Have you ever thought about what movies would be like without love stories? Considering how many filmmakers have chosen to capture the essence of love on the big screen, it’s hard to imagine. Most films seem to revolve around romantic relationships between two people or sometimes even three.
And really, it’s understandable. It’d be pretty dull if a movie focused solely on two people meeting, falling in love, getting married, and living happily ever after. Movies need excitement and drama, and what better way to add some spice than with a classic love triangle? Some of the greatest love stories in film history have been built around this very concept.
It’s no secret that Hollywood has a knack for creating love triangles that leave audiences on the edge of their seats. So, to determine the most memorable ones, we at CEOWORLD magazine delved into plot synopses from reputable sources like IMDb and Entertainment Weekly. Our goal was to compile a list of the greatest love triangles in film history, and we invite you to click here and see for yourself.
We found that, in most cases, love triumphs over all, and the two destined lovers end up in each other’s arms, leaving the third person in the triangle heartbroken. However, there are some instances where one selflessly steps aside, sacrificing their happiness for the greater good. The most iconic example of this is Rick in the classic film “Casablanca.”
But not all love triangles are light-hearted romantic comedies. In Woody Allen’s “Match Point,” one of the participants meets a tragic fate. “The Hunger Games” tackles darker themes yet still manages to incorporate a complex love triangle. And even in action-packed movies like “X-Men,” the central focus is often on a woman and the two men vying for her love. It just goes to show that a well-crafted love triangle can captivate audiences, no matter the genre.
- Scarlett, Rhett, and Ashley
> Movie: Gone With the Wind (1939)
Scarlett O’Hara was consumed by her feelings for Ashley Wilkes, even after he tied the knot with his cousin, Melanie Hamilton. At a party before the war broke out, Scarlett crosses paths with Rhett Butler, but her jealousy gets the best of her and she ends up marrying Melanie’s brother, Charles. Tragically, Charles loses his life in the Civil War, leaving Scarlett to struggle with her finances. In a desperate attempt to stay afloat, she marries a wealthy merchant, but he also passes away. In the wake of her husband’s funeral, Rhett proposes to Scarlett and she agrees. However, their marriage is far from perfect, especially because Scarlett can’t seem to shake off her infatuation with Ashley. It’s only after Melanie’s death that Scarlett finally realizes her true feelings for Rhett. Sadly, it’s too late as Rhett shuts down her attempts to reconcile with his iconic line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
- Rick Blaine, Ilsa Lund, and Victor Laszlo
> Movie: Casablanca (1942)
The story of “Casablanca” takes place in Morocco during the tumultuous era of World War II. It centers around the complicated love triangle between Ilsa Lund, Rick Blaine, and Victor Laszlo. Before the war broke out, Rick and Ilsa shared a passionate affair in the romantic city of Paris. However, their idyllic romance was cut short when Ilsa discovered that her husband, a leader in the Czech resistance, was still alive and being held in a concentration camp. Heartbroken, Ilsa ended things with Rick and reunited with her husband. But fate had other plans for the star-crossed lovers. When Ilsa and Victor unexpectedly show up at Rick’s bar in Casablanca, old feelings resurface and their love is reignited. Despite the intense chemistry between them, Rick knows that Ilsa belongs with her husband and selflessly encourages her to choose Victor. As they part ways, Rick utters the iconic line, “We’ll always have Paris,” a bittersweet reminder of the beautiful memories they shared.
- Linus, Sabrina, and David
> Movie: Sabrina (1954)
Sabrina was always a shy and unassuming girl, working as a chauffeur’s daughter for the wealthy family of David, the handsome playboy. Despite her secret love for him, she knew it was an impossible dream. But her family had a plan to help her move on – they sent her to Paris. After her return, Sabrina was transformed into a stunning and sophisticated woman. And it wasn’t long before David noticed her.
But their love was not meant to be, as David’s family had other plans for him. They wanted him to marry a different woman to secure a business deal. To make matters worse, David’s older brother Linus intervened to keep Sabrina and David apart. However, fate had other ideas as Linus and Sabrina found themselves falling for each other. And in a surprising turn of events, David stepped aside and helped bring them together, sacrificing his own feelings for the woman he had grown to love.
- Moses, Rameses, Nefretiri
> Movie: The Ten Commandments (1956)
This captivating and action-packed film transports us to a time long ago, where we bear witness to the remarkable survival of Moses as a mere infant. In a heart-wrenching twist of fate, the merciless Pharaoh Rameses I of Egypt orders the slaughter of all male Hebrew babies. Yet, against all odds, Moses is plucked from the jaws of death and raised by a loving family, eventually rising to become a formidable and respected general in a fierce battle against Ethiopia.
Amidst the turmoil and bloodshed, Moses discovers an undeniable attraction to the alluring Nefretiri. However, their love is forbidden as she is destined to wed the future Pharaoh of Egypt. As Moses grapples with his conflicting emotions and responsibilities, he must also navigate the treacherous political landscape of ancient Egypt. Will he triumph over all obstacles and find true love? Only time will reveal the outcome of this gripping and poignant saga.
- Mrs. Robinson, Benjamin, and Elaine
> Movie: The Graduate (1967)
“Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?” The words hung in the air, loaded with a mix of curiosity and desire. It was a question that sparked a love triangle, one that would change the lives of all involved. At the center of it all was Mrs. Robinson, a woman who exuded confidence and sensuality. Her daughter Elaine, on the other hand, was innocent and naive, caught in the middle of her mother’s indiscretions.
Benjamin, a recent college graduate, was drawn to Mrs. Robinson like a moth to a flame. He couldn’t resist her charms, even though he knew it was wrong. But when he finally confessed the affair to Elaine, she was devastated and ended things with him. Heartbroken, Benjamin followed Elaine to her college in Berkeley, unable to let her go. He watched her from a distance, hoping for a chance to make things right. And when she announced her wedding to another man, he couldn’t bear to see her marry anyone else.
In a daring move, Benjamin crashed the wedding and convinced Elaine to leave with him. They rode off into the unknown, leaving behind their old lives and embarking on a new journey together. Only time would tell where the bus would take them and what their future held. But in that moment, all that mattered was being together.
- Andie, Duckie, and Blane
> Movie: Pretty in Pink (1986)
One of the most beloved romantic films from the 1980s, “Pretty in Pink” tells the story of high school student Andie, who comes from a working-class background. Caught between her loyal best friend Duckie and the charming and wealthy Blane, Andie struggles to navigate her feelings for both of them. Blane is clearly interested in Andie, but he hesitates to pursue her due to pressure from his elitist circle of friends. However, at the prom, Blane stands up for Andie when she is insulted by another wealthy classmate, Steff, who also happens to have feelings for her. In the end, Blane and Andie finally share a kiss. Interestingly, the original ending of the film had Andie and Duckie ending up together, but after a test audience expressed their disapproval, the filmmakers decided to change the conclusion.
- Westley, Buttercup, and Prince Humperdink
> Movie: The Princess Bride (1987)
In the timeless tale of love and adventure, we meet Buttercup and Westley, two unlikely lovers who find each other on a humble farm. As fate would have it, Westley sets off on a journey to seek his fortune, only to face a treacherous attack by ruthless pirates. Believing him to be lost at sea, Buttercup is left heartbroken and alone.
But her world is turned upside down when she is promised to Prince Humperdinck, the arrogant and power-hungry heir to the throne of Florin. Desperate to keep Buttercup away from her true love, Humperdinck holds her captive and inflicts cruel tortures upon Westley.
But love knows no bounds, and with the help of his loyal friends, Westley bravely storms the castle to rescue his beloved Buttercup. In a thrilling battle against the prince, he emerges victorious and is finally reunited with his one true love.
- The Narrator, Marla, and Tyler
> Movie: Fight Club (1991)
Let’s chat about a peculiar tale of love. The protagonist, whose name remains a mystery, feels unfulfilled with their mundane job and lackluster life. Then, they cross paths with Tyler, and their encounters often involve physical altercations, leading them to create Fight Club. Amidst all this, Marla enters the picture and sparks a romantic relationship with Tyler. However, as the story unfolds, it is revealed that the Narrator and Tyler are one and the same. In a climactic moment, the Narrator metaphorically “kills” Tyler, symbolically letting go of their alter ego. Finally free, the Narrator finds solace in reconnecting with Marla.
- Gaston, Belle, and The Beast
> Movie: Beauty and the Beast (1991)
In the beloved 1991 animated film, Belle, a lover of books, resists the advances of the conceited Gaston. However, her search for her father, who is being held captive in the Beast’s castle, leads her straight into the arms of the cursed Prince turned Beast. The arrogant Prince’s transformation into an animal was a result of a curse, and now, the only way to break it is for Belle to fall in love with him. As fate would have it, a group of villagers, led by the devious Gaston, launch an attack on the castle. In a heart-wrenching turn of events, it is believed that Gaston has killed the Beast. But just as all hope seems lost, Belle bravely declares her love for the Beast, and the spell is miraculously broken.
- Troy, Lelaina, and Michael
> Movie: Reality Bites (1994)
Lelaina, a young and ambitious filmmaker, found herself caught in a complicated love triangle. Her heart was torn between her roommate and longtime friend, Troy, and the successful TV executive, Michael. However, as things unfolded, it became clear that her relationship with Michael was short-lived and fizzled out quickly. And when Troy’s father passed away, he and Lelaina finally confessed their true feelings for each other. It wasn’t the most dramatic love triangle, as Michael was quickly out of the picture, leaving no doubt that Lelaina and Troy were meant to be together.
- Lucy, Peter, and Jack
> Movie: While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Romantic comedies have always been known for their outlandish and unrealistic storylines, and “While You Were Sleeping” is no exception. The film follows the story of Lucy, a toll collector who happens to save the life of a wealthy man named Peter. However, things take a wild turn when Peter falls into a coma and his family mistakes Lucy for his fiancée. Fearing that she may lose the bond she has formed with Peter’s family, especially with his down-to-earth brother Jack, Lucy decides to keep up the charade and not reveal the truth. As the plot unfolds, Lucy and Jack find themselves drawn to each other, adding a touch of unexpected romance to the already chaotic situation.
- Holden, Banky, and Alyssa
> Movie: Chasing Amy (1997)
It was a love triangle like no other, with unexpected twists and turns. Holden, a talented comic book artist, found himself falling for Alyssa, another artist in the same field. The surprising part? Alyssa was a lesbian, but she returned Holden’s feelings. This caused quite a stir among their friends, especially Banky, who was also a comic book artist and Holden’s close friend. Banky feared that Alyssa’s presence would create a rift between him and Holden.
As the relationships between the three of them became more complicated, tensions rose and things started to unravel. But fate had other plans. Alyssa and Holden crossed paths again at a convention, and it was then revealed that Alyssa was in a committed relationship with her girlfriend. Despite this, it was evident that both Alyssa and Holden still held onto the strong feelings they had for each other.
In the end, it was a bittersweet realization for all involved. The love triangle may have caused some chaos, but it also brought to light the depth of feelings and connections that can exist between people. And even though things may not have turned out the way they initially hoped, the memories and emotions shared between Alyssa and Holden will always remain.
- Jack, Rose, and Cal
> Movie: Titanic (1997)
There’s something so magical about the ocean, with its gentle waves and refreshing sea breezes. It’s the perfect setting for a romantic encounter, don’t you think? But unfortunately, not all love stories have a happy ending. Take for instance the infamous Titanic, where three individuals find themselves caught in a tumultuous love triangle. Rose, a wealthy young woman, is betrothed to the wealthy and arrogant Cal. But when she meets Jack, a charming and down-to-earth man from a lower class, she can’t help but feel drawn to him. However, their budding romance is cut short when the ship sinks, leaving them fighting for survival in the icy waters. In a moment of bravery, Rose chooses to leave behind her cowardly fiancé and escape with Jack to a floating wooden plank. But tragedy strikes when Jack succumbs to hypothermia and slips away, leaving Rose to be rescued alone. Some viewers have questioned whether Rose could have done anything to save Jack, but in the midst of such chaos and fear, who knows what anyone would have done.
- Ted, Mary, and Healy
> Movie: There’s Something About Mary (1998)
In this delightful romantic comedy, with a focus on laughter and lightheartedness, we follow the misadventures of Ted as he goes on a date with his long-time crush from high school, Mary. However, their evening takes a disastrous turn when an unexpected mishap occurs. Desperate to reconnect with Mary, Ted enlists the help of a private investigator named Healy. But little does he know, Healy ends up developing feelings for Mary and attempts to sabotage their budding romance. Despite all the obstacles, Ted and Mary eventually find their way back to each other, but not without a few silly and playful antics involving football star Brett Farve.
- Robbie, Julia, and Glenn
> Movie: The Wedding Singer (1998)
Robbie and Julia were both facing a tough decision. They were each engaged to different people, but deep down, they both knew that their hearts belonged to someone else. Robbie, a talented wedding singer, had been with his girlfriend for years, but when she abruptly ended things, he was left heartbroken and lost. Meanwhile, Julia, a hardworking waitress, had been with her fiancé Glenn for what felt like an eternity, but as time passed, she couldn’t shake the feeling that they were drifting apart.
As fate would have it, Robbie and Julia found themselves working together at a wedding. As they spent more time together, they couldn’t deny the connection they shared. Slowly but surely, they began to open up to each other and soon enough, they both confessed their true feelings. It was a whirlwind romance, but they knew they couldn’t ignore the strong pull they had towards each other.
Despite the obstacles they faced, Robbie and Julia made the brave decision to follow their hearts and get married. As they exchanged vows, there was a glimmer of hope in Robbie’s eyes. He had always dreamed of becoming a recording artist, and with Julia by his side, he knew anything was possible. In the end, Robbie and Julia’s love story was a reminder that sometimes, the best things in life come when we least expect them. They may have started off as just a wedding singer and a waitress, but they ended up finding true love in each other.
- And Scott, Jean, and Logan
> Movie: X-Men (2000)
The complex dynamic between Logan (also known as Wolverine), Jean Grey, and Scott (alias Cyclops) is a recurring theme in the vast world of Marvel. Despite his feelings for Jean, Wolverine values and honors her commitment to Cyclops.
- Mark, Bridget, and Daniel
> Movie: Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Bridget Jones, like so many other young women in the workforce, was constantly balancing her career aspirations with her quest for love. It was a delicate dance, one that often left her feeling torn between two very different men. On one hand, there was her charming yet dubious boss, Daniel, who always seemed to have a way with words. On the other hand, there was Mark, the handsome but reserved gentleman who never failed to make her heart skip a beat. In the end, it was Mark who captured her heart and won her hand, despite his occasional stiffness. It was a classic case of love triumphing over all.
- Peter, Mary Jane, and Harry
> Movie: Spider-Man (2002)
In the classic tale of “Spider Man,” we see Peter, our beloved hero, grappling with the complexities of love. He is deeply enamored with Mary Jane, but his sense of responsibility and fear for her safety causes him to push her away. And let’s not forget about Harry, Peter’s closest companion and eventual foe, who adds a layer of complexity to the story.
- Jack, Elizabeth, and Will
> Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” series centers around the infamous Jack Sparrow, but it’s not just his journey that captures our attention. Elizabeth and Will also play crucial roles in the epic adventures that unfold. It all begins when Will turns to Jack for assistance in locating his beloved Elizabeth, igniting a thrilling and heartfelt quest.
- Juliet, Mark, and Peter
> Movie: Love Actually (2003)
The holiday movie is filled with various relationships, but one that truly tugs at the heartstrings is the dynamic between Mark, Juliet, and Peter. Mark, hopelessly infatuated with his best friend’s wife, Juliet, keeps his feelings hidden deep inside. Too afraid to reveal his true emotions, he instead pours his heart out onto poster cards. Although Juliet acknowledges his affection, she ultimately remains loyal to her husband, Peter.
- The Phantom, Christine, and Raoul
> Movie: Phantom of the Opera (2004)
In the mysterious and eerie opera house, a masked figure known as the Phantom lurks in the shadows. His obsession with Christine, the talented and adored singer, consumes him with jealousy as she harbors feelings for her childhood friend Raoul. Despite his possessive nature, the Phantom surprisingly lets them go when a raging mob chases him after his abduction of Christine. As the movie comes to a close, set in a distant future, Raoul pays a visit to Christine’s final resting place. To his surprise, he discovers a single rose laid upon her grave, suggesting that the Phantom may still be alive and his love for Christine remains unyielding.
- Cady, Regina, and Aaron
> Movie: Mean Girls (2004)
Although the movie centers around the popular girls, “Mean Girls” also explores a complicated love triangle. When new student Cady arrives, she catches the eye of the school’s Queen Bee, Regina. However, things become messy when both Cady and Regina develop feelings for the same guy, Aaron. Cady tries to do the right thing by breaking up Aaron and Regina after discovering Regina’s infidelity. But as the story unfolds, we see that forgiveness and reconciliation are key themes as everyone, even former enemies, make amends and Cady and Aaron ultimately end up together.
- Julianne, Kimberly, and Michael
> Movie: My Best Friend’s Wedding (2005)
Julianne and Michael had been best friends since they were kids. They always joked that if they were still single by the time they turned 28, they would marry each other. But as they grew older, life took them down different paths and they drifted apart. One day, Michael dropped a bombshell on Julianne – he was getting married to someone else. Suddenly, all those childhood promises came rushing back to her and she realized she had feelings for him. She couldn’t let him go without a fight.
Desperate to stop the wedding, Julianne tried everything she could think of. She poured her heart out to Michael, reminding him of their friendship and the love they shared. She even went as far as trying to sabotage the wedding plans, but nothing worked.
On the day of the wedding, Julianne watched as Michael and his bride, Kimberly, exchanged vows. As much as it pained her, she could see that they were truly in love with each other. And in that moment, she knew that she had to let go and be happy for them.
As she wiped away her tears, Julianne smiled and whispered to herself, “They deserve each other.” Sometimes, even the strongest of feelings can’t change fate. And in this case, Julianne had to accept that her true love was meant to be with someone else.
- Nola, Chris, and Chloe
> Movie: Match Point (2005)
In this gripping tale by Woody Allen, we follow the journey of Chris, a former tennis pro who now teaches the sport to others. One day, he finds himself swept off his feet by his friend’s sister, Chloe, and the two tie the knot. However, Chris can’t seem to shake off his feelings for Nola, his friend’s stunning girlfriend. Despite his best efforts to resist, Chris and Nola eventually give in to their desires and begin a secret affair. But when Nola threatens to expose their forbidden love to Chris’s wife, tensions rise and the consequences become dire. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say that not everyone in this complicated love triangle gets a happy ending.
- Jacob, Bella, and Edward
> Movie: Twilight (2008)
How could a mere mortal like Bella possibly make the difficult decision between the mysterious and alluring vampire, Edward, and the handsome and protective werewolf, Jacob? Despite their undeniable chemistry, Edward holds firm in his belief that Bella should not be turned into a vampire. Despite this obstacle, their love only grows stronger, and Edward ultimately saves her from a deadly encounter with vampire venom. As their story unfolds in the beloved “Twilight Saga” sequels, their bond remains unbreakable.
- Cristina, Juan Antonio, and Maria Elena
> Movie: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Well, it’s quite a tangled web we have here. You see, there are four individuals caught up in this love triangle. It all begins when Cristina and her dear friend, Vicky, venture to Spain and meet the charming artist, Juan Antonio. Both women are swept off their feet and find themselves in relationships with him, despite the fact that Vicky is already taken and eventually marries her boyfriend. Things get even more complicated when Juan Antonio’s ex-wife, Maria Elena, who is quite unstable, enters the picture. As the credits roll on this Woody Allen film, Vicky decides to return to her husband while Cristina continues her quest for true love.
- Rachel, Dex, and Darcy
> Movie: Something Borrowed (2011)
Falling for your best friend’s guy is never a good situation to be in, and unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to Rachel. She couldn’t help but develop feelings for Dex, who, to make matters worse, was engaged to her BFF Darcy. It was a complicated and delicate situation, and Rachel found herself torn between her loyalty to her friend and her own heart’s desires. Would she be able to put her friendship first and step aside, or would she risk it all and try to win Dex over? As the story unfolded, it became clear that the ending would not be a simple one. But in the end, it seemed like everyone would find their own version of happiness.
- Peeta, Katniss, and Gale
> Movie: The Hunger Games (2012)
Despite the chaos and destruction of the apocalyptic world, love still finds a way to blossom. Amidst the constant battle for survival, Katniss finds herself caught between the affectionate Peeta, who holds her heart, and the enigmatic Gale. As the Hunger Games saga unfolds, Peeta and Katniss walk down the aisle and start a family, while Katniss and Gale maintain a strong bond.
- Jay, Daisy, and Tom
> Movie: The Great Gatsby (2013)
Jay Gatsby, whose real name remains a mystery, was a man driven by the quintessential American dream. His deepest desire was to be reunited with Daisy, the wealthy woman he had loved and lost so many years ago. However, there was one major obstacle standing in his way: Daisy was now married to the unrefined and aggressive Tom. Undeterred, Gatsby worked tirelessly to amass a great fortune and even bought a lavish home just across the harbor from Daisy’s. Despite his unwavering efforts, Gatsby’s dream was ultimately shattered.
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