No matter the genre, cinematic kryptonite for me are the swoony romantic nuances that accompany a story. Or at least this is true if you’re a romantic such as myself (when it comes to my fictional pursuits). This is why I began pondering the romantic proposals in the films that sweep us off our feet, although not all of these proposals end in happily ever after.
Today, we’re looking only at memorable film proposals from the box office. This means that while research went into putting this together, this list isn’t all-inclusive for the following reason: My scattered brain has plans for a period drama list which excludes (for the time being) any of the swoon-worthy proposals reenacted from classic literature (Pride and Prejudice will come later…). As we know, it’s within those stories that the real test of true love is displayed. But keeping the best for last seems a good rule to live by. This is why I’m beginning with contemporary film proposals, and to its credit, therein boasts its share of romantic declarations! If you read this and began to wonder where all of the magnificent period dramas are, this is why they’re excluded. They deserved a list all their own.
Before we go any further, be aware, there will be spoilers below. With what I hope is a helpful introduction out of the way, let’s have a look at the list.
10 Memorable & Romantic Film Proposals
(Proposals Listed from A-Z)
#1: He’s Just Not That Into You
The Pairing: Neil (Ben Affleck) and Beth (Jennifer Aniston)
Commitment-shy Neil rejects proposing to his girlfriend, Beth with whom he’s been in an exclusive relationship for many years. When the idea of losing her shatters his reality, in the sweetest of ways, he shows her how much she means to him with a proposal.
#2: Leap Year
The Pairing: Anna Brady (Amy Adams) and Declan O’Callahan (Matthew Goode)
I won’t go into great detail about this scene since we’ve spotlighted it in our Romantic Moment series, but suffice to say, the cliff side declaration is as romantic as they come.
#3: Love Actually
The Pairing: Jamie Bennett (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lucia Moniz)
I’ve not seen this popular British romcom but hear it’s a good one. That said, I did watch the scene specific to this list when Jamie proposes to Aurelia. Naturally, I don’t know the context of the relationship however the scene IS precious.
The Pairing: Penelope (Christina Ricci) and Max aka Jonny (James McAvoy)
Adding this one to the list might be the one “misplaced” scene because it’s unusual (and doesn’t end in the most joyous of ways). The scene depicts a desperate Penelope proposing to the only man (Max) her sheltered heart has opened up to. Unfortunately for her, the response is anything but what she wished for. I felt it earned a place because the scene is so well played, and in context, these characters needed this to prod them towards honesty.
#5: The Proposal
The Pairing: Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) and Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock)
Hilarity ensues in this comedy when an uptight book editor forces her assistant to play her fiancé. Complications arise when they have to return to his family home for the weekend. The real proposal scene in question comes minutes before the end.
#6: Runaway Bride
The Pairing: Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts) and Ike Graham (Richard Gere)
Hoping to recapture the magic of Pretty Woman, the talents of Roberts and Gere were re-cast in this entertaining popcorn flick. The scene fitting this list’s specifications comes when Maggie reenters Ike’s life after breaking his heart when, in the most sincere of manners, she proposes.
The Pairing: Luke Harris (Ed Harris) and Isabel (Julia Roberts)
“Even when things are hard and you feel like giving up, you have to hang on to that decision, that choice to love each other. Even if it’s only by a thread. I let that thread break once. This time, it won’t. Will you marry me?” – Luke Harris
With its a-list cast (including a young Jenna Malone and Susan Sarandon), this film is bittersweet but wisely ends in a place of joy. The scene specific to this list involves Luke proposing to his girlfriend, Isabel in a genuine (the words that accompany it are romantic too) moment, which sets into motion a complicated scenario as she attempts to find her place as a “stepmom.”
#8: Sweet Home Alabama
The Pairing: Andrew (Patrick Dempsey) and Melanie (Reese Witherspoon)
This love story doesn’t end how Andrew would have liked, but it ends how it needs to. In the meantime, this proposal is a fairytale.
#9: A Walk to Remember
The Pairing: Landon Carter (Shane West) and Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore)
I’ve not seen this Nicholas Sparks adaptation, but it’s a fan favorite. Despite its bittersweet story, Landon’s proposal is genuine, simple and precious as is the kiss that seals it.
#10: Walk the Line
The Pairing: Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) and June Carter (Reese Witherspoon)
“Now I’ve asked you 40 different ways and it’s time you come up with a fresh answer. . . . I’m asking you to marry me. I love you, June. . . . You’re my best friend. Marry me.” – Johnny Cash
After multiple failed attempts (40!), it cannot be said of Johnny Cash that he took no for an answer. After getting his life together he again proposes to his soulmate in front of an audience. This time, June gives him a “fresh answer.”
What film proposals are among your favorites? I’d love to read your thoughts, impressions or opinions on any of these scenes: Agree? Disagree? Comment down below. I’m always glad to read your comments.