25 Best Love Stories

The Unexpected Love Stories collection (see the article), released on 15 July, features four unique love stories of: voluptuous carnal love in Laurent Bouhnik’s Q - Desire; a surrealist orgy in Yann Gonzalez's You and the Night; a budding desire between scientist and patient during an experiment in Vanishing Waves by Kristina Buozyte; and finally, a shattered marriage in Ferenc Török's Isztambul - leading to the beginning of a crisis that eventually culminates in Istanbul.

The following list is a collection of classics and newbies: the 25 Best Love Stories.

Blue is the Warmest Colour by Abdellatif Kechiche (2013)

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Despite being so recent, it is already a classic when it comes to bringing Adèle’s discovery of love, desire, Emma and herself to screen. Among other awards, it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2013. 

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1974)

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A love – as unforeseen as it is prejudged by society – between a German woman in her mid-sixties and a 25-year old Moroccan migrant worker. In 1974, Fassbinder won the Jury Award in Cannes for this work, which is, by now, widely renowned.

Amélie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2001)

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Sweet and innocent Amélie lends a hand wherever she can in this dreamlike, colourful world of Paris, the city of love. The magnificent creation for the screen was honoured with an Oscar nomination in 2002, the European Film Award in 2001 and the Crystal Globe at Karlovy Vary in 2001.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg by Jacques Demy (1964)

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This musical stars a young Catherine Deneuve, whose lover is conscripted for the Algerian War, leaving her behind - and pregnant.  This Cannes 1964 Palme d’Or winner follows the lives of the two lovers once major decisions have been made.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Michel Gondry (2004)

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In this sci-fi romance, a couple decides to erase their memories of each other after a fight… yet they meet again. This story of love and memory won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2005.

Run Lola Run by Tom Tykwer (1998)

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Lola has 20 minutes to save her boyfriend: small-time criminal Manni, who forgot 100,000 Deutsche Marks belonging to his boss on the train. The film, featuring three alternate versions of Lola’s running sequences, received the Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival 1999, among other honours.

Four Weddings and a Funeral by Mike Newell (1994)

TOP_four-weddings-and-a-funeral_wtw Starring Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell, this very British rom-com follows socially awkward Charles over the course of four weddings and a funeral where he repeatedly bumps into Carrie, an American. The film received the BAFTA Best Film Award in 1995, making it an unexpected success.

Jules and Jim by François Truffaut (1962)

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Set during World War I, Truffaut cast Jeanne Moreau as the lead woman in this love triangle involving two friends, Jules and Jim. The adaptation from Henri-Pierre Roché’s novel was nominated for a BAFTA award in 1963 and is now widely-acclaimed as a classic.

Beauty and the Beast by Jean Cocteau (1946)

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Cocteau’s take on this famous fairy tale had its premiere at Cannes in 1946 and has been highly influential ever since (read the article on adaptations and the interviews with the latest Beauty and the Beast-cast Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel and the director Christophe Gans to follow Cocteau’s legacy).

Notting Hill by Roger Michell (1999)

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This is another British rom-com starring Hugh Grant, this time as bookshop owner Will, who encounters Hollywood superstar Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) one day when she enters his shop on Notting Hill and… falls in love. This movie won the 2000 BAFTA Audience Award and three Golden Globe nominations in 2000.

The Broken Circle Breakdown by Felix Van Groeningen (2012)

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Based on the play by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels, Didier and Elisa fall in love and battle hardship when their daughter is diagnosed with cancer in this Belgian adaptation. A beautiful soundtrack, featuring bluegrass music by Didier and Elisa’s band, accompanies this heart-breaking drama, which won the Panorama Audience Award at Berlinale in 2013 and the LUX Prize in 2013.

Roman Holiday by William Wyler (1953)

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Ann (Audrey Hepburn) is a crown princess on an official trip through Europe, but she runs away to see the city of Rome by herself. Along the way, she meets a journalist, Joe (Gregory Peck), who offers to accompany her. Wyler’s film received Oscars for best actress, writing and costume design and was nominated in several other categories in 1954.

Love Actually by Richard Curtis (2003)

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Not one, but ten love stories are packed into this romantic comedy revolving around the fates of a high-class cast set in a snowy London. Nominated for the Golden Globes in 2004, it received several awards acknowledging the brilliant talent.

Romeo + Juliet by Baz Luhrmann (1996)

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The outstanding adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet places the timeless story in modern society with guns, tattoos and drugs. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as handsome Romeo and enchanting Claire Danes in the role of Juliet as they try to overcome their families’ rivalry. The BAFTA Film Awards awarded Luhrmann for Best Direction in 1998, and DiCaprio took home the Silver Bear at the Berlinale in 1997.

Doctor Zhivago by David Lean (1965)

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In this romantic epic, a love triangle unfolds against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. Starring Omar Sharif as the doctor and poet Dr. Jurij Zhivago, Lean’s adaptation of Pasternak’s novel earned five Oscars in 1966 and even more nominations.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Blake Edwards (1961) 

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Audrey Hepburn stars as café society girl Holly Golightly, who is looking to marry a rich man when she befriends her new neighbour, Paul Varjak, a struggling writer who gradually discovers her vulnerability. Sung by Hepburn herself, the title song “Moon River” earned the Oscar for Best Music in 1962.

Gone with the Wind by Victor Fleming (1939)

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Winner of ten Academy Awards in 1940 (thereby setting a record), this epic romance is set in Georgia during the American Civil War. It features headstrong Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), the daughter of a plantation owner, and her romantic pairing with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).

In the Mood for Love by Wong Kar Wai (2000)

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Set in 1960s Hong Kong, two neighbours - a woman and a man - develop an intense platonic relationship after they discover that their spouses have secretly been seeing each other. Combining stunning imagery and an exceptional soundtrack with music by Shigeru Umebayashi, the film received awards for cinematography and for best actor (Tony Leung) at Cannes in 2000.

Edward Scissorhands by Tim Burton (1990)

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Edward (Johnny Depp) was left unfinished, due to the death of his creator, and as a result, he only has scissors for hands. When he finds a home with a suburban family and falls for their teenage daughter (Winona Ryder), various complications arise. Thanks to its mesmerizing set, the film received the BAFTA Awards for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design in 1992.

Blue Valentine by Derek Cianfrance (2010)

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This film takes a look at the extraordinary ordinary rise and fall of a young couple’s relationship. The actors’ (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) highly improvised performance was rewarded with an Oscar nomination in 2011 (Michelle Williams), while director Derek Cianfrance was nominated for the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in 2010. 

Casablanca by Michael Curtiz (1942)

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Set during World War II, this classic love triangle stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, who runs a popular bar in Casablanca, where he is forced to make a major decision when his old love Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) shows up with her husband who now relies on Rick’s help. Winner of three Oscars in 1944, Casablanca remains an all-time favourite.

The Notebook by Nick Cassavetes (2004)

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This is a portrait of two lovers, once separated by their social background and still fighting for their love – even at an old age. Starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, the film was a great hit at the Teen Choice Awards in 2005.

500 days of summer by Marc Webbs (2009)

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This hit about the course of a relationship between Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) questions the existence of true love and offers an answer. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009.

Titanic by James Cameron (1997)

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Titanic received 11 Oscars in 1998 as the tragic love story of young first-class passenger Rose (Kate Winslet) and the penniless artist Jack, who fell for each other aboard the ill-fated Titanic.

Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock (1958)

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Hitchcock’s thriller revolves around detective subject to vertigo, Scottie (James Stewart) – hired to investigate the activities of the wife of a former acquaintance - as he becomes increasingly obsessed with her (Kim Novak). The film was awarded the Silver Seashell at San Sebastián in 1958 and was nominated for two Oscars for the technical department in 1959.

11 November 2015, by Cineuropa

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