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Are These the 9 Most Romantic Movies of All Time?

Read on and see if you agree.

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photo collage of romantic movies to watch
Eleanor Shakespeare
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When I was growing up, my parents never placed limitations on the books or movies I chose. I don’t know if that was from trust or neglect, but I spent inordinate amounts of time reading under a blanket with a flashlight after their designated “lights out”, or sitting in front of the television watching old movies.

And usually, the books and movies were love stories.

The 1950s being the 1950s, I was taught early on that the most important job I’d have in life was finding a husband. Love stories were a guide on how to flirt, kiss and bat my eyes. But along the way, through all my forays into the world of romance, I picked up some other pointers.

Cinderella
Sweet Cinderella, stuck in her attic, would have never made it to that ball or nailed ol’ Prince Charming if it weren’t for help from her network of friends. Network at the office. Network in your life. Count on your friends. Reach out to them in times of need. Even if they're only mice and chipmunks.


Gone with the Wind
Scarlett, Scarlett, Scarlett. Why are you wasting years pining over Ashley Wilkes when anyone north or south of the Mason-Dixon line can see your real love is Rhett Butler, who’s far more suited for you? The lesson: If a potential love interest is not interested — or available — move on. You should never have to convince someone you’re worth loving. Ashley’s loss. Clark Gable’s gain. Until he, too, didn’t give a damn.


The Thorn Birds
Almost 40 years before Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her Hot Priest, Thorn Birds heroine Meggie (played by Rachel Ward in the 1983 mini-series) and Priest Richard Chamberlain — do it. But the future Dr. Kildare chooses ambition over love and nine months later doesn’t notice that Meggie’s son is, uh … his.

Now a Cardinal, he loves the son, especially when Junior also joins the church. The young man dies in a drowning accident and that’s when Meggie decides to spill the beans. He was your son, too! At this point, Cardinal Kildare keels over, dying from a heart attack soon after the funeral.

I learned it’s important to not wait until the last minute to tell someone Big News. Life’s too short to miss out on savoring what you can.


Love Story
I loved this story even though, not once, are we told why Jenny (Ali McGraw) is dying. I guess in 1970 it was taboo to use the word cancer. But if you're dying of “a terminal illness” — don't lie in bed exchanging quips with Ryan O’Neal or your significant other ... ring for the nurse! There’s a time for talk. And a time for action. Don’t confuse them.


Ghost
After seeing Patrick Swayze’s arms encircling Demi Moore and her clay, this 1990 movie made me want to take up pottery. Patrick gets murdered and communicates to Demi through a psychic who happens to be Whoopi Goldberg. Demi starts kissing Patrick all hot and heavy — but she’s actually kissing Whoopi.

Which is kinda a big difference. Lesson learned: Keep your eyes open when you choose who you kiss in life.


Titanic
Leo and Kate. Jack and Rose. That annoying iceberg. At the end of the 1997 movie, centenarian Rose is standing on the stern of a boat searching for the sunken Titanic. She reaches into her pocket and tosses a 56-carat blue diamond overboard. Everybody’s been on the hunt for this big honking diamond but — surprise! surprise! — Rose has been hoarding it for 80 years.

I learned the importance of thinking twice before you make a dramatic gesture. Hey, Rose! On second thought, how about selling that bauble and building a few hospitals or schools? This insight spared me from ever storming out of an upsetting office meeting crying out: “I quit!” only to then realize … my rent was due. Thanks to Rose, I thought twice.

 
The Time Traveler's Wife
Hero Henry (Eric Bana in the 2009 movie) has a rare genetic disorder (so rare it’s totally fictional) that causes him to jump around from the past to the future. But fate and love keep landing him with Rachel McAdams, his past, future, whenever-it-was wife.

Obviously, marriage has its challenges, but as I learned, if you can be flexible with your schedule and go with the flow, you may get to marry an Eric Bana.


Dirty Dancing
Patrick Swayze again. (Sigh.) Self-esteem matters. Stand up for yourself. This is the lesson in this 1987 film. And it's greatly appreciated.


Bridges of Madison County
There’s more to do with a kitchen table than serving lunch … which is made clear in this 1995 movie.

After making my list I asked my husband, Randy, what was his favorite love story, and what did he learn from it. He immediately said Bell, Book and Candle released in 1958.

I said, "That’s because of Kim Novak’s pointy bra under that tight sweater.”

“No,” he said. “I liked the plot. It’s about having to give up being a witch if she marries Jimmy Stewart.”

Beyond my Psych 101 class in college, I’m no psychology expert, but I considered his response worthy of deep analysis. Was he worried I was a witch? Whatever lessons Randy learned about love growing up and my own lessons that led him to me — well, I’m grateful that they did.

Thank you, Cinderella. And thank you, Kim Novak.

 
Which of the above nine great love stories is YOUR favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

Collage photo credits: Gone with the Wind: Bettmann/Getty Images; Love Story: FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images; Cinderella: Mary Evans/WALT DISNEY/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection; Dirty Dancing: Vestron Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection; Time Traveler’s Wife: Alan Markfield/New Line Cinema/courtesy Everett Collection; The thorn Birds: ABC Photo Archives/Disney/Getty Images; The Bridges of Madison County: Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection; Titanic: 20th Century Fox Film Corp/Courtesy Everett Collection; Ghost: CBS/Getty Images

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