A good love story is surprisingly very common to find in film, but a good love triangle is one that isn’t as easy to locate. More often than not, characters are seen being unfaithful to one another in such a scenario, which takes their likability away to a great extent. Plus, most love stories seem to be in romantic movies and in predictable ways, something that isn’t as exciting as it once was.
In this list, we’ve compiled 10 love triangles that more often than not defied the usual tropes and elevated the movies they were featured in. You’ll find films of all genres on this - superhero, science fiction, drama, they’re all there. In case you need a good dynamic to see unfold in film, then this is just the list for you.
10 Love Actually (2003)
The only reason Love Actually has stood the test of time is because of the scene where Mark lays out his heart to Juliet. Here, we saw him play a Christmas carol to Juliet while showing her writings on cue cards about how he feels she is perfect. It really was perfect except for one snag - Juliet was married to Mark’s best friend.
It was still a great angle, though, since we saw both an immature side of it and a mature one as well; Mark was childish in being in love with Peter’s wife, but he did do a mature thing by telling Juliet he revealed his feelings without any hope of reciprocity. It was a good lesson for the viewer to tell them that it’s okay to be in love, but to move on when needed.
9 The Dark Knight (2008)
Harvey Dent’s spiral into madness and Bruce Wayne’s decision to give up being the Caped Crusader had to do with the death of Rachel Dawes, the woman they both loved. Rather than there be a by-the-numbers reason like money or power, Two-Face’s genesis came from losing Rachel, while Bruce Wayne’s disillusionment had to do with his inability to accept that Rachel had chosen Harvey over him.
It was quite incredible how the film managed to fit in a love triangle in between a superhero offering, but there was definite tension between Wayne and Dent over them vying for Rache’s affections - in the end, neither could have her.
8 Bridget Jones's Diary (2002-04)
Such was the draw of this love triangle, that the filmmakers milked it out for two movies and would’ve had a third had Hugh Grant not backed out. This might have been at the top of the list had Grant’s character Daniel not been disingenuous about his pursuit of Bridget.
Unlike other love triangles, the appeal here was the dynamic between the men rather than with the object of their affection. Daniel and Mark truly hated each other, since the former caused the latter’s wife to leave him and then tried to sabotage his relationship with Bridget. But as this was a comedy series, the results were always hilarious, even the fighting scenes had us laughing.
7 There's Something About Mary (1997)
We’re kind of cheating here because this wasn’t a love triangle per se, but two or three triangles mashed into one. Every guy in There’s Something About Mary had it in for the titular character, with these boys attempting outlandish tricks in order to get Mary to love them.
Within the story, Mary did have a romantic interest in Greg and Pat Healy, so we might use that as our love triangle here. Healy would sink low by having Greg believe Mary was a thrice-married woman with substance abuse problems in order to get close to her, but Greg wouldn’t go down without a fight; resulting in a climax where every guy in love with Mary basically ambushed her.
6 Spider-Man Trilogy (2002-07)
It never came down to these two fighting over Mary Jane, as the trilogy had Harry and Peter vie for MJ’s affections at separate points. Still, when they did have their big fight three films in the making, Harry “attacked the heart” of Peter by orchestrating the dissolution of his relationship with Mary Jane.
At a time where superhero films weren’t the norm, the Spider-Man trilogy did great work in solidifying that romance was a viable element that can be injected into this genre. The shots Peter and Harry took at each other in Spider-Man 3 had extra venom in them due to their previous hidden rivalry concerning her.
5 The Hunger Games Series (2012-15)
Uniquely, the main male characters only had one scene across the four-film series where they had a conversation. Even in that scene, they weren’t on hostile terms, with their interactions before being few and far between.
This ended up making the love triangle interesting, since Katniss was seen with Gail and Peeta at different intervals within the series. With Gail, she had someone who shared that fiery sense of rebellion; with Peeta, she had the sense of calm and warmth that had eluded her all of her life. The see-saw between what she thought she wanted versus what she got made it a memorable angle.
4 My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)
When you think of love triangles, you inevitably name My Best Friend’s Wedding as one of the most legendary angles seen in cinema. Now, over two decades since the film’s release, it still has the same reputation it had when first released as a classic romantic comedy.
It showed us the extent a love triangle can get to, with the main character pulling out all the stops to nab her best friend for herself from his fiance. In a splendid change from the norm, the main character didn’t end up being the winner, and we had a deviation from the genre by having a mature decision be made where the “out of nowhere” rom-com ending didn’t play out, and the main character went empty handed but with life lessons learned.
3 Titanic (1997)
Maybe this wasn’t even a love triangle since Rose never loved Cal to begin with, but she was most definitely going to marry him; this has made the Titanic triangle a legendary one. Cal was ruthless enough to want to kill Jack to get him out of the picture, but the latter made us swoon with his never-ending love for Rose in the end.
After Jack’s death in the shipwreck, Rose had the chance to go back to Cal, but she sank any chances away by departing on her own, leaving Cal a broken and failed man. All in all, it was probably a triangle between Rose’s love for Jack and her hesitance to leave the “safe” option of Cal.
2 Casablanca (1942)
Letting your love go for the sake of love can never be done better as it was in Casablanca. The love triangle here was one where each character looked to let the other go rather than be selfish and be the winner. The main character was a distraught shell of a man the whole time, who still let go of his chance of happiness when he saw the love of his life truly cared for the husband she had once thought dead.
In the end, we had to applaud the ending of this dynamic, where Rick tells Ilsa to leave despite the latter prepared to stay with him, because “maybe not today....but soon and the rest of (her) life” Ilsa would regret not staying with her husband. Ultimately, letting go was the greatest act of love.
1 Gone With The Wind (1939)
You might be thinking we mean the love triangle between Ashley, Rhett, and Scarlett here; well nope, the true conflict was between Rhett, Scarlett, and Scarlett’s overinflated sense of importance.
The real story about Gone with the Wind was how Scarlett couldn’t understand that Rhett loved her all along, and she fixated on the idea of Ashley because her ego wouldn’t allow her to accept that a man wouldn’t waste his life in pursuit of her. By the finale, though, Scarlett failed in developing fully as a person, and the love triangle ended with Scarlett being left to love herself all she wanted, because Rhett had had enough playing the third wheel. The fact that they didn’t end up together only made this a greater romance story.