With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, grab your partner and settle in to watch some of the top military movie romances of all time.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Danny, Rafe and Evelyn
The sweeping military romance that is “Pearl Harbor” is a deep love among its three main characters. There is the best friend love between first lieutenants Danny and Rafe, and the romantic love nurse Evelyn has for both men. We won’t spoil anything, but the end is a true tearjerker that gives us hope for both love of friends and a passionate, romantic love as well. Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale and Josh Hartnett are believable in their roles, allowing viewers to get swept up in the World War II romance.
Rick and Ilsa
What the kids call the “GOAT” of military romances, “Casablanca” may have been released over 80 years ago, but it still holds up. Filmed and set during World War II, main character Rick (played by the dashing Humphrey Bogart) is an expatriate who struggles with his love for Ilsa (played by the iconic Ingrid Bergman) and helping her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), a Czech resistance leader escape from Casablanca to continue fighting against the Germans. You’ll be playing “As Time Goes By” on repeat after this one.
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
Paula and Zack
Many are familiar with the last scene of this movie—who wouldn’t want to get swept up by a handsome man in uniform? The romance in this 1980s classic tells the tale of Zack Mayo (played by a young Richard Gere), a U.S. Navy Aviation Office Candidate starting training at Aviation Officer Candidate School. He meets Paula, a young woman in town and let’s just say the rest is history. This is another movie with a great accompanying song — “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes was made specifically for the movie. The song ended up winning a Grammy and Academy Award.
Dear John (2010)
John and Savannah
A more modern romance, this movie based on Nicholas Sparks’ book with the same name stars Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfriend. Tatum plays Staff Sergeant John Tyree, who meets college student Savannah (played by Seyfried) while on leave in Charleston, South Carolina. The two meet and fall in love. The duo make plans to continue their relationship via letters but after the 9/11 attacks, John and his team extend their deployments in Afghanistan. We won’t reveal any more, but if you know Nicholas Sparks, you know this is a tearjerker.
The Notebook (2004)
Noah and Allie
While this film does not focus solely on the military, it’s worth a mention due to Ryan Gosling’s Noah enlisting to fight in World War II. Rachel McAdams’ Allie volunteers as a nurse’s aide in a hospital for wounded soldiers, where she meets the man who she’d later be engaged to. Noah and Allie, of course, are the most epic of love stories and they do eventually find their way back to each other. The best part is their story and how they end up one of the best love stories of all time — all thanks to the romantic mind of Nicholas Sparks.
The English Patient (1996)
Hana and Almasy
With an all-star cast (Juliette Binoche, Ralph Fiennes, Willem Dafoe, Colin Firth) that reads like its own Academy Award winning program, “The English Patient” is an expansive epic love story about Hana and Almasy. Hanan is a French-Canadian combat nurse during World War II who cares for a dying, scarred beyond recognition man with an English accent who says he can’t remember his name. Their love story begins set amongst the backdrop of 1940s war-torn Europe.
Cold Mountain (2003)
Ada and Inman
Set amongst the backdrop of the last days of the Civil War, 2003’s “Cold Mountain” portrays the love story of Ada and Inman, played by Nicole Kidman and Jude Law. Law’s Inman enlists in the Confederate Army after North Carolina secedes from the Union in May 1861. He has fallen for the preacher’s daughter Ada Monroe, played by Kidman, who had been visiting from South Carolina to care for her ailing father. Their romance is interrupted by the goings-on of the war. After their first kiss, Ada promises to wait for Inman. Settle back for an emotional ride with this one. The move won multiple awards, including an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and SAG Award (coincidentally all for Renee Zellweger, who played farmer Ruby Thewes).