Letterboxd Showdown: Stolen Kisses

My picks for Letterboxd's Stolen Kisses showdown. Guidelines:

“Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.” So wrote screenplay legend William Goldman in the script for The Princess Bride. In honor of Goldman’s recent passing, we’re locking lips this Showdown and looking for the best, the most iconic, the most antici…pated kisses on the big screen. Rose and Jack, Fergus and Dil, Elio and Oliver, Michael and Fredo, the Lady and the Tramp. We want passion, we want pain. So kiss this challenge right on the smacker and list your top ten cinema smooches.

  • Lady and the Tramp

    1.Lady and the Tramp

    ★★★★½

    There is something amazingly delightful about watching Lady and The Tramp absentmindedly chew their way through spaghetti into each other's mouths. I haven't seen every kiss ever put on screen, but I have never seen one more brilliant.

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  • Slumdog Millionaire

    2.Slumdog Millionaire

    ★★★★½

    Jamal and Latika went through so much that I needed them to get a happy ending. Seeing them reunite and kiss (and set off literal fireworks and a dance number) was viscerally relieving for me.

  • Schindler's List

    3.Schindler's List

    ★★★★★

    "It's not that kind of kiss," Schindler says as he gently touches his lips to the forehead of a terrified Jewish girl. It's a moment that stands out to me because the kiss itself is intended as a perfectly benign, sweet gesture of compassion. The very prospect of it, though, is terrifying on multiple levels for the recipient. Was this the prelude to a sexual assault, against which she would be utterly powerless as a Jew? Even if Schindler wasn't a threat to her, what would happen if they were seen by someone else? It's a small moment, but its implications are compelling.

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  • Wild Things

    4.Wild Things

    ★★★★★

    It's not just the novelty of being the first threesome in a pool scene I'd seen in a mainstream movie. It's a genuinely exciting scene that holds up 20 years later.

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  • Spider-Man

    5.Spider-Man

    ★★★

    It's not a kiss that stirs anything in me, per se, but the visual is legitimately iconic. I mean, hell, it won an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss.

  • Star Trek: First Contact

    6.Star Trek: First Contact

    ★★★★★

    My brother, who is not a Trekker but sat through most of the movies with me over the years, was squicked out by the Borg Queen and could not, for reasons I've never understood, stomach the kiss between her and Data. Maybe "something to taunt your baby brother with" isn't a huge reason to be drawn to a movie kiss, but here we are.

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  • Carol

    7.Carol

    ★★★★

    The Letterboxd Showdown notes said, "We want passion. We want pain." Carol has both kinds of kisses. Often, even when a movie is about a relationship between one character with far less experience than their partner, the kisses and love scenes still feel routine. What sets theirs apart is the contrast between nearly-stoically composed Cate Blanchett's Carol and barely-composed Rooney Mara's Therese.

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  • Weekend

    8.Weekend

    ★★★★

    In one of the Criterion edition's supplements, writer/director Andrew Haigh talked about how despite us seeing that they've already gone to bed together, he withheld letting us see Glen and Russell kiss until after enough of their relationship had been developed that we, the audience, were invested in them. It was one of those storytelling devices/choices that I was aware of without consciously realizing until it was pointed out to me. And it was brilliantly executed here.

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  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service

    9.On Her Majesty's Secret Service

    ★★★★½

    "It's alright. It's quite alright, really. She's having a rest. We'll be getting on soon. There's no hurry, you see. We have all the time in the world."

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  • Twister

    10.Twister

    ★★★★½

    There's just something about rain-soaked Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton kissing in the aftermath of a tornado that works for me. But then, Twister works for me.

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