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The Most Iconic Movie Couples Of All Time

Movie couples don't always have to work out or be utterly romantic in order for them to be iconic. Some of the best movie couples in cinematic history don't even end up together by the end of the film, but a movie couple's real success comes down to chemistry and casting. Some of the movies on this list are pure romance, with the couples falling for one another in a traditional fashion, while others are thrown together out of necessity, don't even like one another at the start, or are even probably kind of toxic for each other

Yet, even so, these movie couples are the most iconic probably because they're the most memorable. There are Best Picture Academy Awards winning couples, romantic comedy couples, dark thriller couples, and plenty of science fiction and fantasy couples on this list. Here are the most iconic movie couples of all time.

Jack and Rose from Titanic

The tragic love story of Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) onboard the RMS Titanic in James Cameron's 1997 epic film is definitely one for the ages. "Titanic" starts out with the practically homeless artist Jack winning a ticket on the Titanic's maiden voyage in a game of poker. The wealthy, first-class Rose is aboard on her way back to America to marry Caledon Hockley (Billy Zane) to keep the family's financial troubles under wraps, but an impulsive move of desperation leads her to the back of the ship, where Jack finds her about to jump overboard. He saves her life, and from there, Jack and Rose begin a whirlwind romance that will make any sentimental viewer swoon. Their tragedy, in the end, is also Rose's gateway to a new world, proving their love lasted her entire life.

Princess Leia and Han Solo from Star Wars

The love between Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) of the Star Wars franchise is an up and down one of tenderness and sorrow, just like the actors' real-life affair. Leia and Han first met in 1977's "Star Wars" also known in the fandom as "Episode IV: A New Hope." Leia, a revolutionary member of a royal family, viewed Han as a selfish hired hand, incompetent and untrustworthy. Han saw Leia as a spoiled princess. Sparks started to fly in the 1980 sequel "The Empire Strikes Back" where Han and Leia shared their first kiss and solidified themselves as a couple. When Han is frozen in carbonite, it's Leia who comes to his rescue in 1983's "Return of the Jedi." The sequel films show us that Han and Leia didn't work out, having gone their separate ways. Their love still lasts and we'll always remember the words "I love you," "I know."

Westley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride

Is there a more romantic line in any movie than "As you wish"? The simple gesture of love and desire to make your paramour happy is at the root of the romance between Westley (Carey Elwes) and Buttercup (Robin Wright) in Rob Reiner's fantasy comedy "The Princess Bride." The two meet on Buttercup's farm, where farm boy Westley answers her every request with "As you wish," yet what he really means is "I love you." They totally fall head over heels before Westley is presumed dead at sea and Buttercup is whisked off by a prince. Westley and Buttercup's epic love takes them through international intrigue, devious plots, kidnappings, sword fights, poisonings, pirates, quicksand, fire swamps, rodents of unusual size, and even mostly death. As Westley says, "Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a little while." Now that's twu wove.

Harry and Sally from When Harry Met Sally

This classic romantic comedy "When Harry Met Sally" created one of the most memorable movie couples ever. The chemistry between Billy Crystal, who plays the cynical Harry, and Meg Ryan, who plays Sally is undeniable. The two start out as adversaries, then become friends, then become a couple, and their "will they, won't they" destiny hinges on Harry's assertion that men and women can't be just friends. The movie doesn't really answer that question, considering that Harry and Sally end up together in the end, but they do spend many years as just friends before taking the plunge. Couple-stuff aside, Meg Ryan's performance of a fake orgasm in the middle of Katz's Deli with director Rob Reiner's own mother saying "I'll have what she's having," will go down in history as one of the funniest movie moments ever

Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter series

Sure, when the Harry Potter books and movies started, everyone kind of had a hunch that Hermione was meant to be a romantic interest for Harry, the hero of the story. Thankfully, that assumption was thrown right out the window by the end. To many, it just made much more sense that Hermione and Ron fell for one another. Still, there will always be fans who feel that Hermione was too good for Ron, that she should have ended up with Harry in the end. Emma Watson and Rupert Grint's chemistry shone through their banter, their absolute sometimes hatred for one another, and the bickering that plagues Hermione and Ron for all of those years. The class president and the class clown, the muggle and one from a lengthy wizard family. It was meant to be.

Molly and Sam from Ghost

Does love survive the afterlife? Does is overcome death? It does in "Ghost," the 1990 romantic drama stars Patrick Swayze as banker Sam Wheat and Demi Moore as artist Molly Jensen. Sam gets shot and killed during a botched robbery, but his ghost sticks around to help Molly through her grief and protect her from a nefarious friend. At first, Molly doesn't believe that Sam's ghost is real, but with the help of an Oscar-winning performance from psychic medium Oda Mae Brown, played by a hilarious Whoopi Goldberg, she learns their love crosses the boundaries of life and death. Moore and Swayze have great chemistry that includes not just swoony love but also steamy lust. There's also a super sexy scene at the pottery table that forever changed The Righteous Brothers "Unchained Melody." Just try watching this movie and not being absolutely charmed by Sam's "ditto." 

Quincy and Monica from Love & Basketball

In 2000, director Gina Prince-Bythewood made her directorial debut with the romantic sports drama "Love & Basketball." Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps star as Monica Wright and Quincy McCall, two childhood next-door neighbors who both pursue basketball. As a female athlete, Monica has to work twice as hard to get the attention that Quincy does, but over the course of the years, they start realizing their feelings for one another are as deep as for the sport that they love. Beyond the intense athletics in the film, the two leads have a powerful love off the court. As film critic Desson Howe of The Washington Post wrote, the romantic drama "had moments of such tenderness and sophistication, complimented by such romantic dreaminess between lead performers." The movie didn't perform too well at the box office, but has since become known as a cult classic.

Noah and Allie from The Notebook

Here's another love story that lasted for decades in the world of the film. Based on Nicholas Spark's bestselling novel of the same name, "The Notebook" stars Ryan Gosling as Noah, a wayward, poor lumber worker, and Rachel McAdams as Allie, an heiress. The two meet in the 1940s in South Carolina and have a brief relationship before breaking up due to her parents' disapproval. Noah writes Allie a letter every day of the year, but her mother intercepts them and keeps them from her. Noah fights in WWII and Allie works as a nurse until the two are reunited right before Allie is about to marry someone else. Decades in the future, Noah, played by James Garner, reads Allie, played by Gena Rowlands, their life story out of a notebook, trying to jog her memory after an Alzheimer's diagnosis. The film is sad, but Noah and Allie's love lasts a lifetime.

Katniss and Peeta from The Hunger Games

While "The Hunger Games" told a story of a futuristic dystopian society and its bloody rituals, behind that main façade there was a love triangle. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) was torn between Gale (Liam Hemsworth) the boy she grew up with and had known all her life, and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the baker's son who needed to be saved more often than not. Gale was always the more masculine of the two, grabbing Katniss and kissing her, hunting, planning battles, while Peeta nurtured and supported Katniss emotionally. In the end, Peeta and Katniss just clicked more; their experiences in the arena acted as a shared trauma, one that Gale couldn't understand. Like any movie love triangle, there are always going to be members of Team Gale, but Team Peeta won out. Katniss and Peeta needed each other to survive both inside and outside the Hunger Games.

Ennis and Jack from Brokeback Mountain

Based on the short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, "Brokeback Mountain" told the story of Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), two 1960s ranch hands hired to herd sheep over the summer on Brokeback Mountain. After a night of heavy drinking, the two have sex, though try and resist their attraction. Ennis and Jack develop a romantic relationship as well as a sexual one, but being farmhands in the '60s, their lives go separate ways. They both marry women and try to live their lives without one another, but keep coming back together for fishing trips on Brokeback Mountain where they can truly be themselves. Their love story ends in tragedy, as did the story of one of the actors: Ledger's performance is considered one of the best acting roles of his short career. 

Jamal and Latika from Slumdog Millionaire

Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" stars Dev Patel as 18-year-old Jamal Malik, an Indian Muslim who grew up in the Juhu slum in Mumbai. He spends his childhood with his older brother Salim and their friend Latika. As the trio ages, Latika and Salim get caught up in a criminal enterprise, while Jamal harnesses his knowledge and memory to become a contestant on "Kaun Banega Crorepati," India's Hindi adaptation of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" The show's producers suspect Jamal of cheating, but the film uses a flashback setup to display how he knew the answers to each question and in turn the viewer learns of his affections for Latika, played as an adult by Freida Pinto. After winning the grand prize, Jamal and Latika are finally allowed to be together and the film ends in a triumphant traditional Bollywood dance number. 

Romeo and Juliet from Romeo + Juliet

There have been tons of on-screen iterations of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, but one of the best has got to be Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes from Baz Luhrmann's 1996 poppy, colorful, SoCal-set "Romeo + Juliet." By planting Shakespeare's tragic love story in the modern era and utilizing rock and pop hits right off of MTV, teens everywhere found themselves swooning over Leo and Claire's depiction of the two teens. The film's whirlwind romance and the characters' disastrous deaths made the movie a pop culture classic. It didn't hurt that Leo and Claire had great chemistry, were pretty passable when it came to the difficulty of the Shakespearian dialogue, and were just so gosh darn cute together. Try watching this one and not bursting into tears by the end. Leo's "I defy you stars!" turns on the waterworks. 

Albert and Armand from The Birdcage

This 1996 comedy, based on the stage play "La Cages Aux Folles," tells the story of a gay couple whose son wants them to act straight and traditional when meeting his fiancé's conservative family. Albert (Nathan Lane) and Armand (Robin Williams) run a drag club in South Beach, Miami, where Albert plays Starina, the star drag queen performer. Their son Val (Dan Futterman) informs his dads that he's engaged to Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart), whose dad is a Republican politician (Gene Hackman) and whose mom is a dimwitted conservative (Dianne Wiest). The ruse is a disaster, the film is hilarious, but what shines through is the absolute love for one another that Albert and Armand share. Though they go through a rough patch in the movie, their devotion to one another is the heart of the film.

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice

Here's another literary adaptation with a number of representations from which to choose. For this list, we're going with the Lizzie and Darcy from Joe Wright's version of "Pride and Prejudice." The film stars Keira Knightley as the spunky and self-assured Elizabeth Bennet, an 18th-century country girl whose marriage prospects are at the heart of the story. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is played by Matthew Macfadyen, who accurately personifies Darcy's aloof nature that manages to enrage Lizzie so. Once these two finally figure out how to be together, the sparks fly. Macfadyen's sad, puppy dog eyes and dour sensibilities lend themselves well to Darcy's personality, while Knightley's spritely Lizzie is totally iconic. The sparks are tame here in the 1700s, and the love is all in the words, looks, and subtle hand-holding. 

Rick and Ilsa from Casablanca

A classic film, "Casablanca" has everything: spies, intrigue, violence, war, comedy, and yes, romance. Gruff American expat Rick Blaine, played by the incomparable Humphrey Bogart, owns a bar in the Moroccan city of Casablanca. Europe is on the verge of war, and Casablanca is a port where everyone is trying to get out and across the sea to safety. Rick's old love, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) enters his bar, looking for a way out for herself and her husband, Czech revolutionary Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). While Rick and Isla were together in Paris years before, she assumed that her husband was dead, but eventually left Rick to nurse Victor back to health. Rick and Ilsa's time in Paris was short, but full of absolute love, and Bogart's delivery of "Here's lookin' at you, kid," and "We'll always have Paris," while gazing into Bergman's eyes are incredibly memorable.

Rachel and Nick from Crazy Rich Asians

Family obligation, loyalty, and having an epic ton of money all come to play in "Crazy Rich Asians," the 2018 film adaptation of the book of the same name. The movie stars Constance Wu as Rachel Chu, a professor of humble means, and Henry Golding as Nick Young, her boyfriend with a mysterious background. When Nick invites Rachel to Singapore for a wedding and to meet his family, Rachel learns that Nick is extremely wealthy, and that his family are a bunch of, well, crazy rich Asians. Nick and Rachel go through the ups and downs of solidifying their relationship, which is thrown into shambles because of his mother's judgmental attitude and disapproval, his family's schemes, and just genuine culture clash. In the end, Rachel and Nick prove that love matters over money, love matters over reputation, and love matters over even family. 

Baby and Johnny from Dirty Dancing

It's 1963 and Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is vacationing with her family in the Catskills, NY. There she meets dance instructor Danny (Patrick Swayze), who teaches her the art of dirty dancing. Baby, having been sheltered in a more conservative environment her whole life, is completely smitten, and Johnny falls for her as well. The key to their chemistry here, obviously, is their killer dancing. Grey and Swayze have some serious skills together and their attraction makes the forbidden love all the more exciting to watch. "Dirty Dancing" explores issues of classism as Baby's family disapproves of the working class Johnny, and some family tensions ensue. That all easily gets wrapped up in a finale dance number and forgiveness. It's unclear at the end where Baby and the much older Johnny go from there but at least they had the time of their lives.

Sook-hee and Hideko from The Handmaiden

If you want a little bit of a disturbing thriller angle along with your steamy romance, check out the Korean drama "The Handmaiden." The story takes place in the early 20th century during the Japanese occupation of Korea and tells of the wealthy Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee) and her handmaiden Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri). Even though Lady Hideko is arranged to be married, she and Sook-hee fall in love in a forbidden romance. The story is told in three parts, and the various twists and turns, secret identities, and plot developments can get confusing if you're not paying attention. It's hard to pay attention when Hideko and Sook-hee are so captivating together. Their steamy scenes, lingering gazes, and eventual triumph over some pretty messed up patriarchal nonsense makes "The Handmaiden" a thrilling watch, and the duo of Hideko and Sook-hee an iconic movie couple. 

Forest and Jenny from Forest Gump

When little Forrest Gump first meets Jenny Curran on their school bus, she offers him a seat when no one else on the bus would. Her act of kindness solidifies their connection right then and there, and Forrest is pretty much in love for the rest of his life. As adults, Forrest (Tom Hanks) and Jenny (Robin Wright) take different paths, attending different colleges, and facing different demons. While Forrest joins the army, Jenny joins the anti-war movement. While Forrest starts a business, Jenny struggles. It's a bit tragic what "Forrest Gump" the movie does to Jenny, seemingly punishing her for her actions, but that's something Forrest Gump the character never does. Devoted to this woman from childhood, Forrest treats Jenny with nothing but respect. It takes a while for Jenny to overcome her demons and reciprocate his love, but when she does, they shine. 

Elizabeth and Will from Pirates of the Caribbean

The love between blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) fuels the Pirates of the Caribbean series, even if the backbone of the tales is the goofy pirate Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Their story starts off with 2003's "The Curse of the Black Pearl" as Will and Jack team up to save Elizabeth from haunted, undead pirates. In the second film, "Dead Man's Chest," their relationship became a little complication, probably due to the innuendo between Jack and Elizabeth. But the love between Elizabeth and Will is finally solidified in the third movie of the series, "At World's End," where the two are finally married, and managed to live out Will's cursed fate as captain of the Flying Dutchman. When Will returns after 10 years as the paranormal captain, Elizabeth is there waiting with their son, breaking his curse.

Corky and Violet from Bound

"Bound" is not a sweet love story you're going to watch with your parents. But it does have one of the most iconic and memorable movie couples of all time. Directed by The Wachowskis, the 1996 film stars Gina Gershon as Corky, a lesbian ex-con who's hired as a super for an apartment complex. When the sexy Violet (Jennifer Tilly) comes to her door with a simple request, the two end up flirting and eventually hitting the sack together. Violet's involved with the mob, and wants Corky to help scam her mobster boyfriend Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) out of millions before running off together. And hey, it all works out well in the end, but not before there's some heavy violence and a few steamy moments. The sex scenes in "Bound" were actually choreographed by feminist writer and sex educator Susie Bright, the film's DVD director's commentary details.

Edward and Vivian from Pretty Woman

Just a sweet little Cinderella story about a rich guy and the prostitute he hires, but hey, 1991's "Pretty Woman" made Julia Roberts a star. She plays Vivian, a Los Angeles sex worker who spends the night with uptight millionaire Edward (Richard Gere), a financial shark who buys companies, blows them apart and sells them off bit by bit. But Edward is charmed by Vivian's no nonsense approach, and she in turn is taught how she could be so much more...given a little money, of course. Despite their assurance that they're just in it for the business transaction, the two fall in love. There's definitely an element of fantasy and fairy tale to "Pretty Woman," both romantically and sexually. You can approach the movie a number of ways: as a lesson in outdated stereotypes, a dig at the sex worker industry, or just as a love story.

Tony and Maria from West Side Story

The 1961 film version of "West Side Story," with music composed by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, is a movie musical class in romance. The story is based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and tells of two rival teen gangs vying for control of the Upper West Side in Manhattan: The Jets, a white gang, and The Sharks, made up of Puerto Rican immigrants. Jet Tony tries to stay out of the rumble, but falls in loved with Maria, little sister of Shark Bernardo. Like Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria try to see past the labels put upon them by both society and their own families and love one another for who they are. Their tragedy is that their respective friends, family, gang members, and cultures, couldn't see past stereotypes the way that Tony and Maria could. "West Side Story" is set for another adaptation from Steven Spielberg in 2021.

Stella and Winston from How Stella Got Her Groove Back

Speaking of Shakespeare ... Mr. Winston Shakespeare has entered the chat, and he is how Stella got her groove back. Angela Bassett stars in this romantic dramedy about a 40-something successful business woman who heads to Jamaica for a vacation. Stella is stressed out, over worked, and in need of some rest and relaxation. What she finds, however, is Winston Shakespeare, a man 20 years younger than her played by Taye Diggs. Stella allows herself to be drawn into Winston's world and their romantic and sexual escapades allow her a refresher, not just form her life, but from all of the baggage she holds on to. "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" is a very typical woman finding herself movie, but upon its release it stood out. Bassett and Diggs have excellent chemistry and Diggs really turns on the charm. You can't blame Stella for grooving.

Mary Jane and Peter Parker from Spiderman

There have been so many cinematic versions of Peter Parker and Mary Jane at this point that it's hard to pick just one. Tom Holland and Zendeya are adorable and cutesy in the latest round of MCU movies, even though she's technically Michelle "MJ" Jones as an homage to Mary Jane Watson. Which leaves the perfect match that was Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. They were both pretty adorable together, and let's face it that upside down kiss is sexy. For three films, Mary Jane and Peter saved each other and saved the world, and while the MCU has moved on, we'll always love Dunst and Maguire as Spidey and MJ. Who knows, maybe we'll even get to see them return in some kind of multiverse story line in the future. 

Superman and Lois Lane

Because they're yet another comic book couple, there are going to be a bunch of iterations of Lois and Clark, too. The most recent DC films feature Henry Cavill and Amy Adams as Clark Kent and Lois Lane, but some fans find the those movies lacking in the romance department. There's the '90s TV series "Lois and Clark," which features Terri Hatcher and Dean Cain as the titular couple, but their love was more a rom-com TV comedy approach. The best version of Clark and Lois was Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder in the 1978 film "Superman," directed by Richard Donner. Yes, the OG Superman movie. As The Mary Sue put it, "Sorry fans of Titanic and The Notebook: for my money, the most romantic movie moment would be Lois Lane interviewing Superman on her rooftop and their flight across the night sky."

Kevin and Chiron from Moonlight

In probably one of the most memorable moments of Oscar history, Barry Jenkins' 2016 film "Moonlight" won Best Picture, but not before everyone else thought that "La La Land" had won. The mix up kind of overshadowed the film, which tells a tender story of Black masculinity and self acceptance. Three different actors play Chiron, a young Black man who grows up in a world of drug abuse and toxic perceptions. As a teen, he meets Kevin, who is also trying to navigate where he fits in the world. Chiron and Kevin share an intimate moment as teens, but are then ripped apart by the judicial system. When they reunite, years later as adults, their trauma is evident but their care for one another is still strong. It's a powerful connection.

Edward and Bella from Twilight

The romance between human Bella (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) holds The Twilight Saga series together. Sure, there was always the unrequited love with werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner), but Bella and Edward are the end game of the Twilight movies. Some might find them bland as bread, but literally millions of others became Bella and Edward-obsessed. The vampire battles and supernatural elements were almost background to the other stuff that was going on between Edward and Bella, and when they finally got married and lived "happily forever after," fans of the franchise rejoiced. These movies are cheesy as heck, but there's no denying Stewart and Pattinson had great chemistry.

Sam and Annie from Sleepless in Seattle

The last couple on this list doesn't even meet until the last few minutes of the movie, which is kind of hilarious. 1993 romantic comedy "Sleepless in Seattle" is another classic romantic film written by Nora Ephron. It stars Tom Hanks as Sam, a widower raising a young son who calls into a therapists radio show at night. Across the country, Annie, a reporter played by Meg Ryan, hears his story and dives deeper into his life. Their meet-cute is on the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day. Even though not a whole lot happens in this movie, Annie and Sam are one of the most iconic movie couples.