Get ready for a trip down memory lane with the very best romantic comedies of the 1980s! Despite all falling into the same genre, these films are anything but similar. From relatable real-life situations to whimsical worlds, this list has got it all!
One unforgettable gem is “When Harry Met Sally,” hailed by many as the ultimate romantic comedy. Directed by the talented Rob Reiner and released in 1989, this movie takes us on a journey as Harry and Sally transform their fiery rivalry into a beautiful friendship, and eventually, soul mates. If you’re in the mood for something enchanting, “The Princess Bride” is a must-watch.
Now, let’s talk about “Say Anything…” Released in 1989, this movie proves that nothing screams romance more than blaring Peter Gabriel outside your sweetheart’s window with a boombox. If you’re craving more, keep an eye out for other noteworthy films like “Pretty in Pink,” “Big,” and “Moonstruck.”
Did any of these romantic comedies steal your heart? It’s no surprise that many of these films are considered timeless classics. Share your personal favorite and see if others share your affection! After all, love and laughter are meant to be enjoyed together.
1. When Harry Met Sally…
In the rom-com When Harry Met Sally…, we see the lives of Harry Burns (played by Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (played by Meg Ryan) become intertwined over a span of 12 years. It all starts when they meet during a car ride from Chicago to New York. As time goes on, they go from being complete strangers to becoming good friends. The big question this movie asks is whether men and women can just be friends. It’s directed by Rob Reiner and has a great mix of humor and heartfelt moments. The screenplay, written by Nora Ephron, won a BAFTA award for Best Original Screenplay. It’s a witty and insightful take on the complexities of modern relationships.
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Actors: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher
2. Say Anything…
Say Anything… is a 1989 romantic comedy-drama that was directed by Cameron Crowe. It tells the story of Lloyd Dobler, a quirky kickboxer, and Diane Court, a high-achieving valedictorian, who find themselves in an unlikely romance. The film explores Dobler’s unique charm and his relentless pursuit of Court, making it a true coming-of-age tale. Alongside the themes of young love and post-high school uncertainty, Say Anything… also delves into the complexities of family dynamics, particularly with Diane’s overprotective father, James Court. This movie is well-known for its unforgettable boombox scene and has been recognized by Entertainment Weekly as one of the greatest modern movie romances.
Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Actors: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney
3. Sixteen Candles
Sixteen Candles, a classic 1984 coming-of-age comedy, was directed by John Hughes. The story revolves around Samantha Baker (played by Molly Ringwald), who is celebrating her 16th birthday but feels neglected by her family due to her sister’s wedding. Samantha has a crush on Jake Ryan (played by Michael Schoeffling), the popular guy at school, while a geeky freshman named Ted (played by Anthony Michael Hall) relentlessly pursues her. Throughout the day, we witness a series of funny and heartfelt moments that lead to an unexpected birthday experience for Samantha. This film holds great significance in the world of teenage movies as it honestly portrays the ups and downs of adolescent life.
Directed by: John Hughes
Actors: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling
4. Can’t Buy Me Love
In Can’t Buy Me Love, we meet Ronald Miller (played by Patrick Dempsey), a high school nerd who desperately craves popularity. He finds his chance when Cindy Mancini (played by Amanda Peterson), the school’s cheerleader queen, unexpectedly becomes his ticket into the cool crowd. One day, Cindy’s mother’s expensive outfit gets ruined and, in a moment of desperation, she agrees to Ronald’s proposition: he will pay for the dress if she pretends to be his girlfriend. This sets off a series of events as they navigate the complexities of teenage hierarchies and societal expectations.
This 80s teen comedy-drama explores themes of acceptance, authenticity, and love that goes beyond superficiality. It’s a movie that showcases engaging performances from its lead actors and takes us on a charmingly nostalgic trip back to high school life in the Reagan era.
Directed by: Steve Rash
Actors: Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson, Courtney Gains
5. The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride is a delightful mix of adventure, romance, and humor. We follow the journey of Westley, a simple farmhand-turned-pirate, as he sets out on an epic mission to save his beloved Buttercup from the clutches of the wicked Prince Humperdinck. Joined by a colorful group of outcasts, including Inigo Montoya seeking vengeance for his father’s murder, and the cunning Sicilian strategist Vizzini, Westley must navigate dangerous terrain and outsmart his deadly adversaries. This timeless tale, filled with memorable lines and unforgettable characters, was honored with the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture in 1988. It’s a film that breaks through genre boundaries and continues to be a beloved classic in popular culture.
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Actors: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin
In the classic comedy-drama Big, the main character is Josh Baskin, played by Tom Hanks. Josh is just your average 12-year-old boy, but he dreams of growing up and becoming an adult. One day, he stumbles upon a mystical arcade machine and makes a wish. To his surprise, he wakes up the next morning in the body of a 30-year-old man.
Now Josh must navigate the adult world with the heart and mind of a child. He faces all sorts of challenges, like finding a job at a toy company. Along the way, he also experiences his first taste of love with his coworker Susan Lawrence, played by Elizabeth Perkins.
Big was directed by Penny Marshall and it was a turning point in Tom Hanks’ career. His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination and solidified his status as a leading man in Hollywood. The movie does a great job of exploring the contrast between the innocence of childhood and the responsibilities of adulthood. It’s a funny and thought-provoking film that will leave you both laughing and reflecting.
Directed by: Penny Marshall
Actors: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia
7. Pretty in Pink
In the classic ’80s teen drama Pretty in Pink, we follow the journey of high school senior Andie Walsh (played by the talented Molly Ringwald) as she tries to navigate the challenging social divide between wealth and poverty. Andie, who comes from a modest background, finds herself caught in a dilemma between her longtime friend Duckie Dale (played by Jon Cryer), who secretly loves her, and the well-off Blane McDonough (played by Andrew McCarthy). As the much-anticipated prom night approaches, Andie must confront the class differences that threaten to keep her and Blane apart, all the while dealing with Duckie’s romantic advances. This film beautifully explores the complexities of love and socio-economic disparity, and it has rightfully earned its place as a beloved staple of the genre.
Directed by: Howard Deutch
Actors: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy
Jonathan Switcher, a talented artist who’s hit a rough patch in his career, manages to land a gig as an assistant window dresser at a department store. But here’s where things take a wild turn: he stumbles upon a mannequin he had designed in the past, and lo and behold, she comes to life! This vivacious mannequin, who goes by the name of Emmy and claims to be under an ancient Egyptian spell, quickly captures Jonathan’s heart.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an exciting story without a little bit of drama. Enter the store’s sneaky manager, played by James Spader, who does everything in his power to sabotage Jonathan and Emmy’s blossoming romance. But our love-struck duo won’t let that get in the way of their dreams.
Together, Jonathan and Emmy work their magic by creating stunning window displays that grab the attention of shoppers and help the struggling store stay afloat. With their creative talents and a whole lot of love, they manage to keep the business running and win the hearts of all who pass by.
In this charming and whimsical tale, Andrew McCarthy shines as Jonathan, while Kim Cattrall brings Emmy to life with her infectious energy. Get ready for a delightful adventure filled with love, laughter, and a touch of the supernatural.
Directed by: Michael Gottlieb
Actors: Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, Estelle Getty
9. Weird Science
In the hilarious sci-fi comedy Weird Science, two high school geeks, Gary Wallace (played by Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (played by Ilan Mitchell-Smith), decide to take control of their own destinies. Armed with a home computer and some good old-fashioned teenage resourcefulness, they devise a plan to create Lisa (played by Kelly LeBrock), a jaw-droppingly gorgeous woman with a mind of her own. Little do they know that their creation will exceed their wildest expectations, leading to a series of uproarious and unpredictable events. Directed by the talented John Hughes, this film expertly blends humor and fantasy to offer an entertaining exploration of the mishaps that can occur when adolescent dreams take an unexpected turn.
Directed by: John Hughes
Actors: Kelly LeBrock, Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith
10. Some Kind of Wonderful
Some Kind of Wonderful” is a really captivating coming-of-age drama that also has a bit of romance thrown into the mix. The story takes place in an American high school, providing the perfect backdrop for all the teenage angst and drama. Our main character, Keith Nelson, is a working-class teenager who dreams of pursuing his artistic talents. However, his life takes an unexpected turn when he finds himself in the middle of a love triangle involving his best friend, Watts, and the popular girl, Amanda Jones.
Throughout the movie, Keith has to navigate the complicated dynamics of adolescent relationships. It’s not an easy task, but along the way, he learns some really important lessons about friendship, love, and most importantly, discovering who he really is. The whole narrative is brought to life by the talented director Howard Deutch and the acclaimed writer John Hughes, both of whom have made significant contributions to 80s cinema
Directed by: Howard Deutch
Actors: Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson
Let’s dive into the heartwarming film Splash, where Tom Hanks plays the role of Allen Bauer, a guy searching for love. One fateful day, he crosses paths with a mermaid named Madison, portrayed by Daryl Hannah, and his life takes an unexpected twist. Directed by Ron Howard, this romantic comedy from 1984 explores the intricacies of human-mermaid relationships, offering a delightful mix of humor, fantasy, and romance. John Candy also joins the cast as Freddie Bauer, Allen’s lovable yet slightly irresponsible brother. While Splash has its fair share of fantastical elements, it remains firmly grounded in realism, delivering an extraordinary love story that captivates and lingers in our hearts. It’s worth noting that this film even received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Directed by: Ron Howard
Actors: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, John Candy