Netflix’s 12 best romantic movies
Sometimes the mood strikes, and only lingering glances, slow burns, longing stares, and top-tier movie smooches will do.
That mood is best served when the romantic movies you crave are easily accessible on a streaming service like Netflix. Some of these picks are comedies while others are dramas. But all of them will scratch the itch for a lovey-dovey night in.
Here are the 12 best romantic movies on Netflix:
1. Always Be My Maybe
Credit: Ed Araquel / Netflix
The thrill of a new romance often lies in just that — the fact that it’s new. But what if your truest love lies in one of your oldest relationships? Always Be My Maybe stars Ali Wong and Randall Park as a pair of childhood besties who lost touch in their teens, but who find their way back to each other as grownups. With a delightful supporting cast that also includes Daniel Dae Kim, James Saito, and Keanu Reeves, Always Be My Maybe is as deliciously cozy as a bowl of Mom’s kimchi jjigae — and just as satisfying. — Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor
2. Runaway Bride
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere are a ’90s rom-com dyad for a reason. Nine years after they paired up for Garry Marshall’s instant classic Pretty Woman, they returned as the central couple in the comedy helmer’s Runaway Bride. Roberts is off-the-charts charming as Maggie, a woman known in tabloids for leaving three different men at the altar. Gere is swoon-worthy as Ike, a reporter assigned to cover the story of Maggie’s fourth and hopefully final wedding. Their attraction and mutual understanding are romance movie gold. Yet you can’t help but feel bad for poor Bob (Christopher Meloni), Maggie’s fourth fiancé, whose sports metaphors don’t stand a chance against that magical Gere/Roberts chemistry.* — Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter
3. When We First Met
Credit: Jami Saunders
Groundhog Day meets Some Kind of Wonderful in this delightful romantic comedy from director Ari Sandel. Adam DeVine and Alexandra Daddario star as Noah and Avery, friends who could’ve worked as a couple but didn’t get the timing right. So when the pining Noah discovers a magical photo booth that will transport him back to the night he and Avery first met, he’s willing to do anything to get it right this time(s). Funny and surprisingly sweet, When We First Met is a hidden gem time-travel romp with spectacular supporting performances and a predictable ending you’ll like all the same. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
4. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Karan Johar’s directorial debut became an instant Bollywood classic when it hit theaters in 1998. Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) and Anjali (Kajol) are college besties until Rahul falls in love with Tina (Rani Mukerji) and Anjali realizes her true feelings for him. The friends become estranged before Tina dies, leaving behind a daughter, also named Anjali in honor of their old friend. Little Anjali grows up reading letters from her late mother, and she learns about her father’s old friend — his first love. Tina tasks her daughter with tracking down Anjali and reuniting the friends as lovers, once and for all.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai remains Johar’s best work to date, a film that made his name synonymous with pure power in the Hindi film industry. Khan and Kajol’s chemistry captivates throughout, from their GAP-clad days of college teasing to the unfathomable sexual tension of the gazebo scene. Despite being famous for its love triangle, the movie never pits Anjali and Tina against each other, instead depicting a beautiful friendship between the two women as well as their respective relationships to Rahul. “Pyar dosti hai,” Rahul declares early on; Love is friendship. And Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is nothing if not a timeless story about friends. — Proma Khosla, Senior Entertainment Reporter
5. Dear John
Credit: Sony Pictures
The novels of Nicholas Sparks have inspired a massive quantity of tear-jerking romantic movies, from The Notebook to A Walk To Remember, The Last Song, and Dear John. This one stars Channing Tatum as enlisted soldier John, who by chance meets college student Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) before being deployed. They maintain a romance by writing each other handwritten letters. Through the years, complications like the September 11th attacks, family illness, and the pain of being separated rock their relationship, culminating in the titular “Dear John” letter. Of course, that’s not where the story ends. Not by a long shot. —A.N.
6. About Time
Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson star in this romantic dramedy about a woman falling head-over-heels for a time traveler. We know, we know: It sounds super silly and possibly not very good. But writer-director Richard Curtis pulls off this bonkers premise with such elegance and grace, you’ll be lulled into accepting its dreamy reality in no time. That said, you’re being warned: Bring tissues. This one is rough on the ol’ tear ducts.* — A.F.
7. Set It Up
What’s better than one set of hot people getting together in a fun, modern romantic comedy? Those hot people setting up another set of hot people in a modern, fun romantic comedy! Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell play assistants to two single power players (Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs) and team up to get their high-strung bosses dating so they’ll give their staff a break. Of course, making two people fall in love isn’t as easy as it seems, and neither is resisting the charms of your partner-in-love-crime. Set It Up is a perfectly light, cuddly date movie. Also, Pete Davidson is there for a little bit. —A.N.
8. The Holiday
This 2006 Nancy Meyers banger is one of the rare romantic movies to inspire a real-life aspirational relationship trope: the house-swap. In The Holiday, writer Iris (Kate Winslet) and producer Amanda (Cameron Diaz) make an arrangement on a vacation house exchange site to spend the winter holidays at each others’ homes. Iris, an Englishwoman, makes for Amanda’s sunny Los Angeles mansion, and Amanda settles into Iris’ cozy English cottage. While stepping into each others’ lives, both women meet men, who they’d never otherwise meet — book editor Graham (Jude Law) and composer Ethan (Jack Black) — leading both of them to realize that in order to find home, they had to leave home first. —A.N.
9. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Netflix’s rom-com revival kicked off in 2018, a year whose slate included this criminally charming movie based on the novel by Jenny Han. Lara Jean (Lana Condor) is a hopeless romantic in the habit of writing letters to her most epic crushes — writing, not sending. When the letters are leaked, she starts pretending to date Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) to divert attention from her real crush on her sister’s boyfriend.
With a bouncy pop soundtrack and visual style that is the envy of your entire Instagram feed, To All the Boys is the kind of movie you can return to again and again, a comfort watch as sweet as Lara Jean’s baked goods. Will we ever tire of watching fictional characters fake love until it becomes real? If they’re even half as adorable as these two, the answer is no. —P.K.
10. Bright Star
Bright Star is an imaginative, romantic biopic about the life and final love of John Keats. The classic dreamy poet (Ben Whishaw) falls in love with his high-class neighbor, Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish). Far from love at first sight, they initially dislike each other. However, they come together as Fanny becomes interested in his beautiful poetry and Keats discovers that the fashionable lady holds hidden depths. Their romance goes on to inspire some of the most beautiful love poems of all time. As history dictates, this one sends in tragedy, so definitely watch with a box of tissues and a hefty appreciation for modern antibiotics. —A.N.
11. My Fair Lady
Credit: United Archives via Getty Images
Audrey Hepburn played no shortage of iconic roles, but one of her best known is as cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. When arrogant linguist Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) laments the “degradation” of the English language with accents like Eliza’s, he makes a bet that he can teach her to speak like a proper English lady and pass her off as such as an upcoming ball. As the teacher and pupil come to know each other, their lessons become more than educational, leading to a sweeping musical romance. My Fair Lady features iconic songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “On The Street Where You Live,” and “The Rain in Spain.” —A.N.
12. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Though this 1940s-set title is a bit of a mouthful, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a straightforward tale of boy-meets-girl. Or boy in a book club meets lady author, who is staying in town to do research on the German occupation and uncovers WWII secrets. Lily James (Downton Abbey, Cinderella) and Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) star as a bookish couple whose interest in history — and the author Charles Lamb — brings them together even as the world tries to move them away from each other. —A.N.
Asterisks (*) indicate the entry has been modified from a previous Mashable list.