5 Golden Romantic Comedies

Large red letters spelling out love are photographed with a couple sitting behind the sign.

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5 Golden Hollywood Romantic Comedies

February is often associated with Valentine’s Day, romance, gifts of chocolates and cards that exchange loved ones’ hands, and maybe romantic-comedy films. Although currently an endangered species in modern-day Hollywood, romantic comedies once dominated the silver screen from the film industry’s inception to as recently as the 1990s. While good scripts could one day launch a comeback, let’s look back at five golden romantic comedies.

#1 City Lights (1931)

The silent film “City Lights” features Charlie Chaplin, whom many regard to be one of the world’s greatest actors. The globally recognized Chaplin was skilled in every aspect of movie-making. Chaplin “starred in, wrote, directed, produced, edited and even scored his own films.” The acting legend also completed those tasks for this romantic comedy. The movie’s plot focuses on Chaplin’s Tramp character, who falls in love with a blind woman portrayed by Virginia Cherrill. You may be surprised how much you laugh and enjoy this beloved 92-year-old tale.

#2 It Happened One Night (1934)

Several years ago, I began watching older Hollywood films. One of the first that I remember watching was this 1934 classic picture. Clark Gable stars as a reporter, along with Claudette Colbert, who plays a runaway heiress. While on separate itineraries, their bus transport leaves the pair behind. Hilarious and iconic movie moments ensue with one in particular that will leave you thinking, “so that’s where it’s from.” The golden-age romantic comedy remains one of a handful of movies that won the “Big Five” Oscar awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress).

#3 Shop Around the Corner (1940)

One of the most recognized voices in cinema, James Stewart, is probably best known for his legendary role as George Bailey in the 1946 Christmas-favorite, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Six years earlier, Stewart and his co-star Margaret Sullavan crafted another memorable holiday movie, “Shop Around the Corner.” In this golden Hollywood movie, Stewart plays a salesman who can’t stand his coworker, portrayed by Sullavan. Little do the pair know that they have fallen in love with each other via anonymous pen-pal letters. If you watched romantic comedies in the 90s, you probably saw the 1998 remake, “You’ve Got Mail.” You might remember the 90s romantic comedy tips its hat in acknowledging its predecessor by naming its plot-focused small bookstore, The Shop Around the Corner.  

#4 Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Gene Kelley co-directed, choreographed, and sang in this musically inclined romantic comedy with then-19-year-old Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. You might have heard the movie’s familiar tunes hummed, sung by someone, or at least parodied somewhere. The picture makes fun of the film industry and is light-hearted in its delivery.

#5 Roman Holiday (1953)

Two of golden-age Hollywood’s brightest stars, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn unite for a then-unique romantic comedy that filmmakers have replicated time and again over the last seven decades. Hepburn plays a princess looking to escape her royal life and finds herself adventuring in Rome with a man that unbeknownst to her is a reporter. The unlikely pair find romance together, but do they stay together in the end? If you have not seen it, you will have to watch it to find out.  

What is your favorite of these 5 golden Hollywood romantic comedies? Have you seen all the movies on this list? Please leave a comment about your favorite film. Perhaps you will consider watching one with a loved one this month. If you enjoyed this article, please read about the history of Valentine’s Day.

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About Joey Hinojosa

Joey Hinojosa graduated with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in mass communications. He began working at Empower Brokerage in early 2022 and enjoys being creative in his writing, photography, videography, and other projects.

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