When you think of the ultimate, classic movie kiss, what do you think of? If The Notebook comes to mind, I have to admit I too am a sucker for it every time. Romantic movie moments have melted our hearts since the dawn of cinema. The first ever on-screen kiss, lasting a total of 30 seconds, occurred in an 1896 short film called The Widow Jones. A display of affection so foreign at the time, the film caused an uproar of criticism, with critics calling the lip-lock tasteless, disgusting, and against public morals. Even police action was advanced to deter young admirers from imitating what they had seen! Fortunately for romantic movie lovers, popular culture felt differently and soon the on-screen kiss became a staple in early film, so much that a film industry study in the 1930s found that 95% of movies had romance as a major plot line. Just think of how many old black and white movies end with one great kiss?
Thousands of kisses have been recorded on film since 1896, but certain ones have truly captured our hearts. They linger in our memories, making us truly believe that love is real. In tribute, here’s a list of the greatest, most magical kisses on cinema…
Paul: Holly, I’m in love with you.
Holly: So what?
Paul: So what? So plenty. I love you. You belong to me.
Holly: No. People don’t belong to people.
Paul: Of Course they do.
Holly: I’m not gonna let anyone put me in a cage.
Paul: I don’t want to put you in a cage. I want to love you.
Rick: Let’s see, what about the engineer? Why can’t he marry us on the train?
Ilsa: Oh, darling…
Rick: Why not? The captain on a ship can. It doesn’t seem fair that – hey what’s wrong kid?”
Ilsa: I love you so much. And I hate this war so much. Oh, it’s a crazy world, anything can happen. If you shouldn’t get away, I mean, if something should keep us apart… Wherever they put you and wherever I’ll be, I want you to know that I… (he kisses her)
Ilsa: Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time.
Salvatore: When will this rotten summer end? In a film, it’d be already over. Fade-out, cut to storm. Wouldn’t that be great? (On cue, lighting, thunder and rain begin.. Elena appears kissing him)
Salvatore: Elena! But when ..?
Elena: I got back today. You can’t imagine the excuses I made up to come here.”
Karen: I never knew it could be like this. Nobody ever kissed me the way you do.
Karen: No, nobody.
Warden: Not even one? Out of all the men you’ve been kissed by?
Karen: Now that would take some figuring. How many men do you think there’ve been?
Warden: I wouldn’t know. Can’t you give me a rough estimate?
Karen: Not without an adding machine.
Rhett: You’ve been married to a boy and an old man. Why not try a husband of the right age – with a way with women.
Scarlett: You’re a fool, Rhett Butler. When you know I shall always love another man.
Rhett: (grabs her) Stop it. You hear me Scarlett, stop it. No more of that talk.
Scarlett: Rhett, don’t. I shall faint.
Rhett: I want you to faint. This is what you were meant for. None of the fools you’ve ever known hae you kissed you like this, have they? Your Charles or your Frank or your stupid Ashley.
Sugar: You’re not giving yourself a chance. Don’t fight it. Relax… (she kisses him)
Joe: (shaking his head) Like smoking without inhaling.
Sugar: So inhale!
Joe: I’ve got a funny sensation in my toes, like someone was barbecuing them over a slow flame.
Sugar: Let’s throw another log on the fire.. (she kisses him)
Joe: I think you’re on the right track.
Sugar: I must be. Your glasses are beginning to steam up.
Jack: Give me your hand. Now close your eyes. Go on. Step up. Now hold onto the railing. Keep your eyes closed, don’t peek.
Rose: I’m not.
Jack: Step up onto the rail. Hold on. Hold on. Keep your eyes closed. Do you trust me?
Rose: I trust you.
Jack: All right, open your eyes.
Rose: I’m flying! Jack!
Jack: Come Josephine, my flying machine, going up , she goes, up, she goes..
Slim: You’re not very hard to figure. Only at times. Sometimes I know exactly what you’re going to say – most of the time. The other times… The other times you’re just a slinker (kisses him).
Harry: What’d you do that for?
Slim: Been wondering whether I’d like it.
Harry: What’s the decision?
Slim: I don’t know yet… (kisses him again), It’s even better when you help.
Tony: You’re… not thinking I’m someone else?
Maria: I know you are not.
Tony: Or that we’ve met before?
Maria: I know we have not.
Tony: I felt … I knew something never before was gonna happen – had to happen, but this is so much more.
Maria: My hands are cold (taking his hands). Yours too (she caresses his face), So warm.
Tony: (touching her face) So beautiful…
Tony: So much to believe. You’re not making a joke?
Maria: I have not yet learned how to joke that way. I think now I never will.
Allie: Why didn’t you write me? Why? It wasn’t over for me. I waited for you for seven years and now it’s too late.
Noah: I wrote you letters. I wrote you every day for a year.
Allie: You wrote me?
Noah: It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over..!
THE LADY EVE (1941), Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda
ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953), Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955), Natalie Wood and James Dean
SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer
TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983), Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson
GHOST (1990), Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze
 Illouz, Eva. Consuming the Romantic Utopia, Univ. of Calif. Press (1997) p. 31