Our Favorite Movie Love Triangles

From romantic classics like Gone With the Wind to modern-day vampire lust in Twilight, we've rounded up cinema's most fraught relationships.

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May 18, 2011 8:00 AM
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something borrowed
Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy of 2011 Alcon Film Fund, LLC
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Something Borrowed

Released: 2011
Triangle: Rachel, Dex, and Darcy
Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) loves Dex (Colin Egglesfield), who happens to be engaged to her best friend, Darcy (Kate Hudson). Talk about inconvenient. But when Rachel and Dex realize their feelings for each other can't be ignored, Rachel wavers between playing the role of supportive friend and backstabbing temptress. While we don't condone the ruining of relationships — we're talking to you, Angelina — this is one instance where we're rooting for the other woman.
casablanca
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Casablanca

Released: 1942
Triangle: Rick, Ilsa, and Victor
After roaming around Europe, expat Rick (Humphrey Bogart) has made himself a new life in Casablanca. After obtaining valuable war documents, Rick meets Czech resistance leader Victor (Paul Henreid). Accompanying Victor is his wife, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), who just happens to be Rick's former lover who abandoned him in Paris. Victor needs the documents Rick is entrusted with to escape Morocco, but Rick refuses to hand them over. We don't blame him — what kind of guy gives up both the girl and the goods?

my best friend's wedding
Sony Pictures Entertainment/Photofest
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My Best Friend's Wedding

Released: 1997
Triangle: Julianne, Michael, and Kimberly
Best friends Michael (Dermot Mulroney) and Julianne (Julia Roberts) promise to wed if neither are attached by the time they're 28. Days before her fateful birthday, Julianne receives the news that Michael is set to marry a young, hot blonde. If that's not enough of a letdown, Michael's fiancée, Kimberly (Cameron Diaz), is, well, perfect. Chaos ensues, including Julianne's futile attempt to explain that while Michael is Jell-O, Kimberly will always be crème brûlée. Who knew dessert could be so enlightening?

the graduate
Embassy Pictures Corporation/Photofest
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The Graduate

Released: 1967
Triangle: Mrs. Robinson, Benjamin, and Elaine
Long before the term "cougar," Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) was setting the standard for MILFs everywhere. College grad Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) finds himself in a sticky situation when he begins an affair with the much-older wife of his father's business partner. To make matters worse, he finds himself dating — and falling for — her age-appropriate daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). Talk about keeping it in the family. We're just glad Grandma wasn't thrown into the equation.

Paramount/Courtesy of Everett Collection
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Pretty In Pink

Released: 1986
Triangle: Jack, Andie, and Duckie
This classic '80s rom-com features the dramatics of high school politics in a Cinderella fashion. Outcast Andie (Molly Ringwald) fails to realize her best friend, the always-awkward Duckie (Jon Cryer), is head over heels for her. Instead, she vies for the attention of school stud/rich boy Blane (Andrew McCarthy). Despite being from opposite sides of the tracks, Blane and Andie fall in love, forcing Duckie to accept only Andie's friendship. Poor guy, it must be hard losing the love of your life to a guy with a better nickname and haircut.

Dreamworks LLC/Photofest
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Match Point

Released: 2005
Triangle: Nola, Chris, and Chloe
Chris (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a former tennis pro turned instructor, is introduced to friend Tom's little sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer). She sparks Chris' interest but doesn't catch his eye quite like Tom's girlfriend Nola (Scarlett Johansson). Proving he's as skilled at juggling women as tennis balls, Chris carries on an affair with Nola soon after marrying naive Chloe. Nola soon throws a curveball at her lover, resulting in a catastrophic ending for both. Put simply, this Woody Allen thriller makes us thankful for background checks.

Moviestore Collection LTD./Alamy
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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Released: 2010
Triangle: Edward, Bella, and Jacob
In what is indisputably the most-talked-about triangle this side of Forks, the Twilight trio's escapades keep fans dying for more. After shy teen Bella (Kristen Stewart) falls for the red-eyed vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson), she finds herself faced with an impossible choice: the friendship of werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) or the love of her blood-sucking boyfriend. Despite all of the drama surrounding these three, we cannot quench our thirst. Perhaps it has something to do with Jacob's barely legal six-pack.

Jason Bell/Miramax Films/Universal Pictures
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Bridget Jones's Diary

Released: 2001
Triangle: Mark, Bridget, and Daniel
Finally, a damsel in distress with real-life woes we can relate to. Insecure with her weight, career, and imperfections, Bridget (Renée Zellweger) makes a resolution to journal the truth and nothing but the truth. Things soon get complicated when she must juggle the affections of her seedy boss Daniel (Hugh Grant) and the much-too-uptight Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). All ends well with Bridget's story, reassuring us that you don't have to be perfectly poised — phew, we were getting worried — in order to find Mr. Right.

The Weinstein Company/Photofest
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Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Released: 2008
Triangle: Cristina, Juan Antonio, and Maria Elena
Surprise! Yet another movie where ScarJo finds herself mixed up in a romantic trio. Risk-taker Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) and modest Vicky (Rebecca Hall) travel to Spain and meet artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem). He boldly asks them to spend a weekend together, and the women agree. Juan's serious baggage — in the form of his psychotic, knife-wielding ex-wife, Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz) — joins the bunch and, naturally, complicates things further. And we thought the whole Charlie Sheen-goddesses triangle was weird.

Everett Collection
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Sabrina

Released: 1954
Triangle: Linus, Sabrina, and David
Ultimate bachelor David (William Holden) has ignored the affections of young, shy Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn) for years. After a brief stint in Paris, Sabrina returns a new woman, catching the eye of her womanizing former crush. David's brother, Linus (Humphrey Bogart), recognizes the relationship's threat to David's upcoming wedding and business deals, so he decides to split up the two by trying to make Sabrina fall in love with him. Easier said than done, especially in the case of bad boy versus Mr. (Kind Of) Nice Guy.

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While You Were Sleeping

Released: 1995
Triangle: Peter, Lucy, and Jack
Train ticket collector Lucy (Sandra Bullock) finds herself in a sticky situation when the man she (somewhat creepily) loves from afar, Peter (Peter Gallagher), falls into a coma after being pushed onto the train platform. She saves his life, but doesn't bother to correct his family when they assume her to be his fiancée. Peter's brother, Jack (Bill Pullman), not only sees through Lucy's white lie, but also finds himself falling for her. Not surprisingly, Peter wakes up and doesn't recognize his wife-to-be, resulting in an extremely awkward trip down the altar.

Everett Collection
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The Princess Bride

Released: 1987
Triangle: Westley, Buttercup, and Humperdinck
Okay, so maybe it's not at all relatable, but this fairy tale triangle is much more likeable than, say, Snow White's love octagon. Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) is engaged to Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), a prince with a horrible personality. When she is kidnapped, it's up to former childhood love Westley (Cary Elwes) to come to her rescue. Swordfights and adorable Fred Savage interruptions included, it's one of our favorite '80s classics.

Everett Collection
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Love Actually

Released: 2003
Triangle: Mark, Juliet, and Peter
This vignette-style rom-com tells many heartwarming and heartbreaking stories, our favorite being the one involving Juliet (Keira Knightley), her new hubby Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and Peter's best friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln), who has been longing for Juliet since he first met her. Mark's posterboard love proclamation made us swoon, but we couldn't help but wonder how they'd be able to move on from there. The moral of the story? Love, actually is all around.

Jason Bell/Miramax Films/Universal Pictures
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Reality Bites

Released: 1994
Triangle: Troy, Lelaina, and Michael
Ah, the '90s: Lelaina (Winona Ryder) is an aspiring filmmaker documenting the lives of her roommates, including long time friend Troy (Ethan Hawke). Although the unspoken attraction between the two once led to a drunken night together, Lelaina begins dating TV exec Michael (Ben Stiller) after he crashes into her car. The two soon fizzle, and Lelaina finds herself in the unassuming arms of Troy yet again. Dramatics soon follow when Troy doesn't return her calls, proving to us even the angsty artsy types are guilty of bad-boy behavior.

Gone With The Wind

Released: 1939
Triangle: Rhett, Scarlett, and Ashley
In the midst of the Civil War, Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) is desperate (and may we add, a little selfish?) for the affections of two different men — new suitor Rhett (Clark Gable) and longtime love Ashley (Leslie Howard). Several years, marriages, children, and (sheesh!) deaths later, Rhett becomes fed up with Scarlett's indecisiveness and chooses to leave her with one oft-repeated phrase: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

Everett Collection
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Legends of the Fall

Released: 1994
Triangle-Turned-Square: Susanna and the three Ludlow brothers
It's your typical love story. Boy (Henry Thomas) meets girl (Julia Ormond). Boy brings girl home to meet the family. Boy's brother (Aidan Quinn) falls for girl. Girl falls for boy's second and much hotter brother (Brad Pitt), turning this love triangle into an equally scandalous love square. We wouldn't normally support pre-wedding promiscuity, but something tells us if your fiancé's brother was the spitting image of one Brad Pitt, you'd have a hard time choosing, too.