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Top 10 Kisses in Movie History
by Andy York

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Now he's gone and done it! I wasn't satisfied to just do the best love stories last Valentine's Day, was I? I had to emasculate myself just one step further. Oh well, I'm a sucker for a good screen kiss just like anyone. Besides, it's that time of the year! At Halloween I write about horror movies and at Christmas I write about Christmas movies. It's Valentine's Day, I have to write about love stories! I'm just that festive. Being that lame, I have a very special column for you. It's a format I've only done seven times before. Well, it might not be special, but what's more fun than a top 10 list? The ten best dressed, top 10 movies of the year and now The Top 10 Kisses in Movie History. As George Carlin would say, 10 is a psychologically satisfying number.

10. Dr. Miles J. Bennell and Becky Driscoll, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Okay, maybe a science fiction movie about aliens taking over the world doesn't scream "Valentine's Day". This particular kiss sure as hell doesn't! See, how the aliens take over the planet is they invest us by simply taking us over when we fall asleep. The first and best Invasion movie has Miles and Becky as two people who are falling in love while aliens tend to get in the way. Having to avoid sleep after awhile makes a person tired and as Miles is carrying Becky as the run away from the evil aliens, they fall down. Becky says "I can't make it without sleep." being ever the cool guy, Miles says "Yes we can!" as he plants one on her. The dreaded music plays and we know it's happened! Becky fell asleep during this kiss, now she's an alien herself. It's ever so beautifully creepy.

9. L. B. Jefferies and Lisa Carol Freemont, Rear Window

You know, I never thought I would include any Jimmy Stewart make out sessions on any top list, but I actually have two making this one. We start off with his famous screen kiss with the lovely, Grace Kelly. Alfred Hitchcock's classic voyeur tale of an injured newspaper photographer spying on his neighbors isn't really that romantic, but it has its moments. None better than when Jimmy Stewart is awakened by a kiss from the beautiful Grace Kelly. If you need to see why Hitchcock is so revered there are few better instances than when viewing this sublime embrace.

8. Toto and Elena, Cinema Paradiso

Now this is a movie for Valentine's Day. Cinema Paradiso tells the story of a boy who finds friendship, love and becomes a man through his
life in a little Italian village working at the local movie theater. When Salvatore, or Toto as he's most commonly called, grows into a teenager he falls in love with his dream girl Elena. The only problem being her family doesn't like him and move her to another school. They try to see each other as often as possible on breaks, vacations or when sneaking away. One night when running a film for an outside audience, Toto lies down on the ground and laments about his desire for his absent love as a storm breaks overhead. Toto just lies there as the rain hits him on the face until he's disturbed. Disturbed by a kiss from Elena. The two kiss as the rain and lightning blow all around them. Wow.....

7. Jack Dawson and Rose Bukater, Titanic

We all know the scene! The forbidden love of a rich girl and the poor boy aboard the most famously doomed ship in history. Now I know we were subjected to Titanic overkill in the late 1990's and we still are reeling, but that doesn't take away from some of the really good work James Cameron did on his biggest movie. Jack puts Rose on the rail at the front of the ship so she can feel the power of the mighty vessel. As Rose puts it "I'm Flying" and so is their romance. They kiss and turn their lives upside down. You may not like this movie, but very few films have ever done sappy romance that well.

6. George Bailey and Mary Bailey, It's a Wonderful Life

The love story in this Christmas classic is between a man who wants more from a life than he has and woman who adores him. When George's brother comes back from the college George never got to go to George wanders over to the girl he knows is the perfect woman for him to settle down with, Mary. The thing is he doesn't want to settle down. As he and Mary talk on the phone with Mary's current suitor the two seem to get closer and closer until George throws the phone down and says "I don't want to get married to anyone ever, do you understand that? I want to do what I want to do!" as the two kiss madly. In that one moment George accepts that he's not going to live the life of adventure he wanted. He decides to settle down and marry a girl that he does love. It's a romantic scene, but its a little bitter as well. George gives up his fantasy life for reality. Turns out his reality might just be better than any fantasy he ever imagined.

5. Michael Corleone and Fredo Corleone, The Godfather Part II

I have to apologize to those
Brokeback Mountain fans out there. This is the only male-male kiss on the list. It's not romantic or beautiful. I will say this, it's passionate. The second installment in The Godfather trilogy starts with an assassination attempt on the head of the Corleone crime family, Michael. Michael searches throughout the movie as to the source of the attempted hit only to find out it was his own brother, Fredo. At a New Years party Michael confronts Fredo with a kiss and the infamous "I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!" When you cross a mafia crime boss it never seems to turn out well in the movies or in real life. We all know how it turns out for Fredo. It's why this particular act of affection between siblings is known as "The Kiss of Death"

4. Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara, Gone with the Wind

There are many big kisses between Rhett and Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. I knew I definitely wanted one on the list somewhere. I just had to go with the scene when they kiss after escaping from Atlanta. After rescuing Scarlett from the war torn city Rhett decides he must do the honorable thing and go fight for the South (I know, I know). Scarlett begs him not to desert her as Rhett grabs her and tells her "There's one thing I do know, it is that I love you Scarlett." Rhett gives Scarlett the biggest kiss of her life. Then Scarlett immediately smacks him across the face and proceeds to tell him how horrible he is. It's all apart of a game they play for three hours, but it's a grand three hours. The height of which just might be this unforgettable kiss.

3. Paul Varjak and Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany's

With all the clichés of Hollywood having the two stars running into each other's arms at the end of the movie I only have one that does so. Breakfast at Tiffany's is a love story between two people that are essentially prostitutes. Each one is damaged and full of issues, but they find stability in each other. Towards the end of the movie the two are riding in a cab when Holly stops the cab and throws her cat out into the rain as she's making the point to Paul that she's damaged beyond deserving a normal relationship of love. Paul then leaves the cab telling Holly that she's too afraid to take a chance on their love and no matter what nothing will protect her from that fear. He gives Holly the engagement ring he had for her and says "I don't want it anymore!" as Holly begins to cry. She
runs out of the cab, into the rain and starts yelling for her cat at the top of her lungs. She finds Paul and the cat in the rain as Moon River so beautifully plays overhead. Paul grabs Holly and kisses her. They're going to take the chance.

2. Thomas Crown and Vicki Anderson, The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

Forget the Pierce Brosnan remake. This is where it's at. Right here with the king of cool, Steve McQueen. Thomas Crown is a rich man who plans a bank robbery out of boredom. Vicki Anderson, played by Faye Dunaway, is the insurance investigator trying to prove he's guilty. The only problem is their both very attracted to each other. No speeches are made, but they decide to separate their business from their personal lives. After a date they settle down to play a game of chess in what results in a lot innuendo with the pieces of the game. Crown becomes too impatient, grabs Vicki and delivers the classic line of "Let's play something else." as they kiss. The camera swirls around the embrace and we are witnessing one single kiss that lasts over one minute. It's an explosion of passion that defines one of the best movies ever made.

1. Sgt. Milton Warden and Karen Holmes, From Here to Eternity

Out of all the famous smooches in the history of film I don't know what is really the most famous. This one absolutely ranks with any of them. You have an army officer having a rendezvous with his superior's wife on a beach. The two lovers lie on the sand and kiss as the ocean water rushes over them. It's everything the great movie kiss should be. Every bit of the love they have for each other is sold to the viewer in those few seconds of bliss on screen. From Here to Eternity is one of the great romance films of all time. I can't think of one kiss that would rank over this one. It's so iconic and memorable. Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr created screen majesty back in 1953. You can't beat old movies! It's moments like this that make me feel like classic Hollywood is the best art America will ever offer to the world.

****************

You know, that was a lot fun to write. It may not be the most macho column ever, but oh well. I would stack any of those kisses against any other scene in movie history. Male or female, straight or gay we all want to see love. We all want happiness. That's why the love story is the most popular cinematic ploy. It always will be. Audiences will never get tired of rooting for love. Never....

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Out of the Past
Every other Tuesday

Discussing classic films from City Lights to Apocalypse Now and everything in between and beyond.


Other Columns
Other columns by Andy York:

Top 10 Coolest Movie Characters

Stewart-Mann Western Connection

Academy of Irrelevance

Ride of Terror Showdown

A Guide to the Fiercely Divine

All Columns


Andy York
Andy is a life long movie fanatic. The first movie he saw in the theater was Back to the Future, Part 2 at the age of 3 and he has loved movies ever since.



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If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Andy York by clicking here.


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