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The Best Movies About Forbidden Love

Updated July 22, 2020 2.8k votes 302 voters 20.9k 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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  • 1
    Titanic is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    145
    45

    Titanic

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

    Released1997

    Directed byJames Cameron

    Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 2
    The Notebook is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    106
    35

    The Notebook

    Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling

    Released2004

    Directed byNick Cassavetes

    The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 3
    Romeo + Juliet is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    100
    33

    Romeo + Juliet

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Rudd

    Released1996

    Directed byBaz Luhrmann

    Romeo + Juliet is a 1996 American romantic drama film adaptation of William Shakespeare's... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 4
    Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    86
    38

    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
  • 5
    Edward Scissorhands is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    73
    31

    Edward Scissorhands

    Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder

    Released1990

    Directed byTim Burton

    Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 American romantic dark fantasy film directed by Tim Burton. An... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 6
    West Side Story is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    60
    28

    West Side Story

    Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno

    Released1961

    Directed byJerome Robbins, Robert Wise

    West Side Story is a 1961 American romantic musical drama film directed by Robert Wise and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 7
    Moulin Rouge! is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    60
    28

    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
  • 8
    Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    67
    35

    Romeo and Juliet

    Laurence Olivier, Michael York

    Released1968

    Directed byFranco Zeffirelli

    Romeo and Juliet is a 1968 British-Italian romance film based on the tragic play of the same... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 9
    Suite Française is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    57
    33

    Suite Française

    Michelle Williams, Margot Robbie

    Released2014

    Directed bySaul Dibb

    Suite Française is a 2015 romantic World War II drama film directed by Saul Dibb and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 10
    The Duchess is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    44
    25

    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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  • 11
    Brokeback Mountain is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    72
    58

    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

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  • 12
    Twilight is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    63
    53

    Twilight

    Kristen Stewart, Ashley Greene

    Released2008

    Directed byCatherine Hardwicke

    Twilight is a 2008 American vampire romance film based on Stephenie Meyer's popular novel of... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 13
    The Bridges of Madison County is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    34
    22

    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
  • 14
    The Exception is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    30
    20

    The Exception

    Lily James, Jai Courtney

    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
  • 15
    Tristan & Isolde is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    30
    24

    Tristan & Isolde

    James Franco, Henry Cavill

    Released2006

    Directed byKevin Reynolds

    Tristan & Isolde is a 2006 epic romantic drama film based on the medieval romantic legend of... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 16
    The Piano is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    24
    17

    The Piano

    Anna Paquin, Holly Hunter

    Released1993

    Directed byJane Campion

    The Piano is a 1993 romantic drama film about a mute female piano player and her daughter. Set... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 17
    Anna Karenina is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    25
    24

    Anna Karenina

    Keira Knightley, Jude Law

    Released2012

    Directed byJoe Wright

    Anna Karenina is a 2012 British epic romantic drama film directed by Joe Wright. Adapted by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 18
    The English Patient is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    27
    28

    The English Patient

    Willem Dafoe, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1996

    Directed byAnthony Minghella

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  • 19
    The Thorn Birds is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
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  • 20
    Carol is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    21
    24

    Carol

    Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara

    Released2015

    Directed byTodd Haynes

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  • 21
    First Knight is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    14
    16

    First Knight

    Sean Connery, Richard Gere

    Released1995

    Directed byJerry Zucker

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  • 22
    Closer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    15
    16

    Closer

    Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts

    Released2004

    Directed byMike Nichols

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  • 23
    All That Heaven Allows is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    15
    18

    All That Heaven Allows

    Rock Hudson, Jane Wyman

    Released1955

    Directed byDouglas Sirk

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  • 24
    Never Let Me Go is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    16
    20

    Never Let Me Go

    Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan

    Released2010

    Directed byMark Romanek

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  • 25
    Romeo Must Die is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Forbidden Love
    4
    2

    Romeo Must Die

    Grace Park, Aaliyah

    Released2000

    Directed byAndrzej Bartkowiak

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