The history of romantic comedies

Let's take you back to the 1930s when all movies in Hollywood were big productions. It was classic Hollywood and from that period came "It Happened One Night" (trailer), an Oscar Best Picture starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. It was a romantic comedy of two lost travelers who find safety in each other.

Traveling forward a few years, comes the romantic comedies of Katharine Hepburn. One of her most notable films is "The Philadelphia Story" (trailer). Although in that movie, she had a very brief encounter with a newspaperman, she ended up with the upperclass love she was destined to be with. These movies tried to break away from class guidelines, but in the end, failed to accomplish any real change.

Moving forward again, we see Audrey Hepburn in some of - in my opinion - the best romantic comedies of all time. "Roman Holiday" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" are two of her most famous roles. "Breakfast at Tiffany's," based on a novella, broke away from the book ending to have a happy one. The movie was so critically acclaimed that it was nominated for a Golden Globe best motion picture comedy. Hepburn was nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award.

Now let's move to the 1980s and 90s. During this period, people start to tire of the same mundane plot lines. Nora Ephron, one of the most famous directors of romantic comedies, makes movie after movie. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star in multiple movies together. Their names and occupations may be different in each one, but they always end up together. In some of these movies the two main characters interactions are delayed. Although they know of each other in "You've Got Mail," Hanks and Ryan don't realize that the other person is the author of the emails they get. And in "Sleepless in Seattle" they really don't meet until the last five minutes of the movie. These movies are considerably unrealistic compared to "When Harry Met Sally" starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. This movie openly discusses differences between men and women in relationships. This film created a new trend of friends falling in love, and that plot line continues on today. For more information on that, see break away films.

Rotten Tomatoes, My Dear Valentine, Extra and Yahoo! Voices have made comprehensive lists of the best romantic comedies of all time. Some movies appear on multiple lists. Do you agree with some of these lists?