I love you. Those three little words are all-important, but they aren't all that creative. Luckily, the movies are around to spice things up.
Rarely is a declaration of love that simple on-screen. Sometimes, a character — or a director — goes bombastic. Take, for instance, Moulin Rouge!'s "Elephant Love Medley." In other instances, it's more about what's left unsaid. The end of The Apartment is magnificent in that respect. There are also silly confessions (See: Bringing Up Baby) and the eminently quotable ones (See: Jerry Maguire).
In honor of Valentine's Day, we've collected the most romantic admissions of love ever found on-screen. You'll totally wish you were on the receiving end.
The Fault In Our Stars (2014)
These kids made the best with the limited time they had, and they made us cry in the process, big time.
"I am 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 one day all of our labors will be returned to dust. And I know that the sun will swallow the only Earth we will ever have. And I am in love with you."
It Happened One Night (1934)
Peter (Clark Gable) admits his feelings for Ellie (Claudette Colbert) in a roundabout way. He tells her father that anyone who loves her would be crazy. Of course, he's crazy, too.
Most romantic line: "Yes! But don't hold that against me. I'm a little screwy myself!"
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
In this classic screwball comedy, David (Cary Grant), a paleontologist, confesses his love for Susan, (Katharine Hepburn), a loopy socialite, atop of a dinosaur skeleton. It's appropriately and adorably zany, even though the ending is disastrous for the dino.
Most romantic line: "Susan, it's more than that. I love you, I think!"
Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) points a gun at Rick (Humphrey Bogart), demanding the papers that will allow her to escape Casablanca with her husband. It only reminds her how much she loves Rick.
Most romantic line: "If you knew how much I loved you. How much I still love you."
The Apartment (1960)
Billy Wilder's The Apartment has one of the most iconic endings of all time. The movie about two lost souls culminates with C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) finally confessing his love for Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine.) Sure, she doesn't say she loves him back, but her line, "Shut up and deal," coupled with that sweet smile, is an even better response.
Most romantic line: "I love you Miss Kubelik...Did you hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you."
Annie Hall (1977)
We're going to spoil a nearly 40-year-old movie by saying that that things don't work out for these two crazy kids. Still, Alvy Singer's (Woody Allen) declaration of love — or something beyond love — is quintessential, even if it feels a little insincere.
Most romantic line: "Love is too weak a word. I lurv you, I loave you, I luff you."
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is a cocky bastard, but that's why we love him. He knows.
Most romantic line: "I know."
When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
When Harry Met Sally... sets the gold standard for undying declarations of love. Harry's (Billy Crystal) run through the streets of New York to finally tell Sally (Meg Ryan) how he really feels inevitably gets your heart swelling.
Most romantic line: "I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour-and-a-half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that when I spend a day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes; and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night."
Cher is engaged to Nicolas Cage's brother, but is having a passionate affair with Cage. After they go to the opera, he tries to convince her to come back to his place with this speech about how love's a bitch.
Most romantic line: "We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die."
Broadcast News (1987)
Despite the eloquence — and cleverness — of this speech, Albert Brooks' Aaron remains unrequited. But at least he gets to deliver this perfect kicker. We would have taken the bait.
Most romantic line: "And I'm in love with you. How do you like that? I buried the lede."
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Baby (Jennifer Grey) doesn't actually say she loves Johnny (Patrick Swayze) in this scene, but she nearly does, so we're counting it. Her speech leads to a lot of really sexy dancing, which leads to (what we presume is) a lot of really sexy sex.
Most romantic line: "Most of all, I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you."
Beauty & the Beast (1991)
Her "I love you" literally changes him.
Most romantic line: "Please, don't leave me. I love you."
Sense & Sensibility (1995)
Despite Austenian complications, Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Edward (Hugh Grant) get their perfect ending when Edward explains that he is not married to Lucy Steele.
Most romantic line: "My heart is, and always will be, yours."
Chasing Amy (1997)
Holden (Ben Affleck) pulls his car over to tell his friend Amy (Joey Lauren Adams), a lesbian, that he's in love with her. The soaking rain in the background really ups the drama.
Most romantic line: "You are the epitome of everything I have ever looked for in another human being."
Jerry Maguire (1996)
This moment is almost too famous, but when you break it down to its elements, it's still potent. Tom Cruise's delivery is so intense and full of passion that it's borderline frightening.
Most romantic line: "I love you. You complete me."
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Will (Joseph Fiennes) gushes about Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) to Viola, who happens to be dressed in disguise as Thomas at the moment. Even Viola knows he's going a little overboard, but by the end of their boat ride, she can't help but go in for the kiss.
Most romantic line: "Like a sickness and its cure together."
Notting Hill (1999)
Hugh Grant has had poured his heart out over the years — see: the aforementioned Sense & Sensibility — but here, he needs to bow to Julia Roberts. She masterfully contradicts his assumptions about her fame.
Most romantic line: "Don't forget. I'm also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."
Love & Basketball (2000)
Omar Epps' Quincy may be getting married, but that doesn't stop Sanaa Lathan's Monica from hitting him with this gut punch and challenging him to a basketball game for his "heart."
Most romantic line: "I've loved you since I was 11 and the shit won't go away."
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Baz Luhrmann combined almost every classic love song into this medley— and then set it on an elephant and put fireworks in the background. It's so over-the-top, you can't help but swoon. On top of all of that, Ewan McGregor is at his absolute cutest trying to woo Nicole Kidman's reluctant courtesan, Satine.
Most romantic line: All of it? But specifically, "I will always love you." Nothing wrong with Whitney's (and Dolly's) classic.
The Notebook (2005)
He wrote her!
Most romantic line: "It wasn't over. It still isn't over!"
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Matthew Macfadyen may not be your Darcy, but you have to admit he nails the movie's big moment.
Most romantic line: "You have bewitched me of body and soul, and I love you."
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Brokeback Mountain's most famous bit of dialogue is delivered by Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) out of frustration with Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger). This isn't new information to anyone, but that doesn't make it any less powerful.
Most romantic line: "I wish I knew how to quit you."
Imagine Me & You (2005)
A traffic jam is the perfect opportunity for Rachel (Piper Perabo) to stand on a car and let Luce (Lena Headey) know how she feels.
Most romantic line: "Luce, I can do this!"
Juno (Ellen Page) deploys her idiosyncratic teen-speak to tell Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), the father of her baby, she loves him.
Most romantic line: "You're like the coolest person I've ever met and you don't even have to try."
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
At the end of Slumdog Millionaire — before the big dance number — Jamal (Dev Patel) finds Latika (Freida Pinto) on a train platform. It's destiny. It's gorgeous.
Most romantic line: "This is our destiny."
Say Anything... (1989)
Sometimes, you don't need any words — just a boombox.
Most romantic line: The dulcet sounds of Peter Gabriel.