Arts & Culture

Stand-Out Romantic Scenes in Southern Films

Is your favorite on the list?

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line.

Your heart swells, your eyes tear, and just for a minute, the possibilities and power of love seem visceral—great romantic scenes will do that to you. Here are just a few Garden & Gun picks from Southern films. 

“Do you think our love could take us away together?”

The Notebook (2004)

After my grandfather died, my grandmother, who had spent barely a day away from him in their sixty-three years of marriage, said to me, “Sometimes, at night, I can still feel him there next to me.” That’s why the final moments of Noah and Allie’s lives together in The Notebook are the ones that wrench my heart.
—Amanda Heckert, executive editor

“I called everywhere in five states. I told them it was the only way to get my wife to marry me.”

Big Fish (2003)

From a seemingly endless field of daffodils (her favorite flower), Edward Bloom proposes to the girl of his dreams. When she jokes that he barely knows her, he grins and says, “I have the rest of my life to find out.” It’s joyful and reckless and over-the-top, just like young love.
CJ Lotz, senior editor

“You’re the only one.”

Moonlight (2016)

This final scene carries so much in its silence. Everything that has happened to Chiron crescendos; the loss, shame, and pain he’s buried under his callous facade softens into acceptance. As Black lets his head rest on Kevin’s shoulder, he opens himself up to unprecedented vulnerability, to healing the child that has existed raw and lost and innocent right alongside his present. Here, with the sound of the ocean in the background, they are just kids again, experiencing love for the first time.
Cora Schipa, digital intern

“Sorry folks, but uh, I just can’t do this song anymore unless she’s gonna marry me.”

Walk the Line (2005)

I can remember Johnny Cash albums playing on an old record in the corner of my grandfather’s office, hearing his voice harmoniously mix with Johnny and June‘s. Seeing the pair together in Walk the Line, how their friendship and admiration flourished over music, took me back to those memories as a little girl.
—Caroline Renee Henderson, editorial intern

“Don’t you touch her!”

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

“You bastard!” screams Idgie as she leaps onto the back of her best friend Ruth’s abusive husband, pummeling him after he slaps Ruth in one of the most heart-wrenching moments in Fried Green Tomatoes. It may not be one of the most classically romantic scenes in Southern cinematic history, but there’s no denying the love the two women share for each other through some of the most tumultuous times in their lives.
—Emily Daily, newsletter editor

“So I can kiss you anytime I want.”

Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

“Whatcha wanna be married to me for anyhow?” “So I can kiss you anytime I want.” Opening and closing the Southern rom-com Sweet Home Alabama, these sweet lines welcome a full circle moment for the childhood lovers who were separated by the glitz and glamour of Melanie’s urban fashion dreams. You can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl.

“Turn around or I’ll shoot!”

Cold Mountain (2003)

You don’t have to entirely forgive, but forget for a few minutes the questionable “North Carolina” accents to remember this scene, when after years of trying to get back to one another, Inman and Ada reunite on a snowy mountain trail. She’s traded her hoop skirt for a turkey hunting getup and totes a shotgun, at first threatening the war-weary and bearded man who walks toward her. Until they both realize. Eyes that have seen so much suffering can rest on one another again.

“And you say he left you nothing but a suitcase with a uniform in it from the Spanish-American war?” “Some memories.” “And love.” 

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

The dialogue at the end of this movie blows me away every time I watch it. While it may not portray a stereotypical love, to me it’s so much more. The conversation between Brick and Big Daddy in the basement takes courage, communication, and honesty—which are not only big themes in this movie, but in relationships, too. The father-son duo fight their previous “mendacity,” and experience real vulnerability—and in turn heal from the inside out. The type of love we should all be inspired by.
Allyson Sloway, social media editor

“She was my most special friend.”

Forrest Gump (1994)

There may be no more forgiving, simpler, and childlike love than the one Forrest has for Jenny in Forrest Gump. Their moments as children bond them to be each other’s supporters throughout the adventures of life, and guide Forrest to deeply love those he encounters. “From that day on we was always together. Jenny and me was like peas and carrots.”