Total Recall: Iconic Movie Romances
Sometimes in the movies, love happens. Check out the best instances in our list!
What makes a truly great movie couple? It's nearly impossible to define, but you know one when you see one. Great onscreen romantic pairings usually have some elusive combination of idiosyncratic chemistry, ribald wit, and emotional complexity. With Love Happens hitting theaters this week, RT takes a look at some of our favorite cinematic love affairs.
Ladies, take note: the next time you're propositioned by a really weird-looking guy, don't just blow him off -- there's a chance, albeit a slim one, that he's a kindly prince who's the victim of a curse. That's what Belle had to deal with in Disney's adaptation of Beauty and the Beast; despite his imposing looks, the Beast is an infinitely sweeter guy than that arrogant jerk Gaston, who keeps hitting on Belle when not recruiting his fellow villagers for a lynch mob. Plus, the beast's crib is full of singing and dancing household items -- how cool is that?
The point of this is to look at iconic on-screen romances, and although the majority of the stories on this list have stood the test of time, there's no denying that Edward and Bella, as new as they are to the genre, have made a very big impression. Sure, it's the standard girl-meets-boy, boy-turns-out-to-be-a-vampire story, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. Bella is the proxy for any girl that's fallen for the boy that no one else understands. Edward is a classic Romantic figure, a guy with a real wild side that can't quite fit in to society, not unlike Heathcliff (the Wuthering Heights hero, not the cat). There's a bit of Romeo and Juliet thrown in there as well, and it makes for a teen vampire romance that currently has girls all over the world eagerly awaiting the next installment of the film franchise.
What makes Westley and Buttercup iconic? Let me explain... no, there is too much. Let me sum up. Farm boy Westley loves farm girl Buttercup. He disappears, she's whisked away to be married to an evil prince, Westley returns, gets her back, loses her, dies, gets better, gets her back again, and kisses her at the end of the movie. Here's how Grampa describes the kissing part: "Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The End."
Though An Affair to Remember is actually a very close remake of 1939's Love Affair, it was the star power of Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr that made the 1957 version more memorable. Grant plays Nickie Ferrante, a wealthy painter who meets and hits it off with a young woman named Terry McKay (Kerr) aboard a cruise. The two fall in love, but both are involved with other people, so they resolve to meet atop the Empire State Building in six months after ending matters with their significant others. Unfortunately, Terry is blindsided and paralyzed by a car en route to their reunion, and fearful of Nickie's reaction, she breaks all contact with him. Of course, all is forgiven in the end, and this story of a relationship that almost never happened reinforces the idea that fate has a way of working things out, that love conquers all, and that leaving your fiancée is okay if you're good-looking and you happen to meet someone better on a cruise.
Neither Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) nor Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) is the embodiment of Southern charm, particularly when the two are together, so it can be tricky to decipher exactly what about their relationship is romantic. Scarlett is neurotic, immature, and self-absorbed, while Rhett is gruff, cocky, and jealous. Scarlett continually rebuffs Rhett's advances while pining for a married man, and Rhett eventually takes matters into his own hands, forcing a kiss upon Scarlett at one point and dragging her to bed in a fit of drunken anger later on. But for all of their faults, Rhett and Scarlett clash so much precisely because they're so similar; Rhett likes Scarlett's feistiness, her strength of spirit, and despite all her complaints, Scarlett knows Rhett is loyal and reliable. When Rhett throws his iconic line at Scarlett ("Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."), we know he really means to say, "You've got business to handle, but you better come find me," and when Scarlett resolves to get him back, we know she means it.