Best and Most Memorable
Film Kisses of All Time
in Cinematic History


Best Movie Kisses of All-Time
Title Screen
Film Title/Year and Description of Kiss in Movie Scene

The Quiet Man (1952)

Passionate, Against-Custom Irish Kisses in the Wind

Republic Pictures and director John Ford teamed up for this Irish romantic comedy about the fiery relationship between an American and an Irish lass:

  • ex-boxer Sean Thornton (John Wayne), who had accidentally killed an opponent in the ring
  • red-haired Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O'Hara), the shepherd girl from the green del

During a wild and breezy windstorm after returning to his boyhood Irish home, Sean Thornton arrived at his newly-purchased thatched cottage where a fire burned. Mary Kate was flushed out from hiding in the bedroom and rushed for the front door, but he reached for her right arm, pulled her back, twirled her like a ballet dancer into the cottage, twisted her arm behind her back as she resisted, and then bent the stranger over backwards with an embrace and passionate kiss - their first.

The storm continued to blow through the cottage, sending Mary Kate's hair whipping around behind her - the wind was an external manifestation of her passion. When she realized what had happened, she stood back, reflected about his bold advances, and then cocked her fist back for an explosive, powerful swing at his face - he flinched, bent backward, and blocked the stiff-armed blow with his hand as she missed.

At the end of the poetic, romantic scene, Mary Kate gazed at him for a few seconds, opened the door to leave (unleashing the wind again), turned toward him, boldly and daringly planted a kiss on his lips, and fled into the wild night. (see further below)

The Quiet Man (1952)

Passionate, Against-Custom Irish Kisses in the Rain

A second sexier kissing scene occurred during their further courtship in an ancient church graveyard. The sky was filled with threatening dark thunderclouds as their romantic freedom in Innisfree broke more of the customary traditions. He still believed he was dreaming about her:

"If anybody had told me six months ago that today I'd be in a graveyard in Inisfree with a girl like you, I'd have told him... "

She explained how long they would have to wait for a kiss: "Oh, but the kiss is a long way off yet" - after courtin', there's the walkin'-out, the threshin' parties, etc., but Sean refused to wait any longer and she quickly agreed: "I feel the same way about it myself."

As they started to embrace each other, foregoing a traditional, long-term courtship, a violent, fierce wind thrust a giant green branch in front of them. Lightning strikes and loud thunderclaps were heard as nature unleashed its passionate forces in reaction to their brazen defiance of custom, religion, and superstition. In the place of death, they were chastened for blissfully deciding to kiss each other.

Sean's shirt became soaked to the skin as they embraced and clung to each other, as she held her hosiery in her left hand against his drenched chest. Her upturned face met his lips for a kiss, and then she rested her right cheek against him. Both looked off toward the awesome storm - and their future together, as the soundtrack played the plaintiff Irish ballad: "The Lake Isle of Innisfree."

She initiated a second, more subdued kiss, and then they stared off with solemn expressions in different directions - the scene faded to black.

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Kiss at the Finale

Directors Stanley Donan and Gene Kelly's MGM musical spoofed the dawn of Hollywood's sound era and the advent of talking pictures.

In the film's finale, as the camera pulled back, adorable heroine Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) and film star-actor Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) were pictured facing each other on a billboard that announced them as the new stellar love team of Monumental Pictures in their first picture together, Singin' in the Rain.

They consummated the success of the show (and their budding personal relationship) by kissing in front of the billboard that was positioned on a hillside.

From Here to Eternity (1953)

Illicit Beach Kiss

Director Fred Zinnemann's Best Picture-winning military drama was based on James Jones' novel about a number of civilian and military-related individuals and their relationships and circumstances just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It has always been most famous for its clothed, entwined Hawaiian beach embrace and forbidden kissing scene. Two of the central characters, the ones in the nighttime surf scene, were:

  • Army Sergeant Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster), tough and cynical
  • Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr), the adulterous Army Captain's wife

The churning Hawaiian waves covered them on a summer night on a deserted sandy beach. After their clinch, she rose, pranced up the sand, and collapsed onto their blanket. Warden followed and stood above her, dropped to his knees, and found her lips in his, and then Karen breathlessly spoke:

"I never knew it could be like this. Nobody ever kissed me the way you do."

But their idyllic, iconic love scene immediately turned ugly and combative when he queried: "Nobody?" "No, nobody," she replied. "Not even one? Out of all the men you've been kissed by?" he asked. She responded with a question: "Now that'd take some figuring. How many men do you think there've been?" He asked again: "I wouldn't know. Can't you give me a rough estimate?"

Irritated and insulted by his implication that she was highly promiscuous, she sarcastically replied: "Not without an adding machine. Do you have your adding machine with you?" When he said he forgot to bring it, she told him: "Then I guess you won't find out, will you?"

The scene quickly became one of alienation and conflict, as his probing and hinting denegrated her character. His knowledge of her loose promiscuity and numerable other previous affairs at other outposts nagged at him and produced feelings of ambivalence about her free sexuality.

Mogambo (1953)

A Love Triangle - With Kisses For Both Female Leads

Aging Clark Gable, as African animal trapper and rugged safari leader Victor Marswell, became involved in adulterous affairs with his two beautiful leading co-stars in this colorful John Ford remake romance/adventure film (twenty-one years after Gable had appeared opposite Jean Harlow in Red Dust (1932)) - filmed on location in Africa.

  • stranded, provocative, ribald and wisecracking good-time-girl Eloise "Honey Bear" Kelly (Ava Gardner) [their relationship began with an evening porch kiss]
  • Linda Nordley (Grace Kelly) - a cool and prim but lustful wife of a British anthropologist [their adulterous affair occurred during a gorilla jungle expedition]

Pickup on South Street (1953)

'Striking Oil' First Kiss

Writer/director Samuel Fuller's quintessential spy-thriller film noir brought together a pickpocket on a subway and a pretty, unwitting courier of microfilmed US government secrets bound for the Communists. Both the underground enemy spies and the FBI pursued the two of them and they became embroiled together in the taut plot.

After ex-con pick-pocket Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark) had lovingly rubbed the face of prostitute Candy (Jean Peters) after bruising her jaw, he remarked, with a classic line after kissing her:

"You look for oil, sometimes you hit a gusher."

Roman Holiday (1953)

Sad Goodbye Princess Kiss

In director William Wyler's romantic comedy - a Cinderella tale told in reverse - runaway Princess Ann (Oscar-winning Audrey Hepburn) rebelled against her royal obligations and escaped the insulated confines of her royal prison to find a 'Prince Charming' commoner. He was a street-smart American reporter named Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) who was covering the royal tour in Rome.

After their long day together in Rome, Princess Ann admitted that she had a tiring, but "wonderful day." Although they both dreamt of becoming closer to each other, Ann also knew she would inevitably have to part and return to her other life and duties as a monarch.

In a memorable goodbye scene, she gave Joe difficult-to-hear directions after he drove her to the Embassy gate:

"I have to leave you now. I'm going to that corner there and turn. You must stay in the car and drive away. Promise not to watch me go beyond the corner. Just drive away and leave me as I leave you... I don't know how to say goodbye. I can't think of any words."

Joe suggested: "Don't try" - and they sadly hugged and kissed each other for the last time.

Carmen Jones (1954)

"I Swear It's True" Kiss

Georges Bizet's 1875 opera Carmen was refitted for the big screen as a romantic musical, transposing the tale from 19th century Spain to WWII-era, with the main cast composed of African-Americans who were stationed at a military base. Director Otto Preminger's film was remarkable for its all-black cast and its original and exciting premise.

The carnal, red-hot, free-spirited, radiantly-beautiful parachute making-factory worker Carmen Jones (Dorothy Dandridge, the first black female to be nominated as Best Actress), enticed handsome, honorable military corporal Joe (Harry Belafonte) to satisfy her own lustful purposes.

During a brief encounter at a local roadhouse - Billy Pastor's jive cafe after he was court-martialed for a previous incident related to her, he told her that he had to attend flying school 400 miles away instead of staying the night with her. Angry about his offer of "love on a pass," the fiercely-independent Carmen demanded that he demonstrate his love for her, so he took out from his left-breast uniform pocket a dried up rose that she had sent him, telling her: "That's been with me all the time. Right here, where you are."

When she questioned his sincerity: "That don't ring so true," he took her in his arms and kissed her: "I swear it's true." Then she enticed him:

"If you loved me'd come to Chicago...I want to go someplace where you're the last thing I see at night, first thing I see in the morning."

Angered by his reluctance, she rebuffed him:

"Boy, if you ain't a lover red-hot for Carmen. You just burnin' up with passion. You sizzle like a fish on ice...You too chicken for me to waste my time on!"

Instead, Carmen decided to accept an offer to accompany Joe's superior officer Sergeant Brown (Brock Peters) for the evening, inciting Joe's angry and jealous lust for her. After a fatal fistfight with Brown, Joe deserted his regiment and went AWOL to avoid the MPs and took off with the sultry Carmen on the train to Chicago.

On the Waterfront (1954)

Reluctant Kiss

Director Elia Kazan's Best Picture-winning drama was about labor racketeering on the docks of New York City. Ex-boxer and errand-boy lackey to the iron-fisted, mob-connected dock boss, Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) came to fall in love with Edie Doyle (Eva Marie Saint), the sister of Joey - one of the dead dockworkers. She believed he was linked in some way to the death of her brother.

Terry knocked numerous times and pleaded with white slip-wearing Edie to unlock her apartment door, but she refused. She begged: "Stay away from me," but he insisted fiercely: "Come on, please open the door please."

He finally broke the door down, and as she huddled in bed, she drew back the covers over herself: "I want you to stay away from me." He was combative: "I know what you want me to do, but I ain't gonna do it, so forget it." She yelled back: "I don't want you to do anything. You let your conscience tell you what to do" and again reiterated: "You just stay away from me."

After he told her: "Edie, you love me" she responded:

"I didn't say I didn't love you. I said, 'STAY AWAY FROM ME."

But he again asked: "I want you to say it," and put his arms around her anyway. She resisted and fought him off, but they ended up embracing against the wall with a kiss.

Rear Window (1954)

Dream Kiss

Alfred Hitchcock's voyeuristic suspense-thriller was mostly confined to the apartment of an incapacitated photographer with a broken leg, but his rear window view into other apartments across the courtyard kept him preoccupied.

During a reddish Manhattan sunset as wheel-chaired photojournalist Jeff (James Stewart) dozed, the courtyard outside his rear window buzzed with activity.

A shadow slowly rose up Jeff's face as his fashion model designer girlfriend/fiancee Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) (in close-up) approached. She was a stylish vision of beauty - elegant, lovely, affluent, and blonde. She bent over, and then lovingly kissed him. She roused and awakened him from his sleep.

She whispered suggestively as she asked:

Lisa: "How's your leg?"
Jeff: "It hurts a little."
Lisa: "And your stomach?"
Jeff: "Empty as a football." (She kissed him again.)
Lisa: "And your love life?"
Jeff: "Not too active."
Lisa: (smiling) "Anything else bothering you?"
Jeff: "Mm-hmm. Who are you?"

As she flicked on the apartment's lights one-by-one, she told him her name, disjointedly:

"Lisa - Carol - Fremont."

Sabrina (1954)

"It's All in the Family" Kiss

In this Billy Wilder romantic comedy, another version of the Cinderella tale, two brothers in a rich Long Island society family became interested in their chauffeur's pretty daughter Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn):

  • stuffy, conservative and uptight businessman and older brother Linus Larrabee (54 year-old Humphrey Bogart)
  • blonde, playboyish David Larrabee (William Holden)

They were especially interested in Sabrina after she returned from Paris as a refined and cultured 22 year-old woman with a new hairdo. Her "crush" and romance with David was jeopardized by his impending marriage of convenience (and $20 million business deal) to wealthy heiress Elizabeth (Martha Hyer), so Linus was called upon to pretend to romance Sabrina, distract her from David, and save the marriage and deal.

In the indoor tennis court scene where they slow-danced, Linus offered Sabrina a kiss: "Here's a kiss from David," he told her - "It's all in the family."

It was a foregone conclusion that by film's end, Linus would end up with Sabrina - on a cruise liner to Paris.

Kisses with David

Kisses with Linus

Best and Most Memorable Film Kisses
(in chronological order by film title)
Introduction | 1896-1925 | 1926-1927 | 1928-1932 | 1933-1936 | 1937-1939 | 1940-1941
1942-1943 | 1944-1946 | 1947-1951 | 1952-1954 | 1955 - 1 | 1955 - 2 | 1956-1958 | 1959-1961
1962-1965 | 1966-1968 | 1969-1971 | 1972-1976 | 1977-1981 | 1982
1983-1984 | 1985-1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989-1990 | 1991 | 1992-1993 | 1994
1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006-2007 | 2008 | 2009-

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