The 32 best date night movies

The Matrix Resurrections
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Choosing a movie for date night is trickier than it seems. Sometimes you want something relaxing and easy. Other times, the mood demands something more challenging. Scientifically speaking, horror movies help raise the heart rate which increases our attraction to someone. But not everyone can tolerate jump scares. So, what are actually the greatest date night movies?

Turns out, there’s a lot of movies that fit the bill. For couples spending the night on the couch and want viewing options that span it all, there’s plenty of movies that fit the mood. (And maybe get into the mood.) From the scary to the surreal, from the hilarious to the heartfelt, these are the 32 best movies for date night.

32. Let the Right One In (2008)

Let the Right One In

(Image credit: Sandrew Metronome)

At the height of Twilight-induced vampire fever, Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson released Let the Right One In, a film adaptation of the 2004 novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Though the movie has some horror elements to honor its original source text, Alfredson’s movie is actually a coming-of-age romance between two adolescents in 1980s Stockholm. (It just so happens that one of them is a vampire.) Emotional and lyrical, Let the Right One In belies its own genre to instead be something totally original. An equally formidable American remake, Let Me In, was released in 2010 and is also worth checking out.

31. Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Drag Me to Hell

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

After his Spider-Man trilogy, splatter auteur Sam Raimi returned to his black comedy horror roots with Drag Me to Hell. While the movie primarily deals with a bank employee (played by Alison Lohman) working overtime to end a hellish curse put upon her, Justin Long appears in a supporting role to play her loving, loyal boyfriend who puts up with her downward spiral. In true Raimi fashion, the movie’s ample thrills help raise the heart rate while its laughs can put scaredy cats at ease.

30. Language Lessons (2021)

Language Lessons

(Image credit: Shout! Studios)

The COVID-19 pandemic spawned a lot of low-budget, lo-fi movies that took advantage of our newfound familiarity with Zoom. While most of these movies were duds (due in large part to their rushed and haphazard creation), Natalie Morales’ Language Lessons defies expectations, being so carefully crafted and intimate that you can almost feel its embrace. After a man (Mark Duplass, also co-writer with Morales) loses his husband, his Spanish lessons with his online teacher (Morales) becomes an unexpected source of joy, friendship, and healing. While Language Lessons isn’t a romance, it is still a moving picture that shows how much personal connections are a gift.

29. Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet

(Image credit: StudioCanal)

For couples who want a bit of danger and allure in their romances, look no further than David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Kyle MacLachlan stars as a college student who returns home and finds a severed ear in his neighborhood. The discovery kicks off an investigation – and a fling with a sultry lounge singer, played by Isabella Rossellini – that reveals a dark conspiracy in his sleepy suburban hometown. A mesmerizing mix of psychological horror and noir love stories, Blue Velvet is David Lynch at his finest, a movie that stirs the imagination long into the night.

28. Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Celebrated auteur Guillermo del Toro may be known for his gothic artistry. But many of his movies, like Hellboy and The Shape of Water, are also about love in whatever forms they take (human or otherwise). It’s especially true for his 2015 romance Crimson Peak, in which an aspiring author (played by Mia Wasikowska) moves into a dilapidated English mansion with her new husband (Tom Hiddleston) and sister (Jessica Chastain) only to find it haunted by spirits. Crimson Peak bombed in theaters due to its misleading marketing as a horror movie, but it can now be truly enjoyed by audiences it was actually intended for: couples whose ideal weekend getaway is a spooky mansion on a dark and stormy night.

27. Interstellar (2014)


(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

We could go on and on about Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic Interstellar being a thoughtful, almost mathematical exploration of love – both the romantic and the familial. It is expansive, a summation of Nolan’s craftsmanship firing on cosmic cylinders before he reached even more daring heights through pictures like Tenet and Oppenheimer. We could spend all day talking about that. Instead, let’s just hear from Anne Hathaway’s Dr. Brand, who delivers this moving bit of wisdom in the film: “Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space. Maybe we should trust that, even if we can't understand it.” 

26. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

When Harry Met Sally

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

A perfect romantic comedy if there ever was one, Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally… (written by the effervescent Nora Ephron) is bewildering in its evergreen shelf life, being still so relevant in its musings on the needless complexities we impose on modern dating. Featuring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in her star-making role, the movie tells of two “friends” (they hate each other at first) who, over many years and complicated restaurant orders, start to fall for each other despite their initial disagreement over whether men and women can be just friends. Turns out they’re both wrong, but you would be right for choosing When Harry Met Sally… for date night.

25. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

There’s a reason why newly engaged couples replicate the poster for their Save the Date mailers, even if it technically misses the point. Doug Liman’s action-comedy Mr. and Mrs. Smith is, even now, a clever satire on modern marriage, being so full of clever subversions of domesticity through its many outlandish spy movie twists. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie famously co-star in Mr. and Mrs. Smith as a married couple who secretly work for competing assassination firms, and find themselves tasked with killing each other. Mr. and Mrs. Smith wasn’t the first film to ever tie up action and romantic comedies in a bow – or, more appropriately, a hand restraint – but it undeniably popularized it. And you know what? It still hits the mark.

24. Vanilla Sky (2001)

Vanilla Sky

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

In Cameron Crowe’s ethereal remake of Alejandro Amenábar’s 1997 film Open Your Eyes, Tom Cruise plays a hotshot magazine publisher in New York City who starts to question reality after a debilitating car accident. (Penélope Cruz stars in both versions of the movie too, playing the same role.) Vanilla Sky is entirely centered around one man’s vanity, and the grave costs it takes on his personal life. While the movie is not strictly a love story, it is about wanting to feel something deep and real, even if that means having to live forever in a dream. 

23. Warm Bodies (2013)

Warm Bodies

(Image credit: Summit Entertainment)

Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies isn’t the only romantic comedy set in a zombie apocalypse. Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead bit off that piece of the flesh pie years before, in 2004. But Levine’s Warm Bodies tells its story from a zombie’s perspective – a hapless, self-aware husk named “R” (Nicholas Hoult) – and in doing so, offers a fresh perspective to a decaying subgenre. “R” is a zombie who finds himself drawn to a human survivor named Julie (Teresa Palmer). After eating Julie’s boyfriend and inheriting his memories and feelings, “R” also develops a romantic connection to Julie. No matter one’s fatigue towards zombie comedies, Warm Bodies is an entertaining look into how a romantic spark can make us come alive again.

22. Notting Hill (1999)

Notting Hill

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

There was a time when Julia Roberts reigned supreme over Hollywood’s romantic comedies. At the apex of her powers, the celebrity movie star played, well, a celebrity movie star, in Roger Michell’s lovely and lively rom-com Notting Hill. Hugh Grant stars as a bookshop owner (travel books only) who one day has a most unexpected customer: famed actress Anna Scott (Roberts). Somehow, Scott takes a liking to Grant’s William, and the two begin dating despite their wildly different worlds. Besides being knee-slapping hilarious, Notting Hill enables anyone to daydream about a whirlwind improbable romance. But let’s just assume the person you’re watching with is also the person you’re dreaming of too, yeah?

21. Romeo Must Die (2000)

Romeo Must Die

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In this contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a Chinese triad enforcer (Jet Li) falls in love with a Black businesswoman (Aaliyah) despite their families waging war in Oakland’s underworld. Of all the modernized versions of Shakespeare’s famous play to exist, Romeo Must Die is by far the most electric, with a dynamite Jet Li in all his kung fu glory and a radiant Aaliyah matching him with complimentary sex appeal. True to the spirit of its timeless tale of starcrossed lovers, Li and Aaliyah make a gorgeous pair whose chemistry doesn’t quite explode but reverberates through the screen. If only they actually kissed at the end.

20. The Night House (2020)

The Night House

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

In this lean, searing haunted house horror movie, Rebecca Hall shines as a widow who uncovers a dark secret about their home built by her late husband, an architect. Through careful and ingenious direction by David Bruckner, The Night House shows that the things that scare us are what we find in the negative spaces; between the lines and around the corners of places we presume to know every inch. It simply makes for a great and chilling date night flick, with its grand designs about the terrifying lengths we go to uphold our promises.

19. Before Sunrise (1995)

Before Sunrise

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

If we’re lucky enough, we get to spend even just one night with a person who shows us what forever looks like. That’s the big picture idea behind Before Sunrise, Richard Linklater’s celebrated 1995 film about a young American man (Ethan Hawke) and a French woman (Julie Delpy) who have a chance encounter on a train to Vienna. Amid a whirlwind twelve-ish hours, the two young adults debate their opposing ideas about life and love. Characterized by extended monologues and gorgeous walk-throughs of Vienna, Before Sunrise captures those exciting nights where we find the person we’re meant to be with even if it’s only meant to last a few hours. Feel free to check out the sequels – 2004’s Before Sunset, and 2013’s Before Midnight – which all make up a beautiful trilogy. But Before Sunrise also works on its own, being the one that arguably inspires hopeless romantics the most. 

18.  Her (2013)


(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Spike Jonze’s widely acclaimed science fiction romance Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man living in a near, technologically-advanced future who falls in love with “Samantha,” an artificial intelligence assistant. (Think Siri or Alexa, just with the voice of Scarlett Johansson.) There’s a lot to unpack with the movie’s themes regarding the genuine nature of love and our increasing reliance on technology, not to mention the rapid evolution of generative artificial intelligence creeping into all industries and livelihoods. So let’s just say that Spike Jonze made something so impressively resonant and real, a hopeless romance that impossibly inspires optimism despite a lonelier future ahead.

17. It Follows (2014)

It Follows

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There’s a dozen ways to read into the frightening premise of It Follows. For some very unfortunate souls, sexual intercourse is the only way to pass on being the target of a sinister supernatural entity. One young woman living in Detroit learns that the hard way, when a seemingly harmless one night stand makes her “it.” However you want to grasp the movie’s elaborate metaphor, be it the risks of having sex or our reluctance to be intimate, It Follows is an effective mid-sized horror movie that guarantees the blood gets pumping somewhere.

16. The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick

(Image credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

In 2017, comedians Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani co-wrote a loose retelling of their real-life romance in The Big Sick, with Nanjiani playing a fictional version of himself and Zoe Kazan as Emily. Buoyant and expressive, The Big Sick is a delightful gem of a rom-com that surpasses its familiar genre trappings and occasional inappropriateness – including the greatest 9/11 joke ever told in a movie – through the palpable authenticity of its storytelling from the storytellers involved. For couples who want to laugh and cry and cheer, fall “ill” love with The Big Sick.

15. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989)

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

(Image credit: Lauren Films)

If couples not only want an utterly chaotic rom-com but to experience cinematic history, there’s Pedro Almodovar’s 1989 black comedy Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!. Antonio Banderas stars as a former psychiatric patient who is devastated to learn that the movie star he once romanced in the past doesn’t remember him. So he does the reasonable thing: He kidnaps her and ties her up, interrogating her to remember a time they were together. Surreal, vulgar, yet strangely sweet (we promise), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is for those who want some spice in their date night flick. Fun fact: The movie is largely responsible for the creation of the NC-17 rating, being too risqué for an R-rating but not outright pornographic to be X-rated. 

14. Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

Zack & Miri Make a Porno

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Kevin Smith, the Woody Allen for Jersey slackers, has instances of pure, unadulterated brilliance, especially in his earlier movies. While he enjoys proper recognition with his 1997 drama Chasing Amy, not enough is said about Zack and Miri Make a Porno, whose candid if also crude title betrays the heart of gold throbbing inside. When best friends and roommates (played by Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks) get desperate to pay the bills, they hatch a kooky scheme to shoot their own low-budget smut film. What they don’t expect is to fall in love while making it. While the movie is mostly Kevin Smith doing a Judd Apatow impression, it’s still a strapping late-aughts rom-com that strips down and bares it all – including its soul.

13. In the Mood For Love (2000)

In the Mood for Love

(Image credit: Block 2 Pictures)

Wong Kar-wai is perhaps Hong Kong’s definitive romantic movie director, with a body of work replete with lovestruck wanderers and hopeless romantics. While all of his films demand attention, his most famous is 2000’s In the Mood For Love, about two married people (played by Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung) who learn their spouses are having an affair and begin to develop feelings for one another. Its lush and chic stylings are complemented by its heart-wrenching tale embodying universal feelings of desire. If heartbreak can be erotic, it would look like In the Mood For Love. Spare a thought for couples who find it’s hitting a little too close to home.

12. Deadpool (2016)


(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

It’s easy to underestimate Deadpool due to its crass humor that appeals almost exclusively to fanboys (emphasis on “boys”). But this R-rated, Golden Globe-nominated Marvel comedy has a surprising amount of emotional pathos beneath its red spandex. The movie tells of a mercenary (Ryan Reynolds, in a passion project role) who finds long-overdue peace in a beautiful woman (Morena Baccarin). In his desperation to cure himself of a terminal disease and live the quiet life he wants, he becomes a tormented subject of a black market experiment that activates his latent mutant superpowers. A romantic revenge thriller with DMX needle drops, Deadpool makes a great date night flick for couples for whom love is a loaded gun.

11. Get Out (2017)

Get Out

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

In Jordan Peele’s acclaimed horror sci-fi Get Out, the uneasy dynamics of interracial relationships are probed at needlepoint. A Black photographer (Daniel Kaluuya) visits the family of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams) in Upstate New York and discovers something sinister happening under their Adirondack-core veneer. Essentially a spiritual remake of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? by way of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Jordan Peele’s Get Out helped give audiences the language to describe their own ineffable discomfort navigating alien environments.

10. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

(Image credit: Focus Features)

It may be an ironic movie to watch for couples, but Michel Gondry’s grounded science fiction drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is all about preserving the connections that meant the most to us even if it hurts. Jim Carrey, in one of his more dramatic roles, stars as a man who undergoes a radical procedure to eliminate all memories of his ex-lover (played by Kate Winslet) after learning she has done the same. But in the deep recesses of his memories, he struggles to hold onto his pain and yearning for her, to preserve the precious beauty in all its messiness. Many of us like to say we want to forget our exes, but like it or not, they’re the ones who’ve shaped us into the people we are now.

9. Palm Springs (2020)

Palm Springs

(Image credit: NEON)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti co-starred in a hilarious time loop rom-com that felt like a balm for that confining, never-ending summer. In Palm Springs from director Max Barbakow, a guest at a California wedding has accepted his fate to live the same day over and over. But when a meet-cute encounter ends in a mishap, his “date” Sarah (Milioti) finds she’s in the time loop with him, and the two team up to break the cycle. Powered by the nuclear energy of Samberg and Milioti, Palm Springs is all about how hilarious it can be to “spend forever” with the right person.

8. Past Lives (2023)

Past Lives

(Image credit: A24)

Prepare the Kleenex tissues and tighten the Instagram block list for this one. Celine Song’s acclaimed romantic drama Past Lives is a heartbreaking examination into the romantic possibilities that have long passed us by, but whose ghosts linger somewhere deep inside us. Greta Lee and Teo Yoon co-star as childhood friends who, over the course of some 24 years, weave in and out of each other’s lives to ponder the possibilities of “What if?” In the apocalyptic landscape of modern dating, Past Lives invites us to think about the other paths we were too smart to take.

7. Friends With Benefits (2011)

Friends With Benefits

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

At the height of his movie career, pop singer Justin Timberlake co-starred with a feisty Mila Kunis in a saccharine rom-com about lovers who like to keep things cashz (“casual”). Though the movie painfully screams early 2010s – peep Timberlake’s skinny ties, flash mobs, and PlayStation Move product placement – Friends With Benefits is surprisingly endearing as it is enduring, with its smart take on how much commitment it actually takes to maintain even the most casual of situationships. 

6. Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

Crazy, Stupid, Love

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

When studio romantic comedies got stale, Glen Ficarra and John Requa’s Crazy, Stupid, Love gave the genre a sudden burst of fresh air. Steve Carell stars as a divorced, dripless middle-aged man who takes up lessons in modern dating with Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a handsome womanizer. In the process however, Jacob begins to unlearn his own ways when a spirited young woman (Emma Stone) challenges and excites him. Easily one of the smartest and funniest mainstream romantic comedies produced in the 21st century, Crazy, Stupid, Love enlightens us all how love is the one constant that never guarantees us anything.

5. Decision to Leave (2022)

Decision to Leave

(Image credit: CJ Entertainment)

Renowned Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook has explored love in all its forms many times in his movies, be it brotherly (Joint Security Area), violent (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), unconventional (I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK), and forbidden (Thirst). But no movie of his teems with problematic eroticism like Decision to Leave. A neo-noir psychological mystery thriller, Park Hae-il plays a married police detective whose investigation into a murder leads him to question the widow (Tang Wei), whom he slowly develops feelings for. Boasting some of Park Chan-wook’s most titillating filmmaking in his career, Decision to Leave is a suspenseful throwback to the noir romances of yesteryear and ideal for couples who want something truly challenging.

4. The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

The Matrix Resurrections

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

The Matrix trilogy’s bombardment of wire-fu action, bullets, and edgy computer hacking make it hard to remember that it was also a love story between revolutionaries. In Lana Wachowski’s long-awaited follow up The Matrix Resurrections, Wachowski asserts her ownership over the saga amid a dreadful era of remakes and reboots by reuniting Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie Ann-Moss), people who’ve seemingly moved on from their past and rediscover one another back in The Matrix. Largely fueled by her grief from losing both her parents and a close friend in a short time, Wachowski told Entertainment Weekly how a sleepless night spawned its touching story about love that persists beyond dimensions. "I couldn't have my mom and dad… yet suddenly I had Neo and Trinity, arguably the two most important characters in my life," she said. 

3. No Time to Die (2021)

No Time to Die

(Image credit: MGM)

When you think of committed romantic movie leads, the philandering James Bond maybe isn’t one of them. But Daniel Craig’s run on the 007 franchise saw the famous British spy remain haunted by the loss of Vesper (Eva Green) in 2006’s Casino Royale. Fast forward to 2021’s No Time to Die, and Craig’s Bond has a final shot at forever when he confronts a powerful and enigmatic terrorist (Rami Malek) who has kidnapped a psychotherapist (Léa Seydoux) – who wooed Bond in 2015’s SPECTRE – and her young daughter. While No Time to Die requires having seen most, if not all of Craig’s previous Bond films, the gist anyone needs to know is that even a masculine rogue like James Bond can be evaporated by the decimating powers of love. None of us are immune. 

2. Bones and All (2022)

Bones and All

(Image credit: MGM)

Ever lusted after someone so bad you could almost eat them alive? That’s the playful conceit behind Luca Guadagnino’s arthouse romantic horror Bones and All. Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet co-star as young adult cannibals who find understanding in their shared voracious appetite, and hit the road in search of meaning. While queasy couples may find it hard to stomach its gruesomeness, those who stick with it may be rewarded with a delectable treat that muses on our eternal hunger for acceptance.

1. Your Name (2016)

Your Name

(Image credit: Toho)

In this breathtaking and glittering romantic fantasy from Makoto Shinkai, two high school students in modern Japan swap bodies and struggle to learn the ins and outs of each other’s lives. After the initial shock and hilarity wears off, their investigation into the strange phenomenon’s origins lead them into the crater of Japan’s geographic nexus of naturally-occurring disasters. While Your Name is profoundly specific to Japanese sociology, the movie transcends cultural barriers to be a moving, sweeping saga about personal connections that transcend time and space.

Eric Francisco

Eric Francisco is a freelance entertainment journalist and graduate of Rutgers University. If a movie or TV show has superheroes, spaceships, kung fu, or John Cena, he's your guy to make sense of it. A former senior writer at Inverse, his byline has also appeared at Vulture, The Daily Beast, Observer, and The Mary Sue. You can find him screaming at Devils hockey games or dodging enemy fire in Call of Duty: Warzone.