The 33 Most Iconic Movie Kisses of All Time
Valentine's Day means two things: Free chocolates and extra smooches with your special someone.
And what's better for setting the mood than a reminder of some classic big-screen smooches? Nothing says romance like two Hollywood actors convincingly pretending to be in love!
From Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh's exchanges in Gone with the Wind, to Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio's first peck in Titanic, to the sweetheart kiss in My Girl, on-screen romantic duos have been melting hearts with their chemistry for decades.
InStyle rounded up 33 of the most memorable cinematic embraces, just in time for V-Day. Check out our list, which includes the pouring-rain passionate kisses in The Notebook, Spider-Man, and Breakfast at Tiffany's, as well as a steamy vampire-human lip-lock from Twilight. How do they rank on your list? Keep reading to see them all.
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Gone with the Wind
"You need kissing badly," Clark Gable, as Rhett Butler, told Vivien Leigh's Scarlett O'Hara in this 1939 epic. "You should be kissed, and often. And by someone who knows how." Later on, while proposing to the twice-widowed Scarlett, he proves he's the man for the job.
Director James Cameron initially planned to cast "an Audrey Hepburn type" to play the female lead in this 1997 epic, and Leonardo DiCaprio nearly turned down his role. It's still captivating to see him woo Kate Winslet's Rose, even if, as DiCaprio said in a recent interview, kissing Kate is "like kissing a family member."
The movie may have won Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars, but let’s not forget that the beach moment shared between Ashton Sanders (Chiron) and Jharrel Jerome (Kevin) nabbed Best Kiss at the MTV Movie and TV Awards. And, really, which one is more important when it comes right down to it?
Oh, my goodness, is there anything sweeter than BFFs Thomas (Macaulay Culkin) and Vada (Anna Chlumsky) sharing that quick peck? First, the two practice on the arms and then lean in for the real thing — it’s too cute. But according to Culkin, he didn’t want to do the kiss. In an interview with Ellen, the actor said the two were friends and he thought, “'I gotta kiss a girl?'"
To Have and Have Not
Truth be told, it's not the kiss that makes this scene from the 1944 film so unforgettable, it's the cool banter between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall (who fell in love on set). "What'd you do that for?" he asks, after she plants one on him. "Been wondering whether I'd like it," she says.
Lady and the Tramp
She was the original uptown girl; he was a lovable drifter. But when these two crazy pups came together over a very long piece of spaghetti in this 1955 animated film, it was forever.
"It looks great," Rachel McAdams said of the scene in this 2004 film in which she (as Allie) and Ryan Gosling (as Noah) finally come together. "We did a lot of takes in the pelting rain. Nick Cassavetes, the director, said, 'Try to keep your eyes open when you say, You wrote me?' It was actually hurting ... But it was totally worth it."
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Truman Capote's original 1958 novella wasn't exactly a love story, so the author was less than thrilled with the 1961 big screen adaptation. (For one thing, he'd wanted Marilyn Monroe to play Holly Golightly.) But audiences adored this stylish film, particularly for the final scene, in which Holly (Audrey Hepburn) and Paul (George Peppard) make a rainy New York City alley seem as romantic as any pink-streaked sunset.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
If you find yourself longing for the simplicity that came along with youthful relationships (no talk of marriage and biological clocks), then you’ll want to check out To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, based on the book by the same name by Jenny Han. You’ll get those first kiss tingles just watching Peter (Noah Centineo) and Lara Jean (Lana Condor) lock lips in the hot tub.
In 2010, Ali MacGraw admitted to Oprah that she'd never understood her most famous line, "Love means never having to say you're sorry."
"It makes no sense!" McGraw told her of the anti-apology message. But she did have a grip on what made Ryan O'Neal, her co-star in this 1970 film, so attractive to women: "First of all," she said, "he's a great kisser."
The Way We Were
Opposites attract, at least at first, in this 1973 melodrama about mismatched lovers. The chemistry between Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand — playing Hubbell Gardiner and Katie Morosky — made every on-screen kiss count.
It's a tale as old as time: In The Graduate, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) seduces a young Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman). This scene, in which Hoffman kisses his older love interest for the first time, included some improvisation in the form of the young man mistakenly bumping his head against the wall while filming the kiss.
10 Things I Hate About You
As if you’re not already shedding tears after Kat (Julia Stiles) delivers her iconic, “But mostly, I hate the way I don't hate you, not even close… not even a little bit… not even at all” speech, there’s the paintball scene where she and Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) share a messy-but-lovely first kiss. Fun fact: Stiles said in a 2001 interview that Ledger was her first on-screen kiss.
Incredibly, John Cusack almost refused his role in this 1989 movie, though it's impossible to imagine anyone else playing hopeless romantic Lloyd Dobler. "We fell in love in a friendship way [while shooting the film]," Ione Skye said of her co-star. "I think you can see that."
When Harry Met Sally
This 1989 comedy made numerous witty contributions to the romantic lexicon — and kickstarted a (still-raging) debate as to whether men and women could "really" be friends — but it was the pair's New Year's Eve reconciliation that moved viewers to tears. As Billy Crystal (Harry) told Meg Ryan (Sally): "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
"I don't kiss on the mouth," Vivian (Julia Roberts) warns Edward (Richard Gere) at the beginning of this 1990 movie. So when she does, it's pivotal—the audience understands that she's come to regard Edward as much more than a client. But even that kiss can't beat the one at the happy ending, after Edward "rescues" Vivian on her fire escape and she promises to "rescue him right back."
Technically, in this scene from the 1990 film, Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) is making out with Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg). But because Oda Mae is channeling Molly's late boyfriend Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze), it's Sam that Molly (and the viewers) get to see.
The Age of Innocence
Just before their fateful kiss, Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) tells the married Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), "Nothing’s done that can't be undone. I'm still free." But, as this 1993 adaptation of the Edith Wharton classic illustrates, no one was really free in 1870s New York society. They were all trapped by the expectations and dictates of the world in which they lived.
Shakespeare in Love
Granted, this 1998 movie isn't exactly what you'd call historically accurate. But it's great fun to imagine a young William Shakespeare (played by Joseph Fiennes) falling in love with a merchant's daughter (Gwyneth Paltrow) as he writes his romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Ultimately, the lovers must part, but not before sharing a passionate backstage adieu.
West Side Story
In this 1961 musical update of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer played the star-crossed pair. From the second they spotted each other on a crowded dance floor, they were enamored ... and in sync.
Love and Basketball
The first kiss shared by the basketball-playing neighbors at the center of this 2000 movie is nothing to write home about: they're eleven and Quincy (Omar Epps) breaks up with Monica (Sanaa Lathan) seconds later. But that's only the beginning of a tempestuous relationship that spans a decade and a half as both pursue professional athletic careers. "Of all these girls," Quincy tells Monica in the scene above, "you're the only one that's for real."
The upside-down kiss that Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) shared with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) in this 2002 flick was breath-taking for Maguire, but not for the reasons you might think. "The whole time I had rainwater running up my nose," he said. "Then, when Kirsten rolled back the mask, she cut my air off completely."
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
It's not exactly unusual for actors to fall in love on set, but when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie coupled after playing married assassins in the 2005 movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, it generated headlines around the world. Audiences flocked to the film for a chance to see the (once) real-life pair smolder on-screen.
It was easy to see why Jamal (Dev Patel) was so hung up on his childhood friend Latika (Freida Pinto). When they finally kiss on a Mumbai train platform, it's a moment as exuberantly optimistic as the goofy dance scene that follows.
Even the most diehard members of Team Jacob can't deny the romantic power of Bella and Edward's first kiss. In fact, two leading actors ended up in a steamy relationship that lasted for years.
Audrey Hepburn plays Sabrina Fairchild, a chauffeur's unassuming daughter, in this 1954 film. Despite being in love with David Larrabee (William Holden), the son of her father's employer for years, she doesn't catch his eye until after returning from two years in Paris. But she also sparks the attention of David's brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart), who she finds herself falling for. The scene in which Sabrina and Linus kiss (above) is considered one of the best of the movie.
This 1984 rom-com boasts a plot that's pure teenage fantasy: The handsome crushed-on from afar upperclassman (played by Michael Schoeffling) likes the quirky Sam (Molly Ringwald) too! The romantic high point comes when Sam sees dreamy Jake Ryan waiting for her after her big sister's wedding, but the sweet kiss they share over her long-awaited birthday cake is a very close second.
Jeff Stewart is a newspaper photographer-turned detective after he observes what he believes to be a murder next door. He attempts to solve the murder with his girlfriend, Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly). In this scene, the gorgeous actress vies for his attention while Stewart is distracted by the scene he witness through the window.
Le Mépris, as it's known in France, is a renowned film that tells the story of the dissolution of a marriage. Brigitte Bardot is Camille Javal, whose relationship with her husband Paul (Michele Piccoli) is waning as he spends time working on a film with American producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance). As Camille and Jeremy begin to spend more time together, romance abounds.
Another deeply improbable plot — the only person who could fill in at an all-important dance performance was the teenage girl (Jennifer Grey) who could barely tap her toes? — is rescued by charm and chemistry. When Johnny (Patrick Swayze) finally took Baby into his arms in this 1987 romance, women everywhere swooned.
From Here To Eternity
This sea-soaked embrace was considered quite risqué in 1953, even though the raciest footage ended up on the cutting room floor. What remains is indelible. Deborah Kerr, playing a disaffected army wife, tells her lover (Burt Lancaster), "I never knew it could be like this. Nobody ever kissed me the way you do."
The Princess Bride
Although the grandson in this 1987 film (played by Fred Savage) felt the story featured entirely too much mushy love stuff, Buttercup (Robin Wright) and Westley (Cary Elwes) are still adorable to watch. Our favorite moment? The post-tumble nuzzle they shared when Buttercup learned that her Westley wasn't dead after all.
Romeo and Juliet
Spoiler alert: it doesn't end well for the titular lovers, played in this 1968 version by Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. But their sad destiny doesn't detract from the beauty of this scene, in which they exchange Romeo's "sin," as they say, from lip to lip.