The best romantic comedies are the ones we’re willing to fight for. Welcome To HuffPost’s Rom-Com Week.
Boy meets girl. Or NY152 meets Shopgirl. Or Hollywood starlet meets charming British bookseller. Or environmental lobbyist meets speechless president. Or disenchanted millionaire meets spunky escort.
There is a bet, a makeover, a misunderstanding, maybe a blowout fight. The prime minister does a funky love dance. Boy plays Peter Gabriel on a boom box outside girl’s window. Woman meets man on the top of the Empire State Building just in the knick of time. There is a speech, a kiss, a happily ever after.
These are the building blocks of a romantic comedy, a cinematic genre that promises true love, happy endings and impossibly witty repartee. HuffPost has been celebrating the subcategory of filmmaking for a few days now, and in the process, we’ve learned something as profound as Nora Ephron’s ability to write Billy Crystal into a certified hunk.
The best rom-com of all time ― according to HuffPost readers, at least ― is ...
... nope, not that Ephron masterpiece.
It’s “When Harry Met Sally...”
This week marked the anniversaries of two iconic rom-coms, “You’ve Got Mail” and “Working Girl.” To celebrate, we asked for your help in determining the greatest rom-com, selected via a head-to-head contest between 313 English-language films that matched our definition of what a rom-com truly, canonically is: a lighthearted comedy that centers on the budding romance between two central characters.
We asked you, dear readers, to vote in the contest. And vote you did. You expressed your democratic will more than 200,000 times in just three days. (And one particularly dedicated reader expressed their preference a staggering 3,632 times. Whoever you are, we see you and we appreciate you.)
We took the votes, tallied up the totals and used each film’s “win percentage” (the percentage of times a movie won in a head-to-head battle with another title on the list) to determine that “When Harry Met Sally...” is the rom-com to rule them all.
What else does our data tell us? The glorious train wreck that is “Gigli” nearly won the least amount of head-to-head battles. “Keeping the Faith” and “The Best Man” are criminally underrated. Classics like “Hitch,” “Reality Bites” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” managed to wind up on the edge or just shy of the top 100. The top 50 rom-coms include hits like “Grease,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “Clueless.”
The top of the top choices feature classic rom-com players like Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, Rob Reiner, Nora Ephron and Meg Ryan. In the end, “When Harry Met Sally...” narrowly beat out “Love Actually” and “Sleepless in Seattle” for the title of most beloved rom-com of all time.
HuffPost readers, it seems, can’t resist the slow simmering romance between two quick-talking, cosmopolitan intellectuals whose passion for one another grows finer with age. The first time they met, they hated each other. (Or at least she hated him.) The third time they met, they became friends. And they were friends for a long time, before they weren’t. But don’t worry, they fell in love.
Because that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make a rom-com.
We also learned, via a HuffPost/YouGov poll of 1,000 Americans over the age of 18, that rom-coms are just as beloved as you’d think they are. Seventy percent of people surveyed reported that they either like or love rom-coms, and only 4 percent hate them with a burning passion. Surprisingly, it didn’t matter if a person voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton; rom-coms are embraced across party lines.
While this poll deemed “Pretty Woman” the most beloved rom-com, the respondents’ favorite fictional boyfriend was, fittingly, Harry Burns of “When Harry Met Sally...” So, if nothing else makes sense, let our rom-com results be a respite in this crazy world.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Dec. 18 and Dec. 19 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.