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The 25 best romantic comedies to watch this Valentine's Day

15. Sixteen Candles (1984) 

The romance: Samantha's (Molly Ringwald) 16th birthday turns out to be less sweet than anticipated. The object of her affection, the hunky Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling), has gotten wind that she's nuts about him, the school geek (Anthony Michael Hall) is trying to get into her knickers, and no-one has remembered her birthday... 

Why it wooed us: John Hughes' teen romance is over 30 years old and still gives more recent high school flicks a run for their money. A good dose of one-liners, a charming central performance from Ringwald, and two guys vying for a woman's attention. It's the perfect rom-com formula. 

14. There's Something About Mary (1998)

The romance: Super-nerd Ted (Ben Stiller) tries to reconnect with his high school crush Mary (Cameron Diaz), years after an embarrassing incident with his zipper. When he hires slimy private detective, Healy (Matt Dillon) to track her down, it turns out there's more than one chap after her heart.  

Why it wooed us: The Farrellys balance gross-out humour (getting one's genitals trapped in a zip) with a bubbling romance at the centre of a romcom that's a rare breed of sweet and silly. 

13. The Lady Eve (1941)

The romance: Rich beer company heir Charles Pike (Henry Fonda) boards a cruise liner after a year down the Amazon. Before he's barely aboard, card shark Jean Harrington (Barbara Stanwyck) and her father peg him as an easy mark and set about scamming him of his riches. All's fair in love and war; Jean begins to regret their plan when her intentions for Charles switch from duplicitous to romantic... 

Why it wooed us: Fonda's a delight to watch as the unsuspecting buffoon falling for the wily charms of Stanwyck. Twice. Responsible for kickstarting the 'battle of the sexes' rom-com. 

12. Pretty Woman (1990) 

The romance: Classy hooker Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) takes up with rich businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) after taking advice from her quick-witted roommate Kit (Laura San Giacomo) that Lewis could become an established client. Hiring her to be his escort for the week, Edward and Vivian begin to foster feelings that go far beyond nookie.  

Why it wooed us: This was the performance that catapulted Roberts into the mainstream and into the public's hearts. And it's not hard to see why. 

11. Amelie (2001) 

The romance: Romantic dreamer Amelie (Audrey Tautou) discovers a box of hidden treasures in her apartment and vows to return them to their owner. It sparks a new zest for life, and a mission to help others realise their dreams. But what about Amelie's own happiness? There's a man about town she keeps bumping into... 

Why it wooed us: This bustling feel-good movie is more than a mere romantic comedy. You'll be smiling along with Amelie and holding out for the moment she takes her own advice. 

10. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) 

The romance: Hugh Grant's bumbling Brit Charles meets suave American Carrie (Andie Macdowell) at a series of social gatherings. They spend the night together, after which Carrie flies home to the U.S. to prepare for her own wedding to rich Scot Sir Hamish Banks (Corin Redgrave). Charles buries his feelings for Carrie and plans to marries his ex, Henrietta (Anna Chancellor). That is, until Carrie turns up at the church... 

Why it wooed us: A romcom classic, Four Weddings was the first time all the staple elements of British comedy melded together perfectly; a stellar cast, a cracking script and a slew of hilarious one-liners. 

9. High Fidelity (2000)

The romance: Record shop owner Rob (John Cusack) takes a trip down memory lane after his girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) breaks up with him. While fighting off hideous visions of Laura having the best sex ever with new boyfriend Ian (Tim Robbins), Rob tracks down a series of exes to discover why exactly they ended things. Why? To win back Laura, of course. 

Why it wooed us: It reinvents a ton of rules that romcoms are often weakened by (breaking the fourth wall, two bickering, bantering side-kick employees Jack Black and Todd Louiso) and Cusack is never-better as anti-hero Rob. It's a cult classic for a reason, and it has a killer soundtrack. 

8. Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

The romance: Perpetual singleton Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is desperate to find the perfect man. Fate throws two potential suitors her way in the form of lecherous schmooze Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) and stuffy dullard Mark Darcy (Colin Firth).

Why it wooed us: The big-screen adaptation of Helen Fielding's pioneering chick-lit accomplished what many comedies geared at women fail to do – make us laugh. Zellweger is perfectly cast, dropping all traces of her Texan drawl, bringing to life the hilariously flawed Bridget.

7. His Girl Friday (1940)

The romance: Boorish-yet-somehow-utterly-charming editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant) chucks a spanner in the works of his ex-wife Hildy Johnson's (Rosalind Russell) imminent second marriage to Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). Tempting the former newshound reporter with a murder story, she's helpless to say no, especially when there's a promising scoop at stake.

Why it wooed us: Grant's banter with Russell at the table, while endlessly quizzing her new fiance, is hysterical. His fast-paced rap-dialogue and Russell's slapstick make this an affair to remember.

6. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

The romance: Wealthy Philadelphia It girl, Tracy Samantha Lord Haven (Katharine Hepburn) finds herself at the centre of a four-way romantic tangle on the eve of her second set of nuptials. With the arrival of her first husband, the witty C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) comes fast-talkin' reporter Macauley (James Stewart) to cover the events of her wedding to reliable George Kittredge (John Howard). 

Why it wooed us: Grant and Stewart fighting for a woman's affections, using two completely different approaches, remains absolutely classic. 

Continue to Page 3 for more of the best rom-coms

Gem Seddon
Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.