Romance

The Best Movies About Forbidden Love 

Ranker Film
Updated June 15, 2020 1.7k votes 259 voters 17.1k views 71 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite films about couples kept apart by forces out of their control.

What is it about forbidden love movies? Why are they so engrossing and why do they seem to strike a chord across all cultures and periods of history?

Perhaps it's because we can identify with that kind of yearning, even if we don't have those restrictions in our own lives. We've all wanted something we can't have, whether that's a partner, a promotion, or even a different kind of life. Desire like that leads to fantasy, and what is a movie but a fantasy at 24 frames per second? Here the greatest films about forbidden love, doomed affairs, failed flings, lovers on the run, and star-crossed romances.

The best forbidden love movies, whether they're old or recent, transport us to a world of romance and drama. No wonder so many of them are period pieces or take place in exotic locales. Remember, even the Italian setting of Romeo and Juliet would have been exotic to Shakespeare's audience.

So close the blinds, light a candle and pick out a bottle of your most decadent and luxurious wine. Vote for your favorite movies with forbidden love and don't forget to add anything we've missed!

list ordered by
1
Titanic is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates

Released: 1997

Directed by: James Cameron

Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat (Kate Winslet) falls in love with a kind but poor artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) ...more

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2
The Notebook is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner

Released: 2004

Directed by: Nick Cassavetes

The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a ...more

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3
Romeo + Juliet is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Rudd, Brian Dennehy

Released: 1996

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann

Romeo + Juliet is a 1996 American romantic drama film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It was directed by Baz Luhrmann. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in ...more

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#178 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #450 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #28 of 321 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

4
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Angela Lansbury, Frank Welker, Jerry Orbach

Released: 1991

Directed by: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 30th film in the Walt Disney ...more

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#105 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #6 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Edward Scissorhands is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Vincent Price

Released: 1990

Directed by: Tim Burton

Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 American romantic dark fantasy film directed by Tim Burton. An artificial man (Johnny Depp), who was incompletely constructed and has scissors for hands, leads a ...more

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6
Moulin Rouge! is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Nicole Kidman, Ozzy Osbourne, Kylie Minogue

Released: 2001

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann

Moulin Rouge! is a 2001 Australian–American pastiche-jukebox musical film directed, produced, and co-written by Baz Luhrmann. It tells the story of a young English poet/writer, Christian, who ...more

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7
Brokeback Mountain is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Mara

Released: 2005

Directed by: Ang Lee

Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American epic romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee. It is a film adaptation of the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx; the screenplay was written ...more

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#295 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #775 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
West Side Story is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, John Astin

Released: 1961

Directed by: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

West Side Story is a 1961 American romantic musical drama film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn ...more

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9
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Laurence Olivier, Michael York, Olivia Hussey

Released: 1968

Directed by: Franco Zeffirelli

Romeo and Juliet is a 1968 British-Italian romance film based on the tragic play of the same name by William Shakespeare. The film was directed and co-written by Franco Zeffirelli, and stars ...more

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10
Twilight is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
DeborahTragasz added Kristen Stewart, Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick

Released: 2008

Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke

Twilight is a 2008 American vampire romance film based on Stephenie Meyer's popular novel of the same name. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the film stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. ...more

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11
Suite Française ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Michelle Williams, Margot Robbie, Kristin Scott Thomas

Released: 2014

Directed by: Saul Dibb

Suite Française is a 2015 romantic World War II drama film directed by Saul Dibb and co-written with Matt Charman. It is based on Irène Némirovsky's 2004 novel of the same ...more

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12
The Duchess is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Hayley Atwell

Released: 2008

Directed by: Saul Dibb

The Duchess is a 2008 British-American drama film directed by Saul Dibb. It is based on Amanda Foreman's biography of the 18th-century English aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of ...more

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#7 of 23 Great Movies About Real Female Rulers #61 of 78 The Best Period Romance Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
The Exception is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
The Exception Lily James, Jai Courtney, Janet McTeer

Directed by: David Leveaux

The Exception is a 2016 romantic war drama film directed by David Leveaux. It is about a German officer and a Dutch spy, each tasked to watch the former German Kaiser Wilhelm II, who fall in
14
The Bridges of Madison C... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Debra Monk

Released: 1995

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

The Bridges of Madison County is a 1995 American romantic drama film based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Robert James Waller. It was produced by Amblin Entertainment and Malpaso ...more

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15
The Piano is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Anna Paquin, Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel

Released: 1993

Directed by: Jane Campion

The Piano is a 1993 romantic drama film about a mute female piano player and her daughter. Set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier backwater on the west coast of New Zealand, ...more

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16
Tristan & Isolde is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
James Franco, Henry Cavill, Mark Strong

Released: 2006

Directed by: Kevin Reynolds

Tristan & Isolde is a 2006 epic romantic drama film based on the medieval romantic legend of Tristan and Isolde. It was produced by Ridley Scott and Tony Scott, directed by Kevin Reynolds ...more

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17
Anna Karenina is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Cara Delevingne

Released: 2012

Directed by: Joe Wright

Anna Karenina is a 2012 British epic romantic drama film directed by Joe Wright. Adapted by Tom Stoppard from Leo Tolstoy's 1877 novel of the same name, the film depicts the tragedy of Russian ...more

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#64 of 78 The Best Period Romance Movies #6 of 24 Great Period Movies Set in the 19th Century #21 of 49 The Best Jude Law Movies

18
The Thorn Birds is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
The Thorn Birds is a television mini-series broadcast on ABC between 27 and 30 March 1983. It starred Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Jean Simmons, ...more

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19
The English Patient is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Willem Dafoe, Ralph Fiennes, Colin Firth

Released: 1996

Directed by: Anthony Minghella

The English Patient is a 1996 romantic drama directed by Anthony Minghella from his own script based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ondaatje and produced by Saul Zaentz. The film was ...more

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#198 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #159 of 222 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
Carol is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson

Released: 2015

Directed by: Todd Haynes

Carol is a 2015 British-American romantic drama film directed by Todd Haynes, based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. In 1950s New York, aspiring photographer Therese Belivet ...more

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21
First Knight is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Julia Ormond

Released: 1995

Directed by: Jerry Zucker

First Knight is a 1995 medieval film based on Arthurian legend, directed by Jerry Zucker. It stars Richard Gere as Lancelot, Julia Ormond as Guinevere, Sean Connery as King Arthur and Ben Cross ...more

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22
The Graduate is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Richard Dreyfuss

Released: 1967

Directed by: Mike Nichols

The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols. It is based on the 1963 novel The Graduate by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams ...more

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23
Closer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Jude Law

Released: 2004

Directed by: Mike Nichols

Closer is a 2004 romantic drama film written by Patrick Marber, based on his award-winning 1997 play of the same name. The movie was produced and directed by Mike Nichols and stars Julia ...more

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24
Valley Girl is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Jessica Rothe, Josh Whitehouse, Mae Whitman

Released: 2020

Directed by: Rachel Lee Goldenberg

Valley Girl is a 2020 American jukebox musical romantic comedy film directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg, it is a remake of the 1983 movie of the same name. Set primarily in the '80s, against all ...more

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25
The Name of the Rose is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Ron Perlman

Released: 1986

Directed by: Jean-Jacques Annaud

The Name of the Rose is a 1986 film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, based on the book of the same name by Umberto Eco. Sean Connery is the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and Christian ...more

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