Love on Film

Yes, it’s that time of year again – Valentine’s Day is soon approaching and though some may relish in a day of exchanging romantic gifts with that special someone, the rest could find themselves glued to Tinder with Ben&Jerry’s for company…

However fear not, Valentine’s Day isn’t just reserved for the head over heels couples. Our Footage Manager Holly Webster has put together lightboxes of clips portraying not just romantic, but also familial and spiritual love, to help get you in the affectionate mood:

Early Motion Picture

may-irwin-john-rice-kiss-600x358May Irwin and John Rice kiss, early Edison film, 1896 / Bridgeman Footage

Love was actually one of the first themes to be explored in the very first moving image experiments. After all, it is a universal language and can be one of the easiest things to express. The archive is home to humorous clips showing the very first kiss on film, a duel for a woman’s favour, interrupted lovers and the crime of seduction.


Fine Art

the-garden-of-love-peter-paul-rubens-600x358Peter Raul Rubens and The Garden of Love / Academic Rights Press /Arthaus / Bridgeman Footage

The greatest artists in the world have often looked to the theme of love for their work. From family life to religious adoration, these masters’ paintings are among the world’s favourites. The footage archive brings these images to life, with in-depth explorations of works by Picasso, Rubens, Botticelli, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Mary Cassatt, Hans Holbein the Younger and Fuseli.



pas-de-deux-swan-lake-tallchief-600x358Pas de deux from Act IV of Swan Lake, performed by Maria Tallchief and Nicholas Magallanes, 1956 / Creative Arts Television / Bridgeman Footage


This clip shows the stunning Pas de deux dance from Act IV of the infamous ballet Swan Lake, performed by Maria Tallchief and Nicholas Magallanes in 1956. The Pas de deux is a duet in which two dancers, typically a male and a female, perform ballet steps together – unsurprisingly, it is often used to portray reciprocal love.

If you’re looking for something more up tempo, the archive is also home to some swingin’ grooves and Sufi moves.



owl-pussycat-boat-edward-lear-600x358The Owl and the Pussycat / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage


As children, animation is perhaps one of the first places that we learn about the complexities and charms of love. The archive is home to a range of cartoon clips, from the opera Ruddigore to an old-fashioned interpretation on the course of true love and having to deal with your child growing up.

This sweet and elegant portrayal of Edward Lear’s nonsense poem, The Owl and the Pussycat, is one of my favourites in the archive. It is a subtle reminder that opposites can both attract and live harmoniously – even in a ‘pea-green boat’ for a ‘year and a day’!

Bridgeman Footage represents the legendary Halas&Batchelor collection, produced by a studio that became one of Europe’s most influential producers of animated films right up into the 1970s.



nicolas-roeg-love-scenes-600x358Nicolas Roeg discussing the various reasons for love scenes in storytelling, e.g. in his 2007 film Puffball. / Nicolas Roeg Archive / Bridgeman Footage


What would the cinema industry be without the classic Rom-Coms and chick flicks? Who better to ask than one of Britain’s most influential directors?

Bridgeman Footage is the proud home to the exclusive Nicolas Roeg collection – a series of interviews on the art of filmmaking with the director of Walkabout and Performance.

In these rare discussions from his home in West London, Roeg discusses his sometimes controversial depictions of love and desire. He explores the various reasons for love scenes in storytelling, audience reactions to sex and censorship, as well as a Woody Allen scene portraying the ‘perfect couple’.



polish-reunion-family-second-world-war-600x358The reunion of young Polish children with their parents after the Second World War / The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision / Bridgeman Footage


Documentary film is a truly precious medium as it allows us to witness and relive moments of affection from the past, such as children reuniting with their parents after WWII and wedding celebrations ranging from Indonesia in the 1930s to a couple encased in a giant block of ice… It also allows us to discover how the rules of courtship have changed throughout history and how they vary between different countries.

Images and Licensing

Explore Valentine’s day card images and clips about love. Get in touch at for more information on licensing and clearing copyright

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