The American Film Institute defines romantic comedies as a genre in which the development of a romance leads to comic situations.
Now that we have gotten used to working from home, admit it, you have also got used to those movie marathons. Well, there is never a dearth of opportunity, now that we have an unlimited amount of content available thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Given that most of us work in our PJs, we give you the opportunity to do justice to them, by getting a warm blanket, perhaps a bottle of wine, and sitting back to enjoy a marathon session of the best romantic comedies – from 1934 to 2021.
In these uncertain times, it helps to believe that, like in romantic movies, in the end everything works out.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
The film checks all the boxes, and is one of the most successful romantic comedies. It has some great one liners between the hottest couple to come together on screen. The film centers on Benjamin Barry – an advertising executive competing with two female co-workers for a major campaign for a diamond company. He cuts a deal with his competitors that the account is his if he can make a woman of their choice fall in love with him in 10 days. Andie Anderson is a writer with a column on how to lose a guy in 10 days. The film, directed by Donald Petrie, starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, is based on a short, comic book of the same name by Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long. The film was one of the most successful romantic comedies, with a story about two competing bets and one overpowering attraction.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Most romantic comedies are propped on the shoulders of the female lead, and Meg Ryan shouldered many of the best romantic comedies in the late 80s and 90s. Another woman who has been carrying the weight of romantic comedies is this film’s writer Nora Ephron, who also wrote “Sleepless In Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.” This 1989 mega hit directed by Rob Reiner, stars Billy Crystal as Harry and Meg Ryan as Sally. The story follows the title characters from the time they meet in Chicago and then off and on through 12 years of chance encounters in New York City. Harry and Sally become very good friends, but fear sex would ruin the friendship. The film’s dialogue and the chemistry between the two leading actors keeps the momentum going, making it one of the best rom-coms of all time.
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
When a rich woman’s ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself. The socialite character of the play—performed by Audrey Hepburn in the film—was inspired by Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, a Philadelphia socialite. The cast includes the heavyweights of Hollywood’s yesteryear, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and James Stewart. The film was shot in just eight weeks, and required no retakes. The film was the 5th most popular movie at the US box office in 1941 and won James Stewart the Oscar for best actor for this film. The movie has all the makings of a romantic comedy, and perhaps os one of the first in the genre. It is considered a classic, propped up by its witty, romantic script, and a splendid cast of performers.
It Happened One Night (1934)
Moving back in time to another classic and one of the only rom-coms to have won the big 5 at the Oscars. The film, with elements of a screwball comedy, was directed by Frank Capra. The story of the film revolves around a renegade reporter, trailing a young runaway heiress for a big story, and joining her on a bus heading from Florida to New York. They end up stuck with each other when the bus leaves them behind at one stop. The film is considered to be one of the greatest ever made, and won Oscars for best picture, best director, best actress, best actor and best screenplay. The first film to win the coveted big 5 at the Academy Awards, this is an absolute classic and perhaps the only romantic comedy to have won an Oscar.
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
This film was the third-most successful film of the Nora-Meg partnership. “You’ve Got Mail” is one of the everlasting romantic comedies released after “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle.” This film’s release was perfectly timed, set during the online revolution before the turn of the century. The film brought Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan together again as book superstore magnate, Joe Fox and independent book shop owner, Kathleen Kelly, who fall in love in the anonymity of the Internet. They fall in love, using technology that would eventually put both characters out of business. Though it may seem dated now, it probably will spark memories of your first tryst with love online. “You’ve Got Mail” is one of the best romantic comedy movies, boosted by the best romantic couple of the 90s.
There’s Something About Mary (1998)
An all-star cast, including Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon and Ben Stiller, was a major box-office success. It has Diaz as the title character, with almost all the men in the film in love with her, and vying for her affections. The film was the third-highest-grossing film in North America and the fourth-highest worldwide, a great accomplishment for a romantic comedy. With two hours of pure entertainment, many scenes are hilarious. “Something About Mary” is a real charmer, directed by the Farrelly brothers – Bobby and Peter – who also later directed “Me, Myself and Irene.” In their signature style, this film sometimes takes the politically incorrect path to get a laugh. The 1998 film is hilarious and one of the best romantic comedies of all time.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
One of the best British romantic comedies, it shone a bright light on the then less-known Hugh Grant. It was written by Richard Curtis, who also wrote and directed the most watched movie over Christmas, “Love Actually.” The film cast included some of the best British actors, such as Simon Callow, Kristin Scott Thomas, Rowan Atkinson and Sophie Thompson. “Four Weddings and a Funeral” is one of the best British cinematic exports. The ensemble cast is charmingly quirky, but the film has the credit of launching Hugh Grant, and making him an endearing character in many romantic comedies. The film is brilliant romantic comedy and appeals to our love of happy endings.
Notting Hill (1999)
This film is right up there with “Four Weddings a Funeral” as one of the most witty and sophisticated romantic comedies to come out of UK. Like Hugh Grant’s previous hit, this film also proves that sometimes it is the simple, unfussy entertainment that comes off best. The life of a simple bookshop owner changes when he meets the most famous film star in the world. The comedy centers on an enjoyable adult romance and brilliant performances from its lead pair of Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. The famous duo of Mike Newell and Richard Curtis come together again to produce this light-hearted romance.
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
The film is somehow lesser known romantic comedy directed by P.J. Hogan from a screenplay by Ronald Bass. The film stars Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, and Rupert Everett. The soundtrack, “I Say a Little Prayer” by Diana King, which features heavily in the film, became a U.S. Billboard favorite. The films revolves around a woman’s long-time friend revealing that he’s engaged, after which she realizes she loves him herself, and sets out to get him only days before the wedding. This film is perfect to break the monotony of superhero and action movies. “My Best Friend’s Wedding” is an off-beat romantic comedy, with another great performance by Julia Roberts in a role she has mastered over time.
Love Hard (2021)
If you don’t already know or have had a brush with the term “catfished,” then watch this film to get up to speed with the social media lingo. The films is about an LA girl, unlucky in love, who falls for an East Coast guy on a dating app, and decides to surprise him for the holidays, only to discover that she’s been catfished. This lighthearted romantic comedy chronicles her attempt to reel in love. The film cast includes Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O. Yang. The film, a combination of two hit Christmas movies, is worth watching if you are a fan of romantic comedies. This is one of the best recent romantic comedies available on Netflix.
What is the best rom-com of all time?
On what basis do you judge which of these films is the best? Would it be the story, the actor, or commercial success? Considering all this, there can be never consensus on which is the best. The best bet is to watch ‘em all and decide for yourself.
Has a rom-com ever won an Oscar?
It is definitely a genre that is not much favored by the Academy Awards. Only the 1934 film, “It Happened One Night,” one of that comes closest to the romantic comedy genre, has won awards for best picture, director, actor, actress, and screenplay.
Are there any new romantic comedies?
There were a few new rom-coms this year. It seems to be the favorite genre of originally produced movies on Netflix. A lot have already been made available on the popular streaming services and many more are in the pipeline. Off late there has been a string of Christmassy romantic comedies.
What is the best rom-com of 2021?
This year hasn’t seen too many theatrical releases, and most films released in cinemas came out towards the end of the year. Hence most of newer releases went either straight to the OTT platforms or were originals like the Netflix produced “Love Hard.”
Which are the five best rom-coms?
Out of the vast sea of romantic comedies, we have carefully and diligently chosen the top 10 romantic comedies of all time for you. First, we wouldn’t want to narrow it down to just five, which would be absolutely unfair to the genre. We leave it to you to make your pick.