The course of true love never did run smooth, particularly in the movies where star-crossed lovers seem doomed to vexation. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Empire Cinemas brings you the crème de la crème of true love on the silver screen.
Anthony (Richard Burton) and Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) – Cleopatra / Romeo (Leo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes) – Romeo + Juliet
Trust Shakespeare to set the bar high. Real life lovers Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton set the screen alight with their sumptuous version of Cleopatra, while their trysts around Italy set the paparazzi on fire. Meanwhile, in the ‘nineties, Baz Luhrmann’s post-modern lovers set teenage hearts a flame with a young Leo Dicaprio wooing Claire Danes. Lots of fire all round.
Bella (Kristen Stewart) & Edward (Robert Pattinson) – Twilight
There’s clearly no sun in Washington State, since everyone’s uber-pale in the modern take on the vampire legend. Robert Pattinson nearly lost the vampire role to Ben Barnes of Prince Caspian fame, but the already cast Kristen Stewart insisted on him after their first audition together.
Rose (Kate Winslet) & Jack (Leo DiCaprio) – Titanic
“I’ll never let go, Jack” says Kate Winslet as Rose. And then she lets go. The megabucks rolled in for Cameron’s indulgent historical epic as it prostrated itself on Oscar’s lap, but it was that steamy scene in the car between DiCaprio (him again) and Winslet that set the pulse racing. You all went to see it though, didn’t you.
Elisabeth (Keira Knightley) & Will (Orlando Bloom) – Pirates of the Caribbean
Keira with her mega pout and habit of trailing her arms behind her and Orlando with his habit of playing elves and staring moodily at the sea. They were bound to walk into each other eventually, and they did in the pirate film that revitalised the genre where it had sunk previously. Remember Cutthroat Island in 1995? Who knew Geena Davis was ahead of the curve….
Vivian (Julia Roberts) and Edward (Richard Gere) – Pretty Woman
You can’t blame Touchstone (owned by Disney) for being reluctant about a romance about an escort. Originally called $3,000, this Pygmalion-esque flick resurrected the rom-com’s of the ‘eighties and started Julia Robert’s ascendance.
Allie (Rachel McAdams) & Noah (Ryan Gosling) – The Notebook
The film that set teenage hearts a-fluttering and a-paying attention to Ryan Gosling (Noah). Don’t forget Maverick / Rockford Files heartthrob James Garner as ‘old’ Noah – something for your mum right there.
Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) & Rhett (Clark Gable) – Gone with the Wind
“[Scarlett] Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?…. [Rhett] Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” The most preposterously overblown flick of the studio system of the ‘thirties, Gone With the Wind was a cultural phenomenon, and still one of the biggest films ever in terms of inflation and seats sold. Epic in scale and length, it caused a nationwide search for Scarlett with 1,400 actresses auditioning, but the burning of Atlanta was filmed before Scarlett was cast (doubles were used). Such a huge fire burnt every set the studio had to hand, including the island wall set from King Kong. It also produced the first African-American Oscar nomination and win for Hattie McDaniel.
Satine (Nicole Kidman) and Christian (Ewan MacGregor) – Moulin Rouge
Retrospectively this Parisian musical seems a bit mad – all stops and starts and a few flat notes – but you can’t deny its passion and inventiveness shines through. Like all good historic heroines Satine (Kidman) starts coughing up blood 30 seconds in, so we fear Christian (MacGregor) may be up for some disappointment in the next 90 minutes….
Sally (Meg Ryan) & Harry (Billy Crystal)– When Harry Met Sally
Can a man and a woman be friends? Rob Reiner (director) and Nora Ephron’s (writer) definitive romcom follows a friendship over 12 years as Harry and Sally bump into each other over the years. Yet it’s the scene in Katz’s Deli in New York that is best remembered – we’ll have what she’s having.
Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) & Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) – Sleepless In Seattle
Meg Ryan’s back again, and again with co-writer/director Nora Ephron. There’s lots of staring wistfully at the Empire State Building thinking of Tom Hanks. We’ve never done that. It’s schmaltzy, but you did clock that The Notebook is on this list, right?
Baby (Jennifer Grey) & Johnny (Patrick Swayze) – Dirty Dancing
It’s the ‘fifties; your parents won’t let you do anything, you’re not a girl, not yet a woman, and you’re thinking of having a nose job so no one recognises you when you play Rachel’s sister in Friends years later (nice one Jennifer Grey). So why not chat to the local Butlin’s dancer and his arms of steel?
Paula (Debra Winger) & Zack (Richard Gere) – An Officer and a Gentleman
Is a man in uniform ever a bad thing? The final scene of this navy drama sees Zack (Gere) pick up Paula (Winger) and walk out of her factory to the applause of her co-workers. Forever spoofed but never bettered.
For further ticketing information visit www.EmpireCinemas.co.uk or call 08714 714 714.