Romance, drama, laughs, turmoil, and (usually) a brilliant soundtrack and cast – what more could you want from a rom-com? A recent survey conducted by Ladbrokes Bingo revealed that 58% of women prefer a girl’s night in instead of a night out with friends at a bar or restaurant. And what could be better for such a night in than a movie night. To celebrate the UK cinema release this week of acclaimed Danish director Susanne Bier’s Love is All You Need, which stars former-007 Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm, let’s take a look at a handful of the most successful – and some would argue greatest – romantic comedies off all time, to help make your next night in one to truly remember.
Love Actually (2003): With an amazing ensemble featuring the likes of Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy, Andrew Lincoln, Keira Knightley and Hugh Grant to name just a few, this is the ultimate British ensemble romantic comedy.
Say Anything (1989): While the high school romance can sometimes wear a little thin, it is the moments away from the romance which make this film shine. Showing a realistic vision of life, the film enjoys dealing with difficult issues and complex emotions and as a result we, as the audience, enjoy watching it.
Sleepless in Seattle (1993): Taking inspiration from 1957’s An Affair to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle is funny, touching and thought-provoking. The late writer and director Nora Ephron enjoyed discussing relationships as much as she enjoyed creating them, and her social commentary made this film so much more than a simple romance.
When Harry Met Sally (1989): Another rom-com written by Nora Ephron, this time asking the question “Can men and women ever just be friends?” Incredibly funny and insightful, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal make one of the best on-screen couples seen since the golden era of Hollywood.
27 Dresses (2008): This movie follows every woman’s nightmare of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride. Weddings always work well as the premise for a romantic comedy and this film is no exception with heartfelt and humorous performances from Katherine Heigl and James Marsden.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012): This Academy Award-winning film saw Jennifer Lawrence win her very first Oscar for Best Actress – and it’s easy to see why. Dealing with issues such as mental health, Silver Linings Playbook has a much darker side than most rom-coms, making it fresh, moving and unexpected.
Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001): Based upon one of the most popular chick-lit novels, Bridget Jones’ Diary made a house-hold name of Renee Zellweger in the UK. Taking inspiration from Pride and Prejudice, the film saw Hugh Grant playing the villain for once, and Colin Firth taking on the name of Mr. Darcy for the first time since 1995 in that adaptation.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999): A modernisation of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You is one of the funniest teen movies to make this list. Equal parts ridiculous and moving, Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles became stars thanks to this inventive and intelligent film.
Notting Hill (1999): From the writer of 1994’s Four Weddings and a Funeral, Richard Curtis wrote another classic British romantic comedy with Notting Hill. Starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, the film explored the issues surrounding the love lives of the rich and famous, as well as providing some quirky and fresh laughs.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011): With an emerging and exciting cast featuring Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Emma Stone and Julianne Moore, Crazy, Stupid, Love is one of the best American romantic comedies of the decade so far. Realistic, genuinely romantic and incredibly funny, this film is set to last as a firm favourite for many years to come.
Pretty Woman (1990): Originally intended to work as a cautionary tale about prostitution and class, it was changed to become a romantic comedy instead. And just as well, as this is one of the best rom-coms on the market featuring beloved actors Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
You’ve Got Mail (1998): Yet another comedy from the pen of Nora Ephron, You’ve Got Mail studies the relationships we can develop over the internet and the difference between online dating and real-life interactions. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan once again, the comedy challenges our perspectives as well as providing some excellent laughs along the way.
The Wedding Singer (1998): One of Adam Sandler’s best comedies to date, The Wedding Singer is as original as it is funny. Taking the wedding genre and making it new again, the film has moments of pure emotion and sadness as well as excellent performances from Sandler and leading lady Drew Barrymore.
50 First Dates (2004): Teaming up the due of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore once more, 50 First Dates is a gross-out comedy with a unique storyline. Barrymore and Sandler have an easy chemistry which is easy to love.
Annie Hall (1977): From the pen of genius Woody Allen, Annie Hall is a daring comedy which tackles the subject of love with honesty and integrity, and is arguably the pick of the bunch.