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You know the one I’m talking about. The first. The one that made you say, “oh, so this is what everyone’s on about.” When she smiled, you wanted to laugh, and when she laughed, you wanted to laugh, too. That’s l’amour. Love, for you non-francophiles. Nothing like it in the world.

Romance movies aim to capture the highs of love found, the lows of love lost, and everything in between. They help us see that the elusive (feeling? emotion? noun?) happens to everyone — sometimes when we least expect it — and makes us do and say crazy things. They prove to us that we’re not alone; love shapes our lives, changing everyone it touches, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. We feel you, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. We know your pain.

Now, without further ado, grab some popcorn, sit back, and dim the lights. The show’s about to start.

Methodology: like our books piece, the selections for our Definitive Men’s Movie Collection represent our favorites, “considered in the light of how much they changed our lives, and might change yours.” If it makes you feel any better that your favorite flick didn’t make the cut, consider that one of our auditors, in a moment of weakness, tried to get Nick Cage’s Ghostrider on the docket. Taste is subjective, so take this for what it’s worth.

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eternal_sunshine_of_the_spotless_mind_ver4 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
If you loved someone but don’t remember, did you ever love them? In his best role, Jim Carrey plays a heartbroken boyfriend who decides to erase the memory of his recent ex because she did the same to him. At the last minute, he decides to change his mind, and must rectify his mistake before it’s too late.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
titanic_ver2_xlg Titanic
Near…far…wherever you are! Try and get that song (and Leo’s glorious hair) out of your head. Like Romeo and Juliet, you already know the story, but that doesn’t make the movie any less glorious.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
Gone With the Wind Gone With the Wind
A beautiful young woman tries to win her love against the backdrop of the Civil War. Great music, phenomenal acting and vast directorial vision make this a classic — not Casablanca classic, but pretty damn classic.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
sleepless_in_seattle Sleepless in Seattle
Everyone needs a son like Jonah Baldwin, who convinces his father (Tom Hanks) to call in to a radio-show on Christmas eve and spill out his heart about the death of his beloved wife. Among those who hears the broadcast is Annie Reed, who falls in love with him. It’s a chick flick, for sure, but it’s one of the better ones.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
amelie_ver1 Amélie
A charming young Frenchwoman dedicates her life to helping those around her and finds love along the way. It’s better if you know French, but subtitles are cool, too. Ooh la la!
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
You've Got Mail You’ve Got Mail
The stars of Sleepless in Seattle return in this romantic comedy about two business rivals who fall for each other online. Is that…is that Dave Chapelle?
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
west_side_story_xlg West Side Story
Romeo and Juliet, in New York City. The Jets, led by Riff, and the Sharks, led by Bernado, hate each other. But when Riff’s best friend meets Bernardo’s younger sister, sparks (and blades) fly. Cue the snaps.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
affair_to_remember An Affair to Remember
A rich playboy and a beautiful nightclub singer fall in love aboard a cruise and agree to reunite at the Empire State Building in six months. Too bad for them, they’re both engaged, and an unfortunate event keeps the singer from her promise. Will true love win out? (hint — probably)
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
ghost Ghost
Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore) are the kind of happy couple that makes singles want to puke. After Sam is killed in a botched mugging, he tries to communicate with Molly (through Whoopi Goldberg) as a ghost.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
brokeback_mountain_xlg Brokeback Mountain
This movie — about the homosexual relationship between two cowboys — will certainly turn off more traditional viewers. But the new millennium calls for a new (read: correct) definition of romance, and for the open-minded, this movie offers a realistic portrait of what it’s like to live and love in fear of societal pressure.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
singin_in_the_rain_xlg Singin’ in the Rain
An actress’s secret love for her on-screen partner becomes confounded when a new female singer arrives on the set. Menage à trois? Not in 1952.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
The-Philadelphia-Story-(1940) The Philadelphia Story
As Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord (Audrey Hepburn) prepares to marry her second husband, the first, Dexter Haven, shows up with a writer and photographer, intent on causing mischief.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
atonement Atonement
After the young Briony Talliss misinterprets an incident between her older sister and Robbie Turner, the son of a family servant, she falsely accuses Robbie of raping her cousin. It’s a bummer, but Atonement is based on a novel by Ian McEwan, so who’s surprised?
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
five_hundred_days_of_summer_xlg (500) Days of Summer
Trying to recover from a breakup with your soulmate? So is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This movie teaches us that life happens, it’ll happen again, and “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap is a really good song.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
say_anything_xlg Say Anything…
Lloyd Dobler, a.k.a. John Cusack (a.k.a. the man), wants to go out with the beautiful, intelligent Diane Court. Which is good for him, but it’s not going to happen as long as her overprotective father has anything to say about it. You remember that boombox scene from Night at the Roxbury? Yeah, we just put that together, too.
Amazon DVD / Netflix

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true_romance_ver1 True Romance
Marrying hookers, stealing cocaine, action, violence, Christian Slater, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Samuel L. Jackson, Tarantino…now that’s our kind of romance.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
roman_holiday_xlg Roman Holiday
Bored of her regimented schedule, Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) slips away from her guards to explore Rome. Unfortunately for her, she was forced to take a sedative, and soon it begins to take effect. She’s found sleeping on a bench by Joe Bradley, an American reporter, who takes her back to his place. Luckily, it’s the ’50s, so no one gets hurt.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
high_fidelity_ver7_xlg High Fidelity
Rob (John Cusack) likes lists, owns a record shop and can’t quite figure out what to do with his life. He meets Laura and still quite can’t figure things out. Watch it for the manic male view on love and Jack Black’s hilarious tirades.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
annie-hall Annie Hall
One of Woody Allen’s definitive treatises on love in New York City, the movie traces the collision of two neurotic Manhattanites and their ensuing and sometimes dysfunctional relationship.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
day_for_night Day for Night
We love Francois Truffaut, even if we can never remember how to get the cedilla under the c in his name on a Mac, or figure out how to describe this film. It’s about a film crew, sure, though we struggle to say more. Just watch it — you won’t regret it.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
 My Man Godfrey
During a scavenger hunt for wealthy socialites, Irene Bullock meets a hobo, Godfrey Parke, and gives him a job as a butler. Of course, Godfrey turns out to be someone much different than expected…
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
 It Happened One Night
Go back to 1934 for this story about a young woman who must accept the help of an ambitious reporter in order to get back to her husband. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
my-night-at-mauds-movie-poster-1969-1010541189 My Night at Maud’s
The fourth of Eric Rohmer’s incredible Six Moral Tales tells the story of a devout Catholic who tries to remain faithful to his ideals against the advances of the charming and worldly Maud. What do the French know about love? Uh, maybe everything.
Amazon DVD / Netflix / iTunes
breakfast_at_tiffanys Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Based on the book by Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s tells the story of Holly Golightly, a New York socialite who becomes interested in the writer that moves into her apartment building, and inspired a great single by Deep Blue Something.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
the-artist-holiday-movie-poster1 The Artist
A chance meeting with silent movie star George Valentin jumpstarts Peppy Miller’s career at the same time that George’s is taking a turn for the worse. It’s a movie from a past generation…wait. It was made in 2011?
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
some_like_it_hot Some Like it Hot
Two musicians witness a mob hit and disguise themselves as women to hide in an all-female band. It’s a great idea until one of the musicians falls for Marilyn Monroe, who’s also in the band. Hilarity (and romance) ensue.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix
before_sunset Before Sunset
The second of Linklater’s trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight), this story takes place nine years after Jesse and Celine spend a day together in Vienna. We won’t say more about the plot, but rest assured it resonates.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
sideways Sideways
Before Thomas Haden Church gets married, he and his friend Paul Giamatti go on a tour of California’s wine country. Sometimes, when it comes to love, it helps to see what NOT to do.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
garden_state_xlg Garden State
A depressed young man (Zach Braff) returns to his quiet New Jersey town for his mother’s funeral. There he meets a beautiful young girl (Nathalie Portman) and starts taking control of his life. Speaking of love, do you want to get married, Nathalie Portman?
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
harold_and_maude_ver3_xlg Harold and Maude
Poor Harold isn’t like other children. While they’re outside playing in the yard, he’s staging his own death or attending funerals. When he meets the elderly Maude, he learns a thing or two about life from her infectious joie de vivre. Admittedly one of the strangest love stories ever told, and not just for the sex scene.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes

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romeo_and_juliet_1968 Romeo and Juliet (1968)
A tale as old as time that’s not Beauty and the Beast. Of the many film adaptations of this classic love story that have come out over the years, the passion burns strongest in this one.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
sixteen_candles_ver1 16 Candles
As DiCaprio is for Nolan, so is Ringwald for Hughes. This classic coming of age story tells the tale of Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald), a 16-year-old girl who everyone seems to forget. Shoutout to Anthony Michael Hall for his performance as “The Geek”.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
Bull-Durham-movie-poster Bull Durham
Susan Sarandon plays Annie Savoy, a groupie to a minor-league baseball team who becomes involved in a love triangle between the team’s hot-shot rookie pitcher and his mentor, a veteran catcher. If you like baseball, this one’s for you.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix
african_queen_xlg The African Queen
After Reverend Samuel Thayer is killed by German imperial troops, his sister, Rose Sayer, vows revenge. She enlists the help of Charlie Allnut, grumpy boat captain, for an impossible mission: destroy the Louisa, a German warship.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
cyrano-de-bergerac-movie-poster-1950-1020495596 Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
Based on a play of the same name by Edmond Rostand, Cyrano tells the story of a tragically ugly man and his faithfulness to the woman he loves. You don’t need to have felt a woman’s scorn to appreciate this one, though it certainly helps.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix
the-lady-eve-movie-poster-1941-1020197188 The Lady Eve
Henry Fonda plays a socially awkward millionaire wooed by a female con-artist. When he realizes the ruse, he dumps her. In an attempt at revenge, she adopts the guise of an English gentlewoman, Lady Eve Sidwich, and toys with his emotions. Of course, she also loves him, and that complicates things.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
Beauty and the beast Beauty and the Beast
It’s a tale as old as time about a tail as cranky as hell who begrudgingly goes after some tail as cute as a button. Also, talking candlesticks.
Amazon DVD / Netflix
my_best_friends_wedding My Best Friend’s Wedding
She’s in love with her best friend, but he’s gonna get married even though they made a pact in college to get hitched to each other if they’re both unwed at a certain point in time. So she gets a gay guy to be her date and they go to the wedding and oy vey does everything go haywire.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
love_story_xlg Love Story
Where shall we begin to tell the story of…this movie? Two young folks decide that love is more important than everything else in life and commit through the worst of it. And it gets quite bad. But nobody’s sorry.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
pretty_in_pink_xlg Pretty in Pink
One of John Hughes’s enduring Brat Pack films, this one follows a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who jumps head first into love for the first time. And by love, we mean the prom. Obviously.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
what-dreams-may-come-movie-poster-1999-1020475868 What Dreams May Come
Does love end when we die? What would you endure to bring someone you loved to salvation? Robin Williams takes a dramatic turn in a film that grapples with life, love, death, life after death and love after death in the most imaginatively gorgeous way.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
AS-GOOD-AS-IT-GETS As Good as it Gets
Melvin Udall is a terrible person, Carol Connelly is a single mother with a sick son and Simon Bishop is a gay artist down on his luck. But love moves in mysterious ways and, in the end, makes us all want to be better men.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
when_harry_met_sally_ver2_xlg When Harry Met Sally
Can men and women be friends without sex getting in the way? Possibly. But what about when love gets in the way? And what about when the friend and/or woman fakes an orgasm so impressively?
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
casablanca_ver4_xlg Casablanca
Love finds a way. In all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world it finds a way. In the face of impossible odds, war and white dinner jackets, it finds a way. This is one of the best films of all time for a reason. The start of a beautiful genre.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
Love_Actually_movie Love Actually
Everyone’s got their favorite storyline. Regardless of which one you pick — bumbling Hugh Grant, grief-stricken Liam Neeson, puppy love, love from afar, forbidden desires, continent-spanning love, etc. — this is (sort of) how love actually is. It’s funny, it’s difficult and it can seem impossible — like an eight-year-old playing the drums really, really well.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
10 things I hate about you 10 Things I Hate About You
A modern sendup of the Bard’s Taming of the Shrew, this flick features breakout roles by a young Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. Never will you see a more charming rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”.
Amazon DVD / Netflix / iTunes
The-notebook The Notebook
We know. But it’s an archetype. And it’s not so schlocky as much as it is overdramatic. We forgive it because it’s a good reminder that love is powerful and sometimes it wins in the end.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
four_weddings_and_a_funeral_ver2 Four Weddings and a Funeral
It absolutely sucks watching someone you love get engaged and married, but it’s absolutely delightful watching someone with hair as good as Hugh Grant’s watch someone he loves get engaged and married — especially good for those of us who are of a certain age when time can be measured in the weddings we attend.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
manhattan Manhattan
Falling in love with his best friend’s mistress isn’t the most depraved thing Woody Allen has ever done, but this film is certainly one of the best. It’s both a terrific love story and a gorgeous love letter to its namesake city.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
meet_joe_black_ver2 Meet Joe Black
Wouldn’t you know that even when he’s inhabiting Brad Pitt’s body, Death doesn’t quite fully grasp the concept of love. In order to live a little longer, Anthony Hopkins agrees to serve as an earthly tour guide for Death, who goes all gaga for Hopkins’ daughter, Claire Forlani (who doesn’t?). There are decisions to be made.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes

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