Films to fall in love with. Films to break your heart.
When did you last kiss in a cinema? When did you last cry? Could you still believe in romance? Or is it just a fairy tale, a movie you once saw? Cinema's most seductive illusion is to immerse us in the intensity and passion of other people's lives and loves. Our season celebrates the broad sweep of love in film from the swooning silent era to the present day.
Drama2016111 minsDirector: Amma Asante
Amma Assante (Belle) directs this impassioned drama starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike depicting an interracial romance that changed the world.
Documentary201474 minsDirector: Kim Longinotto
A hundred years of love and courtship on the silver screen, with music created by celebrated Sheffield singer-songwriter-producer Richard Hawley.
Drama201469 minsDirector: Marçal Forés
A thrilling and disturbing exploration of the perils of illicit sexual encounters, beginning when a teacher initiates a tryst with one of his pupils.
Documentary2015115 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz
Leading filmmaker Menelik Shabazz (Burning an Illusion) explores intimacy and relationships within Britain’s black community.
Comedy193289 minsDirector: Rouben Mamoulian
Rouben Mamoulian’s highly inventive romantic comedy set new standards for the use of music in film. And it’s still an utterly charming romantic delight.
Biopic199887 minsDirector: John Maybury
Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig star as artist Francis Bacon and his muse George Dyer in John Maybury’s darkly exquisite biopic.
Period drama1967165 minsDirector: John Schlesinger
Terence Stamp and Julie Christie star in the classic adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s tale of tragedy and passion.
Drama201199 minsDirector: Terence Davies
Buried passions boil over in a buttoned-up postwar Britain in Terence Davies acclaimed adaptation of Rattigan's play, starring Rachel Weisz.
Romance2015112 minsDirector: John Crowley
Saoirse Ronan shines as a woman who journeys from post-war small-town Ireland to New York, in Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s best-selling novel.
Biopic2012111 minsDirector: Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in this adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s book about the long-standing affair between Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan.
Historical drama2015106 minsDirector: Mika Kaurismäki
Lush retelling of the story of lesbian monarch Queen Christina of Sweden, combining period drama with a deeply personal love story.
Drama201690 minsDirector: Philipp Karner
Writer-director Philipp Garner also stars in this refreshing gay drama, a portrait of a couple trying to make it work in the film world of Los Angeles.
Melodrama195589 minsDirector: Douglas Sirk
Hollywood’s master of melodrama, Douglas Sirk, is at his most devastating crafting this deceptively simple story of class-crossing romance into a florid explosion of style.
Drama193585 minsDirector: Henry Hathaway
One of the most unjustly overlooked fables from Hollywood’s golden age, a stunning romantic fantasy about two divided lovers united in a dream world.
Biopic2013114 minsDirector: Bruno Barreto
Beautifully told true story of the love affair between American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lola de Macedo Soares.
Musical2004107 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha’s Bollywood retelling of Austen’s classic romance is an all-round joy, adding colour and song to Austen’s evergreen wit.
Drama2011106 minsDirector: Mia Hansen-Løve
The pangs and pains of young love are artfully and respectfully rendered in this subtle and sensitive drama from Mia Hansen-Løve (Eden).
Science Fiction201094 minsDirector: Gareth Edwards
Gareth Edwards reimagined the monster movie with his highly impressive DIY sci-fi, in which an indie romance blossoms amid the trailing tentacles of an alien invasion.
Biopic2015128 minsDirector: Neil Armfield
A sweepingly romantic adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s best-selling memoir, an impassioned love letter to his partner, John Caleo.
Drama201485 minsDirector: Ester Martin Bergsmark
A striking 21st-century love story about the passionate relationship between a transgendered teen and a straight man.
Romance2014119 minsDirector: Naomi Kawase
Naomi Kawase’s visually ravishing, beautifully composed film tells the story of two youths growing up and falling in love on a Japanese island.
Drama193263 minsDirector: Anthony Asquith
Passion, tights and tutus are front and centre in this touching tale of a ballerina being romanced by a sculptor in Edwardian London.
Comedy198092 minsDirector: Bill Forsyth
The ultimate depiction of coming-of-age awkwardness, Bill Forsyth’s comedy about a teen who falls for the new female footballer on the school team.
Comedy200096 minsDirector: Jamie Thraves
Aidan Gillen plays an aimless twenty-something who refuses to grow up, even after he starts dating a responsible estate agent, in Jamie Thraves’ slacker romance.
Drama2004103 minsDirector: Michel Gondry
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet play the couple who fall in love so quickly it seems they must have known each other in a past life ... only to discover they did.
Comedy201693 minsDirector: Whit Stillman
Whit Stillman crosses the Atlantic for this irresistible Jane Austen adaptation, following the delicious and devious exploits of Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale).
Comedy2011111 minsDirector: Lasse Hallström
Two London office workers find love on a Yemeni Sheikh's ambitious fishing scheme. Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt star.
Comedy201585 minsDirector: Jamie Adams
Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells play criminal sisters who steal the identity of two poets, only to be charmed by the world of competition poetry.
Thriller1963113 minsDirector: Stanley Donen
Charm is the byword in the screwball thriller that pits Cary Grant on the trail of Audrey Hepburn and her late husband’s missing millions.
Comedy193994 minsDirector: Mitchell Leisen
Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray are the shoplifter and attorney who fall for other in this charming, Christmas comedy scripted by Preston Sturges.
Comedy1998124 minsDirector: John Madden
A creatively stymied bard finds love and inspiration in the form of one of his players, a cross-dressing actress, in the impeccably crafted, Oscar-winning period romance.
Comedy198594 minsDirector: Chris Bernard
A defining Merseyside film, in which two Liverpool lasses hook up with a pair of Russian sailors only to wonder if they might be better off behind the Iron Curtain.
Comedy2008111 minsDirector: Nicholas Stoller
Dumped and devastated Peter (Jason Segel) holidays to Hawaii only to discover his ex is shacked up there with a debauched rock star (Russell Brand).
Comedy200994 minsDirector: John Requa
Jim Carrey’s irrepressible performance drives the incredible true story of a con man who repeatedly escapes from prison to be with his lover.
Comedy1999120 minsDirector: Malcolm D. Lee
Malcolm D. Lee set the standard for middle-class black comedy with this smart, chic feature about a best man whose indiscreet novel scuppers the wedding plans.
Drama2013105 minsDirector: Ritesh Batra
Mismatched lunchboxes lead to an unlikely romance in this exquisite Indian drama, brimful of tantalising food and elegantly delivered wisdom.
Comedy201586 minsDirector: Desiree Akhavan
Desiree Akhavan directs and stars in this witty, razor-sharp and fearless comedy following the sexual misadventures of a bisexual Brooklynite.
Drama201492 minsDirector: Daniel Ribeiro
A blind student’s relationship with his best friend is tested when he falls for the new boy in school, in Daniel Ribeiro’s beautifully realised romance.
Comedy200197 minsDirector: Sharon Maguire
Reindeer jumpers and big knickers: the smash adaptation of Helen Fielding’s hit novel still has all the best gags in the rom-com circuit.
Drama2005127 minsDirector: Joe Wright
Keira Knightley stars in Jane Austen’s timeless romance, reinvigorated for the modern age by the masters of British rom-com, Working Title.
Comedy1999124 minsDirector: Roger Michell
Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant followed Four Weddings with this featherlight, frequently funny romance between an ordinary bloke and a visiting Hollywood starlet.
Drama201495 minsDirector: Ira Sachs
Ira Sachs’s refined Manhattan-set drama sees Alfred Molina’s Ben and John Lithgow’s George in the latter days of a tender, loving 39-year relationship.
Drama200879 minsDirector: Shamim Sarif
The story of an affair between a Palestinian woman and her British Indian friend, from the same team behind The World Unseen.
Horror1981124 minsDirector: Andrzej Zulawski
Andrzej Zulawski’s out-of-control horror masterpiece is one of cinema’s most bare-souled and open-veined accounts of a broken relationship.
Drama1986185 minsDirector: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Jean-Jacques Beineix’s story of a volatile, highly sexual relationship was one of the most successful French films of the 1980s.
Romance2013123 minsDirector: Jim Jarmusch
Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton star as ageless, blood-drinking lovers in Jim Jarmusch’s clever, funny and sexy vampire tale.
Drama2016132 minsDirector: Derek Cianfrance
Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander star in Derek Cianfrance’s sweeping romance about a lighthouse keeper, his wife, and the baby they rescue from a drifting boat.
Drama1989116 minsDirector: Jack Clayton
Maggie Smith is astonishing in one of her greatest roles as a spinster who falls for Bob Hoskins’ brash businessman.
Thriller2015124 minsDirector: Luca Guadagnino
Ralph Fiennes delivers a sensational performance as one of four passionate souls sharing a villa in the Sicilian sunshine, with jealousy, intrigue and violence simmering beneath the surface.
201490 minsDirector: Ingo Haeb
An obsessive-compulsive hotel cleaner who harbours a fetishistic fascination with her hotel's guests meets an enigmatic dominatrix who changes her world.
2010115 minsDirector: Pascal Ascandes Arnold
A sexually ambiguous Frenchman tours his native countryside with his naive American lover in pursuit of the ultimate thrill.
196826 minsDirector: Alan Clarke
Alun Owen and director Alan Clarke's extraordinary power-play charts the explosive sexual dynamic between the titular heroine and her obsessive lover.
Documentary201698 minsDirector: Ross Adam
Discover one of cinema’s strangest stories: a film director and his star are kidnapped by Kim Jong-il to make movies in the world’s weirdest state.
Comedy200995 minsDirector: Gary Reich
Celebrated cabaret artist David Hoyle’s debut film is a typically acerbic drama about the disturbing relationship between an uncle and his nephew.
Documentary201576 minsDirector: Sean McAllister
The inspiring journey towards freedom of Raghda and Amer, a couple brought together by the turmoil of the Syrian Civil War.
Drama2014104 minsDirector: Peter Strickland
Peter Strickland’s visually and aurally intoxicating tale of sadomasochistic power-play is a daringly erotic sensory feast.
Drama2013100 minsDirector: Alain Guiraudie
A young man witnesses a violent crime at a gay cruising ground and becomes obsessed with the killer in Alain Guiraudie’s acclaimed mystery-thriller.
Crime1944108 minsDirector: Billy Wilder
Barbara Stanwyck is the housewife who dupes an insurance salesman into a devious murder plot, in this giant of American cinema - the archetypal Film Noir.
Thriller1958128 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock’s timeless thriller about a former detective with a fear of heights who is hired to follow a woman who seems possessed by the past.
Drama199599 minsDirector: Philip Goodhew
Julie Walters and Rupert Graves are at the centre of a sordid love triangle in this pulpy melodrama about seedy shenanigans in 1950s suburbia.
Drama2011114 minsDirector: Michael Winterbottom
Tragedy befalls a young Indian woman when she falls in love with a rich British man in Michael Winterbottom's sharp Thomas Hardy update.
Romance193161 minsDirector: Norman Walker
This florid Iberian romance centres on the daring exploits of Ramon as he takes on a group of bandits to win the admiration of true love Pepita, and escape his stultifying arranged marriage.
Love can be heaven, love can be hell and in the romantic epic it's invariably both. Tempestuous relationships create the perfect conditions for high drama. But some of the most memorable love stories are intimate stories that define an intense emotional terrain.
The course of true love never did run smoothly, and the dating game makes fools of us all, but good humour wins the day in the romantic comedy.
Amour fou is one of film's most darkly alluring themes, and lust, seduction and betrayal can be a deadly game. Intemperate passions bring out our most animal instincts, and poor decision-making can lead to the bloody consequences - as any gun-toting lovers on the run will testify.