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It's really, really hard to find a good romantic movie. So often they verge way too hard into weepy or overly sentimental territory-- see last weekend's The Vow for an excellent example-- or are cliched rom-coms that try so hard to make you feel something you end up frustrated before it ends. But good individual romantic scenes show up all the time, and often when you don't expect them. No one would call Wall-E a romance above all, but its scene of the two robots dancing in space is one of the most heartfelt expressions of love I've ever seen. And Casablanca isn't exactly the perfect date movie given how it ends, but the Paris scenes between Bogart and Bergman are romantic perfection.
So instead of hunting down the most romantic movies, period, to watch on this day of roses and hearts, we're just looking for romantic scenes, both picking our favorites and asking you for your own. I polled a few Cinema Blenders for their own picks for romantic scenes to revisit on this day, but first up is my own, from probably the best romantic comedy ever, and one you might not have seen. It Happened One Night came out in the Code era of Hollywood, when most romances had to be hinted at rather than shown, so the film's best moments happen in subtext, like the famous "Walls of Jericho" ending. But the movie's screwball tone, and Clark Gable's irresistible performance, is best captured near the end of the film, when he asks Claudette Colbert's rich father for reimbursement after helping her travel up the coast, but winds up confessing his love instead. The scene is funny, but it's the end, when the two come face to face, that's both heart-meltingly romantic and blisteringly mean.
I asked Managing Editor Kelly West for a pick, and she went with the charged phone call scene from It's A Wonderful Life, when George and Mary are both stuck on the phone with Sam Wainwright. Here's how Kelly describes it:
She's frustrated trying to rekindle the sparks that started to fly the nigh they danced and walked home together-- he promised her the moon and she's looking to collect, but first she decides to make George jealous by talking to Sam. There's so much passion between them that the scene erupts in the kiss they'd both been desperate to share. Sam is completely forgotten. The moment is passionate and it touches on the romance and reality of being young, having obligations, and having to make choices and sacrifices but also having dreams and a need to connect with someone.
And here's Jesse Carp's contribution to the love-in, with a slightly more modern offering:
My favorite romantic scene from a film occurs near the the end of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's whimsical Amelie, when our matchmaker and leading lady (Audrey Tautou) finally finds a match of her own. Nino (Matthieu Kossovitz) suprises her with a knock on her apartment door. The two have never spoken and when he enters they still don't say a word, but instead engage in an adorable and yet passionate series of silent embraces. It's a beautiful moment in a gorgeous film. And we, like the voyeuristic neighbors she has helped along the way, are not privy to the rest of their first night together, only the joyride that follows.
And finally, here's Kristy Puchko with her own pick, the "Time of My Life" scene from the end of Dirty Dancing:
"It's easily the movie's most iconic scene, yet it never gets old because beyond being a dynamic display of brazen passion, there's also this sexy and rebellious romantic streak stemming from the fact that every authority figure in the film is against these two being together. Yet here they are, proudly declaring their love for each other with a scintillating dance number that wins over the entire ensemble, even Baby's snooty parents. Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze share a heated onscreen chemistry that is unmatched, and when she makes that final climactic leap into his arms and is lifted high above the crowd, it's utterly breathtaking."
Let us know in the comments what your favorite romantic scenes are, preferably with YouTube clips so we can all share in the romance. No matter how you spend it, have an excellent Valentine's Day-- and if it's as good as the moments these movie characters have, we can all be a little jealous.