theft, but he and Alabama survive to raise a child together.

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