Love is a many splendored thing, full of joy, silliness, and slapstick. Or at least that’s true of romantic comedies, in which lovers might begin as side-eying friends, business rivals, or strangers destined to swoon. Yet there’s much more to this genre mash-up than simply jokes and love. You might find jubilant musical numbers, kooky characters, bouncy banter, luxurious settings, and even a madcap murderer!
Whatever you’re seeking from a rom-com, we’ve got you covered with a top-tier selection plucked from classic cinema to the genre’s ’90s heyday to more modern spins on happily ever after. And there’s no need to swipe right! Just hit play.
Here are the 10 best rom-coms now streaming on HBO Max(Opens in a new tab).
1. When Harry Met Sally
A movie love story that might make you “ohhhhhhh”
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Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan star in this classic romantic comedy about two University of Chicago grads who meet on a drive to New York City together. Though the pair debate whether a man and a woman can ever be “just friends” upon their meeting, they’re forced to confront this question many times as they bump into each other over a 12-year period.
When Harry Met Sally is timeless and feel-good, blending the realities of city romance with the fantasy of falling for a friend. Plus: I’ll have what she’s having. — Brooke Bajgrowicz, Entertainment Fellow
How to watch: When Harry Met Sally(Opens in a new tab) is streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a new tab)
2. Sliding Doors
If you can handle a dash of drama in your rom-com, you’ll love writer/director Peter Howitt’s 1998 head-spinner. Offering two tales of love for one subway ticket, Sliding Doors follows Londoner Helen Quilley (Gwyneth Paltrow) on a splintered story of what happens to her if she catches her train or misses it. In one scenario, she catches her philandering boyfriend (John Lynch) in bed with another woman (a deliciously devilish Jeanne Tripplehorn). In the other, she arrives too late to expose his infidelity, so their relationship rumbles along while her other persona pursues passion with a charming stranger (John Hannah). Peppered with whimsy, warmth, and some shocking turns, this one will have you gasping, but leave you grinning. — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor
How to watch: Sliding Doors is streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a new tab)
3. Crazy Rich Asians
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a romantic film worth watching over and over.
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Crazy Rich Asians revitalized the rom-com genre upon its release in 2018. Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Kevin Kwan, the story follows Chinese-American professor Rachel (Constance Wu), who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick (Henry Golding), for a wedding only to discover that his family is one of the wealthiest in the country. Rachel is also forced to confront Nick’s traditional mother, who believes she is not good enough to marry her son.
With dazzling visuals and snappy writing, this one is definitely worth revisiting. — B.B.
How to watch: Crazy Rich Asians(Opens in a new tab) is streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a new tab)
4. (500) Days of Summer
Sometime in the 2000s, romantic comedies stopped trying to be funny and started trying to say something meaningful, none more overtly than 500 Days of Summer. This indie darling breaks from rom-com formula to tell a non-linear story of a relationship coming together and falling apart. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s sincerity is palpable and Zooey Deschanel, as the object of his affection, is a quirky girl so quirky she single-handedly ushered in a new era of messy bangs for millions of women everywhere. With unexpected touches of surrealism and a stellar supporting cast, 500 Days of Summer is a satisfying watch for a love story that hits you right in the gut.* — Kristina Grosspietsch, Freelance Contributor
How to watch: (500) Days of Summer is streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a new tab)
5. Singin’ in the Rain
A singalong movie you’ll fall in love with.
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Though Singin’ in the Rain is approaching its 70th birthday, it remains one of the most iconic films in its genre.
The musical catches up with film star Don (Gene Kelly) and chorus girl Kathy (Debbie Reynolds) as they get caught up in the transition from silent films to those with sound. Because Don’s longtime romantic movie partner Lina (Jean Hagen) is not a skilled singer, Kathy is hired to record her voice over Lina’s image. However, this causes tension to brew in Hollywood. — B.B.
How to watch: Singin’ in the Rain(Opens in a new tab) is streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a new tab)
6. Coming to America
Eddie Murphy plays a princely fish out of water.
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Seeking something side-splittingly funny? Revisit this classic fish-out-water comedy from 1988 for outrageous laughs. Eddie Murphy stars as a pampered African prince who leaves his kingdom to find a bride in bustling New York City. Trading royal robes for a humble fast food worker uniform, he — and his surly bestie (Arsenio Hall) — cross paths with all kinds of colorful New Yorkers (many of them played by Murphy and Hall). But amid hijinks and hilarity, the main thrust of this story is the romance between a prince and the Queens native (Shari Headley) who rules his heart.
Kick back, laugh out loud, swoon, and enjoy the Soul Glo of it all. — K.P.
How to watch: Coming to America is streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a new tab)
7. You’ve Got Mail
‘You’ve Got Mail’ is such an intensely ’90s film.
Credit: Brian Hamill / Warner Bros / Kobal / Shutterstock
In the early days of the internet — before the world became flooded with dating apps — there was AOL Instant Messenger. This is how small bookstore owner Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) anonymously meets Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), a man whose family owns a giant bookstore chain, in this ’90s rom-com. While the two flirt with one another online, their dislike of each other in real life threatens to get in the way of a blossoming romance.
Although we’re still mourning the cooperate takeover of Kathleen’s bookstore, You’ve Got Mail features a surprisingly well-rounded female lead, especially considering the decade it was released in. Also, who doesn’t love Tom Hanks? It’s an all-time classic film for a reason. — B.B.
How to watch: You’ve Got Mail (Opens in a new tab)is streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a new tab)
8. So I Married An Axe Murderer
Want a rom-com that’s off the beaten path? Check out this oddball offering starring Mike Myers as a quirky poet who’s looking for love but may have found an on-the-lam serial killer. Sure, Harriet (Nancy Travis) seems like a dream, boasting a great sense of humor, a varied arena of interests, and an appreciation for sex and nosy Scottish parents. But spurred by paranoia and a fear of commitment, this black comedy’s romantic hero begins to fear her bodycount is more homicidal than horny.
A provocative play on the erotic thrillers of the ’90s, So I Married an Axe Murderer is a wacky wild watch for a cozy night in. — K.P.
How to watch: So I Married An Axe Murderer is streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a new tab)
9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Break out the Windex and fall in love with this film.
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My Big Fat Greek Wedding is just as loud, energetic, and sweet as you remember.
The sleeper movie hit has 30-year-old Toula (Nia Vardalos) meeting the handsome Ian Miller (John Corbett) one day while waiting tables at her family’s Chicago restaurant. The pair reconnects after Toula begins working for a travel agency, and it’s not long before Ian puts a ring on her finger. Unfortunately for Toula, before the wedding can happen, Ian must get the approval of her giant, overbearing Greek family. — B.B.
How to watch: My Big Fat Greek Wedding(Opens in a new tab) is streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a new tab)
10. The Philadelphia Story
A dazzling gem in the crown of screwball comedies is this 1940 classic from heralded director George Cukor. Adapted from a Broadway hit that had audiences roaring, The Philadelphia Story thrusts a trio of screen legends into a tantalizing love triangle. Katharine Hepburn stars as a Philadelphia socialite who is poised to remarry after divorcing her debonair ex (Cary Grant). However, when he and a charming tabloid reporter (James Stewart) crash her family’s pre-nuptial preparations, sparks fly and love is in the air. It’s not a question of if there will be a wedding, but who might be the groom.
True to the subgenre, this funny film crackles with fast-paced banter, larger-than-life characters, feisty flirtations, and daffy humor. Critics cheered and the Academy bestowed Best Screenplay to Donald Ogden Stewart and Best Actor to Stewart (his first win!) — K.P. *
How to watch: The Philadelphia Story(opens in a new tab) is streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a new tab)
indicate the entry has been modified from a previous Mashable list. UPDATE: Feb. 7, 2023, 4:38 p.m. EST
This post has been updated to reflect current streaming options.