As this list of the best romantic comedies ever proves, the death of the genre has been greatlyand downright shamefullyexaggerated. Yes, rom-coms have faltered in popularity since their 1990s heydaybut even as time passes, audiences are hungry as ever for banter, meet-cutes, and happy endings. Thats 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. This Valentines Day offers two heart-on-their-sleeves rom-coms. Genre stalwart Aline Brosch McKenna (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 27 Dresses) makes her directorial debut with Netflixs Your Place or Mine starring Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher. Meanwhile, real-life couple Alison Brie and Dave Franco team up for Somebody I Used to Know, a 2023 refresh on the mayhem of 1997s My Best Friends Wedding. 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 Fairs Hollywood team decided to find out by making individual top 10 lists, then crunching the numbers and consulting unimpeachable rom-com standards (extra points for a running-through-the-airport or musical serenade scene) for the 42 rom-coms that ultimately made the list. The takeaway, perhaps, is that romantic comedy is an elastic designation, one that lies at least partly in the eye of the beholderappropriate enough for a genre all about falling in love. Our ultimate list of best romantic comedies is an eclectic mix, containing everything fromclassics to, well, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. And while every single pick may not contain every element commonly associated with the romantic comedy, they all fit the American Film Institutes broad definition of a genre in which the development of a romance leads to comic situations Of course, theyre all funny, too. Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice is the narrative basis for thisromantic comedy, written by and starring Joel Kim Booster. Set in the LGBTQ+ destination of Fire Island, Booster plays Noah, a proudly single nurse whose outlook on dating is rocked by the films Mr. Darcy, Will (Conrad Ricamora).with a similar transformation is Howie (Bowen Yang), whose burgeoning courtship with Charlie (James Scully), gets mixed reviews from his friends, including Keegan (Tomás Matos), Luke (Matt Rogers), and Max (Torian Miller). We made something really, really special and unique andBooster told Vanity Fair of his celebratory rom-com. The fact that we did that feels miraculous, considering what we were up against Added Yang, A Jane Austen narrative meeting an Asian American narrative meeting anarrative: Those three helices come together in a way thats greater than the sum of their parts. And to say that something is greater than a Jane Austen narrative isof meto do. But I said it Even wilder: the movie manages to prove just that. Savannah Walsh 41. The Half of It (2020) Netflix has been credited with reviving the rom-com in recent years by distributing popular titles including Set It Up and To All the Boys Ive Loved Before. But perhaps none has felt as needed as The Half of Ita proudlylove story from Alice Wu, director of the 2004 cult classic Saving Face. In this Cyrano-inspired tale, high schooler Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) helps a jock at her school (Daniel Diemer) win the affections of the girl theyre both in love with (Alexxis Lemire). But the film is far less concerned with who will emerge victorious in these efforts as it is the surprising friendship that develops between Ellie and Paultwo people who couldnt appear more different on the surface. Thats really just a red herring Wu told Vanity Fair of her films outcome. Who gets the girlnot only is it not the important thing in this movie, its not the important thing in life. The important thing in life is who you end up connecting with that ends up helping you become the person you need to be Savannah Walsh

Youve Got Mail is the last of Nora Ephrons genre-defining romantic comedies, arriving in theaters after When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, but before the new millennium. Its the second film Ephron made with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, who circle each other easily as sparring partners Kathleen Kelly (who owns the Shop Around the Corner childrens book store) and Joe Fox (who runs the capitalist scourge Fox & Sons Books). They fall in love, using technology that would eventually put both characters out of business if cameras kept rolling for another decade: the Internet. Though a film about romance in the age of America Online was always going to be hopelessly dated, it was also the first rom-com to normalize the thrill of flirting via chat box with an anonymous stranger (even while talking about innocuous things like butterflies and buying school supplies in the fall). It was the first rom-com to cast Dave Chappelle as a best friend; the first to use a dial-up modem as the opening credits song; and the first to playfully skewer how easy it is to catfish a potential mate. And while it also wasnt the first romantic comedy to have its male character gaslight his love interest, Fox does come clean about it in the end. Kenzie Bryant It launched the rom-com career of the singular Nora Ephron. It established Meg Ryan as Americas sweetheart. And it became the gold standard that Hollywood tried to emulate for the next decade. 1989s When Harry Met Sally and all its talky, charming smartness felt revelatory upon its release, and still resonates today primarily because it so thoughtfully examines the central question posed at the beginning: can (straight) men and women really be just friends? While those stark gender lines, and Sallys obsession with marriage, feel a bit dated in 2018, the film is still a near perfect execution of the genre. Ephron and director Rob Reiner achieve that alchemy by combining the sweet quirkiness of Ryans Sally Albright with the cranky pessimism of Billy Crystals Harry Burns, all swirled together with Ephrons endlessly quotable dialogue (as well as more than a few memorable improvised lines): Baby Fishis sweeping the nation Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash Of course, you also cant forget the charming faux-documentary vignettes of longtime married couples sprinkled throughout the piece, and the stellar supporting performances by Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. Re-watching the film today is a bleak reminder of all that on- and off-screen talent that is no longer herebut thankfully, Ephrons intelligent wit, and those who sold it, will live on forever. Ill have what shes having Nicole Sperling