The course of love never did run smooth – and that's particularly true when it comes to films. The most memorable couples onscreen often end up with one or both deceased (Romeo and Juliet, Jack and Rose), separated (Alvie and Annie), hating each other (Rhett and Scarlett). Despite all of these pre-warnings as to how love can go wrong, people never learn and continue having relationships in films. There are a huge amount of great examples but here are my pick of the six best couples in film history.
Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund – Casablanca
Humphrey Bogart was not your traditional romantic lead by any means, but that's what makes his romantic characters so believable. Sentimental but never schmaltzy, when Ilsa walks back into Rick's life in Casablanca, he's heartbroken but can never show it. The war effort is more important than romantic turmoils that don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world and Rick knows this, letting her go despite her declaration of love, thus ensuring her safety.
Nickie Ferrante and Terry McKay – An Affair to Remember
Sometimes fate 'throws us a curveball'. In An Affair to Remember, Nickie and Terry are already engaged to other people but they meet and each realise that they've found the one. They plan to rendez-vous at the top of the Empire State Building six months later, but fate intervenes and it doesn't happen. But as it was meant to be, they don't stop until they're together with a suitably weepy and happy ending.
Harry Burns and Sally Albright – When Harry Met Sally
Can heterosexual men and women really be just friends? Really?! It's a question that has plagued us for, well, decades, and as these two extremely endearing characters find out, despite all the clever dialogue, other relationships and a fake orgasm in a cafe, men and women can never really be friends without sex getting in the way. (Just don't tell my male friends that.)
Omar and Johnny – My Beautiful Launderette
Released at the peak of Thatcher's Britain, there were many opponents (on and off-screen) to Omar and Johnny's relationship. A gay AND mixed-race relationship wasn't a common sight in film then (still isn't really, but it's getting better) but the characters show that it doesn't matter what you do, as long as it makes you happy. Even if that means having to fight so much prejudice.
If I'm honest, I probably could have filled the entire list with Disney couples, but that would've been far too silly... However, there aren't many screen couples like these two. EVE plays the strong female, far too interested in her career to care about boys; WALL-E is the fascinated boy trying to impress the girl he desires. All familiar, except they're – obviously – robots. But technology be damned: there aren't many film moments as tender as when WALL-E shows EVE his favourite moment in Hello Dolly and they hold 'hands'. The planet may get destroyed by the human race's mass consumption and penchant for pollution, but at least there'll always be love.
Jamie Randall and Maggie Murdock – Love and Other Drugs
This year, the 'fuck buddy' is going mainstream (see also No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits). Forget about love – for us busy adults, relationships aren't compatible with our lives. BUT we'd still like to have regular sex with a gorgeous person who feels the same and is willing to listen when we moan about things (but no getting too close, remember). In a twist on the traditional view, it's Maggie calling the shots, telling her conjugal mate Jamie that there won't be any love involved, specifically because she suffers from Parkinson's and can't let anyone get too close. Except, inevitably, they do fall in love and end up together. But that's okay, because it's the movies. Do you hold any more incredible screen couples close to your heart that we've missed? Sound off below!