There’s nothing like the classics to transport us back in time to worlds filled with chivalry, damsels and romantic tensions. From time to time, we could all use a little escape into the tragically dramatic lives of forbidden lovers, rebellious princesses, and sultry love triangles of the nouveau riche. Rom-coms, romantic dramas, and musical romances from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s abound in this list of old romance movies that are sure to make you swoon.
Cynical nightclub owner Rick Blaine finds out his old flame, Ilsa, is in town with her husband, a Czech resistance leader. With Germans hot on his tail, Ilsa knows Rick is the only one who can smuggle them out of the country. But Rick still loves her, and the temptation to keep her safe with him may prove to be a struggle that could push her away forever.
Related: 10 Military Romance Movies to Sweep You Off Your Feet
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
The famous silent film star Don Lockwood has just about had it with his vain and conniving leading lady, Lina Lamot. In an attempt to escape a fan mob, Don jumps into the car of Kathy Seldon, a down to earth beauty, which Lina doesn’t like at all. When Don and Lina’s studio informs the stars they’ll be transitioning to ‘talkie’ films, Lina isn’t too thrilled that she’ll be lip-synced by Kathy. And she’s even less thrilled about the romance developing between Don and Kathy.
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
Persuaded into a hedonistic lifestyle, the handsome and wealthy Dorian Gray is accustomed to leaving a trail of broken hearts. But when a mystical wish has unintended consequences, it’s up to Dorian to find the goodness within himself to spare the fate of the woman he loves.
Roman Holiday (1953)
Bored and sheltered Princess Ann escapes the reigns of royalty in order to explore Rome on her own. There she meets prince charming in the form of an American reporter with whom she spends a wild day touring the city. But their happily ever after proves uncertain when her royal responsibilities threaten their love.
The Great Gatsby (1974)
Midwesterner Nick Carraway becomes invested in the life of the rich but mysterious Jay Gatsby, who throws lavish parties at his mansion in the hopes that his long-lost love Daisy will one night show up to rekindle their romance. Jay is lonely, Daisy is in a loveless marriage, yet there are circumstances at play which are determined to keep these two people apart for good.
Good girl Sandy Olsson and greaser Danny Zuko had a wild and passionate but fleeting summer romance. Upon the start of the new school year, they discover they’re now attending the same high school. Faced with constant pressures by their friends, can the two align again and rekindle their romance?
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
A classic tale of forbidden love ensues as young Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montague meet covertly at a ball. The young lovers elope, further increasing the tension between their feuding families. But tragedy is imminent as their families close in and the lovers will do whatever it takes to be together.
West Side Story (1961)
Based on the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story tells the story of Tony and Maria, two teenagers belonging to different rivaling gangs. Tensions between the ethnic backgrounds of the members rise as the Jets devise a devious plan to retain dominance over the Sharks. Unbeknownst to the lovers, they are barreling toward a fight their love may not survive.
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Three determined women are on a mission to marry rich. They soon find though, that New York’s elite male population consists mostly of creeps and cons. Along the way, the girls are tempted to admit that true love is better than a life of luxury.
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
A naïve, café society girl, Holly Golightly, falls in love with a struggling writer, Paul Varjak. She introduces him to her entire network and the two grow closer as they help each other discover things they never thought they could do. But her pastimes, while rightly motivated, are definitely illegal, and threaten to get in the way of their budding romance.
Keep Reading: 10 Historical Romance Movies to Sweep You Off Your Feet
Featured still from "The Picture of Dorian Gray" via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer