List

Classic Rom-Coms by Classic Directors

By Cecilia Cygnar

Romantic comedies are hardly a recent addition to American cinema. Here are some oldies but goodies that are just as good—if not better—than today's rom coms.

  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith

    2004

    No, this is not the movie that began Brangelina, but, this is a Hitchcock movie. A Hitchcock rom com? Well, he did one and never attempted a true romantic comedy again. More's the pity, since he seems pretty great at it. Also along for the ride are screwball comedienne extraordinaire Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery.

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  • It Happened One Night

    2008

    There have been only three films to win all five main Oscars (picture, director, actor, actress, writing) and one of them is a rom com? Well, this is no ordinary rom com. It's one of the first and also one of the best. Directed by Frank Capra, 12 years before his holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life was made.

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  • Ninotchka

    2005

    This Ernst Lubitsch classic is a gem, mostly for Greta Garbo and how perfectly she transitions into this comic role. The script is sharp and biting, not to mention very politically charged.

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  • The Shop Around the Corner

    2002

    Another Lubitsch rom com, this time featuring James Stewart in one of his most charming roles. This story has been remade many times: as a musical in The Good Old Summertime and more recently, as the modern rom com with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, You've Got Mail.

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  • The Lady Eve

    2001

    Barbara Stanwyck had many, many great roles but this is my favorite. And Henry Fonda makes the perfect befuddled sap in this Preston Sturges classic.

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  • Bringing up Baby

    2005

    Director Howard Hawks sure knew how to bring out the crazy side of both Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. Here is one of the best known Grant/Hepburn pairings.

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  • His Girl Friday

    2000

    Howard Hawks and Cary Grant team up again, this time with Rosalind Russell along, in this rom com with the snappiest, edgiest dialogue ever.

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  • The Philadelphia Story

    2000

    Director George Cukor takes a stab at a rom com and ends up with one of the most popular films ever. Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are back together, this time with James Stewart in the mix. Charming and witty and effervescent!

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  • Holiday

    2006

    Cukor, Grant, and Hepburn strike again. Even though many like Bringing up Baby as their favorite Grant/Hepburn pairing, this is mine. A simply charming and underrated film.

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  • Sabrina

    2001

    Another Hepburn enters the rom com world: Audrey. Here she pairs with both William Holden and Humphrey Bogart who star as two brothers vying for Ms. Hepburn's affections, for different reasons.

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