"On the right side of the tracks she was born and raised.
In a great big ol' house full of butlers and maids."
— Stevie Wonder, "Uptight"
You know the story. It's a love story.
Our lovers are from different worlds — one wealthy, one not. The poor girl has fallen in love with the Upper-Class Wit, or the Unlucky Everydude secretly courts the daughter of the richest man in town. And she loves him too. Maybe it was Love at First Sight. Maybe she has a habit of slipping out to the seedier side of town for a night of fun. Maybe they've been friends their whole lives and the difference in status never really mattered. Will their love be enough to let them be happy together?
In any case, this is usually played out in one of three ways:
The poor guy and rich girl mutually fall in love, and neither one cares about their differences in wealth. People around them, however, do, and conspire to interfere with True Love.
The poor guy falls for the rich girl, even though he knows that she's out of his league. Undaunted, our hero engages in some Zany Scheme to get her to notice him or be impressed by him. This usually ends with the girl revealing that she doesn't care if he's rich or poor, and that she loves him for who he is.
The poor guy and the rich girl fall for one another, but he doesn't know she's rich at first. When he finds out, he's either intimidated by her wealth once he finds out, or else doesn't think he's good enough for her. As before, she doesn't care about such things, and has to convince him that he's the one she wants.
Hayate the Combat Butler: A little one-sided, at least at the start, as Nagi (the rich girl) has become infatuated with the extremely-poor Hayate after he saves her from kidnappers. She saves him from his (parents') debt, and he ends up serving her as a Battle Butler to pay her back. For her, it seems to be mostly just an excuse to keep him around.
Hana Yori Dango (although it's a bit more complicated than that, obviously).
The Beta Couple of Soujiro and Yuuki also counts, still with the guy as the Uptown Girl and the girl as the pauper.
Lina from Heroman comes from a rich-looking family while Joey looks really poor, although this fact isn't brought up at all, although it was hinted at by Lina's dad.
Gundam 00 has Saji Crossroad, a poor Unlucky Everydude, fall for Louise Halevy, a Spoiled Sweettsundere, whose family is implied to be extremely wealthy and influential. The series seems to subvert the expectation that Louise's family would be hostile to Saji, as Louise's mother quickly takes to him, especially after hearing that he's an orphan, and basically treats him like a second child (which actually makes Louise jealous, a reaction played for comedy). Unfortunately, the series has a large dose of Break the Cutie for both of them.
In Victorian Romance Emma is an example where the gender is switched. Emma, an orphan maid, is pursued by, and falls in mutual love with, William Jones, a wealthy member of the upper-class gentry. In this case it's a matter of the third version of this trope, with Emma thinking that her lack of refinement and rank will only hurt William's station and cause trouble for him if they were to marry. The Parental Marriage Veto doesn't help matters. It Gets Better. Or rather, they get married anyway.
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu centers around this. The titular Nogizaka Haruka is the daughter of a ludicrous wealthy and powerful family, and the lower-middle-class Ayase Yuuto initially winds up as her confidant when he accidentally discovers her deep, dark secret... that she's an anime & manga otaku! As they spend time together, however, a relationship blooms - initially a type-1, but as Yuuto realizes just HOW wealthy her family is, and what kind of powerful people she usually rubs elbows with (not to mention what kind of men are actively pursuing marriage with her), he slips into a type-3 as he starts to feel 'unworthy' of her. Her father agrees, but who knows? Maybe there's a way for him to gain their respect...
In Shinshi Doumei Cross, Haine is poor and Shizumasa is rich. Slightly inverted in that Haine is not poor in any real sense; she's just significantly less wealthy than Shizumasa. Still, it plays just as the trope is described.
The Secret Agreement contains examples of both wealth and class differences, with Iori being the only male heir to an increasingly poor but noble family and set to marry into a wealthier but less respectable family for their mutual benefit. Meanwhile his actual lover is a former Street Urchin and fears if Iori marries he'll never see Iori again because the family won't need him to quietly sell off their possessions anymore (the only reason their friendship was tolerated in the first place).
Zigzagged in Maiden Rose. Taki is second-in-line to the throne in his own country. When Taki and Klaus first meet Klaus is of the nobility. Eventually Klaus' family lose that status because the monarchy is dissolved when the country falls to the Western Alliance, placing him in the wealthy middle class. Later, when Klaus becomes Taki's knight, he has to renounce his country, his name and status and becomes the lowest of the low in Taki's country. Their romance has been developing through all of this, but really comes into force after Klaus has lost his upper-class status.
Subverted in Hana Wa Junai Ni Junjiru, where Tsubaki (presumably lower class himself) is being trained to be a high-class prostitute serving only the nobility and Daniel is a gardener at the manor. Daniel works to be knighted just so he can be with Tsubaki, but his fixation on class causes even more tension because Tsubaki doesn't want to be associated with the noblility's prostitute system and would rather Daniel had run away with him when they were kids.
In Hanakage No Kioku, Laurent is a butler who has been with Arthur's family since childhood, and initially rejects Arthur because of his status. Arthur's friend from school also tries to romance Laurent.
Subverted in Flaming Ieraishan where a reporter falls in love with the heir to a viscount, who ends up running away and becoming a prostitute when his family is ruined. It then turns out the viscount was impotent and Saki's actually the son of a prostitute who he sheltered in order to appear to have an heir.
Akiko Hashou from Kasei Yakyoku is very attracted to Taka, a young man affiliated to the Yakuza, and thus she's the the uptown girl to him.
Maid Sama: Misaki (poor girl working at a maid cafe) and Usui (rich boy attending the same school she does). Previously, Usui's parents.
Sasameki Koto: Tomoe's wealthy family objects not only to the fact she's dating a servant's child but also to the fact Tomoe and her loved one are both girls. However, they cannot do anything about it because of the reward Tomoe's grandfather gave as thanks for saving the family's finances.
Also Tamaki's parents with his father being the rich one, and his mother being poor due to her family's business failure and debt.
In You're Under Arrest!, two girls in the cast get marriage proposals from uptown guys: Yoriko gets one from Rebel Prince Saki Abdusha) and Aoi is given another by Idol Singer Gorou. In a subversion, each girl rejects her beau's affections — Yoriko, because Saki is a foreign prince who might die since his Qurac-like nation is torn bt civil war; Aoi, because she simply isn't interested in Gorou beyond friendship.
Byakuya Kuchiki and Hisana. Hisana was a commoner from one of the worst Rukongai districts while Byakuya was a noble from one of the four most powerful and highly ranked noble houses in Soul Society. The social inequality between them didn't bother Byakuya and Hisana, but the Kuchiki clan was appalled. Byakuya eventually won the fight to have Hisana as his wife, but she fell sick and died five years after they were married.
Ryuuken Ishida and Kanae Katagiri. As an Echt, Ryuuken was a Quincy Blue Blood from one of the most powerful families alive and expected to marry another Echt. As a Gemischt, Kanae was Ryuuken's servant and bodyguard. Only when the Arranged Marriage plan falls through are Ryuuken's relatives willing to let him and Kanae Marry for Love. Kanae dies six years before the main story begins, targeted for her commoner status.
Peter Parker and Liz Allan are played this way in The Spectacular Spiderman, though Peter eventually becomes something of a cool nerd.
Legion of Super-Heroes. Tinya Wazzo is (Phantom Girl) is the daughter of a rich, high-society family. Jo Nah (Ultra Boy) is a former gang member who lived on the streets.
Archie and Veronica from Archie comics. (But not Archie and Betty, because Betty is a Girl Next Door).
Inverted in Nikolai Dante - Galya is a poor peasant girl, while Viktor is a member of the aristocratic Romanov family. Dmitri doesn't take it well.
In Maus, Vladek Speigleman was working class, albeit very resourceful. He ended up marrying Anya, the daughter of a millionaire.
Almost any fanfic pairing the aristocratic Inspector Lynley and his working-class partner Sergeant Havers will inevitably have to deal in some fashion with their wide social disparity.
The tale of Aladdin: it's firmly in the Zany Scheme category, with Aladdin going to enormous lengths to get the rich princess.
The Disney version is a mixture of the second and third, "insecure about his poverty," variety, as well as having the Princess desire to leave the palace and live on her own.
There are quite a few fairy tales of the poor nobody youngest son winning the hand of the princess. Sometimes it lasts, sometimes it ends badly. In general, if it's gender-reversed (as in "The Goose Girl") the girl is a really a princess herself, who has been driven to a life of poverty, usually by a wicked stepmother.
Anastasia: Dimitri (a kitchen boy-turned conman) and Anastatia (Grand Duchess and daughter of the Tzar). Played with as for most of the film and when they fall in love, they're both penniless orphans and she's unaware of her identity. Then they find out the truth and Dimitri goes into Heroic BSOD knowing his feelings are no longer acceptable and he's not good enough for her.
Shrek and Fiona. He's an ogre, she's a princess. At the end of the film, Fiona too becomes an ogre so that she can remain with Shrek forever.
The Princess and the Frog - Tiana's a relatively poor woman who dreams of carrying on her father's dreams and owning her own restaurant, whilst Naveen is the rich prince of a made-up country with a league of fangirls and media attention.
The love subplot between Daniel and Ali in The Karate Kid is this. Daniel's mom doesn't even have enough money to replace the Alleged Car they drive. Ali's parents are rich enough to attend country club.
In A Knight's Tale, William tries to get his Blue Blooded love interest to face the realities of life with him, a destitute fugitive from the law.
William: Where will we live? In my hovel, with the pigs inside during the winter so they won't freeze?
Jocelyn: [crying] Yes, William...with the pigs.
In The King and the Clown the King's fixation with a male street clown is a major point of contention in the court and used to help justify their coup. The King's Hot Consort Nok-su is implied to also have caused friction for being lower class, but Nok-su is better at court intrigue than Gong-gil is.
In ATL, poor aspiring artist Rashad meets mysterious girl New-New at a skating rink. He doesn't know much about her background, but eventually finds out that New-New is filthy rich and her real name is Erin.
In Nanny McPhee Returns, we see that the mother was from a wealthy family and ended up being Happily Married to a farmer. When her brother describes her as having made an "unfortunate marriage", her son is not pleased.
In the Iron Man series, while Pepper Potts is not exactly poor, she is nowhere near the social circles her multi-millionaire playboy boss Tony Stark is in. By the end of the second movie, they're going steady.
In Jumping the Broom, while Jason is not poor, he came from a poor background and made his money by himself. His fiance Sabrina comes from old money, however, and this is the basis of the plot.
The Lover (or L'Amant) is a 1992 French film based on the novel of the same name by Marguerite Duras. Set in French Indo-China in 1929, it depicts the illicit affair between a fifteen-year old French girl from an impoverished family and her wealthy Chinese lover — as a result the trope applies to both parties due to the racial/social divide.
Star Wars: You'd think a former street kid and smuggler would consider the Princess of Alderaan and high-ranking Rebel commander well out of his league. But Han's can be very persuasive when he wants to be.
Splendor in the Grass is a gender-swapped example, where true love eventually doesn't overcome the obstacles.
The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas: Upon learning about Wilma's financial status, Fred felt the trope's weight and feared not to be good enough for her. That helped Chip on his plan to get rid of Fred.
It Takes Two: Diane believed rich guys like Roger would never marry people like her.
Robbie Turner and Cecelia Tallis from Atonement definitely fall into the "friends their whole lives" category. He's the son of a servant and she's the daughter of the wealthy family.
In the Honor Harrington series, the monarch of Manticore is required by law to marry a commoner.
Pride and Prejudice. Lady Catherine throws a hissy fit over someone as (relatively) low-class as Elizabeth marrying Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth wins this by exposing Lady Catherine not as a snob, but an idiot: "He is a gentleman. I am the daughter of a gentleman. Therefore, I am his equal." Which is absolutely true. Mr. Bennett is a landowner, an esquire, just like Darcy (he just owns less, or less profitable land); they are of exactly the same social class. That some modern readers fail to understand that 'class' in the 1790s was defined by where your money came from, not how much you made, is understandable, but for Lady Catherine to forget it (or at least expect Elizabeth not to realize it) makes her a complete ass as well as a bully.
Lady Catherine's opinion on Lizzy's class was not, at the time, uncommon. While technically Darcy and Mr Bennett are of the same social class, the former is descended from a very old and wealthy landowning family on one side and straight-out nobility on the other. Mr Bennett is a landowner, if a rather small one; but his and his wife's relatives are merchants and lawyers. To Lady Catherine, a peer both by birth and marriage, the idea of having Darcy bring a niece of merchants and lawyers into her family would be utterly repugnant. It helps that she already has plans for him to marry a noblewoman and keep all the wealth in the family.
Yukio Mishima's The Sound of Waves has a poor boy falling in love with a rich girl, and her father doesn't approve and there's Malicious Gossip and all that. The boy eventually gains the father's approval by going out on one of his fishing boats and saving it from being wrecked in a storm.
Captain Sam Vimes and Lady Sybil Ramkin (subsequently Sir Samuel and Lady Sybil Vimes) in Discworld, although older than the usual examples of the trope. The resultant class dynamics lead to Vimes being seen as "a jumped-up copper to the nobs, and a nob to the rest".
Unfortunately, it's a little more complicated than that. Alek is a princeand could potentially become the Archduke of Austria, and Deryn is "as common as barkingdirt." And he's already told Deryn (unaware thatshe's in love with him) that if he ever loved a commoner, he'd immediately put as much distance between them as possible. He grew up feeling like he never should have been born due to the... difficulties of his parents' interclass marriage, and he refuses to do that to his own children.
Tennyson's The Beggar Maid: "Cophetua sware a royal oath: 'This beggar maid shall be my queen'" (This was itself based on an old ballad, The King and the Beggar-maiden.)
The same author's The Lord of Burleigh.
Little Women: One of the March sisters is expected to marry their rich neighbor Laurie by the locals, since the four girls are good friends to him. (In fact, they openly wonder if Marmee is training the Meg and Jo to be gold diggers, which disgusts them greatly since they like Laurie as a person). In the sequel, Laurie marries the youngest of the sisters, Amy. (Who had already refused to marry another rich guy.)
Discussed by the end of the first book, too. When Aunt March finds out that Meg's being courted by Laurie's tutor John Brooke, she thinks he's a Gold Digger who wants to marry Meg solely because she's got rich relatives and attempts a marriage veto. This causes Meg's Love Epiphany, and she refuses the Aunt's words.
Twilight. Bella's strictly working class. The Cullens are wealthy (its easy to make money if you're immortal and a smart investor).
Debateable. Bella is probably middle class (such as being given a second hand truck on arrival) but in comparison to the Cullens who are ridiculously and impossibly rich she is poor.
The Sherlock Holmes story A Scandal in Bohemia has the "rich guy, common girl" romance with the Prince of Bohemia and Miss Irene Adler. Used to show how superior the resourceful and clever Miss Adler is to her 'superior':
"From what I have seen of the lady, she seems, indeed, to be on a very different level to Your Majesty," said Holmes, coldly.
This is the major source of dramatic conflict in Lady Chatterley's Lover, where the well-bred lady of the gentry takes up with the gardener. Played with and doubled in that she was a Rags to Riches story herself, having been working-class before marrying her rich husband Lord Chatterley.
In The Princess Bride. Buttercup gets made princess of a tiny area in order that Prince Humperdinck can marry her. This also puts her socially above Westley who used work as her farmhand before becoming a pirate.
In Maurice, after a failed platonic romance with Clive, Maurice has sex with the under-gamekeeper at Clive's estate. Their class difference even more than their homosexuality is what nearly stops them from pursuing a real relationship.
Sarah Biddle, the orphaned housekeeper and David Braddock, the wealthy Philadelphia businessman, during the late 1800s in Stephanie Grace Whitson's Sarah's Patchwork, the first book in her Keepsake Legacies series.
In The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe, there is a story about a young French woman named Victorine who came from a wealthy family and had a relationship with a poor journalist named Julienne. They had to break it off because her Blueblood family was pressuring her to marry a rich banker...which she did. The banker in question abused her, and she (apparently) died. Julienne stopped by her grave to get a lock of her hair as a memento, and found that she was still alive! He nursed her back to health, and they eloped to America together. Upon returning to France some 20 years later, a court ruled that she was now legally married to Julienne and not the banker guy, because of the unusual circumstances.
In Harry Potter, Harry isn't obscenely upper class, but he's very well-off and, by his sixth year, is pretty popular. He ends up dating and later marrying Ginny Weasley, who is from a poor "blood traitor" family.
The same also applies for Hermione Granger, whom Word of God says is from a well-to-do Oxford family, and her marriage to Ginny's brother Ron.
To the haughty purebloods like the Malfoys, Blacks, and Yaxley it would be the other way around. While Ron might be from a dirt poor and ridiculed family he is still a pureblood and Hermione is a muggleborn, the lowest of the low to them, except for muggles.
Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry is this, with Brittany Ellis (rich, privileged white girl) and Alejandro "Alex" Fuentes (poverty-class, Latino, in a gang). The town they live in heavily segregates between the north side (upper class) and the south side (lower class).
Sweet Valley High had a few examples of this, such as one book where a visiting European prince falls for blue-collar Dana. There's also the spin-off Elizabeth series where Elizabeth goes to London and falls in love with an aristocrat while working as a servant at his manor house.
Working-class Adrian Mole and his aristocratic first wife Jo Jo.
Adrian's most consistent love interest Pandora Braithwaite also counts as this, as do his exes Daisy Flowers and Pamela Pigg. Adrian himself was once an Uptown Guy to Sharon Bott.
In Spy High, wealthy Ben is initially drawn to the equally privileged Lori; but his true love turns out to be wrong-side-of-the-tracks Cally.
Ship Breaker seems to be setting this up between light crew ship breaker, Nailer, and Nita, whose father is one of the richest men in the world. Nothing's happened yet, but there's been lots of Ship Tease and one kiss so we'll see...
Although most adaptations gloss over or ignore the fact, the aristocratic Raoul pursuing a marriage with opera singer Christine in The Phantom of the Opera is rather unorthodox and a source of major contention between Raoul and his older brother Philippe. The public, unaware that there's a criminally insane Stalker with a Crush in the mix, assume the mystery surrounding the young couple's fate has something to do with the brothers' falling out.
In The Hunger Games Katniss' mother was part of the merchant class while her father was part of the lower class people living in the Seam. She left her more financially secure home in the merchant district to live poorly in the Seam with him. Eventually her daughter would do the opposite. Katniss, born and raised in the Seam, married Peeta, a member of the merchant class.
The Horse and His Boy plays with this. At first Shasta is essentially an orphan slave boy and Aravis is a very high-level noblewoman. It's reversed in the end, though, when Shasta is revealed to be Prince Cor of Archenland and Aravis finds herself essentially a refugee. It ends up being evened out when she's invited to become a lady at court, and they don't get married until years later.
Live Action TV
Regina and Daniel in Once Upon a Time. This is firmly in the "mutually fall in love, and people around them conspire to interfere with True Love," category. She's the daughter of a wealthy family and he's the stable boy.
Cheers. The relationship between Woody the bartender and the millionaire's daughter Kelly Gaines.
Sam and Diane were the series's first example, despite the fact that Diane only acts like an uptown girl. Rebecca, both as the corporate Iron Lady, and then later as the simpering Yuppie Butt Monkey, managed to subvert this trope.
Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert in A Different World definitely fits here, Dwayne being the college nerd Everyman and Whitley the upper crust snob. Dwayne didn't start pursuing her until Season 3, but from there it was pretty much your average sitcom relationship, starting with Type 2 and progressing to Type 1 and eventually marriage through a course of break-ups and 'desperately in love with you' revelations.
Dharma and Greg has a lot of similarity to the poor-guy rich-girl story type, but is actually an aversion in that, though Dharma's parents live the hippy lifestyle, they aren't doing that badly for themselves financially.
Ryan and Marissa. This is the primary storyline for the first half of The O.C..
There's Double Secret Subversion in Dirty Sexy Money. Ultra-rich Jeremey Darling meets a beautiful woman named Sofia while temporarily working as a valet in one of his family's business. He falls in love with her, then pretends to be a starving artist to prove to himself he can win her over without disclosing his real identity as (essentially) an Upper-Class Twit. The story doubles up on this trope because Jeremy was the poor boy going after the rich girl, when it was the girl who was the poor (well, okay, comparatively poorer) one all along.
Not to mention Gene's favourite nickname for Alex: "Bolls/Bolly/Bollinger Knickers". Bollinger is a type of champagne.
Also emphasised in 3.2 with the dating agency forms, when Alex's favourite meal is "roast foie gras with gooseberry, braised konbu and crab biscuit" which she had whilst on holiday in northern France, whereas Gene's is steak and chips.
Virtually all Latin American soap operas are built around the rich guy, poor girl dynamic.
Jeeves and Wooster plays around with the trope. One of Bertie's friends wants to marry a waitress. To convince his uncle that it's a good idea, he makes him read romance novels where chambermaids end up marrying their masters.
H: Can it be possibly true? Surely love has never crossed such boundaries of class? (clutches Amy's hand)
A: But what about you and Mum?
H: Well, yes I grant thee when I first met her I was the farmer's son and she was just the lass who ate the dung, but that was an exception.
A: And Aunty Dot and Uncle Ted.
H: Yes, yes alright, he was a pig poker and she was the Duchess of Argyle, but-
A: And Aunty Ruth and Uncle Isaiah, she was a milkmaid and he was-
H: The Pope! Yes, yes, all right.
Hyde and Jackie from That '70s Show (while they were a couple). Jackie is a rich girl and cheerleader, Hyde is a poor delinquent with a messed up family who lives with Eric's family because he has nowhere else to go. Initially Hyde stated their differences in social status as a reason they shouldn't go out, as they had nothing in common.
Lady Sybil, the earl's youngest daughter, and Branson, the family's Irish socialist chauffeur. After they marry and Sybil dies in childbirth, the end of Series 4 hinted at Branson himself becoming an Uptown Guy for Miss Sarah Bunting.
Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley would count. Although he's a third cousin of the earl and is the family's only remaining heir, he is middle class; a source of friction in the first series. When Matthew briefly becomes engaged to Lavinia Swire, Mary has a courtship with self-made Sir Richard Carlisle who, although considered a gentleman, is distinctly not of her class.
Lady Edith and newspaper editor Michael Gregson.
Rosamund Painswick's late husband was a very wealthy banker, but had no title and was the grandson of a merchant. The Dowager Countess comments that, although not quite a "rough diamond", he was "cut and polished comparatively recently."
In series four, Lady Rose becomes engaged to Jack Ross, an African-American jazz singer. Aside from the scandal surrounding such an interracial relationship, Mary points out that his being a jazz singer is almost equally as shocking to polite society.
Working-class Rodney and well-heeled Cassandra in Only Fools And Horses. Before meeting Cassandra, Rodney also dated earl's daughter Lady Victoria.
Firefly: Even if it stayed in the realm of UST, it was very obvious that rancher's-son-turned-enlisted soldier-turned-smuggler Mal Reynolds was very much smitten with Inara Serra, a very high-class courtesean that he probably wouldn't have been able to afford a night with if he hocked the ship. There is also an element of this with Simon and Kaylee in that he was a rich surgeon while she was a farmgirl mechanical genius. However in their case he isn't rich at the time of the series as he gave up everything to save his sister, though his upper class background is still an element of friction.
There's a gender-reversed element of this in the developing relationship between millionaire playboy mystery writer Richard Castle and working-stiff police officer Kate Beckett.
Interestingly, they both were on equal footing during their childhoods. Castle went to boarding school, and his family was only moderately wealthy; Beckett attended a prestigious high school and probably would have had even more opportunities had her lawyer mother not been murdered.
Pete and Trudy Campbell on Mad Men are an example of this trope. Trudy's parents are actually quite wealthy, but they are new money, in contras to Pete's being a WASP. However, this is never shown as a conflict, and not even really explored.
There are a few other examples: a gender-swapped one with Pete and working-class Peggy Olson in the 1st and 2nd seasons (though this os never pointed out) and Don and Betty were this trope during their marriage, since Don was raised on a farm in contrast to Betty who was raised in a Pennsylvania Main Line society.
One of the most popular sketches of The Fast Show was based around lord of the manor Ralph and his incredibly awkward affections for lower-class handyman Ted.
A platonic version in Game of Thrones. Gendry, a bastard armourer's apprentice, has a surrogate big brother relationship with Arya Stark. In Season 3's "Kissed By Fire" however, Gendry decides to remain with the outlaw group The Brotherhood Without Banners, instead of continuing on to Riverrun where Arya's highborn family rule.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Geoffrey fell in love with a woman who moved next to the Banks' mansion. Everything was right until he learned she's rich instead of a servant. What really troubled him wasn't her money but her social class.
The Trope Namer is Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl", about a low-class street kid who falls for, and pursues the affections of, a rich "uptown girl". Joel claimed that the song was originally written about his relationship with his then-girlfriend Elle MacPherson, but it ended up also becoming about his soon-to-be wife Christie Brinkley (who starred in the song's music video).
From the Jay And The Americans song "Only in America": "Only in America / Would a classy girl like you fall for a poor boy like me!"
The song "Down In The Boondocks" is about a poor boy in love with a rich girl. The song was first popularized in 1965 by pop singer (later turned country artist) Billy Joe Royal, and in 1969 became a big country hit for ex-Raiders guitarist Freddy Weller.
Spanish band Amaral made a cruel subversion of this trope in their latest album, where the girl gets into drugs and heavy drinking and esentially wastes her life intoxicated.
"Saginaw, Michigan," a No. 1 country hit (and minor crossover hit) for hardcore honky tonk legend Lefty Frizzell, tells the tale of the poor farm kid who pursues — and eventually wins — the hand of the rich girl. Before the two are married, however, he shakes off his disapproving father (a hardcore asshole who was also very greedy and oppressively protective of her) by claiming that he found a large gold claim in Alaska.
"Wolverton Mountain" by Claude King, a No. 1 country smash and top 5 pop hit in 1962, was the tale of a poor farm boy pursing a highly desirable and presumably wealthy girl ("Her tender lips are sweeter than honey/and Clifton Clowers protects her there") on said mountain ... but he's got to get past her "protector" ... her father, the mean Clifton Clowers.
The Old Testament's Joseph (whose story is told in Genesis, chapters 38 through 41). As a priest's daughter Asenath was certainly socially miles above a former slave...
Averted Trope: Then again, that former slave was Prime Minister of Egypt, as well as being the son of a very wealthy foreigner who just happened to have envious half-brothers.
Blondie. The original strip was about the well-to-do Dagwood marrying the distinctly lower class Blondie against his parent's wishes. He was cut off and had get a real job and the strip gradually morphed into the Dom Com it has been for most of its run.
The opera Arabella by Richard Strauss. Impoverished Patrician Arabella falls for landowner Mandryka, solving her family's money worries.
John Adams's opera A Flowering Tree: an Indian prince falls for the poor village girl Kumudha. Complications ensue; the least of which is Kumudha's mother thinking that the girl has been prostituting herself.
In H.M.S. Pinafore, a double version of this appears. A middle class woman loves a low class man but at the same time a upper class man is in love with her.
The musicalLittle Me has rich Noble Eggleston and poor Belle Schlumpfert, who even have a song about how they love each other "as much as they are able" considering their differing backgrounds. The two are kept apart by Noble's mother, sending Belle off to acquire "wealth, fame, and social position." She manages to do so, but by the time she does, Noble has lost all of his. They get together anyway.
The musical version of Les Misérables has the revolutionary student Marius in love with Cosette (who, although technically an illegitimate child, is known only as the daughter of a rich philanthropist). Eponine is in love with Marius, but he never realizes it until the end.
Doesn't Marius come from a rich background, and doesn't he return to that wealth after the students' uprising fails? Was that a movie-only addition?
Miss Julie has this between servant Jean and the rich Julie, although its more attraction and lust than love. After they sleep together one night, it does not end well.
Some productions change this trope, and have Julie and Jean be different races in, say, the 1950's, or in post-apartheid South Africa as this trope is less relevant now.
Disgaea loves this trope. In the third game Almaz is an extremely Unlucky Every DudeChew Toy guardsman. Sapphire is an Ax-Crazy princess. There's also Rozalin (fake overlord's daughter), Adell (peasant hero). Laharl's dad (overlord) and his mom (unknown social status mage).
This becomes an issue for players whose female character romanced Alistair in Dragon Age: Origins. He is a royal bastard who can become King. If you are playing as a human noble, you may marry him and become his Queen Consort, but if you are playing an elf (who are an underclass or nomadic wanderers), a dwarf (either poor or exiled royalty) or a mage (despite the human mage coming from a noble family, mages are forbidden from inheriting) then you may romance Alistair until he becomes King, at which point he either dumps you (if unhardened) or will agree to you being his mistress (if hardened). On the other hand you have the human noble or dwarf noble romancing Morrigan (apostate who lives in the wilds), Zevran (elven assassin slave), and Leliana (fugitive spy).
In the sequel, this is how the player character's parents met - Malcolm Hawke was an apostate mercenary with a mysterious past, Leandra Amell was a Kirkwall aristocrat with an arranged marriage on the horizon. Hawke later regains their family's titles and becomes a wealthy noble, while the potential love interests include Fenris (an elven former slave), Isabela (a shipless pirate), Merrill (a nomadic elf mage) or Anders (an apostate operating out of the slums). At a push you could reverse it for Sebastian (a prince), due to Hawke's original status as peasant when they first meet (which also happens to be when Hawke takes on work from Sebastian as she's trying to scrape together some money).
Supporting Donnel x Lissa in Fire Emblem Awakening leads to the second version of this trope. She's a princess, he's a villager-turned-soldier in her older brother Chrom's army.
This is played up even more in Donnel x Maribelle, since Maribelle is the daughter of a duke, and Donnel even shows interest in her before the S-rank.
Let's not forget Laurent and Lucina aka Chrom's daughter and Lissa's niece. He actually refers to her heritage as one of the reasons why they shouldn't be together in the first place.
"You're Chrom's daughter, and in your veins runs the blood of exalts and heroes... So how could a common man such as I ever be worthy of you? (...) I am in love with you, Lucina. I can say it no plainer. I know I'm a fool to harbor a love far beyond my station, and yet..."
Actually, this showed up in FE: Blazing Sword as well. If Eliwood marries Fiora, he will be questioned for it since she's a mercenary from Ilia; and if he marries Lyn instead, her mixed blood will be an issue too. Curiously, Hector can marry Lyn or either of Fiora's sisters but no one will bat an eyelid... likely because Hector is already a Rebel Prince to start.
Also Priscilla and any of her prospect boyfriends: the travelling swordsman Guy, the mercenary Heath, the mage Erk (and for some, the cavalier Sain - they have no shared ending, but their supports are decidedly romantic). Only Erk manages to bypass the trope since his teacher Pent is a very highranked nobleman... whose once was an uptown boy since his wife and partner Louise was minor nobility.
In regards to the prequel FE: Sword of Seals, Eliwood's son Roy can marry either the travelling dancer Lalum ( though her stepdad is an Etrurian general, the Ilian mercenary Shanna, the Arcadia villager Sophia ( who is actually a half-dragon girl so this goes into Interspecies Romance as well) or the Tomboy Princess Sue who, like Lyn, is "a savage" from Sacae ( and might be Lyn's daughter with Rath).
Super Mario Bros.: Princess Peach is this to Mario. (She's royalty, and even if he does rescue her all the time, we're led to believe he's little more than a plumber.)
In Tales of the Abyss, Jade's sister, Nephry, and best friend, Peony, are in love with each other. The problem, of course, is that Peony is the Emperor's son (and, after his brothers are killed, becomes the heir and eventually Emperor himself), and Nephry is a commoner. Further complicating things, is that the Score says that she'll marry someone else. Regardless of Nephry's marriage, Peony refuses to marry anyone else.
To a milder degree, there's Shizune's cousin Lilly Satou, who's also from a quite loaded family. You don't have to deal with her parents since they live in Iverness (Scotland) but with her Cool Big Sis Akira who does take a liking to you. And then the Satous decide that Lilly should go back to Scotland...
From Umineko: When They Cry, George, a member of the obscenely wealthy Ushiromiya family falling in love with Shannon, one of the servants at the main house. Similarly, Jessica Ushiromiya is in love with a male servant, Kanon. Subverted since it turns out that Shannon and Kanon are actually the same person, Yasu, who is an illegitimate child of Kinzo Ushiromiya and the true head of the family, having been granted the headship by Kinzo before he died.
The trope is key to the premise of Be My Princess, a Romance Game in which an ordinary young woman falls in love with any one of six princes and inevitably faces opposition from her love interest's royal family and others around them who don't approve of the relationship.
Similarly, in Seduced In The Sleepless City the heroine is a reporter and writer for a womens' magazine who becomes involved with a group of A-list celebrities and falls for one of them. How much of an obstacle the difference in their social class is varies from route to route, but it usually at least complicates matters.
In A Knights Devotion the heroine is a princess, and all of her potential love interests are knights. Not all of them see her royal status as a reason not to pursue a relationship, but Lute in particular is very conscious of the differences in their status.
Beatrice and Alan in The Dreamer. Beatrice is a daughter of a wealthy Tory in Boston; Alan is a dirt poor apple farmer in Roxbury.
The yaoi webcomic Teahouse centres around a brothel commonly frequented by the upper class, with Rhys and Reed implied to be particularly important members of society. The brothel owner himself is also far higher in status than Linnaeus, who was given to Xanthe's father in lieu of payment for a gambling debt.
Danny and Sam (though it's less poor/rich than middle class/incredibly rich) in Danny Phantom, though Sam doesn't really care much about her family's comically vast fortune, rarely tells anyone about it, and the series itself only occasionally draws attention to it. Despite that, it's pretty clear that Sam's parents don't exactly like her friends, and the various unexplainable ghost related hijinks that happen over the course of the series don't help much.
Lois and Peter in Family Guy, as shown by an early episode where Peter is at odds with her tyrannical father in order to gain his approval, which he never does. She marries him despite her father's insistence that she doesn't really love him or his covert attempts to kill Peter.
Dana's father is less than happy about her relationship with Terry in Batman Beyond, although it has less to do with their socioeconomic differences than Terry's criminal record.
Winx Club: A gender flipped version of the trope took place when Bloom learned her boyfriend "Brandon" wasn't Prince Sky's squire but the real Prince Sky all the time. It probably didn't help that she learned this during the same occasion she learned he was engaged to Princess Diaspro and that Bloom didn't know back then she's also a Princess.
The real Brandon fell into the trope during the royal part where Princess Stella was to be introduced into society. He was afraid his gift to her had no chance against the ones she'd get from nobles.
Asami Sato in The Legend of Korra is a Spoiled Sweet version who is a fan of Pro-BendingStreet Urchin Mako before she runs into him-quite literally, she hits him with her moped and invites him to dinner to make up for it. In a twist, her wealthy industrialist father takes a shine to Mako because he reminds him of his own Rags to Riches background and offers to sponsor their team in the Pro-Bending Championships. Then it turns out Asami's dad outright hates Mako, calling him a "Fire-bending streetrat". It's probably the first part of that description Hiroshi really hates.
The Flintstones: When Fred and Barney first met Wilma and Betty, the four of them were holding summer jobs at a hotel but a series of misunderstandings caused Fred and Barney to think the girls were wealthy guests and the girls to think the boys were wealthy guests.
Despite having been the inspiration for the Trope Namer, the relationship between singer Billy Joel and supermodel Christie Brinkley is an aversion of this trope, because despite his lower-class, "kid from the streets" origins, Billy Joel was loaded at the time he married her.
Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky in the early 1990s, only to be subverted in the subsequent divorce.
The marriage of Prince William to middle-class Kate Middleton (whose parents, it must be noted, are multi-millionaires) was of major significance to the media.
The Crown Prince of Nepal, Dipendra, who wanted to marry Devyani Rana, daughter of Pashupati SJB Rana, a member of the Rana clan, against whom the Shah dynasty have a historic animosity. Though the 'Prime Minister's family' doesn't seem like much of a step down from 'Royal Family' for most people, well...most people aren't royal families. As such on June 1, 2001, this lead to the Royal Family killing spree incident where almostEverybody Dies.
Despite being the daughter of a freaking loaded family, Michiko Shouda had LOTS of troubles when she and then Crown Prince Akihito fell in love — she was the first commoner who ever married into the Japanese Royal Family. Said troubles didn't exactly stop with her and Akihito's wedding, as a good part of the Royal Family (and specially Akihito's mother, Princess Nagako/Dowager Empress Kojun) still didn't like her.
The writer F.Scott Fitzgerald in his youth fell in love with the socialite Ginevra King. Her father told him that "poor boys had no business marrying rich girls." Mr. King then introduced his daughter to his bussiness associates and encouraged her to choose among them. She complied and Fitzgerald later based Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby on her.