0012: My Favorite Romantic Comedies (in chronological order)

  • It Happened One Night (34)
  • My Man Godfrey (36)
  • Bringing Up Baby (38)
  • His Girl Friday (40)
  • The Philadelphia Story (40)
  • Roman Holiday (53)
  • A Touch of Class (73)
  • Manhattan (79)
  • Tootsie (82)
  • Say Anything... (89)
  • When Harry Met Sally (89)
  • Defending Your Life (91)
  • L.A. Story (91)
  • Chasing Amy (97)
  • A Life Less Ordinary (97)
  • Notting Hill (99)
Author Comments: 

Am I missing some? Remind me...

I have already considered While You Were Sleeping, Sleepless in Seattle, and Adam's Rib, and they will not be joining this list.

All great films, in my opinion-- and it is my favorite genre. I would add Philedelphia Story, as it is one of my personal favorites, and take away Chasing Amy, which I did not like primarily because of Joey Lauren Adams voice. Very prejudiced, I know, but I couldn't get over it.

Also, The Awful Truth, with Cary Grant and I think Irene Dunne?

I need to see The Awful Truth again before adding it; it has been about 15 years since I saw it, and I was 12 then! I often don't trust my critical decisions made when I was that young. I did enjoy it.

As for The Philadelphia Story, I am ashamed I forgot it and will add it right now!


Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I agree with Nadine that The Awful Truth is definitely missing. We often agree on movies and since you seem to really like the Screwball movies, BuB and HGF, I'm sure you'll love Awful Truth again. Nadine and I both have stated that Grant and Dunne had amazing chemistry together. Another must is at least one Preston Sturges romantic comedy: The Lady Eve (my personal favorite of his), Sullivan's Travels, Miracle of Morgan's Creek, or perhaps Palm Beach Story (personally not one of my favorites). Three others that I love are The More the Merrier (Jean Arthur is the goddess of classic comedy), You Can't Take It With You (madcap Capra with some romance and Jean Arthur), and My Favorite Wife (Grant and Dunne again). Other possibilities : Ball of Fire, Born Yesterday, Breakfast at Tiffany's, City Lights, Easy Living, The Graduate, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and The Shop Around the Corner. Lastly, would you consider Some Like It Hot for this list, everyone falls in love at the end?

I considered both Some Like It Hot and Sullivan's Travels, but eventually left them out. They're both great, but I had trouble calling them romantic comedies. Looking over my list now, however, I'm starting to wonder if Some Like It Hot is at least as much of a romantic comedy as Manhattan or Roman Holiday. Hmmm... Let me think a bit on this.

I like My Favorite Wife, but a bit less than most on this list. While I love The Graduate, I definitely do not see it as a romantic comedy. I may feel the same about City Lights, but I'll think about the Chaplin movie some.

Thanks for the suggestions, and don't be surprised to see a few of them join the list by the end of the day!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Did you ever consider THE WEDDING SINGER (1998, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore) as a candidate for this list?

I did. While I was surprised that I enjoyed The Wedding Singer (I believe the only Sandler film I can say that about so far), I didn't feel that it quite merited the company listed above. Think I should reconsider? I believe it gets quite a bit of airplay on cable; maybe I'll catch it again soon.


Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

This is quite a list. Makes a genre I generally consider to be a guilty pleasure look positively respectable!

Aw, shucks. Thanks.

I had forgotten about this list until Bertie's comment. I no doubt need to update this.

Maybe after I finish my 100 film list...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Given that I have actually watched several of these with you, Buddy, it's a list I agree with.

Some of the older flicks on the list, I have not seen. Perhaps I shall saunter down to yon video store soon.

Hey, Paulie, good to see you 'round these parts. Until I came here (Listology), I thought you and I were the only two people on Earth who saw A Life Less Ordinary. Remembering this movie adds fuel to the fire of my Ewan MacGregor obsession.

Sadly, it does for mine as well. Sheesh, I need to get out more. Know any single women in BC?

Could I suggest Heaven Can Wait (1978) - Warren Beatty and Julie Christie were magnificent.

Glad to see Notting Hill included.

Certainly! I'm afraid I haven't watched in a few decades, though, so it will have to go to my 'to rewatch' and will appear here pending a re-viewing.

Thanks for the suggestion! I do recall really liking this one the first time around. I also love the original, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, but I'm not sure if I would label that as a romantic comedy or not.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Howdy professor, I watched Heaven Can Wait for the first time not too long ago, and I liked it, but unfortunately not nearly as much as you did. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on my mini-review (scroll down to February), particularly in regard to the ending. We'll probably have to use the spoiler tags to discuss it, but I think I can say without ruining it that the apparently unfairness of it of it really bothered me. But perhaps that's part of its appeal?

Hi Jim. I can understand what you mean about the ending, but personally I found the scene in the tunnel to be very moving, and the recurring theme 'don't be afraid' to be particularly effective. Whilst it could indeed be considered grossly unfair, I do not disagree, I think it was intended to be a light-hearted fantasy romantic comedy rather than a thought provoker.

I thought that Warren Beatty and Julie Christie were magnificent, and the chemistry between the two fantastic. Julie Christie is always great to watch, but like you I have never been a fan of Beatty's, and this is the only film of his I ever liked (perhaps with the exception of Reds), and that includes Bonnie and Clyde. Additionally, I thought the supporting cast were very good, Jack Warden fabulous, Diane Cannon appropriately over the top, Charles Grodin a good foil for her, Buck Henry effective, and of course James Mason. Also, the interactions between the jock footballer, his bemused servants, and his serious business colleagues were laugh-out-loud hilarious.

I found it very funny, moving, great chemistry between the leads, and I loved the ending.

I've heard it said that the world would be a poorer place if we all had the same tastes, but personally I'm not sure I agree. (Not too subtle, I'm sure).

Thanks for the review, professor! I love reading reviews like this when I'm on the fence. Your enthusiasm makes me like the movie more in retrospect (at least vicariously). I find watching good "making of" features or DVD commentaries has a similar effect on me. When I see the effort involved, and that everybody really believed in what they were doing, it almost always make my like the movie more. Anyway, I can't shake off my personal distaste for the ending, but I can certainly see where it's not the only way to interpret it.

I do think the world would be a poorer place if we all had the same tastes, but as a consolation it would be safer. Cold comfort, that... :-)

Not so cold - pretty warm in my view.

Another favourite of mine is Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991) that I watched again last night on
UK TV - incredible.

Have you ever seen Return to Me with Minnie Driver and David Duchovny? I really enjoyed that movie because the characters seemed like real people, and they actually show a relationship develop between Driver and Duchovny's characters.

I have to say I am not a big fan of Notting Hill. It's like Grant and Roberts' characters have a one night stand a couple of different times, many months go by, and suddenly Roberts shows up and gives her "I'm just a girl standing in a front of a boy asking him to love her" line. Then it's all these scenes of perfectly happy couple Grant and (very-pregnant) Roberts as happy music plays in the background. I find the whole thing rather absurd, in all honesty. Perhaps you can point out some more admirable qualities in the film (besides Grant's roommate, who was definitely the highlight). :)

A few of my favorite romantic comedies that are not on the list are: There's Something About Mary, Pretty in Pink, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, and 50 First Dates. I agree with most of your list. I love Chasing Amy, I laugh every time. When Harry Met Sally is also one of my favorites.

I liked but did not love the first three you mentioned, but the hour I watched of 50 First Dates just frustrated me. There is obviously a good movie in there somewhere, but it never blossoms and too often falls flat in bad, banal humor. I tried, oh, I tried...

I may have to catch Pretty in Pink again, though; I have not seen it in many, many years.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs