×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The most paused kissing scenes in movies

When it comes to great moments in cinematic history, there aren't many as memorable as a great kiss. Whether the film in question is centered around love or features a love story as a secondary plot, an amazing kiss can elevate a movie from good to unforgettable — but whether that actually happens once the cameras start rolling depends on a fairly large variety of factors. Not only do the actors locking lips have to have rock solid chemistry, but they have to really sell the moment so it doesn't feel cheesy or forced — all in all, a great movie kiss doesn't happen without a lot of work.

However, when everything comes together, actors and directors can create movie history with an amazing kiss scene, and we've compiled just a few of the very best. From romantic comedy meet-cutes to forbidden love and grand gestures, here are some of the most paused and rewound kissing scenes in all of cinema.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. kicked off a long term collaboration

You might remember Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling's magnetic chemistry from Oscar-nominated films like La La Land (for which Stone eventually won an Academy Award), but their first collaboration in 2011's Crazy, Stupid, Love. is just as memorable. In the midst of a story about a floundering middle-aged man named Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) trying to rediscover his confidence during a divorce, we meet Hannah (Stone), who, at first, is thoroughly unimpressed by Jacob Palmer's (Gosling) advances. However, later in the film, fed up with her mundane life, she storms back into the same bar where she just left Jacob, and their first kiss is nothing short of electric.

Jacob and Hannah's relationship is put to the test by the film's third act — we won't spoil it here, but this seemingly unassuming romantic comedy contains a pretty explosive plot twist — but when you see their incredible first kiss, you have no doubt that they'll succeed as long as they're together. Gosling and Stone have gone on to make more films together, and when you see Crazy, Stupid, Love., you'll understand why they've reunited since throwing sparks here.

Titanic's big kiss felt historic

James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster Titanic is epic for so many reasons, but the central romance between steerage class passenger Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and wealthy, privileged Rose Dewitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) remains the most memorable part of the film. After the two meet on the doomed Titanic, Jack and Rose share an undeniable connection, and eventually, they come together for an incredible, unforgettable kiss.

After yet another high society lunch on the upper deck, Rose finds herself at her wit's end, and escapes to go meet Jack at the bow of the ship at sunset. When the two share a passionate kiss, it's much more than a consummation of their relationship, but a representation of Rose's desire to escape a life she doesn't want. Jack and Rose may not end up together when all is said and done, but their first kiss, like all of Titanic, is the stuff of legend.

Never Been Kissed no more

Considering that the entire premise of Drew Barrymore's 1999 romantic comedy Never Been Kissed is that Barrymore's character, Josie Geller, desperately wants a real, romantic kiss, there's no surprise that the plot of the movie hinges on an extremely pause-worthy smooch. A beleaguered and overlooked reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times, Josie is just looking for her first big story when her boss tasks her with an undercover assignment at a local high school. While there, as she struggles to fit in with the popular crowd, she inadvertently gets close with her English teacher, Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan).

When Josie's identity is exposed, Sam feels betrayed and backs off, and Josie knows that she has to make one final grand gesture to try and win him back for her one perfect kiss. After writing a pitch-perfect piece in the Sun-Times, she asks Sam to meet her at the high school baseball team's final game of the year, and as she stands on the field, it seems as if Sam simply isn't coming. Finally, at the very last second, Sam makes it, and they both get their epic kiss; finally, after everything she's been through, Josie can no longer say that she's "never been kissed."

Clueless' kiss may be too close for comfort

A modern retelling of Jane Austen's classic novel Emma, Amy Heckerling's 1995 high school comedy Clueless tells the story of pampered Beverly Hills teenager Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), who, despite all of her material trappings, always looks out for others (albeit in her own charmingly ditzy way) before she takes care of herself. After spending the film's entire narrative helping her friends find happiness, Cher, after a failed romance, realizes something huge: she's actually "totally butt-crazy" in love with Josh (Paul Rudd), her former stepbrother who's still close with her father and who's always hanging around their California mansion.

After struggling to admit her feelings to Josh, he finally admits that he feels the same way after a rough night, and the two share a passionate kiss before finally striking up a real romantic relationship. However, the reason so many viewers pause this kiss might not actually be that positive. Though Josh and Cher aren't currently step-siblings, the kiss is pretty fraught anyway, which might make some Clueless fans a little uncomfortable when all is said and done.

Spider-Man's famous upside down kiss made waves

In the first Spider-Man film trilogy, which kicked off in 2002 and starred Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst appeared as one of Peter Parker's most popular love interests, Mary Jane Watson. The quintessential "girl next door" who liked Peter but occasionally took up with more glamorous and successful guys, Mary Jane seems entirely out of Peter's reach until he's bitten by a radioactive spider during a school field trip and suddenly gains new, mysterious powers.

After Peter, as Spider-Man, saves Mary Jane from a group of muggers in a rainy back alley, he sets out to leave, but gets distracted when Mary Jane asks him to stay for a minute. In one of the most famous scenes in comic book movie history, the two share a steamy, upside-down kiss, which would later become one of the most lauded movie kisses of all time and even get mimicked on teen soaps like The O.C. Spider-Man would go on to spawn more franchises and films with different actors, but nobody is likely to forget this uber-famous kiss any time soon.

The Notebook's rainy kiss is the stuff of legend

No list of great movie kisses would be complete without one of the most beloved romantic movies in recent memory among its ranks — specifically The Notebook, which set the standard for many romances to come in the years after its release. The 2004 film, which stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as star-crossed lovers Noah and Allie, shifts between two timelines, showing the audience Noah and Allie's teenage love affair as well as their future together, in which an older Allie and Noah (Gena Rowlands and James Garner, respectively) grow old together. Sadly, Allie is later diagnosed with dementia, and Noah must remind her of their history using a notebook containing their love story.

In the past timeline, Noah and Allie are kept apart by her family's meddling for years, and even though Allie is engaged to somebody else — handsome, wealthy Lon (James Marsden) — she and Noah come back together at the house he built for her, reuniting with an explosive, rain-soaked kiss. Gosling and McAdams ended up dating briefly after the film came out, and it's no surprise why, especially when they went so far as to recreate the kiss at the following year's MTV Movie Awards.

Brokeback Mountain's kisses broke barriers

Despite the fact that Ang Lee's 2005 Best Picture nominee Brokeback Mountain is known by far too many filmgoers as "the gay cowboy movie," that's a pretty silly oversimplification of a beautiful love story told by one of the most lauded directors of his era. The film tells the story of Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), two cowboys who end up tending the same flock of sheep through the same set of mountains in Wyoming and ultimately fall in love, although they both also end up marrying women.

Tragically, Ennis and Jack's love story never really gains traction in the real world, due to the restrictive societal norms that forced many men and women to hide their sexual identities in the 1960s. Though both Ennis and Jack's marriages eventually crumble, the two never truly get to be together, which is made even sadder when Jack dies suddenly in an accident. Before they're separated for good, the two share a series of dramatic kisses, but the one when Ennis' wife Alma (Michelle Williams) catches her husband locked in a passionate embrace with his friend Jack is certainly worth pausing, thanks to the incredible performances by all three actors.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before's teenage romance is a revelation

Netflix has branched out into original romantic comedies in recent years, and one of their most popular, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, has taken the streaming platform by storm. Based on a series of novels by Jenny Han, the film stars charming newcomer Lana Condor as Lara Jean Covey, a lovestruck young girl who writes secret letters to all of her crushes and hides them away in her room. However, when Lara Jean's mischievous younger sister discovers the letters, she mails all of them, and Lara Jean is confronted by her crushes, including popular boy Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) and her older sister's boyfriend Josh (Israel Broussard).

To throw Josh off the trail, Lara Jean asks Peter to pretend to be her boyfriend, but before too long, their connection becomes real, and everything comes to a head on a school ski trip. When Lara Jean finds Peter alone in the hot tub, she joins him, and the two share an extremely steamy kiss. Though video of it later circulates and humiliates Lara Jean, it's the moment that cemented To All the Boys I've Loved Before as a new classic, catapulting both Condor and Centineo to stardom and putting their excellent chemistry on perfect display.

A secret kiss on the beach is life-changing in Moonlight

Years after its release, most filmgoers probably best remember Barry Jenkins' 2016 masterpiece Moonlight for the now infamous mixup at the 2017 Academy Awards that briefly named La La Land as the Best Picture Winner despite the fact that Moonlight actually took home the top prize. However, to only remember Moonlight for an awards show scandal seriously minimizes this gorgeous film, which tells the coming-of-age story of Chiron, who is played by three different actors throughout the film (Alex Hibbert as young Chiron, Ashton Sanders as teenaged Chiron, and Trevante Rhodes as adult Chiron).

As Chiron struggles to find his place in the world, he also, as a teenager, grapples with his sexuality, trying to balance his innate queerness with his identity as a young black man. This internal battle ultimately hits a breaking point one night on the beach while Chiron is alone with his friend Kevin, and the two share a passionate kiss while nobody else is around. Though the relationship quickly sours when the two are back at school, Chiron and Kevin eventually reconnect as adults and make peace with their past, their present, and their feelings for one another. All in all, it's clear that this formative kiss shapes Chiron for years after the fact.

A countdown to midnight in When Harry Met Sally

"I'll have what she's having" may be the most famous line from Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron's classic 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, but the movie's final kiss also holds a place in cinematic history. After chronicling the years-long friendship of Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan), the movie finally brings them together romantically only to yank them apart. When Harry realizes that he really can't live without Sally, he also realizes he must make a grand romantic gesture to win her back after their friendship completely falls apart.

In the end, everything comes down to New Year's Eve, which finds Harry rushing across Manhattan to find Sally just as the clock is about to strike midnight. Once he does find her, Harry delivers one of the most famous and perfectly written speeches in romantic comedy history, telling Sally all the reasons that he loves her. After all that, their big kiss is definitely well earned, providing one of the best romantic comedies of all time with the ideal happy ending.

Westley and Buttercup's perfect kiss from The Princess Bride

One of the most beloved romantic comedies in cinematic history, Rob Reiner's 1987 epic The Princess Bride is full of action, adventure, and intrigue, but the entire point of the story is the star-crossed romance between soulmates Westley (Cary Elwes) and Buttercup (Robin Wright). After falling in love while Westley is a humble farm boy, the two are separated, and when it seems as if Westley has been killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, Buttercup vows that she will never love again.

Years later, Buttercup finds herself in a passionless engagement with Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) when she's suddenly kidnapped, and ultimately, she's rescued by a mysterious Man in Black who claims to be Dread Pirate Roberts. However, it's actually Westley, who won the title from the previous mercenary pirate, and after years apart, he rescues her from Humperdinck's evil clutches and the two finally get their happy ending. As any Princess Bride fan knows, the entire story, which is framed as a bedtime tale from a grandfather to his grandson, utilizes plenty of narration and commentary, and when the grandfather describes the film's final kiss as the most perfect one of all time, no viewer could argue the point. Westley and Buttercup share several great kisses throughout the film, but when push comes to shove, nothing can beat the movie's closing moment.

The first "kiss on the mouth" in Pretty Woman

In a slightly darker take on rags-to-riches romances like Cinderella and My Fair Lady, Garry Marshall's 1990 film Pretty Woman casts Julia Roberts as Vivian, a sex worker in Los Angeles who enters into a pretty unorthodox arrangement with Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), a client who offers her $3000 to pretend to be his girlfriend for six days as he meets with high-powered businesspeople. At first, Vivian struggles to fit in in Edward's high society world, but eventually, she learns to play the part perfectly, endearing herself to Edward.

Since Vivian and Edward's eventual romance starts as nothing more than a business transaction, they both have plenty of rules, including an unforgettable rule from Vivian that says she won't kiss any of her clients on the mouth. Clearly, this move is too personal for her, which makes it all the more important when, during a passionate night together after Edward takes Vivian to the opera, she finally kisses him and breaks her own rule. Though Vivian and Edward briefly part ways after this, her rule-breaking kiss makes it clear to both Edward and Vivian that their feelings for each other are real and irreversible, and when he realizes that he can't lose Vivian, he makes a grand romantic gesture to win her back. Edward and Vivian don't start the film as potential lovers, but once Vivian crosses her own invisible line, there's no going back.