The 20 Best Romantic Comedies on Amazon Prime

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The 20 Best Romantic Comedies on Amazon Prime

Amazon has 13 of the 100 Best Romantic Movies of All Time free to stream for its Amazon Prime members, but you wouldn’t know it by browsing the site. Some of those films don’t show up until well after 20 pages of scrolling through some of the most vapid, poorly written excuses for rom-coms in the online giant’s massive catalog. But fear not, we’re here for you, digging through hundreds of films to find you the best romantic comedies.

The following movies range from a 1927 Buster Keaton classic silent film to last year’s hilarious and heartening rom-com The Big Sick. There are Hollywood films and Bollywood films, indie movies and blockbusters. But all should have you laughing and feeling the love.

Here are the 20 best romantic comedies available to stream for free on Amazon Prime:

ghost-town.jpg 20. Ghost Town
Year: 2008
Director: David Koepp
Writer/director David Koepp has provided Ricky Gervais with the perfect vehicle for his quirky, sardonic wit as he plays the tactless and socially inept dentist Bertram Pincus who only wants to be left alone. After being clinically dead for seven minutes during a routine medical procedure, Pincus can suddenly see dead people, and they all desperately pursue him in hopes that he can help them tie up their unfinished business with the living. The self-absorbed Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) is one of the more persistent ghosts, and convinces Pincus that he will leave him alone if he talks to his wife (Tea Leoni). Naturally, Pincus falls for her. Gervais is genuinely funny here. Whether he’s inquiring as to why he should answer inane questions on a medical form or insulting someone while truly trying to impress, he turns an average exchange into a marvelous study of dry humor. As Pincus, he either says what we are usually thinking or what we wish we were witty and brave enough to say out loud. The exchanges with his surgeon (Kristen Wiig) are comic gold. Ghost Town tries not to delve too far into dramatic sappiness, and most of the time, it succeeds. Gervais’ cynical portrayal doesn’t instantly change at the height of enlightenment. Instead, he begrudgingly, and, more realistically, leaves his dark side behind while complaining about having to do the right thing. It’s a refreshing twist for a romantic comedy. —Tim Basham


college.jpg 19. College
Year: 1927
Directors: Buster Keaton, James W. Horne
Sandwiched in Buster Keaton’s filmography between two elaborate, grand-scale epic masterpieces (The General and Steamboat Bill, Jr.), College naturally seems small by comparison, with its contemporary genre story of a nerd trying to learn athletics to woo the woman he loves. But don’t let that make you think The Great Stone Face didn’t pay the same attention to building gags, teasing the audience, and finishing it all off with a thrilling finale. The film also features a scene with Keaton in blackface, as his character gets a job as a “colored waiter.” While the racism shouldn’t be brushed aside, Keaton deconstructs the racial humor by surrounding himself with black staff members at the restaurant, who walk around the restaurant normally while his character increasingly turns up the racist pantomime as he senses his ruse unravelling. —Jeremy Mathews


return-to-me.jpg 18. Return to Me
Year: 2000
Director: Bonnie Hunt
Directed by Bonnie Hunt, Return to Me is a quaint romantic comedy modeled on the classics of the studio system era. While it features down-to-earth central performances (David Duchovny, acting like Fox Mulder that one time him and Scully pretended to be yuppies, and the underrated Minnie Driver), this is not so much a realistic romance as a modern-day fairy tale, filmed in an equally rose-tinted version of Chicago, all leafy springtime trees, bike rides and sun-dappled gardens. Each of its main characters has undergone a traumatic live event: Grace (Driver) is an artist recovering from a heart transplant, and Bob (Duchovny), an architect, lost his wife in a car accident. Though somewhat formulaic, the film has an easy charm, with Hunt and Sir James Belushi as Grace’s comic-relief friends. After a slow courtship that tiptoes around the obvious, it’s Hunt who finally puts the film’s far-fetched premise into words: “Grace has Bob’s dead wife’s heart!” On their way to this revelation, the characters pass through some iconic Chicago locations, including Lincoln Park Zoo, the historic Twin Acres Restaurant (portraying Grace’s family’s restaurant), the now-closed Marigold Bowl, Buckingham Fountain and a Wacker Drive rooftop (one of Bob-the-architect’s buildings), where the couple overlook a breathtaking skyline. —Maura McAndrew


kicking-screaming.jpg 17. Kicking and Screaming
Year: 1995
Director: Noah Baumbach 
The thing about college graduation is that you’re expected to do something afterward. As always, though, the movies are here for us. Young filmmakers have long exorcised those one or two (or seven) years after graduation, wherein caustic anxiety about the future leads well-educated twentysomethings to enter an extended period of uselessness on their way to whatever’s next. Thus emerged this talky cousin of the coming-of-age movie, which exists mostly to comfort new generations of grads and depress older ones. In the debut feature from writer-director Noah Baumbach, a group of liberal-arts types graduate and then sit around and lament a future they don’t bother to confront: “Oh, I’ve been to Prague. Well, I haven’t ‘been to Prague’ been to Prague, but I know that thing, I know that ‘stop-shaving-your-armpits, read-The Unbearable Lightness of Being, fall-in-love-with-a-sculptor, now-I-know-how-bad-American-coffee-is thing.’” The film both celebrates and satirizes that first post-collegiate year, and it gave the world a glimpse of Baumbach’s ability to remind us all of the realness and rawness of that youthful angst. Though it declines to wrap up tidily, there’s some comfort in that, too. —Jeffrey Bloomer


my-man-godfrey-criterion.jpg 16. My Man Godfrey
Year: 1936
Director: Gregory La Cava
Gregory La Cava’s My Man Godfrey is kind of like a proto-Le Dîner de Cons—or Dinner for Schmucks—except that My Man Godfrey is really good and neither the latter nor the former film measure up to it. (Because Le Dîner de Cons is coarse, condescending trash, too.) La Cava’s inroads to skewering the upper crust is through the upper crust itself: The film takes its outsider protagonist, Godfrey “Smith” Parke (William Powell), who’s not an outsider at all but a man in exile from high society’s bosom, and inserts him into circumstances where he’s the sanest, sharpest man in the room. Rich people are wild. That’s the film’s subtext, or just its text, because Godfrey’s charges, the members of the family Bullock, are either completely out of their gourds or stuffed headfirst up their own asses. They’d have to be, perhaps, to mistake him for a vagrant when he’s actually a member of the elite class just like they are. They’d also have to be observant and considerably less self-absorbed to make these fine distinctions. La Cava has fun with the scenario, as does Powell, and as does the rest of the cast, in particular Carole Lombard, playing young Irene, who falls head over heels for Godfrey, blithely unconcerned with his disinterest, and Gail Patrick as the daffy Mrs. Bullock, full of unfettered, dizzying joy. Dizziness, of course, is a requirement. Films like My Man Godfrey, screwball joints that move at a laugh-a-minute pace, demand the exhaustion of their viewers, and La Cava wears us out as surely as he delights us. —Andy Crump


roger-dodger.jpg 15. Roger Dodger
Year: 2002
Director: Dylan Kidd
A gem of a movie if there ever was one, this 2002 indie comedy stars Campbell Scott as the titular Roger, a suave New York City ladies man who suddenly finds his well-manicured world complicated by an abrupt visit from his dorky teenage nephew, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg in his film debut). Set mostly over the course of a single day, Roger attempts to give the hapless Nick a crash course in the ways of woman and seduction. Propelled by a crackling screenplay courtesy of writer/director Dylan Kidd and the phenomenal chemistry of Scott and Eisenberg, Roger Dodger remains one of the most criminally underrated comedies of the 2000s. —Mark Rozeman


charade.jpg 14. Charade
Year: 1963
Director: Stanley Donen
Cary Grant is the most charming male lead ever. Audrey Hepburn is the most charming female lead ever. Everything else is just bonus in this romantic thriller about a woman pursued in Paris for her late husband’s stolen fortune: the Henry Mancini score, the Hitchcock-ian suspense, the plot twists and Walter Mathau as a CIA agent. It’s a screwball comedy and an international spy thriller, and works equally as both. —Michael Dunaway


the-lobster.jpg 13. The Lobster
Year: 2016
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’s follow-up to international break-out Dogtooth ditches that film’s knotted familial pathology, but refuses to be any less insular. Instead, it expands, even bloats, Dogtooth’s logic as far as it’ll stretch. I know: That doesn’t make much sense, but stay with me—which is exactly how Lanthimos and co-writer Efthymis Filippou (who also co-wrote, unsurprisingly, Chevalier) assume the audience will approach The Lobster, starting with the familiar, inviting visage of Colin Farell, gone full dad-bod for a role that is debatably the actor’s best example for his still unheralded genius. With a remarkable dearth of charm, Farrell inhabits David, a man who, upon learning that his wife has cheated on him and so must end their relationship, is legally required to check in to a hotel where he has 45 days to find a new mate, lest he be transformed into an animal of his choosing. David easily settles upon the titular namesake, the lobster, which he explains he picks because of their seemingly-immortal lifespans, the creatures like human ears growing and growing without end until their supposed deaths. At the hotel, David tries his best to warm to a beautifully soul-less woman, but the depths to which she subjects his resolve eventually encourages him to plan an escape, through which he matriculates into an off-the-grid conglomerate of single folk, led by Léa Seydoux. There, of course, against all rules he falls in love with another outsider (Rachel Weisz). The world of The Lobster isn’t a dystopian future, more like a sort of mundane, suburban Everywhere in an allegorical alternate universe. Regardless, Lanthimos and Filippou find no pleasure in explaining the foundations of their film, busier building an absurd edifice over which they can drape the tension and anxieties of modern coupledom. In that sense, The Lobster is an oddly feminist film, obsessed with time and how much pressure that puts on people, especially women, to root down and find someone, no matter the cost. If you’ve ever had a conversation with a significant other concerned about the increasing dangers of becoming pregnant in one’s late 30s, then The Lobster—and its ambiguous but no less arresting final shot—will strike uncomfortably close to the home you’re told you should have by now. —Dom Sinacola


chalti-ka.jpg 12. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi
Year: 1958
Director: Satyen Bose
Given their original format to include all sorts of genres within a three-hour films—romance, comedy, action, drama, tragedy—it isn’t unusual to find both romance and comedy in many Bollywood films. Nevertheless, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi was one of the first Hindi films to focus on a madcap comedy and romance angle, with the drama and action taking more than a backseat in the meandering plot. In fact, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi has also been described as Bollywood’s version of a Marx Brothers comedy. The story involves three brothers Brijmohan, Jagmohan and Manmohan who run an auto repair shop, played by three brothers in real life: Ashok Kumar, Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar. After being jilted in love, Brijmohan counsels his younger brothers never to trust women. Enter damsel-in-distress Renu, played by the luminous Madhubala, whose car breaks down one stormy night. Manmohan fixes her car, and the pair fall in love. But problems arise when Renu’s father, unaware of Renu’s interest in Manmohan, is approached by the villainous Raja Hardayal Singh, who wants his brother Prakashchand to marry Renu. Turns out that Singh’s royal coffers are empty, and this is one of his many schemes to acquire wealth. Fortunately, Manmohan and his brothers intervene, and after a bout of boxing, the three brothers are united with their loves. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi features classic songs that are hummed to this day, slapstick comedy and brilliant chemistry between the lead actors. —Aparita Bhandari


priceless-210.jpg 11. Priceless
Year: 2008
Director: Pierre Salvadori
In Priceless (often compared to Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Audrey Tautou plays Irène—the most beautiful, dangerous and unapologetic gold digger in the French Riviera. Her best-laid plans begin to go awry as she develops feelings for a man of average means. Rather than date him, she trains him to become an “opportunist” instead. In true rom-com fashion, a series of ridiculous scenes unfold with an important lesson in how-to-get-what-you-want-from-the-opposite-sex: “Not finishing your sentences—as if it pains you too much to go on,” she firmly advises, “is extremely effective.” Irène has little depth, and the same could be said about the film, but it’s pretty obvious that that’s the point. Tautou is such an authentic, Gucci-wearing, femme fatale that it’s difficult to simply loathe her. She is, as usual, sincere in her delivery—even when she is delivering a sincerely superficial character. She also plays an amazingly convincing drunk, which some of the best actresses of our day (ahem, Kate Winslet, ahem) have been unable to accomplish. —Shannon M. Houston


bull-durham.jpg 10. Bull Durham
Year: 1988
Director: Ron Shelton
I believe in ridiculous names like Crash Davis and Nuke LaLoosh. I believe in romantic comedies about giving up on a certain phase of your life where characters stand up and deliver cliched “I believe” speeches that, despite being borderline cheesy, somehow ring completely true. And yes, I too believe there should be a Constitutional Amendment banning Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in Bull Durham. The most engaging presentation of the minor-league life on film—and a pretty salute to baseball, in general—this first installment in the unofficial Kevin Costner Baseball Trilogy proved that baseball could equal big box office. Costner and Susan Sarandon anchor this film that does its part to engender a love for the game and the people who court it. —Bonnie Stiernberg & Michael Burgin


dilwale-210.jpg 9. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
Year: 1995
Director: Aditya Chopra
Usually referred to simply as DDLJ, this movie is credited to have started Shah Rukh Khan on his path to eventual superstardom. Even today, Bollywood actresses tend to play second fiddle to their male counterparts, so Kajol (who goes by her first name) never quite got the same glory. Nevertheless, it’s fair to say that DDLJ changed the game for Hindi rom-com films. Twenty years on, Bollywood films continue to invoke DDLJ as an epitome of romance, with young actors trying to recreate their own versions of Raj and Simran. Set partially in London and partially in Punjab, India, DDLJ was one of the first films to specifically target an Indian diasporic audience with a story that stays true to Indian traditions such as respect for your elders, while also advocating young lovers to follow their heart. A win-win situation! Raj and Simran accidentally meet on a train trip across Europe. After a couple of cute confrontations, sparks fly between the two. But Simran’s father has promised her hand to a friend’s son in Punjab. On overhearing his daughter’s love for Raj, he flies in a rage and immediately packs the family bags for a flight to India and a quick wedding. Raj follows Simran with the intent to ask her father for Simran’s hand in marriage. He befriends the prospective groom, and slowly wins over all the family members with his shenanigans. But will he be able to convince Simran’s strict father? A hit soundtrack, lovely visuals of India and abroad, and a leading couple that charmed their way into its audiences, all contribute to DDLJ being included in all sorts of Bollywood lists. —Aparita Bhandari


jeffrey-210.jpg 8. Jeffrey
Year: 1995
Director: Christopher Ashley
Based on a play of the same name, written by Paul Rudnick, this charming and witty little morsel tracks the efforts of its titular character (Stephen Weber) as he attempts, at the peak of the AIDS crisis, to avoid any and all relationships, sexual or otherwise. But when he finally does find a potential partner in the form of a cute HIV+ gent (Michael T. Weiss), Jeffrey’s flimsily built wall protecting him from the world starts to crumble. While it plays some very serious concerns for laughs, the film doesn’t shy away from the bitter reality of how many people had been taken away from the world due to AIDS. It also serves as a reminder of why seeking connection and affection in the faces of such trials is so important. Plus, as with all of Rudnick’s work, the film is filled with sharp, pithy dialogue, handled ably by a winning cast that includes some delightful supporting work from Sir Patrick Stewart, Nathan Lane and future Mad Men cast member Bryan Batt. —Robert Ham


lars-and-the-real-girl.jpg 7. Lars and the Real Girl
Year: 2007
Director: Craig Gillespie
Lars and the Real Girl’s premise should have been cringe-worthy: Ryan Gosling dates a life-size sex doll, and the entire town goes to great lengths to protect the fairy tale. But Nancy Oliver’s Oscar-nominated script is so gentle, and so melancholic, that it becomes a quietly powerful story of a stunted man who finally comes of age. Darkly funny but sweet-natured, Lars is a small treasure.—Jeremy Medina


25.BreakfastAtTiffanys.NetflixList.jpg 6. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Year: 1961
Director: Blake Edwards
It can be difficult to overlook the extreme racism of Mickey Rooney playing a Japanese landlord in Blake Edwards’s beloved classic. Nobody should have any problem with people who refuse to watch a movie with such a character in 2018. If you can look past his brief scenes, though, you’ll find a romantic comedy that deserves its iconic reputation. It features Audrey Hepburn at her finest, and is the main reason every Anthropologie is full of books and art prints about her. It’s a romantic comedy that’s both romantic and funny (and, yes, rather racist). —Garrett Martin


appropriate-behavior.jpg 5. Appropriate Behavior
Year: 2014
Director: Desiree Akhavan
By default, being a twenty-something is messy—whether it’s dealing with crumbling relationships, jobs you’re too inexperienced for or the lies you tell to appease your parents. Desiree Akhavan explores that universal experience of untangling our identities in 2014’s Appropriate Behavior. Shirin (Akhavan) is a secretly bisexual woman fresh out of a break-up and dedicated to getting ?over her ex-girlfriend. But Shirin’s dispirited attempts to push every aspect of her life back on track fall awkwardly and disappointingly flat at every turn. Shirin can talk her way into a job and a date, but can she keep either? Appropriate Behavior follow one woman’s journey through life telling everyone she’s an adult … until she accidentally becomes one. Rather deftly, Akhavan’s film serves as a commentary on translation—the differences between the language we use, the things we actually mean, and how it all gets twisted. The narrative plays with Shirin’s identities—as an Iranian, a woman, a millennial and a bisexual—sometimes hilariously, other times rather poignantly. All 86 minutes of the film are spent watching Akhavan’s character desperately and unsuccessfully try to say what she wants. But as the responsibilities, one-night stands and brushes with her ex mount, Shirin begins to realize that the real trick to communication is taking the time to understand yourself before trying to communicate that to someone else. Appropriate Behavior is undoubtedly a comedy, but also a heartfelt look at how we learn to say what we mean and be who we are. —Abbey White


sleepless-in-seattle-210.jpg 4. Sleepless in Seattle
Year: 1993
Director: Nora Ephron
Sleepless in Seattle is essentially one giant love letter to 1957’s An Affair to Remember from writer/director Nora Ephron. Rita Wilson gives a memorable teary summary of the movie, and Annie (Meg Ryan) watches it before writing to Sam (Tom Hanks) inviting him to meet her at the top of the Empire State Building—the way Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr attempt to in their movie—on Valentine’s Day. When they finally meet on the observation deck, the theme from An Affair to Remember swells, setting the mood for anyone with an appreciation for good rom-coms. —Bonnie Stiernberg


big-sick.jpg 3. The Big Sick
Year: 2017
Director: Michael Showalter
The Big Sick can sometimes be awfully conventional, but among its key assets is its radiant view of its characters. Based on the first year in the relationship of married screenwriters Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, this indie rom-com has a mildly risky structure and some trenchant observations about the culture clashes that go on in immigrant families living in America. But what cuts deepest is just how profoundly lovable these people are. That’s not the same as being cutesy: Rather, The Big Sick is defiantly generous, understanding that people are horribly flawed but also capable of immeasurable graciousness when the situation requires. So even when the film stumbles, these characters hold you up. Nanjiani plays a lightly fictionalized version of his younger self, a struggling Chicago stand-up who is having as much success in his career as he in his dating life. Born into a Pakistani family who moved to the United States when he was a boy, he’s a dutiful son, despite lying about being a practicing Muslim and politely deflecting the attempts of his parents (Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff) to set him up in an arranged marriage. That’s when he meets Emily (Zoe Kazan), an American grad student with whom he’s instantly smitten. She swears she doesn’t want a relationship, but soon they fall for one another—even though Kumail knows it can’t work out. What’s most radical about The Big Sick is its optimistic insistence that a little niceness can make all the difference. —Tim Grierson


four-weddings.jpg 2. Four Weddings and a Funeral
Year: 1994
Director: Mike Newell
The first of several Richard Curtis-penned rom-coms starring Hugh Grant, Four Weddings and a Funeral follows our favorite bumbling Englishman as he repeatedly runs into the love of his life at—you guessed it—four weddings and a funeral. While much of the movie is lighthearted and some of it borders on cheesy (see Andie MacDowell’s infamous “Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed” line in its finale), its graver moments, like Fiona (Kristen Scott Thomas) dealing with unrequited love or the titular funeral, remind us that love may be goofy and complicated and wonderful, but finding that one true love is serious business. The Academy agreed, nominating the film for Best Picture in a stacked year that included Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption. —Bonnie Stiernberg


his-girl-friday-poster.jpg 1. His Girl Friday
Year: 1940
Director: Howard Hawks
Special effects have become so sophisticated that many of us have probably forgotten how much pure amazement you can wreak with a great story and a script that doesn’t let up for one second. This amazing, dizzyingly paced screwball comedy by Howard Hawks stars Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, and takes us back into two of the decade’s hallmark preoccupations: The “remarriage comedy” and the intrigue and obsessiveness of the newspaper world. The minute Russell’s Lindy Johnson stalks into the newspaper office run by her ex-husband Walter Burns (Grant), you know it’s to tell him she’s getting remarried and leaving journalism to raise a family, and you know that’s not how it’s going to end. No high-suspense mystery here. What puts you on the edge of your seat in this film is how you get there. Hilariously acted and expertly filmed, His Girl Friday derives much of its comedic impact from the incredibly clever and lightning-fast banter of the characters. Don’t even think about checking your phone while you’re watching this. In fact, try to blink as little as possible. —Amy Glynn

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