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VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Sammie Purcell
These couples were the real deal. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the best movie couples who got their inspiration from real life romances. Our countdown includes "The Big Sick," "Casino," "Loving," and more!

#10: Irving & Rosalyn Rosenfeld “American Hustle” (2013)

In “American Hustle,” Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence’s performances are so over the top it’s hard to believe they have any basis in reality. But David O. Russell’s film is based on a real life scandal called the Abscam operation. Bale and Lawrence’s characters Irvin and Rosayln Rosenfeld are based on Mel and Marie Weinberg, the real people involved. For legal reasons, the filmmakers changed the characters’ names and their appearances of course. But apparently, the relationship dynamic between Irving and Rosalyn is loosely lifted from the real life couple.

#9: Richard & Mildred Loving “Loving” (2016)

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It’s hard to imagine a time when people couldn’t marry someone of a different race, but that time really wasn’t that long ago. We owe that change in the United States’s laws to Richard and Mildred Loving, the real life inspiration for the 2016 film “Loving.” In 1967, the couple was a part of the famous Loving v. Virginia case that ended with the Supreme Court calling laws that prohibited interracial marriage unconstitutional. Although Richard died tragically young not too long after the ruling, Mildred and Richard’s love story endures on. We couldn’t imagine a better last name for them both.

#8: Brandon Teena & Lana Tisdel “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999)

There are far too many real life stories of queer kids being killed. In 1999, “Boys Don’t Cry” memorialized the story of not only Brandon Teena, a trans man who was murdered, but also his girlfriend Lana Tisdel. The film does not shy away from Brandon’s brutal murder at the hands of two men, but it’s endearingly tender when dealing with the relationship he had with Lana. Trying to codify the relationship that the real Lana Tisdel had with Brandon is a tricky thing, but one thing seems to be certain. She cared about him tremendously, and that sense of care really shines through in the film.

#7: Charlie Lang & Yvonne Biasi “It Could Happen to You” (1994)

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Honestly, we wish that we could be this real life couple. “It Could Happen To You” stars Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda as a cop and a waitress who have a clandestine meeting. Short on cash, Cage’s character jokes that if he wins the lottery, he’ll split his earnings with her. Well, he DID win the lottery. And that promise he made to the waitress didn’t sit too well with his wife. It might surprise you to learn that this story is based on a real couple. In 1984, Phyllis Penzo and Robert Cunningham split a $6 million lottery ticket. Beyond that, the rest of the movie’s plot is entirely made up. But what a way to win!

#6: Leo & Paige Collins “The Vow” (2012)

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Can you imagine your partner suddenly forgetting all about your marriage after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a car accident? Neither can we. And for a long time, we thought 2012’s “The Vow” was a fictional story about a fictional couple. But it turns out that this terrible thing actually happened to a real couple in real life. The movie is based on a book written by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter about Kim’s struggle with amnesia which caused her to forget Krickitt. In the movie, the couple is able to come back to each other. But in real life, the Carpenters divorced in 2018. We can’t all have a fairytale ending.

#5: Sam Rothstein & Ginger McKenna “Casino” (1995)

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If we were going to be involved in casino crime, this is the couple we would like to be. Well, at least at the beginning of the movie. The end? Not so much. “Casino” is based on the life of Frank Rosenthal, a man who ran a series of casinos in Las Vegas for the Chicago mob throughout the 70s. In the movie, Frank’s name has been changed to Sam “Ace” Rothstein, and his romantic interest Geri McGee’s name has been changed to Ginger. Ace and Ginger have a terrifying, tumultuous relationship that eventually turns incredibly violent. Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone bring passion and intense chemistry to the characters.

#4: Karen Blixen & Denys Finch Hatton “Out of Africa” (1985)

In “Out of Africa,” Meryl Streep and Robert Redford bring the characters of Karen and Denys to life. Little did we know that they were already based on real people. “Out of Africa” is taken from the real life and romance of Danish author Karen Blixen. During Blixen’s life, she often traveled to Africa and eventually had a long-lasting love affair with a big game hunter named Denys Finch Hatton. If you’ve seen the film, you know what happens. Their love is passionate and all-consuming, but eventually ends because of what they can’t give each other. It feels so right out of a film, it’s hard to believe something this romantic happened to real people.

#3: Steven Jay Russell & Phillip Morris “I Love You Phillip Morris” (2009)

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“I Love You Phillip Morris” is a little seen film, so it makes sense that not many people know the real story behind it. The film stars Jim Carrey as Steven Jay Russell, a con artist who falls in love with a man named Phillip Morris while he is in prison. Russell was a real person, who really did fall in love with another man he met while incarcerated. In the film, he escapes from prison four times in his effort to be with Morris, who is played by Ewan McGregor. The movie is a little strange, but has a lot of tenderness and heart to the way it tells the story. You can’t help but root for those two crazy kids to make it.

#2: Kumail Nanjiani & Emily V. Gordon “The Big Sick” (2017)

A medically induced coma isn’t necessarily the perfect fairytale start to a romance. But we have to take life as it comes at us. “The Big Sick” was written by Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon and chronicles the real life start to their relationship. When the two characters based on the pair meet in the film, they briefly date but then break up because of cultural differences they can’t reconcile. But when Emily falls ill and must go into a medically-induced coma, Kumail has to step up and deal with more important issues. The film is incredibly heartfelt and tells a story that we can’t believe is real.

#1: Allie Hamilton & Noah Calhoun “The Notebook” (2004)

That’s right! The couple from “The Notebook” didn’t just pop up out of Nicholas Sparks’s head. Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun are actually based on real people. According to Sparks, who wrote the 1996 book that the film is based on, he was inspired to write Noah and Allie because of his wife’s grandparents. We don’t know their names, but according to Sparks the two had been married for more than 60 years by the time that he met them. After getting to know them, the blueprints for Noah and Allie’s love story sprung into his head - and eventually enchanted millions of people. What other real life couples made a great transition to the screen? Share in the comments below.

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