Whether it’s a girl’s night in, coping with heartbreak, or a lazy Saturday, these classic chick flicks guarantee laughter, tears, and swoons.
1. The Notebook
As the film that helped launch a stream of successful Nicholas Sparks romances, The Notebook (2004) is the perfect chick flick. Starring the entrancing Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, it’s the touching tale of one man’s endless dedication to his wife and to the love story of a lifetime. With stirring drama, riveting love scenes, and a sweet twinge of heartbreak, it’s no wonder that the film has quickly become one of the most endearing romances of all time.
2. Pretty Woman
Featuring romantic comedy royalty Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, Pretty Woman (1990) is the story of how a spunky and endearing Los Angeles prostitute finds a fairy-tale romance with repressed yet generous businessman, Edward Lewis (Gere). This lighthearted look at the world’s oldest profession merges wry humor with passionate love scenes, making it the most popular romantic comedy of all time. In addition to its box office success, Pretty Woman also earned Julia Roberts a Golden Globe Award.
3. Sleepless in Seattle
This tear-jerking romance pits America’s sweethearts, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, against heartache and uncertainty. When bereaved architect Sam Baldwin (Hanks) is coerced into appearing on a radio talk show, his devotion and loyalty quickly draw a stream of sympathetic female fans, reporter Annie Reed (Ryan) included. This epic love story, which pays tribute to Cary Grant romance film An Affair to Remember, definitely earns a place on this list because, just as Sam Baldwin tells us, it’s “a chick’s movie.”
4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The 2002 romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding is easily one of the most loved chick flicks of all time. As the second highest grossing romantic comedy ever produced, this down-to-earth look at a love that crosses cultures is both hilarious and heartwarming. Everyday heroine Toula Portokalos (Vardalos) is the perfect combination of earthy and plucky in her bid for love with teacher Ian Miller. But when they’re authentic romance is intercepted by Toula’s zany extended family, outrageous antics ensue. My Big Fat Greek Wedding helps remind us all of how magical ordinary romance can be.
This 2008 fantasy romance is an outright pop culture phenomenon. Based on Stephenie Meyer’s popular series, the tormented love affair between vampire Edward Cullen and high school student Bella Swan granted Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart international fame. Grossing an astonishing $392 million in theatres, it was followed by four successful sequels. The angst-ridden passion and thrilling adventure of Twilight makes it an easy movie night obsession.
6. Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing’s (1987) award winning soundtrack and steamy love scenes make this dancing film the perfect girl’s movie. Patrick Swayze’s strong, silent demeanor can be described as nothing less than hunky. But it’s Jennifer Grey’s “Baby” Houseman who learns to overcome insecurity, explore passionate love, and become a woman, making the film an inspiring coming of age narrative. The role earned Grey a Golden Globe nomination, and the film’s now iconic “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” makes Dirty Dancing a film that no one can put in a corner.
This comic reboot of Jane Austen’s 1815 Emma is sure to remain a girl’s night standard. Spawning a sitcom and a popular book series, Clueless (1995) helped launch the careers of Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, and Paul Rudd with its offbeat humor and lighthearted satire. Covering the Beverly Hills basics of teenage life—parties, friends, boys, and *the mall*, Clueless remains true to Austen’s tale, reminding us that no matter how much we think we know, we’re all a little clueless.
8. Mean Girls
Far from your average teen comedy, Tina Fey’s Mean Girls (2004) dares to “be real” about the dramatic trials, upheavals, and heartbreaks of being a high school girl. With a powerhouse cast of Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Lindsay Lohan, Mean Girls is both a box office success and a cult classic for its often gritty and honest look into one girl trying to survive the jungle of the high school’s high society. Delivering bold laughs, this film reminds us of the power that girls have, especially over each other.
9. 10 Things I Hate About You
An ingenious re-imagination of a classic, 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) takes Shakespeare’s domestic comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, to a modern-day Seattle high school. A breakout role for Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Heath Ledger, the film takes a non-traditional approach to the romantic leading lady with the independent and sarcastic Kat Stratford. With edgy humor, accessible characters, and great music, 10 Things I Hate About You is a romance that would make Shakespeare proud.
With its raunchy humor and unapologetic frankness, Bridesmaids (2011) is the chick flick to end all chick flicks. Starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, Bridesmaids follows an out-of-work cake decorator who will do anything to keep her best friend. But when she gets charged with leading the most unruly bridal party ever conceived, it’s not long before wedding planning becomes wild, dirty, and completely insane. This film helps remind us of the importance of friendship and that women can be just as crude—and just as funny—as the guys.