23 Favorite Romance Movies (date night or girls night in)

In celebration of Valentine’s Day I’m sharing my list of favorite romance movies for date night or girls night in. You don’t have to be in a relationship to enjoy these. In fact I prefer watching some of these movies with my girlfriends even more than watching them with my mate. 

There’s nothing quite like an adult pajama party with your best gal pals, several bottles of wine, snacks, and a pile of your favorite romance movies. And don’t forget the tissues because you know there will be a tear or 40, shed.

favorite romance movies for date night or girls night in, with text overlay

This list ranges from rom-coms to classic love stories, from silly to serious, old to new, and more. Pick a few to watch for Valentines day or Galentines day with besties.

Movies for date night or girls night in

What constitutes a good romance movie? I had to ponder this question as I put together my list of favorites. After doing a quick Google search for a top 100 list, I realized there are definitely different strokes for different folks.

Some of the movies listed didn’t appeal to me for any number of reasons. From not liking the actor to over-analyzing the doomed relationship from the start.

Take the movie Jerry Maguire for example. You just know it’s not going to work out between Jerry and Dorothy (Renee Zellweger’s character) because he’s selfish and self-centered, and he’ll never think she’s good enough.

favorite romance movies for date night or girls night in, sofa with cocktail table of snacks

What makes them great?

The funny thing about GREAT romance movies is that they seldom end with “happily ever after.” In fact they usually end with some great sacrifice or tragedy.

The thing that makes a romance movie really great for me is when it gives you all the feels, or you can truly relate to something in it. It may be the character, the circumstance of the romance, or simply the reality of how the relationship is portrayed. 

favorite romance movies for date night or girls night in, table with popcorn and wine

Movie snacks

Grab your movie choices and put together a buffet of party food and wine, like these.

movie playing on wall mount television.

Favorite romance movies

These movies stand the test of time and are more on the dramatic side.

The Notebook – I can never not stop and watch this movie if I flip through and run into it. It is the tear-jerker to end all tear-jerker movies. This movie is heart warming and heart wrenching all at the same time.

Shakespeare in Love – I discovered this one only recently and LOVED it. How did I miss it during it’s original release? There’s just something about Shakespeare…and a young hot Joseph Fiennes.

Ghost – This movie was a big hit when it originally came out. And it’s become a classic ever since. After watching it again recently I realized there is a certain cheesy-ness to some scenes. However, as a love story it holds up. If you need a good cry as well as some Whoopi Goldberg comic relief, put this one in the queue.

Casablanca – There may not be a better movie about sacrifice and love lost. Casablanca is THE icon among icons. I find this one to be as interesting for its portrayal of history as it is for its portrayal of love. 

An Affair to Remember – This is another oldie that I think I discovered in my 20’s. It’s one of those stories that seems simple enough. Man & woman meet and fall in love on a transatlantic cruise, and agree to meet up in 6 months as they both are currently engaged to others. The twist and Kleenex portion of the movie, comes when she doesn’t show up and he goes to find out why. 

Moulin Rouge – This is a tragic tale of love set to a musical. It’s beautiful and entertaining to watch, and in the end tragedy ensues. Get the tissues ready. 

The Proposal – Two of my favorite actors, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are an unlikely pair who find romance. I have two favorite scenes from this film. When Sandra is dancing around the bonfire with Betty White, singing “Sweat drops down my b**ls” by Lil Jon. And when Ryan & Sandra bump into each other undressed…yeah, you know the scene.

Love Story – This one is known to be a tear jerker for good reason. You follow the love story of Oliver and Jenny, which ultimately concludes in tragedy.

The Way We Were – The story of how opposites attract follows Katie and Hubble from college to careers and life together. It’s such a great look into the lifespan of a relationship that runs its course even though the love is still there.

Cold Mountain – This is a tale of enduring love from afar. It’s set during the Civil War as Inman (Jude Law) is trying to get home from war and the only thing that’s keeping him motivated is the thought of seeing his love, Ada (Nicole Kidman). The couple is only on screen together for about 15 minutes at the end but you will feel the love throughout! 

Ensemble casts

Crazy Stupid Love – Aside from the fact that Ryan Gosling is super hot in this movie, I love the intertwining story lines. Steve Carell and the entire cast is fantastic in this one. 

He’s Just Not That Into You – Oh the trials and tribulations of being young, single and desperate! That’s the story of our main character, Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) who just wants to be in a relationship but keeps getting burned. She befriends Alex (the adorable Justin Long) who schools her on how to respect herself more, and what do you know? Suddenly she finds love. The movie has two other main story lines which all intersect, and the cast is full of A-list names.


Romantic comedies is a traditional genre for favorite romance movies. It’s got heart, laughter, and fun.

When Harry Met Sally – This classic friends-turn-lovers tale never gets old. 

500 Days of Summer – Besides the fact that I have a juvenile crush on the adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this movie is the perfect example of how timing is everything. And also, how you can fool yourself into thinking there’s more there than what actually is.

LaLa Land – Although I didn’t think this was as Oscar-worthy as it was, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The story of love and the one that got away is eternal. 

16 Candles – Can you even watch this without feeling like a 16 year old again? For that reason alone it’s one of my favorite romance movies! It’s also really well done, funny, and so 80’s.

Friends with Benefits – This light-hearted tale of friends with benefits who are actually perfect for each other is so fun to watch. Not to mention, Justin Timberlake…

The Big Sick – The most modern of all the romance movies here, and very relevant to our times. It’s loosely based on the real life story of the writers multi-cultural relationship and how to navigate that with traditional family values. There’s some good comic relief moments too!

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – This classic romcom is entertaining from beginning to end. What starts out as two separate bets turns into love. And with a cast of Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, who could resist?

Something Borrowed – In real life this plot line would be complicated to say the least! But as a movie it’s thoroughly enjoyable to watch. The gist of it is that Rachel is in love with her best friends fiancé. You’ll have to watch to see what happens!

Clueless – I recently watched this one again and it holds up! Cher’s voice over was ahead of its time and the journey to love is nostalgic and endearing.

Love over 30

Love isn’t just for 20-year olds and Nancy Meyers is here to prove it!

Something’s Gotta Give – If you want to watch a movie about love after your 30’s, this is a great one. Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson lead this movie through a tale of May-December romances that lead them to each other.

It’s Complicated – What do you get when you combine Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin in a Nancy Meyers film? A love triangle with a mature cast of characters.

What’s your favorite romance movie? Which of these do you want to watch first?

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