Romance
362 voters

The Best Movies About Forbidden Love

Updated July 22, 2020 3.3k votes 362 voters 24.4k views72 items

List RulesVote 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!

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  • Titanic1
    174
    53

    Titanic

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

    Released1997

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • Romeo + Juliet2
    118
    40

    Romeo + Juliet

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Rudd

    Released1996

    Directed byBaz Luhrmann

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  • The Notebook3
    125
    45

    The Notebook

    Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling

    Released2004

    Directed byNick Cassavetes

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  • Beauty and the Beast4
    108
    43

    Beauty and the Beast

    Angela Lansbury, Frank Welker

    Released1991

    Directed byGary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

    Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Edward Scissorhands5
    90
    35

    Edward Scissorhands

    Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder

    Released1990

    Directed byTim Burton

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  • Moulin Rouge!6
    74
    34

    Moulin Rouge!

    Nicole Kidman, Ozzy Osbourne

    Released2001

    Directed byBaz Luhrmann

    Moulin Rouge! is a 2001 Australian–American pastiche-jukebox musical film directed, produced,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • West Side Story7
    69
    34

    West Side Story

    Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno

    Released1961

    Directed byJerome Robbins, Robert Wise

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  • Romeo and Juliet8
    71
    41

    Romeo and Juliet

    Laurence Olivier, Michael York

    Released1968

    Directed byFranco Zeffirelli

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  • Suite Française9
    71
    46

    Suite Française

    Michelle Williams, Margot Robbie

    Released2014

    Directed bySaul Dibb

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  • The Duchess10
    52
    31

    The Duchess

    Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes

    Released2008

    Directed bySaul Dibb

    The Duchess is a 2008 British-American drama film directed by Saul Dibb. It is based on Amanda... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #4 of 22 The Best Period Movies Set in the 18th Century#9 of 23 Great Movies About Real Female Rulers

  • Brokeback Mountain11
    84
    71

    Brokeback Mountain

    Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal

    Released2005

    Directed byAng Lee

    Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American epic romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee. It is a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Exception12
    40
    24

    The Exception

    Lily James, Jai Courtney

    Released2016

    Directed byDavid Leveaux

    The Exception is a 2016 romantic war drama film directed by David Leveaux. It is about a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Bridges of Madison County13
    38
    26

    The Bridges of Madison County

    Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep

    Released1995

    Directed byClint Eastwood

    The Bridges of Madison County is a 1995 American romantic drama film based on the best-selling... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Tristan & Isolde14
    40
    28

    Tristan & Isolde

    James Franco, Henry Cavill

    Released2006

    Directed byKevin Reynolds

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  • Twilight15
    72
    67

    Twilight

    Kristen Stewart, Ashley Greene

    Released2008

    Directed byCatherine Hardwicke

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  • Anna Karenina16
    37
    27

    Anna Karenina

    Keira Knightley, Jude Law

    Released2012

    Directed byJoe Wright

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    #45 of 78 The Best Period Romance Movies#6 of 24 Great Period Movies Set in the 19th Century

  • The Thorn Birds17
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  • The Piano18
    25
    22

    The Piano

    Anna Paquin, Holly Hunter

    Released1993

    Directed byJane Campion

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  • The English Patient19
    31
    32

    The English Patient

    Willem Dafoe, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1996

    Directed byAnthony Minghella

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  • First Knight20
    20
    20

    First Knight

    Sean Connery, Richard Gere

    Released1995

    Directed byJerry Zucker

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  • Underworld21
    10
    7

    Underworld

    Kate Beckinsale, Michael Sheen

    Released2003

    Directed byLen Wiseman

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  • The Graduate22
    26
    30

    The Graduate

    Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft

    Released1967

    Directed byMike Nichols

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  • Closer23
    17
    21

    Closer

    Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts

    Released2004

    Directed byMike Nichols

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  • Never Let Me Go24
    19
    24

    Never Let Me Go

    Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan

    Released2010

    Directed byMark Romanek

    Never Let Me Go is a 2010 British dystopian science fiction drama film based on Kazuo... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Carol25
    23
    30

    Carol

    Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara

    Released2015

    Directed byTodd Haynes

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