Disclaimer: For a movie to be considered for this list, both characters in the relationship needed to be of high school age or younger. (Sorry, The Notebook lovers.) And the rankings are based on the romance within the story, not the film itself.
49. Ronnie and Will, The Last Song (2010)
What it’s about: Ronnie (Miley Cyrus) comes to spend the summer with her quasi-estranged father at his beach house, where she meets Will (Liam Hemsworth). At first, she resists his advances, but he gradually wins her over and is pretty much the perfect boyfriend as her father’s health begins to fade.
Moment that made you melt: That epic, playful mud fight. —Anne Helen Petersen
48. Gabriella and Troy, High School Musical (2006)
What it’s about: A high school mathlete, Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), and basketball superstar, Troy (Zac Efron), get paired up at karaoke on New Year’s Eve while on their respective family vacations and part ways at midnight, thinking they’ll never see each other again… UNTIL (in true Grease fashion) Gabriella unexpectedly winds up transferring to Troy’s school and both are torn between their cliques and their love of “the theater.”
Moment that made you melt: When Troy almost walks off the stage on that fateful karaoke night during “Start of Something New,” thinking Gabriella wouldn’t want to sing with him and then is taken aback by her angelic voice. —Jaimie Etkin
47. Alvin and Paris, Love Don’t Cost a Thing (2003)
What it’s about: Alvin (Nick Cannon) only wants to be popular. So when cheerleader Paris (Christina Milian) crashes her car and can’t afford the repairs, Alvin agrees to fix the bumper for the small price of pretending to be his girlfriend for two weeks.
Moment that made you melt: When Paris plays the guitar for Alvin while he reads the words she wrote. —Emily Orley
46. Austin and Sam, A Cinderella Story (2004)
What it’s about: A modern-day twist on the classic titular tale, Sam (Hillary Duff) is invited to the homecoming dance by an anonymous internet friend, Austin (Chad Michael Murray), who happens to be the school’s quarterback and Mr. Popular. Sam shows up at the dance hidden by a mask, and Austin quickly falls for her. But she disappears at midnight to return home before her evil stepmother realizes she’s gone, leaving behind just a flip phone. Austin and his friends start a school-wide search to find the girl behind the mask.
Moment that made you melt: When Austin, in the final huddle of the big football game, leaves the field and runs into the crowd to kiss Sam. —E.O.
45. Kathy and Tommy, Never Let Me Go (2010)
What it’s about: This one’s complicated, but a love triangle develops between three friends who come of age at a mysterious, secluded boarding school and are destined to lead brief lives. Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) think that their true love might win them an exception to the rule that would separate them forever.
Moment that made you melt: When Tommy tells Kathy that they can ask for an exception because he’s made art that proves the legitimacy of their love. Tears for days.—A.H.P.
44. Carlos and Nicole, Crazy/Beautiful (2001)
What it’s about: Spoiled wild child and congressman’s daughter Nicole (Kirsten Dunst) falls for a working-class Mexican-American straight-A student named Carlos (Jay Hernandez) and a clash of cultures ensues. (Note: This has nothing to do with the Hanson song of the same name that is also fantastic in its own right.)
Moment that made you melt: That montage of Nicole and Carlos’ adorable honeymoon stage set to David Gray’s “This Year’s Love” that includes Carlos bonding with a puppy on the beach with only his head sticking out of the sand. —J.E.
43. Cliff and Torrance, Bring It On (2000)
What it’s about: Torrance (Kirsten Dunst again!) tries to lead her cheerleading squad to victory; Cliff (Jesse Bradford) hates cheerleading; through a series of excellent musical choreography montages, they figure out their love for each other.
Moment that made you melt: Tooth-brushing scene. Totally adorable. Enough said. —A.H.P.
42. Keith and Watts, Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
What it’s about: This movie, which was written but not directed by John Hughes, is like a gender-flipped version of Pretty in Pink that keeps the original ending, in which Andie and Duckie got together. Eric Stoltz plays working class guy Keith, and Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) is his tomboy bestie. When Keith decides to ask out the popular Amanda (Lea Thompson), Watts helps him in his quest, even as she realizes she wants more from him than friendship herself.
Moment that made you melt: Watts, keeping Keith company in the garage in which he works, offers to coach him in kissing. Their lips meet just as “She Loves Me” by Stephen Duffy swells and it’s all kinds of wonderful, right down to the shot of Stoltz’s grease-covered hand on Masterson’s hip. —Alison Willmore
41. Maria and Tony, West Side Story (1961)
What it’s about: In New York City’s Upper West Side in the mid-’50s, there’s a serious rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teen gangs of different ethnic backgrounds (the former are Polish-American and the latter are Puerto Rican). When young Jets member Tony (Richard Beymer) falls in love with one of the Sharks’ younger sisters Maria (Natalie Wood), things get even more complicated (and the music gets even better).
Moment that made you melt: When Tony opines that “Maria” is the most beautiful sound he’s ever heard and realizes how wonderful a sound can be. —J.E.
40. Laney and Zack, She’s All That (1999)
What it’s about: Popular boy Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) takes on a bet with his friends to turn their unpopular art-loving high school classmate Laney (Rachel Leigh Cook) into prom queen in six weeks. Of course, they fall in love along the way. It’s a classic trope, but Zack and Laney’s layered personalities make them relatable, and you can actually see why they’re good for each other.
Moment that made you melt: Zack and Laney let down their defenses in her basement art studio. “Why’d you really come here, Zack?” she asks, staring into his eyes. “I forget,” he responds, gazing back. —Erica Futterman
39. Halley and Macon, How to Deal (2003)
What it’s about: Halley (Mandy Moore) meets Macon (Trent Ford) outside the guidance counselor’s office during her senior year of high school, which is off to a rough start: Her father has moved out, her pot-smoking grandmother has moved in, and her best friend watched her boyfriend drop dead on the soccer field. Amid all the pain, Halley finds herself growing closer and closer to Macon, that is until he becomes the cause of her pain when she finds out he was spending time with another girl.
Moment that made you melt: When Halley and Macon dance in the hospital hallway. —E.O.
38. Sam and Suzy, Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
What it’s about: Precocious soulmates Sam (Jared Gilmnan) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) painstakingly plot to run off together in Wes Anderson’s film, which treats the waning days of childhood the two share as a precious realm of its own. While they set up camp in a secluded cove on New Penzance, Suzy’s parents, Sam’s scoutmaster, and the rest of the island come together to search for the kids and track them down before an approaching storm.
Moment that made you melt: Clad in their underwear, Sam and Suzy dance to a Françoise Hardy record on her brother’s portable player, first separately and then closer. Sam goes in for a kiss, and after Suzy asks, “Can you French kiss?” he replies, “I think so. Is there any secret to it?” First forays into sex have never looked so quirkily adorable. —A.W.
37. Graham and Megan, But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
What it’s about: Family and friends (Michelle Williams included) of high school cheerleader Megan (Natasha Lyonne) stage an intervention after realizing she’s a lesbian thanks to her love of Melissa Etheridge and vegetarianism. They send her off to get reformed at a reparative therapy facility for teens called True Directions where she meets the angsty Graham (Clea Duvall). Though Graham initially rejects everything Megan stands for, soon, they fall in love.
Moment that made you melt: Megan, clad in her cheerleader uniform with pom-poms in hand, crashes the True Directions graduation with a special message for Graham: “1, 2, 3, 4 / You’re the one that I adore / 5, 6, 7, 8 / Don’t run from me ‘cause this is fate.” —J.E.
36. Donna and Victor, Raising Victor Vargas (2002)
What it’s about: Two willful teens (Victor Rasuk and Donna Maldonado) fall in love over the course of a hot summer on New York City’s Lower East Side.
Moment that made you melt: When Donna tells Victor that she’s never been this close with a boy before…in close competition to the scene in which Victor admits that the only way to know him is to know his crazy family. —A.H.P.
35. Charlie and Sam, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
What it’s about: Shy freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman) is welcomed by stepsiblings Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller) and their close-knit band of misfits. Sam gives Charlie his first kiss and steals his heart, but stays just out of reach with her college boyfriend, until a shared moment between the two forces Charlie to confront some childhood trauma. It’s the rare story in which it feels like two characters are growing into people who’ll be together, rather than just making their way toward a romance.
Moment that made you melt: “I just want to make sure that the first person who kisses you loves you,” Sam tells a wide-eyed Charlie before becoming just that. And while the mutual declarations of love that follow aren’t evenly matched — Sam’s isn’t a romantic love, yet — the moment is sharply honest and lovely. —A.W.
34. Hugo and Kim, Bye, Bye Birdie (1963)
What it’s about: Sweet Apple, Ohio’s Kim MacAfee (Ann-Margaret) is newly pinned to aw-shucks cutie Hugo (Bobby Rydell) and also the luckiest girl in the world: She’s picked to be the last girl Elvis-like teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie (Jesse Pearson) kisses before he heads into the army. Hugo and Kim define young, chaste love that’s disrupted by Conrad’s bad boy persona.
Moment that made you melt: Kim sings a whole song to Hugo to remind him how she feels. And that song is called “One Boy.” Awwwwwwwwww. —E.F.
33. Mary and Patrick, Saved! (2004)
What it’s about: Perfect Christian Mary (Jena Malone) gets pregnant by her gay boyfriend and decides to hide the pregnancy, while new kid Patrick (Patrick Fugit) shows up after his stint skateboarding for Christ in South America and falls for her.
Moment that made you melt: “Will you go out with me?” Patrick asks. “Come on, I’m totally adorable.” —A.H.P.
32. Jules and Mox, Varsity Blues (1999)
What it’s about: The West Canaan, Texas, Coyotes, a small-town high school football team, struggle when their star quarterback Lance Harbor (Paul Walker) gets injured. Suddenly, the brilliant, but less athletically inclined back-up QB Johnny Moxon (James Van Der Beek) has to deal with the pressure of stepping in all while trying to get into Brown and dating Lance’s sister Jules (Amy Smart).
Moment that made you melt: OK, so it’s not really between Jules and Mox, but when Mox manages to resist the super-hot Darcy (Ali Larter) who’s donning her legendary whipped cream bikini, it is incredibly swoonworthy. “What I do know is I don’t love you!” he says definitely to the half-naked woman covered in dessert. —J.E.
31. Juno and Paulie, Juno (2007)
What it’s about: Juno (Ellen Page) gets pregnant at 16 after having sex for the first time with her lifelong friend Paulie (Michael Cera). Juno decides to give the baby up for adoption, but through her pregnancy and parting with the child, she and Paulie grow closer.
Moment that made you melt: Paulie cuddles with Juno in her hospital bed after she’s given birth as tears roll down her cheeks. —E.O.
30. Bender and Claire, The Breakfast Club (1985)
What it’s about: Five high school students from very different cliques find themselves in Saturday detention with a lot more in common than they could’ve ever believed.
Moment that made you melt: When the princess (Claire, played by Molly Ringwald) pays the criminal (Bender, played by Judd Nelson) a visit in the closet he’s been sequestered to and asks him if he was really disgusted by her lipstick trick. He asks if she wants the truth, then nods and says, “No” with an adorable and totally melt-worthy smirk, particularly for those who fall for bad boys. —J.E.
29. Kate and Scott, John Tucker Must Die (2006)
What it’s about: New girl Kate (Brittany Snow) has aligned herself with the ex-girlfriends of heartbreaker John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) in an effort to woo and then dump him. But when John asks his brother Scott (Penn Badgley) to spy on Kate, the “Other Tucker” begins to develop feelings for her.
Moment that made you melt: When Scott agrees to be Kate’s lab partner again. —E.O.
28. Danielle and Matthew, The Girl Next Door (2004)
What it’s about: Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert) moves in next door to Matthew (Emile Hirsch), who “accidentally” sees her changing through the window. Danielle, looking for payback, makes Matthew run down the street wearing nothing but an inflatable tube. The two start dating, though unbeknownst to Matthew, Danielle works as a porn star.
Moment that made you melt: When Matthew and Danielle dance at prom. —E.O.
27. Casey and Matt, Mad Love (1995)
What it’s about: Matt (Chris O’Donnell at peak hotness) is a good, normal, Seattle kid; Casey (Drew Barrymore) is the ’90s version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl who shows up as the new kid from Chicago and beguiles him, taking them on a whirlwind emotional and physical journey before her mental illness takes over.
Moment that made you melt: When Matt anonymously sends Casey a ticket for her favorite band…and then shows up at the concert next to her. —A.H.P.
26. Dani and Foster, Man in the Moon (1991)
What it’s about: It’s 1957 in the rural South, and 14-year-old Dani (a very young Reese Witherspoon) develops a massive crush on the hot 17-year-old boy (Jason London) who lives on the next farm over.
Moment that made you melt: That kiss! That fleeting kiss may not have meant a relationship, but it was the stuff of all teenage dreams. —A.H.P,
25. Link and Tracy, Hairspray (1988)
What it’s about: “Pleasantly plump,” puffy-haired, and perfectly confident Baltimore teenager Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) doesn’t just take queen bee Amber Von Tussle’s (Colleen Fitzpatrick) top spot on the The Corny Collins Show — she wins over Amber’s dreamy boyfriend Link Larkin (Michael St. Gerard) with her dance skills and sunny attitude, and rallies to integrate the ’60s show as well.
Moment that made you melt: After taking a blow to the head from a vengeful Amber during a school dodgeball game, Tracy’s comforted by Link, who tells her, “lt’s not who wins — it’s how you play the game” before asking her to go steady. Cut to Tracy flashing her new ring to the camera on the show. —A.W.
24. Kostos and Lena, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
What it’s about: Best friends Lena (Alexis Bledel), Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), Bridget (Blake Lively), and Carmen (America Ferrera) find a pair of jeans that magically fit them each perfectly and use them as a way to track their separate journeys over summer break. Lena heads to visit her grandparents in Greece and falls in love with tall, dark, and handsome Kostos who is the Romeo to her Juliet in their families’ longstanding feud.
Moment that made you melt: “Lena Kaligaris we are terrible at not loving each other.” “…So what do we do?” “We figure it out.” —E.F.
23. Olive and Todd, Easy A (2010)
What it’s about: A California high school’s queen of sarcasm lies about having lost her virginity and suddenly, the rumor mills start turning. Instead of rejecting the lies, Olive (Emma Stone) uses it as a business opportunity — she allows her male classmates to spread sex-based lies about her in exchange for gift cards — all while her childhood crush Todd (Penn Badgley) stand idly by.
Moment that made you melt: “Well, yeah, come on. Who doesn’t
remember their first almost-kiss?” —Todd being the cutest because remember when Penn Badgley was the cutest? —J.E.
22. Mia and Michael, The Princess Diaries (2001)
What it’s about: Awkward teen Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) discovers she’s actually heir to the throne of the kingdom of Genovia and also Julie Andrews’ granddaughter. But being thrust into the royal spotlight makes it even harder for her to act on the longstanding crush she’s had on her best friend’s brother, Michael (Robert Schwartzman).
Moment that made you melt: Michael forgives Mia for bailing on him and shows up at her coronation ball just in time for the first dance of the night and their first kiss, which does include a foot pop.–E.F.
21. Danny and Sandy, Grease (1978)
What it’s about: Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) have what was supposed to just be a summer fling — until Sandy shows up at Danny’s high school and threatens to disrupt his ’50s cool-guy status. She tries to prove she’s good enough and attempts to be someone she’s not, but it doesn’t matter because he gives her the ultimate brush off. But then! Danny realizes he made a major mistake and fights to win Sandy back.
Moment that made you melt: “Tell me about it, stud” aka the pinnacle moment of Sandy trying to take on a different persona and Danny’s also being someone he’s not and then them both saying, Screw it, we love each other! —E.F.
20. Edward and Kim, Edward Scissorhands (1990)
What it’s about: OK, so Edward (Johnny Depp) may not technically be a teenager — since he’s the creation of an inventor played by Vincent Price — but man-made or not, the black-clad innocent with the dangerous appendages is a stand-in for outsiders everywhere in Tim Burton’s classic fantasy. He falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful Kim (Winona Ryder) as the town turns against him and he’s driven away.
Moment that made you melt: Edward helps Kim’s jerk of a boyfriend Jim (Anthony Michael Hall) rob his own parents’ house, aware that the story Jim told him about how they’re only retrieving stolen property is a lie. When Kim asked why he did it, knowing the truth, Edward tells her, simply, that he did it. “Because you asked me to.” —A.W.
19. Gus and Hazel, The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
What it’s about: Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) literally run into each other at a support group for people dealing with terminal illnesses. After the meeting, Gus asks Hazel if she wants to go watch a movie with him. She does, and then sits in anguish for days waiting for Gus to call her again. He finally texts her and the two fall madly in love. The kind that’s like “the way you fall asleep, slowly and then all at once.”
Moment that made you melt: When Hazel read her eulogy for Gus to him at his fake funeral the week before he died, telling him how he gave her infinity with a limited number of days. —E.O.
18. Chase and Nicole, Drive Me Crazy (1999)
What it’s about: Next-door neighbors Nicole (post-Clarissa Melissa Joan Hart) and Chase (pre-Entourage Adrian Grenier) grow apart as they grow up, but reunite in the name of getting back at their respective exes and ultimately fall for each other in spite of their scheming. Also, their single parents wind up falling in love, but we never find out what happens there because there is no sequel! Because the world is cruel and unfair.
Moment that made you melt: After all of their scheming and lying, Nicole and Chase finally unite without any hidden agendas. “Who are we making jealous?” she asks. “Everyone, Nicole,” he replies. “Everyone.” —E.F.
17. A.J. and Corey, Empire Records (1995)
What it’s about: A bunch of teens work at a record store and love each other in various capacities, but the movie takes place over the course of a single day when A.J. (Johnny Whitworth) vows to finally tell Corey (Liv Tyler) how he feels about her.
Moment that made you melt: When Corey pushes A.J. down on the rooftop, tells him how talented he is, confesses how much she loves him, they stumble around a bit, brush the hair out of their eyes, and at long last, make out, with the Gin Blossoms’ “‘Til I Hear It From You” in the background. —A.H.P.
16. David and Margaret, Pleasantville (1998)
What it’s about: Completely opposite high-school twin siblings David (Tobey Maguire) and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) fight over the TV and eventually break the remote. Soon, they find themselves in the world of a late ’50s sitcom and the raw emotion they bring to the titular town also adds some literal color.
Moment that made you melt: David winds up getting wooed by beautiful cheerleader Margaret (Marley Shelton) and on their first official date, as “At Last” plays on the radio, the world begins to turn technicolor. —J.E.
15. Andie and Blane, Pretty in Pink (1986)
What it’s about: Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) catches the eye of rich kid Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy), despite coming from the wrong side of the tracks and being a frequent target of derision by his snobby friends. Their romance is complicated by their class divide, as well as Blane’s fears about what other people will think of them, and there are also the concerns of Andie’s best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer), who’s in love with her.
Moment(s) that made you melt: Andie and Blane engage in some proto-Messages text flirting on the finest PCs 1986 has to offer in the school computer lab. When Andie smiles in shocked delight after figuring out who she’s been chatting with, you have to figure some of the surprise comes from wondering how the hell Blane managed to scan photos of the two of them and have them transfer so quickly on the era’s technology. —A.W.
But also, the prom! As “If You Leave” plays in the background, Blane walks over, tells Andie he loves her, kisses her on the cheek and says, “Always.” Perfectly played, John Hughes. —E.F.
14. Derek and Sara, Save the Last Dance (2001)
What it’s about: After her mother dies in a car accident during her Juilliard audition, Sara (Julia Stiles) moves to Chicago to live with her father and stops dancing. Having trouble fitting in, she’s befriended by Chenille (Kerry Washington), but she quickly becomes interested in Chenille’s brother, Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas), who helps Sara move forward and find her inner dancer again.
Moment that made you melt: When Derek decides to show up for Sara’s audition to support her instead of helping his friends with a drive-by. Chivalry isn’t dead, people. —E.O.
13. Dionne and Murray, Clueless (1995)
What it’s about: Rich with a misguided heart of gold, Cher (Alicia Silverstone) navigates high school life and tries to find a boyfriend, all the while charmingly oblivious to the reality around her. Meanwhile, her best friend Dionne (Stacey Dash) is in a long-term relationship with Murray (Donald Faison). Compared to Cher’s conquests, Dionne and Murray look like an old married couple, albeit one whose drama involves Murray shaving his head without running it past Dionne first. Still, they give Cher — and us — hope that true love exists.
Moment that made you melt: After a near-death experience with a truck during a driving lesson, Murray and Dionne reaffirm exactly how much they mean to each other. —E.F.
12. Jim and Judy, Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
What it’s about: Jim (James Dean) is emotional and frustrated — his parents are too controlling and the rest of the world misunderstands him, save the beautiful Judy (Natalie Wood).
Moment that made you melt: When Jim and Judy cuddle by the fire and Judy wonders, “Is this what it’s like to love somebody?” (Bonus: Their kiss was also Natalie Wood’s first on-screen kiss!) —A.H.P.
11. Juliet and Romeo, Romeo + Juliet (1996)
What it’s about: The setting’s been updated to the present day in the fictional but Miamiesque Verona Beach, which isn’t surprising given the sort of stylishly overblown look director Baz Luhrmann’s famous for. But the story remains the same: Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes) fall in love even though they’re from feuding families. Despite their saying many gorgeous, Shakespearian things to each other, it ends in tragedy.
Moment that made you melt: At the Capulet’s costume party, Romeo and Juliet spot each other through a fish tank as Des’ree sings the movie’s signature track, “Kissing You.” They’re instantly smitten, making some of the teen romance genre’s best goo-goo eyes at each other through the glass. —A.W.
But also: The “morning after,” when the early sun’s filtering in and they’re rolling around in the white sheets. So perfect. —A.H.P.
10. Monica and Quincy, Love & Basketball (2000)
What it’s about: The story of the childhood sweethearts Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) who go through many ups and downs (and lots of basketball games) throughout their decades-long relationship.
Moment that made you melt: Young Monica and Quincy decide to make it official…with Hostess treats. “You wanna be my girl?” he asks. “What do I have to do?” she replies. “I guess we can play ball, and ride to school together,” he continues. “When you get mad at me, I got to give you flowers.” “But I don’t like flowers,” she says. “How about Twinkies? My mom won’t ever buy them.” Finally, he decides, “I think we ought to kiss now.” They could not be cuter. —J.E.
9. Aimee and Sutter, The Spectacular Now (2013)
What it’s about: Miles Teller is the charming, popular Sutter, who’s on the verge of tilting over from high school party king to town alcoholic after graduation. Shailene Woodley’s Aimee is the nice girl he takes up with after his girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson) dumps him and tells him she’s ready for something more grown-up. At first a rebound and fresh distraction for Sutter, Aimee slowly becomes something more, encouraging him to fulfill his own potential while he helps her to stand up to her mother and understand her own worth.
Moment that made you melt: Sutter and Aimee’s first big conversation and first kiss is filmed in one long, impressive take in the woods as they wander away from a party. It’s salty-sweet and excellent evidence that Teller and Woodley are the current king and queen of playing real teenagers, as Aimee blossoms in the light of his unexpected admiration, giggling “Oh my god, no,” when he tells her, “Amy, you’re absolutely beautiful.” —A.W.
8. Amanda and Preston, Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
What it’s about: A group of teens make a last-ditch attempt to find and lose love during an epic high school graduation house party. But it’s Ethan Embry’s Preston, who’s pined for popular girl and newly single Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) that gives the movie its heart. He repeatedly attempts to give her a letter that earnestly professes his love for the real her — not the popular facade everyone sees — and she repeatedly brushes him off as a loser trying to get with her just like every other dude who’s lusted after her over the last four years. Until — finally! — he gives up, she gets the letter, and she finds him right before he leaves town for the summer, where they kiss and promise to write each other while apart.
Moment that made you melt: Preston’s face when Amanda finds him at the train station is wide-eyed disbelief at its adorable best. And when he hops over a bench to run after Amanda after almost losing her again? Done. —E.F.
7. Jamie and Landon, A Walk to Remember (2002)
What it’s about: Jamie (Mandy Moore) is a kind-hearted pastor’s daughter; Landon (Shane West) is a bad boy who makes fun of her sweater. But after Landon gets in trouble and is required to do community service and participate in the school play (and one midnight walk through a graveyard), he begins to see a side to Jamie he never knew existed.
Moment that made you melt: So many to choose from! Their first “stage” kiss and the way Landon looks at Jamie when she first walks out in her lilac evening gown; when he brings her to the state line to fulfill her dream to “be in two places at once”; the way he looks at her when she WALKS DOWN THE AISLE (!!!). —A.H.P.
It’s definitely when Landon made the telescope on Jamie’s front lawn so she could see the stars from her bedroom because she was too sick to leave the house. Oh, and then he proposes… —E.O.
6. Nick and Norah, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)
What it’s about: New Jersey high school music lover Norah heads to New York City to see her favorite band with her lush of a best friend and, in an effort to avoid an awkward situation with an ex, asks Nick at random to “be [her] boyfriend for five minutes.” Spoiler alert: It presumably ends up being more than that.
Moment that made you melt: After a helluva night, Norah wants to kiss Nick in her father’s recording studio, but all she can say is “Hi,” while looking down at her feet. He picks up her chin, she smiles, and eventually, they both lean in. After some adorable off-screen banter and kissing noises, he gives her an orgasm, which earns the movie some major bonus points. —J.E.
5. Nora and Tyler, Step Up (2006)
What it’s about: Tyler (Channing Tatum) is a bad boy from the streets of Philly who also happens to be an amazing dancer. While serving community service at the arts high school he was caught vandalizing, his dance ability helps win him entrance into the school and the heart of the tightly wound “traditional” dancer Nora (Jenna Dewan).
Moment that made you melt: Controversial opinion, but for me it’s all about the “Till the Dawn” dance sequence, which solidifies their chemistry and features the C-Tates collar-pop.
4. Jake and Sam, Sixteen Candles (1984)
What it’s about: Sam Baker’s (Molly Ringwald) family fucking forgets her birthday and on that no-so-sweet 16, her senior crush Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) finds the sex quiz she took “anonymously” that reveals she has a huge crush on him.
Moment that made you melt: Jake Ryan, whose name must be said in full for ever and ever, is standing outside the church after Sam’s sister’s disaster of a wedding in a sweater vest and waves to her, much to believe her disbelief. “Yeah, you,” he mouths as the Thompson Twins’ “If You Were Here” plays in the background. All of the swooning. —J.E.
3. Kat and Patrick, 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
What it’s about: In this adaptation of Taming of the Shrew, Julia Stiles and Larisa Oleynik (Alex Mack!) star as sisters Kat (Stiles) and Bianca (Oleynik), whose overprotective father at first won’t let them date and then modifies his rule so that the younger, more outgoing Bianca can only date once standoffish Kat has a boyfriend. And so, the popular jerk who wants to date Bianca (Andrew Keegan) pays hot loner rebel Patrick (Heath Ledger) to take Kat out. She resists at first, then lets her guard down and winds up liking him, only to find out about the cash bribe. Ultimately though, Kat forgives Patrick and Bianca gets to date (thankfully she picks Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s sweet Cameron instead of Keegan’s Joey Donner).
Moment that made you melt: In an attempt to win Kat over, Patrick hijacks the school P.A. system and enlists the marching band to help him serenade her with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” during soccer practice. Needless to say, he won Kat, her soccer team, and all bystanders over and set the bar for public wooing attempts astronomically high. —E.F.
2. Diane and Lloyd, Say Anything (1989)
What it’s about: Diane Court (Ione Skye) and Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) just graduated from high school, and she’s headed off to England at the end of the summer — but not before the two fall in love. She’s the cloistered valedictorian and he’s a big-hearted dreamer, and neither’s a stereotype. Say Anything… isn’t the story of a nerd getting the pretty girl or any other more typical defying of the high school class system. It’s about how a pair of achingly believable people realize they’re great together, and about how they navigate outside obstacles like Diane’s do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do father Jim (John Mahoney), who may be committing tax fraud himself but still feels Lloyd is unworthy of his daughter.
Moment that made you melt: With all love to John Hughes, Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything… is the greatest teen romance of the ‘80s, and its iconic scene is a perfect encapsulation of sincere, young devotion. After Diane breaks up with Lloyd, he tries to win her back by defiantly standing outside her house holding a boombox playing Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” letting the lyrics convey his feelings. —A.W.
1. Annette and Sebastian, Cruel Intentions (1999)
What it’s about: It’s the tale as old as time: Playboy meets virgin girl in hopes of making her his ultimate conquest. But in the process, boy falls in love with girl. When Annette (Reese Witherspoon) writes an article about saving yourself for marriage, Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) becomes determined to ruin her vow. He makes a bet with his twisted stepsister Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) that if he can seduce Annette, he will get to sleep with Kathryn (they have a weird sibling relationship, to say the least). But if he can’t, Kathryn will get the keys to his 1976 Roadster.
Moment that made you melt: The escalator scene! After Sebastian humiliates Annette, he races to beat her train into Penn Station. As she’s riding up the escalator, Counting Crows’ “Colorblind” begins to play. Annette looks at Sebastian and says, “I’m impressed.” He replies, “Well, I’m in love.” And no moment, on screen or in real life, will ever be more romantic than that. —E.O.
Blue shirt. Escalator. “Colorblind.” This moment is indelible to my understanding of romance forevermore. —A.H.P.
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