50bestdatemovies  

It's a tale as old as time, or at least the VCR: the way into a date's pants is often on a couch, at home, watching a film that has been selected for its chemistry-sparking, pants-loosening potential. Selecting that film has traditionally been a stressful process. No longer! Here are enough to last you into your third marriage. As a bonus, we chose one scene in each movie that provides an ideal segue into your date's personal space.

50. Bringing Up Baby
Are you and your date totally wrong for each other? Did you meet under the most awkward circumstances imaginable? Perfect! Bringing Up Baby is your movie. Often referred to as the quintessential screwball comedy, this Katharine Hepburn-Cary Grant vehicle tells the story of a blundering Connecticut society girl who loses a leopard (yes, a leopard) and coerces a strait-laced paleontologist into helping her find it. Everything goes hopelessly wrong, and they fall in love in spite (or because of) it all.
Best scene to make a move: After the pair falls in a river, they camp out by the side of a hill discuss their predicament while Hepburn's character accidentally lights Grant's socks on fire. For the first time, it becomes clear how much fun they're actually having. — Gwynne Watkins

49. What's Eating Gilbert Grape
It concerns a morbidly obese mother, a mentally handicapped younger brother and a desperate middle-aged housewife. But there's something so fresh and simple about Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis's summer romance (she gets stuck in town with her grandmother after the truck pulling their motor home breaks down), that Gilbert Grape's other elements are overshadowed.
Best scene to make a move: Before the darker scenes involving Gilbert's mother and the family home. Check back at the end, though; it has a hopefulness and simplicity that shouldn't be missed. — Kristin Gangwer

48. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
For all their goofiness and length, there's something hot about Bollywood movies. Maybe it's their total lack of irony — if a Bollywood character decides to declare his love, you can bet he's going to do it on a cliff, in the rain, on the eve of his beloved's wedding — or maybe it's just the scantily clad dance numbers. Regardless, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is a great one. It's the story of love triangle between three college students: big man on campus Rahul, sexy new kid Tina and tomboy Anjali. Rahul marries Tina, who then dies in childbirth. Eight years later, Rahul and Tina's daughter finds a letter from her deceased mother, urging her to re-unite her father with Anjali. Convoluted, yes, but very fun and unabashedly romantic.
Best scene to make a move: The title song (translation: "Something is Happening"), a breathless fantasy sequence in which each character stands against a lush mountain landscape and sings about falling in love. — GW


47. Casino Royale
When I went on a date to see Casino Royale, I 'd been watching nothing but black-and-white movies on TMC for months. I am a big fan of old movies, but it takes a hardcore action film to remind you what's great about big screens, America and conventional heterosexual relationships. During the first chase scene, I gasped audibly as Daniel Craig and the bad guy jumped around a construction site way in the air. They burst through walls! They jumped from beam to beam! They almost fell to their deaths! I had every summer-blockbuster press-0quote reaction: my pulse raced, my heart pounded, my jaw dropped. And when it was over and our hero was safe(ish) on the ground after blowing up the embassy, I felt the whole audience relax with this realization: No one in that theater was going home alone. And Daniel Craig hadn't even gotten naked yet!
Best scene to make a move: Every time Daniel Craig takes his shirt off. — Ada Calhoun
46. Edward Scissorhands
Possibly too sad to be effective, but if you and your date are tender sorts, you may be drawn together by sharing the heartbreak. Edward's vulnerability is so palpable that even the funny scenes have a clenched-throat quality. Of all Tim Burton's broken protagonists, Edward makes the most poignant metaphor for arrested adolescence; he is half-finished, and can only injure the people he wants to get close to. When Winona Ryder asks him to hold her, he only murmurs, "I can't..." Sniffle. Anyone with any left-over high-school romanticism will crawl straight into your arms.
Best scene to make a move: The ice-sculpture scene. — PS

 
45. Heathers
The ultimate high-school black comedy, Heathers is a must-see for anyone born post 1970, and, speaking from experience, can be watched upwards of twenty times without getting old. A sixteen-year-old Winona Ryder plays Veronica, the fourth member of a vicious clique whose other members are all named Heather (one of whom is played by Shannon Doherty). Veronica starts dating J.D., an outsider who tricks her into killing the popular kids and making it look like suicide, spawning a national suicide craze.
Best scene to make a move: Two words: strip croquet. — Sarah Harrison

44. Poltergeist
The scary movie is quintessential date fodder, but it's a path you must tread lightly, lest you stray into the too weird or too gory. You want a creep-fest, but you also want camp, both in equal measure and both in earnest. Poltergeist meets the challenge by providing occasional "BOO!" scares that will make you jump into each other's arms, while also making you laugh with its dated special effects (see: tree trying to eat son of Craig T. Nelson) and its pristine '80s Spielbergisms (see: Jobeth Williams wheeling the television out of the family's motel room at the end of the movie).
Best scene to make a move: Roughly twenty minutes into the film, when Jobeth Williams turns around to find all of her chairs arranged precariously on her kitchen table. Any couple, anywhere, will inch just a little closer together on the couch from the raw creepiness. John Constantine

   

43. Big Trouble in Little China
There's no one thing that makes Big Trouble in Little China a perfect date movie. It's an amalgam of little eccentricities that manage to bring a budding couple close together and closer to hopping in the sack. Take the art on the DVD case
: the painted caricatures of Kurt Russell and Kim Cattrall, positioned over the looming, ridiculous image of James Hong, just beg for a coy witticism to pass between two people who can't stop touching each other, as they stroll through Blockbuster trying to pick something out they can ignore on the couch. It's entertaining, nostalgic and silly.
Best scene to make a move: Kurt Russell drives off into the night at the end of the movie, barking across a CB radio, and you and your date stop making out for five seconds to think, "Geez, it's done already?"
JC

   

42. The Terminator
With an economy unmatched by its bigger

-budget sequels, James Cameron's first movie (unless you count Piranha II: The Spawning) delivers a lot of tension and a surprising amount of romance. Michael Biehn is one of the most underused stars of recent decades, and his mixture of toughness, vulnerability and dedication to saving Sarah Conner's life ("I came across time for you") is sure to touch both genders in their no-no spots. In fact, I had a girlfriend once who watched this explosion-packed, low-budget action spectacular with much enthusiasm, then turned to me as the credits rolled with a shit-eating grin and remarked, "My favorite part was when he said he loved her."
Best scene to make a move: You may have to save your move for the end
even the sex scene poses the threat of intervention by gun-toting Austrian robot. PS


41. Out of Sight
I always thought director Steven Soderbergh was slumming with this Elmore Leonard caper, but there are moments when his true genius shines. Case in point: A seduction scene between Jennifer Lopez's cop and George Clooney's smooth criminal that cuts back and forth between a bar conversation and a bedroom tryst. The sequence is choppy with cuts and freezes that feel true to the exhilaration and dizziness of a midnight romp. The movie is cute, but that scene is sizzling.
Best scene to make a move: When the cop and the robber first meet for drinks. — Sarah Hepola


40. Spellbound
This cult-hit spelling-bee documentary makes one feel good about the world and thereby warmly disposed to one's date — who you may well find yourself realizing is, like the film's charming stars, endearingly eccentric rather than nerdy and weird. The movie is almost tailor-made as a prompt to talk about your childhood, your family, your geekiest ambitions. Bonus: if your date doesn't like the bonkers ADD boy, you know he or she is not worthy of your attention.
Best time to make a move: At the end, after the final-round catharsis. — AC

Commentarium (23 Comments)

May 19 07 - 7:17pm
JOM

City of Angles did it for me back in the day.
The secene were they finaly hook up to Angel

May 20 07 - 1:34pm
JP

I totally agree with your inclusion of Cinema Paradiso. However, it should be noted that one should see the regular version that showed in the theaters, and NOT the Director's Cut. I repeat - do NOT watch the Director's Cut. It includes 45 minutes of completely unnecessary extra footage that totally ruins an otherwise wonderful movie.

May 22 07 - 11:54am
mgt

Wow-an affair to remember is not on the list. Amazing.

May 23 07 - 4:27pm
AM

i'm all about the getaway and, strangely, the elephant man.

May 24 07 - 2:46am
BRB

New to your site. Interesting and potentially helpful content. Just checked out "The 50 Best Date Movies".

Come on.

You included "Triplets of Belleville" and left out "9 and 1/2 Weeks"? I'm shocked and appalled. The former is practically an abstinence pill and the latter has "sexy time" written all over it. WTF?

Jul 06 07 - 11:45pm
HTD

Great list, thank you. A few comments, some suggestions.

Ironically, I can't get behind either the quintessential date movie "Annie Hall," or "Manhattan." One is, as you say, a post-mortem. The other too cynical, even after Woody runs back to Mariel. For Woody date movie material, I'd suggest "Sleeper" waaay before these.

You undersold "Edward Scissorhands" as adolescent angst 101. Goodness, it's a metaphor for a type of fated, futile love affair beset by the ugliness of the world. But, yes, maybe too sad, even with the wonderousness of octogenarian Wynona dancing in the snow in the final scene?

I'd add Hitchcock "Vertigo," or maybe better, "North by Northwest." Obvious, perhaps; but you can't top the sex-play dialogue Grant and Marie Saint have over cocktails in the dining car.

Preston Sturges's "The Lady Eve" with Stanwyck and Fonda. Sexual relations as an elaborate con, but Barabara clearly fools herself she's playing top from the bottom, when the reverse is true.

The original "Swept Away," from Wertmuller.

And, respectfully, what's the John Cusack fixation? John hasn't had a real deal role since "The Grifters."

Finally, a little known Burt Reynold's-Dyan Cannon movie, "Shamus," set in New York when both were still hot and could play a straight role (as in not caricatured). This, during Burt's "Deliverance" period. He's a low-rent detective, she's priviledged but frustrated. You must find it if only for the pool table scenes - Burt makes a bed of a billiards table in his crappy Queens studio. Sexy, touching and unsentimental, and a historical look at what was once swinging New York.

Feb 12 08 - 9:56pm
mh

the list should include a few more horror flicks, cuz those sure make me grab my sweeties arm. and whats up with all the black and whites? while I like 'em I sure as heck couldnt pay my better half to watch 'em.

Aug 25 08 - 2:47pm
SPL

Breakfast at Tiffany's?
Amelie?

Sep 13 08 - 1:26pm

wtf?

Oct 08 08 - 5:55pm
DH

Great list! But I really miss "Serendipity" starring John Cusak and the always so beautiful Kate Beckinsdale.

Nov 30 08 - 12:11pm
PMR

Did anyone ever see "Personal Best" with Mariel Hemingway. That movie could get you laid

Aug 28 10 - 7:25pm
Big Mike

You've got a lot of nerve putting up Triplets, Star wars, and Rear Window. These are movies that need to be enjoyed unimpeded, I know it sounds like a geeky thing to say, but being reduced to background noise is something that should be reserved for real trash, not movies that work hard to entertain. You want a movie to make out by? Get one of the Scary movies since you won't bother with a plot.

Nov 17 10 - 11:42am
JG

True Romance with Slater and Arquette. Action, adventure, and Walken.

Jan 22 11 - 5:09am
Jason

Where's "Benny & Joon"?

Feb 18 11 - 11:11am
janessa

Are you know mr Donovan?

Aug 07 11 - 12:48am
Dino

How about Ghost, that should be number one? Not even top fifty?

Sep 18 11 - 1:46pm
Kirrangelique

I think Lost Boys would make a good date movie. It's funny, it's sexy, it's got a bit of blood and action, and vampires. Best time to make a move would be the love scene between Star and Michael.

Sep 30 11 - 10:12am
KD

What about The Notebook??? Awesome date night movie!

Nov 20 11 - 7:03pm
DJ

Dear John can do some work, if I do say so myself.

Mar 10 12 - 2:54am
carissa

OMG KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI! <3 i hate Hollywood Romance films, Bollywood romance is so much sweeter without all those stupid sex scenes! Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge would of been good on this list too. (has the same actors as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) <3

Apr 03 12 - 1:27am
Jake Summz

Odd movie: but I ALWAYS get laid during Clockwork Orange.

Aug 08 12 - 10:55pm
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Sep 13 12 - 12:36am
M

Omg who wrote this list? My Grandma?
Something that's not black and white!
Top Gun is hot hot hot.
Nothing like the Notebook / Dear John / The Vow- you do NOT want to be weeping in front of your date.
I like funny movies, thing Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Duece Bigalo. Stuff that gets you both laughing and having a good time. Not depressed and crying where your make up ends up half way down your face. Nor do you want to be sh*t scared watching a scary movie!