When someone brings up their favorite romantic films, titles like Casablanca, Roman Holiday and When Harry Met Sally…are usually part of the conversation. But what about movies where sparks fly between two Latinos who are at the center of an epic love story? What’s a Latino gotta do to get a little cinematic TLC around Valentine’s Day? Here’s a look at nine of our favorite on-screen Latino movie couples played by Latino actors.
Chico & Rita ('Chico & Rita')
A young Cuban piano player (Eman Xor Oña) and Cuban singer (Limara Meneses) connect through the passion of bolero music in this 2010 animated film, which was the first full-length Spanish-language animation to ever receive an Oscar nomination.
Victor & Judy ('Raising Victor Vargas')
Set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Victor (Victor Rasuk) thinks he’s God’s gift to women, so it’s going to take someone as independent and strong-minded as Judy (Judy Marte) to put him in his place. The 2002 romantic comedy was nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards.
Mosquita & Mari ('Mosquita & Mari')
The 2012 coming-of-age film follows the title characters, Chicana high school students Mosquita (Fenessa Pineda) and Mari (Venecia Troncoso), as they develop a friendship that slowly develops into something deeper.
Selena & Chris ('Selena')
Forbidden Tejano love can’t get any sweeter than Selena (Jennifer Lopez) and her true love Chris (Jon Seda) talking about their future as parents in the 1997 biopic Selena. Plus, how romantic is that bridge scene at the River Walk in San Antonio?
Miguel & Santiago ('Undertow (Contracorriente)')
The 2009 Peruvian drama tells the story of Miguel (Cristian Mercado), a married fisherman in northern Peru who is having an affair with an artist named Santiago (Manolo Cardona). When Santiago dies at sea, his ghost returns to ask Miguel to find his body.
Jimmy & Isabel ('My Family (Mi Familia)')
The 1995 drama is a sweeping narrative that covers three generations of an immigrant family. Two of the characters in the story are Jimmy (Jimmy Smits) and Isabel (Elpidia Carrillo), who marry so Isabel isn’t deported back to El Salvador where her life is in danger. One of the most romantic scenes is where she teaches Jimmy how to dance to Juan Luis Guerra’s “Guavaberry” in the streets.
Leticia & Orlando ('Tortilla Soup')
Conservative high school chemistry teacher Leticia Naranjo (Elizabeth Peña) falls for the school’s baseball coach Orlando Castillo (Paul Rodriguez). There’s plenty of love stories happening in the 2001 dramedy, but Leticia & Orlando get bonus points because it feels the most authentic.
Lalo & Stef ('Don’t Let Me Drown')
Young love blossoms in post-9/11 New York City between two teens, Lalo (E.J. Bonilla) and Stef (Gleendilys Inoa), who lost her sister in the terrorist attacks. Withdrawn from the world, she lets Lalo in her life although their families aren’t too keen on their relationship.
Tenoch & Julio ('Y tu mamá también')
Main teenage characters Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael García Bernal) are best friends and lusting over the same older woman during a road trip to a remote beach. But there’s an underlying sexual vibe between them that is evident with every re-watch. Viewers must see the not-rated version to witness how that manifests at the end of this 2001 Alfonso Cuarón masterpiece.