Good date movies used to be easy to identify. They usually starred some combination of Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Hugh Grant, featured a few lighthearted laughs, and were guaranteed to tug a heartstring or two before the credits rolled. Toss in a cute kid, like Jerry Maguire‘s Jonathan ”Did you know the human head weighs eight pounds?” Lipnicki, and call it a day.
The advent of sub-genres, such as raunchy romantic comedies like No Strings Attached, couples action-flicks like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and, well, whatever you want to call the Fifty Shades franchise, however, has made it more difficult to separate the true classics from the wannabe crowd. While some recent releases, like Bridget Jones Baby, generally fit the bill, your best bets are a bit older—and probably available for convenient from-the-couch streaming.
Check out our favorite picks for date night flicks that are more likely to get you laid than a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates.
10. The Notebook (2004)
Earnest, emotional, and sappier than a maple tree, The Notebook has no right to be anything but unbearably cornball. But against all odds, it totally works, delivering a star-crossed love story that could draw a tear from the driest of eyes. If Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams making out in the rain doesn’t melt your girl’s heart, you may want to check her pulse.
9. Love Actually (2003)
While generally categorized as a Christmas movie, Love Actually is much more a romantic comedy than a yuletide classic. In fact, its all-star cast of rom-com favorites — from Colin Firth to Hugh Grant — and its multiple intertwined love stories pretty much make it the ultimate date night choice. All that, and it stars Andrew Lincoln long before he was neck-deep in the zombie apocalypse.
8. Pretty Woman (1990)
The modern-day classic date movie by which all others are measured, Pretty Woman put Julia Roberts on the map and made Roy Orbison’s awesome title track a hit all over again. While it didn’t invent the romantic comedy, it helped redefine the genre for a whole new generation. Sure, you’ve probably seen it more times than you care to admit, but this one’s held up better than Richard Gere’s career.
7. The Wedding Singer (1998)
Often discredited as another Adam Sandler-starring guilty pleasure, The Wedding Singer is actually one of the star’s best films. More than that though, it strikes a great balance between charming love story and quotable comedy. Better still, it sports an awesome 80’s soundtrack, plenty of big hair, and a drunken Steve Buscemi delivering a best man’s speech that’s worth the price of admission.
6. Casablanca (1942)
75 years on, Bogart and Bergman’s incredibly moving tale of unrequited love still stands as one of the most romantic stories ever committed to celluloid. Whether you’re in a blossoming romance or looking to put some passion back in a longtime relationship, this enduring classic will easily earn you some sophistication cred with your significant other.
5. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
This contemporary classic is always remembered for Meg Ryan faking an orgasm over a deli sandwich, but there’s way more to this one than sexually-satisfying tuna salad. Featuring Ryan and Billy Crystal and their comedic best, a smart script, and a genuinely insightful take on what happens when close friends become intimate, When Harry Met Sally still stands as one of the absolute best date movie staples.
4. Titanic (1997)
Both a beautiful love story and special effects-laden disaster flick, Titanic has a little something for everyone; if you’re not a fan of its lovey dovey first half, stick around for the ending, where both hearts and ocean liners are torn in two. Toss in a theme song by Celine Dion and Leo claiming he’s “king of the world”, and you’ve got a sure-fire recipe for romance.
3. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Coming off her scene-stealing turn in When Harry Met Sally, Meg Ryan established herself as the romantic comedy queen in this funny, touching tale of star-crossed soul mates. Of course, it didn’t hurt she played opposite charming every-man Tom Hanks. Just be careful not to confuse this one with the pair’s goofier Joe Versus the Volcano or, worse, their inferior You’ve Got Mail.
2. Jerry Maguire (1996)
While it’s remembered most for classic lines — “You complete me.” and “You had me at hello.” — and that aforementioned towheaded tyke, Jerry Maguire has much more to offer than quotable dialog and a cute kid. Somehow both a great sports flick and moving romantic comedy, it’s a rare breed that also featured fantastic chemistry between Renee Zellweger and a pre-cuckoo Tom Cruise.
1. The Princess Bride (1987)
A literal fairytale — or “kissing book”, as a young, skeptical Fred Savage calls it — read by granddaddy Peter Falk, this classic isn’t your typical princess-rescuing romp. While it packs more than enough romance to satisfy the date movie quota, The Princess Bride also sports swashbuckling action, enchanting magic, and a fantastic ensemble cast, including a hilarious Billy Crystal in old-man make-up, and Andre the Giant as, well, a giant.