The Ultimate Watch Guide | 80s Romantic Comedy Movies

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Romantic Comedies just aren’t what they used to be. So many of the plot lines in the rom-coms today feel tired and overused. Nerdy girl/guy gets a makeover and falls in love with super-cool popular kid. Woman who was scorned and vows to stay away from men escapes to a far-off land and meets a foreign stranger who makes her believe in love again. Two people square-off over an important issue and while they are at odds, fall for each other proving that opposites attract. Did I miss any? Don’t get me wrong, though, I love a romantic comedy movie just as much at the next gal. I just happen to think that some of the best ones were made in the 1980s.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner (this is your warning, people), I couldn’t resist putting together the Ultimate Watch Guide for 80s Romantic Comedy Movies. These movies are the perfect way to get in the romantic mood before the holiday or to enjoy with your special valentine during a night in. Take a look below to read more about my top five picks for 80s Romantic Comedy Movies.

5. BIG | 1988

One-Sentence Summary

After being humiliated at a carnival, Josh Baskin’s wish to become big comes true and he must navigate the world in a grown man’s body containing his 12-year-old soul.

Most Iconic Quote:

Interviewer: “Where did you go to school?”

Josh: “It was called George Washington.”

Interviewer: “Oh G.W. My brother-in-law got his doctorate there. Did you pledge?”

Josh: “Yes. Every morning.”

It is so crazy to think that the iconic actor, Tom Hanks (who we all know now for his serious, Oscar-worthy performances) starred in several romantic comedies in the 1980s. His role as grown-up Josh Baskin is one of his most charming roles. Everyone can relate to being a kid and longing to be an adult so you can have your own place, your own job, a significant other and make decisions for yourself. This movie totally embodies the phrase, “be careful what you wish for,” though as Josh finds out that being an adult isn’t as great as it seems. What I love about the romance in this movie is that it is so unexpected and innocent. Watching Josh navigate adult relationships is both hilarious and cringe-worthy at times. Like when he tells his love-interest that if she is going to sleep over that he gets top (uh, bunk, he means, of course). Among the memorable scenes (giant piano, anyone?), it’s a wonderful tale of young love and adult relationships.

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One-Sentence Summary:

Samantha (Sam) Baker spends her sixteenth birthday longing after a popular high school crush, helping a geek win a bet and trying to ignore the fact that her entire family completely forgot her birthday.

Most Iconic Quote:

Jim Baker: “That’s why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they’d call ’em something else.”

Is it even a 1980s romantic comedy guide without a movie starring Molly Ringwald? I think not! It was incredibly difficult to decide between Pretty in Pink, the Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. The reason this one stands out is because of the will they, won’t they tension between Sam and popular guy, Jake Ryan, throughout the entire movie. Side note: how typically cool is the name Jake Ryan? #popularguynamegoals There seems to be so many missed opportunities for them to connect, which is totally relatable. I am sure we all can remember someone we crushed on hard in high school and never had the confidence or assurance needed to tell them. While Sam and Jake attempt to connect with each other, there is the added hilarity of Long Duc Dong (foreign exchange student) and geeky Ted, who is in love with Sam. If you haven’t watched this one, you need to add it to your list. How else will you know if Sam and Jake end up together.

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One-Sentence Summary:

Harry and Sally cross paths over several years as they live in New York City, remaining acquaintances, but always debating the age-old question, “Can men and women really be just friends?”

Most Iconic Quote:

Harry Burns: “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

Alright, let’s just get this out of the way. I know some of you may debate the most iconic quote I have above in favor of the “I’ll have what she’s having” line (which was line expertly delivered at the diner by an older customer), but this post is all about the love and in that respect, Harry’s quote above is hard to beat. In fact, I often think about it in my own life as my husband and I got engaged after only dating for four months. When you know, you know. You know? When Harry Met Sally has to be on the list of the best romantic comedy movies of all time. Both Harry and Sally are flawed, authentic and delightful characters. Very real and relatable people. I love the time that spans between several of their interactions and that they each grow and change. The reason this movie makes it on my list is because I love the idea that someone, whom you’ve known for a long time, can be in your life at the right time and totally surprise you. Love just sneaks up on you like that.

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One-Sentence Summary:

Frances “Baby” Houseman’s world of privilege is shattered one summer at an upstate New York resort when she falls in love with Johnny Castle, the resort’s dance instructor.

Most Iconic Quote:

Johnny: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Dirty Dancing still has one of the best soundtracks of any movie. And if you say you’ve never wanted to perform a lift like Baby and Johnny, then you are probably kidding yourself. Though a bit dramatic at times, the relationship between Baby and Johnny survives some truly tough challenges throughout the film. For 1987, the movie brought some pretty taboo topics to light and handled them with great respect. Patrick Swayze is a romantic comedy legend and hunk of the 1980s. This movie made it really hard to not fall in love with him. I like to think it was the “Save the Last Dance” of the 1980s, for you youngsters. If for nothing else, you HAVE to watch this movie for the epic dance numbers. Radical

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One-Sentence Summary:

A loving grandfather reads a fairy-tale type story of true love and adventure to his sick grandson.

Most Iconic Quote:

Buttercup: “Farm boy, polish my horse’s saddle. I want to see my face shining in it by morning.”

Westley: “As you wish.”

Grandpa: “’As you wish’ was all he ever said to her.”

Buttercup: “Farm boy, fill these with water – please.”

Westley: “As you wish.”

Grandpa: “That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying ‘As you wish’, what he meant was, ‘I love you.’ And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.”

I could quote this movie all day long. Between Inigo Montoya, Vizzini, Fezzik and the Clergyman, there are enough hilarious lines to create five movies. Alas, we only get one, but it’s a wonderfully funny take on a classic tale of true love between a princess and her long-lost darling, Westley. This movie has it all: princesses, pirates, a giant, magic, revenge, a wedding, poison and, of course, ROUSes (rodents of unusual size). While the story itself is reminiscent of classic fairy-tales, it takes a unique perspective as the story is being read by a grandfather to his sick grandson. This is what makes it my top pick. Romantic love between Princess Buttercup and Westley and family love between the grandfather and his grandson. All in one film.

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Is anyone else feeling the love already with this Ultimate Watch Guide for 80s Romantic Comedy Movies? Hopefully, I’ve given you some great films to watch with your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, or any day really. Need more 80s flicks? Click here to view The Ultimate Watch Guide for 80s Christmas Movies. What are your favorite 80s Romantic Comedies? Any quotes from the films you adore? Drop them in a comment below and let me know. Also, be sure to share this on social media and spread the love!

5 80s Romantic Comedies Perfect for Valentine's Day


  1. I love all these movies and your one sentence summary was spot on. These are absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day.

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