What makes an electric on-screen couple? Is it chemistry? A timeless love story? Slow burn? Scorching heat? It’s perhaps a little of all of these things. These nine movie couples make us swoon, but of course romance is in the eye of the beholder, and in this case, the audience. Got a favorite pairing we didn't include here? Let us know in the comments below.
Rose Dewitt-Bukater and Jack Dawson (Titanic)
Yes, there was probably room on the door for both of them. But one of the reasons these two star-crossed lovers’ doomed romance is so beloved is because of the fatal sacrifice Jack Dawson makes for lady-love Rose Dewitt Bukater. They only know each other for two days, but these young lovers share more passion and dedication to each other in those two days than many couples do over decades. Between the dancing, the naked sketches, hot and heavy Model T sex, and ultimately, tragedy, Jack and Rose are a movie couple for the ages.
Carol Aird and Therese Belivet (Carol)
Take away the sweeping soundtrack, the stunning period costumes and sets, and Carol Aird and Therese Belivet are still the hottest thing to come out of the 50s. Two women from very different places in life, they find a connection that defies societal norms. From the moment their eyes meet, until their reunion in the final frame, there’s indeed more than just heat. There’s a deep understanding right down to the bone of what it is to want and be wanted in a way that neither has experienced before. Often, stories about women-loving-women end in either a breakup or a fatal tragedy. But In an ending that flips the tragic lesbian trope on its head, Carol ultimately shows Carol and Therese finding happiness in each other’s arms.
Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist (Brokeback Mountain)
There's a profound sadness and intimacy in the love between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist that hits us right in the heart. These two cowboys live a lifetime during their summers and fishing trips, stolen moments when they can finally be themselves. The two remain in the closet, revealing their true identities only to each other. While their position isn’t enviable, it certainly was the reality for their time. Fear keeps them apart, but love keeps them together. When Ennis opens his closet to expose his work shirt entangled in a loving embrace with Jack’s, it cracks us open every time.
Han Solo and Princess Leia (Star Wars)
“I love you.” “I know.” There are few lines more iconic and more characteristically perfect than this goodbye that Princess Leia and Han exchange in The Empire Strikes Back. When they first meet, Princess Leia is a woman on a mission to save her people, while Han is a scruffy looking nerf herder. Naturally, it's a match made in the stars. For all their bickering and the fact that they produce the wannabe next Darth Vader together, Leia and Han’s love story anchors the space opera in reality. Love is love, no matter on Earth or the farthest reaches of space.
Wesley and Princess Buttercup (The Princess Bride)
If you grew up in the 80s, you most certainly have the words “as you wish” etched inside your heart. The fantastical tale of a pirate king and his beloved princess mixes humor with a love so deep that the movie worked its way into the very fiber of modern romantic pop culture. Wesley and Buttercup never give up on each other, despite near-death experiences, kidnappings, and Humperdincks.
Jo Fox and Kathleen Kelly (You’ve Got Mail)
I know what you ‘re thinking. Why not Sam and Annie from the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan vehicle Sleepless in Seattle? Well, because You’ve Got Mail is just a better romance. (Don’t @ me, people.) Despite their mutual dislike for one another, Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly share a deep passion for the same things in life. They instinctively understand each other, although it takes them time to realize it. Sometimes we don’t end up with the people we think we will, and that’s the beauty of love.
Steve Hiller and Jasmine Dubrow (Independence Day)
Talk about your underrated romances! When scary-ass aliens come to earth and start a-blasting, Steve and Jasmine do everything they can to find a way back to each other. When he’s not chasing down aliens in the desert, and she’s not trying to save the First Lady, these two are planning a life together, and they aren’t about to let an invading species of killer monsters get in the way. Will Smith and Vivica A. Fox have a crackling chemistry together that brings hope to the characters' desperate situation.
Molly Jensen and Sam Wheat (Ghost)
Yes, Sam does spend most of this romance in non-corporeal form, but Molly’s love and dedication to her murdered boyfriend defies what lies on either side of the veil. Before Sam passed, the two were busy planning a life together. They loved hard, even though they sometimes argued because Sam said “ditto” a lot. After his untimely death Sam fights his way back to Molly, using all his strength and, of course, help from a psychic. While they don’t end up together, they do get a happy ending. Ditto.
Selena Quintanilla and Chris Perez (Selena)
Tejano superstar Selena and her husband Chris Perez were a real couple whose epic romance was cut short by tragedy. When Chris joined Selena’s band as their guitarist they fell madly in love, and their romance is a major focus of this biopic. They eloped and loved each other like the next day would never come, until Selena was murdered by her friend and former employee Yolanda Saldívar. While Selena may be gone, her legacy and love for Chris is in her music, which lives on.
Featured still from "Carol" via StudioCanal