10 Underrated Romantic Comedies of the 1970s Worth Revisiting
Each of these flicks brings love and laughter into a collision course.
1. "The Goodbye Girl" (1977)
So, let's talk about a quirky little gem – "The Goodbye Girl." Paula, a single mom and dancer, finds herself and her daughter, Lucy, forced to share their New York City apartment with Elliot, an aspiring actor. Paula is fresh off a break-up and not exactly thrilled to have a roommate. However, Elliot's charm and persistence gradually warm her icy demeanor.
As Elliot navigates through eccentric theater roles (ever seen a Shakespeare play with an alien twist?), Paula's protective walls crumble. Their clashing lifestyles and ambitions serve comedic gold, all leading to an unexpected yet heartwarming connection.
2. "Play It Again, Sam" (1972)
Allan Felix is an awkward film critic trying to get back on the dating horse after his wife leaves him – it's a mess, to be honest. Guided by the hallucinated ghost of Humphrey Bogart, Allan bumbles through dates, flirts disastrously, yet somehow manages to be endearing. His friends Linda and Dick try setting him up, but sparks fly between Allan and Linda instead.
Amid rejections and floundering advances, who'd have thought Allan's clumsy charm would pull through?
3. "Annie Hall" (1977)
Oh, Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, they did something special here. Allen plays Alvy Singer, a neurotic comedian, hung up on his ex, the quirky and delightful Annie Hall. Through flashbacks, we live their roller coaster romance. They meet, they flirt, they tackle lobsters – it's as whimsically messy as real love.
Alvy's obsessive analysis makes for snort-laugh moments. Yet, beneath the laughs, there's a heartstring-tugging acknowledgment of love's fleeting nature.
4. "The Heartbreak Kid" (1972)
Imagine marrying a woman and then falling for another while on your honeymoon – yikes! That's Lenny Cantrow's debacle. He ties the knot with Lila, only to meet the enigmatic Kelly. Lenny's ludicrous, yet somehow relatable pursuit of a new flame just days into marriage is the center of this off-beat romantic escapade.
Through embarrassing encounters and awkward confessions, we're lured into rooting for this hilariously unfaithful protagonist.
5. "A Touch of Class" (1973)
Vickie and Steve, a pair as unlikely as a cat and a dog in a sack. She's a classy British lady; he's an unrefined American. Their accidental meet-cute spirals into an affair set against the colorful backdrop of Spain. The romp is laced with hilarity – Vickie's upper-crust elegance clashing with Steve's bumbling antics. They sneak around, engage in ridiculous lies, yet amidst the madness, something genuine blossoms.
It's a rom-com that defies expectations with every frame.
6. "Starting Over" (1979)
Phil Potter is every bit the classic, unlucky-in-love guy after his wife Jessica kicks him to the curb. Venturing into the world of post-marriage dating, Phil's stumbles and fumbles could make anyone cringe, but there's something endearing about his journey.
Enter Marilyn, a preschool teacher, who sees past Phil's awkward, almost teen-like approach to love, giving the audience some of the most tender moments of 70's cinema. Yet, just when we think Phil's found his footing, Jessica waltzes back in.
A comedy, a love triangle, a showcase of second chances, "Starting Over" is both funny and heart-tugging.
7. "The Main Event" (1979)
Bankruptcy has never been this hilarious. When financial ruin knocks on Hillary Kramer's door, her salvation lies in an unlikely source – a tax write-off boxer, Kid Natural aka Eddie. Hillary drags Eddie back into the ring, trading punches of banter and wit.
The boxing backdrop is as colorful as the burgeoning affection between the two – unscripted and unfiltered. They're not the match made in heaven, but they just might be the match made in the boxing ring.
8. "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" (1975)
Meet the quintessential New York couple, Mel and Edna Edison. Mel's a man on the edge, spiraling after losing his job. His mental breakdown, while a bit dark, is laced with the kind of humor only Jack Lemmon could deliver. Edna's shift from housewife to breadwinner shifts the dynamics of their marriage, introducing a comedic tension that's as real as it is rib-cracking.
9. "House Calls" (1978)
Charley Nichols, a widowed doctor, isn't looking for love, but love, as always, has a funny way of creeping in. Ann Atkinson, a divorced woman, steps into Charley's life and the casual fling contemplates getting a promotion to something more serious.
Hospital politics, Charley's commitment phobia, and Ann's tenacity make for a romantic comedy that doesn't just skim the surface.
10. "Fun with Dick and Jane" (1977)
Jane and Dick Harper are the embodiment of the American Dream gone hilariously awry. When Dick is suddenly unemployed, the Harpers plunge from affluence to poverty, leading to laugh-out-loud moments of the duo turning to crime to make ends meet. Their heists are as clumsy as they are hilarious.
The film finds its soul in showcasing the couple's unwavering unity amidst their comedic crimes and financial ruin.