Once again, Valentine’s Day is coming around, and whether that excites you, terrifies you, or makes you want to hit something, there is no denying that Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to watch a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, the quality of films in this genre is incredibly hit-or-miss, and it can take hours of scrolling through Hulu or Netflix to find one that even sounds halfway decent. To save you from that fate, here are the top three romantic comedies from each streaming service (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney +, and plain old Blu-ray/DVD), with honorable mentions included.
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1. Scott Pilgrim vs the World
This quirky, off-beat rom-com follows Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) as he strives to defeat Ramona Flowers’ (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) seven evil exes in order to date her. With a fantastic soundtrack, amazing performances, and constant upbeat action, this film is sure to make you smile, even if you aren’t a big fan of the romantic comedy genre.
2. Set it Up
This fun film follows two disgruntled employees, both overworked by their bosses, as they hatch a plan to get their bosses to date and thus have something to focus on besides tyrannizing their employees. Lead actors Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell are totally charming and have great chemistry as Harper and Charlie, and the comedy will have you in stitches.
3. Man Up
This hidden gem stars Lake Bell as Nancy, a woman who lets a stranger (Jack, played by Simon Pegg) mistake her for his blind date. Complications and hilarity ensue, and the wittiness of the dry British humor is absolutely perfect. Romantic and funny, Man Up is a fail proof choice for a Valentine’s Day in.
Honorable mentions: About Time, Always Be My Maybe, The Spectacular Now, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Up in the Air
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1. When Harry Met Sally
Honestly, who hasn’t heard of When Harry Met Sally? This film sparked the popularity of the romantic comedy genre in the 1990s. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan star in this classic rom-com that explores the age-old question of whether men and women can ever really just be friends. Their lovely chemistry makes the movie something special, and it has certainly withstood the test of time, remaining one of the most popular rom-coms today.
2. Say Anything
*holds boombox over head outside your window* This is another film that has withstood the test of time; after all, everyone knows the classic boombox-outside-of-window scene, and it came out the same year as When Harry Met Sally. Say Anything follows Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), who falls in love with Diane Court (Ione Skye), the high school valedictorian, the summer after they graduate. A fun-filled teen comedy full of heart and meaning, this film is certainly worth the watch.
3. Four Weddings and a Funeral
This farce-like British comedy follows Charles (Hugh Grant) and Carrie (Andie MacDowell) as they just keep running into each other (and often subsequently sleeping together) at various weddings (and one funeral, of course). If you’re willing to embrace the ridiculous, hilarious, and improbable, then this is the Valentine’s day pick for you.
Honorable mentions: Bridget Jones’s Diary, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Up in the Air
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1. The Big Sick
What Amazon Prime lacks in quantity of romantic comedies, it makes up for it in the fact that The Big Sick, which is only available on Amazon Prime, is perhaps the best film on this entire list. Based on “an awkward true story,” it recounts how comedian Kumail Nanjiani (who plays himself) fell in love with his wife, Emily V. Gordon (named Emily Gardner in the film, played by Zoe Kazan). The film expertly portrays the cultural boundaries the couple faces with an amount of wit and heart that has rarely been surpassed in this genre.
2. What If
Coincidentally, the second film on the Amazon Prime list also stars Zoe Kazan, this time playing opposite of Daniel Radcliffe. Radcliffe plays Wallace, a man who believes that he will never find love after being cheated on in his past relationship. However, when he meets Chantry, he is instantly attracted, but learns that she has a boyfriend. The pair navigate being “the dirtiest word in romance…friends” together in this film that poses two questions: “Can men and women ever really be just friends?” and “How do you be friends with someone you’re falling in love with?” Kazan and Radcliffe’s chemistry makes this film a must-watch for this upcoming Valentine’s Day.
Moonstruck is a classic 80s rom-com starring Cher and Nick Cage (what more could you ask for?). When Loretta Castorini (Cher) falls in love with her fiancé’s younger brother (Nick Cage), chaos ensues in this very bubbly, very Italian romantic comedy. A huge commercial and critical success in 1987, Moonstruck still holds up as a feel-good, heart-warming rom-com that is perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Honorable mentions: Bridget Jones’s Diary, Up in the Air
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1. 10 Things I Hate About You
I am begging you: PLEASE WATCH THIS MOVIE. While many brush 10 Things I Hate About You off as just another teen movie, it is a sweet, funny, feel-good modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Upon discovering that the beautiful Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik) cannot date until her sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does, lovestruck Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) pays bad boy Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to take Kat out. The entire cast is stellar and sparks fly between Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. It’s an absolutely irresistible, heart-warming gem of a film.
2. The Sound of Music
While this might not necessarily be considered a comedy, it’s so genuinely good that I couldn’t justify not including it here. This film tells the story of Maria (Julie Andrews), an Austrian nun who leaves the convent to become a governess for the children of Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). This classic love story is complete with absolutely beautiful music and passionate, captivating performances from everyone in the film. If you’re looking for something beautiful and classic that has withstood the test of time (originally being released in 1965), this is the film for you.
3. High School Musical
Of course, I can’t make a Disney + list in good conscience without including the Disney Channel Original that we all grew up singing along to. High School Musical tells the story of popular basketball player Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and academically-minded new girl Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), who meet by chance and are reunited when they end up in their school’s musical together. If you don’t know all the lyrics to all the songs by heart at this point, your priorities need to be seriously looked at. Plus, if you’re in the mood for a Valentine’s Day movie marathon, there are two sequels and a spin-off series available to watch on Disney + as well.
Honorable mentions: While You Were Sleeping, any Disney Princess movie
Blu-ray or DVD
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This is honestly one of my all-time favorite films. It follows Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page), a high schooler who accidentally gets pregnant after a one-night stand with her friend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). Inevitably, things get messy and Juno has to deal with feelings and issues that are far beyond her age and maturity. This is an incredibly emotionally honest romantic comedy that features realistic yet stylized dialogue and a cute, happy indie soundtrack that is to die for. It’s a perfect exploration of love in all its complexity and messiness.
This visually-remarkable film follows Amélie (Audrey Tautou), a shy young girl living in Paris who carefully orchestrates the lives of people around her to help them find love, but is herself isolated by her own shyness. When the opportunity to find love for herself appears, it turns her world upside down. This film is visually stunning, emotionally powerful, and as quirky as it is heartwarming. It’s perfect, even for those who don’t love the rom-com genre.
3. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
A road-trip rom-com starring Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley? Yes, please. After news arrives that all life on earth will be destroyed in three weeks, Dodge Petersen (Carrell) decides to take a road trip to find his old high school sweetheart with his neighbor Penny (Knightley), who significantly complicates things along the way. If the big-name leads aren’t enough to pique your interest, watch it for the crazy, hilarious things that happen to the pair along the way. It’s a fun, sentimental, yet lighthearted romp that explores love, loss, and what really matters when we only have so much time left.
Honorable mentions: 13 Going on 30, 500 Days of Summer, Can’t Buy Me Love, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Sing Street
Did we miss any of your favorites? What will you be watching this Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image: Olivia Weinzapfel