Categories: MoviesMovies and TV

12 Notable Screen Kisses

A kiss – so simple yet so emotional. There is something about sitting in a dark theater watching the on-screen couple embrace for the first time that gives you chills. A kiss can be sweet, seductive, messy, romantic, awkward but above all, a kiss is intimate. Kisses once considered taboo for film audiences are now common place. Some kisses are still considered too much for the censors. It makes you wonder… it’s just a kiss after all. 100 years after the first movie kiss, all cinematic embraces can thank the 12 kisses below for the groundbreaking and memorable movie moments. The kisses are listed chronologically so the reader can view the milestones in movie kissing.

First Movie Kiss
The Kiss (1896)


“They get ready to kiss, begin to kiss, and kiss and kiss and kiss in a way that brings down the house every time.” – The Edison catalog

The first kiss seen by audiences, May Irwin and John Rice re-enacted a kiss for Thomas Edison. Considered a great scandal, it was, incidentally, the most popular film that year.

Most Kisses Ever in a Single Movie
Don Juan (1926)

“Why are you here at such an hour?” – Lucrezia
“If I am late – a thousand pardons!” – Don Juan

As the first Vitaphone film that mixed sound and music, Don Juan also held the record for the most screen kisses. John Barrymore would kiss his female co-stars a total of 119 times.

First Open-mouthed Kiss
Flesh and the Devil (1926)

“And now look at us!” – Felicita

This open-mouth kiss might have had more to do with the passionate love affair between co-stars John Gilbert and Greta Garbo rather than the screenplay. Gilbert and Garbo would start in three more films together during their brief yet intense love affair.

First Female-Female Kiss
Morocco (1930)

“You’d better go now. I’m… beginning to like you.” – Amy Jolly

Ever the seductress, Marlene Dietrich dressed in men’s tuxedo-ware and kissed a woman in this movie. She was also nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award despite knowing little English and speaking her dialogue phonetically.

Best Kiss Done in One Take
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

“He says it’s the chance of a lifetime.” – Mary to George

In his first movie after serving in the military, Jimmy Stewart was said to be nervous about his comeback film. In one take, Frank Capra was able to capture one of cinema’s most intense kissing scenes. Filmed during the Hays Code era of Hollywood, part of the kiss was censored for being too passionate.

Most Famous Kissing Scene
From Here To Eternity (1953)

“I never knew it could be like this. Nobody ever kissed me the way you do.” – Karen

The famous kissing scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr was censored for being too erotic. Interestingly, the scene was a last minute decision and improvised by director Fred Zinnemann.

First Interracial Kiss
Island In The Sun (1957)

“I just sat here thinking about you.” – Denis

Based on a novel by Alec Waugh, this film featured four different love affairs amidst the backdrop of race and politics in the West Indies. Star Joan Fontaine was said to have received hate mail for relationships depicted in the film. The onscreen pair would kiss later in the film (the clip shows their growing affections for each other).

First Male-Male kiss
Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)

“We’re free to do what we want.” – Bob
“Darling… other people often do what they don’t want to do at all.” – Alex

This story plot revolved around a love triangle between a man and woman and their affair they are both having with a young man. Peter Finch famously said of his kissing scene, “I did it for England.”

Greatest Age Difference for a Kiss
Harold and Maude (1971)

“I like you, Maude.” – Harold
“I like you, Harold.” – Maude

Ruth Gordon was 74 and Bud Cort was 23 during the making of this quirky film. Cort later said about the film, “I think because it is totally timeless, reveals so much mystery and truth about the big questions of life, and contains two inimitable performances, if I do say so myself.” If Bud Cort had his way, he would have kissed Greta Garbo as Maude.

Best Montage of Kisses
Cinema Paradiso (1988)

“Out of the fire of love come ashes. Even the greatest love eventually fizzles out.” – Alfredo

This brilliant scene shows the grown up Salvatore watching all the clips of kissing, nudity and general passion the local priest had the movie projectionist, Alfredo, remove many years ago. Look for kissing scenes featuring Donna Reed, Joan Crawford, Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn, Gerta Garbo and Spencer Tracy to name a few.

First MTV Movie Award “Best Kiss”
My Girl (1991)

“Close your eyes.” – Vada
“But then I won’t be able to see anything.” – Thomas J

This precious scene was Macaulay Culkin’s first on-screen kiss. This kiss was awarded the “Best Kiss” award at the 1992 MTV Movie Awards.

Longest Kiss in Movie History
Elena Undone (2010)

“Every time I think it’s impossible to love you more, I do. Ever deeper.” – Peyton

Ousting You’re in the Army Now (1941) by 18 seconds, Elena Undone is the longest kiss at 3:24. Considering that Jane Wyman and Regis Toomey’s lips were glued together, it seems fitting that a real 3 minute plus kiss now hows the title.

View Comments

  • I was about to complain about this list. I was about to spew forth my nonsensicle verbal-vomit about the lameness of this list, that is, until I stumbled across number 4 and about cried with joy. Yes, I too would kiss (a 23 year old) Bud Court to the back music of Cat Stevens. And let's be honest here, turn on a little Cat Stevens and I'll kiss just about anyone! Strange.... I suddenly love this list..., well, no, not really.

      • LoL! Whoa! Water-damage alert! I can get too enthusiastic when I'm pashing you (on screen), Maggy. How do I explain the mess, to tech support, when it's occurred as things (down below) have gotten too sloppy working the vibrate function hard? Natural lubrication is not always a good thing! :lol:

      • Lol Arsni, I had to refer to my friend, Mr. Google, to know what you meant. I've literally zero computer-nous savvy, and I thought you were perhaps talking about a Telco, Telnet, or some kind of provider. But I see now that you meant some kind of Trojan worm thingo. WELLLLL, I'd be receptive of a "worm" through my phone.. if it's Maggy's trouser beast. :D

  • Wasn't William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols kissing on Star Trek the first interracial kiss on television?

    • That's a television kiss. This is a movie list. And the first interracial kiss on television was actually Nancy Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. on Sinatra's variety special Movin' With Nancy, airing December 11, 1967. Kirk and Uhura's kiss was in 1968.

      • Not to quibble, but a disclaimer should be made here in that on this topic, we’re usually thinking about or referring toscripted plot-driving romantic scenes in a dramatic performance. So in that sense, Sammy’s “spontaneous” kiss (yeah I get that he planned it) in Nancy’s variety show doesn’t really hold the same groundbreaking value as the Star Trek scene. Sammy of course was a great friend of Nancy’s father Frank from their rat-pack days, and while the kiss was still pretty controversial at the time, it shouldn’t have been all that surprising. Hell man, they were like family. Btw, Frank as well as fellow rat-packer Dean Martin also appeared on the show.

        • I just call them like I see them. I agree that the Star Trek kiss was seen by more people and a scripted kiss. I think it is an important era to look back on. I mean within months of the Sinatra/Davis kiss Star Trek had their kiss (which was forced upon them by their captures). It was the first kiss between fictional characters in history.

  • I recognize it's not nearly groundbreaking enough, but I think an honorable mention should go to Taylor kissing Zira in "Planet of the Apes". By then, interracial kisses were not so shocking. But an inter-species kiss?

  • I LOVE CINEMA PARADISO!!! I first saw it as a kid, and my Mom would constantly rent it throughout the years, so I eventually bought it. I showed it to one of my prudish guy friends in college and said I'd get him a bell like the priest had in the movie... Love it :D

  • First female-female kiss in a movie: 1930 First male-male kiss in a movie: 1971 ...