'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back'

Traditionally, December is a time for family gatherings and personal reflection. It is not often thought of in a very romantic light -- too much rushing around on the one hand, too much inward contemplation on the other. Several movies this month, however, seek to redress that imbalance: Did You Hear About the Morgans? (opening December 18) looks at a bickering couple stuck together far from home after witnessing a crime; It's Complicated (out on December 25) deals with a husband and wife reuniting physically, if not necessarily otherwise; The Princess and the Frog (expanding wide tomorrow) wonders if a love affair between two species is really a good idea.

In the realm of science fiction, romances usually take a back seat. James Cameron's approach in The Abyss is common: romantic attachments are fine as long as we don't talk about them until we're at the point of death. But other sci-fi movies have featured wonderfully memorable romantic couples. Here's our top ten.

1. Han and Leia (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

The spark is instantaneous, beginning with bickering, progressing to bantering, and ending with ... well, if not yet babies, then at least the likelihood that children will enter the picture sooner rather than later. Their relationship started in Episode IV with fulsome denials -- remember that Leia defiantly kisses her brother Luke to rebuke Han's smirking self-assurance -- but broadens and deepens to love in Episode V as they face adversity together and eventually acknowledge their feelings, each in their own fashion ("I love you." "I know.") Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher find the right tone; after all, the Empire must be defeated, and that's more important than the romance between a cocky fly boy and a haughty princess.

categories Sci-Fi