Romance The Best Movies About Forbidden Love  

Ranker Film
311 votes 32 voters 52 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, 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
17 2
Romeo + Juliet is listed (or ranked) 1 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
2
18 3
Titanic is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates
Titanic is a 1997 American epic romantic disaster drama film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of what happened to the RMS Titanic, it stars ...more
3
9 3
West Side Story is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
12 6
Brokeback Mountain is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
11 6
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
8 3
Edward Scissorhands is listed (or ranked) 6 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 and starring Johnny Depp. The film shows the story of an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished ...more
7
7 3
The Notebook is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
6 2
Tristan & Isolde is listed (or ranked) 8 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
9
6 2
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
7 4
Moulin Rouge! is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
3 2
Suite Française is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
4 4
The Duchess is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
2 3
Never Let Me Go is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield
Never 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 ...more
14
2 3
Anna Karenina is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
1 2
A Royal Affair is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikander, Harriet Walter
A Royal Affair is a 2012 romantic drama film written by Nikolaj Arcel, Rasmus Heisterberg and directed by Nikolaj Arcel.
16
0 1
Red Joan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Stephen Campbell Moore, Sophie Cookson, Tom Hughes
Red Joan is a 2018 British spy drama film directed by Trevor Nunn, based on the novel by Jennie Rooney and inspired by the life of Melita Norwood.
17
0 1
Rafiki is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Samantha Mugatsia, Sheila Munyiva, Neville Misati
Rafiki is a 2018 Kenyan drama film directed by Wanuri Kahiu. Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) are the daughters of two political rivals who fall in love amidst family and ...more
18
2 4
The Piano is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
1 3
28 Hotel Rooms is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Chris Messina, Marin Ireland, Robert Deamer
28 Hotel Rooms is a 2012 drama film written and directed by Matt Ross.
20
0 2
The Night Porter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Charlotte Rampling, Dirk Bogarde, Isa Miranda
The Night Porter is a controversial 1974 art film by Italian director Liliana Cavani, starring Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling featuring elements of Nazisploitation.
21
0 2
The Thorn Birds is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
0 2
The Burning Plain is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
0 2
The Name of the Rose is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Ron Perlman
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
24
0 2
Tess is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth, Lesley Dunlop
Tess is a 1979 romance film directed by Roman Polanski, an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's 1891 novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles. It tells the story of a strong-willed, young peasant girl who finds ...more
25
0 2
The Exception is listed (or ranked) 25 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