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!
Directed by: Kimberly PeirceBoys Don't Cry is a 1999 American independent romantic drama film directed by Kimberly Peirce and co-written by Andy Bienen. The film is a dramatization of the real-life story of Brandon Teena, a... more
Directed by: Mark RomanekNever Let Me Go is a 2010 British dystopian science fiction drama film based on Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Mark Romanek from a screenplay by Alex Garland.... more
Directed by: Hal AshbyHarold and Maude is a 1971 American romantic dark comedy directed by Hal Ashby and released by Paramount Pictures. It incorporates elements of dark humor and existentialist drama, with a plot that... more
- Jody added
Directed by: Taylor HackfordAgainst All Odds is a neo-noir 1984 film, a remake of Out of the Past. The film was directed by Taylor Hackford and features Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, and James Woods. Supporting players include... more
Directed by: Céline SciammaPortrait of a Lady on Fire (a.k.a. Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) is a 2019 French historical drama film directed by Céline Sciamma. A young female portrait painter (Noémie Merlant) disguises... more
Directed by: Richard EyreNotes on a Scandal is a 2006 British psychological thriller-drama film, adapted from the 2003 novel of the same name by Zoë Heller. The screenplay was written by Patrick Marber and the film was... more
Directed by: Jean-Jacques AnnaudThe 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
Directed by: Jeff NicholsLoving is a 2016 historical drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. It features Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court... more
Directed by: Craig GillespieLars and the Real Girl is a 2007 comedy-drama film directed by Craig Gillespie. A sweet but socially awkward young man (Ryan Gosling) develops a romantic yet platonic relationship with a doll.... more
Directed by: Mike NicholsCloser 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 Roberts,... more
Directed by: Wong Kar-waiIn the Mood for Love is a 2000 Hong Kong film directed by Wong Kar-wai, starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung. The film premiered on 20 May 2000, at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, where it was... more
Directed by: Tony GoldwynA Walk on the Moon is a 1999 drama film starring Diane Lane, Viggo Mortensen, Liev Schreiber and Anna Paquin. The movie, which was set against the backdrop of the Woodstock festival of 1969 and the... more
Directed by: Gregor JordanDirt Music is a 2020 romantic drama film directed by Gregor Jordan, based on the novel of the same name by Tim Winton. A poacher has an affair with a woman and is subsequently chased across Western... more
Directed by: Spike JonzeHer is a 2013 American romantic science fiction comedy-drama film written, directed, and produced by Spike Jonze. The film's musical score was composed by Arcade Fire, with the cinematography... more
Directed by: Todd FieldLittle Children is a 2006 American drama film directed by Todd Field. It is based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, who along with Field wrote the screenplay. It stars Kate Winslet,... more
Directed by: Rachel Lee GoldenbergValley 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 odds... more
Directed by: Douglas SirkAll That Heaven Allows is a 1955 romance feature film starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson in a tale about a well-to-do widow and a younger landscape designer falling in love. The screenplay was... more
Directed by: Victor Levin5 to 7 is an American feature film. The film stars Olivia Thirlby, Anton Yelchin, Bérénice Marlohe, Eric Stoltz, Glenn Close, Lambert Wilson, and Frank Langella, and was directed by Victor Levin.... more
Directed by: Juan Diego SolanasUpside Down is a 2012 Canadian-French romantic science fiction film written and directed by Juan Diego Solanas, starring Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst.... more
Directed by: Neil JordanThe End of the Affair is a 1999 drama film directed by Neil Jordan and starring Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea. The film is based on The End of the Affair, a 1951 novel by British... more
Directed by: Terence DaviesThe Deep Blue Sea is a 2011 British romantic drama film directed by Terence Davies and starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, and Simon Russell Beale. It is an adaptation of the 1952 Terence Rattigan... more
Directed by: Alfonso ArauLike Water for Chocolate is a 1992 film in the style of magical realism based on the popular novel, published in 1989 by first-time Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel. It earned all 11 Ariel awards of... more
Directed by: Wes AndersonMoonrise Kingdom is a 2012 American film directed by Wes Anderson, written by Anderson and Roman Coppola. Described as an "eccentric pubescent love story", it features newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara... more
Directed by: Guillermo ArriagaThe Burning Plain is a 2008/2009 drama film directed and written by Guillermo Arriaga, the screenwriter of Amores perros, 21 Grams, and Babel. The film stars Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, Kim... more
Directed by: Nikolaj ArcelA Royal Affair is a 2012 Danish romantic drama film directed by Nikolaj Arcel. A young queen (Alicia Vikander), who is married to an insane king (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard), falls secretly in love with... more