Love at the movies: Canada’s 10 most beloved rom-coms

With the festive season in full swing, what better way to catch a breather than spending an evening on the sofa watching a romantic comedy? In our recent survey of 400 Canadian singles, 93% of people admitted they like to watch rom-coms with a date,¹ inspiring us to find out which rom-com is the nation’s favourite:

It’s time for cuffing season – the time of year when it turns chilly and singles start seriously seeking love. If you’ve found someone, a great fall date is to snuggle up with a movie – but which one should you pick?

The top 10 best rom-coms (according to Canadians)

10. Dirty Dancing (1987)

It’s 1963 and Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is on holiday with her family at an up-market resort in the Catskill Mountains. The independent-minded Baby is far more comfortable with the working-class staff at resort than with her well-off fellow guests, and it’s not long before she falls for handsome dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). The feeling’s mutual – but can their budding romance survive the class barriers that divide them?

In this iconic clip, Johnny and Baby are showing why neither one should be put in the corner. Will Baby be able to cap off their dance with a gravity defying lift?

9. You’ve Got Mail (1998)

You’ve Got Mail sees the rom-com dream team of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan reuniting to tell the story of rival book shop owners who fall for each other over AOL instant messaging. Joe Fox (Hanks) is opening a bookshop that will put Kathleen Kelly (Ryan) out of business, causing friction when they meet in person. Yet, online, where they flirt without knowing each other’s true identities, sparks are flying. But can they keep the glow once they realize who the other is?

In this clip, Joe has twigged that Kathleen is the woman of his AOL dreams – can he convince her to look past their differences?

8. An Affair to Remember (1957)

Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant) and Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) meet by chance. Although both are already involved, they sense a connection and promise to meet on top of the Empire State Building in six months time should they then be single. On the night in question, Terry is on her way when she is hit by a taxi, paralyzing her and causing Nickie to think she’s forgotten him. They eventually do meet again – but will they be too proud to admit that they still have deep feelings for each other?

Here, Nickie has come to say farewell to Terry, believing she doesn’t care. Will he realise in time that she is the mysterious woman in the wheelchair who was captivated by his painting (meaning that she still loves him)?

7. Moonstruck (1987)

Loretta Castorini (Cher), is a 37 year old widow who believes that she is cursed and cannot find romantic love. She agrees to marry Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) out of a mutual sense of practicality, but when she meets his estranged brother Ronny (Nicholas Cage), Loretta and Ronny are overwhelmed with what might be true love. Will she follow her heart or her head?

Here, Loretta has to make a choice – can she gamble on love and thereby break her own curse?

6. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

This unashamedly English film where Hugh Grant plays the sweet and bumbling Charles was made on a relatively low-budget by Hollywood standards, but has gone down in history as one of the best rom-coms of all time – and is certainly one of Canada’s favourites.

Here’s Charles and Carrie (Andie MacDowell) waking up after their first night spent together.

5. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

We asked our members which decade had the best rom-coms, and the 90s was the runaway winner, taking 33% of the vote. Films from other decades didn’t even come close – the 00s took second place, but only managed 24%, while movies from the 80s were in third place with 15%. When it comes to romance on film, the 90s rule and, as Sleepless in Seattle was one of the most popular rom-coms of the 90s, it’s no wonder it made our top five!

Here’s a clip from when Sam (Tom Hanks) sees Annie (Meg Ryan) for the first time. Is it love at first sight?

4. The Notebook (2004)

Noah and Allie’s romance begins in 1940s South Carolina and spans the 20th century. It pulls on the heartstrings of the viewer, as we’re left to wonder whether Allie will choose her first-love Noah or her fiancé back home in New York. If you’re like the 24% of our survey respondents who think that a rom-com should make you cry, then this is the ideal tear-jerker!

Here’s Noah (Ryan Gosling) asking Allie (Rachel McAdams) what she wants in life. Is it him or her fiancé?

3. When Harry met Sally (1989)

Can men and woman really ever be just friends? This film asks this question throughout as Sally (Meg Ryan) and Harry (Billy Crystal) navigate their way through moving to New York and doomed relationships with other people, all the while falling deeper into their ‘friendship’.

Here’s Harry turning up at the party Sally is at on New Year’s Eve. Are they going to kiss when the clock strikes midnight?

2. Love, Actually (2003)

Appropriately enough for the festive season, Canada’s second-favourite rom-com is the most romantic Christmas movie of all. This fantastic film intertwines multiple romantic storylines, from a boy’s first crush to the Prime Minister falling for his housekeeper. It’ll have you crying over one scene and then rolling around in fits of laughter over another.

Here’s a lovely and touching clip of Jaime (Colin Firth) flirting with Aurelia (Lúcia Monez), both in their own languages.

And Canada’s best rom-com is…

1. Pretty Woman (1990)

This well-loved rags-to-riches story of a prostitute falling for a business man has been winning hearts for more than 25 years, and the proof of its enduring appeal is in the pudding: our members have voted it Canada’s all-time-favourite rom-com. Not only that, it stars the woman voted Canada’s favourite leading lady (Julia Roberts), alongside Canada’s favourite leading man (Richard Gere), meaning it is a winner on every level!

Here’s the iconic scene of Vivian (Julia Roberts) singing in the bathtub not knowing that Edward (Richard Gere) is watching her.

Want to know Canada’s favorite romantic hero and heroine?

Canada’s favourite romantic hero

1. Richard Gere (20%)
2. Matthew McConaughey (12%)
3. Tom Hanks (11%)
4. Robert Redford (10%)
5. Hugh Grant (9%)

Canada’s favourite romantic heroine

1. Julia Roberts (22%)
2. Sandra Bullock (16%)
3. Jennifer Aniston (12%)
4. Meg Ryan (11%)
5. Jennifer Lopez (10%)

We hope you enjoyed our run-down of the ten best rom-coms of all time! Did we miss your favourite from the list? If you have any suggestions for the rom-coms you like the most, please write them in the comments box below, or get in touch at [email protected]

1 This and all statistics taken from EliteSingles ‘Rom-com’ survey, 2016. Sample size: 400 Canadian singles.

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