Although sometimes very predictable, a little love triangle always adds a little spice to a story. It can get your heart pumping and adrenaline rushing as you root for your favorite character to finally get their happily ever after. Love triangles are riveting when done right, so let’s look at some of the best love triangles found in movies below!
One of the most famous classic romance movies is also home to one of the most iconic love triangles. Casablanca follows the story of an American expatriate torn between his love for a past love and helping her fugitive husband escape town. This movie is known for its tragic love story and themes of lost love.
Set in a heightened time of war, our leading man, Rick, is a nightclub owner who comes across his former lover, Ilsa, who needs his help. Her husband is a Czech resistance leader trying to flee the country to avoid persecution. As such, they both require Rick’s help to get out as fast as possible.
The longing feeling of melancholy between Rick and Ilsa is palpable through the screen. Even if it is a tragic love story, Ilsa chooses her husband over Rick.
2. THE GREAT GATSBY
One of the more infamous movies about love triangles with a lot of longing and angst. Gatsby buys a mansion across from Daisy to get a glimpse of her and gain her attention. It can’t get more dramatic than that.
The movie plays out in all its glory, with Gatsby’s lost love, Daisy, now married to a wealthy man – Tom. Gatsby tries his best to catch her attention and love once more with fancy parties and being the talk of the town. Even if the movie is told from the point of view of Gatsby’s neighbor and friend, Nick Carraway, it’s entirely about Gatsby’s life.
As Gatsby and Daisy end up having an affair, everything starts spiraling out of control. There are layers to the story that explore moral dilemmas regarding love and the corruption of society.
3. BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY
It’s a fan-favorite romcom with a relatable leading actress and two ridiculously handsome men fighting over her. Plus, the two men are opposites and charming in their unique ways. Depending on your preference, you will find yourself attracted to the charms of at least one or the other.
Daniel and Mark Darcy have their lows and highs in the movie as they try to win Bridget’s affection. At some point, the two even end up physically fighting with each other in a highly laughable scene. Daniel is her playboy boss, and Mark is a sophisticated, uptight man.
Somehow, Bridget finds herself going from an unlovable spinster to two men professing their love and affection for her in no time. As the male leads compete for her affection, they also compete for yours, quickly making this one of the best love triangles in movies.
4. THE FAVOURITE
An interesting take on love triangles in movies, The Favourite, is about the relationship between Queen Anne, her close confidant Sarah Churchill, and a servant named Abigail. As Queen Anne falls ill, Churchill takes over the country’s affairs, and Abigail is brought in to help. Things get complicated when Abigail becomes the queen’s new favorite.
Abigail has her motives, wanting to regain societal status and power. As the movie progresses, we discover dark secrets as the queen and Sarah have a secret relationship. Abigail also has an intimate relationship with the queen at some point: cue jealousy, betrayal, and mistrust.
The Favourite is a riveting period dark comedy that will leave you stunned at the drama and scandal of it all.
5. MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING
When you think about it, this movie’s plot is quite controversial. It’s about a girl trying to sabotage her best friend’s wedding because she has feelings for him. It is an utterly unjustified situation that wouldn’t be wholesome in real life. But, well, it makes for a fun watch and gives us one of the best love triangles to date.
Julianne realizes she’s in love with her best friend, Michael, right after he calls her to let her know he’s getting married to Kimmy in four days. In that short time, Julianne plans to do everything she can to sabotage the wedding, from manipulation to trying to make him jealous.
Thankfully, the movie has a reasonable and justified ending. It is a wonder how these characters can all remain friends after such an embarrassing ordeal. Still, love makes you do crazy things, I suppose.
6. THE TWILIGHT SAGA
As a movie series that divided teens upon release into Team Edward or Team Jacob, it would be essential to put this title on the list. Yes, it is a cringy series of movies, but it was a cultural phenomenon at the time, filled with angst.
If you want to witness the love triangle in full effect, the third movie, Eclipse, should be the one you add to your list. This is the movie where Bella chooses between the broody vampire, Edward, and the energetic werewolf, Jacob. She faces this decision as she reaches the end of high school while getting hunted by a vengeful vampire.
It’s a tough time for teens everywhere, as Bella realizes she is in love with Jacob and Edward but can only pick one to be with for life. At the same time, she is also engaged to Edward. Hence, this technically counts as an affair or a weird open relationship. It’s complicated.
7. X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
If you’re familiar with the X-Men franchise, you would know that Scott and Jean are a solid, long-time couple. At the same time, you would also know that Logan has had a playful yet passionate chemistry with Jean. We’re talking mainly about the movies here, as delving into the whole love triangle within the comics with the total weight of their lore is too much to handle.
This messy love triangle climaxes in X-Men: The Last Stand when Jean kills Scott as the dark forces within her awaken. In the end, the only character that can stop her seems to be Logan, who stabs her and kills her to end her reign of terror. It is a tragic culmination of a love triangle that appears forced yet played out quite well.
It should be noted that Jean always picks Scott, but Logan will always pick Jean. It’s a tense insight into whether Jean will ever succumb to Logan’s advances.
8. THE GRADUATE
This is a unique premise but one of the more memorable love triangles. It features a college graduate seduced by an older married woman, but he falls in love with her daughter instead. That’s a family drama we would like to watch from the sidelines. It should be noted that the term ‘cougar’ had yet to be invented at the time, but Mrs. Robinson is a solid example of one.
Benjamin is fresh out of college and is still determining what he wants to do. He gets seduced by Mrs. Robinson and ends up having an affair with her. But after a forced date with her daughter Elaine, he falls in love with her instead. As the movie progresses, the truth comes to light, marriages fall apart, and a chaotic ending to a wedding ensues.
The Graduate is an excellent movie with an exciting love triangle entwined in its plot. The film uses a lot of symbolism to showcase Benjamin’s inexperience, innocence, and uncertainty with life.
9. VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
This one is quite a wild ride with numerous characters and love triangles. However, we’ll just focus on the main three – Vicky, Cristina, and Juan Antonio. Vicky and Cristina are friends who travel to Barcelona for the summer, where they meet Juan Antonio. Vicky is engaged and more reserved, while Cristina is more of a wild card.
Juan Antonio proposes to both of them to follow him to spend the weekend away with him, seducing and wanting to sleep with both of them. This is where it starts to get messy. Cristina gets food poisoning, and Vicky ends up getting seduced instead. As the story continues, Juan’s ex-wife, Maria Elena, gets brought into the picture. Cristina, Juan Antonio, and Maria Elena end up in a relationship.
But that’s not even the end! More breakups and relationships occur between Cristina, Juan Antonio, Vicky, and now, Maria Elena. This will be it if you’re looking for a movie to satisfy your cravings for the best love triangles.
10. THE WEDDING PLANNER
What happens when you fall in love with the groom of the wedding that you’re in charge of the planning? Well, you swallow those feelings and get to work. This happens in The Wedding Planner, except things are more complicated than they seem.
Steve saves Mary from a potentially fatal accident, and they have a romantic evening together. She discovers that Steve is the fiancee of her wealthy client, Fran. As such, she gets mad at Steve and swallows her feelings while planning their wedding. At the same time, Mary’s father attempts to set her up in an arranged marriage despite her protestations.
Don’t worry; it all works out in the end, as all romantic comedies do. The only thing is that most characters in the movie don’t realize they’re in a love triangle. Mary and Steve don’t let their feelings appear until the last minute.
11. FIGHT CLUB
It may be odd to see Fight Club on a list of best love triangles. Still, if you notice, there’s a heated situation between the narrator, Tyler Durden, and Marla Singer. It’s still accurate to the audience, even if it is all in the narrator’s head.
The narrator is the first one to encounter Marla, but Tyler is the one who ends up dating her (or at least sleeping with her) throughout the movie. While this goes on, the narrator gets increasingly jealous and hostile towards her. On the other hand, Marla is confused by the narrator’s treatment of her. No one can blame her, though.
That’s as much information as we can give you without spoiling the movie. Still, this love triangle is a heated one indeed. A lot of confusion, anger, jealousy, and manipulation are intertwined between its characters.
12. THE HALF OF IT
A school jock pays a smart, shy girl for her help in forming a relationship with his crush through letters. But what happens when the shy girl also falls for the crush? That’s the gist of The Half of It. At the same time, Ellie, the shy girl, ends up befriending Paul, the jock. He’s her first friend.
Things get complicated as Ellie spends time with Aster, the crush mentioned above, and realizes she’s jealous of Aster and Paul. As the story progresses, Paul thinks Ellie has a crush on him but discovers she’s actually into Aster. He proceeds to condemn her due to his religious upbringing. Don’t worry; he will get over it at some point.
The Half of It is a coming-of-age exploration of love and its many forms by innocent teenagers who have just had their first encounter with it. It showcases an interesting take on the love triangle situation, with a closeted person at one end.
13. CENTER STAGE
Dancing is a form of self-expression, evident in Center Stage, which takes place in a ballet academy in New York. The movie is a potent mix of competition, coming of age, and a love triangle at the heart of it.
Let’s focus on the love triangle part, one of the movie’s highlights. It’s between the newest ballet dancer, Jody, her experienced teacher, Cooper, and another ballet dancer, Charlie. Jody is set to lead Cooper’s performance, with Charlie as one of the dancers. But when one of the dancers gets injured, Cooper fills the role, and an intensely passionate dance battle performance ensues.
Cooper and Jody’s relationship feels off-putting since he is older and more experienced. But perhaps that’s what she needed to realize her self-worth and Charlie’s affection for her. Center Stage is one of the movies with the best love triangles expressed in dance.
14. REALITY BITES
Reality Bites has a lot to digest, but let’s focus on the love triangle between Lelaina, Michael, and Troy instead. Lelaina is our leading lady and is filming a documentary about the lives of her friends and herself. Michael and Lelaina meet after a minor car accident and begin dating. Troy is Lelaina’s friend who has harbored feelings for her.
The movie ultimately hinges upon Lelaina and her decision between two guys from different social standings. Michael is a down-to-earth businessman, and Troy is a charming yet struggling musician. Even if Michael and Lelaina are dating, he doesn’t seem to ‘get’ her. On the other hand, Troy is the cliched, broody character that connects with her.
Yes, it is a cliche, but it is one that we eat up each time when it appears in romcoms. After all, the dream of being wanted by two people feeds our ego and keeps us wanting more.
15. JUST WRIGHT
It’s another rom-com, but the love triangle is front and center this time. Just Wright is about Leslie, the physiotherapist to an NBA star, Scott, who she has a crush on. Alas, Scott seems to have a crush on Leslie’s roommate, Morgan, instead.
The gag is Morgan has been hiding her ugly personality from him and plays out the persona of a proper lady whenever he’s around. She dreams of being an NBA trophy wife, after all. But as the movie goes on, Scott hurts himself, Leslie moves in with him as a therapist, and Morgan ends up breaking up with him over a rumor that he will not be a star player.
Even so, a whole tug-of-war goes on with Morgan, Scott, and Leslie. There were breakups, reconciliations, and much tension in the air.