In a world that equates love with infatuation, on-screen couples who embrace love as a selfless, rather than a selfish, act are scarce.
But, luckily, there are a few mighty film romances that showcase the joys of willing the best for your beloved, confronting difficulties head-on, and placing another's needs before your own
These couples below demonstrate the power and beauty of employing love as a virtuous, heroic action, not a fleeting feeling.
Here are five cinematic couples that showcase the power of selfless love.
Westley and Buttercup, The Princess Bride
From that first iconic "As you wish," Wesley’s devotion to Buttercup in The Princess Bride is nothing short of aspirational.
In addition to placing Buttercup's comfort before his, Wesley also channels his love into ambition, venturing abroad to make his fortune, so he can better provide for her.
Wesley also rescues Buttercup from the unloving Prince Humperdinck and a rodent of unusual size before enduring torture and risking death.
Luckily, with the help of his newfound friends, Wesley and Buttercup are reunited and enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.
Latika and Jamal, Slumdog Millionaire
Jamal of Slumdog Millionaire is the quintessential rags-to-riches protagonist, rising from poverty to newfound fortune following his Who Wants To Be A Millionaire win.
And Jamal doesn’t just use his intelligence to win 20 million rupees on national television, he also uses his strategic street smarts to rescue his childhood friend and beloved Latika from a life of forced prostitution.
In a suspenseful last sequence, Latika is able to escape her abusive situation with the help of Jamal’s older brother Salim, who calls Jamal during the “phone a friend” portion of the game, and tells him that she’s safe.
This knowledge gives Jamal the confidence to answer the winning question correctly, changing his life forever.
George and Mary Bailey, It's A Wonderful Life
George and Mary Bailey are one of those married couples that follows the for better or for worse part of wedding vows to a T.
For example, Mary puts self-interest aside and jumps at every opportunity to give to others: from lending her honeymoon money out to others in their hour of need, to spending countless hours turning an old, rickety house into a lovely home for her family.
Of course, George sacrifices his fair share in the movie, too, including giving up a much-anticipated international trip in favor of staying in his Bedford Falls hometown with Mary.
Modern-day stories might not rule in favor of a couple that constantly puts personal desires on the back burner. But, if the Baileys are anything like us, we can see that a spirit of generosity can only contribute to a healthy, lasting partnership.
Jack and Rose, Titanic
While we don’t condone the impulsive pre-marital relations between Titanic's Jack and Rose, we can’t deny the self-giving nature of their short-lived romance.
Jack particularly demonstrates how much he would sacrifice for Rose’s well-being in several ways, from saving her from suicide and urging her to take ownership of her life, to letting her take the spot on the floating raft after their ocean liner sinks in icy seas.
Worth noting: Rose gave up her spot on a lifeboat to be with Jack as the ship sank. Not only does Jack love and protect Rose, he wants the best for her, regardless of what happens to him.
Landon and Jamie, A Walk to Remember
Lastly, Landon and Jamie from a Walk to Remember display the importance of staying true to your values, committing to your loved ones, especially during seasons of hardship, and choosing to walk alongside your beloved in his or her hour of need, come what may.
In the movie, Landon evolves from a self-serving bad boy to a giving and thoughtful partner who sacrifices popularity and status to give Jamie a *spoiler alert* happy remainder to her short life.
He even grants her last wish by marrying her in the same chapel where her parents wed.
When it comes to romantic couples, Hollywood isn’t always the best source of inspiration. But that doesn’t mean here aren’t a few shining cinematic examples that prove the beauty of sacrificial love in movies.
Love isn’t some fuzzy feeling that makes life perfect and easy. It's an ability to choose the good for another. And the couples in the movies above prove how powerful this ability is.
Image: Adobe Stock
Anna Livia is a Los Angeles native, Communications Specialist, and Hygge enthusiast. When she isn't writing copy or taking free digital marketing courses, you can find her at an Angeleno flea market, botanical garden, or the Rose Bowl for a three-mile walk. Her mission is to attract others to the truth, and she sees a bright future for herself in copy or technical writing for innovative corporations.
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