32 Photos of Classic Hollywood Movie Couples

32 Photos of Classic Hollywood Movie Couples

Old Hollywood was all about the glitz and glam, introducing us to some of the most unforgettable movie fairytales of all time. Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart practically paved the way for today’s leading men. Now, we’re swooning over the new crop of classics, like that pivotal moment when Noah literally swept Allie off her feet in The Notebook.

We swooned over the big, dramatic, romantic gestures as we hoped for our own. And we all had our favorite couples that we were rooting for, like Mark and Bridget from Bridget Jones’s Diary. But some of these monumental romances also showed us that some couples don’t have a happy ending. Did Rose really not have enough room on the door from the Titanic to hold onto Jack? Regardless of how the story ended, it doesn’t make the love affair feel any less powerful.

Does watching big-screen romances make you believe that love will find a way in your own real life? According to a University of Michigan study, the answer is yes. The study of more than 600 college students also found that watching reality TV dating shows is associated with the belief of love at first sight and true love.

From dramatic love triangles to passionate reunions, these are some of our favorite movie couples of all time. This Valentine’s Day, look back at your favorite couple and see if there's any creative way you can infuse a romantic gesture into your own love life. Then, curl up on the sofa and add some of these blockbusters to your Netflix list.

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Esther and Norman in A Star is Born (1937)

Esther, portrayed by Janet Gaynor, has dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress. She meets Norman Maine, portrayed by Fredric March, who is a successful actor. His alcoholism is the downfall of his career, while Esther's first movie role turns her into an overnight success. Despite their passionate connection and Esther's attempts to help Norman, he eventually self destructs and takes his own life. The movie had three remakes after the original, with the most recent version starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper as Ally and Jackson.

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Rhett and Scarlett in Gone with the Wind (1939)

Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable cemented themselves as Hollywood royalty in this historical romance centered around the Civil War. After learning that the object of her affection is marrying someone else, Scarlett O’Hara catches the attention of Rhett Butler. Despite Scarlett’s conflicting feelings, Rhett leaves—and Scarlett realizes too late that it was Rhett she loved all along.

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Ilsa and Rick in Casablanca (1942)

Humphrey Bogart portrayed Rick, an American expatriate, who watched his ex-lover, Ilsa, walk back into his life. Now married, Ilsa and her husband need help to escape to America. Taking place during World War II, the cynical Rick is left to decide whether he will help Ilsa, portrayed by Ingrid Bergman. Either way, they will always have Paris.

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Linus and Sabrina in Sabrina (1954)

Although Sabrina was in love with David, her life changed when she met his older brother, Linus. Despite Linus initially enticing Sabrina to ensure a successful business deal, the two actually fall in love. Sabrina prepared to go back to Paris when she found out that their relationship was based on a setup, until Linus rushed to declare his love for her. Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn star in this love story, which was remade in 1995 with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond.

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Nickie and Terry in An Affair to Remember (1957)

Although Nickie and Terry were involved in other relationships when they met, they became friends first, while their feelings grew deeper. They made a plan to meet at the top of the Empire State Building in six months if they were single. On the way to their meeting, Terry was struck by a car and hospitalized. Nickie waited for hours and ultimately left, feeling rejected. Terry decided against contacting Nickie since she was disabled, but the two ran into each other six months later. Nickie went to see her and accepted her how she was, making Terry (and viewers!) fall in love with Cary Grant all over again.

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Dick and Jo in Funny Face (1957)

Despite thinking that fashion and modeling is not for her, Jo is discovered to be the face of a new fashion trend. Dick, the photographer behind the campaign, entices Jo with the prospect of a trip to Paris for a fashion event. Throughout the trip, Dick and Jo fall in love. Naturally, their story goes awry when Jo meets another man. Jo thinks that Dick left Paris (and her), but he eventually goes to find her in the church where they shared a special moment. Played by Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, this musical romance is just as funny as it is heartwarming.

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Brick and Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

Based on the Tennessee Williams play, the movie stars Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor as Brick and “Maggie the Cat,” a couple dealing with a messy family drama. Brick and Maggie visit to celebrate the birthday of Big Daddy, Brick’s father. When she learns that Big Daddy is dying from cancer, she encourages Brick to reconcile with his father. After ups and downs in their relationship due to Brick's drinking, Maggie announces that she is pregnant. Although it’s a lie, it’s what eventually leads to Brick and Maggie reconciling.

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Paul and Holly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

It’s hard not to fall in love with Holly, portrayed by Audrey Hepburn. The elegant girl, meets her new neighbor, Paul, a struggling writer. Paul is with an older woman, nicknamed 2E, whom he hopes can help him succeed as a writer. Holly is working as an escort while she looks for a rich man to marry her. Paul breaks things off with 2E when he realizes he’s in love with Holly. But Holly is scheming to marry a man and move to Brazil with him. She winds up arrested, but it is Paul who is waiting for her when she is released. After initially rejecting him, Holly runs after Paul and declares her love for him.

(United Archives - Getty Images)
Tony and Maria in West Side Story (1961)

Inspired by Romeo and Juliet, this musical drama pits the Jets against the Sharks. The two rival gangs are trying to control the Upper West Side in New York. Tony, co-founder of the Jets, meets Maria, who is the sister of the Sharks’ leader. The two fall in love, but struggle with their forbidden romance. After a knife fight ensues, Tony turns himself into the police. Maria still loves him and the two make plans to elope. Tony believes that Maria has been killed, but when he spots her in the street, they run to each other, only for Tony to be shot. Maria holds Tony as he dies in her arms.

(Archive Photos - Getty Images)
Marc and Cleopatra in Cleopatra (1963)

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton play the iconic roles in this historic film. Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, begins to have fantasies about ruling the world with Caesar. Then, she meets Marc Antony, a Roman statesman, and the two have an affair. Antony is forced to marry Octavia, which leaves Cleopatra devastated. They eventually reconcile, but their love story ended tragically. Believing that Cleopatra had killed herself, Antony stabbed himself with his sword. He was taken to Cleopatra upon learning that she was still alive. He died in her arms and Cleopatra also took her life.

(Universal History Archive - Getty Images)
Rocky and Adrian in Rocky (1976)

Throughout the Rocky film series, it’s always been Adrian. She stood by Rocky through his career, even when he believed he couldn’t win. Despite losing the fight to Apollo Creed, he won Adrian by professing his love to her at the end of the movie. Next, in Rocky II, Rocky proposes to Adrian and they marry. He decides to come out of hiatus and have a rematch with Creed. Adrian went into premature labor and fell into a coma after giving birth. She could not attend the fight, but gave Adrian her blessing. Rocky wins the fight, finally declaring, “Yo Adrian, I did it!”

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Danny and Sandy in Grease (1978)

John Travolta and Olivia Newtown-John captured each other’s hearts as Danny and Sandy, two high school students. The two met on the beach while Sandy was visiting from Australia, and she never expected to see him again. Sandy’s parents decide to stay in the U.S. and Sandy became a part of The Pink Ladies, a clique of greaser girls. Sandy reunited with Danny, the leader of the T-Birds greaser gang, who was determined to keep up his bad boy reputation. The two reconciled on the last day of school and performed the memorable song, “You’re the One That I Want.”

(Paramount Pictures - Getty Images)
Han Solo and Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Despite a mutual disdain for each other at first, Princess Leia’s opinion of Han Solo changed after he saved Luke from Vader. Han realized he had romantic feelings for Leia, but she denied them at first. When they were captured by the Empire, Leia admitted her feelings to Han. They become a force to be reckoned with, despite the jealous mix-up when Han thought Leia had feelings for Luke, who turned out to be her brother. Han and Leia had a son named Ben, who became Kylo Ren when he fell to the darkside. This proved to be too challenging for the couple, who separated. Later, the two reunited and Leia asked Han to bring Kylo Ren home.

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Johnny and Frances in Dirty Dancing (1987)

Although “Baby” was attracted to Johnny when she first saw him, it was their dance lessons that turned their attraction into one of Hollywood’s most memorable love stories. Baby struggled to see how the working class at the resort was being demeaned. Despite feeling like her family judged Johnny, Baby always treated him with respect and love. Since the movie became a mega success, it’s nearly impossible to hear “The Time of My Life” without seeing Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze complete the lift in their dance routine.

(Archive Photos - Getty Images)
Harry and Sally in When Harry Met Sally (1989)

We all know that scene from this rom-com, but their story was so much more as they answered the age-old question of whether or not men and women can be "just friends." The two kept running into each other, but always seemed to argue about their opinions on relationships and gender roles. After their long, 12-year journey to finally make it work, Harry and Sally end up being the definition of "happily ever after."

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Vivian and Edward in Pretty Woman (1990)

Even though Edward had no intentions of falling in love with Vivian when he hired her as an escort for a week, how could he resist? America also fell in love with Julia Roberts as Vivian, the lovable Hollywood prostitute. Not only did Edward make Vivian feel like a princess, but he made her dream of a fairy tale come true when he scaled her fire escape. Even though the movie was supposed to be a warning about prostitution, it wound up being a breakout role for Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. They reunited nine years later in Runaway Bride.

(Hulton Archive - Getty Images)
Sam and Molly in Ghost (1990)

Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze shine in this romantic fantasy, which focuses on Molly dealing with the death of her boyfriend, Sam. Throughout the movie, Sam becomes a ghost, always staying close to Molly. Since Molly is in danger, she turns to a psychic (hello, Whoopi Goldberg!) for help. Sam steps in and uses the psychic as a way to communicate with Molly. After Molly is safe, she's able to see Sam and say goodbye. The love story may be a little out there, but we're thinking that pottery sales went way up as a result.

(Archive Photos - Getty Images)
Frank and Rachel in The Bodyguard (1992)

Some would say that the love story is secondary, but the unspoken bond between Rachel and Frank is part of the reason for the movie's blockbuster success. Frank, a professional bodyguard, is hired to protect Rachel, an actress and singer, after she receives death threats from a stalker. The two disagree on a lot of things, but eventually bond after a riot at one of her concerts. After they sleep together, Frank realizes it's a conflict of interest and breaks things off. Rachel, a woman scorned, starts acting out and puts herself in danger. Frank took a bullet for Rachel, but recovers. Their love story never forms into a relationship, as the two say goodbye with one last kiss.

(Warner Bros.)
Sam and Annie in Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

The '90s ro- com introduced Tom Hanks as Sam, a lovable widower and father to Jonah, his young son. Jonah calls into a radio station to encourage Sam to talk about how much he misses his wife. Annie, played by Meg Ryan, heard his story and asks him to meet her at the top of the Empire State Building (hello, An Affair to Remember!). She decides against mailing it, since she's engaged, but her friend does it anyway. Jonah finds the letter and replies on his dad's behalf agreeing to meet. After Jonah's antics to set the two up, they eventually meet again, hold hands, and leave the viewer wondering what comes next for this newfound family.

Romeo and Juliet in Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Even though we all know Shakespeare's story from reading it in school, it truly came alive with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the title roles. Romeo really put Leo on the map as a heartthrob. Despite knowing how the movie would end, we still loved every step of Romeo and Juliet's passionate and devastating story in Baz Luhrmann's film. The modern take on Romeo + Juliet also left us with an amazing movie soundtrack.

(20th Century Fox - Getty Images)
Jack and Rose in Titanic (1997)

One year later, DiCaprio hit Hollywood gold again with the story of Titanic. Kate Winslet plays Rose, who is on the maiden voyage with her fiancé. She meets Jack, a starving artist, who discourages her from suicide. The two very slowly became friends. Rose comes alive when she goes to a party with Jack, and then of course when he paints her. Jack is arrested just as the ship is sinking, but Rose frees him from the office. Despite making it through so many challenges, the two wind up in the water. Rose climbs up on it, but Jack dies of hypothermia.

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Quincy and Monica in Love & Basketball (2000)

The two childhood sweethearts always wanted to be pro basketball stars, but struggled with their feelings along the way. Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan starred in this romantic sports story. Things get tense when the two deal with high school pressures. They reconnect when they both get accepted to USC and finally make love. They continue working through challenges as athletes in college, but eventually split up. When Quincy suffers a knee injury, Monica flies home to see him. He is engaged to someone else, but calls it off after playing a basketball game with Monica. The two get married and their daughter is poised to be the next basketball star.

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Mark and Bridget in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

The movie franchise, adapted from Pride and Prejudice, introduces viewers to the quirky, lovable Bridget Jones. Bridget is used to being single and suddenly finds herself in a love triangle with Mark and Daniel. While we figured Bridget would pick Daniel, her handsome boss, eventually she realizes that he's a playboy. While Bridget is led to believe that Mark is brash, rude and unhappy, things change when he tells her that he likes her "just as you are." Swoon. Bridget starts to have feelings for Mark, who is engaged to another woman. Mark surprises Bridget, but also finds her diary, where she had some unflattering things to say about him. After running into the street in her underwear, the two kiss and Bridget starts a new diary.

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Christian and Satine in Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Yes, Moulin Rouge gave us Lady Marmalade, Your Song and Come What May, but it also delivered a powerful punch in the romance department. Set in Paris, Christian is drawn to Satine, a cabaret singer. Satine is set to seduce the Duke, a rich man, in order to help save the Moulin Rouge. A case of mistaken identity leads to her falling in love with Christian. The two fall in love over song and hide their romance. During their love story, Satine hides that she is dying from tuberculosis. The Duke forces Satine to reject Christian in order to save his life. A rejected Christian eventually sneaks into the Moulin Rouge to sing their song together. After the curtain closes, Satine dies, but not before telling Christian to write their story.

(United Archives - Getty Images)
Andre and Sidney in Brown Sugar (2002)

Andre, played by Taye Diggs, and Sidney, played by Sanaa Lathan, were lifelong friends who bonded over their love of hip hop music. Sidney, a magazine editor, is thrown for a loop when Andrew gets engaged. She kisses him the day before his wedding, but Andre still gets married. Sidney also moves on and accepts a proposal from her new boyfriend. Andre and Sidney do share a moment, which leads Sidney to call off her engagement. Neither admits to their feelings until Sidney writes a book where she correlates her love affair with hip hop to her feelings about Andre. He finally figures things out, and the two declare their feelings for each other.

Allie and Noah in The Notebook (2004)

Told in the lens of past and present, we see Allie and Noah's historic romance unfold through a reading from a notebook. Noah and Allie have a summer romance, but Allie's parents forbid her from seeing Noah due to their different social classes. Before moving to Charleston, Allie leaves Noah a message that she loves him. He tries to find her, but he's too late. Some time passes and Allie gets engaged to someone else. In the meantime, Noah is in the war, writing Allie letters, which she never receives. Noah buys a home and restores it in the way that Allie always wanted. She finds out, visits him, and they reunite. Allie finally gets his letters and chooses Noah. Back to present day, the two die in their sleep, holding hands.

(New Line Cinema)
Ennis and Jack in Brokeback Mountain (2005)

When Ennis and Jack were hired to herd sheep through the Brokeback mountains, they didn't expect to fall in love. Portrayed by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, the cowboys navigate through a passionate, complex relationship. When the two part ways, they each marry a woman and have children. Ennis and Jack reunite years later and kiss, which Ennis's wife sees. Despite talking about running away together, Ennis refuses to leave his family. Eventually, both marriages crumble. Ennis tells Jack that they cannot see each other anymore, and both blame each other for their separation. As the time passes, Ennis learns that Jack died.

Carol and Therese in Carol (2015)

The forbidden love between Carol and Therese is powerful, mostly due to the stellar performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Therese, an aspiring photographer, meets Carol, who is searching for a Christmas present for her daughter. Carol invites Therese to lunch after she returns her misplaced gloves, and then invites her to her home. Carol surprises Therese and invites her on a trip to escape her looming divorce. The two kiss and begin having an affair. While navigating through Carol's divorce, her feelings for Therese are used as leverage against her in custody discussions. To avoid a public scandal, Carol gives up custody of her daughter. Carol tells Therese that she loves her, and asks Therese to meet her for dinner. Therese obliges and the two gaze into each other's eyes.

Chiron and Kevin in Moonlight (2016)

Told through three life stages, the movie explores sexuality and identity through Chiron's childhood, adolescence and early adult life. As a teenager, he dreams about his childhood friend, Kevin, in an intimate relationship with a girl. The two meet up, smoke, kiss, and connect physically. Despite their connection, Kevin is manipulated into a hazing ritual and assaults Chiron. As an adult, Chiron is dealing drugs in Atlanta. He receives a call from Kevin, inviting him to visit him in Miami. They meet in a dine and reconnect. Chiron admits that he had not been intimate with anyone since their encounter as teenagers. Chiron gently rests his head on Kevin's shoulder.

Nick and Rachel in Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Constance Wu portrays Rachel, an economics professor at NYU, who is stunned to learn that her boyfriend's family is one of the richest in Singapore. Even though it's a hilarious comedy, the love between Rachel and Nick, portrayed by Henry Golding, is the foundation that makes everything work. Nick is planning to propose, despite his family's belief that Rachel is not good enough for him. Cue: the big romantic gesture. Nick proposes and is willing to leave his family to be with Rachel. But she declines because she didn't want to ruin his family. Nick proposes against the airport, this time with his mother's blessing. Rachel accepts and they celebrate with Nick's family.

Clementine and Alonzo in If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

Clementine, known as "Tish," is romantically involved with Alonzo, known as "Fonny." The two find a reasonably priced place to live in New York City. When Fonny is arrested and accused of raping a woman, Tish is determined to clear his name. Fonny is wrongly charged, since he was nowhere near the place of the crime. Tish stands by his side and visits him in jail to tell him that she is pregnant. Their attempts to clear Fonny's name don't work out, and he accepts a plea deal. Tish continues to wait for Fonny's release and brings their child to prison to visit him.

(Tatum Mangus / Annapurna Pictures)
Marcus and Sasha in Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Ali Wong and Randall Park star as childhood friends who lost touch after they slept together. Now adults, Sasha is back in San Francisco to open a restaurant and is surprised that her chemistry with Marcus is still there. But Sasha is engaged and Marcus has a girlfriend. Before Marcus tells Sasha about his feelings for her, she tells him she's met someone new. They go on a double date, which is a disaster, but leads to Marcus and Sasha falling in love. Sasha decides that she will still move to New York, but Marcus refuses to join her. Marcus surprises her on the red carpet and asks her to take him back. She accepts and the two reunite, ready to take on New York together.


From Casablanca to The Notebook, these epic love stories give us all the feels.