Cinematic Romance: 10 Examples Of Great On-Screen Chemistry

Magic Happens When 2 Actors Bring Chemistry To Movie Romance. Here’s 10 Great On-Screen Pairings!

Remember how cringeworthy Natalie Portman & Hayden Christensen were in the Star Wars prequels? That’s an example of bad chemistry. Any love movie would fizzle if the two stars didn’t have amazing chemistry.

With the newest romance film ‘La La Land‘ being released, I decided to take a look at the best on-screen pairings throughout film history.

Let me know in the comments if your favorite couple is on this list!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Nate Parker (‘Beyond the Lights’)
  • Sanaa Lathan & Omar Epps (‘Love & Basketball’)
  • Heath Ledger & Julia Stiles (’10 Things I Hate About You’)

10. Ryan Gosling & Rachel McAdams (‘The Notebook’)

  • One of the most cliched choices on the list but it does fit the description. Gosling and McAdams deliver to the full extent during their time in ‘The Notebook‘. They burn up the screen with their passion, making it easy for them to succeed. You cheer for them when you need to and you get angry when you need to. This pairing takes the viewers on such an emotional rollercoaster.

9. Adèle Exarchopoulos & Léa Seydoux (‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’)

  • French love film ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color‘ has to be one of the most stunning love films ever made. Every aspect of love is dived into as we see first sexual encounters, the struggles of sexuality, and ever-changing feelings. When Adele and Lea first meet in their teenage years, I had no idea we’d see them grow together as women so realistically.

8. Taye Diggs & Sanaa Lathan (‘Brown Sugar’)

  • These two have such magic during ‘Brown Sugar‘. Going from childhood friends to lovers is a common tale that’s told very simply in this movie. Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs have great chemistry not only as best friends but play the notes of a complicated relationship to perfection. Something about Sanaa Lathan’s smile when she’s with Taye Diggs seems so honest.

7. Julia Roberts & Richard Gere (‘Pretty Woman’)

  • 90’s romance is summed up amazingly well with ‘Pretty Woman‘. In the time of excess and acceptance, nothing says that more than a hooker having her life changed forever. In such a contrived plot, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere have such magically chemistry with each other that you can believe anything the movie throws at you. Their romance in ‘Runaway Bride‘ is another good example.

6. Barbra Streisand & Kris Kristofferson (‘A Star Is Born’)

  • I debated putting Barbra Streisand & Robert Redford in ‘The Way We Were‘ here but the spark between her and Kristofferson is magic. ‘A Star Is Born‘ tells the story of two musicians falling in love with each other and the drama they face working in such a hard industry. Both of these actors know those aches and pains so well so bringing it to the screen seemed simple for Barbra and Kris.

5. Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie (Mr. And Mrs. Smith)

  • The chemistry so good it caused one of the biggest Hollywood break-ups. One of the most infamous examples of on-screen chemistry comes from this mid-00’s action film about a couple with many secrets. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie chewed up the scenery with their passion and it seems like it worked off-screen as they pair were together before the film even debuted.

4. Ali MacGraw & Ryan O’Neal (‘A Love Story’)

  • Romantic movies tried to recapture the chemistry from ‘A Love Story‘ for decades to come. ‘A Love Story‘ is one of the most classic love stories and the heartbreak in this film feels all too real. Not filled with petty drama, all of the strain the couple faces comes from one being diagnosed with cancer. Ali MacGraw throws herself into this role and you can feel the pain on O’Neal’s face.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet (‘Titanic’)

  • Probably the most cliched love movie of all time but man did these two feed off each other. They both have struggled after this film to land this kind of connection with anyone else. DiCaprio played the young and hopeful Jack that helped awaken this passion in Kate Winslet’s Rose. The pair tried to rekindle this magic in 2008’s ‘Revolutionary Road‘ but didn’t come close.

2. Jake Gyllenhaal & Heath Ledger (‘Brokeback Mountain’)

  • The passion between these two men literally radiates off the screen. On paper, Ang Lee directing Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in a movie about the love between two cowboys sounds ridiculous but the love in this movie is powerful. Surpassing being a novelty movie about two men, the chemistry shown here makes this one of the best cinema romances ever.

1. Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy (‘Before’ Trilogy)

  • What makes Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke’s on-screen chemistry so special is that they had three movies to perfect it. As viewers, you grow with this couple as they grow throughout each film. Delpy and Hawke give such a beautifully organic performance and it was perfectly brought to the screen by director Richard Linklater. Their chemistry is wonderful and so are these three love films.
EJ Moreno
EJ Moreno
Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at