Pretty much ever since movies have been made, there have been romantic comedies. The genre usually revolves around an idealistic young man or woman looking for love amidst a humorous backdrop of ridiculous plot lines and the belief that true love is all but a guarantee.
Over the years, the genre developed across a wider scope to include screwball comedies and others, but ultimately, for a movie to be considered a romcom, it has to involve a blending of genres (comedy and romance, of course) where two well-matched lovers find a way to either reconcile their feelings for one another or be united in the final act.
You've seen them, you've loved them, but do you know which of the thousands of romcoms out there are the very best of them all? If you don't, fear not; we've got you covered!
The aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes has provided us with the information we need to identify which movies to see, and which movies to skip. It all comes down to an aggregation of critical and audience responses, which means there is a mathematical formula to determine whether or not a movie is any good.
There are quite a few romcoms rated with a 94% or higher, including a few of the coveted 100% ratings. Which, of course, is not to say there aren't some terrible RomComs out there. To highlight the very best... and absolute worst, we present these 22 Best Romantic Comedy Movies According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 3 Stuck With 0%)
Juno was released in 2007 as a coming of age/romantic comedy about a young girl who has to come to terms with "adulting" when she gets pregnant. Juno MacGuff is played by Ellen Page who ends up carrying Michael Cera's child while only 16 and still in high school.
It's a film that could have stayed closer to drama, but ended up squarely within the realm of comedy.
The movie nailed it on the awards circuit with an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Other Oscar nominations included Best Picture and Best Actress for Page's performance.
The Apartment is a film from 1960 about a man named C. C. "Bud" Baxter, played by Jack Lemmon, who works at an insurance company. In order to secure a promotion, he lets out his Upper West Side apartment to his bosses at the firm so they can conduct their extramarital affairs.
As the film progresses, Bud falls in love with an elevator operator named Fran Kubelik, played by Shirley MacLaine, unaware that she was one of the women taking advantage of his apartment with another man.
The film was selected by the American Film Institute for inclusion in the United States Library of Congress' National Film Registry.
Released in 2016, Tramps is one of the newer films on this list. The movie starred Callum Turner as Danny, a struggling, yet aspiring chef working in Queens, New York. Grace Van Patten plays Ellie, a hustler who returned to NYC looking for an easy score.
The couple meets when Danny lands a driving gig one evening only to find himself escorting Ellie in a less-than-legal transference of property.
After losing a briefcase, the couple find themselves on a whirlwind adventure that sees them slowly drawn to one another in a comedic take on the concept of "opposites attract."
Back in the '90s, it was difficult to find a romcom not starring the ever-charming Hugh Grant. In this 1994 story about Grant's adventures in finding love on screen, he plays Charles, who progresses from one social setting to another while courting the affection of Andie MacDowell's Carrie.
As the title suggests, those social events include four weddings and a funeral.
The movie is often lauded for its unique take on British humor, focusing on the awkward social situations Grant portrays so well.
The movie was a smash hit when it was released and was even honored with Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Original Screenplay.
1979's Manhattan. The story tells the tale of Isaac Davis (Woody Allen), a 42-year old comedy writer who is shamelessly dating a 17-year-old girl played by Mariel Hemingway.
Through the course of the film, Allen falls for Diane Keaton, the mistress of his best friend, who represented a certainly more age-appropriate relationship.
Manhattan was filmed in black and white to further glorify the idealized beauty of New York. As with many on this list, it has been chosen for preservation at the National Film Registry.
Enough Said came out in 2013 and was the last film starring James Gandolfini prior to his passing in June of that year. It's fitting that his final film highlighted his acting talents portraying a loving and funny character, which was unlike his most famous role of Tony Soprano.
The film finds Gandolfini's Albert dating Eva, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Eva finds out that Albert is the ex-husband of her client and closest friend, Marianne, played by Catherine Keener.
Having heard the horror stories about Albert from her friend without realizing the two men were one and the same, Eva must come to terms with the man she is falling in love with.
One of the earliest examples of a romcom came in the form of the 1938 screwball comedy, Bringing Up Baby. In this film, Cary Grant plays a paleontologist who finds himself stuck in a number of ridiculous situations involving Katherine Hepburn's Susan Vance, an heiress who has a pet leopard named Baby.
The part of Vance was written specifically for Hepburn to highlight her personality, which came off perfectly on screen.
Bringing Up Baby is often considered to be one of the greatest screwball romcoms of all time having been chosen for preservation at the National Film Registry. It sits at #88 on the AFI's 100 Greatest American Films of All Time List as well.
It's not an easy accomplishment to achieve, but 2017's The Layover succeeded in attaining a 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie stars Alexandra Daddario and Kate Upton as childhood friends who find themselves on a flight with Matt Barr sitting between them.
Both women are immediately attracted to the gentleman, which leads to the two friends competing for his attention.
The film was universally panned and even found itself being compared to the actual unpleasantness of being stuck on a layover at a large airport. Other comments like "an unholy mess" and less flattering terms have been thrown at a movie that perhaps shouldn't have been made.
Lara Jean Song Covey is a 16-year-old student who spends most of her days fantasizing about romance but is too scared to seek it out in her own life. Over the years, she wrote love letters to several boys she had crushes on but never sent them as she preferred to keep the fantasy going.
Her sister decided one day to send out all the letters in the hopes of jump-starting Lara Jean's life. As you can imagine, this results in some interesting situations.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before was released in 2018 as an adaptation of a novel of the same name released back in 2014.
Appropriate Behavior premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it was exceptionally well-received. The movie was written, directed, and starred Desiree Akhavan who took on the role of Shirin, a bi woman living in Brooklyn, New York.
Shirin finds herself homeless and without a job, after her girlfriend, Maxine, breaks up with her and boots her from their apartment.
The story continues as she tries to move on with her life while trying to reconcile her relationship with Maxine. As the score indicates, Appropriate Behavior was beloved by critics for being "funny, unique, and entirely inappropriate."
Groundhog Day is one of those movies you can watch over and over again. This unique romcom tells the tale of Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, who is a TV weatherman who finds himself repeating the same day each time he wakes up in the morning.
While he does enjoy learning new things and committing the harmless crime from time-to-time, he devotes much of the movie to trying to win the heart of Andie MacDowell's Rita Hanson.
The film wasn't a huge success when it was released, but went on to achieve "cult classic" status, and then finally, complete acceptance after being selected for preservation by the National Film Registry.
Some Like it Hot is a classic film released in 1959, which stars Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon.
The film is about two musicians who are forced to dress in drag so they can escape from gangsters after witnessing a crime.
In a trope that gets played out over the subsequent decades of film and television, Curtis and Lemmon both become enamored with Monroe while still in drag, which leads to the usual wacky and funny situations.
Some Like it Hot is the #1 comedy on the AFIs 100 Years... 100 Laughs poll issued in 2000.
The Princess Bride is one of those movies that is so widely beloved, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn't love it. It tells the story of true love between an beautiful girl and a peasant farm boy, Wesley, whose words "As you wish" were his way of saying he loved her.
The movie plays out as a retelling of a book being read by a man reading to his sick grandson. Hilarious interruptions and protestations of "kissing parts" break the story into fun and exciting chunks.
The Princess Bride was chosen for preservation, like many others on this list, in the National Film Registry, but is still referred to as a cult classic.
Annie Hall won Best Picture at the 1977 Academy Awards, beating out Star Wars, but overall, it's regarded as a perfectly written and acted tale of love and comedy in New York City.
Woody Allen plays Alvy Singer, a man who spends most of the movie telling about the love of his life, Annie Hall, played by Diane Keaton.
The film depicts relationships in much the same way we all live through them: with laughs, fights, fun, and romance.
The film was named the funniest screenplay ever written by the Writers Guild of America in it's "101 Funniest Screenplays" list in 1992.
Over the years, Adam Sandler has made some hilarious movies, but his recent work hasn't been able to make much of a positive mark in the world of cinema.
The plot revolves around Jack having to put up with his obnoxious sister Jill (both played by Sandler) after she comes over for a visit during the holidays.
Jack & Jill won numerous awards when it came out, only they didn't come from the Academy of Motion Pictures, they came from the Razzies. It won 10 of its 12 awards including Worst Picture, Actor, and Actress, the latter of the two both went to Sandler.
Roman Holiday stars the inimitable Audrey Hepburn as a royal princess enjoying a state visit to Rome when she finds herself passed out on a park bench.
The princess is found by an expatriate reporter played by Clark Gable.
He scoops her up and lets her crash in his apartment, but when he learns who she really is, an attempt to score an exclusive interview leads to the two falling for one another in a romance that cannot continue.
Roman Holiday has been selected for preservation and helped earn Hepburn the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film also won for Screenplay and Costume Design.
The Big Sick premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and went on to become one of the most acclaimed movies of the year. The movie was written by and is loosely based on the romance between its stars, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjani.
Much of the comedy and awkward situations in the movie revolve around the cultural differences present between the couple, which play out hilariously on screen in a way audiences easily understood and appreciated.
The movie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and became one of the highest-grossing independent film the year it was released.
It Happened One Night is a classic Frank Capra film from 1934 starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. The latter plays a roguish reporter who falls in love with Colbert's socialite who struggles to get away from her father's overbearing nature.
The movie holds the distinction of being the first to win all five major Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, and Actress.
Unsurprisingly, It Happened One Night was chosen for preservation by the National Film Registry and is considered to be a classic in both the genre and of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Say Anything... is a romantic comedy from 1989 starring John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler, an average student who makes it his goal to date Lone Sky'es Diane Court, the valedictorian of their high school.
Without knowing who he was, she agreed to the date, and after several attempts, they form a strong relationship.
The movie is probably best known for the scene where Lloyd attempts to win back the love of his life by holding up a boom box outside her bedroom window while blasting the song, "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel.
It is often considered one of the best romcoms of its time.
City Lights is the only silent film on this list, which is a testament to the amazing performances by the movie's stars. The film was released in 1931 and stars Charlie Chaplin's famous Tramp character who falls in love with a blind girl played by Virginia Cherrill.
The film's themes, amazing performances, and hilarious situations have earned City Lights worldwide critical acclaim.
The film found immediate success and is often considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made. It has also been called Chaplin's greatest and most iconic work. City Lights was described as "the greatest single piece of acting ever committed to celluloid" by the critic James Agee.
Another Cary Grant classic, His Girl Friday is a screwball comedy released in 1940. The movie revolves around a newspaper editor who is on the verge of losing his newly engaged ex-wife to another man.
In an attempt to win her back, he suggests they do one more story together but find themselves entangled in the case they were trying to cover.
The film places Grant and Rosalind Russell in humorous situations that still stand up nearly a century after they were shot. The movie was chosen for preservation and sits at #19 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs list.
The Lady Eve is a screwball comedy, which was a genre well appreciated back in 1941 when it was released. The film stars Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda, who plays Charles Pike, the mark in a con perpetrated by Stanwyck's Jean Harrington and Harry, played by Charles Coburn.
Instead of conning the young gentleman for all he's worth, Jean ends up falling head over heels in love for Pike.
The film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry and stands the test of time. It's one of those movies everyone has to see at least once in their lives.
The Shop Around the Corner tells the tale of two people who work in a small leathergoods shop in Budapest who actually despise one another.
Unbeknownst to each, they are both falling in love with one another thanks to the anonymous love letters they are sending back and forth to each other.
If you haven't seen the movie, you may recognize the storyline and plot as it was adapted for the modern film You've Got Mail, which swapped out their letters for emails. The movie was chosen for preservation and stands at #28 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions list.
The Philadelphia Story was adapted in 1940 from a play of the same name.
The movie stars James Stewart, Cary Grant, and Katharine Hepburn in a comedy of situations.
Hepburn plays Tracy Lord, a wealthy socialite planning her wedding only to have her ex-husband show up at the same time as a tabloid journalist. As the movie progresses via numerous hijinks, her plans are somewhat complicated in funny and ridiculous ways.
The Philadelphia Story was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Actor for James Stewart and Best Adapted Screenplay for Donald Ogden Stewart, both of whom won.
The third film in the Look Who's Talking trilogy took a bit of a turn when it came to its format. The first film's adult situations were toned down a bit for the sequel.
The final film in the trilogy turned it around and destroyed the franchise in one fell swoop.
Instead of looking into the minds of children who couldn't speak for themselves, the movie decided to focus on a couple of dogs voiced by Danny DeVito and Diane Keaton.
The movie absolutely failed in theaters and is only ever spoken of these days when people write lists about the worst movies ever made.
What's your favorite romantic comedy? Let us know in the comments!