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Top 10 Romantic Male Actors

VO: Rebecca Brayton
These are the men who sweep women off their feet. Literally. Time and time again, there are some chosen actors who continue to woo their female co-stars, as well as audiences, with their sensitivity, masculinity and – of course – their good looks. Men like Patrick Swayze were able to fight for their women (and then dance with them), while actors like Hugh Grant were more likely to throw out a sarcastic quip than a punch. Classics like Cary Grant and Rock Hudson transcend time, while newbies like Ryan Gosling and Channing Tatum are just at the beginning of their romantic careers. In honor of Valentine’s Day, counts down our top 10 favorite romantic male leading actors.

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Top 10 Romantic Male Actors

These are the men who sweep women off their feet. Literally. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 favorite romantic leading men.

#10 – Channing Tatum

Kicking off our list is the man whose career as a romantic lead is just beginning. There was a time when Tatum was stuck in a world of dance movies, teen rom-coms, and military roles. What a difference a few years can make: by showing his softer side, he has become a legitimate and genuinely charming romancer. And if there’s eye candy for the ladies, so be it.

#9 – Richard Gere

This silver fox knows how to bring a girl some roses. Gere rose to prominence as an “American Gigolo,” and soon built an infamous reputation for stripping on-screen – which earns him lotsa points with the ladies. Of course, so do the Naval whites. Hiring hookers may not be the most romantic thing in the world. But it’s what you make of the experience that counts?

#8 – Rock Hudson

With his towering frame, sparkling eyes and dazzling smile, Rock Hudson gave Cary Grant a run for his money. Another of the era’s major leading men, Hudson swapped back and forth between comedies and melodramatic romances, but he shines in every one. Sure, it was later revealed he was gay, but it’s a testament to his acting abilities that he was able to make any woman fall in love.

#7 – Ryan Gosling

There’s something about a guy who can lift a girl like it ain’t no thang… Gosling takes cues from another iconic romantic lead, in more ways than one: he can do action, comedy, and romance. But it’s his sincerity, boyish charm and – yes – the way he looks both in and out of a suit that make him a great leading man. Also, epic kiss in the rain.

#6 – Matthew McConaughey

Alright, alright, alright: He’s attractive, cocky, looks great with his shirt off, and can pull off dramatic, romantic gestures. Yes, McConaughey has made some excellent thrillers and dramas, but he has also made more than his fair share of chick flicks. Some are better than others, but either way, you have to admit that most rom-com leading men fall into either the Hugh Grant or the Matthew McConaughey category.

#5 – Robert Redford

You don’t get more all-American than Redford, which makes both women and men adore him: he can just as easily play a journalist, a cowboy or the romantic lead. Always looking for substantial roles, Redford avoided too many love stories. But when he did them, they were classics. We’ve never figured out how hair washing is foreplay, but we guess if it was him we’d let it slide.

#4 – Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks romantic movies are like that box of chocolates: “you never know what you’re gonna get.” Whether he’s the simpleton who’s loved his girl forever, the foreigner who’s trapped in the airport, the guy who courts a mermaid, or the widowed father who can’t sleep, Hanks is that attainable and sensitive love interest everyone pines for. He may not be the most traditionally handsome of all the leading men, but that’s what makes us love him.

#3 – Cary Grant

Grant is the definition of a romantic lead: suave, charming, coiffed, witty and just plain handsome. He was an icon in a time when romantic movies were about sizzling sexual tension, sharp dialogue and adult themes – not the goofy rom-coms we mostly see today. Somehow, he transcended age to stay a fan favorite for over three decades, and gave all who followed him something to shoot for.

#2 – Patrick Swayze

He may be an action hero. He may even be a drag queen. But Swayze is also the king of romantic movies. Because he embodies both sides of the coin, he’s the kind of man women dream about – which makes him the perfect romantic lead. He’s strong and sensitive, rugged yet graceful and he’s always there for his leading ladies – even when he’s a ghost.

#1 – Hugh Grant

Taking the top spot on our list is the Brit who’s rarely strayed from the realm of the romantic comedy. Come on, how many of your favorite rom-coms star this guy? Whether he’s the bumbling but charming romantic lead, or the still-somewhat-charming jerk, Grant manages to be the perfect foil for a steady string of wacky actresses. What is it: the accent? The stammering? The smile? The sarcasm? Oh, who cares?

Do you agree with our list? Which leading man stole your heart? For more great top 10s about your favorite actors, be sure to subscribe to

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