There’s one beloved cinematic scene that directors can’t stop putting into shows and movies. But what makes it so romantic?
Andie MacDowell And Hugh Grant kiss in the rain in a scene from the film ‘Four Weddings And A Funeral’, 1994. (Photo by Gramercy Pictures/Getty Images)
We’ve seen it dozens of times in dozens of films. From dramas to comedies to superhero movies, the romantic kiss in the pouring rain has become a cinematic staple.
A movie’s co-stars find themselves in a boat, at a park or in the woods. Their eyes lock. They finally profess their love, and the tension heightens as the couple moves closer.
And then: SWOOSH! The heavens open, and the rain starts pouring.
As film critic and ScreenCrush.com Editor Matt Singer told AccuWeather, it’s all about the intensity.
“When you see two people kissing in a torrential downpour, it sort of suggests the intensity of their emotions,” Singer said. “Because you’re ordinary reaction, almost instinctually, when you’re caught in the rain is to pull up your, grab your umbrella and run for cover, that’s just the natural thing to do. But these couples are just so intensely focused on each other, they’re so consumed with passion that all they can think about is each other and kissing and it’s almost like they don’t even notice that they’re in this torrential downpours.”
In the real world, sock-soaking downpours probably send far more people scurrying toward shelter rather than toward each other. Because, after all, what’s so romantic about ruining your hair, stepping in puddles and being exposed to the plethora of dangers that could come with a thunderstorm?
But on the big screen, Singer said the weather adds a crucial element.
“Visually, rain is movement, it’s not static,” he said. “Even if you have two people standing still, if there’s rain falling all around them then suddenly you have a lot of visual energy, kineticism is happening on the screen. It’s more dynamic, it’s more visually interesting, attractive to the eye.”
The scene has been used repeatedly in films and shows for decades. Whether it’s with dreamy movie stars like Ryan Gosling or Audrey Hepburn or unlikely characters like Spider-Man or a swashbuckling pirate, the intimate depiction has resonated with moviegoers throughout the generations.
So without further ado, here are some of AccuWeather’s most memorable examples of kissing-in-the-rain movie scenes. And if we didn’t include your favorite, make sure to leave a comment!
The aforementioned romantic drama is home to one of the most famous rainy kisses, and the image of the soaking kiss was so widely recognized that it was even used on the theatrical release poster. At AccuWeather, the movie was so beloved by Payroll Assistant Sarah Dean that a few quotes even made their way into her wedding vows.
“My husband and I used words straight out of the movie as part of our wedding vows. ‘The best kind of love is the kind that awakens the soul, that makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds,'” Dean said. “I get teary-eyed just writing it because of the truth behind it. I was a skeptic that didn’t believe that kind of love was out there, but it is, and I’m lucky enough to wake up and live that kind of love every day.”
In the film, characters portrayed by Gosling and Rachel McAdams find themselves caught in a sudden downpour while in a rowboat during the film’s romance-fueled climactic tension. Director Nick Cassavetes told Rotten Tomatoes that Gosling and McAdams were “champions” for making the scene work.
“It was a bright, beautiful, sunny day and it just didn’t feel right,” Cassavetes said. “So we shut it down and we came back, and I said, ‘Bring some rain machines in and try to find me a cloudy day. It’ll be better if they get caught in a thunderstorm.’ So we shot the whole thunderstorm sequence. It was one of the coldest days – poor Rachel and Ryan were champions that day because it was in the wintertime. We brought the rain machines in and it seemed to just heighten the sensuality for the scene.”
Breakfast at Tiffany’s was AccuWeather Form Coordinator Ida Lively’s pick for most memorable kissing in the rain scene.
In the closing seconds of the 1961 classic, star Audrey Hepburn, playing the character Holly Golightly, can be seen furiously searching for her cat, aptly named Cat, in an alley under heavy rain. As co-star George Peppard, playing Paul Varjak, looks on, Hepburn finds Cat then notices Peppard. With Cat nestled under her coat, Hepburn and Peppard embrace in a culminating kiss as the downpour continues.
“In the final scene, Golightly needed to find Cat in order to find herself. She pushed Cat out of the cab because she believed that people don’t belong to each other, even oneself, and that love means being kept in a cage and giving up her ‘wild thing’ status,” Lively said. “During her frantic search for Cat, she realized that she does love Cat and that she and Cat do belong to each other and that it doesn’t confine you. Instead, it does the opposite – it frees you. At that moment, she also knew that she loved Paul.”
Outside of the romantic movie genre, the kiss-in-the-rain scene found its way into a superhero movie in the 2002 rendition of Spider-Man. Of all kissing in the rain scenes, this one may have been the most unique.
“The most memorable movie kiss in the rain for me would definitely be the upside-down kiss in Spider-Man,” AccuWeather Senior Video Producer Greg Bowman said. “This scene had all the elements of one of the greatest movie kisses of all time. The rain, the hanging upside down and, of course, the slow peel away of the mask.”
Bowman joked that the romance of kissing through a mask may be tainted by the COVID-19 era, but the notability of the Spidey kiss has endured in the decades that followed. In 2019, director Sam Raimi recalled how uncomfortable the scene was for actor Tobey Maguire, who played Peter Parker.
“When he was doing the scene, I remember the water was falling down into his upside-down nostrils, so he was kind of drowning,” Raimi told Rotten Tomatoes. “But it was a kissing scene. So, he had to pretend like it was a pleasant, sweet moment for him, when in fact, he was semi-drowning.”
In another film outside of the romance genre, the third movie in the fantasy adventure series Pirates of the Caribbean turned steamy in the middle of a stormy fight scene at sea. As the swashbuckling blacksmith-turned-pirate Will Turner, played by Orlando Bloom, fends off a horde of attackers, he pulls Elizabeth Swann, played by Keira Knightly, aside to profess his love.
Even after Swann proclaims “I don’t think this is the best time,” as the pair terminates multiple foes, the couple demands for Captain Hector Barbossa to marry them immediately, in what soon became one of AccuWeather Meteorologist Grady Gilman’s favorite movie scenes.
“I’m not one for love stories, but boy, am I glad Pirates of The Caribbean: At World’s End was brought up,” Gilman said, adding that it was his favorite movie of the series. “Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann’s kiss during the scene after Captain Barbossa weds them and famously says “just kiss” is one of the few love story endings that bring such joy to my heart. Ahh, what an ending, who would have thought a pirate love story would be the one to sneak into my heart?”
Outside of the silver screen and onto the small screen came another romantically rainy kiss from a show more known for its comedy. One of television’s most beloved couples, co-workers Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley, finally ended their four-season long romantic tease with a proposal at a gas station in the pouring rain during the season five premiere.
“One of the things that made The Office so relatable and appealing is that it embedded significant events in mundane moments,” AccuWeather Broadcast Meteorologist Geoff Cornish said. “Yes, sometimes we have those mountaintop experiences from a place with an incredible view, but other times, the big moments in life catch us when we’re in the middle of the everyday, like at an interstate rest stop in the pouring rain.”
And for some Office trivia, actress Jenna Fischer, who played Beasley, said in a 2021 interview, that the rainy proposal scene was the single most expensive scene to film in the show’s entire history. For the 52-second scene, Fischer said the production costs totaled $250,000, as the spot required an entirely built set, dozens of professional drivers and massive “giant rain machines.”
“We did not actually fly to this location. This is the insane part. They built this in the parking lot of a Best Buy that I have been to many times, actually,” she said, according to NME. “What they did was they used Google Street View to capture images of a real gas station along the Merritt Parkway, and then using those images, they built it to match in this parking lot. It took them about nine days to build it.”
When co-stars Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas embraced on a beach in the pouring rain during the closing scenes of 2002’s Sweet Home Alabama, it put the cherry on top of a romantic comedy and the love between characters Melanie and Jake. Melanie, who had restarted her life in New York City away from her husband Jake, was traveling back to their small Alabama town to finalize their divorce. But once reunited, the sparks reignite on the same beach where Jake first told Melanie they would be married someday.
Melanie, donning the wedding dress she was planning on marrying another man in, tracks Jake down on the rain-soaked beach to deliver the film’s most iconic lines.
“Whatcha wanna be married to me for?” Jake asked, to which Melanie replied “So I can kiss you anytime I want.”
“I enjoy this film because it ticks all the boxes for a good rom-com and includes a successful career woman as its main character,” said AccuWeather Vice President of Corporate Communications Rhonda Seaton. “It’s a film I could watch with my daughter, and the revisited beach scene where the two main characters kiss in the rain brings the film full circle and is the icing on the cake.”
Across the Atlantic, the 1994 British romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral not only became the highest-grossing British film in history at the time but was also revered for its famous final scene. Nominated by AccuWeather Broadcast Meteorologist Kevin Coskren, the climactic kiss between Charles and Carrie, played by Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell, concludes a topsy-turvy plot full of near hits and major misses.
“I like it because two people that were meant to be together go through many years not getting together because they both are afraid to take the leap — the leap into love. Finally, the guy realizes his mistake, and he chases the woman of his dreams down a street in a torrential rainstorm,” Coskren said. “He finally takes the leap, and she does too. He says ‘It’s finally occurred to me, after all these years and all these weddings, that the person I’m meant to be with is standing in front of me right now, in the rain.’ To which she replied, ‘Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed.'”
MacDowell’s quote in that kiss scene has turned infamous in the ensuing decades, as her exclamation “Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed,” has been voted one of the worst lines of dialogue in cinematic history, according to The Independent.
Nominated by AccuWeather National Reporter Jillian Angeline, this scene from Nicholas Sparks’ story Safe Haven hit all the romantic checkboxes: dreamy canoe ride, spontaneous downpours, running through the woods, passionate kiss.
“I enjoy the warm fuzzy feels that those scenes add to a movie and the fact that it makes it feel more like a movie set in the South, where those strong thunderstorms would happen,” Angeline said.
Something Borrowed: Nominated by AccuWeather Talent Acquisition Specialist Krissy Pydynowski, drenching downpours made for a dramatic confession of love from Rachel to Dex, her best friend’s fiancé. Although the scene doesn’t end in a kiss like Rachel may have hoped, the rain played a big role in setting the scene and emphasizing the lengths Rachel would go.
“Unfortunately, Dex says that he can’t — so it is not the best love story at the time, but it is a good metaphor with it raining and a gloomy time — and I love how she finally gets the nerve to say her true feelings,” Pydynowski said. “That is a great lesson for so many people, to just say what you think. But the ending is a happily ever after.”
Serendipity: Finally, a Christmas movie! In another romantic kissing scene that ends a film, Sara Thomas, played by Kate Beckinsale, and Jonathan Trager, played by John Cusack, finally lock lips in Serendipity‘s final minutes after a roller coaster of relationships and emotions. But in accordance with the appropriate holiday theme, this kiss wasn’t in rain but rather under a peaceful trickle of snow.
“Serendipity is one of my all-time favorite movies. It’s all about the happy accidents that brought the main characters together,” AccuWeather Broadcast Manager Erica Grow said. “Toward the end of the movie, Sara and Jonathan are reunited during a ‘happy accident’ of Mother Nature, as snow gently falls on them during an unusually chilly, spring day in Central Park. It’s so sweet and beautiful!”
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