30 best movies to watch on Valentine's Day for every mood

30 best movies to watch on Valentine's Day for every mood

Valentine's Day conjures up images of candlelit dinners and boxes of chocolate — for some people. For others, the best gift could be curling up on the couch with a Valentine's Day movie or TV show, ranging from romances to comedies about the single journey.

The best Valentine's Day movies range in tone. There are the happy ending romances, for when you want to feel everything is going to be OK (see: rom-coms). There are classics for when you want an escape. There are movie musicals for when life is like a song, and you want to sing along. And yes, there are sad movies because sometimes — including on Valentine's Day, especially on Valentine's Day — you might not be in the mood for romance. Keep your eye out for family-friendly movies about love, too.

Whether you want to swoon or laugh or cry, we’ve listed 30 of the best movies to fit your mood. These Valentine's Day movies are now streaming on Netflix, Hulu and beyond.

'Pride and Prejudice' (2005)

Alamy
Alamy

It's a classic for a reason. This Jane Austen novel has been adapted (and remixed) many times before. But the romance between a strong-willed countryman’s daughter, Elizabeth Bennet, and a rich Fitzwilliam Darcy comes alive when in Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden's hands. Whether it’s Mr.Darcy’s love words or the drama surrounding their relationship, the film will bewitch your body and soul.

'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days' (2003)

In this early 2000s rom-com, Benjamin Berry (Matthew McConaughey) bets his co-workers he can make a woman fall in love with him in just over a week. But he’s not the only one up for the challenge. Writer Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) decides she will begin dating a man and drive him away within 10 days. Only these two would think of this — which means they're perfect for each other. 

‘Love Jones’ (1997)

What is Valentine’s Day without a little bit of romantic drama? Well, Darius (Larenz Tate) and Nina (Nia Long) from “Love Jones” are here to give you just the right amount. Darius, an aspiring writer, and Nina, an aspiring photographer, spark up a connection when they meet at a Chicago club. Their bond over music, poetry and photography makes them explore this connection and fuel a romance. However, this spark is at risk of going out when Nina decides to move to New York and mend things with her ex-fiancé.

'Love, Rosie' (2014)

When the sentiment "let's not ruin the friendship" meets rom-com, you get "Love, Rosie." Long time best friends Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin) are separated when Alex and his family move from Dublin to America. The rom-com follows the two characters as they keep their connection alive despite the distance, both physical and temporal.

'10 Things I Hate About You' (1999)

Alamy
Alamy

William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" goes full 1990s in this famous rom-com, starring Julia Styles and Heath Ledger. Kat Stratford (Stiles) is a smart and rebellious teenager more focused on taking a stand than dating boys. This poses a problem for her younger sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), who must follow house rules and only date until Kat has a boyfriend. In an attempt to win Bianca, different characters set Stratford up for romance. Cue Patrick Verona (Ledger), who is put to the task of winning Stratford’s heart. And who among us could resist Ledger's serenade of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You?"

'While You Were Sleeping' (1995)

Lucy Eleanor Moderatz (Sandra Bullock) is a train ticket collector who saves her secret longtime crush, Peter (Peter Gallagher), from the path of an oncoming train in Chicago. At the hospital, a misunderstanding causes Peter’s family to assume Lucy is his fiancée. When Lucy doesn’t correct them, they take her in as one of their own, but this is just one of the many complicated matters Lucy must face as she follows her hopeless romantic heart.

'Sleepless in Seattle' (1993)

Meg Ryan, Ross Mallinger and Tom Hanks in
Meg Ryan, Ross Mallinger and Tom Hanks in

Because nothing says romance like making your way up to the Empire State Building hoping to find a young and emotionally available Tom Hanks. At least that’s what we learn from the early '90s rom-com, in which a Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks), a widower, is set up by his son Jonah (Ross Mallinger) to find a new wife through a talk-radio program. After hearing Sam discuss his feelings on air, Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), falls for him despite her engagement. Unsure of what will happen but certain of her feelings, she writes to Sam asking him to meet in New York.

'When Harry Met Sally' (1989)

We cannot imagine a world in which Harry (Billy Crystal) does not meet Sally (Meg Ryan). Written by Nora Ephron, this '80s classic is a staple in the rom-com world for the laughs and butterflies one gets as they see Harry and Sally’s relationship develop from strangers, friends and more. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan’s portrayal of the characters will make you want to start the rest of your life as soon as possible with someone.

'Portrait of a Lady on Fire' (2019)

So maybe you don't want a rom-com. Maybe you want something dark, aching, full of longing. Queue up this brooding period piece, set in 1770 France. Marianne (Adèle Haenel), a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Luàna Bajrami). But Héloïse is a reluctant bride to be and Marianne must secretly paint her. She observes her by day, with an intimacy blossoming between the two as the portrait — the very thing that will tear them apart, eventually — progresses.

'Love, Simon' (2018)

Everyone is in search of a great love story, 17-year-old Simon Spier included. Like most love stories tend to go, challenges arise, including Simon not knowing the identity of the anonymous boy he’s fallen for online. The film follows Simon as he falls in love, hides secrets from his friends and comes to terms with his identity.

'Love Actually' (2003)

Image: Love Actually (Alamy)
Image: Love Actually (Alamy)

Love is all around this British movie, part of the holiday romance canon. The holiday movie follows the intertwined love lives of a few Londoners at Christmastime. From having a charming Hugh Grant as prime minister to Andrew Lincoln’s iconic declaration of love (despite it being to his best friend’s wife), the rom-com has something for everybody (including the haters).

'Ticket to Paradise' (2022)

Georgia Cotton (Julia Roberts) and her ex-husband David Cotton (George Clooney) travel to Bali, Indonesia, to stop their daughter from marrying a seaweed farmer. In between their desperate attempts to sabotage the wedding, the bickering duo find themselves rekindling feelings they felt 25 years ago. And did we mention it stars Julia Roberts and George Clooney?

'Pretty Woman' (1990)

Image: Julia Roberts And Richard Gere In 'Pretty Woman' (Getty Images)
Image: Julia Roberts And Richard Gere In 'Pretty Woman' (Getty Images)

It would be a mistake to not include "Pretty Woman" as a must watch Valentine’s Day movie. Big! Huge! The rom-com tells the love story of an unlikely pair. While on a business trip in L.A., businessman Edward (Richard Gere), hires Vivian (Julia Roberts) as an escort to his social events for the week. The two take a liking for each other, as Edward continues to extend his deal with the charming Vivian, but soon realizes the bubble they're living in can only last so long.

'Turning Red' (2022)

Valentine's Day is typically a day associated with romantic love — but you can take the occasion to honor all kinds of love in your life. Although the Pixar film heavily dives into the topic of adolescent pressures, different types of love are scattered throughout this animated film, like friendship and the love from ancestors. Thirteen-year-old Mielin is torn between staying her mother’s perfect daughter, while discovering who she is independently. As if this weren’t enough, when she gets overly excited she turns into a giant red panda. In between, Meilin finds comfort from the love she has for her friends, family and favorite boy band.

'Marry Me' (2022)

Jennifer Lopez in
Jennifer Lopez in

Pop superstar Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) is about to get married before an audience. However, seconds before the ceremony, she learns her fiancé has been cheating on her. In a moment of meltdown, Kat locks eyes with a stranger (Owen Wilson) in the crowd and marries him on the spot. The newlyweds must decide if they are truly made for love and each other.

'How to Be Single' (2016)

Valentine’s Day is about celebrating all forms of love, including the one that comes from within. And who better to celebrate this with than a fun-loving Rebel Wilson in "How to Be Single." The story follows recent college graduate Alice (Dakota Johnson), who decides to take a break from her long-term boyfriend Josh (Nicholas Braun). Excited and ready for new challenges, she moves to New York to take a job as a paralegal. Helping her navigate her way through an unfamiliar city is Robin (Rebel Wilson), her co-worker who enjoys partying and one-night stands.

'Something Great' (2019)

"Something Great" is another Valentine's Day movie to watch if the person you're falling in love with is ... you. The self-transforming movie takes place during a night out in New York City, as Jenny Young (Gina Rodriguez) is dumped by her long-term boyfriend and decides to party away her last night in the city with her two best friends before she moves to San Francisco.

'A Star is Born' (2018)

Get your tissues and heart ready as you dive into a world where Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s on screen chemistry makes you want to love again. Seasoned musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) falls in love with struggling artist Ally (Lady Gaga). Jackson introduces the world to Ally’s talent by putting her in the spotlight. The two soon discover their love is not the only thing they must fight for, as Jackson faces an internal ongoing battle.

'Valentine’s Day' (2010)

What is more Valentine’s Day than a film entitled "Valentine’s Day" featuring Taylor Swift, queen of the love song? The movie is a series of interconnected stories from various Los Angeles residents, including characters portrayed by Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner, Bradley Cooper and Ashton Kutcher.

'La La Land' (2016)

Image: Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling on the set of
Image: Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling on the set of

It would be a waste of a lovely night to skip this musical on Valentine’s Day. While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist (Ryan Gosling) and aspiring actress (Emma Stone) fall in love while trying to chase their dreams. The film explores different themes, including love, career and the heart-wrenching “what could’ve been.”

'Crazy Rich Asians' (2018)

Have you ever traveled across the country to discover your boyfriend is both extremely wealthy and one of the country’s most eligible bachelors ... and that his mother is conspiring against you? If you’re Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), you must know the feeling. In ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ Chu fights for her love with Nick (Henry Golding) as she faces jealous socialites, revelations made of her past and the worst of them all, Nick’s disapproving mother.

'Little Women' (2019)

Greta Gerwig's film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel centers around four sisters and their pursuits of happiness, finding it within society's prescribed boundaries for them, or finding it through breaking those boundaries entirely. And yes, there are love stories — more than one, in many different ways.

'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' (2004)

Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in
Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in

Nursing a breakup this Valentine's Day? "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" will have you getting philosophical about the pain of ending a relationship — and why experiencing pain is worth it. Clementine (Kate Winslet) and Joel (Jim Carrey) show us what this would look like as they undergo procedures to erase memories of each other from their minds and hearts.

'Flipped' (2010) 

Everyone remembers their elementary school love, right? If you don’t, "Flipped" will help remind you. When they meet in second grade, Juli Baker (Madeline Carroll) falls instantly in love with her neighbor, Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe). Bryce does not reciprocate the feeling and goes out of his way to keep Juli away from him. After six years, she begins to feel that she was wrong about her feelings for him, unfortunately for Bryce, he also begins to think his cold feelings for Juli were wrong all along.

'About Time' (2013)

When Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) learns the men in his family can travel through time, he resolves to improve his life by getting a girlfriend. He meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), falls in love and wins her heart. Except love stories are much more complicated than that. Lake finds that his special ability can’t shield him and Mary from ordinary life problems.

'The First Wives Club' (1996)

Heartbroken over the marriage of her ex-husband to a younger woman, a middle-aged divorcée falls to her death from her penthouse. At the woman’s funeral, her former college friends (Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton) reunite for the first time after 30 years. When the group discovers the cause for their friend’s death, the friends begin to analyze the ways their ex-husbands have taken them for granted and decide to seek revenge. You might find yourself dancing along to ‘You Don’t Own Me’ by Lesley Gore as the rom-com plot thickens.

'Mamma Mia!' (2008)

Meryl Streep, Greece and ABBA. If you need more reasons to watch this movie on Valentine’s Day, then let it be for the mishaps and musical numbers that arise as Donna (Meryl Streep), an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, prepares for her daughter’s wedding with the help of two old friends and an unexpected visit from three previous love interests. The three men are invited by Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), the bride, who hopes to learn her father's identity and have him walk her down the aisle.

'500 Days of Summer' (2009)

Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), greeting card writer and hopeless romantic, is heartbroken when his girlfriend, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), suddenly dumps him. He reflects on their 500 days together to try to figure out where their love affair went sour and that one’s happiness cannot be dependent on another person.

'The Worst Person in the World' (2021)

"The Worst Person in the World" is testament to the fact that you learn about yourself through relationships. The Swedish movie follows four years in the life of Julie (Renate Reinsve), a young woman battling indecisiveness as she navigates her troubled love life and struggles to find her career path.

'50 First Dates' (2004)

Playboy vet Henry (Adam Sandler) falls for art teacher Lucy (Drew Barrymore), who suffers from short-term memory loss. Determined to win her over again each day and prove his love to Lucy’s protective family, Henry goes through great lengths including multiple first dates.

'Grease' (1978)

If the musical’s song titles like "You’re The One That I Want," "We Go Together" and "Hopelessly Devoted To You" don’t immediately bring butterflies to your stomach, then perhaps seeing the high school romance between Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton John) will. A group of 1950s high schoolers becomes wrapped up in the duo's romance, which starts in the summer and starts again in the school year.

'Moonrise Kingdom' (2012)

Wes Anderson brings to life a forbidden childhood romance between twelve-year-olds Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward).However, their runaway romance is in danger as a violent storm approaching the island of New Penzance forces a group of adults (Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray) to mobilize a search party and find the children.

'The Photograph' (2020)

Soulmates are real ... or at least that’s how you will feel after watching “The Photograph.” Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield’s chemistry makes Mae and Michael's story come alive. Similar to her mother, Mae is not convinced she can find happiness without it falling apart, while Michael sees his father live with the regret of not having chased love. The story travels between the past and present, as the characters hope to learn from their parents’ mistakes and chase what feels right.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com