Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the staff of ScreenCrush is back in a romantic mood. In past years, we celebrated by ranking our favorite romantic movies, as well as our favorite sex scenes. (If you’re in a sillier mood, we’ve also ranked our least favorite sex scenes as well.) This year, we decided to swoon over our favorite movie kisses in history.

First the site’s editors assembled a not-very-shortlist of almost 200 classic movie kisses. The writers then performed the unenviable task of watching hours of beautiful people making out, before voting for their top choices. A second round of voting finalized their picks, and the list you’re about to read. And because reading a description of a kiss is way less pleasurable than watching a kiss, there’s a clip of every single movie picked.

Alfred Hitchcock (who is well represented on our list) famously said “film your murders like love scenes, and film your love scenes like murders.” With that in mind, here are 25 absolutely killer kisses, starting with...

25. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
Directed by Norman Jewison

I’m not going to argue that a good kiss is like a game of chess (it’s more like a game of Twister), but chess does make perfect foreplay for this incredibly sexy peck between Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in the original version of The Thomas Crown Affair. This nearly wordless seven-minute scene is immaculately choreographed for maximum sexual tension by director Norman Jewison; a shot of Dunaway’s unfathomably beautiful eyes, a cut to McQueen’s wry smile, a cut back to Dunaway’s hand stroking her bishop as she ponders her next move. Finally, McQueen’s Crown can’t take it anymore, and he stands, pulls Dunaway’s Vicki close, and plants one on her, captured in a gorgeous extreme close-up as their lips delicately meet. Their mutual intoxicated is infectious and soon the cameraman seems drunk too. He begins swirling around the couple faster and faster until the whole frame goes blurry. Checkmate. — Matt Singer

24. Woman of the Year (1942)
Directed by George Stevens

From the mid-1930s to the late 1960s, Hollywood depictions of sexuality were dictated by the strict guidelines of the Hays Code, a set of rules governing what could and could not be depicted onscreen. Actual in flagrante delicto was off-limits, of course, but filmmakers couldn’t even get away with “excessive or lustful kissing.” (If you’ve ever wondered why the kisses in classic Hollywood movies are mostly weird closed-mouth face-mashing, here is your explanation.) Though the Code was designed to produce unsexy movies, inventive filmmakers found ways around it. Case in point: This magnificently erotic sequence from Woman of the Year, featuring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in a dimly lit apartment. Not being able to see the particulars of their makeout sesh allows director George Stevens to follow the letter of the law (there’s nothing excessive or lustful visible) while letting our perverted imaginations run wild. The result is a blank canvas for the viewer to paint with their own desires, and a moment so suggestive it’s more sensual than a thousand explicit lovemaking scenes could ever hope to be. — MS

23. Ghost (1990)
Directed by Jerry Zucker

We’re all resigned to our eventual end, but we hope for a love that will stretch beyond this mortal coil. That profound wish is depicted in this scene from Ghost that crosses the gulf between life and death. Throughout the film, Sam’s ghost (Patrick Swayze) has watched over Molly (Demi Moore) without being able to directly communicate with her. In Ghost’s conclusion, Sam saves Molly from his skeevy former co-worker Carl (skeeve supreme Tony Goldwyn). Now his soul can rest, but before he goes, Sam receives the gift of one last conversation with Molly, and one final kiss. Backlit by a heavenly portal to the great beyond, Sam leans in for an ethereal embrace. It’s a stunning image, but what else would you expect from Jerry Zucker, the auteur behind such romantic classics as Airplane! and Top Secret! The fact that one of the Kentucky Fried Movie guys was inspired enough to create this image is enough to make you believe in a higher power. (Ghost’s famous scene at the pottery wheel is no slouch in the kiss department, either.) — MS

22. The Notebook (2004)
Directed by Nick Cassavetes

I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something undeniably sexy and romantic about making out in the rain. This scene, easily the most iconic lip lock in modern romance movie history, isn’t just about the kiss itself, but what precedes it. After seven years, Rachel McAdams’ Allie and Ryan Gosling’s Noah reunite on a rowboat (could this be anymore of a storybook romance?), have a passionate argument about love letters, and then Gosling professes his love before going in for the kiss. It hits all the expected romantic beats our sappy hearts are conditioned to swoon over. I never called it original, but who could deny a soaked-to-the-bone Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams macking beside a river? Not I. — E. Oliver Whitney

21. Never Been Kissed (1999)
Directed by Raja Gosnell

Ya girl Drew Barrymore’s at it again, this time as Josie, an insecure reporter who goes undercover as the least convincing high school student ever. Just as she sheds the perpetually dorky image that earned her the nickname “Josie Grossy,” her cover is blown — along with that weird romance with her English teacher. (He liked her when he thought she was a teenager, but when he finds out she’s actually age-appropriate, he bails?! Maybe don’t date this dude?) As the title suggests, Josie has literally never been kissed, and after pouring her heart out to hunky Mr. Coulson, Josie asks him to meet her at a baseball game to deliver her first real kiss. Just when it looks like he’s a no-show, and Barrymore delivers the saddest mic-drop in the world, the Beach Boys “Don’t Worry Baby” kicks in and Coulson rushes to the pitcher’s mound to give Josie a proper kiss in front of literally everyone she knows. It’s irresistibly sweet (if you can get over Coulson’s dubious crush on fake-teen Julia). — Britt Hayes

20. From Here to Eternity (1953)
Directed by Fred Zinnemann

It’s one of those arcane rules of Hollywood: Every montage of classic movie moments must include the beach kiss in From Here to Eternity, with the waves at Oahu’s Halcona Cove crashing over Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. Thoroughly soaked, Kerr retreats up the beach to a towel; Lancaster gives chase and for another eternity-rattling kiss. “I never knew it could be like this,” Kerr’s Karen swoons. “Nobody ever kissed me the way you do.” Nobody kissed anybody this way in American film’s Golden Age; as the legend goes, the script called for a more chaste peck (the censors wouldn’t have permitted much more). It was Lancaster’s idea for the couple to lie in the surf, which turned a nice moment into an unforgettable one, repeated and parodied by countless other movies, and by generations of seaside couples swept away by a tidal wave of emotions. — MS

19. Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly

There are so many amazingly dumb, hilarious moments in the Farrelly brothers’ classic comedy, but for the purposes of this list, we need to talk about that kiss. Even in his wildest fantasies, Jim Carrey’s impossibly stupid Lloyd kisses ... well, the way you think a Jim Carrey character from the ’90s would kiss. Envisioning a romantic union with Mary (Lauren Holly) in Aspen, Lloyd proceeds to attach his mouth over half of her face like one of those sucker-fish stuck to the glass in an aquarium. If Pixar made a movie about a sentient plunger that fell in love with a demure feather duster, this is what their first kiss would look like. — BH

18. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Directed by George Cukor

This may be a prime example of that old movie thing where a man and a woman are fighting and he resolves the argument by forcing a passionate kiss on her only to find that, phew, she’s into it. But classic cinema’s version of romance never really existed at all, occupying a dimension all its own where towering emotions are so mighty that they’re liable to bleed right into one another. It’s how a slap becomes a smooch, and in this moonlit lovers’ quarrel between stars-of-the-stars Jimmy Stewart and Katharine Hepburn, it’s how a fit of overwhelming self-loathing can become a rhapsodical declaration of love. “You’re lit from within,” he tells her, and with one kiss, she starts to feel it too. — Charles Bramesco

17. Sunrise (1927)
Directed by F.W. Murnau

In this scene from Sunrise, Expressionist master F.W. Murnau doesn’t just show you a great kiss; he shows you what a great kiss feels like. A man (George O’Brien) and woman (Janet Gaynor) lock lips, and when they do the kiss is so powerful it basically sends them both into a reverie of shared hallucinations, transporting them from the frenzied chaos of the city (in an astonishing shot for the silent era, the couple walk arm-in-arm, oblivious to the cars racing past them) to the serenity of the countryside. Only the din of a dozen car horns returns them to reality, where they have single-handedly caused a massive traffic jam. That’s a hell of a kiss. — MS

16. Cruel Intentions (1999)
Directed by Roger Kumble

By the time Roger Kumble brought his Manhattan rework of Dangerous Liaisons to theaters in 1999, audiences had had a few years of Buffy to get used to Sarah Michelle Gellar as a squeaky-clean teen. So at the time, it came as something of a shock when she flatly informed an innocent Selma Blair, “This time, I’m gonna stick my tongue in your mouth.” She plays the experienced maneater type to Blair’s demure virgin, initiating her in the ways of adolescent turn-ons but only for her own sinister purposes. But the Frenching lesson they share isn’t really for either girl’s benefit, but the leering presumed audience’s. It’s the rare common ground on which horned-up hetero guys and queer women with an appreciation for camp can harmoniously exist. — CB

15. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Barry Egan (Adam Sandler, in the second-best performance of an extremely spotty career) is not good with women. He’s not really good with anyone, constantly muttering and stammering and retreating into surly silence, but the ladies especially bring out his social anxiety. He concludes a date with the charming Lena (Emily Watson) with a chaste “bye-bye,” then berates himself in the hall directly afterward, a tableau familiar to anyone who’s flubbed a goodnight kiss. What a dream come true, then, that she has her lobby clerk tell Barry she wanted to make out with him before he can leave the building. Barry recognizes a second chance when he sees one and breathlessly sprints back to her apartment for the kiss he fouled up the first time. It’s sweet and yet Barry’s desperate whispering into the crook of her neck is almost uncomfortably intimate — the entire film in a single minute. — CB

14. Notorious (1946)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

When Alfred Hitchcock directed this 1946 spy thriller, the Hays Code only allowed onscreen kisses of three seconds or less. But when you’ve got Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman as your leads, such a brief smooch would’ve been a shameful waste. Instead of merely yielding to the rule, Hitchcock filmed the famous two-and-a-half-minute kissing scene, broken up by bits of chatter and nuzzling. Bergman’s Alicia, the daughter of a Nazi war criminal, and Grant’s Agent Devlin, take their elongated canoodling from the balcony to the living room to the doorway, interrupting every few seconds to talk about dinner plans, make a phone call, and reassure each other of their love. Ironically enough, the Hays code gave way to not just one of the longest movie kisses, but one that feels even more authentic to real life. How natural, to love someone so much you can’t help but squeeze kisses in between your every word and breath. — EOW

13. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche

It’s not hyperbole to say that Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) wants Emma (Lea Seydoux) more than she’s ever wanted anyone in her entire life. For one, she’s pretty young, but more to the point, the sensation of desire has never been quite familiar to her emotional palette. She’s lukewarm about a local boy’s clumsy flirtations with her, and only when she locks eyes with the magnetic Emma does her sexual awakening begin in earnest. But before they can get to the sweltering carnal centerpiece of the film, they take a second for a beat of more wholesome affection. They share their first kiss while laying in the grass, their setting as natural and tender as the attraction blooming between them. For Adèle, it’s the first taste of something she never even knew to want before. Instantly, she learns hunger. — CB

12. The Wedding Singer (1998)
Directed by Frank Coraci

Although Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore will always hold a special place in my juvenile heart, The Wedding Singer is the best Adam Sandler comedy — thanks in large part to the eternally charming Drew Barrymore. The chemistry between Sandler’s Robbie Hart (the title character) and Barrymore’s sweet waitress is absolutely adorable. After nursing a terrible crush on Julia while helping her plan her wedding to a total garbage human, Robbie discovers that his feelings are reciprocated when the two practice the perfect wedding kiss — or, as Julia calls it, “church tongue.” — BH

11. WALL-E (2008)
Directed by Andrew Stanton

Only Pixar could make animated robots this excruciatingly cute, and give them a relationship that’s so believably human. When WALL-E finally reunites with EVE after rescuing that all-important plant, the two spiral around in an adorable embrace. He lovingly tucks his head under her chin, she gives him a little electric kiss, and the head-over-heels robot floats away in total euphoria. Not magical enough for you? They then cruise around space in a whimsical dance. These characters don’t even have lips or mouths – heck one of them is a literal trash compactor – and yet this moment has burned itself onto my brain as one of the sweetest onscreen kisses. — EOW

10. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Directed by Luca Guadagnino

The first kiss between Timothée Chalamet’s Elio and Armie Hammer’s Oliver is charged with enough anticipatory tension to induce an anxiety attack of romantic longing. Elio, with his mature posturing and performative carelessness (that’s more endearing than pretentious) has spent so much time putting on a show for Oliver; he, in turn, prolongs the inevitable, torturing both Elio and the viewer as he caresses and probes his young crush’s mouth with his fingers before finally relenting for a single, sensual kiss. “Better now?” Oliver taunts, and I want to scream “YES, YOU BEAUTIFUL MONSTER!” — BH

9. Drive (2011)
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

What’s more Refn than following a dreamy smooch with some grisly skull crushing? This is easily one of my favorite kissing scenes, particularly because it’s so theatrical in every regard. Everything slows down, the lights dim around Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling, and music vibrates across the soundtrack. It’s a quiet, ethereal moment in a movie stuffed with violence and intensity. But it doesn’t last long, briskly pivoting into a typical over-the-top Refn assault of bone crunching and blood splattering. Flipping a switch that quickly shouldn’t work, but Refn pulls it off, giving us a scene that’s as dreamy as it is horrifying. — EOW

8. Lost in Translation (2003)
Directed by Sofia Coppola

The whirlwind friendship between Scarlett Johansson’s Charlotte and Bill Murray’s Bob Harris in Sofia Coppola’s Tokyo-set fish-out-of-water story blossoms into an unspoken — and impossible — romance. Each in the throes of respective existential crises, Charlotte and Bob bond and bicker, experiencing all the thrill and eventual disappointment of a new relationship; though their marital commitments and age differences keep them from crossing the line. In the final moments of Lost in Translation, as the two have gone their separate ways, Bob spots Charlotte on the street and runs to her. He whispers something unintelligible in her ear; it doesn’t matter. What matters is what isn’t said, and the short but exceptionally meaningful kiss they exchange, loaded with everything they can’t say. — BH

7. Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Directed by Baz Luhrmann

Blame it on my millennial age, but when I think of star-crossed lovers, I think of a babyfaced Leo DiCaprio and a wide-eyed Claire Danes in Baz Luhrmann’s extravagant modern retelling of Romeo & Juliet. I think of their fish tank meeting, and then the kiss, which is the perfect encapsulation of the emotional rollercoaster known as first love. After exchanging flirtatious whispers – while making you nearly forget they’re speaking in Shakespearean dialogue – the two duck into an elevator to escape Juliet’s family for a series of head-spinning kisses. The heart-racing thrill of it all is magnified by the swirling camera and rising strings on the score. But moments later, still floating in a daze, their forbidden love is revealed to them. In a matter of minutes, the two go from dizzying elation to crushing heartbreak, which is pretty much what teenage romance is all about. — EOW

6. Vertigo (1958)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock has a magic trick he wants to show you. Of course it’s hard to take your eyes off of Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak as they furiously mack while standing in the middle of her hotel room, but keep your focus on the background. As the camera slowly creeps around them in a perfect 360-degree revolution, the green fog from the neon sign outside her window melts away and they’re transported. He breaks out of their embrace for one moment to look around with bewilderment, but after he returns to her, they re-materialize in the real world. Hitch says it all here: Not just that a powerful attraction can seem to whisk you somewhere else, but also that mental perception is a malleable and highly subjective thing. — CB

5. Before Sunrise (1995)
Directed by Richard Linklater

Most movie kisses are about love and passion. The kisses in Before Sunrise are also about suspense. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) spend one magical night touring Vienna together. They’re from different countries, and they have different priorities. It could never work. (Remember, this was before the days when you could just text someone “u up?” from half a world away.) But their conversations are so great, and they seem so natural and comfortable together, we sit on the edge of our seat wondering whether they’ll give in to their mutual desire. Finally, they kiss, with as much feeling as has ever been put into any kiss in movie history.  It could be the last kiss they ever share. Or, if it’s good enough, it could be the first of many more. — MS

4. Spider-Man (2002)
Directed by Sam Raimi

Forget Marvel’s villain problem, they’ve really got a love problem. When was the last time any Marvel relationship felt as meaningful, lived-in, and worth caring about as Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s? Their tender transition from friends —he’s the shy everynerd, she’s the girl next door — to partners gave the greatest superhero franchise to date a sturdy emotional core. But before their love could fully bloom, they shared one scene of intoxicating passion. In what is probably the most romantic gesture to have ever taken place in an alley, she peels his mask back just far enough to share a rain-soaked smooch with her mystery savior. Even in its anonymity, the moment is dizzyingly intimate. Points to director Sam Raimi for contriving the rare innovation on the classic lip-lock by suspending Tobey Maguire upside-down to plant one on Kirsten Dunst, their faces forming a perfect symmetry as the space between them disappears. — CB

3. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Directed by Ang Lee

There are so many ways to kiss – sweetly, seductively, lovingly. But the type of kiss between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist is one we don’t often see in movies, and I don’t just mean a kiss between two men. It the kind of kiss that’s as ferociously passionate as it is pained; you can see the anguish and relief simultaneously wash across the two cowboys’ faces. When Jake Gyllenhaal’s Jack arrives for a visit, Heath Ledger’s Ennis nearly flies down the staircase, then shoves him against a wall for a rough make-out. It’s aggressive and handsy, similar to their first mountainside hook-up, and the two men nearly devour each other. The facades they’ve buried their desires under begin to slip away but a sense of suffering still lingers; they know their time is limited. It’s the perfect kiss for one of the movies’ most devastating romances. — EOW

2. Casablanca (1942)
Directed by Michael Curtiz

“Was that cannon fire, or my heart pounding?” Technically, it was cannon fire, but it’s easy to forgive the mistake; the tragic sparks flying between Humphrey Bogart’s Rick and Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa in Casablanca are enough to send anyone’s circulatory system into overdrive. In this flashblack to Rick and Ilsa’s romantic past, the Germans are on the march and the couple’s time together is running out. Sensing the war may pull them apart, Ilsa pleads with Rick to kiss her as if it were the last time; he obliges as the music swells, and her hand accidentally knocks over her glass, an ominous sign of impending doom. The world of 2018 is completely different than the world of Casablanca in nearly every significant respect, except one. 75 years later, a kiss is still a kiss. — MS

1. Moonlight (2016)
Directed by Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkins pulls off something miraculous with Moonlight. We feel every flutter of the heart, every butterfly in the stomach, right along with the three young men playing Chiron at different points in his life. Jenkins and his trio of remarkable actors manage to both capture and elicit that exquisite longing of first love, first touch, and inevitably — finally — the first kiss. There’s hesitation mingled with some nebulous certainty as a posturing Kevin (Jharrel Jerome) teases Chiron (Ashton Sanders) on a moonlit beach before the two slowly move in for a kiss. In that moment, a pressurized valve is released, and all that pent-up longing, which has accumulated until it can hardly be contained, is free. — BH

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