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10 Romantic Comedies from the ’90s to Watch Over Spring Break

Spring break is coming up, and if you’re anything like me, that means relaxing on the couch with a tub of ice cream and binge-watching movies. It might not be as picturesque as bikinis and beaches, but hey, you do you! If you’re seeking film suggestions, you’ve come to the right place. While the film industry of the ’90s was far from flawless, with issues such as a lack of diversity (blatantly obvious from this list), I still see it as the golden age of romantic comedies. So give these throwback films a chance! I assure you: nothing will provide a better escape from reality than a feel-good love story.

1. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Yeah, I know. 1989 is not the ’90s. But When Harry Met Sally is the ultimate romantic comedy. I view it as the beginning of the era, so I wouldn’t dare leave it off the list. Anyway, who doesn’t adore the classic plotline of two best friends falling head over heels for each other?

2. Pretty Woman (1990)

Ahh, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. They were such an iconic couple in this film that producers put them back together in 1999 for Runaway Bride. Julia Roberts is captivating and bold – making her the strong female lead that challenges Richard Gere and simultaneously causes everyone to fall in love alongside them.

3. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

If you know ’90s rom-coms, you know Meg Ryan. While she dominated in When Harry Met Sally, her successful streak continued with Sleepless in Seattle. A love centered around destiny, Tom Hanks as the male lead and an irresistibly cute little boy make this flick a must-watch.

4. While You Were Sleeping (1995)

To be honest, this movie makes me anxious because the plotline involves such a massive lie, and I hate knowing people are going to get in trouble! But, the chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Jack Callaghan continues to draw me in every time. It’s a classic that you can’t forget.

5. The American President (1995)

I’m a political science major, so a star-crossed relationship between a president and a lobbyist is right up my alley. I’m also a major fan of The West Wing, a ’90s show created by Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote the screenplay for this movie. You could say I’m a bit biased, but if you’re seeking a rom-com with a serious edge, give The American President a shot.   

6. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Who else loves young Tom Cruise? I know I do. But, Renée Zellweger is the cherry on top. She has been the queen of modern romantic comedies since the Bridget Jones trilogy began in 2001 (another group of movies I highly recommend). Plus, who can forget the adorableness of Jonathan Lipnicki, the kid from Stuart Little and Like Mike? This movie has everything you will ever want.

7. You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Just like Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks were so successful as an on-screen duo that they captured people’s’ hearts once again in You’ve Got Mail. This movie is charming, heartwarming and by far one of the best in the genre. If you want even more Meg Ryan, feel free to check out Kate and Leopold from 2001 – another one of my personal favorites.

8. Never Been Kissed (1999)

Stepping away from Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan for a second, Drew Barrymore is the lead in this endearing motion picture. I may be partial because she plays a journalist (and I am one too, of course!). But beyond that, the premise of returning to high school as an undercover reporter (and falling in love) is just irresistible.

9. Notting Hill (1999)

I know I said When Harry Met Sally is top choice, but Notting Hill is essentially tied for first. It stars Julia Roberts once again, but this time with Hugh Grant – who doesn’t cherish his accent and captivating wit? All I can say is that you need to watch this movie – it’ll have you laughing and crying over and over again. If you want to see more Hugh Grant films, check out the previously mentioned Bridget Jones movies or Four Weddings and a Funeral.

10. Erin Brockovich (2000)

Yes, technically this isn’t from the ’90s. Also, it once again stars Julia Roberts. And yes, it’s not truly a romantic comedy. Instead, it’s a biographical drama about an unemployed single mother who stood up for what she believed in, despite all the obstacles in her way. In the end, the romance is just a bonus. It is included in this list because it’s crucial to recognize that a movie can be about a powerful woman, who happens to fall in love, and still be a classic. Watch it, please – you won’t regret it.

Cover Photo Courtesy of PicJumbo

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Elissa Gray

Northwestern '20

Elissa is a Northwestern junior in Medill studying journalism and political science. She was born and raised in Las Vegas, where her love for sushi, avocados, and hot cheetos all began. When she isn't wasting away in the library, she can be found binge-watching romantic comedies on Netflix, and dreaming about her favorite place in the world, Disneyland. 
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