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The 5 Best College Movies - Comedies

Updated on July 11, 2011

Countless College Comedies

There are so many college comedies and college movies made every year, and for obvious reasons.

College can be a crazy time in a young person's life. A time when life-long friends and memorable mistakes are made, beers are consumed, shenanigans ensue and some of the greatest stories of anyone's life take place ... oh, and higher education, of course.

Amongst friends, "Remember the time ..." is almost always followed by a funny college story, usually focusing on an incident involving someone's humorous misfortune.

Therefore, it is only natural that college movies are some of the funniest movies ever made, what with the plethora ($5 college word) of comedic subject matter.

Animal House does not make the list of The Best College Comedies
Animal House does not make the list of The Best College Comedies | Source

College comedies often focus on fraternities, sororities, drugs, alcohol, pranks, nerds, mean deans and "romance" - along with a myriad of other college themes, stereotypes and plot lines too long to list here.

The genre is not without a few black eyes and hangovers here and there. There have been some terrible college movies over the years, including comedies like Sorority Girls, Stealing Harvard, House Bunny and Sydney White. But even the averagest of average college comedies evokes at least a chuckle or two.

A Top 20 list might do the gambit of college comedies a more justice, but as it is, I have limited this article to The 5 Best College Comedies and will use this space to recognize a few honorable mentions, including Slackers, How High and .... Animal House.

Author's Note: Please put down your blunt and sharp objects! Animal House was released four years before I was born and the humor wouldn't have appealed to me until the time when most movies that did make my "5 Best" had already been released, starring actors I was much more familiar with. Its reputation alone merits another viewing, but at this time Animal House cannot make my list. Please back away from the ledge!

I understand that without Animal House this list may be sacrilege to some, but here are The 5 Best College Comedies:

#5 College Movie - Comedy
#5 College Movie - Comedy | Source

5) Dead Man on Campus

Based on a college urban legend stating that "if your roommate dies/commits suicide during the semester, you receive an A for all classes," Dead Man on Campus tells the story of Josh (Tom Everett Scott) and Cooper (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and their search for a roommate teetering on the edge of self destruction.

Unfortunately, in terms of college comedies, Dead Man on Campus was almost immediately forgotten and instantly underrated despite there being a lot of hilarious moments and excellent comedic chemistry between Scott and Gosselaar. As a young Saved by the Bell fan, I thought it was hilarious to see Zack Morris in a more mature/edgy role with nary a Screech in sight.

Lochlyn Munro gives the best performance in the movie. He plays Buckley, one of the students recruited by Josh and Cooper with a penchant for life-threatening party stunts and copious alcohol consumption. He wasn't in much before Dead Man on Campus and I'm not sure if he has been in anything since, but he shined for his few moments on screen.

Ryan Reynolds as Van Wilder

#4 College Comedy
#4 College Comedy | Source

4) National Lampoon's Van Wilder

Before he became all Hollywood and dated Alanis Morissette, married Scarlett Johansson and later divorced Scarlett Johansson, Ryan Reynolds starred in National Lampoon's Van Wilder as the title character in the hit college comedy.

The movie takes place on a fictional college campus where Van Wilder has reigned supreme as the campus ladies man for seven years. After discovering his son is no closer to graduating than he was as a freshman, Vance Wilder Sr. (Tim Matheson ... of Animal House) decides to cut him off and refuses to pay his tuition any longer. What will Van Wilder do? You'll have to watch. But it's funny. I'll tell you that.

Van Wilder lives up to the National Lampoon comedy tradition providing a lot of laughs and hilarious performances, including Ryan Reynolds in his first starring role and Kal Penn who would later go on to star in the Harold & Kumar series of "college themed" comedies.

Van Wilder also pays homage to college comedies of the past with appearances from the aforementioned Matheson as well as Curtis Armstrong from the Revenge of the Nerds films.

Oh, and Teck Holmes of The Real World: Hawaii fame is in the movie ... I don't know why. I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it.

Van Wilder Trailer

PCU - #3 College Movie - Comedy
PCU - #3 College Movie - Comedy | Source

3) PCU

Long before he became Ari Gold of Entourage, Jeremy Piven starred as Droz, a seven-year student and notorious party animal (not unlike Van Wilder) at Port Chester University, the fictional school in the college movie PCU.

In PCU, Chris Young (Tom Lawrence), a high school senior, visits Port Chester for the weekend and is assigned Droz as his host and tour guide. Droz lives in The Pit, the most offensive house on campus and home to the school's derelicts, dropouts and drug addicts. Due to its reputation, the dean of PCU wants to shut down The Pit so the university can be a beacon of political correctness, but in one last act of rebellion, Droz and The Pit host an all-campus party to bring all the political groups together for one night of guilt-free debauchery.

At the time of its release, most of the actors in PCU were fairly unknown but have since become household names, including Piven. Jon Favreau of Swingers and Iron Man fame, stars as one of the residents of The Pit and David Spade plays Rand McPherson, the dean's right-hand man and former roommate of Droz.

PCU Movie Trailer

#2 College Comedy - Road Trip
#2 College Comedy - Road Trip | Source

2) Road Trip

There comes a time in every college student's career when they embark on one of the most sacred of college traditions, a road trip ... or they watch the college comedy, Road Trip. Both are equally excellent experiences and staples of college life.

In Road Trip, four friends from Ithica University in New York (Breckin Meyer, Sean William Scott, Paulo Costanzo and DJ Qualls) take an impromptu 1,800 mile road trip to Austin, Texas to retrieve a sex tape mistakenly sent to a girl friend. Along the way, the group steals a school bus from a blind woman, donates "fluids", parties at an African-American fraternity and spends the night with an old man addicted to Viagra and marijuana. Does hilarity ensue? Oh, yes. Yes it does.

Remember Tom Green? No. Oh, well ... Tom Green makes his big-screen debut in the film as Barry, a student who stays behind in order to care for and feed the group's pet snake. It's definitely the most down-to-earth role of Green's career and arguably his funniest. Andy Dick also has a hilarious scene in Road Trip where he plays the desk clerk at motel the friends stay at.

Road Trip Movie Trailer

#1 College Movie - Comedy
#1 College Movie - Comedy | Source

1) Old School

Both Road Trip and Old School were directed by Todd Phillips. Does that make Todd Phillips the Alfred Hitchcock of college comedies? Yeah. Probably.

Old School stars Luke Wilson who, after divorcing his cheating wife, buys a house located in the middle of a college campus. Once his friends (Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell) catch word of this, they decide to transform the house into a fraternity. The three recruit pledges ranging from students of the university to other middle aged men and even a senior citizen named Blue.

Once the dean (Jeremy Piven), a former high school classmate of the three men, hears of the house, he vows to shut it down unless the new-formed fraternity participates in philanthropy and other requirements of the university's Greek system.

Will Ferrel and Vince Vaughn are both hilarious in Old School and deliver punchline after punchline as well as some of the more oft quoted sayings of the college comedy or any film in recent memory. It's also funny to see Piven play the role of the dean, considering his past performance in PCU.

Old School Movie Trailer

College Comedies on DVD


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    • jmartin1344 profile image


      5 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      Great list bogerk! I definitely agree with your number 1. I actually haven't seen PCU, will have to check it out!

    • profile image

      Frat Netflix 

      6 years ago

      If only they were available on instant stream. This is a list of greek life related netflix movies

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      PCU was great!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great list. Dead Man On Campus is hilarious.

    • RichERich1175 profile image


      8 years ago

      You hit the nail on the head having "Old School" as number 1. Your my boy, Blue!!!


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