One cannot write a list of the best rom-coms of all time if the list of movies does not include any films released prior to 1970.
The amount of times I hear that someone refuses to watch movies from before a certain year is just mindboggling. Like why? How can anyone write about film without at least making an effort?!? If you’re especially writing about film history, you MUST make an effort to study film history. I’m not about to tell someone how to do their job but please watch movies before 1970. Yeah, some films don’t age well but any rom-com list without Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, or James Stewart is incomplete. Hell, one must include the Oscar-winning It Happened One Night starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Neither Frank Capra nor Columbia Pictures get on the map without it!
When I came back from birthright Israel in 2007, I made it a goal to watch all the comedies honored by the American Film Institute. This took a few years but sooner than later, I watched all of the comedies. There are so many screen legends in these movies. If anyone wants to write about or study film history, the AFI lists are a good place to start. I’m not saying that their lists are the only lists to look through but it’s a solid starting point.
This is just an incomplete list but are requirements when it comes to the romantic comedy genre:
- The Philadelphia Story
- Bringing Up Baby
- His Girl Friday
- It Happened One Night
- Roman Holiday
- The Shop Around the Corner
- City Lights
- Adam’s Rib or ANYTHING starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn together
- Harold and Maude
Hey, if you want to watch Annie Hall, you do you, but I’m done watching Woody Allen movies.
I beg of you to please watch movies that were released prior to 1970. This is something that I cannot stress enough. You’re going to make yourself a better cinephile in the process of doing so. Listen, I would make my own list of the best rom-coms ever but the list would be frequently evolving as I fill in the blind spots. It’s because of this that I am not making the list right now. I have my personal favorites and the 1940s are well-represented in my personal list–thank you, Cary Grant!
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