We take stock of the best rom-coms ever—from Coming to America to Groundhog Day to three Nora Ephron classics.
By Vanity Fair, May 11, 2022
As this list of the best romantic comedies ever proves, the death of the genre has been greatly exaggerated. Yes, rom-coms have faltered in popularity since their 1990s heyday—but even as time passes, audiences are hungry as ever for banter, meet-cutes, and happy endings. That’s been clear for years now, since Netflix hit pay dirt by releasing scores of rom-coms, Crazy Rich Asians made bank at the box office, and Licorice Pizza became a critical darling.
Which got us thinking: what are the best romantic comedies of all time, the films that most perfectly exemplify this beloved but under-appreciated genre? Vanity Fair’s Hollywood team decided to find out by making individual top 10 lists, then crunching the numbers, noting which films appeared most frequently, and—after a few brief arguments about what constitutes a romantic comedy, and what does not—came up with the final tally.
Though 31 rom-coms ultimately made the list, 20 more were left off because they received only a single vote—films that ran the gamut from Obvious Child to White Christmas to Strictly Ballroom to Wall-E. The takeaway, perhaps, is that “romantic comedy” is an elastic designation, one that lies at least partly in the eye of the beholder—appropriate enough for a genre all about falling in love.