When it comes to the magical feeling of first love, everyone has a unique story to tell. Some find it during their teenage years, while others stumble upon it later in life. First love can be a lasting fairytale or a fleeting adventure. Brace yourself, as these enchanting movies about falling head over heels for the first time will surely make your heart skip a beat. Prepare to be transported across different worlds and eras, where some tales end with a happily ever after, while others leave you with a bittersweet ache. On this captivating list, you’ll discover a mix of recent gems and timeless masterpieces.
No matter what your personal journey with first love entails, these films beautifully capture its essence. Get ready to delve into the most captivating movies that depict the magic of first love. But the big question remains: Which one will claim the crown as the ultimate champion?
1. Say Anything…
Say Anything… is this 1989 romantic comedy-drama that was directed by Cameron Crowe. It’s all about this unexpected love story between Lloyd Dobler, this genuinely quirky kickboxer played by John Cusack, and Diane Court, this high-achieving valedictorian played by Ione Skye. The heart of the movie revolves around Dobler’s unique charm and his relentless pursuit of Court. It’s a classic coming-of-age tale that explores themes of young love and the uncertainty that comes with life after high school. But it also delves into the complexities of family dynamics, especially with Diane’s overprotective father, James Court, played by John Mahoney. And of course, we can’t forget the iconic boombox scene that has become synonymous with the film. It’s no wonder that Entertainment Weekly ranked Say Anything… as one of the greatest modern movie romances.
Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Actors: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney
2. The Notebook
The Notebook is a beautiful romantic drama that takes us on a journey through the lives of Allie Hamilton (played by Rachel McAdams) and Noah Calhoun (played by Ryan Gosling). The story is set in the charming backdrop of 1940s South Carolina, and it captivates us with their passionate love story that spans from their youthful summer romance to the challenges they face in old age.
The narrative is presented to us through the memories of an elderly man named Duke, wonderfully portrayed by James Garner. Duke, residing in a nursing home, shares the story by reading from his worn-out notebook to another resident, Miss Hamilton (Gena Rowlands).
Directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook received well-deserved recognition. In 2005, it won an impressive eight Teen Choice Awards, solidifying its place as a beloved film among audiences.
Directed by: Nick Cassavetes
Actors: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, we follow Charlie, a shy freshman in high school, as he navigates the challenges of adolescence. His life takes a turn when he becomes friends with two seniors, Sam and Patrick. They expose him to the realities of the outside world, going beyond the confines of textbooks and exams. Throughout the story, Charlie deals with the complexities of first love and hidden truths. This coming-of-age drama beautifully captures the ups and downs of growing up. It received high praise from critics and even won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature.
Directed by: Stephen Chbosky
Actors: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller
4. The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars is a really powerful love story set in the world of romantic drama. It follows the journey of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a smart teenager fighting cancer, and Augustus Waters, a charming guy she meets at a support group. Their incredible love story goes beyond the usual, as they face their struggles together and show amazing strength. This movie, which is based on John Green’s popular novel, was a big hit and even won the 2014 MTV Movie Award for Movie of the Year. It delves into deep themes like life and death, love, and the sacrifices we make, all with a really honest and genuine feel. You’re in for an emotional and captivating ride.
Directed by: Josh Boone
Actors: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe
5. The Man in the Moon
Maureen Trant (played by Emily Warfield) and her younger sibling Dani (played by Reese Witherspoon) have always had a strong connection. However, their bond is put at risk when a local boy named Court Foster (played by Jason London) enters the picture.
Dani and Court meet first and quickly develop a playful and flirtatious rapport. But when Court meets Maureen, he is immediately smitten and they embark on a passionate affair. The new couple tries to keep their love hidden from Dani, but it doesn’t take long for her to discover the truth. Feeling betrayed, Dani distances herself from her sister.
However, a devastating accident later brings the sisters back together, mending their broken relationship.
Directed by: Robert Mulligan
Actors: Sam Waterston, Tess Harper, Gail Strickland
6. A Walk to Remember
In A Walk to Remember, get ready to experience a heartwarming story of love and redemption. We meet Landon Carter, a rebellious teenager played by Shane West, who unexpectedly finds himself falling head over heels for Jamie Sullivan, the preacher’s daughter in their small town. This coming-of-age drama takes place in North Carolina and is directed by Adam Shankman. It’s a tale where their lives become intertwined in ways they never could have imagined.
Against all odds, their relationship blossoms, despite the pressures of society and some life-altering revelations. This movie, based on Nicholas Sparks’s novel, was even honored with the Teen Choice Award for Choice Drama Movie. What sets this film apart is its exploration of themes like faith, transformation, and resilience in the face of adversity. It’s a story that will leave a lasting impression.
Directed by: Adam Shankman
Actors: Shane West, Mandy Moore, Peter Coyote
7. Tuck Everlasting
In the captivating film Tuck Everlasting, we follow the journey of Winnie Foster (played by Alexis Bledel) as she stumbles upon a hidden spring with an extraordinary power – it grants immortality to those who dare to drink from it. The Tuck family, led by Angus Tuck (played by William Hurt), along with his sons Jesse (Jonathan Jackson) and Miles (Scott Bairstow), have been living in secluded secrecy ever since they discovered the spring’s life-altering effects.
As Winnie becomes entangled in their timeless existence, she is faced with a tough decision. Should she protect the Tuck family’s secret or expose it to the world? This movie is a compelling tale that explores the themes of love and the complexities of eternal life. It takes us on a unique journey, delving into the depths of the human condition.
Directed by: Jay Russell
Actors: Alexis Bledel, William Hurt, Sissy Spacek
8. Love, Simon
Love, Simon is a coming-of-age film that tells the story of Simon Spier, a high school student who is dealing with his identity. Simon is gay, but he hasn’t revealed his true self to anyone yet. Everything changes when he learns that a fellow classmate, who is also in the closet, has anonymously shared his secret online. Intrigued, Simon embarks on a mission to uncover the identity of this classmate while facing the typical challenges of adolescence.
Directed by Greg Berlanti, Love, Simon is a heartfelt drama that delves into the themes of acceptance and self-discovery. The movie received recognition for its portrayal of young love, winning the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss in 2018.
Directed by: Greg Berlanti
Actors: Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner
9. My Sister’s Keeper
My Sister’s Keeper is a touching drama that delves into the heartbreaking story of a family that is torn apart by their daughter Kate’s devastating leukemia diagnosis. In a desperate effort to save her, they make the difficult decision to genetically engineer a younger sister, Anna, who is designed to be a perfect match for organ donation. However, things take an unexpected turn when Anna decides to seek medical emancipation and enlists the help of lawyer Campbell Alexander. Directed by Nick Cassavetes, the film provides a gripping exploration of the ethical dilemmas surrounding medicine and the bonds within families. The performances in the movie truly emphasize the complexity of the characters’ struggles.
Directed by: Nick Cassavetes
Actors: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin
10. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
In To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we meet Lara Jean Song Covey (played by Lana Condor), a shy high school student who secretly pours her heart out in love letters to her crushes. Little did she know that these heartfelt confessions would find their way to the recipients, turning her peaceful life upside down. Enter Peter Kavinsky (played by Noah Centineo), a popular athlete who unexpectedly becomes tangled in Lara Jean’s romantic mess. This charming teen rom-com, adapted from Jenny Han’s bestselling novel, beautifully explores the themes of adolescence, friendship, and young love, offering a refreshing twist to the genre.
Directed by: Susan Johnson
Actors: Lana Condor, John Corbett, Noah Centineo
11. Call Me by Your Name
In the beautiful Italian countryside, a meaningful story unfolds. “Call Me by Your Name”, a romantic drama, tells the tale of Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a 17-year-old spending his summer in his family’s villa. Along the way, he meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), an American scholar who is visiting as his father’s research assistant. As their days go by, a special connection forms between them. Directed by Luca Guadagnino and based on André Aciman’s novel, the film has received praise for its heartfelt storytelling and visually stunning cinematography. It has also been acknowledged with four Academy Award nominations and the win for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Actors: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg