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Movies That Put Us in the Mood: 22 Great Date Night Movies

Whether it’s your longtime love or a new flame on the sofa, light up the night with these critic-curated classics for every kind of romantic​

spinner image Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie slow dancing together in Mr and Mrs Smith and Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal standing across from each other outside in a fall foliage setting in When Harry Met Sally
(Left to right) Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in "When Harry Met Sally."
20th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy Everett Collection; Columbia/Courtesy Everett Collection

As Marlene Dietrich might sing: Falling in love again ... Because let’s face it, love springs eternal, and date nights never fall out of fashion. Ready for a romantic sofa session with your longtime love, or looking for a flirty flick to take in with a new special someone? Our critics are here to the (emotional) rescue, with 22 fabulous affairs to remember — tearjerkers, romantic comedies, star-driven blockbusters and seductive indies — all available to stream whenever you’re in the mood.

For couples who crave destination weddings: Anyone But You (2023)

Destination wedding rom-coms relish the enemies-to-lovers trope. In this bawdy box office blockbuster very loosely based on Much Ado About Nothing, rising stars Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell play a pair who had a bad first date but reunite for more fighting at their loved ones’ lavish Australian nuptials. Looming on the sidelines for comic relief are the adorable lovers of the parents’ generation, with an all-star cast including Dermot Mulroney, Rachel Griffiths, Bryan Brown and Michelle Hurd.

Where to watch: currently in theaters and coming to Prime Video

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For romantics who reminisce with past loves: What Happens Later (2023)

There could be worse things that happen when trapped overnight at a snowbound airport than bumping into your significant ex. Rom-com queen Meg Ryan and David Duchovny circle each other, bicker, court and spark, before returning to the runway in this charming cry-a-little comedy directed by Ryan herself.

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu

For exes who can’t let go: Ticket to Paradise (2022)

In a destination wedding rom-com, Julia Roberts and George Clooney play long-battling exes who can hardly be in the same room without screaming at each other. But when their only daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) impulsively decides to wed a young Balinese man, they travel across the world to his home island to disrupt, not celebrate, the nuptials. Emotional tension turns to romantic heat as the two A-list charmers come to accept their daughter’s happiness and, maybe, rediscover that the sun hasn’t entirely set on their love connection.

Where to watch: Prime Video

spinner image Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant in the film An Affair to Remember
FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

For when you know they’re the one: An Affair to Remember (1957)

The American Film Institute anointed this tearjerker by Leo McCarey as one of Hollywood’s most romantic films. While on a luxury cruise, swoony Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr fall madly, deeply in love, despite being engaged to others. When the ship docks, they part, setting a future day and time to meet at the Empire State Building. What happens next is so memorable it inspired the ending of Sleepless in Seattle.

Where to watch: Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play

For love and laughter: Moonstruck (1987)

The fact that Cher and Nicolas Cage make no sense as a couple and yet we root for their lips to meet in a kiss is one of the many pleasures of the spaghetti romance between a Brooklyn bookkeeper and an opera-loving baker from director Norman Jewison. The marriage may not last — but what a honeymoon!

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu

For BBC junkies: The Duke (2020)

The late Notting Hill director Roger Michell leaves behind this last delightful fiction feature. Pairing the incomparable Helen Mirren and spry Jim Broadbent, this bio-charmer is a based-on-a-true-story romantic caper. Broadbent is lovable 1961 working-class Londoner Kempton Bunton. The unlikely art thief steals Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery, holding it for ransom for charity. It’s never about the money, because he has true gold in the love of his wife, played by Mirren. Is he a Robin Hood or an idiot husband? A delightful bit of both.

Where to watch: Roku

For Lucy lovers: Being the Ricardos (2021)

Writer-director Aaron Sorkin goes behind the scenes of I Love Lucy to reveal how the sitcom sausage was made. At its center is perfectionist Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman, who has grown on the audience) and her Cuban American bandleader husband Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem). We see them in a moment of crisis — the tabloids say he’s cheating, the government accuses her of communist leanings — and they’re pregnant, too. Thanks to Sorkin, the dialogue pops and the pair sizzles while making comedy history at CBS.

Where to watch: Prime Video

For turning up the heat: Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

Nothing says I’m leaving my wife for my costar more than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie playing married assassins trying to kill each other. Doug Liman’s 2005 espionage actioner generates so much sexual heat, it’s no wonder that Pitt’s then-wife and Friends star Jennifer Aniston couldn’t keep up — and ultimately Brad couldn’t either.

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV

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For turning up the heat some more: Love & Basketball (2000)

Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan take a shot at love as two basketball players who share a love of the game — and each other. Can their affection and ambitions survive and thrive from the playground to the big leagues? This delightful, award-winning and sexy indie came from director Gina Prince-Bythewood, whose Charlize Theron supernatural actioner The Old Guard has been a major hit on Netflix.

Where to watch: Apple TV, YouTube, Google Play

For wild romantics: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

The biggest snub for the 2020 Oscars was France’s failure to nominate Celine Sciamma’s lushly romantic, dazzlingly rendered meditation on love, passion and art. The French period piece pairs portrait painter Marianne (Noémie Merlant) and her beautiful subject, reluctant bride Héloise (Adèle Haenel), on a remote French island in 1770. As Marianne captures Héloise on canvas, her subject in turn captures the artist’s heart. Their union is a masterpiece in miniature with big performances from both actresses and seductive filmmaking from Sciamma.

Where to watch: Hulu, Prime Video, Apple TV

For hopeless romantics: Before Sunrise (1995)

In the “your regiment leaves at dawn” tradition of urgent romance, this talky 1995 drama from Richard Linklater pairs writer Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and grad student Celine (Julie Delpy). After meeting on a European train, they disembark in Vienna and spend the next 24 hours falling for each other. Will their passion endure? For the answer, rent Before Sunset and Before Midnight.

Where to watch: Apple TV, YouTube, Google Play

For brazen romantics: In the Mood for Love (2000)

The title reflects the main thrust of Wong Kar-wai’s lyrical love story: It puts audiences in a mad loving mood. In 1960s Hong Kong (Those dresses! That hair!), illicit lovers Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung dispense with all reticence and begin a passionate affair once they realize that their respective spouses have already been seeing each other romantically. Both gorgeous and stirring.

Where to watch: Prime Video, The Criterion Channel

For self-proclaimed sentimental fools: Love Actually (2003)

London during the holidays is the setting for this feel-good ensemble comedy from Richard Curtis, 65. Hugh Grant is at his most disarmingly charming, alongside Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth and Rowan Atkinson — a veritable herd of talent in this evergreen about the ups and downs of romantic entanglements. Can you ever have too much cheese at Christmas (or any time of year, for that matter)?

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube

For that ‘opposites attract’ special someone: Say Anything (1989)

Cameron Crowe casts John Cusack and Ione Skye as a high school slacker and a valedictorian who become smitten — much to her father John Mahoney’s disapproval — in this beloved opposites-attract romantic comedy.

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube

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For optimists: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper fall together in this charming Oscar bait from David O. Russell. While they’re often at odds — he’s just out of the mental ward and she’s a wackadoodle widow — they become one when he signs on as her competitive dancing partner. Smart, joyful and hopeful, this dramedy was nominated for eight Oscars, including best picture, and scored one: Lawrence as best actress.

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV

spinner image Cary Grant holds a folded newspaper and looks at Irene Dunne while they stand outside the employee's entrance of the Brooklyn Bulletin in the film "Penny Serenade."
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

For longtime couples (plus those who want to be): Penny Serenade (1941)

My go-to vintage cry film from George Stevens follows a perfect couple — Cary Grant (nominated for best actor for this role) and Irene Dunne — who reach a marital impasse, look back over their married life together and decide ... well, you have to watch the movie unfold to see whether they stay together or split.

Where to watch: Prime Video, YouTube

For when you’re trying to go from friends to something more: When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal are pitch perfect in this chemistry lesson of a rom-com from director Rob Reiner and writer Nora Ephron. The stars play Manhattan besties whose friend-zone relationship becomes threatened by the specter of romantic love.

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV

For the cool kids (at any age): 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

The high school-set romantic smash stars Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Larissa Oleynik. Loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things never fails to charm as opposites attract and true loves unite after a reasonable amount of comic friction.

Where to watch: Disney+, Prime Video

For seducing your nerdy crush: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Geek love gets a witty hero in teen Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera). The nerdy charmer must vanquish all seven of his dream girl’s villainous exes in order to gain the heart of Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in director Edgar Wright’s award-winning action comedy.

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV

For making believers out of romantic cynics: Hitch (2005)

Suave New York matchmaker Will Smith doubles down on love in this 2005 romantic comedy from Andy Tennant of Sweet Home Alabama fame. He woos Eva Mendez’s sexy tabloid reporter while giving an assist to shy bachelor Kevin James in his pursuit of Amber Valletta’s nearly unreachable heiress.

Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu

For dreamers: Lost in Translation (2003)

Sofia Coppola directs this sophisticated, bittersweet romance coupling recently married Scarlett Johansson and fading movie star Bill Murray. The strangers meet in a Tokyo luxury hotel and then drift toward, and away from, a meaningful intimate relationship. Coppola won an Oscar for best original screenplay.

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV

For feeling good about your wintry date night options: Date Night (2010)

If your date night seems to be too much work, check out Steve Carell and Tina Fey as a married suburban couple who plan a big adult evening away from the kids, then have a wilder night in Manhattan than they ever expected.

Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV

Editor's note: This article was originally published on Aug. 6, 2020. It has been updated with additional movies and links where you can stream the films on this list.

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