Top 10 Unforgettable Movie Couples of the 1970s

Script written by Spencer Sher These movie couples dominated the silver screens in the ‘70s. Today they remain some of the most iconic film couples ever. We’ve included couples such as Paula McFadden & Elliot Garfield from “The Goodbye Girl”, Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson from Grease, Alvy Singer and Annie Hall and Isaac Mortimer Davis and Mary Wilkie from Manhattan.

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Top 10 Unforgettable Movie Couples of the 1970s

The decade that gave the world bell-bottoms and disco also produced some of cinema’s greatest film couples. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Unforgettable Movie Couples of the 1970s. For this list, we will be looking exclusively at live-action film couples. So animated film couples, such as Duchess and Thomas O’Malley, need not apply. Additionally, couples that only hook up later in a franchise, such as Han Solo and Princess Leia, didn’t make the cut.

#10: Paula McFadden & Elliot Garfield
“The Goodbye Girl” (1977)

Sometimes the most unusual of circumstances brings people together. In this classic ‘70s romance, Paula and her 10-year-old daughter find themselves sharing an apartment with an actor by the name of Elliot. While the relationship gets off to a rocky start, Elliot and Paula soon find themselves falling for one another. What makes this couple great is their willingness to learn from the mistakes of their past. While both have experienced heartbreak and failure, they never give up. This in turn makes them a stronger couple, able to endure any issues that come their way.

#9: Superman/Clark Kent & Lois Lane
“Superman” (1978) )

All great superheroes need a love interest, someone to care for through the good times and the bad… and maybe to save from the occasional criminal genius who wants them dead. In the film that finally brought the Man of Steel to the big screen, Superman must defend the earth from Lex Luthor while balancing his relationship with Lois Lane, a reporter for the Daily Planet. This couple not only has to deal with the pitfalls of modern relationships, but also aliens and corrupt businessmen. Plus, trying to pick an appropriate restaurant for a first date is infinitely harder when there’s the chance of a missile headed in your direction.

#8: Kit Carruthers & Holly Sargis
“Badlands” (1973)

Not all film couples are perfect. Sometimes they murder each other’s parents, fake their own deaths, and embark on a killing spree en route to the Montana badlands. Or at least this couple did. After they burn down their home to make it look like they’re dead, Kit and Holly hit the road in search of more violent adventures. These celluloid lovers are perfect for one another: they’re young, beautiful, and have a tendency to throw caution to the wind. When push comes to shove, they’ll kill whoever stands in the way of their happiness, but in the end it’s a recipe for disaster.

#7: Oliver Barrett IV & Jennifer "Jenny" Cavalleri
“Love Story” (1970)

It would be foolish to make a list of the greatest film couples without including Oliver and Jenny from “Love Story.” This romantic drama is not only responsible for one of the most famous film quotes about love in cinematic history, but also for its excellent portrayal of what happens when two people from opposite ends of the social spectrum fall for one another. Oliver and Jenny make the list for their undying devotion to each other. Through thick and thin they stay together, shunning society and their families in the process. For this film couple, the only thing that matters is keeping the flame of love alive.

#6: Katie Morosky & Hubbell Gardiner
“The Way We Were” (1973)

As the old adage goes, opposites attract. Yet, sometimes a couple is unable to overcome their immense differences. This film follows Katie, a political activist with strong moral convictions, and Hubbell, a passive screenwriter always looking to take the easy way out. While an obvious passion exists between them, the underlying question plaguing their lives is whether or not they can look past each other’s glaring faults. Noted for its realistic portrayal of a trouble relationship, the film came in at #6 on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Passions, a ranking of the 100 greatest love stories in the history of American film.

#5: Harold & Maude
“Harold and Maude” (1971)

This is easily the most unconventional couple to make the list. 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 there is a considerable age difference between the two characters, they never let it get in the way of their unique love story. Ultimately, Maude provides Harold with a newfound outlook on life, so when she eventually passes, he is able to continue on.

#4: Rocky Balboa & Adrian
“Rocky” (1976)

The climax to this underdog story has Sylvester Stallone’s titular character screaming for his one true love after going toe-to-toe with the greatest boxer in the world. While much of the film is devoted to Rocky’s dream of becoming a professional boxer, the storyline that imbues the most heart into the narrative is the Italian Stallion’s devotion to his girlfriend, Adrian. This film couple comes from humble beginnings, and even when they make it to the top of the world, the only thing that matters is their love for one another. In the end, boxing takes a backseat to one of the greatest love stories of the decade.

#3: Isaac Mortimer Davis & Mary Wilkie
“Manhattan” (1979)

You’d be hard-pressed to make a list of iconic film couples without mentioning Woody Allen at least once. “Manhattan” is the renowned directors dramatic ode to the Big Apple, as well as a hilarious rom-com. Isaac is a 40-something, divorced comedy writer currently dating a teenager. His best friend is having an affair with a woman named Mary. It doesn’t take long before Isaac and her find some common ground, ultimately leading to a little romantic entanglement. From nighttime walks through the city to visiting a planetarium, this couple worked because of their ability to discuss anything and everything. However, in true Woody Allen fashion, his character finds a way to ruin it.

#2: Alvy Singer & Annie Hall
“Annie Hall” (1977)

The master of neurotic New York City romance is at it again in this ‘70s film classic. Woody Allen does it all: writing, directing, and starring in one of the few romantic comedies to win the Oscar for Best Picture. The film is about an angst-riddled comedian who falls head over heels for the titular Annie Hall, played by the always-charming Diane Keaton. The two actors appear born for their respective roles, providing a more than convincing portrayal of two people struggling to understand their own complicated relationship. Whether they were drinking wine on a balcony or boiling lobsters together, Alvy and Annie made for a truly unforgettable couple.

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

#1: Danny Zuko & Sandy Olsson
“Grease” (1978)

If you want to talk about iconic ‘70s film couples, one stands above the rest. Immortalized by the downright sexy performances turned in by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, this musical is one of the greats. Danny is a bad-boy greaser who falls in love with the sweet Sandy while on summer vacation. However, when the season ends and they part ways, it doesn’t take long before they’re unknowingly reunited at a high school pep rally. Unforgettable is hardly a strong enough word to describe this couple, as their roles as star-crossed lovers from different social circles has transcended the genre and become one of the most recognizable in film history.


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