When it comes to the season of romance, winter has a lot of competition. There is spring, with its bursting greenery and blossoms; summer with its lakeside skinny-dipping and city park picnics; and autumn with its scarlet and crimson canopies.
Even with this intense competition, winter holds a special place in the soul of the romantic—the starkness of a white winter backdrop almost seeming to highlight the warmth of human emotion. Not without reason, then, the season has produced some of the most classic and heartwarming cinematic offerings. Of these, the following twenty are what we consider the absolute best.
20 best romantic offerings for winter
#1 Groundhog Day. “Groundhog Day” has a strong opening score for what is, essentially, a comedy—mainly due to Bill Murray’s masterly performance as a cynical weather reporter who keeps reliving the same day over and over again. During his repeated days, he is shown falling in love, over time, with the female TV producer who has accompanied him.
Our winter romance rating: 7/10
#2 The Holiday. Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet’s characters do a holiday home swap to escape the winter blues and the men who have ruined their lives… both accidentally falling in love with the friend/brother of the other. [Read: Things I learned about love from watching The Holiday]
Our winter romance rating: 8/10
#3 Friends with Kids. An independent film with a killer cast, this romantic comedy offers a more contemporary view of winter romance, as well as a beautiful, well-rounded, and real-world grittiness.
Our winter romance rating: 6/10
#4 Bridget Jones’ Diary. This most famous of female farces plots the efforts of one singleton to make a decision over the right man for her: either the charming womanizer, played by Hugh Grant, or Colin Firth’s surly gent.
#5 White Christmas. There’s little more to be said about this 1954 Bing Crosby movie than this: if you haven’t seen it yet, then you need to do so-immediately. This film is the king of the Christmas romance classics.
#6 Love Actually. This film scores so highly, as it offers not just one romantic plot, or even two, but a dozen beautifully crafted tales—from the hilarious story of the English guy who travels to the US to let his accent do the hard work, to the genuinely striking romance between Colin Firth’s character and the Portuguese maid who wins his heart. Look out for a couple of cameo appearances by Rowan Atkinson, of Mr. Bean fame, as a modern-day Christmas spirit.
Our winter romance rating: 9/10
#7 Winter’s Tale. A supernatural fantasy romance, this film might have been a box office flop, but won us over. “Winter’s Tale” explores the relationship between the spirit world and the real world against the backdrop of a beautiful New York winter.
#8 Edward Scissorhands. Remember the scene with the ice sculptures? Now is the time to renew your relationship with Depp’s outlandish character and the young, estranged girl who falls in love with him.
[Read: 20 unromantic movies with surprisingly romantic twists]
#9 Love Story. “Love Story” is a beautiful tale, which explores the classic theme of a man giving up his wealth and inheritance to be with the woman he loves. The conclusion is epically tragic but, set against a running winter’s theme, a timeless romantic classic.
#10 Dr. Zhivago. A little heavy for some, this story of a man and woman’s love for each other, set to a backdrop of a snow-laden winter in revolutionary Russia, is regarded as not only one of the best romantic movies, but one of the best movies ever made.
#11 The Empire Strikes Back. This is the second of the original Star Wars franchise, set on the snowy planet Hoth. Action packed sci-fi though it may be, Leia’s blossoming romance with cocky Han is actually quite touching… especially at the end, when he is captured.
#12 Serendipity. Two people shopping at Bloomingdale’s for their respective partners start a chain of events revealing that destiny has plans for them to be together. The clue is in the title. [Read: Accidental love – 12 love lessons from Serendipity]
#13 The Office. Not strictly speaking a movie, but a two-part Christmas special from the UK’s “The Office” series. Easily as good as the U.S. counterpart, if not better, the relationship between Dawn and Tim that has proved so desperately fruitless throughout the series, finally blossoms in a scene that is one of the most touching and heart-warming that this writer has ever seen. This is comedy at its beautiful best.
#14 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A stunning piece of art, as well as an amazing winter tale of romance, this movie plays with the traditional concept of love overcoming all in an untraditional manner, and is possibly Jim Carrey’s strongest performance to date.
#15 Just Married. A newly-married couple take a winter holiday in Europe, which ends the honeymoon period with sudden and violent rapidity. Of course, love conquers all and the happy ending is never far away. [Read: 8 famous romantic moves that teach really bad lessons about love]
#16 The Gold Rush. Once again, comedy shows itself to be a great facilitator of romance, and in the hands of the master, Charlie Chaplain, we are presented with the first true winter romance.
#17 Beauty and the Beast. Disney does romance undeniably well, and with a little sprinkling of winter in its tale, this entry definitely deserves both its place and its rating. [Read: 30 famous movie lines you can use to woo any guy or girl]
#18 It’s a Wonderful Life. Officially the most popular Christmas film of all time, this entry is ostensibly a retelling of the classic Scrooge theme. The numerous flashbacks to the protagonist’s days of courting the woman destined to become his wife win this movie a place on the seasonal romantic hit list. It boasts a wonderfully charming performance by Jimmy Stewart.
#19 Elf. Will Ferrell as an Elf in New York might not seem a typically romantic theme, but the relationship he strikes up with the dry and cynical female lead, slowly converting her to his joyful ways, really is quite sweet.
#20 Titanic. Not typically considered a Christmas or winter movie, its inclusion is solely by merit of it entering icy arctic waters. That, and the fact that it has entered the annals of movie history as the most successful romance of all time.
[Read: 14 warm movies you should watch for a good cry session]
Don’t let the cold of winter get you down. Use it as an excuse to watch some of the most romantic seasonal movies ever made to warm your heart, as well as your fingers and toes.
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