Top 10 Romantic Films Men Shouldn’t Be Ashamed To Love

Romance. A genre for sentimentalists and those in tune with their feminist side? Not necessarily. As these movies tell us: romance isn’t just for women!

Lets begin by clarifying that I’m not a fan of the romantic film in any of its various guises. No, sir!

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few films out there that have a romantic element making up some of the plot. And, far from destroying any merit the film might have, all this kissing and cuddling actually makes for better viewing.

So here’s ten films that feature romance to varying degrees that won’t impinge on a man’s machismo – ie. mushy sentimentalism is out – sex, violence, fast cars, cracking comedy and great soundtracks are in! If you end up reaching for the tissues after seeing any of these films, it won’t be to wipe away any tears.

10. 9 Songs (Michael Winterbottom, 2004)

A terrible film anyway you look at it and the worst thing Michael Winterbottom has put his name to but sex sells. And 9 Songs has it in spades. Actors Margo Stilley and Kieran O’Brien basically watch eight rock bands over nine days and have passionate sex each night. Winterbottom tried to push the boundaries of mainstream cinema by having the actors perform unsimulated sex but only achieved an overlong and very boring porn film. But still, this is romance for guys who like to flex their muscles and show off their machismo. You can see why the most sexually explicit mainstream movie ever made has a few fans.
Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence: 0%
Kissing: 25%
Sex: 50%
Girly Love Talk: 10%
Laugh Out Loud Comedy: 0%

9. Basic Instinct (Paul Verhoeven, 1991)

basic instinct, film, romance that men can love,

Sex, violence, Sharon Stone’s Brazilian – is this romance or a male dream. Well, it’s a bit of both since Michael Douglas, like every other red-blooded man watching, falls head over heels in lust for Sharon Stone’s perfectly slender body. A body, it’s worth adding, Stone is in no hesitation to show off in all its naked glory. If there’s a fine line between love and sex, Basic Instinct makes no secret where it stands.
Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence: 40%
Kissing: 20%
Sex: 40%
Girly Love Talk: 0%
Laugh Out Loud Comedy: 0%

8. Misery (Rob Reiner, 1990)

misery, romance,

Poor Paul Sheldon. Some men are unlucky in love but Paul unwittingly comes across the love of his life after he crashes his car in the Colorado mountains. The only problem for Paul is that the love of his life is psychotic fan Annie Wilkes (played by Kathy Bates who delivers her finest performance).
Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence: 30%
Kissing: 0%
Sex: 0%
Girly Love Talk: 5%
Laugh Out Loud Comedy: 0%

7. Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986)

top gun, film, tom cruise,

When speaking of a male love-in there aren’t many more appropriate films than testosterone-filled Top Gun. There’s enough oiled-up six packs and sweaty brows for women who like their alpha males, as well as a hearty helping of man love and male bonding to support the notion that Top Gun’s passionate team play ethic can be extended to its position on male sexuality.
Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence: 50%
Kissing: 10%
Sex: 10%
Girly Love Talk: 5%
Laugh Out Loud Comedy: 0%

6. Shrek (Andrew Adamson/Vicky Jenson, 2001)

shrek, romance that men should love,

Mike Myers plays the jolly green giant in this parody of Disney fantasy. There’s love and romance but with comedy sidekick Donkey (played by Eddie Murphy) there is just too much fun to be had to let the mushiness get in the way
Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence: 15%
Kissing: 5%
Sex: 0%
Girly Love Talk: 5%
Laugh Out Loud Comedy: 50%

5. The Terminator (James Cameron, 1982)

terminator, romance that men should love,

James Cameron’s The Terminator isn’t a cautionary tale of the possible self-destructiveness of rampantly evolving super-technology or a good against evil story between a man and a woman hunted by a seemingly unstoppable monster. No, the film is about one man’s undying love of a woman he has never met. When he does eventually find her, it is that love that forces him to protect her against all odds, and to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her life and the life of their unborn child. Okay, well, it’s kind of a bit of both but what a great film!
Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence: 75%
Kissing: 5%
Sex: 15%
Girly Love Talk: 0%
Laugh Out Loud Comedy: 0%

4. The Goodbye Girl (Herbert Ross, 1977)

goodbye girl, romance films men should love,

Richard Dreyfuss is sensational as the struggling actor who moves into an apartment shared by a mother and her daughter only to fall in love with them both. Like When Harry Met Sally, the film boasts a great script (one of Neil Simon’s finest) and some excellent performances. This is the most straight-forwardly romantic film on this list but its sentimental, happy ending is born out of a truthfulness missing from many modern romances.
Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence: 2%
Kissing: 8%
Sex: 0%
Girly Love Talk: 20%
Laugh Out Loud Comedy: 40%

3. Say Anything (Cameron Crowe, 1989)

say anything, film, cameron crowe

John Cusack, that 80s screen icon who joined an unusual group of teenagers like Anthony Michael Hall and Corey Feldman to form the Brat Pack in the days of Pretty In Pink, The Sure Thing, The Breakfast Club, and St. Elmo’s Fire, was, like his 80s screen pals lacking in the looks department but not in teen adulation. Say Anything is one of the best romantic films to come out of the 1980s thanks to Cameron Crowe’s super cool script and a great soundtrack to back it up.
Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence: 3%
Kissing: 8%
Sex: 8%
Girly Love Talk: 15%
Laugh Out Loud Comedy: 30%

2. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)

some like it hot, romance that men should love,

Who better to share a romantic story with than Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder’s comedy classic. That Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are the real stars of this story tells you everything you need to know. The cross-dressing double-act make for one of the best comedy pairings to ever grace a cinema screen. That the blonde bombshell Monroe delightfully swans into the mix only makes for a more glorious couple of hours.
Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence: 5%
Kissing: 10%
Sex: 0%
Girly Love Talk: 10%
Laugh Out Loud Comedy: 60%

1. When Harry Met Sally (Rob Reiner, 1986)

when harry met sally, film, romance men can love,

There’s no unnecessary sentimentality in Rob Reiner’s brilliantly scripted When Harry Met Sally. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play the lucky-in-love couple who take decades to realise how lucky they are. Two fine performances are enriched by an assortment of great support characters. Any film with Meg Ryan faking an orgasm in a packed café only for the director’s Mum to quip, “I’ll have what she’s having” deserves attention on a regular basis.
Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence: 5%
Kissing: 10%
Sex: 2%
Girly Love Talk: 10%
Laugh Out Loud Comedy: 50%

Written and compiled by Rory Fish.

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About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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  1. Avatar
    novroz Reply

    I thought I was going to see some mushy wushy movie. This list is great.

    I never would have guessed to find Misery and terminator here.

  2. Avatar
    Anthony Reply

    The same amount of “Guns, Explosions, Driving Fast and Assorted Violence” in Some Like it Hot and When Harry Met Sally…? The former revolves around gangsters and the St Valentine’s Day Massacre! 😉

    Great list though!

  3. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    The Terminator is a romantic film?

    BWAAA HAAA HAAAAA I haven’t laughed like that since I watched Schindler’s List!

  4. Avatar
    Shubhajit Lahiri Reply

    Some interesting choices here.

    You got to be on LSD or Coke to find Basic Instinct & Terminator romantic 😛 But irrespective of which genre you qualify these 2 films in, the fact remains that they’re terrific movies.

    As for Winterbottom’s controversial 9 Songs, the movie has been lying with me for sometime, but I haven’t yet gotten around to watching it – but from what I’ve gathered, its more about love-making than love 😉 Top Gun on the other hand does remain a lot of people’s favourite, though I don’t like it as much as I did when I’d first seen it (which was a long time back).

    Anyway, I too am not much of a fan of mushy tear-jerkers, though that doesn’t mean I haven’t watched romantic films in my life. When Harry Met Sally & Some Like It Hot are universally praised films thanks to their intelligence & wit, and I’ve liked both these films, though in an order opposite to what you’ve mentioned.

    I think, speaking of romantic movies that men would love, some of Woody Allen’s films like Annie Hall & Manhattan would take pole positions for me. Some film noirs too would find inclusion in my list. Of course, if you agree to count in non-American films too, then a lot of movies might vie for the top slots.

  5. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    I’d agree in regards to Woody Allen – Manhattan or Annie Hall are fabulous films no matter whether you like romance or not.

  6. Avatar
    magnoliaforever Reply

    Shrek and Terminator are posing question marks, but the rest are good choices. I don’t think Basic Instinct is a romantic movie so much as a thriller with lots and lots and lots and lots of sex. However, one film I think you missed is definitely Last Tango in Paris. Definitely deserving of the top ten. Please tell me you were at least considering it when formulating this list…!!

  7. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    I have to say, I never really considered The Terminator a romantic film either but when you think about it, it actually makes sense! I think if if the anti-sentiment, anti-romance Guy’s Guy wants to see a macho film that has a bit of love in it, he couldn’t go further wrong than The Terminator’s time-traveling mother-father conundrum.

  8. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    Last Tango in Paris – pass me the butter please.

  9. Avatar
    rtm Reply

    Somehow I knew this is a guy’s list considering Misery and Terminator are in it, ahah. There are some elements of romance in the latter I suppose, what with Michael Biehn’s doe eyes 😉

  10. Avatar
    Anna Reply

    Thank you for including Some Like It Hot.

    (FWIW, not all women love romantic movies. Me especially.)

  11. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    @Anna: Rory’s tongue was definitely lodged in his cheek with this list. But you’re right – you can’t go wrong with Some Like It Hot, whatever genres you are into.

  12. Avatar
    Castor Reply

    I wonder how Michael Douglas felt after that picture. You know, getting all wet and heavy with the ridiculously hot Sharon Stone without going the distance… LOL

  13. Avatar
    Jerry Bowles Reply

    One of the most romantic thrillers ever is The Eye of the Needle (1981) in which a German spy with a game-changing Allied secret (Donald Sutherland),on his way to a rendezvous with a German sub, causes Germany to lose World War II because he falls in love with the wife of a paraplegic (Kate Nelligan) on a isolated North Atlantic island.

  14. Avatar
    Raghav Modi Reply

    Ha! Funny post. I’d put Love Actually in it because it’s a nice actual romantic film. Although I’m not a “fan” but I enjoy them from time to time. Addicted to love is underrated. You’ve got Mail is charming. True Romance is explosive 😉 …

  15. Avatar
    Fulmer Reply

    Romantic comedies are a nebulous genre (to lesser extent, so is just Romance); so like Comedy there is almost always an overlap or hybrid of genre elements. Your choices only include three films (#’4, 3 & 1) that are strictly speaking a romance and/or a romantic comedy in my opinion. I would be curious what choices you would make if left to the constrictions of those given genre parameters.

  16. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    @Fulmer: Hi Fulmer…thanks for the comment. I thought it was pretty clear but nevertheless, this top 10 has its tongue firmly lodged in the cheek. So genre convention was pretty much thrown out the window for this one.

  17. Avatar
    mark Reply

    Given all us blokes love Clint Eastwood, what about The Bridges of Madison Country or The Gauntlet (or, come to think of it, any other Eastwood-Sandra Locke movie)?

    Another contender would be Roeg’s Eureka. Aside from the fact the last third of the movie (the court scene) is really about the relationship between Teresa Russell and Rutgar Hauer, there is that truly fantastic moment earlier in the film when Gene Hackman briefly flashbacks to dancing with his now estranged wife before going off to seal his death by telling the gangsters to go and fuck themselves. As he says at the end of the film (in voiceover), the thrill wasn’t in finding the gold but in the search for it. This same logic, I’m sometimes convinced, also applies to love stories.

  18. Avatar
    jjames36 Reply

    Terminator and Misery are surprising choices, but it will accept your argument on both. 🙂

    And I totally agree on Harry Met Sally. Such a great movie. Oh and I’ll suggest Casablanca could make this list, as well. 🙂

  19. Avatar
    Holly Sheridan Reply

    ‘True Romance’ has to be a romantic movie men wouldn’t be ashamed of liking. When the most romantic gesture in the film is Clarence killing Alabama’s pimp, Gary Oldman with the best dreads, you know you’re on to a winner.

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