If you don’t want to fight-fight for a reservation at a restaurant or if you happen to be spending the holiday solo, have no fear. We can laugh and giggle at some great rom-coms that have been made over the years for our viewing pleasure. They may be light and airy, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a touch of sweetness to them all.
Now, I realize not everyone has the same sense of humor, nor does everyone have the same taste in romantic comedies. That said, I decided to post a list of my favorite romantic comedies—ones I either own or have bought for someone else to own for sentimental reasons (you know who you are…).
In fact, when I was putting this list together, the only clear winner for a spot at number one was “When Harry Met Sally.” It’s my absolute favorite and still makes me laugh heartily all these years later. Therefore, take my numbering of the rest of them with a grain of salt. I’m not sure I have them ranked perfectly, but I did my best.
So here’s a list of my 12 favorite rom-coms as I count down from 12 to one. (Note: this list does not include straight-out romance flicks…saving that for another post.)
12-You’ve Got Mail, 1998. Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear. Directed by Nora Ephron. Meg Ryan owns a small bookstore; Tom Hanks owns a large chain of bookstores. Sparks fly after the two unite on email but don’t know they are rivals in the war of books.
11- Bread and Tulips, 2000. Licia Maglietta, Bruno Ganz, Guiseppe Battiston. Directed by Silvio Soldini. After she is left behind by her husband in a restaurant during a bus tour in Italy, a middle-aged woman decides to start a new life for herself in Venice.
10-Mostly Martha, 2001. Martina Gedeck, Maxime Foerste, Sergio Castellitto. Directed by Sandra Nettelbeck. A single, headstrong chef becomes the guardian of her eight-year-old niece after her sister dies in a car accident. I prefer this version, but the Americanized version is entitled “No Reservations” starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart.
9-Sweet Home Alabama, 2002. Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey, Josh Lucas. Directed by Andy Tennant. A woman from the south, who has forged a new path for herself as a fashion designer in New York, must return home to take care of some unfinished business.
8-Someone Like You, 2001. Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman. Directed by Tony Goldwyn. Based on the book by Laura Zigman entitled, “Animal Husbandry,” a single, female producer on a talk show comes up with a theory that men mate like cows after she’s dumped by the man she loves.
7-Something’s Gotta Give, 2003. Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves. Directed by Nancy Meyers. Jack Nicholson plays an aging playboy who falls for a woman his own age.
6-Love Actually, 2003. Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightly, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson. Directed by Richard Curtis. This film follows the lives of eight people as they experience love, heartbreak, and healing.
5-Music & Lyrics, 2007. Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore. Directed by Marc Lawrence. A washed-up 80s band member is hired to write a song for a huge pop star with the woman who tends to his plants.
4-Leap Year, 2010. Amy Adams, Matthew Goode. Directed by Anand Tucker. After a series of mishaps, a woman who has planned to propose to her boyfriend in Dublin on February 29 ends up not in Dublin at all, but rather in the Ireland countryside with a man who owns a pub as her guide.
3-The Proposal, 2009. Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds. Directed by Anne Fletcher. A high-powered, unlikeable woman executive resorts to proposing to her assistant because she’s in danger of losing her visa.
2-It’s Complicated, 2009. Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin. Directed by Nancy Meyers. A divorced couple reunites when they attend their son’s graduation ceremonies, despite the fact that he’s remarried and she’s tried to move on.
1-When Harry Met Sally, 1989. Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher. Directed by Rob Reiner. “Can men and women be friends without the ‘sex thing’ getting in the way?” This is the question that takes hold of this movie and leaves us laughing—and some of us still reciting the lines—all these years later.
My Top Three Black & White Romantic Comedies
3-Some Like It Hot, 1959. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe. Directed by Billy Wilder. Two musicians witness a mob hit and then hit the road disguised as women in an all women’s band.
2-The Philadelphia Story, 1940. Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart. Directed by George Cukor. When a rich woman decides to remarry and a reporter is covering the story falls for her in addition to the return of her former husband for the wedding, all hell breaks loose in this clever romp.
1-Roman Holiday, 1953. Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck. Directed by William Wyler. A princess takes the day off from her job disguised as a regular person with the reporter who is writing the story on her (only she doesn’t know he’s a reporter).