Greatest Comedy Films
Do you love to laugh uncontrollably...you know that feeling when you are trying to stop but physically you can't do it. And when you finally do settle down, all it takes is a couple syllables from a friend and you starting chortling again. It is the rare comedy movie that can get us to that place but these top laughers are of that rare breed of comedies.
Funny movies come in lots of different shapes and sizes including, comedies about family, romcoms, comedies about college or high school, bumbling capers, etc. Do you prefer slapstick that relies on the hi-jinx and facial expressions of comedians like Jim Carrey and Jerry Lewis, or more subtle comedy that focuses on interesting use of language as in A Fish Called Wanda or Election. Maybe you only like black comedies that focus on morbid or forbidden themes, like Raising Arizona or Fargo.
We all have our favorite style and it is impossible to match everyone's taste with this list of the greatest comedies, so we relied on a blended average a large group of knowledgeable movie bloggers and fans. We have included the Top Ten, plus 2 bonus selections, for 12 total movies.
We asked our members, movie bloggers and other movie fans, to rank their favorite comedy movies of all time at Rankography movies then we created this composite ranking. If you liked this top comedies list, you should also check out this list of best Jim Carrey movies. Don't forget to vote for the best comedies at the end of the lens.
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12. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) - Bonus
Jeff Spicoli Becomes an Instant Cult Hero
Few characters in a comedy film have left as lasting an impression as Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn). Sean Penn served notice on the world that he was going to be a major Hollywood player with his first two movie roles in Taps and then Fast Times at Ridgemont High. While many of the characters in this film are funny, it is Jeff Spicoli that really makes this comedy movie soar.
This is a high school comedy movie with many similarities to Porky's, American Pie and Dazed and Confused. But what put this film on the list of best comedies, instead of the others, was the unique and engaging Spicoli character. We enjoy watching him coast through life without a care spitting out hilarious one liners along the way.
Fast Times is a fun romp through the awkward teenage years that is as relevant today as it was nearly 30 years ago.
If you liked Fast Times at Ridgemont High, you should also see Dazed and Confused
11. Old School - Bonus
We all Wish We Could Go Back to College
A silly premise and an even sillier comedy movie. When Mitch's (Luke Wilson) girlfriend cheats on him, his two friends, Beanie (Vince Vaughn) and Frank the Tank (Will Ferrell) try to get him out of a funk but forming a fraternity in Mitch's rented house on campus. The only problem is...they are long past their college days.
Love the silly premise, a bunch of old guys forming a fraternity on a college campus even though they are not in school. The recruiting and fraternity hazing scenes are hilarious. Naturally, it is a hodgepodge of motley characters that sign up. This is a hysterical comedy movie that will keep you laughing throughout. It is probably one of Will Ferrell's top three comedic performances and could be the best comedy movie about college since Animal House.
And Now the Top 10 Top Comedies Ever
10. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Fun in the Windy City in this Top Comedy Movie
While Matthew Broderick was already a star from the 1983 blockbuster, WarGames, he will forever be remembered for his role as Ferris Bueller. Ferris is that fantasy kid we all wished we could have been in high school; loved by everyone (except his sister), the life of the party and able to get away with anything because most adults think he is an 'angel'. School is winding down in their senior year and Ferris has missed so many days during the year that he knows that he only has one more 'hooky day' left -- so it needs to be a good one.
Ferris, his girlfriend Sloan (Mia Sara) and his troubled friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) all take the day off and have an incredible day playing hooky in Chicago. They go to a Cubs Game, visit the Art Institute, have an incredible free lunch at a fancy French restaurant and dance and sing in the German parade; all while the evil Principal, Ed, brilliantly played by Jeffrey Jones, tries to chase them down.
Other interesting cast appearances include Jennifer Grey as Ferris' bitter angry sister, Jeanie, Charlie Sheen as a delinquent that hooks up with Jeanie at the police station, and Edie McClurg as Ed's assistant. Edie is fantastic and delivers dry sarcastic humor in her unique voice that you will instantly recognize from many movies, TV and cartoons.
While Broderick starred in many other films, he will always be remembered for his role in possibly the best comedy movie. Great cast, great story and a full day of outrageous fun in the Windy City!
9. The Simpsons Movie (2007)
"I Can't Believe We're Paying for Something We Get on TV for Free"
Not many TV shows last for 25 years and most of them that do are either news shows or daytime soaps. The Simpons is now the longest running sitcom, longest running animated show and longest running prime-time scripted show. That is pretty amazing for the classic slackers, Homer and Bart. What is most surprising is that it took them until 2007 to make their first movie.
Well written as always, The Simpsons Movie takes at least two viewings to catch all the comedic gems in this outstanding comedy. What is so amazing about Matt Groenig and The Simpsons is how he is able to appeal to so many generations. Usually kids and teens would not like something that their parents like, but The Simpsons may have the broadest demographic appeal of any sitcom in history.
The Simpsons Movie is a journey away from Springfield for the family after they are banished because of Homer's short-sighted environmental ways. As always, Groenig has taken a tongue in cheek look at a major social issue, environmentalism, and in particular the nation's philosophical dichotomy between our attempts to be Environmentalists globally, but lazy SOBs locally!
If you liked The Simpsons Movie, you should also see Ted
8. The Blues Brothers (1980)
Their on a Mission from Gaaad!
John Belushi was a comedic genius and it was such a shame that we lost him early in his life. He is the key reason behind two of the movies appearing on this top comedies list, including The Blues Brothers. First introduced on Saturday Night Live, the Blues Brothers concept was a huge smash right from the beginning. Belushi and Aykroyd were fantastic together.
Jake (Belushi) and Elwood (Aykroyd) are trying to save their childhood orphanage by reassembling their band to raise money. The film combines an assortment of side-splitting scenes and outstanding blues music by some legendary stars like Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. This comedy also features some outstanding appearances from some legendary characters such as John Candy, Carrie Fisher, Twiggy, Joe Walsh and Paul Reubens. Finally, it also has cameos from three legendary Directors, John Landis (who directed this film), Steven Spielberg and Frank Oz.
There are so many great scenes in this film such as the scenes with Henry Gibson and the Nazis, those in the Bob's Country Bunker, lunch at Chez Paul ("How much for the women?") and the sewer scene with Carrie Fisher. This is definitely one of the best comedies of all time.
7. Blazing Saddles (1974)
Possibly the Best Parody Movie of All Time
While it was not the first parody movie ever made, Mel Brooks re-invented the genre with this cutting edge Western parody. If you have never seen Blazing Saddles, you probably quote the movie without even knowing it. There are so many classic one liners in this comedy movie that it would be difficult to narrow it to a Top 10 list.
The cast was packed with some of the best comedians of its era including Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise and star Cleavon Little. The movie was so successful it took in over $119 million at the box office back in 1974, ranking it 49th on the All Time Box Office Adjusted for Inflation.
Richard Pryor was originally supposed to play the lead role for the film, but because his stand-up act was so controversial at the time Brooks could not get funding with him in the role. However, the switch out to Little actually was a brilliant move; his good looks and charm were a good offset to the nutty comedy happening around him.
6. The Big Lebowski (1998)
"The Dude Abides..."
Over the years, The Big Lebowski has grown in stature and is probably the biggest cult comedy film of all time. Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski is considered the Dalia Lama of 'slackerdome'. This Coen Brothers comedy is a black comedy caper film. The Dude is mistaken for a different millionaire Lebowski that owes money to some local gangsters. While he is shaken down, the thugs urinate on his rug and he is hell bent on getting restitution for one of the few assets that he owns.
While meeting with the millionaire Lebowski, he is offered a one-time job with a big payday and accepts the job. Of course, nothing is as it seems a seemingly simple job becomes much more complex than expected. He enlists this bowling buddies, Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) to try to complete the job. The threesome bumbles their way through the job in hilarious fashion.
While the plot is simple, the comedy is anything but ordinary. The script is excellent and some of the diversionary dream scenes are hysterical. Bridgest, Goodman and Buscemi are excellent together and have me hoping for another future collaboration of this threesome. The Big Lebowski's cult status is well deserved and the Coen Brothers perfected what they started Raising Arizona and Fargo in this classic comedy movie.
If you liked The Big Lebowski, you should also check out Raising Arizona
5. Caddyshack (1980)
A Superb Cast Delivers this Comedy Masterpiece
Originally, Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) and Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) were going to be the primary comic characters in this 1980s comedy film. However, Bill Murray was so over the top funny during filming that his part was expanded and ultimately he stole the show as Carl Spackler, the eccentric loner groundskeeper at Bushwood Country Club. Caddyshack may be the most oft quoted comedy movies ever. There are so many great one liners that it is tough to go to a golf course without hearing at least one of them.
Everybody in this cast was fantastic but both Murray and Ted Knight as the vindictive Judge Smails were over the top excellent in this comedy movie. If you like golf, you have most likely seen this comedy before, but to all those that have not seen it --- PUT it on your list now! It is definitely one of the best comedies ever.
4. Wedding Crashers (2005)
Because Everyone is Looking to Hookup at a Wedding
This 2005 film was an instant cult classic because of its unique comedy movie theme and the great cast of comedic actors. John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) are best friends and business partners who have a very unique hobby, crashing weddings to pick up women. Their strategy is very successful until...each of them meets their match.
While the stars are great in Wedding Crashers, some of the supporting roles really make this comedy film. Will Ferrell as Chazz Reinhold, the guys wedding crashing mentor, is a showstopper (outrageously funny. As usual, Christopher Walken is excellent. Bradley Cooper, Isla Fisher and Rachel McAdams are also very good.
Wedding Crashers will live on as a cult comedy film for decades to come.
3. The Hangover (2009)
This Ain't Your Parents "Three Men and a Baby"!
The Hangover was a pretty revolutionary comedy movie when it came out in 2009. Besides being incredibly funny, it utilized an unusual "unwinding" storyline in which they wake up after a the bachelor party night with one of them missing, a tiger in their room, and an unknown baby in their midst. They must unwind the night to try to figure out what happened and find their friend (the groom).
Zach Galifianakis is hysterical as the brides brother and the "one man wolfpack". His lovable loser personality combined with incredibly weird tendencies keep us laughing from morning to night in this comedy. Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper are both outstanding straight men that also deliver many hilarious lines of their own.
One of the real showstoppers is the appearance by Mike Tyson proving that there really is life after losing one's mind in boxing. The Hangover is definitely one of my favorite comedies and likely the best comedy movie of the past 10 years.
If you liked The Hangover, you might also want to see Bridesmaids
2. Ghostbusters (1984)
"Who Ya Gonna Call?"
Just prior to releasing Ghostbusters, the stars of the film went on David Letterman to discuss their new "career" in the paranormal arts. They stayed in character for the entire appearance and if you did not know they were comedians you would have thought they were serious. Of course, once this sidesplitting comedy movie was released, everyone knew the real deal.
Ghostbusters is one of the funniest comedies ever. It stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver. What an outstanding cast line-up and they did not disappoint. Bill Murray is the most memorable character as Dr. Peter Venkman but all the acting and roles are excellent. Rick Moranis as Louis Tully, Dana Barrett's (Sigourney Weaver) crazy accountant neighbor, is absolutely hysterical. He has several one liners that will keeping you laughing uncontrollably.
This is definitely a must see movie and one of my all time favorites.
1. Animal House
Taking Fraternity Life to Double Secret Probation
Two of the top three comedies on this list, Animal House and Caddyshack were written by the brilliant team of Harold Ramis and Douglas Kenney. In fact, it is no coincidence that Ramis' name appears three times as co-writer on this greatest comedies list (co-wrote Ghostbusters too) as he has been involved with so many great comedies over the years; others include Vacation, Meatballs, Stripes and Groundhog Day. It is a tragedy that Kenney died so young (age 32) while in Hawaii, when the cliff edge he was standing on gave way and he fell to his death. There is no telling what more these two writers could have done together.
Animal House definitely deserves its place at the top of the Best Comedies list as it is often cited as the funniest comedy film ever. John Belushi is at his absolute best as John Blutarsky, a seven year college slacker that parties hard every day. Besides Belushi, this film was largely filled with young unknown actors that gave great comedic performances; many of which went on to solid acting careers including Tom Hulce (Amadeus), Kevin Bacon, Tim Matheson and Karen Allen.
The lack of big names in the film, beyond Belushi, is a real testament to the top-notch screenwriting and to Director John Landis. This film is absolute comedic genius. If you could only see one film on this best comedy movies list, Animal House is the one I recommend.