The 20 Funniest Films Ever

The Top 20 comedies

20. Fargo: The Cohen Brothers funniest black comedy may not be for everyone's taste, because it is quite violent, However, underneath all that is a droll observation on the human condition, highlighted by a winning performance from Frances McDormand as a very likeable and very pregnant police chief. Another standout is William H. Macy as a two-bit schemer who's plan backfires. This won the Oscar for best screenplay.

19. Young Frankenstein: One of Mel Brook's most popular films, This parody on the classic Universal horror films is 75% brilliant. The reason it doesn't rate higher is that the final section of the film is weak. But when it's good, it's hilarious! Who'll ever forget the spoof of the blind hermit in the cabin? Sheer genius. If only it hadn't run out of steam three-quarters of the way through.

18. Hannah & her Sisters: Woody Allen was on a role at this point in his career, producing some of the funniest films of a generation. This is probably the last of his truly great works but it's pure gold. This clever glimpse into the intertwined lives of a group of neurotic New Yorkers is brillliantly directed and written by Allen, who also appears in the film. Mia Farrow plays the titular Hannah, and the great Michael Caine gives an Oscar Winning performance as a man having a middle-aged life crisis. An amazingly warm and funny story.

17. This is Spinal Tap : This is the first of Christopher Guest's "mockumentary" films, and the only one directed by Rob Reiner. Guest's script tells the story of the trials and tribulations of an aging, down-and-out rock group. This is truly a collaborative effort, since most of the dialogue is improvsed (a usual tactic for Guest's films) by the cast of players. The film is a right-on-the-money satire of the rock music industry and the bizarre performers who live in this weird world.

16. The Producers:Mel Brooks' most consistanly hilarious film; This is a classic piece of ever-mounting insanity, boosted by brilliant lead performances from Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel. The story is about two schemers who sell 25,000% of a play (called 'Springtime for Hitler') and then try to insure that its a flop so they hand skip the country with the excess cash. Brooks brilliantly directs the ever-increasing craziness. Dick Shawn is a scene-stealer as the hippie actor portraying Hitler in the play.

15. Way Out West: Laurel & Hardy are one of the great comedy teams and this is their best work. The boys are sent to deliver a land deed to the girl who has inherited a gold mine, but they get manipulated by a sneaky villian who wants the property for himself. The highlight of the film is Stan and Ollie's wonderful soft-shoe routine.

14. The Life of Brian:The best work by Britain's greatest comedy ensemble, Monty Python. This eccentric comedy, set during the days leading up the Jesus' crucifixion, tells the story of a common man who is mistaken for the messiah and can't convince people he's not. Some people may be offended by the idea of a comedic passion play but they shouldn't, because there's no disrepect here, only clever insights into human nature. the team wrote the script themselves, and it was directed by Terry Jones.

13. Modern Times: This is the legendary Charlie Chaplin's final silent film, and one of his finest. In his inimitable style, Chaplin pokes some fun at the hectic pace and increasingly impersonal nature of modern society. I wonder what he'd have to say about the world today? The final scene is one of Chaplin's most touching images ever.

12. A Hard Day's Night:The Beatles prove that they are not only a great rock group, they are also wonderful comedians. This day-in-the-life "mockumentary" follows the Fab Four on a supposedly typical day, which includes being chased by adoring female fans and dealing with Paul's sneaky grandfather. The four Beatles exaggerate their own personalities into caricatures and have fun bouncing their quirky persona's off all the straight-men they meet. This film is not only hilarious, it's also graced with a plethora of great Beatle tunes.

11. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein:The greatest film from one of the greatest comedy teams in film history. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello scored their biggest-ever hit when Universal studios teamed the comic duo with their pantheon of classic horror characters, Dracula, the Wolfman and the Frankenstein Monster. This hilarious parody of the classic Universal horror films is as funny today as it was when it came out in 1947. This film marks the second and final time that Bela Lugoisi portrayed Count Dracula. Lon Chaney junior reprised his role as the Wolfman. Horror was never funnier.

10. The Gold Rush:Charlie Chaplin was the top comedian of the silent era and this was one of his biggest hits. Chaplin's "Little Tramp" character goes to the Yukon to seek his fortune and falls for a dance-hall girl. This timeless comedy has Chaplin's usual sentimentality. Chaplin does two of his classic routines in this picture. The pantomine Dance of the Rolls, and the scene where the starving Chaplin has to eat a leather shoe are the epitome of chaplin's comedic genious.

9. Manhattan: Filmed in Black-&-white (even though it was made in 1979) Woody Allen's poignant ode to New York is not only hilarious, it is a visual homage to the city Allen loved so much in his youth. No one can film NY as beautifully and poetically as Allen can. The story is a character study about the relationship problems of a group of cerebral New Yorkers. Allen's use of Gershwin tunes perfectly highlights the mood. A wonderful film.

8. The General:The finest film from one of the greatest comedians of the silent era. Buster Keaton, master of kinteic, visual comedy, tells the story of a train engineer during the American Civil War who has to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend and stolen locomotive from Union Spies. Beautifully filmed by Keaton, who co-directed.

7. A Night at the Opera: The Marx Brothers are one of the greatest comedy teams (and my personal favorite) ever, and this ranks among their best work. Mixing the Marx Brothers with opera leads to some hilarious chaos. Two of the Brothers best-ever routines are performed here: the Contract routine, and the crowded Stateroom scene. This is a classic farce.

6. M.A.S.H. : Robert Altman's first hit film (and the inspiration for the long-running TV series) is more a series of sketches than an actual story but it works just the same. This irreverant look at the quirky occupants of a Korean War mobile hospital features an Oscar winning screenplay by Ring Lardner. The insanity rarely lets up, led by the insanely immature duo of Hawkeye (Donald Sutherland) and Trapper John (Elliot Gould). The great supporting cast includes the great Robert Duvall as Frank Burns. This is one of the greatest black-comedies ever.

5. Ghostbusters: Ivan Reitman's 1984 Mega-Hit is a fun-filled, big-budget romp, about paranormal investigators dealing with an increasing number of ghostly hauntings in New York. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis star as the ghost-busting trio and Sigourney Weaver is a victim of a spook-attack, who turns to the threesome for help. Murray's sarcastic wisecracks are consistantly funny and the special effects highlight the craziness of the premise.

4. City Lights: Charlie Chaplin's best film (and there's heavy competition) is a touching and poignant look at the down-and-out "Little Tramp", who falls in love with a blind girl and wants to help her get the money for an operation. This is chaplin's most sentimental picture and his most artistically directed. This is one of the all-time greatest silent films.

3. Dr. Strangelove (Or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb"): Peter Sellers plays three different roles in Stanley Kubrick's satiric cold war masterpiece. A crazed American General (Sterling Hayden) launches an attack on Russia, leading to world war three. Sellers plays the President of the USA, a British officer and the eponymous German mad scientist Stranglelove. George C. Scott gives a hilarious performance as a gung-ho, Russian-hating general. This is the greatest black-comedy ever.

2. Duck Soup: If ever there was a group ahead of their time, it was the Marx Brothers. Filmed in 1933, this anti-war comedy poked fun at how readily some nations leap into war, years before WW2 began. There are so many great gags in here, but the best has to be the classic Mirror Routine. The Brothers have never been crazier and have never been better. This is a can't-miss classic.

1. Annie Hall:This is not only Woody Allen's best work, it's the finest comedy ever made. 'Annie Hall' set the bar for all future romantic comedies.This warm, touching, poignant and eloquent masterpiece of character-oriented humor won multiple academy awards (Including best Picture, Best Director honors for Woody Allen, Best Actress for Diana Keaton, and Screenplay by Allen.) Allen stars as neurotic stand-up comic Alvy Singer who deals with numerous slice-of-life dilemmmas, especially his relationship with quirky Annie Hall (Keaton). This is a literate and intelligent comedy that says more about life than a whole book of psychiatry. Comedy doesn't get any better than this.

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Comments 48 comments

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

A very serious funniest movie list..with the exception of Ghostbusters...interesting list


Rattigan profile image

Rattigan 5 years ago from St Catharines, Ontario

I always look for Young Frankenstein and The Producers in these lists. Good call. The original M*A*S*H is also very funny, though its humour isn't for everyone.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Thank you for reading, Cogerson. You're not a "Ghostbusters" fan, I take it. I appreciate the comments.

Rattigan; You've got to have some Mel Brooks on any "funniest films" list. MASH is an acquired taste but its brilliant none-the-less.

Thanks for the comments.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Good list.

I'd have to nominate "Arsenic and Old Lace".


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Will;

"Arsenic & Old Lace" is a classic dark comedy. Cary Grant is a bit-over-the-top in it but he's funny as the panicky Mortimer.

Thanks for reading;

Rob


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Your list certainly has the perfectly chosen funniest films.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Thanks HH. It's always good to hear your opinion.

Rob


Media Mischief profile image

Media Mischief 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Hey Robwriter this is a terrific list and a really fun read. It has my two favorites, Duck Soup and This is Spinal Tap. But as a comedy connoisseur, I do have to point out that Dick Shawn played the hippie Hitler in The Producers. Kenneth Mars plays the crazy Nazi author who penned Springtime for Hitler.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

You're right. Thanks for the correction.


Pinkchic18 profile image

Pinkchic18 5 years ago from Minnesota

Some great picks! I've only seen a couple but I've heard the others are great. Minus Fargo, I'm not a fan personally.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hello Pinkchic. It's always good to hear from you. "Fargo" is definitely an acquired taste. It's very violent, but it does have some clever observations about the human nature.

Check out some of the others, if you get the chance. They're all classics.

Thanks for readings.


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

Have you ever seen a film called Who's Minding the Mint? I thought that one was pretty funny. The film included greats such as Walter Brennan and Milton Berle.


twentyfive profile image

twentyfive 5 years ago

Interesting list. Thanks for sharing :)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

I don't believe I've ever seen "who's Minding the Mint?", Silver Poet. I'll see if i can find it. thanks for the comment.

Thank you too, 25.


daydreamer13 profile image

daydreamer13 5 years ago

Good list! Always looking for a good movie!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

I hope my recommendations help. I think all 20 of them are hilarious.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa

Like your list. But where are "The Party" and "Some Like it Hot" and "The Producers"?

I love comedy and certainly enjoyed those on you list that I have seen.

Love and peace

Tony


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Tony;

"The Producers" is on the list. "The Party" is funny but it's a loosely structured series of gags which doesn't hold up until the end.

As for "Some Like it Hot", I know many people consider it one of the greatest comedies of all time and it works its way onto most lists but I, personally, feel its very over-rated. It's a funny movie and I'd put it in the top 50 comedies but not the top 20. Despite its legendary status, it never really made me laugh the way other films on this list did.

Thanks for reading;

Rob


AskAshlie3433 profile image

AskAshlie3433 5 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

Another great hub. Most of these were before my time. I have watched M A S H though. I always enjoyed the show. I remember seeing The Producers. It is a good one. I think it is a great list. Great work Rob. Keep it up


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Thanks Askshlie; Actually, many of these films were before my time too, (I'm not old enough to remeber silent films) but as a fanatic film buff, I hunt down the best of the best in cinema.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

Oh.. I love a good laugh. Thanks for sharing this.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

Thanks, Bob for writing this. I knew some of these movies. I can't stop for laugh. Good work, my friend. I love your collection here. Vote up. Love and peace,

Prasetio


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Lady E. everyone loves a good laugh. Thanks for commenting.

Hi prastio. Thanks for stopping by my hub. Peace.

Rob


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 5 years ago from Scotland

Hi Rob

I was laughing just recalling all these great movies. Terrific list and I share your love of the Marx Bros, Woody Allen and Mel Brooks at their peak. And I can't believe I've actually seen all these films. That's a first for me on Hublists.

I have other favourites but your 20 will do fine by me and a really noteworthy inclusion of The Beatles movie. Very underrated. Richard Lester did a terrific job directing the Fab Four.

Cheers!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Thanks for checking in, Shinkicker. I agree that "Hard Day's Night" is an under-rated gem. And of course, what greatest films list would be complete without Woody,Mel, Groucho, Chico and Harpo?

Peace,

Rob.


JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 5 years ago from Midwest

A nice list and I'm happy to say I've seen more than half of them and they were some of my favorites as well. I'd suck at ranking them though - I'd be more of a x stars out of 5 kind of reviewer. People often think we talk like the cast of Fargo here in Wisconsin but it just isn't true - it's just northern Wisconsin and ALL of Minnesota!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi JB; Good to hear from you. I'd recommend you checking out all the films on this list you haven't seen, if you get the chance.

I've never been to Wisconsin so I have no idea how the people talk there but I never imagined them talking like the people in "Fargo". I imagine them sounding like Garrison Keillor.

Thanks for stopping by to comment.

Peace,

Rob


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

These are great films. We watch Young Frankenstein when we need a good laugh. I would add Joe Dirt and Bye Bye Birdie with Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke to this list along with Blazing Saddles (not PC, I know, but funny.)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Peg; I've seen "Young Frankenstein" many times, too. That, and "the Producers" are much funnier than "Blazing Saddles". Anyway, I can't put too much Mel Brooks on the list. The other guys need equal time.


Matt in Jax profile image

Matt in Jax 5 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

A little interesting that none of the top 20 is in the recent times of movies. In your opinion, have any come close?


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 5 years ago

Hahaha! Awesome list. But is Fargo an actual comedy? I know there were funny parts but I found it to be more disturbing and serious. It's still a good movie though. What are your thoughts on the movie "Tommy Boy?" (I felt that movie was very cleaver personally, but still great hub.) Voted Up!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hello Matt;

I guess "recent" is relative, since the film industry goes back to 1895. But if you're looking for 21st century comedies, I can't think of any which are on par with the movies I mentioned. Personally, I think the last 30 years have seen a downward spiral in movie comedies. (Unless you count animated film, which are generally much cleverer than the average live-action film.)Probably the best comedian working in films today is Simon Pegg,although he's yet to make a genuine masterpiece.

Thanks for reading.

Hi Carl;

"Fargo" is a great example of a black comedy. It doesn't have the usual laugh out loud moments you'd expect from a great comedy but the dialogue was very clever and it had the kind of insights about people that a great comedy should have.

I'm afraid I wasn't too fond of "Tommy Boy".

Thanks for reading.

Rob


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Hi, Rob. You might be familiar with the way I respond to Cogerson's movie hubs. :)

I've seen most of these films. I haven't been able to find a copy of Way Out West, and both City lights and Modern Times are waiting in my cabinet to be watched for the first time.

My favourites in alphabetical order are:

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Dr. Strangelove

Fargo (yes, a recent favourite from me is odd, but then this has macabre humour found in a lot of Hitch films)

Mash

Young Frankenstein

Chaplin is excellent, but his films are often bittersweet, so on a list of "funniest" he makes me cry more often. I tend to find Keaton funnier. I love Chaplin's movies, however.

I'm sorry, but I have never been a fan of Woody Allen or the Marx Brothers. I rermember having a conversation on a classicmovies list about how the only Marx Brothers film I have seen more than once is Night at the Opera because I love the music. He hated the music and loved the rest of them. :)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Flora; I appreciate the comments. Many people prefer Keaton over chaplin. It's just a matter of taste. If you ever get to see Laurel and Hardy's "Way out West" I think you'll enjoy it. And while I can't fathom anyone not liking the marvelous Marx Brothers, to each her own.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England

I keep forgetting Rob has been here a lot longer than some of us and has many of these fun lists tucked away in his repertoire.

Unlike Flora I love the Marx Brothers, especially Duck Soup, good to see it on your list and rated so highly Rob.

A big Monty Python fan too though Holy Grail has always been my fave and the most quotable.

Lots of favourites on your list where we differ is Woody Allen, never could stand the little bugger and find him more annoying than funny. Though I did enjoy his voice work in the animated film, Antz. Okay I admit I have one of his films on disc, Match Point, good film and not a comedy.

Voted Up and funny.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Steve; Woody Allen seems to be a polarizing figure. People either love him or hate him. I suspect his personal life is a reason many people hate him.

I love "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" but the ending was weak, which is why I rate "the Life of Brian" higher than "Grail".

Thanks for stopping by,

Rob


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Re: my attitude towards the Marx Brothers. I've always found Groucho a bit offensive. Then when I was learning some behind the scenes commentary on The Jack Benny show-which I love- I found out that Groucho was supposed to be on that show but every story line mentioned he loathed and said was stupid. Jack Benny stupid? ummm, no. So I know that I can't be the only person who has a different sense of humour than Groucho.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Flora; Actually, Groucho did appear on the 'Jack Benny show', and they did a parody of Groucho's show, "You bet your life" together. (I've seen the sketch. It's hilarious.) Groucho kept a copy of the kinescope of the episode. He said it was one of his most prized possesions.

If Groucho said that the ideas they pitched him before that were stupid, that's classic Groucho. He was known for shooting from the hip. Groucho was brutally honest. If he didn't like something, he'd let you know in the most blunt way possible.

Thanks for the comments,

Rob


Beeto 5 years ago

fargo? oh yah. one of my faves yah. but where is 'the odd couple?' gotta be one of the all time comedy classics!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

'Fargo' was great. As for the "Odd Couple", I think it worked better as a play or a TV series (TheTony Randell & Jack Klugman TV series was one of my all-time favorites) than as a film.The film was funny, but it doesn't make the top 20 in my view.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee

Robwrite, you included some really funny ones here! I love Duck Soup, it is one of my fave comedies, too. And nice to know there's a critic around not too uppity to appreciate GhostBusters!

Voting up.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee

Btw Robwrite, and just out of curiosity- what do you think of Kelly's Heroes?


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Beth; Glad you liked the list. "Duck Soup" is a work of genius. And how could anyone refute that "Ghostbusters" should be on the list, even if it isn't great art?

As for "kelly's heroes", I thought it was okay in a sort of "Seargant Bilko"-like way but not great. Donald Sutherland's 1940s hippie just wasn't credible to me.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee

Rob, thanks for the reply and your thoughts about Kelly's Heroes makes me feel better. I love it except for that and the sixtish-folk music.


moneycop profile image

moneycop 4 years ago from JABALPUR

i am not very fondto see the hollywood films yet i am enlighted to know about them and some day surely i will see


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hello Money; If you ever do get to see them, I hope you enjoy them.

Thanks for stopping by to comment,

rob


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

...amazing - it doesen't look like I've been here before - lol - so this will be my pick today for a posting at our music/film group LET'S JUST TALK MUSIC OR CINEMA with a direct link back here .....lake erie time 1:21pm


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Epi; Always good to hear from you. I just signed up for your group today. I'll see you there.

Thanks for reading and for the kind words,

Rob

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