Do Mulder and Scully count?
August 1, 2008 6:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for movies and television shows that featured memorable, star-crossed heterosexual couples. The man and woman must either: a) never get together, or b) get together only to have everything go horribly. No long-term relationships or on-and-off again romances, please. Bonus points for obscurity, but well-known examples are also appreciated. Examples: - Red (K. Kieslowski) - Titanic Thanks for your help! :-)
posted by coizero to Media & Arts (64 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Austin James and Michelle Castle in Probe.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:17 PM on August 1, 2008

"The Ghost And Mrs. Muir" (movie and TV show)
posted by briank at 6:20 PM on August 1, 2008

Seasons 1-2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
posted by smorange at 6:21 PM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Also, almost the entire 1980s TV career of Glen Gordon Caron features this, as he came up with both Remington Steele (Laura Holt and the titular character) and Moonlighting (Maddie Hayes and David Addison).
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:23 PM on August 1, 2008

The movie "Gone with the wind", Scarlett and Rhett.
posted by JujuB at 6:29 PM on August 1, 2008

Coppola's Dracula: Mina finally meets up with Dracula, but misunderstands the term "giving head," with tragic results.

P.S. However, if you buy that Mina is simply the reincarnation of Dracula's long-lost lover, this might count as a long-term relationship.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:33 PM on August 1, 2008

Would Trust count? Explaining this would involve spoilers.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:40 PM on August 1, 2008

If sexual tension counts as star-crossed, then whoo, there's a lot here. But just off the top of my head, I think Eastern Promises would count.

For TV shows, how is possible no-one has yet mentioned The Avengers?
posted by desuetude at 6:41 PM on August 1, 2008

posted by elfgirl at 6:43 PM on August 1, 2008

The Marriage Of Maria Braun. . . the marriage lasted no longer than half a day and a full night.
posted by hortense at 6:43 PM on August 1, 2008

How about Robotech? Many of the couples there spent endless stretches of I-love-you/I-hate-you going-nowhere's, usually ended in some nasty alien blowing one or the two of them into space debris or craters just as they ended up the hysterics.
posted by Iosephus at 6:47 PM on August 1, 2008

Captain Kangaroo's Maudlin Violin?
posted by KokuRyu at 6:49 PM on August 1, 2008

Dark Victory
posted by rtha at 6:52 PM on August 1, 2008

Leaving Las Vegas. I think they wind up sleeping together, but I can't remember.

Damn blackouts.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:54 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

The English Patient
Frasier Crane and Diane Chambers in Cheers
posted by cjets at 6:56 PM on August 1, 2008

In The Mood For Love
posted by boltman at 6:58 PM on August 1, 2008

Romeo and Juliet? Too obvious?
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:00 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Man, there are more thank a few Asian films where it just does not work out.

Heh, if you want obscure then my friend, a good chunk of Japanese literature is for you. Multiple film adaptions of the Tale of Genji and Chikamatsu. There is a reason why when Harlequin hit Japan's shores it was a revelation with the love couple staying alive at the end and not die in some double suicide, conflagration or just downer moment.
posted by jadepearl at 7:04 PM on August 1, 2008

Becoming Jane
posted by hooray at 7:05 PM on August 1, 2008

TV shows are almost too easy. They pretty much rely on the tension of not having "the couple" get together. Until about the 3rd or 4th season when they need a twist (earlier if it looks like the show is going to get canceled).

Casablanca is all I've got right now. I'll try to think of more.
posted by ODiV at 7:06 PM on August 1, 2008

Lancelot and Guinevere
posted by CrazyJoel at 7:08 PM on August 1, 2008

Lovers of the Arctic Circle (d. Julio Medem), and a couple other Hal Hartley films pxe2000 didn't mention: Simple Men and Amateur.

Lovers is by far the most romantic, magical, and emotional of those titles..
posted by unmake at 7:11 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Okay, I say TV shows are almost too easy and then don't give any examples.
Smallville, Bones, CSI, House, etc

And another couple for film: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Heathers.
posted by ODiV at 7:14 PM on August 1, 2008

I thought about Lovers too, but doesn't it break the asking person's "no off-and-on again" condition? (Not that it makes it any less of an excellent movie.)
posted by Iosephus at 7:17 PM on August 1, 2008

Lost in Translation and Once both do this in a similar (and in my opinion very realistic way.) They both involve two people meeting and a possibility for romance that is never fulfilled because both people are in different "places", so to speak, in life.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:18 PM on August 1, 2008

The Remains of the Day: they never get together.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:22 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Came in here all excited to recommend Once and Solon beat me to it.
posted by kidsleepy at 7:48 PM on August 1, 2008

Vertigo It goes horribly wrong twice.
posted by saffry at 7:49 PM on August 1, 2008

posted by scody at 7:56 PM on August 1, 2008

posted by tracicle at 8:12 PM on August 1, 2008

Broadcast News fits the bill...
posted by lovermont at 8:18 PM on August 1, 2008

Moulin Rouge is one of the best examples I can think of. Powerful love story, but it really couldn't go more horribly wrong... Plus, its a fantastic movie.
posted by veronicacorningstone at 8:18 PM on August 1, 2008

Big Trouble in Little China.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:29 PM on August 1, 2008

"Back to the Future" had an interesting twist.
posted by tfmm at 8:33 PM on August 1, 2008

As always, it depends on your definitions, but these come to mind:

Ask the Dust
Broken Blossoms
City of Angels
The Luzhin Defence
Once Upon a Time in America
Turtles Can Fly

If I think of others, I'll add them?
posted by notquitemaryann at 8:41 PM on August 1, 2008

More TV - Josh and Donna on The West Wing. Lee and Kara on Battlestar Galactica (hooked up often and disastrously but never were "together").

Also - "Summer and Smoke," Tennessee Williams (IIRC). "Sophie's Choice." "The Good Girl"

posted by lunasol at 8:55 PM on August 1, 2008

Miracle Mile
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:55 PM on August 1, 2008

Two oldies with the wonderful Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress with Montgomery Clift and My Cousin Rachel with Richard Burton.
posted by marsha56 at 9:03 PM on August 1, 2008

Oh, and Dr. Zhivago.
posted by marsha56 at 9:04 PM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Would Shakespeare in Love count?

How about Nancy and Peter on Weeds?
posted by kirstk at 9:08 PM on August 1, 2008

If you're going to pull two characters from West Wing - Josh and Donna don't fit your criteria since they got together in the 7th season.

Toby and Andie would fit though. (Most especially the end of season 4.)
posted by kirstk at 9:11 PM on August 1, 2008

Solomon and Gaenor
The Age of Innocence
Cold Mountain
posted by orange swan at 9:27 PM on August 1, 2008

Dangerous Liasons and every variation.
posted by haplesschild at 9:43 PM on August 1, 2008

Buffy and Angel were already mentioned but Whedon loves doing this.

You got Mal and Inara from Firefly, also Kaylee and Simon if you don't count the movie.

From Angel you got Wesley and Fred plus Angel and Cordelia (poor Angel)

I can't think of any more from Buffy though unless you count Xander's crush on Buffy which I don't.
posted by Bonzai at 9:45 PM on August 1, 2008

posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 9:53 PM on August 1, 2008

Pretty much any noir, might count, actually. Everything from Double Indemnity to Blood Simple really (I see marsha56's already listed Chinatown).
posted by ODiV at 10:02 PM on August 1, 2008

Seconding Splendor in the Grass. Sooooooooo sad. There was also a made-for-tv movie version of it in 1981 with Melissa Gilbert that slew me.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:14 PM on August 1, 2008

Oh my God how could I forget:

The Unbrellas of Cherbourg

posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:16 PM on August 1, 2008

Legends Of The Fall
posted by marsha56 at 10:20 PM on August 1, 2008

Umbrellas, not Unbrellas.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:27 PM on August 1, 2008

Cyrano de Bergerac
posted by Class Goat at 10:32 PM on August 1, 2008

Sorry, I got a little carried away, and realized that many of my suggestions don't meet criteria #2. Many of these movies do involve very long-term relationships.

Of the movies I've posted, the ones that revolve around somewhat brief relationships (no more than a year or two):

My Cousin Rachel (they never really get together)
Chinatown (several weeks)
Damage (less than a year, I think)
Breaking the Waves (year or two, I think)
Days Of Heaven (year or two)

The Heiress (relationship is fairly brief, no more than a few weeks, but the doomed affair reverberates over many years to a chilling denouement.)
posted by marsha56 at 11:14 PM on August 1, 2008

We need some clarification on "longterm" and "all goes wrong" methinks.
posted by desuetude at 11:21 PM on August 1, 2008

i can't believe no one's mentioned gregory peck and audrey hepburn in "roman holday".

fo tv, there's the britcom "spaced".
posted by messiahwannabe at 12:03 AM on August 2, 2008

it's weird that this was my first thought--or maybe not, since i was thinking of the movie today--but "little children."
posted by millipede at 12:31 AM on August 2, 2008

Like water for chocolate might fit the bill.
posted by ceri richard at 1:53 AM on August 2, 2008

posted by Gungho at 5:10 AM on August 2, 2008

Elaine and Jerry - Seinfeld.
posted by aleahey at 8:54 AM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

The English Patient
Wuthering Heights
posted by gudrun at 9:47 AM on August 2, 2008

Don't know if it counts, because it was really just a send-up of Casablance, but the Deep Space Nine episode "Profit and Loss" fits the bill.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:03 AM on August 2, 2008

The JD/Elliot relationship on Scrubs sort of fits your description, however they were on-again/off-again for the first three seasons, each time with disastrous results. As of the end of last season, things seem to point to them getting back together.
posted by phrayzee at 11:37 AM on August 2, 2008

The Age of Innocence based on the novel by Edith Wharton and starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer. She was a sophisticated divorcee given the cold shoulder by upper-crust New York society. He was a dashing young man already betrothed to a blushing maid in a very suitable match.
posted by ebellicosa at 4:58 PM on August 2, 2008

kirstk - did they really? My bad, but ugh. I stopped watching after it went off the rails in the 5th-6th seasons
posted by lunasol at 7:21 PM on August 3, 2008

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