Romantic thriller

A Romantic thriller or a romance thriller is a narrative that involves romance and thriller. Etymology of the word thrill comes from English root meaning “to pierce”. A thrill is a sharp sensation.

A good thriller provides entertainment by making viewers uncomfortable with moments of suspense, the heightened feeling of anxiety and fright. It makes persons sit on the edge of their seats. A thriller is more a familiar concept and description than a pure genre. It is not a genre with a precise definition. It canasic thriller trait of suspense, fits with some genres better than with others.[1] For example, crime, sci-fi and romance allow more scope for suspense than screwball comedies or musicals do.

Romantic thriller in discussion of genres, is more a metagenre that merges two or more genres together. It is different from established and historically specific cinema movements like Gothic horror or Golden Age detective. (thrillers pp. 260 261) [2] A genre works on two levels. First a specific theme exists. Then general relationships, patterns and structural elements are interwoven to the specific theme. This is why there can be a large variety of visual styles and story structures in romantic thriller.

Vertigo 1958 trailer embrace
Vertigo (1958)


Notrthrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism (1957) suggested four archetypal categories in literature; comedy, romance, tragedy and irony or satire. In a romance the hero is like us, only slightly superior to others and can behave in remarkable ways, in a world where ‘ordinary laws of nature are slightly suspended'.[3]

The common element in a romantic plot is adventure. There is an adventure or quest where the hero faces ordeals or monsters. There is often a sense of two worlds, the mundane reality and the unknown mysterious. The concept of a maze is seen in romantic thrillers, where the exit or solution is not easily navigated. It’s similar to a metaphor for a journey with blind spots and false turns where some things are hidden.

In the 1935 release of Thirty-Nine Steps , character Richard Hannay leaves a theatre with a mysterious and attractive woman, they begin a romance adventure journey into the world of spies, double agents and espionage. Author John Buchan was a pioneer of spy thrillers, adding romance and adventure traditions into the then new context of political conflict. The possibility of romance between the mysterious woman, and a decent gentleman was only a minor consideration to Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation.[4]

Based on Raymond Chandler’s First Detective Marlowe novel, The Big Sleep 1946 with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, demonstrates the two romantic thriller elements of adventure and dual worlds. The main heroes are brought together in an attempt to save Bacall’s younger sister Vickers. The main adventure sleuth plot has the characters traveling both together and separately.[5] In a common theme, they are from different social worlds, and wouldn’t usually mix. Romance between the two seems hopeless. Parallel to the adventure story unfolding, the romance travels its own labyrinth of truth and deception, to finally overcome issues of mistrust. The story can be summarised as a private detective working for a rich family, investigates a complex case including murder and blackmail while possibly falling in love. Raymond Chandlers’ Marlowe character was described as ‘a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady’.[6] Film adaptations of the novels varied according to the Directors and Producers and their interpretation of the character, using certain traits more than others to tell their story. In a similar way, there is a variety of styles in the adaptations of the James Bond character. Where Marlowe romanced with quick banter with sexual overtones, Bond seduces in a more physical style.


Opinions will vary on what films are appropriate to mention in this category. This is only a guide. The first list is Hollywood movies. The second is broader and includes international films.

Principal Cast in Casablanca Trailer
  • Casablanca (1942) World War II drama of complications and love. Stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Raines.
  • The Maltese Falcon (1942) Detective story with a love affair. Stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman ‘Mary Astor and Peter Lorre.
The Maltese Falcon
  • The Big Sleep (1946) Detective Marlowe story with a love affair. Stars Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers.
  • Vertigo (1958) Classic Alfred Hitchcock direction. Investigation and romance . Stars James Stewart and Kim Novak.
  • "'Charade" (1963) Divorcee gets involved in a caper with multiple layers of masked identity. Stars Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, and James Coburn.
  • Sleeping With The Enemy (1991) Abused wife fakes her death to escape violent husband. Stars Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin.
  • True Romance (1993) By Quentin Tarantino. Full of drugs, drama and sex. Stars Christian Slater, Val Kilmer and Patricia Arquette.
  • Unfaithful (2002) Marriage to an unfaithful wife has fatal consequences. Stars Richard Gere, Diane Lane.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) Married couple are secret assassins. Stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
  • "The Tourist" (2010) Spies rope an unsuspecting tourist into their global hunt for a thief. Stars Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, and Timothy Dalton.

Broader list of examples:


  1. ^ Altman, Rick (1995). A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre’ in Film Gere Reader. Austin University of Texas Press. pp. 26–40. ISBN 0851707173.
  2. ^ Ruben, Martin (1999). Thrillers: Genres in American Cinema. Cambridge University Press. p. 260,261. ISBN 0-521-58839-1.
  3. ^ Frye, Notrthrop (1971). Anatomy of Criticism; Four Essays. Princeton University Press. p. 139,40. ISBN 9780802092724.
  4. ^ Ruben, Martin (1999). Thrillers: Genres in American Cinema. Cambridge University Press. p. 228,229. ISBN 0-521-58839-1.
  5. ^ Maltin, Leonard (2005). Classic Movie Guide. Penguin Books. p. 47. ISBN 0-452-28620-4.
  6. ^ Ruben, Martin (1999). Thrillers: Genres in American Cinema. Cambridge University Press. p. 89. ISBN 0-521-58839-1.

External links

Aashiq Banaya Aapne

Aashiq Banaya Aapne (English: You Made me a Lover) is an Indian bollywood romantic thriller film starring Emraan Hashmi, Sonu Sood, Tanushree Dutta and Navin Nischol. It was released on 2 September 2005. The film marked the debut of actress Tanushree Dutta and was shot under the banner Shagun Film Creations. It's a remake of 2001 Hollywood movie, Tangled.

Appu (2000 film)

Appu is a 2000 Tamil romantic thriller film directed by Vasanth. The movie stars Prashanth, Devayani and Prakash Raj. The music is by Deva. The film was a remake of Hindi film Sadak. The film opened to mixed reviews from critics.

Bitter Moon

Bitter Moon is a 1992 Franco-British-American erotic romantic thriller film directed by Roman Polanski and starring Hugh Grant, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner and Peter Coyote. The film is known in France as Lunes de fiel (a pun on the French phrase "lune de miel", meaning "honeymoon", in Italian it is known as Luna di fiele). The script is inspired by the novel Lunes de fiel, written by the French author Pascal Bruckner. The score was composed by Vangelis.

Chloe (film)

Chloe is a 2009 erotic thriller film directed by Atom Egoyan, a remake of the 2003 French film Nathalie.... It stars Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, and Amanda Seyfried in the title role. Its screenplay was written by Erin Cressida Wilson, based on the earlier French film, written by Anne Fontaine.

Despite its mixed critical reception, Chloe made more money than any of Egoyan's previous films.

Darling (2007 Indian film)

Darling is a Bollywood horror romantic thriller film released on 7 September 2007. The film, which stars Esha Deol, Fardeen Khan and Isha Koppikar in the lead roles, was directed by Ram Gopal Varma. It was shot in Mumbai, India. The soundtrack was composed by Himesh Reshammiya and Pritam. The film was average grosser grossed Rs. 22 million in the first week.

Dil Se..

Dil Se.. (lit. From the Heart..) is a 1998 Indian romantic thriller film set in the backdrop of the insurgency in Northeast India, written and directed by Mani Ratnam, and produced by Ratnam, Ram Gopal Varma, and Shekhar Kapur. The film stars Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala in the lead roles, while Preity Zinta makes her film debut in a supporting role. The film is an example of parallel cinema and is noted as the final installment of Ratnam's thematic trilogy that consists of Roja (1992) and Bombay (1995).The film was screened at the Era New Horizons Film Festival and the Helsinki International Film Festival. Noted for its aspects nonlinear storytelling, the film won awards for cinematography, audiography, choreography, and music, among others. The film was a success overseas earning $975,000 in the United States and £537,930 in the United Kingdom, becoming the first Indian film to enter the top 10 in the United Kingdom box office charts, and it was also a hit in Japan. The film won two National Film Awards and six Filmfare Awards, while also receiving a special mention at the Netpac Awards. The film's soundtrack album, composed by A. R. Rahman, sold six million units in India.

Heaven (2002 film)

Heaven is a 2002 romantic thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer, starring Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi. Co-screenwriter Krzysztof Kieślowski intended for it to be the first part of a trilogy (the second being Hell and the third titled Purgatory), but Kieślowski died before he could complete the project. The film is an international co-production among producers based in Germany, France, Italy, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The dialogue is in Italian and English.

Krishna Cottage

Krishna Cottage is a 2004 Indian Hindi horror film directed by Santram Varma. It was produced by the mother-daughter team of Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor, better known for producing Indian television soap operas. It starred Sohail Khan, Isha Koppikar and Anita Hassanandani in the leading roles. The film did average business at the Indian box office.

Kucch To Hai

Kucch To Hai (translation: Something is there) is a 2003 Indian Hindi romantic thriller-slasher film directed by Anurag Basu and Anil V. Kumar, while it's written by Rajeev Javehri. The film stars Tusshar Kapoor, Esha Deol, Anita Hassanandani, Yash Tonk, Rishi Kapoor, Jeetendra and Moonmoon Sen. The film is produced under the banner of Balaji Motion Pictures. It is inspired by Urban Legends (1998), while it is a remake of the American horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997).

Machine (2017 film)

Machine is a 2017 Indian Hindi romantic thriller film, directed by Abbas–Mustan. The film stars debutant Mustafa Burmawala and Kiara Advani. The film has been produced by Jayantilal Gada (PEN), Haresh Patel (AD Films), Pranay Chokshi, Abbas Mustan Films Productions and Dhaval Jayantilal Gada. The movie released on 17 March 2017. The movie was extensively shot in Georgia..

Match Point

Match Point is a 2005 psychological thriller film written and directed by Woody Allen and starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, and Penelope Wilton. In the film, Rhys Meyers's character marries into a wealthy family, but his social position is threatened by his affair with his brother-in-law's girlfriend, played by Johansson. The film treats themes of morality, greed, and the roles of lust, money, and luck in life, leading many to compare it to Allen's earlier film Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). It was produced and filmed in London after Allen had difficulty finding financial support for the film in New York. The agreement obliged him to make it there using a cast and crew mostly from the United Kingdom. Allen quickly re-wrote the script, which was originally set in New York, for a British setting.

Critics in the United States praised the film and its British setting, and welcomed it as a return to form for Allen. In contrast, reviewers from the United Kingdom treated Match Point less favourably, finding fault with the locations and especially the idiom of the dialogue. Allen was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.


Roja (lit. Rose) is a 1992 Indian Tamil-language romantic thriller film written and directed by Mani Ratnam. It stars Arvind Swamy and Madhoo in the lead roles. The theme of the film is based on the relationship between Savitri and Satyavan of the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. The film was also dubbed in Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam and Telugu languages.

The film won three National Film Awards, including Best Film on National Integration, catapulting Ratnam to national acclaim. The film also gained international acclaim with its nomination for Best Film at the 18th Moscow International Film Festival. The film was later re-released for international audiences in light of the growing fear of terrorist attacks across the world. It is the first in Ratnam's trilogy of films that depict human relationships against a background of Indian politics, including Bombay (1995) and Dil Se.. (1998).

A.R.Rahman debuted as a film composer with this film. He won the National Film Award for Best Music Direction, Filmfare Award for Best Music Director - Tamil and the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Music Director for his work. This soundtrack is among the "10 Best Soundtracks" of all time listed by TIME magazine, issued in 2005.

Romance film

Romance films or romance movies are romantic love stories recorded in visual media for broadcast in theaters and on TV that focus on passion, emotion, and the affectionate romantic involvement of the main characters and the journey that their genuinely strong, true and pure romantic love takes them through dating, courtship or marriage. Romance films make the romantic love story or the search for strong and pure love and romance the main plot focus. Occasionally, romance lovers face obstacles such as finances, physical illness, various forms of discrimination, psychological restraints or family that threaten to break their union of love. As in all quite strong, deep, and close romantic relationships, tensions of day-to-day life, temptations (of infidelity), and differences in compatibility enter into the plots of romantic films.Romantic films often explore the essential themes of love at first sight, young with older love, unrequited romantic love, obsessive love, sentimental love, spiritual love, forbidden love/romance, platonic love, sexual and passionate love, sacrificial love, explosive and destructive love, and tragic love. Romantic films serve as great escapes and fantasies for viewers, especially if the two people finally overcome their difficulties, declare their love, and experience life "happily ever after", implied by a reunion and final kiss. In romantic television series, the development of such romantic relationships may play out over many episodes, and different characters may become intertwined in different romantic arcs.


Sadak (transl. Road) is a 1991 Indian Hindi-language romantic thriller film directed by Mahesh Bhatt. It stars Sanjay Dutt and Pooja Bhatt. The film is the second-highest-grossing Hindi movie of the year 1991 and the seventh-highest-grossing Hindi film of the '90s decade, with a groundbreaking musical score. The film is also fondly remembered for the late Sadashiv Amrapurkar's award-winning performance as the film's villain, Maharani. The film was inspired by the 1976 American movie Taxi Driver. This film was remade in Tamil as Appu (2000), directed by Vasanth with actor Prashanth and Devayani in lead roles, with Prakash Raj as the antagonist. A sequel Sadak 2 is in production.

The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau is a 2011 American romantic thriller film written and directed by George Nolfi, based on the Philip K. Dick short story "Adjustment Team". Starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery and Terence Stamp, the film tells the story of a United States congressman who discovers that what appear to be chance events in his life are controlled by a technologically advanced intelligence network. After an event not planned by these controllers occurs – a romantic encounter with a dancer – he struggles against their manipulation despite their promise of a great future for him.

The film was released on April 3, 2011. It was premiered at the Ziegfeld Theatre on February 14, 2011, and received positive reviews from critics, who praised Damon's performance and his chemistry with Blunt. It grossed $127 million against a production budget of $50 million.

The Bodyguard (1992 film)

The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic thriller film directed by Mick Jackson, written by Lawrence Kasdan, and starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Costner stars as a former Secret Service agent-turned-bodyguard who is hired to protect Houston's character, a music star, from an unknown stalker. Kasdan wrote the film in the mid-1970s, originally as a vehicle for Steve McQueen and Diana Ross.The film was Houston's acting debut. Although a huge box office hit making $411 million worldwide and being the second-highest-grossing film worldwide in 1992, it received mixed to negative reviews from critics. The soundtrack became the best-selling soundtrack of all time, selling more than 45 million copies worldwide.The film received seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations, including for the Worst Picture, Worst Actor (for Costner), and Worst Actress (for Houston).

The Tourist (2010 film)

The Tourist is a 2010 American romantic thriller film co-written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and starring Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, and Timothy Dalton. It is a remake of the 2005 French film Anthony Zimmer. GK Films financed and produced the film, with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions releasing it in most countries through Columbia Pictures. The $100 million budget film went on to gross $278 million at the worldwide box office.Despite negative reception from the critics, the film was nominated for three Golden Globes, with a debate arising over the question as to whether it was a comedy or a drama. Henckel von Donnersmarck repeatedly stated it was neither genre, calling it "a travel romance with thriller elements," but that if he had to choose between the two, he would choose comedy.

To Catch a Thief

To Catch a Thief is a 1955 American romantic thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, from a screenplay by John Michael Hayes based on the 1952 novel of the same name by David Dodge. The film stars Cary Grant as a retired cat burglar who has to save his reformed reputation by catching an imposter preying on the wealthy tourists of the French Riviera. Grace Kelly stars opposite him as his romantic interest in her final film with Hitchcock.

In May 2018, it was announced that Viacom was set to adapt the film as a Spanish-language television series.

Wicker Park (film)

Wicker Park is a 2004 American romantic thriller drama film directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Josh Hartnett, Rose Byrne, Diane Kruger and Matthew Lillard. It is a remake of the 1996 French film L'Appartement, which in turn is loosely based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was nominated for the Grand Prix at the Film Festival of Montreal, the city in which the film was partially filmed.The title refers to the Wicker Park neighborhood on Chicago's near northwest side.

By style
By theme
By movement
or period
By demographic groups
By format,
or production
Lists of films by genre

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.