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Most Memorable Kisses

13 iconic smooches the world will never forget

  • Robert Doisneau/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

    Mwah!

    Even in this day of one high-tech special effect after another, a passionate kiss in a movie or in real life has the power to send shivers down our spines like little else. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we decided to take a look back at some of the most memorable kisses of all time. Here are 13 of them.

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  • Courtesy Everett Collection

    Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr (‘From Here to Eternity’)

    One of the most erotic scenes in movie history had the adulterous Karen Holmes (Kerr) enjoying a steamy make-out session with Sgt. Milton Warden (Lancaster). The film’s two lovers initially were shot kissing while standing up, but then Lancaster suggested they do it again lying down, as the surge of the tide washes over them. The result was one of the sexiest on-screen moments of all time — especially considering the film came out in 1953.

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  • Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve (‘Deathtrap’)

    This comedy-mystery-thriller from 1982 is famous in large part for its gay plot twist. Straight actors Caine and Reeve share a passionate kiss in a scene that did not appear in the earlier play of the same name. The kiss was one of the first homosexual smooches on-screen. The controversy surrounding the kiss inspired the comical 2007 Tom Smith song “Two Guys Kissin’ (Ruined My Life).”

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  • David J. Phillip/AP

    Al and Tipper Gore at Democratic National Convention

    Who can forget when Al planted a big one — that lasted a full three seconds — on his wife, Tipper, as he walked onstage at the 2000 convention? Political analysts called the move an attempt to humanize the vice president, who was often seen as robotic. But back then, Time magazine wrote, “The sheer carnality of the kiss — the can’t-wait-to-get-back-to-the-hotel-room urgency, the sexual electricity flowing south — was riveting.”

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  • Getty Images

    Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh (‘Gone With the Wind’)

    After Scarlett sharply says, “You’re a fool, Rhett Butler. When you know I shall always love another man,” Rhett scoops her up in his arms and says, “Stop it. You hear me, Scarlett? Stop it. No more of that talk.” The kiss that followed still leaves fans of the 1939 classic swooning.

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  • AF archive/Alamy

    Taye Diggs and Angela Bassett (‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back’)

    When Diggs’ character, Winston Shakespeare, seduces Stella, played by Bassett, in a steamy shower scene during a vacation in Jamaica, women the world over were trying to figure out where they could go to get their own grooves back. In a word, this 1998 movie is “hot.”

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  • Courtesy Everett Collection

    Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman (‘Casablanca’)

    The star-crossed lovers in this 1942 classic can’t ever seem to get their act together and wind up taking audience members on an emotional roller-coaster ride. But all is forgiven when Ilsa finally confesses her love for Rick, followed by a kiss that’s just about as passionate as it gets.

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  • Alfred Eisenstaedt/Pix Inc./The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

    World War II V-J Day Kiss in Times Square

    This photo, one of the most iconic of all time, shows a nurse (later identified as Greta Zimmer Friedman) kissing a sailor (later identified as George Mendonsa) on V-J Day in New York’s Times Square on Aug. 14, 1945. Taken by photographer Alfred Eisentaedt, the picture perfectly encapsulated the pure joy everyone felt after the surrender of Japan.

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  • Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

    William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols (‘Star Trek’)

    The episode “Plato’s Stepchildren,” which aired in 1968, is popularly cited as the first showing of an interracial kiss on U.S. television. But Capt. James T. Kirk planted one on Lt. Nyota Uhura only after being forced to do so by aliens living their lives on a planet as if they were in ancient Greece. In the episode, the aliens sought to humiliate their visitors by making Spock express emotion — and Kirk and Uhura kiss.  

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  • Alamy

    Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams (‘The Notebook’)

    Released in 2004, this movie is not yet a decades-old classic. And yet the scene in the rain in which Noah says to Allie, “It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over,” and then rekindles their love with a massive smooch — is one of moviegoers’ all-time favorite kisses. That kiss was so talked about that the actors — who once dated in real life — reenacted it at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards while accepting their statuette for best kiss.

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  • Ronald Grant Archive/Alamy

    Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed (‘It’s a Wonderful Life’)

    George Bailey may have had dreams to see the world in this 1946 holiday classic, but they were all cast aside after he fell in love with Mary. Rarely has pent-up sexual tension been so palpable as when the pair finally kiss, after being forced to lean in close to share a phone.

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  • Focus Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger (‘Brokeback Mountain’)

    This 2005 film, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, focuses on the lives of two Wyoming cowboys who fall in love. Ledger plays the shy Ennis Del Mar, and Gyllenhaal plays the more confident Jack Twist. Few kisses are as passionate as the one the two men share in front of Ennis’ house — a moment that is secretly witnessed by Ennis’ wife, played by Michelle Williams.

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  • Getty Images

    ‘The Kiss by the Hotel de Ville’

    The 1950 photo of a passionate young couple in Paris, shot by French photographer Robert Doisneau for Life magazine, seemed to epitomize young love. The image reemerged in 1986 when it was published as a poster.

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  • Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst (‘Spider-Man’)

    In the 2002 film, this famous kiss between Spider-Man and his not-quite girlfriend, Mary Jane, not only sends shivers down our spine, it also defies gravity. After saving her from a band of bad guys, Peter Parker’s superhero alter ego plants one on her while hanging upside down in the rain. 

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