x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Perfect pairings: favourite film couples

We at M choose memorable twosomes in honour of Valentine's Day.

Whether they lived happily ever after or not, the list of couples who won filmgoers and TV viewers' hearts is a long one. We at M magazine offer a selection of our favourites, where great actors oozed chemistry on screen and served up some of the best scenes ever seen.


Dev Patel and Freida Pinto

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

All relationships should be as intense and passionate as that between Patel and Pinto, who met on the set of this Oscar-winning film and remain a happy couple to this day. Their onscreen rapport is apparent, and undoubtedly mirrors what occurred offscreen, as their early bond of friendship grows into beautiful young love, despite all the hardships and craziness in the slums of Mumbai. The heartfelt last scene at the train station gives me goose bumps.

Tina Chang, photographer


Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle

Pride and Prejudice (TV miniseries, 1995)

"From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realise that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry." Thus spits feisty Elizabeth Bennet (Ehle) to the haughty and brooding Mr Darcy (Firth). Of course, not for a moment do we think that these two are not meant to be together. The BBC's gripping adaptation of Jane Austen's satirical comedy of manners brilliantly portrays the tension, the awkward silences and the slow-burning magnetism between the two characters. It's an unforgettable romance that set our hearts racing, just as the wet shirt scene, the bushy sideburns, the riding breeches and the smouldering good looks sealed Firth in our imaginations forever.

Jemma Nicholls, senior editor


Omar Sharif and Julie Christie

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Was there ever a more beautiful and tragic heroine than the lovely Lara, played by Christie? Just the name conjures up her vulnerability and sensuality. And Sharif's dashing Yuri Zhivago is a perfect foil. All we ever want is for them to be together, unencumbered by the pesky revolution and the even peskier wife. But this being a classic love story, of course, it's never going to happen - although you can't help but wonder what might have been if Lara had been on the tram instead of walking, tantalisingly out of reach, alongside it. The film, which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won five, is a classic.

Helena Frith Powell, editor


Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler

The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)

The Fellowship is broken and Middle-Earth is on the brink of darkness, but the love of the elf maiden Arwen (Tyler) serves as a beacon of hope for Ranger Aragorn (Mortensen). In his moments of hopelessness and self-doubt, it is the memory of Arwen that uplifts his spirit. It is easy for their story to get lost amid the battles and the quest to reach Mount Doom, but the few scenes they have together emphasise their faith and their love. "I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all ages of this world alone," Arwen vows to Aragorn. Seeing their smouldering kiss at the end of the trilogy fills my heart and makes me sigh.

Olive Obina, photo researcher


Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw

Love Story (1970)

Yes, this tearjerker was silly, cloying and formulaic, and its catchphrase - "Love means never having to say you're sorry" - was the stupidest in the history of motion pictures. But who could resist the coltish, beautiful and insouciant McGraw as the doomed music teacher and the manly, huggable and teddy bearish-O'Neal as the Harvard jock? Their chemistry set the screen on fire, and O'Neal revealed on The Oprah Winfrey Show 40 years later that he had a devastating crush on his co-star. "I just adored her. I walked into walls," he said.

Rick Arthur, deputy editor


Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová

Once (2006)

Known in the film only as "Guy" and "Girl", Hansard and Irglová's characters meet for a brief period in their lives, but form an intense relationship stemming from their common passion for music. We watch as they complement and enable each other to produce a chillingly beautiful musical demo (one that actually earned them an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2007 for Falling Slowly). The film is magical, and although they part ways at the end, not surprisingly the couple took their romance off-screen for several years and toured as the folk-rock duo The Swell Season.

Kerri Abrams, art director


Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson

House Calls (1978)

Dr Charley Nichols (Matthau), a merry widower making the most of his new-found freedom, meets his match in Ann Atkinson (Jackson), a hospital receptionist, who, having got rid of a philandering husband, is determined not to make the same mistake again. The film is a knockabout comedy reminiscent of the "screwball" classics of the 1930s, featuring a harmony of opposites between the brash American and the cool Englishwoman, with wit, wisdom and one-liners in abundance.

Kevin McIndoe, page editor


Albert Finney and Jessica Lange

Big Fish (2003)

While Big Fish is primarily a story of a father-son relationship, it's one of those films that sticks with you as a classic romance because, despite the character Edward's tall tales and wild exaggerations, there is a truthfulness that resonates with all of us who have fallen in love. The chemistry of Edward (Finney) and Sandra (Lange) reflects their partnership, respect and utter adoration. The scene in which they embrace in the bathtub is a beautiful depiction of their enduring love. Best of all, the stories Edward shares with his estranged son add flavour to the long-term romance, and shed light on the personal reality of the man his son never really knew.

Ellen Fortini, page editor


Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman

Moulin Rouge (2001)

Christian (McGregor), a young and struggling bohemian writer, falls madly in love with Satine (Kidman), a courtesan, the most desired of all, in this beautiful movie musical set in Paris in 1899. It's one to watch again and again. "Come what may. Come what may. I will love you until my dying day," Christian professes. Sadly, their love is cut short and he is left penning his own story after Satine's tragic death.

Wai-Ling Chung, picture editor


Jeremy Leary and Elie Docter (voicing Carl and Ellie)

Up (2009)

I watched Up on a flight back from London two years ago, already teary-eyed from saying goodbye to friends. As soon as I saw the square-faced characters on screen, my spirits instantly lifted. Then, seeing the innocent connection between Carl (Leary) and Ellie (Docter) as children blossoming into marriage made me weep with joy. Yes! Those two cartoon characters' love for one another made me "that" person - the one who cries on planes, in public and loudly at that. Their love was almost too mature for a children's film but the simplicity of the relationship is what touched me the most.

Nadia El Dasher, stylist


Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon

Harold and Maude (1971)

Dame Marjorie "Maude" Chardin (Gordon), a 79-year-old free spirit who wears her heart on her sleeve and her hair twisted across her forehead like two freshly baked loaves, lives life to the fullest. When she meets Harold Chasen (Cort), a bored young man in his 20s who has a strange fascination with his own mortality, his life changes forever. Much to the befuddlement of Harold's psychiatrist, and to the obvious disappointment of his painfully bourgeois mother, a poignant love story unfolds between the hopeless pair. Doggedly eccentric, Maude teaches Harold how to make the most out of life, all played out alongside the lilting Cat Stevens soundtrack. The whole thing hurts (in a good way) from start to finish - perhaps in just the same way that love does.

Katie Trotter, fashion director


Other film couples we just love


Woody Allen and Diane Keaton

Annie Hall (1977) and Manhattan (1979)


Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini

Baghban (2003)


Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)


Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman

Casablanca (1942)


Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor

Cleopatra (1963)


Nicolas Cage and Cher

Moonstruck (1987)


Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn

Robin and Marian (1976)


Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly

High Noon (1952)


Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon

Bull Durham (1988)


Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan

When Harry Met Sally... (1989)


Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet

Titanic (1997)


Clint Eastwood and Clyde the orangutan

Every Which Way But Loose (1978)


Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow

Shakespeare in Love (1998)


Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh

Gone with the Wind (1939)


John Garfield and Lana Turner

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)


Judy Garland and Toto

The Wizard of Oz (1939)


Richard Gere and Julia Roberts

Pretty Woman (1990)


Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan

Drive (2011)


Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)


Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr

An Affair to Remember (1957)


Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)


Raj Kapoor and Nargis

Shree 420 (1955)


Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah

Roxanne (1987)


Roddy McDowall and Lassie

Lassie Come Home (1943)


Mike Meyers and Cameron Diaz

(voicing Shrek and Princess Fiona)

Shrek films (2001 and later)


Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell

Groundhog Day (1993)


Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal

Paper Moon (1973)


Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart

Twilight (2008)


William Powell and Myrna Loy

The Thin Man (1934)


Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand

The Way We Were (1973)


Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock

Speed (1994)


Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey

Dirty Dancing (1987)


Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry

Monster's Ball (2001)


Tom and Jerry

Warner Brothers cartoons


John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara

The Quiet Man (1952) and others


Fay Wray and King Kong

King Kong (1933)