The Best Romance Movies of All Time, According to the Data

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Romance is one of the most common plot lines in movies. In some films the central narrative revolves around a complicated relationship between two characters. In others it’s a side plot where the action hero gets the girl of his dreams after defeating the bad guys. Occasionally, films manage to be ostensibly about an entirely different topic but are truly romances at their core. “Good Will Hunting” is about a janitor who’s secretly a genius, his life rapidly changing once his talents are discovered by a university professor. However, along the way he meets someone special and must decide what’s most important to him.

Just about everyone enjoys when movies end happily, with the main characters madly in love and living peacefully. However, many of the most endearing romance tales involve heartbreak and tragedy. “Romeo and Juliet” may just be the most famous story in the world and it’s hard to imagine it would be so enduringly popular if it ended with the star-crossed lovers living happily ever after. And the best romance movie of all time, according to the data, examines how painful love can be, and how it can push them to make seemingly illogical decisions. That movie, of course, is “Casablanca.” (These are the greatest love stories in movie history.)

Other great romance films approach the subject differently. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” goes on a mind-bending adventure. “Sherlock, Jr.” follows deadpan comic Buster Keaton into a dream about winning over his crush. “Roman Holiday” tells the story of an unlikely romance between a crown princess and a reporter. Romance movies have captivated audiences over the decades, excelling at the box office and becoming some of the highest grossing films of all time.

To determine the best romance movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of mid-March 2022, weighting all ratings equally. Only films with at least 25,000 reviews on IMDb, 5,000 audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and 10 Tomatometer critics’ reviews were considered. In the case of a tie, the film with more audience reviews on either IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes was ranked higher. Information on directors and cast comes from IMDb.

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