Monday, May 13, 2013

The All Time Greatest Love Stories

The other day I was talking with some family friends about love stories. Which ones were the best, which should never have been written or filmed, etc. And I must admit, I was somewhat shocked by some of their answers, especially the answers that fell under the title “Greatest love story of ALL time”. I try not to criticize other people’s taste in books and films – I love movies like Lake Placid so I’ve got little room to judge – but there are some things that I simply cannot abide.

The Notebook? Seriously? This is the “greatest love story ever told”? You MUST be joking. Yes, many of my female friends (and a few male ones) actually claim to like The Notebook (why, I cannot say), but please for the love of god, never say that it’s the greatest love story ever told. Or really any other Nicholas Sparks book or movie for that matter.

And anything with a love triangle gets immediately crossed off the list as well. If you’re struggling with feelings for more than one person, it does NOT deserve the title of “greatest love story”.

Now, a few people mentioned Pride and Prejudice and The Princess Bride. This I can get behind. These are wonderful tales of love (and some of my favorite literary works). I would also accept tragic love classics like Casablanca, Romeo and Juliet or Gone with the Wind (book or movie). And I thought someone’s suggestion of Beauty and the Beast was pretty inspired – I enjoy a love story where the falling in love part happens before the make-over. If you fall for someone after they’ve been beautified, the validity of your feelings gets called into question [cough, My Fair Lady, Cinderella, etc., cough, cough.]

Still, I have to say that if we’re talking ALL TIME GREATEST love stories, the kind that demands all caps, only two come to mind.

Buff and Angel
Before Twilight and True Blood there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer – the greatest vampire love story ever written. What has become a clich├ęd, teen angst-ridden theme seems somehow more beautiful and unique in the hands of Joss Whedon. A vampire cursed with a soul, tortured by the brutality of his past, in love with a slayer, the one person destined to kill him. Two lovers never able to be together without risking the very soul that differentiates him from other demons and allows him to feel love. It’s both tragic and beautiful. Of course my opinion could be colored by my Whedonian obsession and childhood nostalgia (Buffy was my middle school hero), but to this day I still believe Buffy and Angel’s story is one of the greatest love story of all time.  

The Terminator
Spoilers. In 2029, Kyle Reese was given a photograph of Sarah Connor by her son, John. He fell in love with Sarah, staring at her photo, and traveled back in time to protect her, unknowingly conceiving a child in the one night they had together. A child that would later become the leader of the resistance . . . John Connor. It’s a heartbreakingly beautiful love story – one that follows the paradoxical rules of time travel. And one that rips my heart right out each time I watch it. Now that is the mark of a great love story. 

“I came across time for you Sarah. I love you. I always have.” Beautiful. 

And those are the two love stories I consider the greatest of all times. Some might question why tragic love stories are often the greatest, but that's a question for another day . . . 


  1. Never got the Nicholas Sparks craze.
    Terminator is a good choice. Most of Cameron's films have a love story at their heart. I'd probably stick with The Princess Bride for my answer.

  2. Greatest Ever anything is always going to be a style choice; while I'm sure crossover exists, you generally aren't talking about the same audience for Nicholas Sparks as you are with Buffy or Terminator. Someone else's favorite book might be something I would never read. It's always tough for me to come up with the best love story. Just one?! How to choose!

  3. Nicholas Sparks has a huge ick factor for me. And yes, Buff and Angel. My kids are old enough (actually they aren't, but we're all pretending) to watch the Buffy series and so we started with episode one and are working our way through.

  4. I haven't seen The Notebook, have steadfastly avoided all things Nicholas Sparks. My favorite love stories are Guinevere & Lancelot (maybe you consider this a love triangle, but I don't since they loved one another and were simply too honorable to act on it) and Antony & Cleopatra. Buffy & Angel are classic as well. And I do enjoy Pride & Prejudice.

  5. Buffy and Angel, totally agree. I don't know why, but I always think tragic love stories are the best ones, although I do like a happy ending every now and then :)

  6. I'm ill-prepared to answer "greatest" but within the sci-fi/fantasy world I did enjoy the relationship dynamics and evolution of John Crichton and Erin Sun of Farscape--each for very different reasons. Not having seen the Buffy/Angel series, I can't comment on that one.

    From books, I might go with Richard Cypher/Rahl and Kahlan Amnell of Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. And Robin Hobb gave us a bittersweet ending to Fitz and Molly's relationship in the Farseer Trilogy.

  7. Greatest love story? I don't even know what that means.
    What I do know, though, is that any love story that ends with one or more of the lovers offing him/herself is not the "greatest" but the "stupidest."

    My wife loves the The Notebook despite the fact that she hates it.

  8. I'm totally with you on the Buffy and Angel thing, but I am an unapologetic Whedonite, so there was an excellent chance I'd agree with you.

    I love a tragic love story, but I do have a soft spot for Pride & Prejudice.

  9. I do really like the Terminator love story. Pride and Prejudice and Princess Bride I could also get behind! Never much cared for The Notebook.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

  10. Lake Placid is awesome, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pride and Prejudice, never did see the Notebook though I tend to avoid things about soppy love stories :/

    Maybe not the greatest but something that stands out when I read this, Looper was a brilliant movie that definitely had some tragic love stories.

  11. Buffy goes without saying but I'm glad you said it. LOL! And terminator...that's a good one. Sad but beautiful. :)

  12. I agree totally with Buff and Angel, I loved their story, but also loved the doomed lover of spike as well, who can forget their parting lines underground before the town fell into the hellmouth. As for Terminator, the idea that someone would transverse time itself to be with you, is just so romantic. :) good choices.

  13. I love, LOVE, that you included terminator. Sci fi action flicks aren't often thought of when talking about love stories. Oh, I nominated you for a liebster yesterday, did I mention that?

  14. I love The Princess Bride and Buffy and Angel were a great love Story.
    Katie atBankerchick Scratchings