In one hundred years of film, the basic formula has never wavered: if you want to leave them smiling, end with a kiss.

But while all screen kisses may be heart-warming, they've looked very different since the dawn of cinema. Here's a look at the history of screen romance, by the decades:


Decade: 1920’s
Romantic Ideals: Rudolph Valentino and Greta Garbo
Their Day Jobs: Sheik and coat-check girl
How They Meet: Trapped in a desert oasis while traveling under a secret identity
Obstacle in their Path: Her drunken husband, his nattering wives, Hammurabi’s code condemning to death all who gaze upon a member of the tribe.
Big Cool Friend’s Advice: “Sail to the ends of the earth, where a man may forget.”
Final Kiss Location: Under a full moon atop Mount Kilimanjaro.
Watch Party Streaming Pick: “The Sheik”


Decade: 1930’s
Romantic Ideals: Jean Arthur and Cary Grant
Their Day Jobs: Con-woman and paleontologist.
How They Meet: She lets her zebras devour the herbs he was breeding, that would have cured the common cold forever.
Obstacle in their Path: They can’t stand the sight of each other.
Big Cool Friend’s Advice: “Why don’t you two mugs stop yakking already?”
Final Kiss Location: Locked in a cage with an orangutan at the Central Park Zoo.
Watch Party Streaming Pick: : “Bringing Up Baby”


Decade: 1940’s
Romantic Ideals: Ava Gardner and John Garfield
Their Day Jobs: Drifter and moll
How They Meet: He arrives in town mysteriouslyand holds up the diner where she’s nursing a hangover; she asks him for a light.
Obstacle in their Path: She’s hooked up with the town boss who murders anyone who looks at her.
Big Cool Friend’s Advice: “Match me, Sydney.”
Final Kiss Location: Death Row, San Quentin
Watch Party Streaming Pick: “The Big Clock”

Decade: 1950’s
Romantic Ideals: Natalie Wood and Troy Donahue
Their day jobs: Perfect daughter and rebellious younger brother
How They Meet: Out after curfew, wandering through the oil fields to escape their bickering families.
Obstacle in their Path: He is secretly married, and from the wrong side of the tracks, and a hothead. Her parents want to send her to Switzerland for the summer.
Big Cool Friend’s Advice: “Wash that man right out of your hair.”
Final Kiss Location: The wedding chapel
Watch Party Streaming Pick: The Summer Place

Decade: 1960’s
Romantic Ideals: Ann Margaret and Peter Sellers
How They Meet:  They are both accidentally put in the same state-room of an Ocean-Liner
Their Day Jobs: Heiress and cabin boy
Obstacle in their Path:  Fred MacMurray and the state room key accidentally put in the Bulgarian Count’s pocket, which is found by his mistress when she’s hiding in the closet from the countess.
Big Cool Friend’s Advice:  “Try some of this.”
Final Kiss Location: The back of a taxi cab driving off a pier
Watch Party Streaming Pick: : “Petulia”

Decade: 70’s
Romantic Ideals: Elliot Gould and Ali MacGraw
Their Day Jobs:   Race-car driver, and editor at Harper’s Bazaar
How They Meet:  Freshmen at Harvard and Radcliffe, he's heckling an English seminar while she's trying to take notes.
Obstacle in their Path: She’s dying and he’s always looking over the horizon.
Big Cool Friend’s Advice:  That boy’s got more bad news in him than the New York Post.
Final Kiss Location:   The bandshell in Central Park, except he's alone.
Watch Party Streaming Pick:   “Love Story”

Decade:  80’s
Romantic Ideals: Daryl Hannah and Richard Gere
Their Day Jobs:  Pilot who won’t stick with the flight plan, uptight Navy MP, on his case.
How They Meet: She comes into the locker room, he thinks she’s the masseuse and demands a rubdown.
Obstacle in their Path: He’s got his head in the clouds, she’s engaged to the town drunk.
Big Cool Friend’s Advice:  “Some horses just weren’t born to run in cages”
Final Kiss Location:  Top of a fire-truck, in the 4th of July parade
Watch Party Streaming Pick: : “Top Gun”

Decade: 90’s
Romantic Ideals: Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke
How They Meet: Wake up next to each other on the floor of a friend’s basement
Their Day Jobs: He’s a musician, she’s an assistant at an indie label.
Obstacle in their Path: He refuses to sell out, she wants to afford her own apartment some day.
Big Cool Friend’s Advice: Évian is "naïve" spelled backward.
Final Kiss Location:  On the stage at a concert.
Watch Party Streaming Pick: "Singles"


Decade: 00’s
Romantic Ideals: Zooey Deschanel and Ashton Kutchner
Their Day Jobs:  He’s a comic book collector, owns catering service
How They Meet:  An internet mix-up involving his goofball Indian roommate
Obstacle in their Path: Bad case of blahs
Big Cool Friend’s Advice:  Wanna go to artwalk?
Final Kiss Location:  The L Train
Watch Party Streaming Pick: "500 Days of Summer"



Decade: 10’s
Romantic Ideals:  Amy Adams and Andrew Garfield
Their Day Jobs:  Superhero and superhero’s assistant
How They Meet: He saves her, but she wasn’t really falling.
Obstacle in their Path: She wants to get out from behind the desk and fight crime herself; and The Green Goblin
Big Cool Friend’s Advice: Each man has his destiny, and also an assistant who you should try to be nice to.
Final Kiss Location: Inside a volcano on a planet in the Horseshoe Nebula.