Every genre of movie has speeches. In war movies, those speeches reflect on the nature of war and sometimes inspire the troops. In action movies, they're discussions of justice or revenge. In courtroom procedurals, those speeches are about the law and all of the things that get in its way. In movies about love, the big speech is a confession or a meditation on what love means.
Through the history of romantic movies, there have been plenty of speeches of this kind. There's some on TV too. Some of the movie monologues are truly beautiful, and others miss the mark. When they work, though, they can make the audience believe in love, even if they shouldn't. After all, there's nothing better than a well-written speech about humanities need for love. Here are 20 movie speeches about love that make us swoon.
Love Actually is over the top and silly, but there's also something sweet and sincere about its total devotion to the beauty of love. In fact, the film's opening monologue is a good summation of the sweet, sentimental tone the movie strikes.
"General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that," he says. "It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends."
The end of When Harry Met Sally features one of the most iconic professions of love in the history of cinema. It's a lengthy speech, but the core of it is that even the things Harry hates about Sally are reasons why he loves her. It takes her an hour and a half to order a sandwich, but he loves that about her. She gets cold when it's 71 degrees outside, but he loves that too.
"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible," Harry tells her. How romantic.
20th Century Fox
The Fault in Our Stars is a story of doomed love, but one that is sweet nonetheless. Hazel meets Augustus, and the two of them, who both have cancer, have a beautiful, sweet love affair. When Augustus professes his love, he does it with style.
"I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you," he says. It's a dark, speech that finds hope in love.
Casablanca is a love story, but it's also a story about the sacrifices people make in spite of their own feelings. It's a doomed love story of a different sense, one where two people choose not to be together because the world is tearing them apart.
"Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world," Rick says near the end of the film. It's romantic because he finally believes in something, but that belief is coming at the expense of his relationship.
Although it's a great movie, The Apartment is not filled with memorable speeches. Its closing moments do have a certain succinct beauty to them when the woman at the movie's center finally lands on a man worth her time. Other than that, though, there's also this gem about finding someone in a crowd.
"Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe; I mean, shipwrecked among 8 million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were." It's a testament to the power love has to make you feel less alone. It makes you feel like there's something out there worth looking for.
MGM/UA Communications Co.
Moonstruck is a romantic comedy, but that doesn't mean it's a happy movie, exactly. It's about the strange relationship between two Italians who find themselves in love for reasons they don't totally understand. It also features an intense Nicolas Cage performance that totally works in context. It's his character that sums up the movie's philosophy best.
"Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice — it ruins everything," he says. "It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect." Amen to that.
Dirty Dancing is a movie about passion and young love. It's also a movie about the things that can keep young lovers apart, like parents who just don't understand. As silly as that might sound, the movie works, thanks in large part to its earnest performances.
"Most of all I'm scared of walkin' out of this and never feelin' the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you," Baby tells Patrick Swayze's Johnny. It's a declaration of love that comes from a place of deep passion, and it's beautiful for that reason. It's the kind of love people have when they're young.
The number of iconic lines in Jerry Maguire is honestly impressive. For this list, though, there's no way around the speech that comes as the movie nears its end. It's a profession of love from Tom Cruise's titular character to Dorothy Boyd. The speech is a reminder of the world we live in, and of the ways that love can transcend it.
"We live in a cynical world, a cynical world, and we work in a business of tough competitors," Maguire says. "I love you. You — complete me." It's a line that's become a cliche in the years since, but only because it was so good in the first place.
New Line Cinema
The Notebook is one of the first movies most people think of when they think of love stories. There's a good reason for that, as it's one of the most touching love stories ever told. One of the reasons it works so well, though, is that it's honest about love's challenges.
"So it’s not gonna be easy," Noah says. "It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day." Love doesn't make life easier, but it makes the work you do feel worth it.
Brokeback Mountain is a movie about the beauty and devastation that comes with falling in love with someone you never expected to love. It's a movie about a gay romance, and one where the struggle comes largely from both men's attempts to access their feelings about one another.
The movie's most famous line comes from Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack, who is furious with his partner for his partner's inability to open up. "I'm not you... I can't make it on a coupla high-altitude fucks once or twice a year! You are too much for me Ennis, you sonofawhoreson bitch! I wish I knew how to quit you."
The Weinstein Company
Shakespeare in Love is a brilliant comedy about the passion and foolishness that comes with falling in love. It's a movie about the writing of Romeo & Juliet, but it's telling an entirely different story that proves to be just as powerful. The film's ideas about love are perfectly summed up in Viola's climactic monologue.
"I will have poetry in my life," she says. "And adventure. And love. Love above all. No...not the artful postures of love, not playful and poetical games of love for the amusement of an evening, but love that...overthrows life." Shakespeare in Love knows just how all-consuming love can be.
The romance in Silver Linings Playbook is beautiful and screwed up. In the film's climactic scene, the romantic monologue is delivered by Jennifer Lawrence's character Tiffany, but they aren't her words. They're her love interest Pat's, but they've been written in a letter that she's reading out loud.
"Thank you," Pat writes. "I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck." It's a beautiful speech about the difficulty of letting yourself love someone, and of the gratitude, you should express when someone is willing to wait for you.
Sleepless in Seattle is precisely the kind of movie they just don't make anymore. It's a tribute to the feeling of falling in love, and to the way another person can transform your life. Tom Hanks said it best:
"It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together...and I knew it," his character says. "I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home...only to no home I’d ever known...I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like...magic."
RKO Radio Pictures
Although it's a little bit older than most of the movies on this list, it's proof that romance is not a new concept. The classic Hollywood film is, at its core, about the love between two people, and the transcendant impact that that love can have on an entire town. In an early scene, that love is first professed as a promise that can never be kept.
When George asks his prospective spouse what she wants, he goes big. "You want the moon?" George says. "Just say the world, and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. He can't do that, of course, but it's nice that he's willing to try.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about being young and unsure and quiet. It's a movie about how hard it is to be a teen, but also how full your life can be, especially when you're sharing that life with someone else. The movie contains quite a bit of narration, and near the movie's end, the film's main character delivers a beautiful speech about love's power.
"I am here and I am looking at her," he says. "And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive, and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder."
The love story told in Titanic is as doomed as they come. It may come as a shock, but the boat does sink. As it's thinking, though, Jack makes it very clear that if he could do it all again he would, even if it ends in his death.
"You must promise me that you'll survive," Jack says. "That you won't give up, no matter what happens, no matter how hopeless. Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise." It's a promise that she kept until her dying breath, and one that speaks to the power Jack had over her life, even after he died.
Forrest Gump is about a lot of things, but at its core, it's a love story. Jenny and Forrest go through a lot together, and Jenny's untimely death, and it's not until after her death that Forrest gets his best speech explaining how much he loved her.
"I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both," Forrest tells her at her grave. "Maybe both is happening at the same time. I miss you, Jenny. If there's anything you need, I won't be far away."
Juno MacGuff is a pretty odd teenager. The story of her pregnancy, and her relationship with Paulie Bleeker, the boy who got her pregnant. It's her dad who gives the film's best love speech though. "In my opinion, the best thing you can do is find someone who loves you for exactly what you are," he tells her. "Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you."
That advice proves to be incredibly salient in Juno. Real love is not conditional. It's about acceptance and gratitude, and it's what makes the very best relationships work, even when life gets hard.
Buena Vista Pictures
As a Shakespeare adaptation, 10 Things I Hate About You is an interesting look at how works can be updated to reflect today's reality. The idea behind the movie is that the love interests hate one another, even as they begin to fall in love. That's what makes the films' climactic speech so great.
"I hate it when you're not around, and the fact that you didn't call," Katarina tells Patrick. "But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all." Hate and love aren't always as far apart as we'd like them to be.
Say Anything is a movie about young love, and about what it means to be utterly devoted to someone. As it turns out, the main obstacle in Say Anything, which sees a strange young man and eternal optimist pursue a beautiful, smart woman, is actually her father.
When it comes time to convince him, there's a pretty good speech involved. Although the young man is unsure how he'll make money, he knows what he wants to do with his life. "What I really want to do with my life — what I want to do for a living — is I want to be with your daughter," he says. "I’m good at it."