5. PRINCESS BRIDE
The Princess Bride is staged as a book read by grandfather (Peter Falk) to his ill grandson (Fred Savage). Falk’s character assures a romance-weary Savage that the book has much more to deliver than a simpering love story, including but not limited to fencing, fighting, torture, death, true love, giants, and pirates. Indeed, The Princess Bride offers a tongue-in-cheek fairy tale depicting stable boy-turned-pirate Westley’s journey to rescue Buttercup (Robin Wright), his true love, away from the evil prince (Chris Sarandon), whom she had agreed to marry five years after learning of what she had believed to be news of Westley’s death.
Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) are two New Yorkers already in relationships when they meet one another, each reaching for the last pair of cashmere gloves at a department store. Over coffee, they strike up an intimate conversation, and Jonathan thinks they should see each other again. Unconvinced, Sara arranges an elaborate series of “fate” games; if they’re meant to be together, she reasons, she and Jonathan will receive some sort of sign in the future.
3. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE
William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is on a cold streak. Not only is he writing for Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), owner of “The Rose,” a theatre whose doors are about to be closed by sadistic creditors, but he’s got a nasty case of writer’s block. Shakespeare hasn’t written a hit in years. In fact, he hasn’t written much of anything recently. Thus, the Bard finds himself in quite a bind when Henslowe, desperate to stave off another round of hot-coals-to-feet application, stakes The Rose’s solvency on Shakespeare’s new comedy, “Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter.” The problem is, “Romeo” is safely “locked away” in Shakespeare’s head, which is to say that not a word of it is written. Meanwhile, the lovely Lady Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) is an ardent theatre-goer — scandalous for a woman of her breeding — who especially admires Shakespeare’s plays and, not incidentally, Bill himself
2. SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE
Sleepless in Seattle, the sophomore directorial effort from Nora Ephron, is a light romantic comedy inspired by the 1957 film An Affair to Remember. Tom Hanks stars as widower and single father Sam. When Sam’s son, Jonah (Ross Malinger), calls into a talk radio program looking for a new mother, Sam ends up getting on the phone and laments about his lost love. Thousands of miles away, Annie (Meg Ryan) hears the program and immediately falls in love with Sam, despite the fact that she has never met him and that she is engaged to humdrum Walter (Bill Pullman).
It is the story of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a world-weary ex-freedom fighter who runs a nightclub in Casablanca during the early part of WWII. Despite pressure from the local authorities, notably the crafty Capt. Renault (Claude Rains), Rick’s café has become a haven for refugees looking to purchase illicit letters of transit which will allow them to escape to America. One day, to Rick’s great surprise, he is approached by the famed rebel Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) and his wife, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), Rick’s true love who deserted him when the Nazis invaded Paris. She still wants Victor to escape to America, but now that she’s renewed her love for Rick, she wants to stay behind in Casablanca.