Valentine’s Day 2014: Great Love Stories in Film

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and there are so many great romantic movies you could – and should! – watch. Here are fourteen titles (by fourteen directors) to help you better celebrate February 14.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940, dir. Ernst Lubitsch) – Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart star in this Budapest-set classic, which was later updated as In the Good Old Summertime (1949) and You’ve Got Mail (1998).

The Lady Eve (1941, dir. Preston Sturges) – The gold standard for romantic comedies, in which con woman Barbara Stanwyck swindles her way into millionaire Henry Fonda’s heart.

The More the Merrier (1943, dir. George Stevens) – World War II causes a housing shortage in Washington, D.C., allowing Jean Arthur and her tenant, Joel McCrea, to get cozy.

“I Know Where I’m Going!” (1945, dirs. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger) – Perhaps my favorite Powell & Pressburger venture (maybe tied with A Matter of Life and Death), Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey find themselves drawn to each other in the foggy atmosphere of the Scottish Isles.

Love in the Afternoon (1957, dir. Billy Wilder) – I could just as easily have chosen Wilder’s The Apartment, Sabrina or The Major and the Minor, but I have a soft spot for this Parisian romance starring Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper (the latter of whom is not miscast, despite what critics often say).

Bells Are Ringing (1960, dir. Vincente Minnelli) – Judy Holliday was in a class of her own, paired here with the equally peerless Dean Martin for this ebullient and underrated musical.

Lover Come Back (1961, dir. Delbert Mann) – Mann proved he was skilled with his debut, Marty (1955), but this Doris Day/Rock Hudson collaboration might be even greater, boasting a script by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning that’s still sharp after more than half a century.

They Might Be Giants (1971, dir. Anthony Harvey) – Most famous for providing the band’s name, George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward are delightful in their respective roles as a man who believes he is Sherlock Holmes and a psychiatrist named (of course) Dr. Watson.

Gregory’s Girl (1981, dir. Bill Forsyth) – Rightly considered one of the crown jewels of Scottish filmmaking, this is a must-see coming-of-age comedy with an especially sweet performance by John Gordon Sinclair.

Say Anything… (1989, dir. Cameron Crowe) – With its top-notch cast and flawless screenplay, Crowe gave John Cusack and Ione Skye wonderful characters to work with.

Out of Sight (1998, dir. Steven Soderbergh) – George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez prove the “opposites attract” tagline true, making Elmore Leonard’s story into one of the coolest, sexiest films of the 90s.

Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005, dir. Miranda July) – July and costar John Hawkes are revelatory in this unique look at relationships in the modern world.

Beginners (2010, dir. Mike Mills) РEwan McGregor and M̩lanie Laurent portray the ups and downs of a growing relationship with humor, warmth and pathos.

Damsels in Distress (2011, dir. Whit Stillman) – Armed with memorable dialogue and the new “Sambola” dance craze, Greta Gerwig and Adam Brody make a winning couple.


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