5. Annie and Alvy, Annie Hall (1977)
Just a little snippet of a thing, one scene out of many in the film's chronologically disordered flow of events: Annie has had a terrible singing try-out, and Alvy tries to cheer her up, and along the way, offers the smoothest seduction in the movies: we should just kiss right now, before dinner, so we canvdigest our food later. A lovely snapshot of two neurotics finding their level.
4. Ben and Elaine, The Graduate (1967)
Part one: he's deliberately trying to humiliate her, and it works. Part two: he finds a way to make it up, taking her someplace super casual where they can just relax and have a nice time getting to know each other. A wonderful portrait of how nice it can be to spend time with a person who doesn't make you feel like you need to "turn on" at all.
3. Ennis and Jack, Brokeback Mountain (2005)
"First date" is a weird euphemism for "the several weeks in isolation during which two inward-looking shepherds start having sex", but I think the spirit of the thing is sound. That spirit being the coy, defensive, tentative way you feel when you're starting to really like somebody, and you think there might actually be a chance that they really like you, and you're trying to figure out how to be sure. And then the feeling of unrestrained lust and joy that happens when you finally realize, "oh wait, this has already been a date all along."
2. Celine and Jessie, Before Sunrise (1995)
The first date that last a whole damn feature, and created cinema's all-time most perfect depiction of how people navigate love and relationships throughout different periods in life. In the devil-may-care flush of youth, Before Sunrise portrays a couple kids in their early twenties so immediately enraptured with each other that every word, gesture, and thought that comes from their newfound beloved is the most important thing in the world. Meanwhile, their amble through Vienna demonstrates how a beautiful place becomes still more beautiful when it's filtered through that dizzying rush of sharing it with somebody you find inexhaustibly interesting.
1. Ariel and Eric, The Little Mermaid (1989)
A wordless day in the country, scored to one of Alan Menken's all-time best cues, something upbeat and playful but flexible enough to be slowed down and suffused with a pleasurably tired-out romantic mood. Then it's on to a twilight boat ride, and into the arms of a robust serenade exhorting the prince to "Kiss the Girl", as an army of fish, birds, and fireflies set a mood of energetic romance. It's unapologetic spectacle that imagines the blossoming of affection into
infatuation through wonderful animation and music, an intoxication that asks the viewer to fall in love just as much as the characters.