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The Greatest Classic Romance Movies

Updated September 18, 2020 7.5k votes 1.0k voters 55.2k views75 items

List RulesVote up the very best romantic love story films that were made before 1970.

Who wouldn't swoon over a romantic tale of two people coming together against all odds to fall in love? These classic romances defined a beloved genre in cinematic storytelling. The best early romance movies feature A-list actors and actresses testing the notion that love conquers all. This is a list of the top old romantic films including everything from It Happened One Night to Bringing Up Baby to Rebecca.

What films will you find on this list of the best movie love stories? Casablanca is one of the most iconic films, let alone romances, ever made. Set amidst the turmoil of World War II, Casablanca sees Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) struggling to choose between the woman he loves and helping the resistance fight the Nazis. His Girl Friday is another movie released before 1950 featuring a timeless love story. Gone with the Wind is an epic tale of romance spanning the American Civil War. Other good films featured on this top early romantic movies list include The African Queen, The Red Shoes, and To Have and Have Not.

Do you have a favorite classic love story? Give the best movies a thumbs up and please add any good films that are missing.

  • 1


    Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart
    Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on...  more

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  • 2

    Gone with the Wind

    Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh
    Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret...  more

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  • 3

    It Happened One Night

    Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
    It Happened One Night is a 1934 American romantic comedy film with elements of screwball...  more

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  • 4


    Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock
    Rebecca is a 1940 American psychological thriller-drama film. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it...  more

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  • 5


    Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb
    Laura is a 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gene...  more

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  • 6

    An Affair to Remember

    Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr
    An Affair to Remember is a 1957 film starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, and directed by Leo...  more

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  • 7

    To Have and Have Not

    Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart
    To Have and Have Not is a 1944 American romance-adventure film directed by Howard Hawks, and...  more

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  • 8

    The Shop Around the Corner

    James Stewart, Frank Morgan
    The Shop Around the Corner is a 1940 American romantic comedy film produced and directed by...  more
  • 9


    Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant
    Notorious is a 1946 American spy thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock,...  more

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  • 10

    The Thin Man

    Myrna Loy, Cesar Romero
    The Thin Man is a 1934 American comedy-mystery film directed by W.S. Van Dyke and based on the...  more

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  • 11

    Now, Voyager

    Bette Davis, Claude Rains
    Now, Voyager is a 1942 American drama film starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, and Claude...  more

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  • 12

    His Girl Friday

    Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell
    His Girl Friday is a 1940 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, from an...  more

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  • 13

    Wuthering Heights

    Laurence Olivier, David Niven
    Wuthering Heights is a 1939 American black-and-white film directed by William Wyler and...  more

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  • 14

    My Fair Lady

    Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison
    My Fair Lady is a 1964 American musical film adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe stage musical...  more

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  • 15

    The Best Years of Our Lives

    Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright
    The Best Years of Our Lives is a 1946 American drama film directed by William Wyler and...  more

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  • 16

    Top Hat

    Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers
    Top Hat is a 1935 screwball musical comedy film in which Fred Astaire plays an American dancer...  more

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  • 17

    On the Town

    Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly
    On the Town is a 1949 musical film with music by Leonard Bernstein and Roger Edens and book...  more

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  • 18

    The Philadelphia Story

    Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant
    The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor,...  more

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  • 19

    My Man Godfrey

    Carole Lombard, Jane Wyman
    My Man Godfrey is a 1936 American comedy-drama film directed by Gregory La Cava. The...  more
  • 20

    Leave Her to Heaven

    Gene Tierney, Vincent Price
    Leave Her to Heaven is a 1945 American Technicolor film noir starring Gene Tierney, Cornel...  more
  • 21

    Roman Holiday

    Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck
    Roman Holiday is a 1953 American romantic comedy directed and produced by William Wyler. It...  more

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  • 22


    Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart
    Sabrina is a 1954 American romantic comedy film directed by Billy Wilder, adapted for the...  more

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  • 23

    San Francisco

    Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy
    San Francisco is a 1936 musical-drama directed by Woody Van Dyke, based on the April 18, 1906...  more

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  • 24

    A Letter to Three Wives

    Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain
    A Letter to Three Wives is a 1949 American romantic drama film which tells the story of a...  more
  • 25


    Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck
    Spellbound is a 1945 American psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred...  more

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