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    7 Classic Romantic Films That You Didn't Know You Needed This Summer

    Grab the popcorn!

    1. The Long, Hot Summer (1958)

    20th Century Fox/Giphy

    As the title suggests, this sweaty, searing film is set smack-dab in summertime. Based on various works by William Faulkner, The Long, Hot Summer is about a roguish rambler (and alleged "barn burner") who wanders into a small Mississippi town and finds favor with its wealthiest family.

    It's fun to watch the chemistry between real-life couple Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. It's also fun to see poor Joanne sporting the worst haircut I've ever seen. Seriously girl, who cut your bangs? A tragedy.

    Rent/buy The Long, Hot Summer on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube.

    2. The Seven Year Itch (1955)

    20th Century Fox/Giphy

    Tom Ewell plays a man who fantasizes about his bombshell neighbor while his wife and son are away for the summer. Throughout the movie, this mediocre man comedically (??) tiptoes closer and closer to infidelity, and that premise is certainly...uncomfortable. But the movie is still worth a watch, if only for Marilyn Monroe's adorable performance and the iconic subway grate scene.

    Stream The Seven Year Itch on Hulu, or rent/buy on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube.

    3. To Catch a Thief (1955)

    Paramount Pictures/Giphy

    Cary Grant plays a retired burglar who is under suspicion for a rash of jewel thefts in the French Riviera. Opposite of him is a witty Grace Kelly, who is having a real hot girl summer moment. Fun fact: this movie is my favorite when it comes to costumes. Grace's ensembles are just *chef's kiss* β€” keep your eyes open for THE blue gown.

    The vacation-y setting makes this a perfect summer movie. It's rife with the signature suspense found in Alfred Hitchcock's movies, but it's definitely one of the more fun films in his repertoire.

    Stream To Catch a Thief on Amazon Prime, or rent/buy on Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube.

    4. Picnic (1955)

    Columbia Pictures/Giphy

    Oh look, it's another movie about a rascal who meanders into a small town and turns it upside down. In Picnic, William Holden stumbles into a peaceful Kansas community and joins in the town's Labor Day weekend picnic. Attraction sparks between him and Kim Novak's character, leading to mayhem, sexual tension, and lots (I mean, LOTS) of torn-shirt scenes.

    The movie is a romantic melodrama, through and through (see note above re: torn shirts) and a quick-witted drama/comedy of manners. I personally think the narrative unfolds more seamlessly on the stage than the screen. So if you like the movie and are looking for an even better version of the story, go find it and thank me later.

    Rent/buy Picnic on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube.

    5. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)


    Yep, it's another Paul Newman movie. Sue me.

    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  features a brilliant performance from Elizabeth Taylor and is based on Tennessee Williams' play of the same name. Desperate and tempestuous, Elizabeth's character chases the affections of her depressed husband as tensions rise during a tedious family gathering.

    Unfortunately, when the play was adapted to a movie, the film was censored and stripped of its queer undertones β€” which are crucial to the plot. Tennessee Williams and Paul Newman reportedly both expressed disappointment in this erasure. The film is still worth watching β€” the writing that does remain intact is fantastic β€” but in addition to watching the movie, definitely find a copy of the play in written form and give it a read to understand how the story was intended to unfold.

    Rent/buy Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube.

    6. Roman Holiday (1953)

    Paramount Pictures/Giphy

    This beloved Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck film depicts a sheltered princess who rebels against her royal duties and frolics around Rome with an American journalist.

    Audrey's joyful exuberance really shines; her performance, coupled with a sweet script, makes the film less cynical than others in this list. Hey, a little warm-heartedness never hurt anyone.

    Stream Roman Holiday on Amazon Prime and Paramount+, or rent/buy on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube.

    7. Rear Window (1954)

    Paramount Pictures/Giphy

    There's one more Grace Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock collab that deserves a place on this list, and it's Rear Window. Bored and in a wheelchair while stuck a stuffy city apartment, Jimmy Stewart is a photographer who starts spying on his neighbors (kinda creepy, I guess) and suspects that one of them has committed murder. Grace is his socialite girlfriend who helps investigate.

    It's not a romance movie per se, but the relationship between Jimmy and Grace's characters is a centerpiece in the movie. What better way to bond as a couple than trying to apprehend a homicidal maniac? #goals

    Rear Window is a masterclass in suspense and is one of Hitchcock's best films. It's a slow build, but be patient: the tension and paranoia soon turn delicious in this quintessential summer thriller.

    Stream Rear Window on Amazon Prime, or rent/buy on Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube.

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