Say it with a kiss! The 20 greatest smooches on film – ranked! – best news


20. Rhett and Scarlett in Gone With the Wind (1939)

The anti-kiss scene. Rhett ponders Scarlett’s face, upturned expectantly to his, eyes closed, but something in her pert entitlement deters him: “No, I don’t think I will kiss you, though you need kissing badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often and by someone who knows how.”

19. Westley and Buttercup in The Princess Bride (1987)

“Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses that have been rated the most passionate, most pure … This one left them all behind.” This fairytale adventure was very much about kissing – and ends with a world-beating smoochy clinch between the gallant Westley and the passionate Buttercup.

18. Elin and Agnes in Show Me Love (1998)

Rebecka Liljeberg and Alexandra Dahlstrom in Show Me Love. Photograph: Momentum Pictures/Allstar

In Lukas Moodysson’s early romance (the film that reputedly induced Ingmar Bergman to call him a “young master”), two teenage girls, Agnes and Elin, banish their sexual tension in the back of a car by kissing – and Foreigner’s I Want to Know What Love Is explodes on the soundtrack.

17. Ennis and Jack in Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Four years after their initial passionate, complex affair while sheep-herding in the seclusion of Wyoming’s Brokeback Mountain, Jack returns to see Ennis, who is now married. Their excited, manly bear-hug outside his house quickly escalates into a fiercely erotic, furtive kiss.

16. Leo and Felicitas in Flesh and the Devil (1926)

Greta Garbo ignites the silver screen in this silent classic, playing the scheming young woman, Felicitas, who entrances young Leo (played by John Gilbert) at a ball, without telling him she’s married, and entices him out into the garden with much outrageous play with cigarettes. They have what is thought to be the first open-mouthed kiss in cinema history.

15. Jack and Rose in Titanic (1997)

Class barriers are transcended in time-honoured style as Leonardo DiCaprio’s working-class yet artistic Jack falls for Kate Winslet’s high-born Rose aboard the doomed ocean liner and they climb up on the ship’s prow. Weirdly, their actual kiss feels like the least exciting thing they’re doing.

14. Corky and Violet in Bound (1996)

Gina Gershon is Corky, the gay ex-con into whose truck her neighbour Violet (Jennifer Tilly) coolly steps, breathily murmuring: “I had to see you.” Violet then moves in for a kiss, after flickeringly tracing a pattern on Corky’s lips with a forefinger.

13. Sam and Molly in Ghost (1990)

Of course there is the raunchy potter’s-wheel scene, but more important is when Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore) have their final farewell kiss, when ghostly Sam is certain that Molly is OK. This is the ultimate heartbreaking lip-lock between flesh-and-blood and ethereal spirit – before he must depart to the next world.

12. Benjamin and Mrs Robinson in The Graduate (1967)

When the callow, absurd Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) finally gets his secret hotel-room rendezvous with the worldly Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft), he moves in for the most unsexy and yet amusing maladroit kiss in cinema history, after which Mrs Robinson exhales her cigarette smoke, highly unimpressed.

11. Newland and Countess Olenska in The Age of Innocence (1993)

Daniel Day-Lewis’s quiet, melodious voice rises to a passionate exclamation in Scorsese’s exquisite adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel as his Newland (an engaged man) declares his love to Michelle Pfeiffer’s exotic Countess Olenska. Their lips merely brush, but strike sparks.

10. Carole and Delphine in Summertime (2015)

Catherine Corsini’s Summertime is set in 1971 Paris, when a public kiss between two women would still be scandalous. Delphine (Izïa Higelin) is a farmer’s daughter who comes to Paris to study and falls for the beautiful Carole (Cécile de France). She initiates a passionate kiss in a secluded side street with the erotic buzz of traffic in the background.

9. Devlin and Alicia in Notorious (1946)

Once billed as the longest kiss in screen history at three minutes, this one is in fact broken into three parts, with gaps for wan dialogue – which makes it sexier still. Cary Grant’s intelligence officer, Devlin, is entranced with his recruit, Alicia (Ingrid Bergman), and kisses her on a Rio hotel balcony. She murmurs: “This is a very strange love affair.” “Why?” “Maybe the fact that you don’t love me.”

8. Harold and Maude in Harold and Maude (1971)

In one of the great cult movies of the American New Wave, the morbidly death-obsessed twentysomething Harold (Bud Cort) has an affair with a free-spirited woman, Maude (Ruth Gordon), in her late 70s. Their passionate intergenerational kiss was cut from the film but survived in the trailer.

7. Han and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Episode V gives us a pretty sizzling kiss between Princess Leia and Han Solo – it’s a grownup steamy scene in a franchise not known for raunchiness. They have managed to escape an Imperial attack aboard the Millennium Falcon, which malfunctions. While she’s fixing it, Han smilingly gets in close, trying to help; Leia crossly whispers that he’s a “scoundrel” and their inevitable snog is interrupted by C3PO, artlessly burbling that he’s isolated the reverse power-flux coupling.

6. Judas and Jesus in The King of Kings (1927)

Joseph Schildkraut as Judas and HB Warner as Jesus in The King of Kings. Photograph: Masheter Movie Archive/Alamy

One of the great kiss scenes, repeated in many biblical movies: Judas betrays Jesus by kissing him in the Garden of Gethesmane, covertly signalling to the Roman soldiers that they should arrest him. The kiss as betrayal was taken up in reverse by Francis Ford Coppola in The Godfather Part II, when Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) realises Fredo (John Cazale) has sold the family out and fiercely kisses him, saying: “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart!”

5. Charles and Carrie in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

“Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.” Well, why on earth should Andie MacDowell notice the weather? She’s about to get some osculatory action from Hugh Grant – who incidentally goes in for the holding-the-woman’s-head-in-both-hands-while-kissing thing. For other kissing-in-the-rain gems, we might mention Allie and Noah in The Notebook (2004), in which Ryan Gosling plants a damp alfresco smacker on Rachel McAdams, and Spidey and Mary Jane in Spider-Man (2002), in which upside-down Tobey Maguire, with his mask rolled back, is kissed by Kirsten Dunst after he rescues her from hoodlums.

4. Milton and Karen in From Here to Eternity (1953)

The kissing is closed-mouthed, but everything else has passionate abandon. Burt Lancaster is Sgt Milton who, in pre-Pearl Harbor Hawaii, is embarking on an affair with another officer’s wife, played by Deborah Kerr. The beach is the scene of their romance. Daringly semi-clothed in their swimming costumes, they kiss in the surf, a spectacular Freudian moment.

3. Lady and the Tramp in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Like Titanic, this Disney animation is the tale of a posh woman and a male bit-of-rough. Lady is a pampered cocker spaniel who has an adventure with a stray: a tough terrier-mix called Tramp who takes her to an Italian restaurant, where their shared spaghetti strand briefly unites them in a very charming and innocent kiss.

2. Kevin and Chiron in Moonlight (2016)

One of the most poignant and overwhelmingly real kiss scenes – in that it shows you what’s at stake for both parties. The kiss can be accepted or rebuffed, but either way things are never the same. In the second of three sections, Chiron is a spindly, gawky, withdrawn teen who has a growing relationship, and then a kiss, with his classmate Kevin. Prior to the kiss, future tough guy Chiron says: “I cry so much sometimes I think I might turn to droplets.” The kiss is pure vulnerability.

1. Rick and Elsa in Casablanca (1942)

Whatever the song says, it’s never just a kiss. In their all-too-brief moment of happiness and love in wartime Paris as the Nazis close in, Elsa says to Rick: “Kiss me … kiss me as if it were the last time …” He does so. Later, when they fatefully meet in Casablanca, Elsa threatens him with a revolver for the transit papers that would allow her and her husband out of the city. Rick, with a shrug, tells her to go ahead and shoot – and then they have their second kiss, the continuation of the first, despairing, passionate, erotic and sublime.

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