Top 10 Romance Movies of the 1970s

Script written by Spencer Sher Top 10 Romance Movies of the 1970s Subscribe: Some of the best romantic movies were made in the 70s! In this countdown, we’re taking a look a the Top 10 Romance Movies of the 1970s that we highly recommend. We’ve included movies like The Heartbreak Kid, Days of Heaven, Last Tango in Paris, Manhattan, The Goodbye Girl, The Way We Were, Love Story, Harold and Maude, Annie Hall, Grease, Same Time, Next Year, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Grease! Special thanks to our user Emily Hepworth for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at MsMojo's Social Media: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Snapchat:

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Top 10 Romance Movies of the 1970s

Just in case you were wondering, people have been harping about their romantic woes for decades! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Romance Movies of the 1970s.

For this list, we’ll be looking at films that fit squarely in the romance genre – so romantic dramas and comedies are okay. Romance must be the driving plot of the film, so movies that are first and foremost thrillers, biopics, comedies or action flicks with romantic side plots will not be considered.

#10: “The Heartbreak Kid” (1972)

Choosing the right person to marry can be hard. What if five days into the marriage you find someone better? Well, that was the plot of this dark romantic comedy. Soon after arriving in Miami for his honeymoon, hapless sporting goods salesmen Lenny develops an attraction to Kelly, a seductive college student on vacation with her family. Hardly a blueprint for maintaining a healthy marriage, the film was not afraid to take shots at the institution of marriage and love as a whole. Driven by the promise of something better, Lenny is just another hopeless romantic unable to make a decision. Beloved by critics, the film was noteworthy enough to garner a remake in 2007.

#9: “Days of Heaven” (1978)

Love and tragedy seem to go hand in hand. After a violent encounter with his boss, Bill absconds to Texas with his girlfriend Abby and younger sister Linda. Looking to start a new life, Bill and Abby concoct a scheme whereby Abby seduces a dying farmer in the hope he will leave everything to her when he passes. Unfortunately, these things never go down as scripted. The film revolves around the love triangle that emerges between Bill, Abby and the rich farmer. While at times the movie sacrifices storytelling for cinematography, what remains consistent is the characters’ desire to remain together. It is their love that keeps the film rolling and audiences intrigued.

#8: “The Goodbye Girl” (1977)

Who doesn’t love a little Richard Dreyfuss? Set in Manhattan, this film follows Paula, a dancer eager to resume her career, Lucy, her daughter and Elliot, an aspiring actor who has recently entered their lives. Having been burned by men in the past, Paula is skeptical of Elliot, sweet as he may be. The film is notable for its strong performances as well as its realistic portrayal of two people struggling to come to terms with their feelings for one another. The film acts as a lesson in not letting past relationships deter you from finding happiness. Nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, the film was mostly a critical and commercial success.

#7: “Last Tango in Paris” (1972)

Bold, provocative and unmistakably sexy - this film raised eyebrows across the globe. Set in Paris, the recently widowed Paul begins an anonymous sexual relationship with a young, engaged woman named Jeanne. When one of them doesn’t want the relationship to end, tensions come to a breaking point. When the film was initially released it was met with considerable controversy for its graphic portrayal of sex and sexual violence. Many countries either censored or banned the film completely. While many of the love scenes are not for the faint at heart, one cannot argue that there was some seriously steamy chemistry between stars Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider.

#6: “Manhattan” (1979)

Who else to finish off a decade of memorable romantic films than Woody Allen? Having already lent his hand to such classics as “Annie Hall” and “Play It Again, Sam”, the world famous auteur returned to New York to film another masterpiece. The film follows Isaac, a recently divorced television writer struggling to balance his various romantic endeavors. Yet, when he falls for his best friend’s mistress, problems arise. Allen’s trademark wit and unique storytelling ability shine through from start to finish. While the film is at times humorous, its main draw is the attraction that exists between Allen and his co-star Diane Keaton. Love can be many things, but in the pantheon of Allen’s work, it is never perfect.

#5: “Love Story” (1970)

For as long as there have been movies, the cinematic trope of two people from different social backgrounds falling in love has existed. Such is the basic plot of this ‘70s romance. When the affluent Oliver falls for working-class Jenny, his parents are incensed. Cut off financially, Oliver nevertheless begins a life with his newfound lover. Sometimes viewed as the catalyst for the modern day “chick flick”, “Love Story” is overflowing with a mixture of tender and tragic moments; taking the viewer on a roller coaster of emotion. While the film hasn’t aged that well, its central message of fighting for the one you love remains a staple in modern cinema.

#4: “The Way We Were” (1973)

How far can two polar opposites make it in a relationship? This is the question that resides at the core of “The Way We Were.” The film follows Katie, a political activist with strong moral convictions, and Hubbell, a passive screenwriter always looking to take the easy way out. As the story unfolds, the two characters struggle to maintain a balanced relationship. Grounded in realism, the film takes an unflinching look into the lives of two people on opposite ends of the political and ethical spectrum. Filled with tense moments and swoon-worthy performances, this romantic feature came in at #6 on AFI’s list of 100 Years…100 Passions.

#3: “Harold and Maude” (1971)

Imagine the pitch meeting for this classic ‘70s flick? Young Harold is obsessed with death, often attending funerals to fulfill his strange preoccupation. When he runs into Maude at one of these viewings, the two quickly realize they have more in common than they could have ever imagined. While the movie comes with plenty of oddball moments, it is first and foremost a love story. Although it wasn’t well-received the first time around, the film has developed a cult following due to the unique narrative of a young man falling in love with a much older woman. What remains striking about “Harold and Maude” isn’t the disparity of age between the two, but more the love they exude from start to finish.

#2: “Annie Hall” (1977)

Yes, they make the list again. During the ‘70s Diane Keaton and Woody Allen were practically inseparable. However, when people reminisce about their body of work, one film stands above the rest. In this seminal romantic comedy, Allen plays comedian Alvy Singer with Keaton in the titular role of Annie Hall. The movie traces the ups and downs of their relationship; offering glimpses into the minds of two people unsure of what they truly want. The film delves into and revolves around the themes of love and sexuality, dipping and diving through them seamlessly. “Annie Hall” is a testament to the fact that being in a relationship is hard work and sometimes letting go is the only answer.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Same Time, Next Year” (1978)

“On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” (1970)

#1: “Grease” (1978)

A bumping soundtrack, two charismatic young leads and an indelible romance – such was “Grease’s” recipe for success. Surprised to learn that they are attending the same school for senior year, greaser Danny and good girl Sandy must cast aside their established identities in order to ignite the flame of passion that burned so deeply during their summer holiday. This musical was an instant hit with fans and critics alike. The chemistry between the two leads, as well as their respective friend groups, connected with audiences in a profound way. At the core of the film is a message that yells, “Love cannot be denied”! Hilarious, sexy and downright fun, this ‘70s romance will never be forgotten.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite romance movie of the 1970s? For more entertaining Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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