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Five of the all-time best romantic movies for Valentine's Day

January 31st, 2013 Seasonal

It might not sound like the most romantic date in the world at first, but many couples save money by staying in and watching a classic movie, eschewing a more traditional night on the town. In addition to cutting down on expenses, a good romance, possibly paired with a bottle of wine or two, leads to snuggling like almost no other experience. Here's a list of some of the all-time greats for those who want to make sure their Valentine's Day goes off without a hitch.

1: "Casablanca"
- We challenge the most hardened of hearts not to shed a tear when Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) insists that his true love IIsa (Ingrid Bergman) gets on a plane, which will take her to safety, away from possible persecution from Nazis and out of his life. Not only is this untouchable 1942 cinematic landmark on the top of The Boston Globe's and Better Homes and Garden's lists of the best romantic movies, but the American Film Institute (AFI) ranks it as the second-best film ever, topped only by "Citizen Kane."

2: Almost any film starring Ryan Gosling
- The criteria for what defines a "good" or "bad" actor can be very subjective. But during the past 10 years, it's been hard to deny that Ryan Gosling is dreamy. Not only is the 32-year-old Canadian, nicknamed "The Gos" by fans,a heartthrob, but he delivered excellent performances as the lead in a handful of contemporary romances. The most well-known of these is probably 2004's "The Notebook," number three on The Boston Globe's list of best romantic films, where his ragamuffin character spends the better part of his life trying to woo a wealthy girl played by Rachel McAdams. The Gos later played a good-natured but immature husband on the brink of a failed marriage alongside Michelle Williams in 2010's brutal yet touching "Blue Valentine," a career high for both actors. Released in 2011, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" is a far-more lighthearted affair, with The Gos depicting an arrogant ladies' man who changes his womanizing ways when he falls for Emma Stone's character.

3: "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
- Jim Carrey was known almost exclusively as a comedic actor before he was paired with Kate Winslet for this surreal, heart-breaking tale. A far cry from the hyperbolic human cartoons Carrey portrayed in his earlier films, Joel Barish is a reserved, normal guy who falls to pieces when his relationship with Winslet's eccentric bookstore clerk character, Clementine Kruczynski, implodes. Once he discovers Clementine has undergone a procedure to erase her memories of their time together, Joel signs up for the same treatment out of spite. But as his memories of Clementine begin to disappear, Joel second-guesses whether or not he truly wants to forget her. This cerebral spin on romantic comedy was one of AFI's top films of 2004.

4: "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
- Here's another classic. This 1961 romp is featured in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 romantic films of all time, and stars the timeless film icon Audrey Hepburn. Her character - Holly Golightly - is a flighty, social-climbing free spirit. George Peppard portrays Paul Varjak - a hard-drinking, struggling short story author. Throughout a tale that spans the course of several years, Holly and Paul help each other out with legal and personal struggles, and eventually realize their love for each other. Also, they rescue Holly's cat.

5: "Titanic"
- No list of best romantic films would be complete without this epic from 1997. Not unlike "The Notebook," love prevails over class differences when Leonardo DiCaprio's scrappy pauper and Kate Winslet's high society heroine fall for each other. But how will their courtship survive when - spoiler alert - the boat sinks?