These Are The Absolute Best Meet Cutes In Rom-Coms

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Like any respectable film genre, the romantic comedy is packed with tropes that serve as ingredients to spice up the dish for audiences to enjoy. And no trope is more foundational to rom-coms than the meet cute.

We've all seen it a million times. Two people cross paths in an unexpected or kooky way, and they end up on a one-way train to Love City.

The meet cute is such a beloved device in rom-coms that it literally inspired Meet Cute, a brand new time-travel rom-com starring Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson. And with Meet Cute becoming available to stream this week, I decided to honor 16 of the greatest meet cutes in rom-com history. Enjoy!

1.When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal standing behind a car.

We gotta start with the greatest and most influential romantic comedy ever made, which, unsurprisingly, has one of the most iconic meet cutes in rom-com history. Sally (Meg Ryan) and Harry (Billy Crystal) are driving together from Chicago to New York, and rather than love at first sight, the two can't stand each other. Yet, even after bickering the entire ride about sex, love, death, and whether or not men and women can actually be friends, the connection between the two is obvious. It's not hard to see why so many romantic comedies have shamelessly ripped this movie's formula off, as it remains the gold standard of how to establish chemistry between your lead characters.

Watch it on HBO Max.

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

2.Hitch (2005)

Eva Mendes and Will Smith talking at a bar.

Hitch (Will Smith) is a date doctor who gets to show off his moves when he spots Sara (Eva Mendes) at a bar. Rather than awkwardly approach her, he smoothly saves her from a desperate guy hitting on her, and a natural back-and-forth develops between the two. Hitch is delivering off-the-charts charisma here, and Sara shows her interest in him while also seeing through his act, which is exactly what makes him start to fall for her despite his aversion to any real romance.

Rent it on Prime Video.

Sony

3.50 First Dates (2004)

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler talking at a restaurant.

Henry (Adam Sandler) is a proud bachelor who avoids relationships at all costs until he spots Lucy (Drew Barrymore) working on a waffle tower while he's having breakfast. Henry offers his toothpick to help the waffle tower's fortitude, and the two immediately hit it off, having a dreamy breakfast and planning a second date the next morning. It's such an intoxicatingly wholesome meet cute that you fully understand why Henry is willing to go to such lengths to win Lucy over despite her forgetting who he is every day.

Rent it on Prime Video.

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Just Wright (2010)

Queen Latifah and Common talking.

Chance encounters are among the most popular types of meet cutes, and Just Wright nails that "stars aligning" energy perfectly. Leslie (Queen Latifah) is a die-hard New Jersey Nets (remember when they weren't in Brooklyn?) fan who ends up in a dream scenario when she encounters Scott McKnight (Common), the team's star point guard, after a game at a gas station. Scott is having trouble, and Leslie helps him out while also scoring an invite to his birthday party thanks to a little bit of a flirting.

Watch it on Tubi.

Fox Searchlight

5.The Big Sick (2017)

Rebecca Naomi Jones, Zoe Kazan, and Kumail Nanjiani talking at a bar.

After Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) gets "woo'ed" by Emily (Zoe Kazan) during his standup set, he uses it as an opportunity to talk to her at the bar after the show. He lightly lectures her about heckling, but she immediately fires back, and it's off to the races from there, as the adorable chemistry gets you to immediately root for these lovebirds. Bonus points to this meet cute for being inspired by how Kumail met his real-life wife Emily Gordon, who co-wrote the script with him.

Watch it on Prime Video.

Lions Gate / Courtesy Everett Collection

6.Meet Cute (2022)

Pete Davidson and Kaley Cuoco walking and talking.

Sheila (Kaley Cuoco) spots Gary (Pete Davidson) across the bar and decides to approach him and ends up awkwardly offering to buy him a drink and leading to a night of romance and fun. Sounds like a classic meet cute, right? Except, it turns out this was no random run-in, as Sheila has access to a time machine that she uses to try and create the perfect night with Gary. This clever subversion of the classic trope feels like a breath of fresh air in a genre that is often far too formulaic and dull.

Watch it on Peacock.

Peacock / Courtesy Everett Collection

7.Moonstruck (1987)

Nicolas Cage speaking emphatically.

Loretta (Cher) visits Ronny (Nicolas Cage) to invite him to the wedding between her and his brother. Rather than wishing her well, Ronny begins ranting about how his brother stole his life. It's honestly a bonkers scene that somehow works because Cage and Cher have an almost animalistic draw to each other in the movie that Loretta tries and fails to resist. Is it love at first sight? Not quite, but it's the type of over-the-moon attraction that most of us can only dream of.

Watch it on HBO Max.

MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

8.Pretty Woman (1990)

Julia Roberts and Richard Gere talking in a car.

Vivian (Julia Roberts) is an escort with a heart of gold who charges Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) $20 for directions to Beverly Hills. Once they start driving, Vivian quickly figures out Edward has no idea how to drive stick and ends up getting behind the wheel. By the time they get to his hotel, Edward hires Vivian for the night, and the dynamic between them is adorably awkward instead of creepy or off-putting. This is the performance that made Roberts a Rom-Com Icon, and this scene alone shows why that title was well-deserved, as her effortless magnetism is on full display.

Watch it on Peacock.

Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

9.Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn talking on a golf course.

The day before his wedding, David (Cary Grant) meets Susan (Katharine Hepburn) when she accidentally hits his ball instead of hers while playing golf. As David tries to get her to acknowledge her mistake, Susan is a nonstop train of quips and absurd idioms that drive him absolutely nuts. Despite being over 80 years old, this scene feels fresher than approximately 98% of meet cutes you would find in any rom-com from the past decade. And in just three minutes, the entire dynamic between the two has been perfectly established.

Rent it on Prime Video.

RKO Radio Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

10.Something New (2006)

Simon Baker and Sanaa Lathan at a coffee shop.

Kenya (Sanaa Lathan) agrees to go on a blind date but is shocked when Brian (Simon Baker) turns out to be a white dude. As Brian tries to get to know Kenya, she is visibly uncomfortable and attempts to chat up every other Black person in the coffee shop rather than her actual date. Even though the date lasts less than five minutes before Kenya leaves, this remains a meet cute classic thanks to Lathan's absolutely hysterical reaction to Brian's whiteness, which becomes the core conflict of the movie.

Watch it on Prime Video via Cinemax.

Focus Features

11.Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone chatting at a bar.

Hannah (Emma Stone) is discussing her (entirely justified) lust for Conan O'Brien when Jacob (Ryan Gosling) approaches her and instantly starts laying on the charm real thick. When someone looks like Ryan Gosling and is as impossibly winning as Ryan Gosling, they don't get turned down often. Yet, Hannah seems mostly annoyed by Jacob, and that leads to some rapid-fire banter that makes Jacob only want her more, despite being rejected. The back-and-forth between Gosling and Stone is sensational and shows that when it comes to the meet cute, no amount of clever writing or elaborate plotting can compete with good old-fashioned, out of control chemistry.

Watch it on Netflix.

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

12.How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)

Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs eating breakfast.

Stella (Angela Bassett) is a 40-year-old workaholic single mom who heads to Jamaica for a much-needed vacation and ends up meeting Winston (Taye Diggs), who is about half her age. Winston instantly wants Stella, but she is hesitant due to their age difference. Yet, as they talk, the vibes between them are simply outstanding, and while she initially turns down Winston's invitation to a disco that night, it's obvious that Stella will be there.

Watch it on Prime Video via Starz.

20th Century Fox

13.My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Nia Vardalos serving coffee to Ian Gomez and John Corbett.

Toula (Nia Vardalos) is stuck in a rut of loneliness and depression when Ian (John Corbett) walks into her family's restaurant, where she works. Toula is stuck with a bad case of love-at-first-sightitus, openly staring at Ian rather than taking his order. But Ian finds Toula charming and even laughs at her (admittedly very funny) joke about being a Greek statue. This one tiny interaction is enough to get Toula to stop accepting her unhappy life and becoming the person she really wants to be.

Watch it on HBO Max.

IFC Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

14.Notting Hill (1999)

Julia Roberts holding a book.

If anybody was going to make this list twice, it was obvious going to be Roberts. This time, she plays Anna Scott, a famous Hollywood actress who visits a travel bookstore while she's in London. She ends up meeting Will (Hugh Grant), the store's owner, as he is lightly reprimanding a potential book thief caught in the act, and the two have a bit of banter. Grant's bumbling charm meshes seamlessly with Roberts' unwavering affability, and I defy anyone not to be rooting for these two by the end of the scene.

Watch it on Peacock.

MCA / Courtesy Everett Collection

15.The Wedding Planner (2001)

Matthew McConaughey holding Jennifer Lopez.

This is unquestionably one of the silliest meet cutes in rom-com history, and I mean that as a massive compliment. Mary (Jennifer) finds herself in a life-or-death situation when her shoe gets stuck in the street as a dumpster is barreling toward her. Fortunately, Steve (Matthew McConaughey) is in the right place at the right time and saves her from a cartoon-esque demise. And of course, the two are immediately smitten with one another. Is it ridiculous? Of course, but you know what else is ridiculous? Love! So, resist nitpicking, and just enjoy the ride.

Rent it on Prime Video.

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection