Romance

The Best Movies About Forbidden Love  

Ranker Film
1.1k votes 136 voters 8k views 60 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
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
2
Romeo + Juliet is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Rudd, Brian Dennehy
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
3
The Notebook is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner
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
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
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
5
West Side Story is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, John Astin
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
6
Suite Française is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Michelle Williams, Margot Robbie, Kristin Scott Thomas
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
7
Edward Scissorhands is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Vincent Price
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
8
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Laurence Olivier, Michael York, Olivia Hussey
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
9
Brokeback Mountain is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Mara
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
10
The Duchess is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Hayley Atwell
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
11
Moulin Rouge! is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Nicole Kidman, Ozzy Osbourne, Kylie Minogue
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
12
The Piano is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Anna Paquin, Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel
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
13
Twilight is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
DeborahTragasz added Kristen Stewart, Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick
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
14
The Exception is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Lily James, Jai Courtney, Janet McTeer
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
15
Anna Karenina is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Cara Delevingne
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
16
Tristan & Isolde is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
James Franco, Henry Cavill, Mark Strong
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
17
Carol is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson
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
18
The Bridges of Madison County is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Debra Monk
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
19
Closer is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Jude Law
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
20
A Walk on the Moon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Anna Paquin, Diane Lane, Viggo Mortensen
A 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 ...more
21
The English Patient is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Willem Dafoe, Ralph Fiennes, Colin Firth
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
22
First Knight is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Julia Ormond
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
23
The Thorn Birds is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
The Burning Plain is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger
The 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, ...more
25
The Graduate is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Richard Dreyfuss
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