Entertainment

The Greatest Classic Romance Movies  

Ranker Film
5.8k votes 816 voters 39k views 66 items

List Rules Vote 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.

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26
San Francisco is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Jeanette MacDonald
San Francisco is a 1936 musical-drama directed by Woody Van Dyke, based on the April 18, 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The film, which was the top grossing movie of that year, stars Clark ...more
27
Love Affair is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Maria Ouspenskaya
Love Affair is a 1939 American romantic film starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer and featuring Maria Ouspenskaya. It was directed by Leo McCarey and written by Delmer Daves and Donald Ogden ...more
28
Camille is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, Joan Leslie
Camille is an American romantic drama film directed by George Cukor and produced by Irving Thalberg and Bernard H. Hyman, from a screenplay by James Hilton, Zoë Akins and Frances Marion. ...more
29
Anna Karenina is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Greta Garbo, Basil Rathbone, Maureen O'Sullivan
Anna Karenina is a 1935 film adaptation of the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and directed by Clarence Brown. The film stars Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Basil Rathbone and Maureen ...more
30
That Hamilton Woman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Sara Allgood
That Hamilton Woman, is a 1941 black-and-white historical film drama, produced and directed by Alexander Korda for his American company during his exile in the United States. Set during the ...more
31
The Rains Came is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power, Joseph Schildkraut
The Rains Came is a 1939 20th Century Fox film based on an American novel by Louis Bromfield. A remake of the film was released in 1955 under the name The Rains of Ranchipur. The film was ...more
32
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, Lionel Stander
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is a 1936 American screwball comedy film directed by Frank Capra, starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in her first featured role. Based on the 1935 short story Opera Hat ...more
33
Till the End of Time is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Lucy Hall added Robert Mitchum, Dorothy McGuire, Guy Madison
Till the End of Time is a 1946 drama film directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Dorothy McGuire, Guy Madison, Robert Mitchum, and Bill Williams. Released the same year as but preceding the ...more
34
The Postman Always Rings Twice is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Lana Turner, Hume Cronyn, John Garfield
The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1946 drama-film noir based on the 1934 novel of the same name by James M. Cain. This adaptation of the novel features Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil ...more
35
The Awful Truth is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
lidingo19 added Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy
The Awful Truth is a 1937 screwball comedy film starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. The plot concerns the machinations of a soon-to-be-divorced couple, played by Dunne and Grant, who go to ...more
36
Waterloo Bridge is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor, C. Aubrey Smith
Waterloo Bridge is a 1940 remake of the 1931 American drama film also called Waterloo Bridge, adapted from the 1930 play Waterloo Bridge. In an extended flashback narration, it recounts the ...more
37
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Norma Shearer, Basil Rathbone, John Barrymore
Romeo and Juliet is a 1936 American film adapted from the play by Shakespeare, directed by George Cukor from a screenplay by Talbot Jennings. The film stars Leslie Howard as Romeo and Norma ...more
38
Fire Over England is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey
Fire Over England is a 1937 London Film Productions film drama, notable for providing the first pairing of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. It was directed by William K. Howard and written by ...more
39
The Red Shoes is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Anton Walbrook, Robert Helpmann, Esmond Knight
The Red Shoes is a British feature film about a ballet dancer, written, directed and produced by the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, known collectively as The Archers. The movie ...more
40
The Philadelphia Story is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart
The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor, starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart and featuring Ruth Hussey. Based on the ...more
41
Four Daughters is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Claude Rains, John Garfield, Frank McHugh
Four Daughters is a 1938 musical drama film that tells the story of a happy musical family whose lives and loves are disrupted by the arrival of a cynical young composer who interjects himself ...more
42
City Lights is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Tito2 added Charlie Chaplin, Jean Harlow, Virginia Cherrill
City Lights is a 1931 American romantic comedy film written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin. The story follows the misadventures of Chaplin's Tramp as he falls in love with a blind ...more
43
Random Harvest is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Greer Garson, Ronald Colman, Reginald Owen
Random Harvest is a 1942 film based on the 1941 James Hilton novel of the same name, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Claudine West, George Froeschel and Arthur Wimperis adapted the novel for the ...more
44
My Favorite Brunette is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Peter Lorre, Dorothy Lamour, Lon Chaney
My Favorite Brunette is a 1947 American romantic comedy film directed by Elliott Nugent and starring Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. Written by Edmund Beloin and Jack Rose, the film is about a baby ...more
45
Jezebel is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Margaret Lindsay
Jezebel is a 1938 American romantic drama film released and directed by William Wyler. It stars Bette Davis and Henry Fonda, supported by George Brent, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Crisp, Richard ...more
46
Cleopatra is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Martin Landau
Cleopatra is a 1963 epic historical drama film chronicling the struggles of Cleopatra VII, the young Queen of Egypt, to resist the imperial ambitions of Rome. It was directed by Joseph L. ...more
47
Barefoot in the Park is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Doris Roberts
Barefoot in the Park is a 1967 American comedy film. The film stars Jane Fonda as Corie and Robert Redford as Paul. Based on Neil Simon's 1963 play of the same title, it focuses on newlyweds ...more
48
Test Pilot is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy
Test Pilot is a 1938 film directed by Victor Fleming, starring Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy, and featuring Lionel Barrymore. The film tells the story of a daredevil test pilot, his ...more
49
Jules and Jim is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Michel Subor
Jules and Jim is a 1962 French film directed by François Truffaut. Set around the time of World War I, it describes a tragic love triangle involving French Bohemian Jim, his shy Austrian ...more
50
The Letter is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Classic Romance Movies
dad&jill3 added Bette Davis, Gale Sondergaard, Herbert Marshall
The Letter is a 1940 American film noir directed by William Wyler, and starring Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall and James Stephenson. The screenplay by Howard E. Koch is based on the 1927 play of ...more