8 classic film screenings to bring the romance this Valentine’s day

Retro movies on the big screen are back in a big way – here are our picks for prime V day viewing

A woman holding a mug and lying on a man
A woman holding a mug and lying on a man

Retro movies on the big screen are back in a big way – here are our picks for prime V day viewing

By Hollie Hilton and Elli Weir13 Feb 2024
6 mins read time
6 mins read time

You’ve got them a Valentine’s gift, but how about an activity to do with your situationship, new flame or long-term lover on the evening itself? The cinema is, naturally, an obvious choice. When choosing a film, your first thought might be to go for one of the new showings – but tbh All Of Us Strangers will have you sobbing uncontrollably, and Jonathan Glazer’s Nazi film The Zone of Interest doesn’t exactly scream hot date.

Why not go for a certified classic instead? You can flaunt your film knowledge to your partner or prospective fling, discover a flick with upwards of four stars on Letterboxd, or catch a firm favourite that you’ve somehow never seen before in a big dark room. Read on for our suggestions of re-runs to catch this V day in cinemas across the UK, from queer cult classics to romantic crime dramas, whether you’re spending time with a special someone or simply romancing yourself.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

The Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet quirky romance drama from the early ‘00s tells the story of Joel (Carrey) finding out that his girlfriend Clementine (Winslet) has had him erased from her memories and decides to do the same. The procedure takes Joel on a surreal and bittersweet journey through their relationship to realise that he’s still deeply in love with her. While not an obvious feel good Valentine’s day relationship movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will definitely put you in an introspective mood to set your relationship into a pivotal growth period (cough potential breakup period cough).

Showings: HOME Cinema, Manchester @ 18:00, PictureHouse, FACT Liverpool @ 20:30

2. The Notebook (2004)

If you’re longing after (or still with) your first love, this Valentine’s day screening of the 2004 classic will hit you right in the feels. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAddams play the star crossed lovers who fall desperately in love over a youthful summer. Separated by meddling parents (classiqué), they meet again as adults seven years later and their fiery passion is reignited but Allie (McAdams) has a fiancé already and now she must choose. It’s the perfect movie for an unrelatable, totally bananas level of passion and emotional intensity that inspired a generation of unrealistic expectations of love and affection.

Showings: Woodside Drive In Cinema, The Wirral @ 19:30, Perth Playhouse Cinema, Scotland @ 16:30

3. Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca is synonymous with romance, even if you’ve never seen it. The concept is second nature. One of the most revered Hollywood movies of all time, the plot follows Moroccan nightclub owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) as he turns a blind eye to the misery of WWII until his former lover, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), walks through the door, forcing Rick to choose between a life with the woman he loves or becoming the hero she needs. We’ll wait for TikTokers to discover a whole new world of one-liners from this cinematic classic, such as: “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine,” and “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Showings: Curzon Mayfair, London @ 18:20, Electric Cinema, Birmingham @ 18:00, 20:20, Electric Palace Picture House, Cannock @ 19:00

4.One from the Heart: 4K restoration (1981)

Francis Ford Coppola's 1981 American musical, One from the Heart, follows the breakdown of a five-year romance of a window dresser and her boyfriend, as each of them finds a more interesting partner. This dazzling romantic drama is set in Las Vegas and has all the drama, passion, neon and glitter the town has to throw at it. Coppola’s romance captures the heartache, happiness, laughter and tears of relationships, as they’re torn between rekindling their love or escaping it. Perhaps it’s the anti-love Valentine’s day watch to inspire your next move?

Showings: Curzon Hoxton, London @ 18:20, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle @ 15:20

5. Happy Together (1998)

A queer cult classic from director Wong Kar-wai. This tear-jerker centres around two Hong Kong men who attempt to save their volatile and probably doomed relationship (relatable) with a trip to Buenos Aires. But the change of scenery doesn’t fix all old wounds. As opposed to being a romantic love story for the ages, this movie might remind you to love yourself.

Showings: Curzon Soho, London @ 21:00

6. In the Mood for Love (2000)

Yet another Wong Kar-wai must-see. The director has a masterful approach to desire, tainted love and friendship. In this movie, two neighbours bond over their loneliness and absent partners. Forming a friendship that becomes more of an entanglement, the characters are faced with some difficult conscience-riding decisions. Let’s just say this movie is for anyone with a similar predilection for Ariana Grande’s Homewrecker kink…

Showings: Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle @ 20:30, Prince Charles Cinema, London @ 18:10

7. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

A very ‘90s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, this teen rom com is full of both fashion nostalgia and cringe-worthy moments. Its heroine, Kat (Julia Stiles), is a real one: difficult, rude and imperfect – but instantly recognisable to any teen (or 20-something) that’s already a bit jaded about the world. It’s not a love story we should all desire, and there’s definitely a Stockholm Syndrome kink in there somewhere, but there’s plenty to feel warm and fuzzy about too.

…But maybe don’t take your partner to watch this if they’re the jealous type – it’s hard not to swoon at Heath Ledger’s dimples during that rendition of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’.

Showings: Prince Charles Cinema, London @ 13:15, showing at Everyman Cinemas across the UK (including Manchester St Johns, Maida Vale + Chelmsford)

8. True Romance (1993)

Need a bit of danger to get your heart properly racing? Then this ‘90s classic might be for you. This romantic crime film written by Quentin Tarantino is a fast-paced tale of romance surviving in a violent world. If you like your love thick and fast, you’ll resonate with the comic book nerd and Elvis fanatic that make up this romantic pairing.

Showings: Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham @ 20:30, The Cider Box Tap Room, Bristol @ 19:00, Playhouse Cinema, Perth, Scotland @ 19:50, Playhouse Cinema, Portrush, Northern Ireland @ 20:00