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Lists Of Our Lifetime: Empire's Greatest Romantic Gestures
Our selection of the very best acts of friendship, defiance or, of course, love from the 25 years of cinema

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Continuing our a year-long celebration of the last 25 years' cinematic highlights, we count down the top 25 acts which prove that, in cinema at least, romance will never die.

See also: Empire's Greatest Opening Scenes

WORDS TEAM EMPIRE
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Stranger Than Fiction

25

SAY IT WITH FLOURS (STRANGER THAN FICTION, 2006)
Because the romantic gesture is a pun. More than that: a pun that works. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s financially muddled baker Ana has already been offended by Will Ferrell’s anal auditor Harold when he refused her cookies. Now he reappears with a gift for her. She’s prickly and puzzled. Then he delivers the zinger: “I brought you flours.” And in the next few seconds you can see Ana’s heart thaw.


24

"I'M A FREE MAN!" (IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, 1993)
It’s the ecstatic reaction to an injustice overturned. Conviction quashed (Daniel Day-Lewis barely keeping a lid on Conlon’s 15 years’ worth of rage), the police insist to Gerry Conlon he quietly leave by the back door. Conlon, thrusting his chin to the air, refuses. “I’m a free man and I’m going out the front door!” As his supporters send the court into uproar, he climbs up and over the benches and out. You’re with him every step.


23

ORANGE TIC-TACS (JUNO, 2007)
Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody’s whip-smart comedy may be hipper than thou, but it is hiding a huge heart beneath its indie jumper. As best revealed when, following their first fight, Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) makes amends by filling Paulie Bleeker’s (Michael Cera) mailbox with his “one and only vice” — orange Tic-Tacs.

 
Dead Poets Society
 
22

"O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!" (DEAD POETS SOCIETY, 1989)
A room full of crushed pupils, their disgraced teacher collecting his effects, and a final defiant expression of love and devotion as one by one, led by Ethan Hawke’s introvert Todd Anderson, the inspired boys rise to stand on their desks and call out Walt Whitman’s poetic rallying call, “O Captain! My Captain!” Not a dry nose left in the house.


21

KILLING DREXL (TRUE ROMANCE, 1993)
Appropriate that the great act of devotion in this Tarantino/Tony Scott crime spree is a guy (Christian Slater’s Clarence) killing his prostitute-girlfriend’s pimp (a rasta Gary Oldman). And if you have any doubts, consider said girlfriend’s (Patricia Arquette’s Alabama) teary response: “That’s so romantic!”

 

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1 a few more ...
Titanic - Yes you can have the ENTIRE DOOR, there's no room for me anyway ! (Ignore the "I'll never let go, oops I dropped him" bit) The Abyss - "YOU'VE NEVER GIVEN UP ON FIGHT IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE YOU BITCH.....LIVE...LIVE....LIVE !!!!!) - maybe the most romantic slap in the face of all time EMPIRE STRIKES BACK - "I love you !" - "Of course you do, I'm Han frikkin' Solo !" (what he should have said) More

Posted by danielthompson99 on Friday February 7, 2014, 23:47

2 But aren't you forgetting....?
--- Bogey letting Ingrid have his seat on the plane in Casablanca ---Trevor Howard touching Celia's shoulder at the end of Brief Encounter (a gesture that means all the more cos it's *all* he can do) --- And forget Jerry Maguire, surely as Big Romantic Gestures go, it's hard to beat Michael Biehn in Terminator, saying it with time travel: "I came across time for you, Sarah" -- AWW!! More

Posted by beanybug on Friday February 7, 2014, 17:04

3 Hang on hang on!! Superman!!!
So superman ignoring his dad marlon Brando and flying around the world backwards to turn back time to save lois isn't no.1???? More

Posted by Apsmith on Tuesday February 4, 2014, 23:24

4 Cinema Paradiso, Alfredo's final gift?!
How could Empire forget the love note to cinema (and also fatherhood) when Toto watches the reel Alfredo left him - all the kissing scenes cut from the films he watched as a child? More

Posted by blaise11 on Tuesday February 4, 2014, 10:23

5
Where is the Affleck declaration of love scene from Chasing Amy ?? A serious miscalculation to not include that More

Posted by PaoloCorleone on Monday February 3, 2014, 14:04

6 umm, someone got their wires crossed?
At least two of these are from the best opening scenes article aren't they? Don't remember any Brooklynites in Braveheart. More

Posted by BethN21286 on Sunday February 2, 2014, 00:00

7 Yes you are crazy!
Number one should be the end of DANCES WITH WOLVES - being under friendship obviously. Probably the most unsentimentally acted and directed scene that conveys pure friendship. More

Posted by timhewitt on Saturday February 1, 2014, 19:53

8 Lovely list
But i would take a Field of Daffodils (Big Fish) over a mailbox of TicTacs any day and I enjoy TicTacs. Sure some might argue Juno's sentiment is the same it is not. Not a field of daffodils. Tell me empire would you even pull out my chair as we sat down to dinner? Cos I like to be wined and dined befored i get F*#%$d, tictacs...... More

Posted by Mr.lovejoy on Saturday February 1, 2014, 19:22

9 A few that would have been in my list:
1) Come What May - Moulin Rouge 2) The Bathtub - Seven Pounds 3) Duettino Sull'aria - Shawshank Redemption 4) Field of Daffodils - Big Fish 5) Just a girl - Notting Hill 6) You Jump, I jump - Titanic 7) Hey lil' Troublemaker - Django Unchained 8) We have to finish the race - Cool Runnings 9) No body puts baby in the corner - Dirty Dancing 10) The Bus Trip - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest More

Posted by JennyWy on Saturday February 1, 2014, 13:27

10 You missed one.
You missed the lovely scene from Life is beautiful, where the main character Guido, in the middle of the concentration camp, sneaks into the office and broadcasts a message of love and hope to his wife on the camp tanoy. The fact that he manages to get his son on the tanoy, just adds to the gesture More

Posted by Padman2 on Friday January 31, 2014, 20:55

11 You missed one.
You missed the lovely scene from Life is beautiful, where the main character Guido, in the middle of the concentration camp, sneaks into the office and broadcasts a message of love and hope to his wife on the camp tanoy. The fact that he manages to get his son on the tanoy, just adds to the gesture More

Posted by Padman2 on Friday January 31, 2014, 20:55

12 You missed one.
You missed the lovely scene from Life is beautiful, where the main character Guido, in the middle of the concentration camp, sneaks into the office and broadcasts a message of love and hope to his wife on the camp tanoy. The fact that he manages to get his son on the tanoy, just adds to the gesture More

Posted by Padman2 on Friday January 31, 2014, 20:54

13
A lot of people seem quite annoyed by some errors in a free internet article. Chill out folks. More

Posted by andrewndoyle on Friday January 31, 2014, 16:25

14
A lot of people seem quite annoyed by some errors in a free internet article. Chill out folks. More

Posted by andrewndoyle on Friday January 31, 2014, 14:52

15 Eh?
Since when did Empire employ Daily Mail journalists to write their articles? Did anyone actually read this before posting it? More

Posted by the_equalizer on Friday January 31, 2014, 00:08

16 No6
WTF?? C'mon Empire, this is beneath you. More

Posted by edoinjapan on Thursday January 30, 2014, 23:56

17 The Coen Brothers' Braveheart
I'd go see it! More

Posted by edoinjapan on Thursday January 30, 2014, 23:50

18 RE:
Really got to wonder who the hell proofreads this stuff, if anyone at all with all the mistakes in it. And for an article called 'Greatest ROMANTIC Gestures'.... Sam carrying Frodo? Oh Captain, My Captain? Either Empire has no clue what Romatic means, or they were pushed to think of things and just copy pasted it all. More

Posted by GrizBe on Thursday January 30, 2014, 17:25

19
Yeah they've clearly copied and pasted the format from the Best Openings. Clearly the biggest mistake is the fact that When Harry Met Sally isn't number one. More

Posted by britesparc on Thursday January 30, 2014, 16:03

20 no 17 is WRONG
Unless I'm mistaken and the Coen's directed a New York set Braveheart remake the same year as the Gibson movie came out. More

Posted by putthatcookiedown on Thursday January 30, 2014, 15:11

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