Top 21 Best Romance Movies of Every Year



Top 21 Best Romance Movies of Every Year

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
The best romance movies for every year kept love alive. Our countdown includes "Bridget Jones's Diary," "500 Days of Summer," "La La Land," and more!

Top 21 Best Romance Movies of Every Year

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 21 Best Romance Movies of Every Year.

For this list, we’ll be looking at our favorite romance movies every year from 2000 to 2020.

Did your favorite make the list? Let us know in the comments!

2000: “Love & Basketball”

A fan favorite sub-genre in the romance category is friends to lovers, and “Love & Basketball” delivers, showing us the love story between Monica Wright and Quincy McCall. The two meet as kids when Monica moves to Quincy’s neighborhood from L.A. and he’s surprised to find that she loves basketball as much as he does. While their paths diverge and Quincy almost ends up with someone else, these two get a happily ever after that is totally deserved. Even if you’re not a sports fan, don’t miss this charming rom-com.

2001: “Bridget Jones's Diary”

2001 was a great year for romance lovers. Not only did we get “Moulin Rouge!,” “Amélie,” and “Serendipity,” but it also gave us the utterly delightful British rom-com “Bridget Jones's Diary.” Bridget is a hapless singleton who can’t seem to do anything right no matter how much she tries to get her drinking, smoking, and swearing in check. While much of the film focuses on her dalliance with her dastardly boss Daniel Cleaver, the true love story here is between Bridget and uptight barrister Mark Darcy, making for one of the genre’s greatest mismatched movie couples.

2002: “A Walk to Remember”

This is the first Nicholas Sparks adaptation on our list but certainly not the last. Released in 2002, “A Walk to Remember” tells the story of a minister’s daughter, Jamie, and the high school’s resident bad boy, Landon. What sets this movie apart is the fact that Jamie is suffering from terminal cancer, a fact that she hides from Landon in the early days of their relationship. This teen movie became an instant classic among romance lovers and still has us grabbing for the tissues when we rewatch it even all these years later.

2003: “Love Actually”

This Christmas themed romantic comedy has both its fans and detractors, but it set the bar for ensemble romances and has become a holiday mainstay in many households. Set in the lead up to December 25th, “Love Actually” follows an expansive cast of characters as they fall in and out of love. Sure, “Love Actually” has come under fire in recent years for its problematic portrayal of some potentially sexist relationship tropes, but you can’t deny that this is an essential holiday film, and an essential rom-com, that will be replicated for years to come.

2004: “Before Sunset”

There is truly nothing like Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy. “Before Sunrise” was released in 1995, following two young people as they fell in love in Vienna. Almost ten years later, the director teamed up with his stars again to revisit the couple’s relationship and find out whether they actually met one year later as planned. This follow-up, “Before Sunset,” maintains the realistic dialogue of the first film, and is this time set in Paris, letting Jesse and Céline (and the audience) explore a whole new European city. We got to jump into their love story again in 2013 when the third film, “Before Midnight,” was released.

2005: “Pride & Prejudice”

It’s tough to pick a favorite for 2005 since it saw the release of two beloved romance films. “Brokeback Mountain” was truly groundbreaking, bringing a same-sex love story to the big screen and exposing a larger audience to this tender and heartbreaking tale. But the 2005 interpretation of Jane Austen’s classic tale “Pride & Prejudice” has remained in our hearts, breathing new life into a nearly 200-year-old story. While we had seen Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s love story unfold on the screen before, this adaptation has got to be the best.

2006: “The Holiday”

This may be a Christmas movie, but trust us: it can be enjoyed all year round. “The Holiday” is full of charm, featuring two intertwining storylines between two women who both find themselves alone and looking for a change as Christmas approaches. Starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet with an all-star supporting cast, this film is sure to put a smile on your face. It’s uplifting and inspiring, featuring romance along with explorations of different types of relationships. The juxtaposing settings of sunny Los Angeles and the snow-covered English countryside make watching this film a delight no matter where you wish you were spending your holidays.

2007: “Atonement”

While we are fans of “P.S. I Love You,” we had to go with another tragic love story for our 2007 pick. Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, “Atonement” is a historical romance that begins in England in the leadup to the Second World War. In a moment of poor judgment, 13-year-old Briony Tallis (played by an astounding Saoirse Ronan) tells a lie that will change the course of her life and the lives of her family as they live through the devastating war to come. It’s a story about love, family, honesty, and guilt, and is sure to become a timeless classic.

2008: “Definitely, Maybe”

You’ll have to excuse us for not including the hugely popular “Twilight” as our 2008 pick, but we’re going for a more underrated gem instead. “Definitely, Maybe” stars Ryan Reynolds as a young dad and Abigail Breslin as his adorably precocious daughter. She wants to know how her parents met, and he embarks on a long tale, exploring all of the romantic mishaps he went through on his quest to find love. The framing device makes this story utterly adorable, but the love story it tells is just as compelling.

2009: “500 Days of Summer”

While 2009 also saw the release of the hilarious movie “The Proposal,” we have to go with this groundbreaking romance movie for this year. “500 Days of Summer” turned the typical rom-com on its head, showing the story through the male protagonist’s eyes and letting us know from the start that we shouldn’t expect a typical love story. The film explores many of the tropes that are emblematic of the genre while still telling a unique story of its own. While viewers’ interpretation of the plot and characters have changed over the years, you can’t deny the huge influence of this film.

2010: “Beginners”

“Beginners” may be an unconventional romance movie and wasn’t widely seen, making less than $15 million at the box office. But this 2010 film offers an interesting exploration of sexuality, focusing on a man who comes out as gay later in life following the death of his wife. The entire story is told through flashbacks, and we see Hal developing a romance with a younger man while the story simultaneously explores Hal’s son’s own romantic quest. It’s a quiet film, but one that leaves a major impact and deserves a wider audience.

2011: “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

2011 was a good year to be a romance movie lover. It saw the release of films like “One Day” and “Like Crazy,” along with this beloved film. “Crazy, Stupid, Love” could have relied on its star-studded cast to bring in viewers, but it actually tells an enjoyable and memorable story. Steve Carell plays Cal Weaver, who needs help getting back in the dating game after his marriage falls apart. Enter Ryan Gosling as Jacob Palmer, a young playboy who helps him get his confidence back. The film tells simultaneous love stories, so there’s something for everyone in this movie.

2012: “Moonrise Kingdom”

Few Wes Anderson films can be categorized as romance movies, but this one certainly can. “Moonrise Kingdom” tells a story of young love between two troubled children who decide to leave it all behind and run away together. Their romance is pure and sweet and will inevitably make you nostalgic for your own youth. Beyond that, the film features Anderson’s signature pastel color palette and quirky characters, making this a treat to watch. It’s largely humorous, but still touches on relevant issues that will resonate with viewers— no matter their age.

2013: “About Time”

“Blue Is the Warmest Colour” was released in 2013 and made a big impact for its portrayal of a relationship between two young women. But we’re going for a slightly more lighthearted pick for our favorite of the year. “About Time” is a time travel romance, but is void of most of the trappings of the genre because it’s set in the present day. Rather than traveling centuries into the past or future, Tim simply travels to various points in his own lifetime, allowing him to re-do moments until he gets them right. While this is mostly a comedic film, it has many poignant moments that will be sure to tug at your heartstrings.

2014: “The Fault in Our Stars”

While we know that 2014’s “Love, Rosie” has a dedicated fanbase, it would be difficult to say that anything but “The Fault in Our Stars” was the most impactful romance movie of the year. This tragic tale of love between two young cancer patients is a serious tearjerker and takes viewers to unexpected places. While it’s clear from the start that Hazel and Augustus are star-crossed lovers who aren’t exactly destined for happily ever after, their love story is incredibly memorable and is certainly emotionally effective. This movie may have been even sadder than the original novel.

2015: “Carol”

While “Brooklyn” may have been an awards season darling in 2015, we have to go with “Carol” for our pick this year. This film was also critically acclaimed, for its portrayal of a relationship between a young photographer, played by Rooney Mara, and a glamorous older woman, played by Cate Blanchett. Set in the 1950s, their romance is plagued with issues and judgment from external figures, especially because Carol is going through a divorce and custody battle as their love story unfolds. It’s an interesting LGBTQ+ period piece that makes us all the more grateful to be living in the 21st century.

2016: “La La Land”

Damien Chazelle’s candy-colored ode to the magic of Hollywood was a 2016 favorite among moviegoers and critics. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star in this love letter to L.A., which doubles as an exploration of what happens to a couple when their dreams send them on diverging paths. The ending especially features one of the most heartbreaking and poignant romance sequences in recent memory. 2016 was an all-around great year for movie lovers who appreciate a great love story, as it also saw the release of “Me Before You,” “Moonlight,” and “Loving.”

2017: “Call Me by Your Name”

“The Big Sick” was released in 2017, setting a new standard for modern romance movies, but our favorite love story of the year had to be Elio and Oliver’s. “Call Me by Your Name” is based on André Aciman’s (aw-see-mawn) short novel, and tells the story of a young boy living in Italy who falls in love with the older male graduate student who comes to spend the summer with his family. Set in the 1980s, the film explores what it was like to be exploring your sexuality during a difficult time for the gay community.

2018: “A Star Is Born”

2018 gave us two great teen romance movies: “Love, Simon” and “To All The Boys I've Loved Before.” Not to mention the release of the much-loved “Crazy Rich Asians.” But it also gave us the brilliant “A Star Is Born,” which has to take the top spot for the year. Despite the fact that this story had been remade multiple times, this version (directed by Bradley Cooper) felt completely fresh and new. With Cooper and Lady Gaga co-starring, they became a tour de force when it came to their musical pairing and their undeniable chemistry. “A Star Is Born” was one of 2018’s biggest movies and told a love story for the ages.

2019: “Always Be My Maybe”

Romantic dramas seem to be increasingly popular while traditional romantic comedies appear to have fallen to the wayside as time has gone on. Luckily, Netflix released this original movie in 2019, proving that the rom-com is very much still alive. “Always Be My Maybe” is both adorable and hilarious, telling us the love story of two childhood besties who ended up hooking up as teens and ruining their relationships. Luckily, Sasha and Marcus come back together as adults and give things another go, but there are plenty of twists and turns along the way. Don’t miss this movie, if only for one of the best celebrity cameos of all time.

2020: “The Half of It”

Many of 2020’s planned movie releases didn’t actually make it to the big screen, but thank goodness for streaming services! “The Half of It” was released in May, right when the world needed a sweet teen romance to lose themselves in. In this movie, Ellie is a straight-A student and she is hired by one of her peers, Paul, to write love letters to the girl he has a crush on. The thing is, though, Ellie has feelings of her own that end up complicating their arrangement. This is a movie that feels wholly modern and is part of a renaissance of high-quality teen love stories.