The Classic Movies List: A Rec for Every Romance Trope

Here’s the work-in-progress list— The Google doc is always open for more!

Kelly’s Must-See List

Because it’s All About Me. Watch these and report back.

Comedy

 It Happened One Night The Shop Around the Corner How to Marry a Millionaire

Drama

 Drama_TheClock  Drama_BestYearsOfOurLives Drama_RandomHarvest

Note: I would have included Casablanca, but that’s just a given on any list.

Suspense

Suspense_Notorious  Suspense_Rebecca Suspense_Gaslight

  • Notorious — I’ll just be over here curled up in a ball yelling things at the television.
  • Rebecca — Perfect casting of a perfect adaptation of a perfect novel.
  • Gaslight — Your skin will crawl until the beta hero saves the day.

Note: All the best suspense movies have one-word titles.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Friends to Lovers

  • Holiday
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Gigi
  • Born Yesterday
  • It Should Happen To You

Enemies to Lovers

  • QuietManThe Quiet Man
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • The Shop Around the Corner
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • His Girl Friday
  • Desk Set
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • Notorious
  • Ninotchka/Silk Stockings
  • The Band Wagon
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Whirlwind Romance

  • The Clock
  • On the Town
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • Bringing Up Baby

Military/War

ToHaveAndHaveNot

  • To Have and Have Not
  • The Clock
  • On the Town
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • I Was a Male War Bride
  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • Since You Went Away
  • Casablanca
  • The More the Merrier
  • Tender Comrade
  • A Foreign Affair

Reforming the Rake

  • Love in the Afternoon

Obsessive Love

  • Laura
  • Double Indemnity
  • Leave Her to Heaven
  • Dragonwyck

Unrequited/One-Sided Love

  • Little Women
  • It Should Happen to You
  • The Apartment
  • Easter Parade
  • How to Marry a Millionaire
  • Footlight Parade

Angst-O-Rama

Some of these aren’t HEA, but all are must-see!

IllBeSeeingYou

  • I’ll Be Seeing You — streaming on YouTube!
  • The Clock
  • Brief Encounter
  • Kitty Foyle
  • Random Harvest
  • Love Affair/An Affair to Remember
  • Enchanted Cottage
  • A Place in the Sun
  • Splendour in the Grass
  • Butterfield 8
  • Waterloo Bridge
  • Casablanca
  • Dark Victory
  • Now, Voyager
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Marriage In Trouble

  • Barefoot In the Park
  • The Bishop’s Wife
  • Adam’s Rib
  • State of the Union
  • Barkleys of Broadway
  • The Palm Beach Story
  • Wife Vs. Secretary

Amnesia

  • Random Harvest
  • Spellbound

Secret Babies

  • Bachelor Mother/Bundle of Joy
  • It Started In Naples

Love Triangle

  • Holiday AffairHoliday Affair
  • Sabrina
  • Casablanca
  • Holiday
  • My Favorite Wife
  • Rachel and the Stranger
  • A Foreign Affair
  • The Vikings

Sibling’s best friend/Best friend’s sibling

or sibling/best friend’s love interest

  • Holiday

Road Trip

  • It Happened One Night
  • The African Queen
  • Some Like It Hot
  • Sullivan’s Travels

Age Gap

  • SabrinaSabrina
  • Love in the Afternoon
  • That Touch of Mink
  • Gigi
  • Daddy Long Legs
  • All That Heaven Allows*
  • Sweet Bird of Youth
  • It Started In Naples
  • The World of Suzy Wong
  • Funny Face

Second Chance

  • Philadelphia Story
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • Dishonored Lady
  • His Girl Friday
  • The Awful Truth

Millionaire/Ingenue

  • Love in the Afternoon
  • That Touch of Mink

Marriage of Convenience/Arranged Marriage/Forced Marriage

  • Love With the Proper Stranger
  • Crossing Delancey
  • Mrs. Skeffington
  • Come Live With Me

Lost Souls/Lonely Hearts

  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Rocky
  • Marty

Big Misunderstanding

  • BellBookAndCandleBell Book and Candle (not a misunderstanding as much as magical intervention)
  • Christmas in Connecticut
  • The Shop Around the Corner
  • Love Affair/An Affair to Remember
  • Bachelor Mother/Bundle of Joy
  • How to Steal a Million
  • My Man Godfrey
  • My Favorite Wife
  • Without Reservations
  • Some Like It Hot
  • I Married a Witch
  • Indiscreet

Romantic Suspense

  • Notorious
  • To Catch a Thief
  • Gaslight
  • Key Largo
  • Charade
  • The 39 Steps

Opposites Attract/Unlikely Lovers

  • DesigningWomanDesigning Woman
  • Vivacious Lady
  • Platinum Blonde
  • Pygmalion
  • Woman of the Year
  • Tammy and the Bachelor
  • Guys and Dolls
  • African Queen
  • Royal Wedding
  • It Started In Naples
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • The Pirate
  • Ninotchka
  • The Sound of Music
  • Grease
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • The Lady Eve
  • My Man Godfrey

Class Differences/Family Objections

  • SwanThe Swan
  • You Can’t Take It With You
  • My Man Godfrey
  • West Side Story
  • Pygmalion
  • Duel in the Sun
  • A Place in the Sun
  • All That Heaven Allows
  • Made for Each Other

Teacher/Student

  • The Swan
  • Born Yesterday
  • Pat and Mike
  • Pygmalion

Witty Banter

  • ThinManThe Thin Man
  • His Girl Friday
  • It Happened One Night
  • I Was a Male War Bride
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • To Catch a Thief
  • Adam’s Rib
  • The Awful Truth
  • Arsenic and Old Lace

Athletes

  • Pride of the Yankees

Straight-Up Rom-Coms

  • BallOfFireBall of Fire
  • The Lady Eve
  • How to Marry a Millionaire
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Pillow Talk
  • Some Like It Hot
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  • It Happened One Night
  • More Than a Secretary
  • Singin’ in the Rain

Not genre romance but totally romantic

  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • The Apartment
  • Destry Rides Again
  • From Here to Eternity
  • A Place in the Sun
  • Marty
  • West Side Story
  • Rebecca
  • Penny Serenade
  • All This and Heaven Too

Look like romance but totally aren’t  – The Anti-Romance

  • Doctor Zhivago
  • Love Story
  • The Way We Were
  • Atonement
  • Gone With the Wind

Kickass Women

  • Barbara Stanwyck
  • Katharine Hepburn
  • Maureen O’Hara
  • Rosalind Russell
  • Lauren Bacall
  • Myrna Loy
  • Irene Dunne
  • Ginger Rogers
  • Claudette Colbert

Beta Heroes

  • Jimmy Stewart
  • Gary Cooper
  • Jack Lemmon
  • Joseph Cotten
  • Gregory Peck

Alpha Heroes

  • John Wayne
  • Robert Mitchum

Suave and Sexy

  • Cary Grant
  • William Powell
  • Leslie Howard
  • Clark Gable

Best Kisses

  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • The Quiet Man
  • The Shop Around the Corner
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5 thoughts on “The Classic Movies List: A Rec for Every Romance Trope

  1. I just went and watched “I’ll Be Seeing You.” What a gorgeous movie… such wonderful acting! And I was a total wreck, not knowing if it had a happy ending or not.

    I added a few more movie to the list.

    • Kelly says:

      Oh, I am SO glad you liked it – the chemistry between them is incredible, and I think it’s easily Shirley Temple’s best acting.

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