9 of Garry Marshall's Best Movies
Nothing in Common (1986)
Jackie Gleason and Tom Hanks star as father and son in this dramedy about a young advertising executive trying to juggle his demanding career and the needs of his parents as their marriage ends after 35 years together. The film would ultimately end up being Gleason’s final film role, while it marked one of Hanks’ first steps from comedy into more dramatic roles.
Marshall paired real-life couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell in this 1987 screwball comedy, with Hawn playing the snooty heiress Joanna to Russell’s rugged carpenter Dean. When Joanna falls, well, overboard and loses all memory of her upper-class, yacht-dwelling lifestyle, Dean takes it upon himself to teach her a blue-collar lesson, convincing her that she’s actually his longtime wife and the mother to his four rowdy sons. Eventually, of course, opposites attract, and the result is part kidnapping caper, part irresistible rom-com.
This weepy about friendship may not have been much of a hit with the critics, but since its release in December 1988, it’s gone on to become a female-empowerment classic (and it’s the reason we still cry whenever we hear Bette Midler’s version of “Wind Beneath My Wings”). Midler and Barbara Hershey starred as C.C. and Hillary, two women whose friendship spanned decades after they met as children under an Atlantic City boardwalk.
Pretty Woman (1990)
Marshall crafted a rom-com classic and launched Julia Roberts to international stardom with this story of a Los Angeles prostitute (Roberts) who captures the heart of the rich businessman who hires her (Richard Gere). The film made Roberts a household name and marked Marshall’s first breakthrough hit — one with scenes still ingrained in pop culture more than two decades later.
Frankie and Johnny (1991)
Scarface duo Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer reunited for a very different sort of movie under the direction of Marshall. The story, based on the Terence McNally play Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune, centers on a man recently released from prison (Pacino) who gets a job as a short-order cook at a local diner and tries to win the affections of one of the waitresses (Pfeiffer).
Runaway Bride (1999)
Marshall reunited the dynamic duo of Richard Gere and Julia Roberts for 1999's Runaway Bride. With a supporting cast of Joan Cusack, Rita Wilson, Paul Dooley and Marshall-favorite Hector Elizondo, the classic rom-com told the tale of a gun-shy woman named Maggie (Roberts), who never quite makes it to the altar despite many attempts. The charming flick, which featured Gere as the enterprising big-city reporter Ike Graham who eventually steals Maggie's heart, made more than $309 million at the worldwide box office.
Princess Diaries (2001)
A then-small time actress named Anne Hathaway made her big-screen debut in 2001's Princess Diaries, an adaptation of Meg Cabot's best-selling novel. Starring opposite Julie Andrews, Heather Matarazzo, Hector Elizondo, and Mandy Moore, the future Oscar winner played the high school student Mia Thermopolis, a regular girl who learns of her royal lineage. Complete with an epic makeover scene, an appearance from early 2000s hunk Erik von Detten, and a solid soundtrack, the movie is a teen classic.
Raising Helen (2004)
After growing up on the set of Overboard — where she’d hang out with Marshall as an 8-year-old, yelling, “Action!” at her mother — Kate Hudson followed in mom Goldie Hawn’s footsteps, teaming up with Marshall for this 2004 bittersweet comedy. Hudson headlines as the titular Helen, a hard-partying career girl who suddenly finds herself a mother after her sister dies and leaves her custody of her three children.
Valentine's Day (2010)
Marshall capped off his film career with a series of holiday-themed ensemble comedies, the strongest of which, Valentine's Day, hit theaters in 2010. The star-studded film included appearances from Julia Roberts, Taylor Swift, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Héctor Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, and Shirley MacLaine, among many others. Valentine's Day, which landed a $216 million haul at the international box office, followed various sets of coupes and individuals as they navigated the emotional mess that is the holiday of love.