As Valentine's Day nears, not everyone can pony up for tickets to the Kennedy Center or dinner at Blue Duck Tavern. So if you find yourself staying in with your valentine this week, pair your hummus and Two-Buck Chuck with these romantic films available on Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Instant. Just don’t spill anything on the couch.

'Weekend' (2011) (Quinnford & Scout)

"Punch-Drunk Love"

Have you had an endearingly awkward series of dates lately? Adam Sandler will make you feel entirely graceful in comparison. In perhaps the best performance of his career, Sandler’s nuanced portrayal of a socially inept but lovestruck man-child is as painful as it is heartwarming.

"La Cage Aux Folles"

Whether you’ve already seen “The Birdcage” with Robin Williams or not, the original French-Italian flick is a must-see. The over-the-top flamboyance and tender conclusion make for a wildly entertaining alternative to the standard rom-com.

"Sleepless in Seattle"

Then again, if tradition is more your style, you can’t get more traditional than “Sleepless in Seattle.” It’s the mother of all rom-coms, and if TBS hasn’t ruined it for you, Netflix has you covered.

Jean-Pierre Leaud in a scene from 1968's "Stolen Kisses." (Photofest) Jean-Pierre Leaud in a scene from 1968's "Stolen Kisses." (Photofest)

"Stolen Kisses"

You simply can’t talk about romance without including the French, and François Truffaut’s work is among that country’s best. (While Netflix sometimes offers a few of his works, it’s worth a subscription to Hulu Plus for his films alone.)

"Lars and the Real Girl"

I never thought I’d describe a film about a sex doll as “sweet” and “touching,” but this one is precisely that. For anyone who has dealt with loneliness and loss, and for anyone who has felt both the pressure and the support of a small community, "Lars and the Real Girl” is surprisingly personal, and remarkably, it never strays from its PG-13 sense of decency.

"Breakfast at Tiffany’s"

You really can’t go wrong with Audrey Hepburn. Her 1961 classic is as charming as ever, so long as you can get that damn Deep Blue Something song out of your head.


"Bus Stop"

An atypically dramatic role for Marilyn Monroe, "Bus Stop" is yet another classic worth revisiting. The rambunctious cowboy, the unsuccessful chanteuse, the snowed-in diner --it’s a peculiarly effective film with a small cast and a minimal set.


Long before Paranormal Romance was a standard section in the bookstore, Patrick Swayze was crossing over from the realm of the dead to fulfill a strange, passionate romance. Part comedy, part revenge, part romance, and plenty of Whoopi Goldberg make “Ghost” worth pairing with your heart-shaped box of CVS chocolates.


It was supposed to be a meaningless encounter, but the two men in Andrew Haigh’s cinéma vérité style drama get far more involved than they intended. Over the course of 48 hours, two strangers reveal much about vulnerability, trust, and how each of us experience those differently.

"The Graduate"

While I’d never recommend falling for the daughter of a woman you slept with, somehow Dustin Hoffman makes it almost seem reasonable. In a career-defining role, the man who recently directed a film about aging artists plays a clueless lead that falls for an equally clueless lover. All the while, Anne Bancroft rules the film as the strange and compelling Mrs. Robinson. While it’s no model for a healthy relationship, "The Graduate" is an entertainingly romantic romp through a much different era.

"The Notebook"

Isn’t on Netflix or Hulu Plus right now. You’ll have to use Amazon Instant for that.