His Girl Friday (often along with Bringing Up Baby and Twentieth Century) is cited as an archetype of the screwball comedy genre. In 1993, the Library of Congress selected His Girl Friday for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. The film ranked 19th on the American Film Institute's 100 Years ... 100 Laughs, a 2000 list of the funniest American comedies. Prior to His Girl Friday the play The Front Page had been adapted for the screen once before, in the 1931 Howard Hughes-produced film also called The Front Page with Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien in the starring roles. In this first film adaptation of the Broadway play of the same title (written by former Chicago newsmen Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur), Hildy Johnson was male.
His Girl Friday was dramatized as a one-hour radio play on the September 30, 1940 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater with Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray and Jack Carson. It was dramatized again with a half-hour version on The Screen Guild Theater on March 30, 1941 with Grant and Russell reprising their film roles. "The Front Page" was remade in a 1974 Billy Wilder movie starring Walter Matthau as Walter Burns, Jack Lemmon as Hildy Johnson, and Susan Sarandon as his fiancée. 
His Girl Friday and the original Hecht and MacArthur play were later adapted into another stage play, His Girl Friday, by playwright John Guare. This was presented at the National Theatre, London, from May to November 2003, with Alex Jennings as Burns and Zoë Wanamaker as Hildy. The 1988 film Switching Channels was loosely based on His Girl Friday, with Burt Reynolds in the Walter Burns role, Kathleen Turner in the Hildy Johnson role, and Christopher Reeve in the role of Bruce. In December 2017, Montreal Canada based independent theatre company, Snowglobe Theatre's Artistic Director Peter Giser adapted the script for the stage, expanded some characters and made the play more accessible to modern audiences. It was performed that December after Snowglobe obtained copyright status of this adapted version.
Quentin Tarantino, the director of Pulp Fiction (1994), has named His Girl Friday as one of his favorite movies. In the 2004 French film Notre musique, in Godard's classroom he explains the basic of film, specifically the shot reverse shot. As he explains this concept, two stills from His Girl Friday are shown with Cary Grant in one photo and Rosalind Russell in the other. He explains that upon looking closely, the two shots are actually the same shot, "because the director is incapable of seeing the difference between a man and a woman."
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- 1998: AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies – Nominated
- 2000: AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Laughs – #19
- 2002: AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Passions – Nominated
- 2007: AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – Nominated
- 2008: AFI's 10 Top 10:
- Nominated Romantic Comedy Film