Fav Romantic Movie Tropes: Arranged Marriages

Romantic movies and shows are crammed with tropes just like every genre. I personally think we all have favorite tropes – and they can be a positive influence on a story if they’re handled sincerely and not just slapped on there because the writers can. I’m an unashamed sucker for arranged marriage stories that transition from couples being mere strangers, or people who misunderstand each other, to deeply falling in love. A few of these are marriage of convenience stories, which I consider a type of the arranged marriage trope. Here are 15 of my favorite arranged marriage stories in movies/dramas!


#1 Mask
Mask, a 2015 20-episode K-drama, gives us a wonderfully strong version of the falling-in-love-arranged-marriage story. Heroine Ji-Sook’s family is in horrible debt and the only way to save them and herself is to take on the identity of a rich woman, Eun-Ha, who’s about to be in an arranged marriage with rich heir Choi Min-Woo. Watching Ji-Sook and Min-Woo try to live as married strangers only to start falling in love was awesome and what made me fall in love with this show.

#2 Faith/The Great Doctor
Faith, a popular 2012 K-drama, is a time travel story about an ancient warrior and modern doctor falling in love. Alongside the main couple, a good portion of the show is dedicated to the romance of an arranged marriage between King Gongmin and Queen Noguk. Their love-story was what drew me to this show at the beginning and kept me around, trying to see if and when they’d truly learn to love each other.

#3 Vivah
This 2006 Bollywood film tales a slow-burn romantic story of quiet Poonam and sweet, soft-spoken Prem’s love. They both agree to an arranged marriage together and throughout the movie they slowly fall more in love. This movie is very cute if slow and mild; the only real action happens at the climax, which was pretty emotional and touching.

#4 Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Shah Rukh Khan does it again in this 2008 Bollywood romance where he plays a husband who secretly helps his young wife achieve her dreams. This is a funny, sweet movie that has a lovely ending.

#5 Jodhaa Akbar
Jodhaa Akbar tells the epic love-story of historical Princess Jodhaa and Emperor Akbar. Forced into an arranged marriage with the Emperor, Jodhaa wants nothing to do with him. But Akbar’s strong, compassionate nature is difficult to ignore – even for an embittered princess. This 2008 Bollywood historical is full of gorgeous costumes and cinematography.

#6 Goong
Goong, a 2006 K-drama, brought us a fairytale-like story of an arranged marriage between late high-schoolers Chae-Young and Crown Prince Lee Shin. In an alternate set Korea, the monarchy still exists and the royal family decides to marry off the crown prince. Chae-Young and Lee Shin agree to the marriage, thinking to divorce later on, but of course romance is bound to get in the way. While not my most favorite of K-dramas, the story kept me watching to see what happened next and I loved the modern fairytale feel.

#7 Three Musketeers
A shorter K-drama with only 12 episodes, this 2014 drama was on my must-watch list for a long time. After recently watching it, I fell in love with this swashbuckling story of musketeers set in 17th century Korea. There is a wonderful love story between the arranged marriage of the Crown Prince and Princess that left me an emotional, happy mess by the end.

#8 Hum Saath-Saath Hain
An older Bollywood film from 1999, Hum Saath-Saath Hain is the adorable, cheerful story of three brothers and their respective romances with three ladies. Only one of the brothers has an arranged marriage but of course the couple falls immediately in love and are extremely happy together (because this is Bollywood people!). Hum Saath-Saath Hain is a guilty pleasure of mine; the costumes and music are fantastic while the story is overly cheesy and ridiculously happy. Sometimes simple happy entertainment is the best though.

#9 Love Comes Softly
The one that started it all. Love Comes Softly is a 2003 Hallmark TV movie that would eventually launch 8 sequels and 2 prequels. It retells Janette Oke’s sweet story of a recently widowed Marty who enters into a marriage of convenience with widower Clark Davis who also has a willful daughter, Missie. The love story is quite beautiful and stars the lovely Katherine Heigl.

#10 The Princess' Man
An epic star-crossed romance between Princess Se-Ryung and vigilante Kim Seung-Yoo, The Princess’ Man delivers a fantastic secondary romance with haughty, icy Princess Kyunghye and sweet, mellow Jung Jong who enter an unexpected arranged marriage. I love these two.

#11 The Prime Minister and I
2013 K-drama, The Prime Minister and I, delivers a fun, crazy story of a prime minister who accidentally gets caught up in a scandal and is compelled to marry a young reporter to protect his image. This rom-com is full of great moments; my only complaint is how the story veers to the dramatic for the second half, deserting the romantic elements that made it so much fun during the first half. The ending was ambivalent at best and not satisfying enough for a romance. However, I still enjoyed the drama despite its flaws.


#12 The Young Victoria
This gorgeous, beautifully-acted 2009 period drama is one of my absolute favorites. It tells the riveting story of a young Victoria on her way to becoming queen and her romance with the sweet Prince Albert. I consider their romance an arranged one as both her and his family put them together seeking to make an alliance between them. If you haven’t seen this one, please do! You will not regret it!!

#13 The Swan Princess
Made back in 1994, The Swan Princess is a lesser-known animated movie that revolves around Princess Odette and Prince Derek, whose respective families want them to marry. While not a strictly arranged marriage, it’s close enough as these young royals were forced to hang out together since childhood in hopes of a pairing.

#14 Aladdin
Okay, so Disney’s 1992 animated film Aladdin doesn’t really have an arranged marriage love story but it comes pretty close as Aladdin shows up at Jasmine’s palace disguised as Prince Ali, hoping to secure an arranged marriage with her since he would never have a chance courting a princess while being a street thief.

#15 Sleeping Beauty
Disney’s 1959 artistic masterpiece Sleeping Beauty retells the fairytale much like the original. Luckily for sweet Aurora, she accidentally falls in love with her betrothed Prince Philip, so their arranged marriage is sure to work out beautifully.


I’d love to know your favorites, including any not on this list!

Comments

  1. I don't really like arranged marriage storylines but the princess' man couple was fun to watch;

    king 2 hearts also kind of fit into this category, the couple actually got to know each other a lot through training;

    also rooftop prince - the first part of the show although the sister is the one the prince spent a lot of time with so maybe it doesn't count; that's all I can think of

    have a lovely day.

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    1. Oh yeah, King 2 Hearts did fit in this category!

      And yeah, Rooftop Prince did have an arranged marriage however she was evil, lol, so I didn't list them.

      Thanks lissa!

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  2. I really like the "arranged marriage but they fall in love" storyline too, and one of my favorites is Love Comes Softly....but NOT the movie. Have you read the book? Imo, the movie is AWFUL.

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    1. Yay! It's just a fun trope. :D
      Lol, yes, I've read the book also. I'm actually not a huge fan of either, though I enjoy both of them for different reasons. I can understand why you'd dislike the movie as it did a lot of things differently than the book. I saw the movie first, I think, so I probably was less annoyed by the changes. ;)

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  3. Aw, I love the Swan Princess :) The Decoy Bride (with David Tennant and Kellie McDonald) has got a sort of arranged marriage in it - it's really cheesy but I liked it!

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    1. Isn't The Swan Princess super cute? It's not a Disney movie, which is why I think its so obscure.
      The Decoy Bride is a great example! It was a cheesy but cute movie. :D

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  4. Aww, I love this list! So many great things on it :) The Swan Princess is one of my favorite cartoons from my childhood! And it's funny, I just re-watched Goong and Mask and was seriously considering re-watching Prime Minister and Me. I guess I was in the mood for arranged marriages and never made the connection until now :p Even moreso, because I also just re-watched Bride of the Century, which also has the arranged marriage aspect :p

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    1. Aww! Love to see more people that loved The Swan Princess! Definitely a childhood fav. Whoa, it does look like a pattern was playing out there! Nice! I should probably check out Bride of the Century... after all, arranged marriages and all that. Hehe. :D

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