Movie Love Triangles, Ranked by Romance


Love can be a complicated emotion. We all deserve to be loved, and in the ways we need it. The trouble with love is how it’s communicated. Love has many forms that change people’s habits, maturity, and responsiveness to each other. Movies use romance to create concern and connection between characters for the plot and the audience. If the lovers care for one another, the viewer will care for them in return. Then there is the case of the love triangle, where two potential suitors or smitten individuals try to court the same person of interest. Love triangles may be pointed, but they point in the wrong directions.



10 Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

vicky cristina barcelona
The Weinstein Company

Vicky Cristina Barcelona follows the self-titled women in Barcelona, Spain, who are pursued by artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem). Vicky (Rebecca Hall) is traditional, while Christina (Scarlett Johansson) is cautiously spontaneous. The two are invited by Juan to fly in his private plane, drink wine, eat the finest food, and finally to his home to make love. Both deny his advances at first before being seduced and learning that he is using them to rekindle his relationship with his ex-wife.

9 My Best Friend’s Wedding (2005)

My Best Friend's Wedding
Sony Pictures Releasing

My Best Friend’s Wedding follows mutual friends Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) and Michael O’Neal (Dermot Mulroney) who made a pact to marry each other before they reached age 28 if they were still unmarried. Michael is getting married in a few days, but Julianne sees him as the love of her life. She almost sabotages Michael’s wedding by making him jealous, getting him fired, and confessing her love for him.

8 The Graduate (1967)

The Graduate 1967
Embassy Pictures

The Graduate begins with college graduate Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) with no career path in sight. He is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) after he drives her home from his graduation party. The affair goes on until his parents encourage him to date the Robinson family’s daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). Mr. Robinson learns of the affair, plans to divorce, and threatens Ben to stay away from his daughter or risk being arrested. Ben stops Elaine from getting married to another classmate, and they both ride off into an uncertain sunset.

7 Spider-Man (2002)

spider-man 2002
Sony Pictures Releasing

Spider-Man is Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), a teenage superhero who was bitten by a genetically modified spider and fights crime in New York City. Peter must keep his identity a secret and remain the outcast he is in high school, despite being smitten with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). She is dating the son of the founder of Oscorp, Harry Osborn (James Franco). Norman Osborn becomes corrupted and the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), attacking his competitors and Spider-Man’s closest allies. Harry is devastated when he sees Mary holding hands with Peter and when Spider-Man brings Harry’s deceased father to him. Peter however denies his feelings for Mary to protect his identity and responsibility as the web-slinger.

Related: How True Romance Shows The Dangerous Side of Love

6 Reality Bites (1994)

Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites
Universal Pictures

Reality Bites follows the disillusioned lives of four college roommates in the 1990s. Lelaina Pierce (Winona Ryder) and Troy Dyer (Ethan Hawke) had a drunken attraction for each other, but have not consummated a relationship. Lelaina is an aspiring documentarian who gains the attention of a TV executive she starts dating. Their relationship ends when artistic differences lead to her documentary being heavily edited. Troy and Lelaina eventually confess their feelings for each other, and begin their new lives together.

Related: Iconic Movie Lines About Love

5 Gone With the Wind (1939)

Gone with the Wind-1

Gone With the Wind takes place during the American Civil War. Daughter of a plantation owner, Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) is in love with the married Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), but instead catches the interest of Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). After the war, Ashley confesses his love for Scarlett, but he admits he cannot leave his wife. Rhett proposes to Scarlett next, to which she accepts. Rhett finds out Scarlett was still pursuing Ashley, but knows he was the man she truly loved. The back-and-forth love triangle made Rhett unofficially divorce Scarlett.

4 Sabrina (1954)

Sabrina - Hepburn & Holden

Paramount Pictures

Sabrina follows the self-titled daughter of a chauffeur working for the rich Larrabee family. Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn) grows smitten with the playboy David (William Holden) who never paid attention to her and instead lures another fling in his life. His business-minded brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart) witnessing this manipulates the situation so that David marries the daughter of a company that would create a lucrative merger for Larrabee Industries. Linus and Sabrina develop feelings for each other, but neither admits it until Linus’ plan to send Sabrina alone to Paris becomes a cruise for two.

3 Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Beauty and the Beast
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Beauty and the Beast is about a prince who is cursed by an enchantress to be a beast for his arrogance. The Beast captures local villager Belle in his castle and must learn to love her and be loved by her to break the curse. If he doesn’t, he will remain a monster forever. Hunter Gaston pursues Belle too, but only for her beauty, and goes on a manhunt to kill the Beast.

2 The Notebook (2004)

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook.
New Line Cinema

The Notebook follows 1940s couple Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and Allison Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) from South Carolina. She comes from a rich family, while he works at a lumber mill. The two are separated by their class and World War II, but find each other again after Noah is seen in a newspaper, fulfilling his promise to Allison that he would renovate a house for them. Allison calls off her marriage to an upper-class inheritor to be with Noah in their old age.

1 Titanic (1997)

Paramount Pictures

Titanic focuses on the sinking of the RMS Titanic through the relationship of Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio). Both passengers belong to different social classes. Rose is to be married to Caledon Hockley (Billy Zane) to maintain her family’s upper-class status, but her engagement is loveless. She meets Jack aboard the ship when she tries to jump overboard. Their friendship turns into a romantic partnership, much to the dismay of Caledon, who later frames Jack for theft and chases the two with a pistol in hand before the Titanic sinks.

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