With 2020 well under way, I felt this would be a great time to provide for you some valuable lessons in what “genuine intimacy” really looks like. So without further ado, with Valentine’s Day just a month away, here is the list.


Some of these movies contain nudity and/or sexual content that may be problematic for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

I love movies; especially the really good ones that touch the heart, mind, and soul. What are the most intimate movies of all time? I took on this initiative last Spring when I realized that there were as many different opinions as there were movies. I wrote A Cause for Pause about that adventure. What began as a simple search turned into a complex array of information overload that I needed to figure out a way to consolidate, aggregate, and sort it all. That’s where this DATA comes into play, but I’ll get to that at the end if you are so interested. In the meantime, I had already let the cat out of the bag so to speak, so we already know what the #1 movie is.

Don’t bother looking for it! You won’t find this image in any release of the movie!

#14 (500) Days of Summer (2009)

Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), greeting-card writer and hopeless romantic, is caught completely off-guard when his girlfriend, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), suddenly dumps him. He reflects on their 500 days together to try to figure out where their love affair went sour, and in doing so, Tom rediscovers his true passions in life.

PG -13: Mild Sex & Nudity, Mild Violence & Gore, Moderate Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking,

#13 Before Midnight (2013) ~ Part 3 of 3 of the Before Trilogy

On the last night of their idyllic Greek vacation, longtime lovers Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) reminisce about their lives together and what different choices might have brought.

Rated R: Severe Sex & Nudity, Severe Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking, Mild Frightening & Intense Scenes

#12 Notting Hill (1999)

William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is a London bookstore owner whose humdrum existence is thrown into romantic turmoil when famous American actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) appears in his shop. A chance encounter over spilled orange juice leads to a kiss that blossoms into a full-blown affair. As the average bloke and glamorous movie star draw closer and closer together, they struggle to reconcile their radically different lifestyles in the name of love.

Rated PG-13: Mild Sex & Nudity, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking, 

#11 Brokeback Mountain (2005)

In 1963, rodeo cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and ranch hand Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) are hired by rancher Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) as sheepherders in Wyoming. One night on Brokeback Mountain, Jack makes a drunken pass at Ennis that is eventually reciprocated. Though Ennis marries his longtime sweetheart, Alma (Michelle Williams), and Jack marries a fellow rodeo rider (Anne Hathaway), the two men keep up their tortured and sporadic affair over the course of 20 years.

Rated R: Moderate Sex & Nudity, Moderate Violence & Gore, Moderate Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking, Moderate Fightening & Intense Scenes

#10 Pretty Woman (1990)

In this modern update on Cinderella, a prostitute and a wealthy businessman fall hard for one another, forming an unlikely pair. While on a business trip in L.A., Edward (Richard Gere), who makes a living buying and breaking up companies, picks up a hooker, Vivian (Julia Roberts), on a lark. After Edward hires Vivian to stay with him for the weekend, the two get closer, only to discover there are significant hurdles to overcome as they try to bridge the gap between their very different worlds.

Rated R: Moderate Sex & Nudity, Mild Violence & Gore, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking, Mild Frightening & Intense Scenes

#9 A Walk to Remember (2002)

Set in North Carolina, “A Walk To Remember” follows the rite of passage of a jaded, aimless high school senior (Shane West) who falls in love with a guileless young woman (Mandy Moore) he and his friends once scorned. The two develop a powerful and inspirational relationship in which they discover truths that take most people a lifetime to learn.

Rated PG: Mild Sex & Nudity, Mild Violence & Gore, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking, Mild Fightening & Intense Scenes

#8 Casablanca (1942)

Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), who owns a nightclub in Casablanca, discovers his old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) is in town with her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). Laszlo is a famed rebel, and with Germans on his tail, Ilsa knows Rick can help them get out of the country.

Rated PG: Mild Violence & Gore, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking, Mild Frightening & Intense Scenes

#7 Before Sunset (2004) ~ Part 2 of 3 of the Before Trilogy

A sequel to “Before Sunrise,” this film starts nine years later as Jesse (Ethan Hawke) travels across Europe giving readings from a book he wrote about the night he spent in Vienna with Celine (Julie Delpy). After his reading in Paris, Celine finds him, and they spend part of the day together before Jesse has to again leave for a flight. They are both in relationships now, and Jesse has a son, but as their strong feelings for each other start to return, both confess a longing for more.

Rated R: Moderate Sex & Nudity, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking

#6 Love Actually (2003)

Nine intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. Among the characters explored are David (Hugh Grant), the handsome newly elected British prime minister who falls for a young junior staffer (Martine McCutcheon), Sarah (Laura Linney), a graphic designer whose devotion to her mentally ill brother complicates her love life, and Harry (Alan Rickman), a married man tempted by his attractive new secretary.

Rated R: Severe Sex & Nudity, Moderate Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking, Mild Frightening & Intense Scenes

#5 When Harry Met Sally (1989)

In 1977, college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) share a contentious car ride from Chicago to New York, during which they argue about whether men and women can ever truly be strictly platonic friends. Ten years later, Harry and Sally meet again at a bookstore, and in the company of their respective best friends, Jess (Bruno Kirby) and Marie (Carrie Fisher), attempt to stay friends without sex becoming an issue between them.

Rated R: Mild Sex & Nudity, Moderate Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking

#4 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

After a painful breakup, Clementine (Kate Winslet) undergoes a procedure to erase memories of her former boyfriend Joel (Jim Carrey) from her mind. When Joel discovers that Clementine is going to extremes to forget their relationship, he undergoes the same procedure and slowly begins to forget the woman that he loved. Directed by former music video director Michel Gondry, the visually arresting film explores the intricacy of relationships and the pain of loss.

Rated R: Mild Sex & Nudity, Mild Violence & Gore, Moderate Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking, Mild Frightening & Intense Scenes

#3 Before Sunrise (1995) ~ Part 1 of 3 of the Before Trilogy

On his way to Vienna, American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meets Celine (Julie Delpy), a student returning to Paris. After long conversations forge a surprising connection between them, Jesse convinces Celine to get off the train with him in Vienna. Since his flight to the U.S. departs the next morning and he has no money for lodging, they wander the city together, taking in the experiences of Vienna and each other. As the night progresses, their bond makes separating in the morning a difficult choice.

Rated R: Mild Sex & Nudity, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking

#2 Titanic (1997)

The R.M.S. Titanic, the most luxurious liner and largest moving object ever built to date, the pride and joy of the White Star Line, prepares for departure. Jack (Leonardo DeCaprio) won tickets on Titanic’s maiden voyage to America playing poker. On board, he walks upon Rose (Kate Winslet), an aristocrat, considerably wealthy, preparing to jump into the sea from the back of the ship. As a 3rd class passenger, mistaken for having assaulted her while rescuing her, the two develop and kindle a romantic relationship. As the Titanic collides with an iceberg, the unsinkable becomes sinkable, begins to gradually submerge beneath the water, each willing to sacrifice their lives for the other. Tragedy is imminent as 1,503 people perish in the icy waters of the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912.2

Rated PG-13: Moderate Sex & Nudity, Moderate Violence & Gore, Moderate Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking, Severe Frightening & Intense Scenes

#1 The Notebook (2004)

In 1940s South Carolina, sawmill worker Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and rich girl Allie (Rachel McAdams) are desperately in love. But her mother doesn’t approve. When Noah goes off to serve in World War II, it seems to mark the end of their love affair. In the interim, Allie becomes engaged to another man (James Marsden). But when Noah returns to the small town of Seagrove years later, on the cusp of Allie’s marriage, it soon becomes clear that their romance is anything but over.2

Rated PG-13: Moderate Sex & Nudity, Mild Violence & Gore, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking, Mild Frightening & Intense Scenes

If that’s not enough for you, here are the next 14:

#15 Dirty Dancing (1987), #16 Beauty and the Beast (1991)1, #17 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), #18 Call Me By Your Name (2017), #19 Her (2013), #20 Silver Linings Playbook (2012), #21 P.S. I Love You (2007), #22 The Princess Bride (1987), #23 Roman Holiday (1953), #24 You’ve Got Mail (1998), #25 Sleepless in Seattle (1993), #26 Gone With the Wind (1939), #27 Pride & Prejudice (2005), & #28 Say Anything (1989).

There you have it. This is the ULTIMATE list. So, fix yourself a cup of hot chocolate, or tea, or coffee if that’s your thing, some popcorn, or alternately, a glass of wine, cheese, fruits, nuts, etc., grab a blanket and some sofa pillows, build yourself a nice warm fire in the fireplace, and enjoy the experience and learn something. Better yet, learn something together. Trust me, there are lots of lessons in intimacy to learn from all of these. Enjoy!

Some minor details worth noting in the collection of this DATA:

  • Results up through 2018.
  • In some cases, data was collected prior to 2018, but in all cases, after 2014.
  • A DATA (Data Aggregation Triage Algorithm) was created to retrieve, tabulate, and sort the information.

Characteristics of the DATA:

  • Search terms are created, and plugged into DATA, which is then piped into a search engine; in this case, Google. The search terms used were [most romantic movies of all time].
  • As results were retrieved, DATA then piped them directly into the aggregation algorithm which then searched within each of the documents themselves to return individual components of the document including name, date, rank, and other miscellaneous and sundry information).
  • As the first part of the DATA process revealed, it was quickly determined that a sub-category of “romantic”, “romantic comedy”, needed to be filtered out so as not to unnecessarily compromise the results, as we were specifically looking at all “romantic” movies, and not just “romantic comedy” as a subset of those movies.
  • Where there was a cross pollination of data, DATA then tabulated each of those.
  • DATA looks for patterns of groups of words; not individual words. For example, the movie, “The Fly”, is two words. The hundreds of documents with the phrase “The Fly” would be very short, and not likely. When the results come back, the surrounding information is also included that is immediately before and after it. Any time there were abnormalities in data patterns, it would stick out like a sore thumb. Additionally, as I explained, some movies were replications of previous releases of the same movie which we had to process as an exception.
  • Duplicates and documents were purged
  • Count was set to 1,000 to terminate the process at the first 1,000 records, or 500 results, whichever came first. That way, the algorithm only runs for a finite period of time, so we’re not continuing to search this time next year.
  • DATA triaged the results real time and sorted them into descending numerical order.

Don’t shoot the messenger. It was all scientifically achieved by DATA, and there was no subjective interpretation of the results.

* Movie Descriptions courtesy of Google.

  1. Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bête) (1946) and Beauty and the Beast (2017) were all merged with Beauty and the Beast (1991).
  2. New description as submitted to Google.