Not too many people appreciate the bold and sweeping romantic movies of the past. So this Valentine's why not cuddle up with your significant other and watch one of these romantic classics.
1. La Dolce Vita 1959
Fellini really brings the sumptuous in this Italian delight. Shot in 1959 Rome, this is an energetic, visual festival of one man (Marcello Mastroianni) and his fascination with the perfect woman (Anita Exkberg) who stays forever out of reach.
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2. Pandora’s Box 1929
A silent German film from the twenties featuring the striking Louise Brooks. The film received perturbed reviews on its release—not least because of homosexual references and the representation of a woman’s raw sexuality—but because of the unique, stark style used. By the fifties the film was widely praised and has become a classic of German cinema.
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3. Doctor Zhivago 1965
The original film poster features the tag line, ‘love caught in the fire of revolution’ which helps summarise this romance drama from the mid sixties. If you haven’t seen Omar Sharif and Julie Christie smoulder through this, the eighth highest grossing film of all time, then do it. Set in WWI, our married lead falls for a political activist’s wife and struggles through the October revolution.
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4. Titanic 1953
No, not the one with the relentless ballad, but the 1953 original. A married couple’s problems pale in significance as the ship meets its fate (I wont give the ending away!) It is said this golden oldie is more moving than the 1997 version, but why not see for yourself.
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5. L’age D’or 1930
A film from surrealist duo, Salvador Dali and Luis Brunel that was commissioned as a follow up to the ground-breaking, cinema-changing Un Chien Andalou. One particular scene from L’age D’or was later imitated in Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, no less. This is a surreal film referencing Sade’s 100 Days of Sodom; not quite for those desiring a rom-com, although it is full of humour and passion.
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6. Desire 1936
Marlene Dietric smoulders as a villainous jewellery thief in this romantic drama from thirties Hollywood. She accidentally wins over her romantic lead, played by Gary Cooper, as a byproduct of her pearl stealing mission. Dietrich said Desire was ‘the only film [she] need not be ashamed of.’
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7. Taming of the Shrew 1967
Perhaps not strictly a romance, but can we ever forget the on screen chemistry of Burton and Taylor? Based on Shakespeare’s comedy, this is full of farce, sex and disguise. Worth it alone for the scene where our dynamic duo fall through that thatched roof.
8. La Ronde 1950
A string of love affairs unravel as one leads to another, on and on like a carousel - hence the cyclical title meaning ‘the round game’. This stylised French film was one of the few of its time to overtly address sex and sexuality. La Ronde received multiple Oscar nominations.
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9. Brief Encounter 1945
Next time you’re waiting for the 8:25am train to work and a piece of grit flies in your eye, don’t feel disheartened. Someone might just come to your aid and change your whole life. I have to say, the platform cafe I pass every morning isn’t the most romantic of locations, but this is the clandestine meet up spot-of-choice for the two adulterers in this classic drama. Will love conquer over the everyday?
10. The Apartment 1960
Whether you’re a Jack Lemmon fan or not, this American classic is bound to have you laughing. The plot was originally based on Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter and a real Hollywood affair scandal involving a producer, an actress and a gun. Despite its six Oscars, the film received mixed reviews and was dubbed ‘a dirty fairy tale’ by Saturday Review. Lemmon was allowed to improvise in this film, including that spaghetti-straining scene. This film has all the ingredients of a true and raucous rom com. So pour yourself a glass, kick back, “shut up and deal.”
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