Take a handful of screen goddesses and a clutch of matinee idols, put them together and one thing's sure to happen. Nobody does love like they do in the movies.
From rom-coms to heartbreak, these are the scenes that skip the schmaltz to make us believe that sometimes, Cupid really does get it right. And, just for balance, we've also picked those moments that made us cringe -- or long for a sick-bucket.
(Michael Curtiz, 1942)
Yep, it's a no-brainer. In a world full of slushy, happily-ever-after rom-coms, Bogie and Bergman find true romance in heartache, sacrificing their romance for the greater good. Bogie's "hill of beans" speech still gets us every time. Oh, the tragedy! Still, they'll always have Paris ...
2. City Lights
(Charles Chaplin, 1931)
Truly, madly sweetly: Blind flower-girl Virginia Cherrill recognizes Chaplin's tramp when she presses a coin into his hand. Deeply moved, as the scale of his sacrifice dawns on her, she wells up -- as did we; his expression shifts from shame to tentative delight. The most touching film moment of all time?
3. Roman Holiday
(William Wyler, 1953)
Audrey Hepburn's princess falls for Gregory Peck's noble hack (surely that's an oxymoron!) -- but while the ending is bittersweet, it's the playful scene at the Mouth of Truth, with its pitch-perfect comic timing, that captured our hearts.
4. From Here to Eternity
(Fred Zinnemann, 1953)
"Nobody ever kissed me the way you do." Army sergeant Burt Lancaster and troubled wife Deborah Kerr find refuge in their torrid, adulterous affair; the heat between them is tangible. With the tumultuous waves crashing over the embracing couple, Zinnemann creates one of old Hollywood's most iconic images.
(Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)
A sheer moment of joy, as Amélie (Audrey Tautou) zooms through Paris on the back of Nino's (Mathieu Kassovitz) bicycle. The laughing couple freewheel down the cobbled streets past Sacré Coeur, filled with the delirious exuberance of new love. Ah, c'est l'amour.
6. Annie Hall
(Woody Allen, 1977)
The highlight of Woody Allen's confessional masterpiece is Annie's (Diane Keaton) first meeting with Alvy (Allen) at the tennis club where we're blown away by her vitality, ebullient charm and fresh contrast with Allen's wound-up, navel-gazing New Yorker. La-di-da, la-di-da, la la!
7. La Dolce Vita
(Federico Fellini, 1960)
Fellini's beautifully choreographed tableau in the Trevi Fountain sees young journalist Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni) rendered helpless as buxom screen goddess Sylvia (Anita Eckberg) draws him into her spell. A paean to those fleeting moments between sunset and dawn when reality slips away to reveal something altogether more magical. Talking of which ...
8. Before Sunrise
(Richard Linklater, 1995)
They've no time for mix-tapes, so Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) head to a record store's music booth to acid-test their compatibility. In its confined space, they nervously avoid each other's eyes, so painfully aware of each other's physical presence. A moment that evokes strong memories of those sweet first-love connections.
9. Lost in Translation
(Sofia Coppola, 2003)
Bob (Bill Murray), a movie star well past his sell-by date, and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a neglected newlywed, are two lost souls who are cast adrift, and come together, in Tokyo. Their parting moment, when Bob whispers his secret farewell to Charlotte, is all the more romantic for its mystery.