The tragedy category in the romance film genre has always tugged the heart strings and evoked wistfulness and a touch of sadness.
Sometimes real life experiences relate to the reel life ones and that adds to the attraction of such films.
Here some of the tragic-romance movies which are worth recalling and watching:
Love Story (1970)
Cast: Ryan O’Neal, Ali McGraw, John Marley, Ray Milland
Director: Arthur Hiller
“What can you say about a 25-year-old who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles and me?
The movie opens with these lines by the protagonist, Oliver Barrett IV. It’s about the Harvard law graduate’s doomed love for a music student Jennifer Cavilleri. Class differences play a big part as once they marry, Barrett’s father threatens to disown him.
The movie moves towards its expected end after the two built a strong bondage. The line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” has become immortal in the history of cinema. This is a film which may bring a tear even to the toughest.
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre
Director: Michael Curtiz
Though the film got off to an ordinary start when released in 1942, it became a classic as its immortal lines, great acting and lovely tune grew on the audience.
It remains one of the greatest romance films of all time. Set in Casablanca, it traces the doomed romance of bar owner Rick Blaine. A wartime love affair is lost in transition as his sweetheart Ilsa Lund marries war hero Victor Laszlo.
When Ilsa lands up at Rick’s bar to seek his help to get Laszlo out of Morocco, he is left with a difficult choice.
“Play it Sam” is a famous line which is remembered even today. A great film, worth revisiting.
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Cast: Omar Sharif, Geraldine Chaplin, Julie Christie, Alec Guinness, Tom Courtenay, Ralph Richardson, Rod Steiger
Director: David Lean
Based on the novel of the same name by Boris Pasternak, the film is set during the World War 1 and Russian Civil War era.
A Russian doctor falls in love with Lara, but ends up marrying his cousin Tonya. Years later he meets Lara again and the romance is rekindled.
Against the backdrop the war, the doctor tries to come to terms with the war, the changes which are happening due to it and his love interest.
The film is three hours long but keeps you interested right through. It is another major classic from Lean.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Cast: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Randy Quaid
Director: Ang Lee
Two young cowboys get a job on Brokeback Mountain. They become good friends and one night after a boozing bout, get intimate.
They begin a relationship but after a while they cannot come to terms with it. So they part ways. Both get married and settle down but they still long for each other.
They meet again but do not know how to move their relationship forward. They explore a bit until tragedy strikes. Dealing with homosexuality, the film is excellently directed Lee.
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo, Brian Dennehy, Paul Sorvino
Director: Baz Lyhmann
Wiliam Shakespeare’s tale gets a modern makeover though the original dialogues are retained. The Montagues and Capulets are shown as bosses of warring Mafia empires.
The swords are replaced by guns and some of the names of the characters have been changed. But the essence of Shakespeare’s tragedy is maintained.
The film was a success and critically acclaimed. The earlier 1965 British version directed by Franco Zeffirelli is also excellent if you wish to see it with original backdrops.
#The views expressed in this column are the authors