The 34 greatest romantic comedies, from Pretty Woman to The Philadelphia Story

The metaphorical birthplace of Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan and tubs of ice cream eaten sadly on the couch, the romantic comedy has survived cliche, shifting cultural mores and Kate Hudson and stays one of the essential and emotionally important movie genres in existence. And that’s regardless of virtually all of them being precisely the identical. However we love them anyway, no matter whether or not they’re secretly terrible or genuinely good.

To compile the style’s 34 finest, it was essential to preserve a strict standards: a romantic comedy should construct to a ultimate rush of feeling and shut on a kiss; the central romance have to be the first hook for your entire movie, and the standard guidelines of excellent filmmaking don’t essentially want to apply when it comes to movies designed to make you are feeling giddy inside. As a result of, honestly, we’re only a bunch of lovesick romantics, standing in entrance of a tv set, asking to watch lovely folks fall in love. Did your favorite make the listing?

34. Loopy Wealthy Asians (2018)

Loopy Wealthy Asians might not have saved the romantic comedy in 2018, as everybody predicted it might, but it surely stays a breathless celebration of the style – with a far-too-late-in-the-day however nonetheless wholly appreciated variety at its centre. Constance Wu is the New York economics professor who discovers her apparently common Joe fiancee is in reality Singapore royalty. What follows is a fish-out-of-water comedy that each indulges in its attractive opulence whereas by no means changing into too in awe of it. Michelle Yeoh is a standout, as a excessive society matriarch intimidatingly protecting of her son.

33. I Like It Like That (1994)

The first US studio film to be directed by a black American lady, the good Darnell Martin, I Like It Like That sports activities the color and sweatiness of a damp day in August. Lauren Velez is a Bronx spitfire compelled to elevate cash quick when her sexually voracious husband is thrown in jail. The movie’s vitality by no means lets up because the pair squabble over infidelity and low-key acts of revenge, whereas Martin captures the Puerto Rican boroughs of New York like a endless pop video, stuffed with noise, laughter and steam rising elegantly from manhole covers.

32. Lengthy Shot (2019)

Launched a decade after Knocked Up, Seth Rogen’s cute if sometimes bro-heavy first stab on the romcom, Lengthy Shot bears the fruits of a person who has fastened a few of his extra regressive tendencies within the interim, producing one thing smarter, extra delicate and as within the emotions, neuroses and dialogue of his feminine co-star as he’s to himself. He’s a left-wing journalist recruited as a speechwriter for his former babysitter (Charlize Theron), who’s now the US secretary of state, and the pair forge an unshakable bond regardless of their wildly juxtaposed appears to be like and vocations in life. Towards the chances, Theron and Rogen are cute collectively, whereas the movie strikes a beautiful stability between sweetness and crudity. Lengthy Shot might have flopped on the field workplace, but it surely’s the closest factor we’ve had to a romcom basic in years.

31. I Give It a 12 months (2013)

I Give It a 12 months is an ideal instance of an anti-romcom that doesn’t lord superiority over its extra earnest counterparts. Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne are a Richard Curtis-ian couple who desperately want to break up, whereas each circling different folks (Anna Faris and Simon Baker) they’re higher fitted to. With Stephen Service provider and Minnie Driver bagging all the very best strains as wacky sidekicks to our heroes, the movie feels just like the final of a dying breed – witty, naughty and extremely British in its comedian sensibility.

30. Pretty Woman (1990)

Pretty Woman definitely isn’t good, with an undercurrent of sleaze so disquieting that it’s no actual shock to study it was as soon as deliberate to be a gritty intercourse work drama that led to tragedy. However Julia Roberts is pure star-is-born loveliness right here, beloved by the digital camera and endlessly watchable in consequence, her joyous pluck overshadowing the remainder of the movie’s murkier components. That Disney, the studio behind the movie, imagined its aspirational romcom hero as a wealthy businessman prowling Hollywood Boulevard for an escort is barely maddening. That Pretty Woman someway pulls it off… much more so.

George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer in ‘One Wonderful Day’


29. One Wonderful Day (1996)

Few romantic comedies are extra nakedly aspirational about big-city jobs, capitalism and the social energy of being busy than One Wonderful Day, a mid-Nineties comedy about two single mother and father thrust collectively when their hectic schedules imply their kids miss the category journey. There are far too many massive cellphones right here, however Michelle Pfeiffer and an ER-era George Clooney, because the squabbling pair at its centre, should certainly rank as one of the lovely romantic comedy {couples} in current reminiscence.

28. The 5-12 months Engagement (2012)

This shiny, costly romcom slipped below the radar barely in 2012, regardless of the interesting presence of Emily Blunt and Jason Segel as a chronically engaged couple, and Alison Brie and a pre-Crossfit Chris Pratt as their besties. It’s Blunt’s car, although, the movie’s mix of spikiness and heat mirroring her on-screen enchantment. A veritable who’s who of humorous Hollywood (together with Mindy Kaling, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Hart, Randall Park and Kumail Nanjiani) additionally star.

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27. There’s One thing About Mary (1998)

The gross-out comedy growth of the late Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s is likely one of the extra fascinating minor style developments in current many years. The Farrelly Brothers launched a cottage trade of movies pushed by cloying sentimentality and bodily features. Most have aged poorly, however Cameron Diaz’s sunny dream woman radiance in There’s One thing About Mary rescues the movie from comedian oblivion. She provides a daffy, totally dedicated efficiency as the item of affection for a sequence of males every touchdown someplace alongside a spectrum of depravity. It’s no surprise she turned one in all Hollywood’s greatest names within the aftermath.

26. Brown Sugar (2002)

As a lot a ludicrously lovely romcom as it’s a nostalgic snapshot of the New York hip-hop scene on the flip of the twenty first century, Brown Sugar casts Taye Diggs as an A&R government for a report label and Sanaa Lathan, magnetised to so many black romcoms throughout this time, because the editor for XXL Journal. Mates since childhood, they’re good for each other, however concerned with different folks (the equally too-beautiful-for-words real-life couple Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker). Queen Latifah and Mos Def are their completely solid finest mates, simply to add to the movie’s early-Noughties attraction.

Adam Sandler in ‘The Wedding ceremony Singer’


25. The Wedding ceremony Singer (1998)

On paper, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore shouldn’t work so effectively collectively. They’re not fairly opposites, with their comedian zing not sourced from something combative. Oddly, it’s their shared sensibilities that make them so transfixing on display screen. Each are unabashedly sweet-natured, earnest and goofy film stars who radiate coronary heart. Greater than their middling reunion film 50 First Dates or their woeful third go-around Blended, The Wedding ceremony Singer finest captures their mutual affability. Soundtracked by an A to Z of Nineteen Eighties pop classics, that is nostalgic, cute and endlessly rewatchable.

24. Get Over It (2001)

The secret masterpiece of the teenager film growth birthed in 2001, and honestly one of many final of that period, Get Over It grabs so many components from its subgenre predecessors (a Shakespearean undercurrent, sexually excitable animals and cameos from one-hit-wonders of the time) that it’s a surprise it’s so good. Ben Foster is the recently-dumped highschool basketball participant who indicators up for the college play (a musical model of A Midsummer Night time’s Dream, naturally) to woo again his ex, solely to fall for the cute youthful sister (Kirsten Dunst) of his finest pal. Surrounding them are an array of recognisable faces, together with Mila Kunis, Martin Quick, Zoe Saldana and the literal Sisqo, whereas it options one of many best Backstreet Boys-era boyband spoofs this aspect of Josie and the Pussycats.

23. Gents Want Blondes (1953)

Particular person scenes from Gents Want Blondes exist in cultural reminiscence excess of the movie does as a complete. There’s additionally a motive for that. Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of “Diamonds Are a Lady’s Greatest Pal” is frothy classic-Hollywood gorgeousness at its most primal, whereas her double act with Jane Russell is sort of unfairly glamorous. However there’s additionally beautiful sparkage to the movie itself, its DNA present in lots of the female-led comedies of the twenty first century. Monroe and Russell are scrappy, formidable ladies determined to marry wealthy, and the movie has a surprisingly sex-positive and self-aware high quality to it that feels quietly radical for 1953. Casting dullards because the pair’s respective love pursuits makes whole sense – these are ladies who may eat silly males for breakfast, and the movie is aware of it.

22. However I’m a Cheerleader (1999)

This satirical comedy set at a homosexual conversion camp has, fairly clearly, much more than romance on its thoughts. However Jamie Babbit’s pink satin-coloured debut is most memorable for the brewing relationship between Clea DuVall’s Graham and Natasha Lyonne’s Megan. One is extra in denial about their sexuality than the opposite, however they uncover a mutual attraction whereas being held below the thumb of Cathy Moriarty’s conversion camp den mom – who, it ought to be stated, is someway extra of a drag queen than her colleague (performed by a de-glammed RuPaul).

Clea DuVall and Natasha Lyonne in ‘However I am a Cheerleader’


21. Boomerang (1992)

The first black, mainstream romantic comedy to possess the identical aspirational sheen as their white counterparts, Boomerang is a energetic battle-of-the-sexes comedy with Eddie Murphy as a strong, womanising promoting government spurned by his feminine doppelganger (Robin Givens). Grace Jones, Eartha Kitt and a younger Halle Berry make for fantastic supporting gamers, however Boomerang’s secret weapon is Givens, who provides a efficiency with a lot spark that it’s enraging her risky marriage to Mike Tyson overshadowed a lot of her appearing profession.

20. 4 Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

An underwritten feminine lead within the type of Andie MacDowell’s Carrie is the one fly on this wry, warm-hearted ointment. Revolving round a bunch of mates as they attend – you guessed it – 4 weddings and a funeral, this movie marks the primary of many collaborations between Hugh Grant and screenwriter Richard Curtis. We will in all probability all agree that the hopeless, stuttering Charlie ought to have ended up along with his finest pal Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas), however with out his devastating indifference in direction of her, we might by no means have been blessed with one of the magnanimous shows of unrequited love ever dedicated to movie. The movie’s price your time, too, for its quietly progressive, heart-wrenching homosexual subplot.

19. 500 Days of Summer season (2009)

Beloved and loathed in equal measure, 500 Days of Summer season is infamous amongst a sure technology of younger individuals who grew up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel as quirky hipster pin-ups. And it’s likewise already one thing of a nostalgic masterpiece, beloved in first-year college movie research courses if then loudly rejected come commencement. There’s so much to say about the place its allegiances lie (is Deschanel’s Summer season the film’s villain, or its rational, reasonable hero?), however that dialogue additionally swallows up appreciation for what’s for probably the most half a intelligent and humorous comedy, and a film that sincerely celebrates the conventions of the style.

Jennifer Garner within the authentic poster paintings for ’13 Occurring 30′


18. 13 Occurring 30 (2004)

If each romantic comedy is a fantasy, then 13 Occurring 30 is the last word fantasy romcom. As if she has watched too many herself, sad tween Jenna Rink needs she might be 30, flirty and thriving, and wakes up one morning a high-powered journal editor who appears to be like like Jennifer Garner, and whose dorky neighbour has reworked into Mark Ruffalo. By turns extremely touching and genuinely humorous, 13 Occurring 30 is introduced to life by Garner, who performs the adult-bodied Jenna as a guileless spark plug of self-doubt, glee and dedication. Additionally options not one of the bizarre baby molesting undertones of Large, which we must always without end be grateful for.

17. Moonstruck (1987)

Cher gained a shocking but totally deserved Oscar for her work right here, enjoying a dowdy Brooklyn widow engaged to an extremely boring man, who decides to rework herself after falling for her soon-to-be brother-in-law (Nicolas Cage). Moonstruck is a love story and a standard romcom, but it surely’s additionally the story of a lady throwing herself into the unknown and abandoning the form of life she as soon as felt resigned to. It’s massive, broad and richly romantic, with a contact of magical whimsy thrown in too.

16. One thing’s Gotta Give (2003)

With Nora Ephron having slipped off this mortal coil, Nancy Meyers has kind of claimed her spot as Hollywood’s most reliable creator of delicate and humorous love tales set inside designer kitchens. She has a largely nice filmography, however One thing’s Gotta Give stays her masterpiece. Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, each twinkling with lived-in Seventies-movie-star ease, play variations on their off-screen personas: her the exasperated neurotic, him the womanising letch. They’re thrown collectively within the Hamptons, bump into an surprising attraction, and wrestle with what all of it means. Keanu Reeves, as Keaton’s physician and secondary love curiosity, is moreover a dream.

15. Roman Vacation (1953)

An ideal encapsulation of the Fifties, particularly the attract of the European jet-set, the idealised rat-a-tat-tat magic of big-city journalists, and the otherworldly regality of Audrey Hepburn, Roman Vacation is extra of a time machine than many of the movies right here. But it surely’s additionally a true-blue basic, its “well-known lady paired with bizarre man” plot inspiring all the pieces from Notting Hill to The Lizzie McGuire Film, and appropriately beloved in consequence. There’s no Hilary Duff, clearly, however we gained’t maintain that towards it.

14. Roxanne (1987)

One of many extra underrated main males within the romantic comedy style is Steve Martin, whose CV is plagued by candy love tales as swoon-worthy as they’re surreal and fantastical. The Lonely Man and LA Story have their charms, however Roxanne, his Nineteen Eighties spin on Cyrano de Bergerac, is his strongest, gentlest romcom work.

13. Love Really (2003)

Most nice romcoms are fortunate sufficient to have one stand-out set piece that turns into embedded within the cultural panorama. Love Really, the yearly inescapable Christmas romcom behemoth from Richard Curtis, has about six or seven. As a result of it’s as well-known as it’s, Love Really oddly tends to be underrated, dismissed as too cutesy or misogynist, too awkwardly Blairite in its politics. And all of that, in equity, is true. But it surely’s additionally an actual basic of the shape – masterfully structured, endlessly watchable, and stuffed with acquainted faces, candy romances and heartache. It’s love in all its colors, usually cringeworthy, typically monstrous, however all the time compelling to watch unfold.

Andrew Lincoln in ‘Love Really’ (Re

(Rex Options)

12. Serendipity (2001)

There’s an incredible Arrested Improvement storyline by which Jason Bateman’s character doesn’t realise his love curiosity is mentally ailing as a result of she’s an eccentric British lady who appears to be like like Charlize Theron. It might or might not have been impressed by Serendipity, the greatest romantic comedy ever made a couple of deranged and exquisite Englishwoman fixated on destiny, probability and the cosmos. Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack meet by probability at Christmas time in New York, share a blissful night collectively however then go their separate methods, Beckinsale positive that they need to solely date if the universe doesn’t in any other case intervene. A while later, the pair are engaged to different folks, however can’t shake their reminiscences of that fateful Christmas Eve. Candy, cosy and fully irresistible, Serendipity is a uncommon Christmas film/romantic comedy twofer and options two beautiful performances at its centre. Completely bonkers, to be honest, however few movies on this listing aren’t.

11. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

It’s humorous in hindsight that there was such a stink over the casting of the Texan Renee Zellweger because the very English Bridget Jones. As a result of may you now think about anybody else enjoying her? Her accent flawless (in that very prim, written-by-Richard-Curtis means), Zellweger equally nails the spirited, neurotic melancholy that makes Bridget such a likeable character, regardless of all the explanations we in all probability wouldn’t have the option to stand her in actuality. Like most of Curtis’s work, there’s a beautiful consolation to Bridget Jones, full as it’s of slapstick, foolish jumpers and new-millennium London, that includes Colin Firth and Hugh Grant as “cute dork” and “magnificent bastard”, respectively, and an ideal Christmas finale. It’s actually among the finest of the style.

10. 10 Issues I Hate About You (1999)

Intestine-wrenching to watch within the wake of Heath Ledger’s loss of life, however nonetheless one of many smartest, most convincingly heartwarming comedies of the final 20 years. Ledger and Julia Stiles are a pair of “unappealing” excessive schoolers whose romance is engineered by Stiles’s youthful sister, who can solely date as soon as she does. There’s a lot to love right here, from the movie’s feminist politics (10 Issues stays the holy grail of its period, in that regard) to its pleasant supporting solid. But it surely’s Ledger and Stiles that burn the display screen. Their chemistry is so genuine, charming and horny that it’s virtually uncomfortable to watch, with solely the truth that they’re each ridiculously lovely encouraging you by no means to flip away.

9. The House (1960)

Christmas has by no means been higher offered in all its melancholy splendour than in Billy Wilder’s The House, with two lonely souls each left dispirited by the vacation season but discovering one another hopelessly up in each other’s lives. Jack Lemmon is unsurprisingly fantastic as one half of the movie’s central twosome, who loans out his condo to his lecherous bosses to allow them to conduct their affairs, however it’s Shirley MacLaine who offers the movie with its coronary heart – she is bruised and brittle however looking forward to connection, and completely embodies the dizzying feelings of the winter season.

Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in ‘The House’


8. My Greatest Pal’s Wedding ceremony (1997)

Contemplating how many individuals adore My Greatest Pal’s Wedding ceremony, it’s all the time shocking to re-discover how monstrous its obvious heroine is. Julia Roberts has had better-received roles earlier than and since, however there’s one thing fascinatingly daring about her work right here, enjoying a single lady in love together with her finest pal and decided to destroy his wedding ceremony to a stunning if naive wealthy woman she has determined is evil. Cameron Diaz, because the bride-to-be, is an cute revelation, Rupert Everett a hoot as Roberts’s then-radical “homosexual finest pal”. And the sheer darkness on show right here, blended with that humorous and costly Nineties-romcom sheen, makes it one of the intriguing romcoms in historical past, and secretly one in all its easiest.

7. Notting Hill (1999)

You can argue that June and Joseph – the useless, park bench couple – have probably the most poignant love story on this movie, however the one between world-famous film star Anna (Julia Roberts) and very-much-not-famous bookshop proprietor Will (Hugh Grant at maybe his most charming, foppish and floppy-haired) comes an in depth second.

6. Groundhog Day (1993)

It’s straightforward to neglect that Groundhog Day is unashamedly romantic. At its coronary heart is that unbelievable idea: Invoice Murray’s obnoxious weatherman is caught in a time loop, so takes the time to higher himself. Surrounding it’s a love story between Murray’s character and the TV producer who initially can’t stand him (Andie MacDowell), and the way private betterment makes each trial and tribulation someway worthwhile.

John Cusack in ‘Say Something…’


5. Say Something… (1989)

Typically all it takes to forgive a romcom of its creepy undercurrent is a pair of gorgeous film stars with impeccable chemistry. In equity, that happens all through the romantic comedy style, but it surely’s particularly noticeable in Cameron Crowe’s Say Something… This can be a story about fixation and co-dependency and poor Ione Skye caught in the course of two extremely needy males, however Crowe someway makes Say Something… strikingly romantic anyway. It feels truthful, with love depicted as messy and ludicrous and typically unlucky, however price it for a way good it feels in any other case. Skye and John Cusack are fantastic collectively; the movie takes its time permitting us to fall in love with them simply as they’re falling in love with one another. And that boombox scene is iconic for a motive.

4. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

A fizzy treasure of a comedy that set the tone for a lot of what got here after it, The Philadelphia Story casts a never-haughtier Katharine Hepburn as a feisty heiress caught between three males: her boring fiance (John Howard), a prickly journalist (James Stewart) and the ex (Cary Grant) nonetheless hopelessly in love together with her. Everybody speaks extremely quick, romantic tribulations happen in elegant mansion estates and the movie’s central trio embody an not possible movie-star glamour you possibly can’t assist however start to miss as quickly as they seem on display screen.

3. Annie Corridor (1977)

We all know. The place you stand on Woody Allen’s work, notably the stuff not revolving across the obvious incapacity of younger ladies to resist the attract of a scrawny, bespectacled middle-aged neurotic, is a kind of countless popular culture questions we’ve all requested ourselves in recent times. If something, although, watch Annie Corridor for Diane Keaton at her most Diane Keatonish – daffy, fashionable and impossibly cool, she turns into a lot greater than an idealised fantasy determine by way of sheer pressure of will. Annie Corridor, admittedly, is a masterpiece, when you can look previous the plain.

2. You’ve Bought Mail (1998)

Whereas Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s most well-known prior romcom collaboration, 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle, has a darkish melancholy that makes it much less instantly pleasurable to watch, their 1998 reunion in You’ve Bought Mail is the form of film constructed for comforting rewatches beneath a blanket. Or at the least as soon as yearly at Christmas. The pair play sworn enemies waged in a conflict over the way forward for Ryan’s ludicrously serene unbiased guide store, however discover love when interacting anonymously on-line. Regardless of the dial-up modems and archaic dialogue (“What’s e-mail?” everybody appears on the verge of asking), You’ve Bought Mail hasn’t aged poorly, proving how timeless chemistry-driven love tales between lovely film stars may be. And contemplating how good Ryan is right here, oscillating between powerful energy and smooth vulnerability, it’s no shock that she remains to be considered the star most related to the style.

1. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Honestly, it couldn’t be the rest. Not solely did When Harry Met Sally kickstart the romcom growth that dominated the Nineties, it additionally invented a lot of what we recognise right this moment as cliches: from the sardonic finest pal (performed to perfection by Carrie Fisher), to the late-night telephone calls whereas watching previous films, the Christmas/New 12 months’s climax, the “neurotic Jewish man”/“shiksa goddess lady” pairing at its centre, and the hilarious honesty when it comes to intercourse, by no means bettered than within the movie’s iconic diner-orgasm scene. Romantic comedies are solely cliched as a result of When Harry Met Sally set such an excellent benchmark for why these movies work within the trendy period, assisted by Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan at their most golden, and a gorgeously structured script that leaps by way of time, written by the queen of the style herself, Nora Ephron. Nothing will ever higher this.

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