The Best Meet-Cutes to Watch in History of Romantic Comedies

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A film star wanders right into a bookstore and falls hopelessly in love with its proprietor. A marriage planner is actually swept off her toes by a good-looking physician who saves her from being crushed by a runaway dumpster. A mom walks into her dwelling and errors her daughter’s boyfriend for an intruder, solely to fall for him. In the case of the elements of a romantic comedy, there’s nothing fairly as charming as the meet-cute, that first encounter between romantic heroes that walks the alluring line between relatability and fantasy.

It’s no shock, then, that the machine itself has impressed a brand new romantic comedy. In Meet Cute, launched this week on Peacock, Sheila (Kaley Cuoco) and Gary (Pete Davidson) expertise the identical meet-cute and subsequent first date time and again, because of a magical tanning-bed time machine. The film is each an enlargement and an inversion of the meet-cute idea, one which glories within the candy pleasure of assembly somebody new but in addition acknowledges {that a} second shared by two strangers can solely carry a lot which means for the long run.

In films by means of the ages, meet-cutes have ranged from zany to thrilling, from romantic to crazy. The mark of a good one is just not solely a intelligent or entertaining setup, but in addition how the story follows by means of. With that in thoughts, we’ve rounded up 20 of the sweetest, funniest, and most outrageous romantic comedy meet-cutes in film historical past.

It Occurred One Night time (1934)

When spoiled runaway heiress Ellie (Claudette Colbert) boards a Greyhound bus to flee her father’s wrath after eloping with a fortune-seeking pilot, she’s on the lookout for anonymity. However when she’s pressured to share a seat with fellow passenger Peter (Clark Gable)—an unemployed journalist who acknowledges Ellie and is nicely conscious of her scandalous backstory—sparks fly. The unlikely duo strike a deal that can give Peter the unique on Ellie’s marriage and be certain that she reunites together with her husband. However after a sequence of heart-warming misadventures on their journey, Ellie and Peter uncover that their association is perhaps growing into one thing extra.

The Woman Eve (1941)

Con artist Jean (Barbara Stanwyck), alongside together with her father and his companion, is out to entice the fabulously rich but nerdy beer inheritor Charles (Henry Fonda) as they journey on an ocean liner. Whereas all the ladies aboard the ship throw themselves at Charles, Jean makes her transfer at dinner by tripping him after which admonishing him for breaking the heel off her shoe, catching the bachelor off-guard. Whereas Charles rapidly falls for Jean, she additionally unexpectedly develops emotions for him, ultimately calling off the con—however not earlier than Charles dumps her. Issues actually take a flip when Jean returns, on the lookout for each revenge and a strategy to win again Charles by posing as a faux aristocrat, the Woman Eve Sidwich.

Roman Vacation (1953)

American journalist Joe (Gregory Peck) stumbles on the story and the romance of a lifetime after he rescues a misplaced lady he finds sleeping on a bench in Rome, taking her again to his house for security. The following morning, Joe discovers that the younger lady is definitely Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn), a royal from an unidentified European nation who ran away from her guardians to discover town. Whereas Joe sees the chance for an unique story that can make his profession, an surprising romance between him and Ann adjustments every part.

Charade (1963)

Expat American interpreter Regina (Audrey Hepburn) is on trip within the French Alps and on the point of divorce from her husband when she meets Peter (Cary Grant), a fellow American who engages her in some decidedly ahead repartee on the ski lodge when he brings her buddy’s child again to his mom. Upon returning dwelling, Regina finds out that her husband secretly absconded with a fortune and was murdered. So she and Peter, who appears to have an countless provide of pseudonyms, embark on a madcap journey to retrieve the cash, all whereas dodging those that would kill her for it.

Claudine (1974)

Single mom Claudine (Diahann Carroll) is caught in a catch-22. She’s working as a maid for a rich white household within the suburbs—a job she has to maintain secret because of the damaged welfare system—and she will be able to nonetheless barely make ends meet for herself and her six kids in Harlem. Sooner or later, whereas taking out the trash at work, she meets Rupert (James Earl Jones), an ebullient rubbish collector who pursues her regardless of her reservations about relationship due to her youngsters. Whereas Rupert and Claudine face challenges each private and systemic, they finally determine to take an opportunity on their love.

Learn extra: The 15 Best Romantic Comedies from the Early 2000s

Moonstruck (1987)

Widow Loretta (Cher) doesn’t love her boyfriend Johnny, however she’s agreed to marry him as a result of he’s a “candy man.” Whereas Johnny is in Sicily visiting his dying mom, Loretta pays a go to to his estranged and unstable brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) at his bakery, assembly him for the primary time to ask him to attend the marriage. Ronny, who blames Johnny for an accident that induced him to lose his hand, flies right into a fury at Loretta; they proceed the dialog at Ronny’s house, the place Loretta cooks him a meal and so they argue once more earlier than sharing a kiss and sleeping collectively, inflicting Loretta to reevaluate what she actually needs for her future.

Coming to America (1988)

After Crown Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) breaks off his organized marriage, he causes that one of the best place to discover a new spouse and his future queen is in Queens, New York. After arriving, Akeem attends a rally for Black Consciousness Week, the place he spots Lisa (Shari Headley), the daughter of an area quick meals restaurant proprietor and an organizer of the rally. After she asks attendees to donate to assist save a park, Akeem determines that her variety coronary heart makes her a superb candidate to be his spouse; he hides his wealth and standing and applies to work at her father’s restaurant, a McDonald’s knock-off referred to as McDowell’s, the place he lastly introduces himself to Lisa whereas providing to take out her rubbish.

Fairly Girl (1990)

Broke intercourse employee Vivian (Julia Roberts) is seeking to make hire when she propositions Edward (Richard Gere), a ruthless company raider, within the red-light district of Hollywood Boulevard. Edward, who’s visiting from out of city, is misplaced, not sure of how you can return to his resort, and unable to drive the automobile with a handbook transmission that he’s been lent. So he hires Vivian to present him instructions, together with her ultimately taking up driving as nicely. Charmed by her wit and ambition, Edward hires Vivian to seem as his girlfriend at his enterprise occasions for the week. However issues take a flip after the 2 start to have emotions for each other.

Love Jones (1997)

Poet Darius (Larenz Tate) and photographer Nina (Nia Lengthy) meet whereas ready for a drink at a bohemian jazz nightclub in Chicago. Later that night time, Darius, onstage for a poetry studying, adjustments the title of his love poem to incorporate Nina’s identify. Following one other run-in at a report retailer, by which Nina, contemporary off a breakup, rebuffs his advances, Darius convinces her to exit with him, resulting in a heady romance that’s jeopardized as soon as Nina’s ex re-enters the image.

How Stella Received Her Groove Again (1998)

Center-aged stockbroker and single mom Stella (Angela Bassett) takes a much-needed trip to Jamaica on the behest of her finest buddy. Whereas Stella’s simply seeking to unwind from the each day grind, she catches the attention of Winston (Taye Diggs), an area. After approaching Stella, the 2 share a meal the place, together with the standard introductions, they uncover their almost two-decade age distinction, which unsettles Stella. Nonetheless, the 2 share a steamy affair whereas she’s on the island. What Stella doesn’t anticipate is how her emotions for Winston will linger when she returns to regular life.

Learn extra: The Rom-Com Is Making a Comeback for All the Right Reasons

You’ve Received Mail (1998)

Impartial kids’s bookstore proprietor Kathleen (Meg Ryan) can’t stand e book megastore inheritor Joe (Tom Hanks), the person who’s actively attempting to place her and her store out of enterprise—a lot in order that when she meets him at a publishing get together, she overtly fights with him. However unbeknownst to every of them, they’ve already met on-line. They’ve been baring their souls to 1 one other for months in an AOL chat which they began after assembly in a chat room for “over 30s.” After Joe as “NY152” proposes that they meet in particular person and discovers that Kathleen is the “Store Lady” he’s fallen in love with, he continues to hide his identification and makes an attempt to woo her as himself.

However I’m a Cheerleader (1999)

Naive highschool cheerleader Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is principally glad—besides she doesn’t like kissing her boyfriend Jared and prefers taking a look at her fellow cheerleaders. That, mixed together with her affinity for Melissa Etheridge and an curiosity in vegetarianism, is sufficient for her conservative Christian household to conclude that Megan is exhibiting “lesbian tendencies.” So that they ship her to conversion remedy camp. It’s there that she meets Graham (Clea DuVall), her roommate who can be an unapologetically queer insurgent. Of their preliminary assembly of their room, Graham, sprawled throughout her mattress, makes use of her introduction as a strategy to each shock and flirt with Megan, setting the scene for one thing extra.

Notting Hill (1999)

American film star Anna (Julia Roberts) wanders right into a struggling journey bookstore in London owned by Will (Hugh Grant), who’s starstruck but respectful. Later that day, the pair meets once more once they actually run into one another on the road, with Will spilling his cup of orange juice on Anna’s shirt, then providing to let her clean up at his house. Earlier than she leaves, Anna spontaneously kisses Will, regardless of having a boyfriend, main the 2 to pursue a romance.

The Wedding ceremony Planner (2001)

Profession-focused wedding ceremony planner Mary (Jennifer Lopez) has simply landed the most important gig of her life when she steps onto the streets of San Francisco and will get her Gucci heel caught in a manhole cowl. As she struggles to free her foot, a wayward cab driver hits a dumpster, inflicting it to careen down the hill proper towards Mary—till Steve (Matthew McConaughey), a pediatrician, heroically pulls her out of the way in which. Whereas Mary and Steve have simple chemistry after he saves her life (and her shoe), they quickly uncover that he’s the groom for her high-stakes occasion, leaving each to grapple with their burgeoning emotions for each other.

Serendipity (2001)

Strangers Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet once they each attain for a similar pair of black cashmere gloves throughout a busy day of Christmas procuring; after bickering over the battle, with Sara finally profitable the gloves, the 2 share dessert at New York Metropolis’s well-known Serendipity 3 store and talk about the position of destiny earlier than selecting to go their separate methods. However simply as they are saying goodbye, Sara tosses Jonathan one of many gloves—leaving a bit of their connection intact for years to come back.

Learn extra: 20 Rom-Coms That Put a New Spin on an Old Genre

Maid in Manhattan (2002)

Lodge maid and single mom Marisa (Jennifer Lopez) does one thing very out of character at some point and tries on the designer coat of a rich resort visitor whereas cleansing her room. Dressed within the different lady’s garments, Marisa is mortified when her younger son Ty introduces her to the resort visitor he’s simply befriended due to his canine, senatorial candidate Chris (Ralph Fiennes). Chris invitations Marisa and Ty to go for a stroll, the place it’s clear that they’re attracted to 1 one other, however Marisa should determine if the romance is price persevering with the ruse.

My Large Fats Greek Wedding ceremony (2002)

Toula (Nia Vardalos) is caught in a rut. Then, whereas working at her household’s Greek restaurant, she sees and immediately falls in love with Ian (John Corbett), a WASP-y instructor who she will be able to’t cease looking at. Their transient encounter evokes Toula to take cost of her life by going again to highschool, altering her model, and going to work at her aunt’s journey company. Whereas fortunately working at her new job, Toula as soon as once more runs into Ian, and this time she’s prepared to start out one thing.

One thing’s Gotta Give (2003)

Infamous growing old bachelor Harry (Jack Nicholson) is thought for his womanizing methods and affinity for ladies beneath 30, however he’s out of his factor when he meets Erica (Diane Keaton), an achieved playwright of his personal age—who occurs to be the mom of his girlfriend. The pair butts heads after Erica errors Harry for an intruder at her Hamptons dwelling when he and her daughter drop by for the weekend unannounced. However they’re pressured to cohabitate after Harry has a coronary heart assault, main each to rethink their preliminary assumptions about each other.

Hitch (2005)

Alex (Will Smith), higher recognized to his purchasers as “Hitch,” is a relationship coach who makes a speciality of serving to males woo ladies with the objective of growing long-term relationships. His clean strikes and considerate observations have an nearly good success price for his purchasers, however Hitch faces his greatest problem but when he meets Sara (Eva Mendes), a gossip columnist. Whereas out one night time at a bar, Hitch spots Sara throughout the room and asks the bartender for her drink order with the intention of bringing her one other one, however he’s intercepted by a boorish and pushy man who refuses to respect Sara’s request to be left alone. After Hitch pretends to be her boyfriend to shake the person, he ultimately charms her into agreeing to a date—not but conscious that his relationship coach enterprise is about to be the topic of her subsequent story.

Set It Up (2018)

Harried assistants Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell) are overworked and exhausted, because of their respective workaholic bosses, Kirsten (Lucy Liu) and Rick (Taye Diggs). After operating into one another late one night time within the elevator financial institution of the constructing the place they each work, every on a separate mission to acquire dinner for his or her boss, they fortunately remedy every others’ crises: Harper has no money to pay for the meals she ordered, whereas Charlie has cash however forgot to position an order. The following day, when Harper meets up with Charlie to pay him again, they hatch a scheme to stage a meet-cute for his or her bosses within the work elevator within the hopes {that a} romantic relationship between the 2 will imply extra work-life stability for them. Their plan is profitable—however it’s not simply Kristen and Rick who find yourself catching emotions.

Fireplace Island (2022)

On this contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice, a bunch of queer mates reunite one summer time for every week of neighborhood and partying on New York’s Fireplace Island. Greatest mates Howie (Bowen Yang) and Noah (Joel Kim Booster) spot some potential romantic candidates at a bar on their first day on the island, however go away earlier than making introductions. After Howie journeys and falls, Charlie (James Scully), a cute physician they clocked earlier, helps him to his toes and invitations him to look at the sundown. Charlie and Howie’s flirtation results in Noah assembly Will (Conrad Ricamora), Charlie’s stoic and standoffish finest buddy, with whom Noah shares a mutual attraction and disdain.

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com.



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