Love on the screen is not like love in real life. Romantic movies and TV shows portray characters that travel to the ends of the earth for their lovers and are so irresistible that fans can’t help fantasizing about them long after the television goes off.
And for people who grew up watching magical love stories like this, it’s easy to develop totally unreasonable standards when it comes to romance.
From teen dramas like Gossip Girl and The O.C. to rom-coms like How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days to tearjerkers like Titanic and P.S. I Love You to fantasy epics like Game of Thrones and historical action flicks like Troy and Braveheart, there have been a few guys over the years that have made romance-loving fans go weak in the knees.
Sometimes it’s the way they look, but more often it’s the qualities they possess and the lengths to which they go in order to prove their love. The creators of these characters definitely know what kind of man can have millions of fans around the world dreaming about him for the rest of their lives.
Keep reading to find out which fictional characters from movies and television shows totally warped fans’ expectations of love in the real world.
20-Seth Cohen From The O.C.
For many of us, Seth Cohen was the first major crush we had. His intelligence, wit, and undying love for Summer Roberts have won hearts over all around the world.
Even though Ryan and Marissa were supposed to be the central relationship of The O.C., Seth and Summer ended up making the show, and that’s probably because of Seth’s undeniable charisma.
Who wouldn’t want a guy that names his yacht after you? Granted, Seth isn’t perfect and abandons Summer when Ryan decides to go back to Chino. But still, he’s given a lot of us ridiculously high standards when it comes to love.
19-Noah Calhoun From The Notebook
The world hasn’t been able to get enough of Noah Calhoun from The Notebook since 2004, and we can’t either. The thing that makes Noah so desirable is that he never gives up on Allie. And let’s face it: he has to overcome a lot of obstacles to win the girl. They’re torn apart by war, suitors, conniving parents, and a society that won’t allow the classes to mix. But still, he never gives up the hope that he and Allie are going to end up together. Through her dementia, he sticks by her side, and in the end, he can’t stand to be without her. Goals.
18-Uncle Jesse From Full House
If you grew up watching Full House, you probably (definitely) had a crush on Uncle Jesse. It’s easy to fall for this guy—his handsome face and head of hair won a lot of people over before they even heard him speak.
But not only is Uncle Jesse a looker, but he’s also a decent guy who is ready to drop everything to take care of his nieces.
Not to mention his love for Becky. Remember his wedding song for her? Yes, Uncle Jesse has been ruining it for men for decades now, and he never loses his appeal.
17-Derek Shepherd From Grey’s Anatomy
Derek Shepherd, you were too good for this world. From the very first time we watched Grey’s Anatomy, we’ve been in love with McDreamy. Hasn’t everyone? And we continue to love him, even though he’s no longer on the show. And seriously, what’s not to love? He’s one of the sweetest characters on television, is so romantic with Meredith Grey (remember the post-its?) and is probably one of the most attractive men we’ve seen in general. Let’s not forget the fact that he’s also a talented neurosurgeon. On a scale of one to ten, Derek Shepherd is easily an eleven.
16-Jon Snow From Game Of Thrones
Jon Snow may know nothing, but he still managed to give us unrealistic standards when it comes to finding love. It’s a combination of things that makes this GoT character so loveable, but those big brown eyes are definitely a factor.
There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this show, but Jon is one of the few kind, genuine faces who are not motivated by revenge or greed.
From the way he sticks up for his siblings to the way he tries to follow in Ned Stark’s footsteps by always doing the right thing to his skill on the battlefield, this guy is a winner.
15-William Thacker From Notting Hill
Ah, William Thacker. Who doesn’t love a nerdy bookstore owner with a kind heart and cute accent? If you ask us, Anna Scott could have done a lot worse than William. He manages to keep his cool around one of the biggest movie stars in the world, puts up with it when she gets angry at him for their relationship being revealed (not that it’s his fault) and then apologizes to her to win her back. And that’s after she badmouths him to her co-stars! For those who like the polite gentleman type, William Thacker is the cream of the crop.
14-Cliff Pantone From Bring It On
Theoretically, guys like Torrance Shipman’s boyfriend Aaron are the most popular in high school. But we were all over Cliff when watching Bring It On for the first time!
He’s alternative and punky, but also kind and sweet.
Plus, he gets bonus points for having a really cool sister that would be fun to hang out with. Torrance flirts with Cliff and never tells him that she has a boyfriend. He has to find out on his way to bring her flowers and a collection of his music! He’s understandably a little annoyed for a while, but then forgives Torrance and supports her cheerleading. Amazing!
13-Christopher Marshall From Maid In Manhattan
We have a major crush on Christopher Marshall from Maid in Manhattan, and it’s not just because he’s rich and powerful. He’s a beautiful man who doesn’t hold it against Marisa that she lied to him or that she’s exactly the kind of person he’s not supposed to date. His whole life, he would have had people whispering in his ear that he should end up with a rich, successful woman, and never even look twice at a maid. But there’s no defeating his kind, genuine spirit, and he falls for Marisa anyway. Also, those eyes are to die for.
12-Graham Simpkins From The Holiday
Ever since watching The Holiday, we’ve been expecting to fall in love with gorgeous, witty book editors every time we travel. Nothing yet, but we’ll keep hoping!
Graham Simpkins, played by Jude Law, is another fictional man that we desperately wish was not fictional.
A widower, he tries to juggle raising his two daughters with managing his professional life and tries to somehow fit in a love life between all of that. He’s an excellent father to his two daughters, Sophie and Olivia, and seems like he has a lot of patience and understanding, which are very underrated qualities!
11-Robert Leeds From SATC
The SATC ladies date quite a few bizarre individuals during the series, but every now and then, a gem pops up. And Miranda’s brief boyfriend, Dr. Robert Leeds, is just that. She dates him after he moves into her building, and he’s all kinds of sweet. He doesn’t judge her in her vulnerable moments, cooks for her, and even gets her giant cookies that say he loves her. Not to mention the fact that he’s a doctor for the New York Knicks. We love Steve too, and were happy when Miranda got back with him. But poor Robert, he’s perfect!
10-Captain Jack Sparrow From Pirates Of The Caribbean
Captain Jack Sparrow is not perfect, but that hasn’t stopped fans all over the world from lusting after this cunning pirate. His dating record isn’t exactly squeaky clean (neither is his personal hygiene), and he’s been known to betray the closest people to him, but if after all that a guy is still super attractive, there must be something he’s doing right.
Being with Captain Jack would be an adventure, and there’d be plenty of time for partying.
He also seems like the non-judgmental type who could always make you laugh. We won’t lie: he’s also easy on the eyes.
9-Austin Ames From A Cinderella Story
Austin Ames is so perfect that you know from the beginning that he’s too good to be true. But that doesn’t squash the faint hope that one day you’ll come across someone just like him! What do we love about Austin? Well, first and foremost, he’s actually a poet. That will always be attractive. Since he gets into Princeton, we can also assume he’s intelligent. Although, he isn’t able to recognize Sam at the dance, even though there’s only half a mask covering her face. Ignoring that, he’s kind and just wants to impress the people around him, but ultimately decides to follow his heart to Sam.
8-Jay From Raise Your Voice
Speaking of Hilary Duff tween movies from the early 2000s, we can’t forget Jay from Raise Your Voice. A fellow musician, Jay attends the school that Terri gets into in Los Angeles.
He takes an instant liking to her, helps her to sneak around her dad’s controlling radar, jams with her, and is there for her when she needs support.
He also gets points for having an accent. He never really does anything wrong either, and Terri should appreciate him more … there’s a scene where she walks in on him kissing his ex, but she kissed him, guys.
7-Benjamin Barry From How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days
Benjamin Barry bases his relationship with Andie Anderson on lies and manipulation, but to be fair, so does she. He might not be the most honest person in the room, but he has a lot of good qualities that have ruined our expectations of men in the real world. He’s driven and ambitious and cares a lot about his job. There’s also the Southern accent and the fact that he has a heck of a lot of patience! Plus, he’s willing to go to lots of effort to impress a girl, and his family is pretty cool. Benjamin Barry for the win!
6-Jack Dawson From Titanic
Nothing can ever make us get over Jack Dawson. It’s not just the fact that he’s a talented artist with a kind heart. Nor is it just that he has really pinch-able cheeks.
As Rose herself puts it, he saved her in every way that a person can be saved.
Yes, he saved her life again and again on the sinking Titanic and in the freezing Atlantic ocean, losing his life in the process. But he also taught her there’s more to life than being miserably married to a millionaire. He showed her true love. We’re not crying. You’re crying.
5-Peter Wright From Only You
In real life, honesty is supposed to be one of the pillars of a good relationship. But in movies, it’s not always as important. As long as a character has good intentions, we can get over the little white lies they tell. That’s certainly the case with Peter Wright, who lies to Faith and tells her that his name is Damon Bradley just so she’ll think he’s her destiny. But that’s only because he really likes her! He has the patience to follow her around Italy and manages to show her that the future she thought belonged to her can actually be changed.
4-Chuck Bass From Gossip Girl
Chuck Bass puts Blair Waldorf through a lot on Gossip Girl, but ultimately, he loves her more than anything else. Like the other characters on this list, Chuck gave us false hope about love in reality.
We’ve accepted the fact that we probably won’t end up with someone who is driven around in a limo, but it’s hard to ignore the way Chuck fights for Blair.
He chases her until she has not a shred of doubt that he’s her true love, and will literally do anything to keep her happy. He makes some mistakes, but he’s allowed to because he’s Chuck Bass.
3-Achilles From Troy
Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Achilles gave a lot of unrealistic expectations to a lot of women. Not only does he literally look like a god, but he’s an honorable, brave, and intelligent man. Plus, he’s effortlessly cool, even for someone living thousands of years ago. The Achilles from Homer’s Iliad sounds a little less appealing—much more brutish and bloodthirsty. And Achilles was responsible for the loss of Briseis’s family, even though she became his wife. Is this Achilles accurate as a depiction of the character from classical mythology? Not really. But does he bring all of us to our knees? Yes.
2-William Wallace From Braveheart
There’s just something about ancient warriors and medieval knights. William Wallace might not wear any shining armor in Braveheart, but he has all the other qualities you’d expect of a true knight.
He is brave (of course) and stands up for his country when nobody else will.
He’s also loyal to his wife Murron (even though he has a thing with the Princess after Murron dies) and dreams about being reunited with her. During their brief time together, he’s super romantic and never forgets how she gave him a thistle when he was mourning his family as a child. Bless!
1-Gerry Kennedy From P.S. I Love You
Talk about dreamboats with alluring foreign accents: the final fictional man on our list is Gerry Kennedy from P.S. I Love You. There’s so much to love about this character, we don’t even know where to begin! He’s funny, relaxed, and fiery in a cute kind of way. But the main thing is he’s organized and passionate enough to organize posthumous letters to his wife after his death. He only wants the best for her and grants her his permission to fall in love again, while guiding her to live her best life without him. Does it get any better than that?