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(Image: Universal Pictures)

Bridget Jones’s Baby opens in theaters today (Friday 16), and once again our Bridge (Renée Zellweger) has got herself in a bit of a pickle with two fellas.

Certified bounder Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) may have been shown the door, but the arrival of new flame Jack (Patrick Dempsey) means Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) can’t sit on his laurels just yet, leaving Bridget to form the third point in a shape that looks decidedly triangular.

The love triangle is a staple of romantic comedies, and often gets in the way of epic romances too. Here we list our choices for the 12 greatest examples in film of that phrase two’s company, but three’s a crowd.

12. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

(Photo: MGM)
(Photo: MGM)

Love triangles can be tragic, or they can be zany. Screwball comedy The Philadelphia Story is squarely in the latter camp, as Katherine Hepburn stars as a Philadelphia socialite trying to seal the deal with a new husband, until her ex C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) has other ideas, that is. The triangle is formed by gossip reporter Mike (Jimmy Stewart), meaning there are some serious delays at the altar, to say the least.

11. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

(Photo: TriStar Pictures)
(Photo: TriStar Pictures)

Julianne (Julia Roberts) knows the meaning behind the phrase “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” all too well. Her best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney) announces suddenly he’s getting married, and it’s not to her. Even worse than that, he’s getting married to Cameron Diaz. Can she put her feelings to one side and be happy for him? Yeesh. Sort of.

10. Jules et Jim (1962)

(Photo: Janus Films)
(Photo: Janus Films)

In true French fashion, Jules (Oskar Werner) seems okay at first when his wife Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) abandons him in favor of his friend Jim (Henri Serre), and for a while all three lovers live together as Catherine jumps back and forth between them in François Truffaut‘s classic film.

9. Chasing Amy (1997)

(Photo: Miramax Films)
(Photo: Miramax Films)

The film that pretty much invented the term “bromance,” Kevin Smith‘s Chasing Amy is a surprisingly mature and frank look at male insecurity in the face of a sexually experienced woman. An unexpected love triangle is revealed when Holden (Ben Affleck) has an unusual proposition for girlfriend Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) and his best friend Banky (Jason Lee), who’s been in love with him for years.

8. The Age of Innocence (1993)

(Photo: Columbia Pictures)
(Photo: Columbia Pictures)

Daniel Day-Lewis falls hard for Michelle Pfeiffer‘s passionate, soon-to-be divorcée while trapped in an engagement to her bland, compliant cousin (Winona Ryder) in this lavish adaptation of Edith Wharton‘s classic novel.

7. Pretty in Pink (1986)

(Photo: Paramount Pictures)
(Photo: Paramount Pictures)

It’s hard not to root for Duckie (Jon Cryer) when it comes to who out of him and Blane (Andrew McCarthy) should win Andie’s (Molly Ringwald) heart. Eventually, he puts his feelings aside so that the other two can be together, and as with most John Hughes films, it’s all set to an amazing soundtrack, of course.

6. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

(Photo: IFC Films)
(Photo: IFC Films)

Teenagers Julio (Gael García Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) go on a passionate road trip with an older woman (Maribel Verdú) in filmmaker’s Alfonso Cuarón‘s uninhibited look at sexual awakening.

5. The Wedding Singer (1998)

(Photo: New Line Cinema)
(Photo: New Line Cinema)

No-one wants Julia (Drew Barrymore) to go through with marrying Glenn (Matthew Glave), least of all wedding singer Robbie Hart (a huge-haired Adam Sandler). This homage to the ’80s eventually sets things right, but not without some heartstring tugging and spectacular drunken singing first.

4. Casablanca (1942)

(Photo: Warner Bros.)
(Photo: Warner Bros.)

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” So says Rick Blaine, or Humphrey Bogart in his first romantic role. The “she” in question is Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), a former flame who’s still married to the husband (Paul Henreid) whose continued existence forced the lovers to go their separate ways two years previously.

3. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

(Photo: Yash Raj Films)
(Photo: Yash Raj Films)

This international blockbuster has it all: Anjali (Kajol) loved Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), but Rahul loved Tina (Rani Mukerji), then when Tina dies, Rahul is reunited with Anjali, but she’s engaged to Aman (Salman Khan). The resulting romance, with dance numbers and tear-jerking scenes in equal number, became one of the biggest Bollywood films of all time, and the first to break the $5 million mark outside India.

2. LA Story (1991)

(Photo: TriStar Pictures)
(Photo: TriStar Pictures)

More a love quadrangle, this one is. Though Sarah Jessica Parker‘s character SanDeE* (“big ess small ay small en big dee little ee big ee star”) doesn’t get in the way of this magical film’s main attraction, which is Steve Martin and Richard E. Grant‘s infatuation with the same woman, played by Martin’s wife at the time, Victoria Tennant.

1. Gone with the Wind (1939)

(Photo: MGM)
(Photo: MGM)

And at number one, how could it possibly be anything else?

Yes, dapper Southern gent Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) is the object of two women’s affections at the start of this Civil War epic, but a stonking three-and-a-half hours later it is the love triangle between him, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) that finally sweeps us off our feet.

Finally, on the death of her supposed rival Melanie (Olivia de Havilland), Scarlett realizes her true love, but by then, sigh, it is much, much too late.

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.