What is it about romantic movies that have us dragging our friends and loved ones to the theaters, renting them off Netflix, and wearing out the DVDs with repeat viewings? These tales of star-crossed lovers — or best friends whose affection grows into something deeper — give us hope that we can have it, too. Not the kidnappings, letters from the grave, or time travel (though those would be fun), but the enduring, can’t-be-without-you love that powers each of the outlandish plots that we adore.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s a list of our picks for the Most Romantic Movies Of Our Time. For the most part, I tried to pick more recognizable romantic comedies and dramas from the ’90s and ’00s, but there are a few ’80s stragglers. (I promise they’re worth it.)