Counting down the best comedy movies of all time is an exceedingly difficult task, and one that is impossible to get universal agreement on. No matter how many criteria you put in place for picking the funniest films personal taste by those who read the list will ultimately trump your hard work and research. For this reason I decided to make this list of the top comedy movies a hundred spots deep. That way I figured at the very least I would be able to cover most, if not all, of the best films that absolutely deserved a spot. Rank is another matter, and one that is certain to be hotly debated. Some film buffs would put A Fished Called Wanda ahead of The Holy Grail, while diehard John Cleese or Monty Python fans would be absolutely aghast at the notion. I’ve also tried to fairly represent all sub-genres of comedy films, so you’ll find some funny romantic comedies, gross out humor films, teen movies, British comedy movies and more. With all that in mind, here are my picks:
100 – Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein – When I said “of all time” I really meant it. This classic comedy film goes back better than 60 years when talking films were still in their infancy. William (Bud) Abbott and Lou Costello were the legendary comedic team who created the famous “Who’s on First?” skit that is still widely quoted today. They starred in funny films like Buck Privates and Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. However, their one of the funniest classic comedy movies of that era was undeniably their encounter with Frankenstein in this 1948 horror spoof where they play two bumbling freight handlers who not only have to deal with the Frankenstein monster, but also Count Dracula and the Wolf Man to boot.
99 – The Jerk – With his enormous popularity on Saturday Night Live it was little wonder that Steve Martin became a much sought after commodity to star in big screen comedies as well. Martin’s fellow SNL cast members like Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, and Dan Akroyd also followed a similar career path, and you will see a liberal sprinkling of their work throughout this list of the top 100 funniest movies of all time. Though maybe not as funny as Martin’s and John Candy’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles or Martin’s and Michael Caine’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels this film about an absolute moron and homeless bum who goes from rags to riches after inventing the Opti-Grab, which helps prevent glasses from falling off people’s noses. Jackie Mason, another great comedian, also stars, and laughs abound in this dumb humor film.
98 – Zoolander – 3 of the biggest names in comedy over the past decade have been Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell. Between them they’ve starred in such hits as Dodgeball, Tropic Thunder, Meet the Parents, Starsky and Hutch, Anchorman, and Old School. With three such gifted comedians on board it isn’t hard to see why Zoolander manages to capture a spot on the list of the best comedy films of all time. The premise is ridiculous, but hilarious, pitting Stiller’s character, Derek Zoolander against Wilson’s Hansel in a battle of male models.
97 – The Heartbreak Kid – No, it isn’t back to back appearances for Ben Stiller. This one is the original classic comedy starring Charles Grodin and Cybill Shepherd, not the 2007 remake starring Stiller, Malin Ackerman and the gorgeous Michelle Monaghan. Grodin’s character Lenny’s wandering eye gets him in trouble as only a few days into his honeymoon he meets Kelly (played by Shepherd) and decides he wants her instead of his brand new bride. Without the crude humor of the remake, the movie provides consistent laughs, and the performances were so good The Heartbreak Kid was nominated for two Oscars.
96 – Mrs. Doubtfire – Expect to see the energetic Robin Williams’ name a few more times on this list of the funniest movies ever made. Williams showed his versatility in this role as Mrs. Doubtfire. After being denied custody of his children following a bitter divorce, Daniel Hilard (Williams) gets into drag and lands a job as a housekeeper at his ex-wife’s home so he can still spend time with his children. Williams’ performance is a laugh a minute and Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan are fantastic as well in their supporting roles.
95 – The Nutty Professor – Sorry Eddie Murphy fans, but this spot belongs to Jerry Lewis. As great a job as Eddie Murphy does starring as all the Klumps in the 1996 remake he just can’t edge out that goofy comedy icon, Jerry Lewis. Lewis is at his “nutty” best in this classic funny film from 1963, showing his own versatility as a nerdy scientist who creates a potion that transforms him into the sexy and cool Buddy Love.
94 – Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle – One of the best comedies of 2004, this one is a particular favorite amongst the stoners in the crowd. John Cho and Kal Penn star as Harold and Kumar, two pot-smoking buddies who get inspired to take a trip for some WhiteCastle sliders after seeing them on a commercial while stoned. They get in multiple wacky adventures, including being chased by a cheetah. Neil Patrick Harris is side-splitting in a cameo, playing himself, and Christopher Meloni of Law and Order: SVU fame is almost unrecognizable in a disgusting role as Freakshow. If you are in the mood for a stupid buddy comedy then Harold and Kumar is just what the doctor ordered. If you are in the mood for a double feature there is also a sequel subtitled Escape From Guantanamo Bay.
93 – Beetlejuice – Though those who’ve only watched Michael Keaton’s recent work might think to find his movies on a list of the top 100 drama movies of all time there was a time when this talented actor starred almost exclusively in comedies. Night Shift, Mr. Mom and Johnny Dangerously are all 80s comedy films on Keaton’s resume. However, Beetlejuice seemed to mark Keaton’s departure from comedy as he went on to more dramatic roles, including surprising everyone when he landed the coveted lead role in the first two Batman movies.
92 – Monty Python’s Life of Brian – Not all of the funniest movies ever made came from American actors. In fact, there are many across the pond that would argue that none of them have. Brits are known for their wacky sense of humor and this classic British comedy movie is the product of the demented minds of the famous comedy troupe. Life of Brian pulls no punches, and religious viewers might not just be offended, but outright appalled at this tongue in cheek look at world religion. Graham Chapman is stellar in his role as Brian, who is mistaken for the Messiah throughout the film. The rest of the Python crew appears as well and John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Eric Idle all keep the laughs rolling throughout. Be warned though, after watching this movie you won’t be able to get Idle’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life song out of your head for weeks.
91 – Good Morning Vietnam – One of the best movies of the 80s in any genre was also Robin Williams’ signature film. Williams is absolutely brilliant as radio personality Adrian Cronauer, who upsets the apple cart with his radio show for the troops. In a role that he was born to play, Williams delivers the over the top voice acting we’ve come to expect from him. Bruno Kirby is also stellar as Lt. Steven Hauck, who also fancies himself as something of a comedian, and Forest Whitaker is great as always in a supporting role. Though primarily a comedy, there are dramatic overtones throughout the film, and the film does a good job walking the fine line of reminding of us of the collateral damage of war without interrupting the laughs for too long along the way.
90 – Kung Fu Panda – Not all of the funniest movies of all time feature live actors. There have been some great animated comedies over the years as well, and this recent release by Shrek creators Dreamworks could nab a deserving spot on a list of the best martial arts movies of all time. Jack Black is perfectly cast as the protagonist Po, a fat Panda who works at his father’s noodle shop and dreams of being a great kung fu warrior someday. Fate steps in when Po is mistakenly (or perhaps purposely) named the Dragon Warrior who must defend his people from the evil Tiger warrior, Tai Lung. An all star cast joins Black as Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, and David Cross all lend their considerable talents to the voice acting of the movie. Kung Fu Panda is one of those rare animated movies that can be enjoyed equally by both children and adults alike.
89 – Fargo – Known for their off-the-wall filmmaking the Coen Brothers are hard to peg down when it comes to defining the genre of the films they make. Movies like Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men, Burn After Reading, Miller’s Crossing and Raising Arizona all have plenty of obscure (and not so obscure) humor to be found among them, though none have been marketed as comedies. However, if you were to compose a list of the top 100 cult movies ever made you would likely find multiple selections from these super talented siblings. Fargo is another of the Coens’ movies that refuses to be defined, but every time I watch it I find myself laughing throughout at Jerry Luundegarde’s (William H. Macy) bumbling criminal antics, and yokel pregnant policewoman, Marge Gunderson’s (played to perfection by Frances McDormand) seemingly dimwitted but effective police work.
88 – The Aristocrats – Well, it is about time we added a true gross out comedy to the list of the top 100 funny films. The Aristocrats certainly qualifies, and from the title you certainly would not guess at the content of this film. There really isn’t any sort of plot, but the whole film revolves around the telling of a joke as some of the raunchiest comedians around try to one up one another in pure disgustingness. Carrot Top, Drew Carey, Whoopi Goldberg, Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander, and the late great George Carlin all make an appearance.
87 – Big – From gross out comedy to a friendly family film Big starring Tom Hanks is about as different from The Aristocrats as it is possible to get. Hanks followed a similar career path to the aforementioned Michael Keaton, starring in goofy 80s comedies like Splash, Bachelor Party, and Dragnet before taking on meatier dramatic roles in Philadelphia, Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan in the 90s. However, as forgettable as some of his comedy films were Hanks work on Big is still regarded as one of the great comedic performances of the 80s.
86 – Best In Show – This parody comedy about dog shows and the owners that take this “sport” so seriously might not appeal to all viewers, but if you have a bit of an off the wall sense of humor and have always been secretly curious and amused by the culture surrounding the whole dog show phenomenon then you will probably enjoy this movie. Christopher Guest as Harlan Pepper is fantastically funny, and SCTV alum Eugene Levy delivers the laughs as always.
85 – Shaun of the Dead – You’d expect to find a movie about zombies on a list of the scariest movies of all time, not the best comedy films, but Shaun of the Dead is not your average zombie film. Yes, there are the usual shambling corpses that are hungry for brains, but there are also plenty of laughs as well. Simon Pegg and Jack Frost, who also teamed up for the British cop comedy Hot Fuzz, will keep you laughing throughout, despite the peril their characters are in. If you’ve grown tired of the repetitious formula of movies like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead then give this genre –busting zombie comedy a go.
84 – Team America: World Police – From the demented minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the cult animated comedy show South Park, this animated puppet movie is certainly raunchier than Pinocchio. Political humor abounds throughout, and there are few (if any) boundaries when it comes to good taste. You certainly wouldn’t expect to see sex scenes in a puppet movie, but you will. As usual Parker and Stone pull no punches when it comes to their mockery of political policy, and even the biggest stars in Hollywood feel their wrath as Matt Damon, Michael Moore, Sean Penn and Tim Robbins all get a taste of their mockery. Kim Jong Il’s heart-wrenching rendition of I’m So Ronery will have you laughing so hard you’ll be crying.
83 – Knocked Up – Over the past few years no comedy team has been hotter than the duo of director Judd Apatow and actor Seth Rogen. Rogen first worked with Apatow on the TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. Both were cult hits, but each series only lasted a single season. However, the experience gained was a springboard for both Apatow and Rogen. Rogen landed a cameo in Anchorman which Apatow produced, and then a strong supporting role in The 40 Year Old Virgin which Apatow directed. However, it wasn’t until 2007’s Knocked Up that Rogen finally got his shot in a lead role. In the movie Rogen plays Ben Stone, a slacker who has an unrealized dream of launching a website that details exactly when female nude scenes occur in movies. Out at a bar one night Ben meets Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl of Grey’s Anatomy) who is out celebrating a recent job promotion. They both get blindingly drunk and end up in bed together and use no protection. Alison gets pregnant and these two vastly different people find a way to make it work with lots of stumbles along the way. Apatow regulars like Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann and Jason Segel are all stellar in supporting roles.
82 – Happy Gilmore – It is a true tribute to just how great a show SNL is when you see so many former cast members showing up on this top 100 list of funny movies. While on SNL Sandler was beloved for his signature characters like Cajun Man, Opera Man and Canteen Boy. He also showed his musical talent with several songs like Red Hooded Sweatshirt and The Hanukkah Song. As his popularity grew it was only a matter of time until Sandler would make the leap to the big screen. After a less than auspicious start with Airheads, Billy Madisson Sandler finally hit the big time with a little movie about a hockey player who becomes a golf pro in order to save his grandmother’s house. Unfortunately Happy’s short game needs a little work, but former pro golfer Chubbs (Apollo Creed) comes to his rescue, and helps him overcome nemesis Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald) the reigning champ determined to squash Happy’s dream.
81 – City Slickers – From the title you might expect this film to show up on a list of the best western movies of all time. Who knows, it might crack that list too. However, this movie about three big city guys who are having a mid life crisis and decide to spend a few weeks driving cattle from New Mexico to Colorado is humor through and through. Billy Crystal, Bruno Kirby and Daniel Stern star as the three “city slickers” and each one provides plenty of humor throughout. However, it is the late great Jack Palance who real steals the show. Palance, who starred in well over a 100 films before his death in 2006, saved his best work for the twilight of his career, and his turn as the hard-bitten ranch hand Curly earned him an Oscar for best supporting actor. Palance had twice before been nominated in the category for Shane and for Sudden Fear, but had walked away empty handed both times. The best part of the movie is the ongoing friction between Curly and Billy Crystal’s character Mitch, and the wordplay between the two makes for some truly classic scenes.
80 – What About Bob? – I really am on an SNL streak now. Bill Murray is another former cast member and this master of sarcasm was one of the biggest names in comedy film making in the 80s and 90s with major hits like Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, Scrooged and Kingpin just to name a few. His 2003 film Lost in Translation with Scarlett Johansson was something of a departure for Murray, but he showed he wasn’t just a one trick pony and his dramatic performance as Bob Harris earned him an Oscar nomination for best actor in a lead role. As good as he was though, he will always be known first and foremost as one of the funniest men in Hollywood, and he was at his zany best in 1991’s What About Bob? where he stars an obsessive compulsive who drives his psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) nuts by following him out on his family vacation.
79 – Shampoo – Coming up with a list of the funniest movies of the 70s would be a challenge – there really weren’t a lot to choose from in that decade – but Shampoo was certainly the exception. Warren Beatty stars as a Beverly Hills hairdresser whose uncontrolled sex drive lands him in all sorts of trouble with a potential investor. Beatty juggles Goldie Hawn, Carrie Fisher, Lee Grant and Julie Christie in this libido-fueled romp that mirrors the free love movement that was still going on in the time period this movie takes place in.
78 – Wayne’s World – For much of the 90s there weren’t many comedic actors as bankable as Mike Myers. Not only was Myers a huge star on Saturday Night Live, making audiences howl with his hilarious characters from skits like Wayne’s World, Sprockets, Coffee Talk, and Simon, but he translated that popularity into huge onscreen success, including two Wayne’s World films, So I Married an Axe Murderer and the enormously popular Austin Powers movies. However, it was the original big screen adaptation of Wayne’s World that really put Myers (Wayne Campbell), and to a lesser extent, his sidekick Dana Carvey (Garth) on the map. Few movies are as quotable as this 90s comedy classic, and even today when Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody gets played young men everywhere are overcome with the uncontrollable urge to bang their head.
77 – Cheech & Chong – Up in Smoke – Though films like Half Baked, Dazed and Confused and Harold and Kumar Go To Whitecastle tend to get the spotlight these days among the stoner crowd if you were coming up with a list of the top 10 best stoner movies of all time this 1978 classic would have to get strong consideration for the top spot. Cheech and Chong unwittingly become drug mules after getting deported to Mexico, driving a van made entirely of marijuana back to the U.S.. If you want to make an afternoon of it, pick up Nice Dreams as well, for a smoke filled double feature. Whatever, you do though avoid Cheech and Chong’s The Corsican Brothers like the plague.
76 – The Wedding Singer – If my wife was making this list this would be rated a lot higher. In fact she might even have it at #1 if this was a list of the best romantic comedy movies. For me, as with most guys, the term ‘romantic comedy’ is synonymous with the phrase ‘chick flick’. However, The Wedding Singer does a great job of adding enough content for guys to keep this movie not only bearable, but actually quite enjoyable throughout. Though he was good in The Waterboy and the aforementioned Happy Gilmore in my mind this movie is the pinnacle of Adam Sandler’s career to take. Drew Barrymore plays the soon to be Mrs. Julia Gulia and she and Sandler have great onscreen chemistry. Though the movie actually came out in 1998 it is set in the 80s, and fans of 80s comedy films have plenty to appreciate here, from Sandler’s curly mullet to Julia’s Miami Vice obsessed fiancé Glenn to Billy Idol’s cameo. If your significant other is in the mood for a chick flick, pick this one up.
75 – Shrek – This movie from Dreamworks would easily challenge for the top spot on the list of the best animated movies of all time, and few who’ve seen it could challenge its appearance in the top 75 of this funniest movies list either. When Shrek hit movie theaters in 2001 Pixar (Toy Story, Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Cars, Ratatouille were the undisputed leaders in CGI animation. However, a cantankerous yet loveable green ogre, and his irritating, yet equally loveable sidekick donkey threw down the gauntlet with this smash hit. Mike Myers of Wayne’s World and Austin Powers fame is perfectly cast as the voice of Shrek, an ogre who grudgingly agrees to go on a quest to rescue a princess so he can have his beloved swamp to himself again. Equally well cast is Eddie Murphy (The Golden Child, Beverly Hills Cop, The Nutty Professor) as Donkey, who accompanies Shrek on his mission to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), and ultimately throw a wrench in the machinations of the evil Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). Puns, one liners, and slapstick abound in this incredible animated film, and the animation itself is absolutely top notch, challenging Pixar films of the same vintage for supremacy. Shrek was a monstrous success at the box office. With so much money on the line, sequels were a no-brainer, and Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third raked in even more money than the original. With added star power from Justin Timberlake, John Cleese, Antonio Banderas, Larry King, Rupert Everett, Eric Idle and Ian McShane the Shrek franchise is only getting bigger.
74 – Pineapple Express – Yet another great comedy film with Judd Apatow’s fingerprints on it. Though David Gordon Green is the director on this one, Apatow produced the movie, and once again Seth Rogen lands a lead role in an Apatow vehicle. Rogen again delivers the laughs as Dale Denton, a pot-smoking process server running for his life after witnessing a murder. However, it is his co-lead James Franco, who plays pot dealer Saul Silver, who really steals the show. Franco is best known for his turn as Harry Osborne in the smash Spiderman movies. However, Franco shows his penchant for comedy, hinted at a decade ago when he starred alongside Rogen in Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks. Speaking of bumbling criminals, these two really have it nailed, and you will find yourself alternating between laughter and wincing at the painfully stupid decisions made by the pair. Danny McBride, who has recently gained some acclaim of his own with his lead role as Kenny Powers on the HBO comedy Eastbound and Down, is hilarious in support, and really displays a “never say die” attitude throughout the film. Gary Cole, of Office Space fame is good as well as the drug kingpin and killer on the trail of Denton and Silver.
73 – Hot Shots! – Long before Charlie Sheen and John Cryer were making audiences laugh as Charlie and Alan Harper on the hit show Two and a Half Men they were cracking up big screen audiences with their respective roles as Topper Harley and Jim ‘Wash Out’ Pfaffenbach in the 1991 Top Gun parody Hot Shots!. In the spirit of classic comedy movies like Airplane and The Naked Gun almost every scene in the movie pays tongue in cheek homage to Top Gun and Sheen’s Topper Harley, Cary Elwes’ Lt. Kent Gregory, and William O’Leary’s Pete “Dead Meat” Thompson are all instantly recognizable as parodies of Maverick, Ice Man and Goose. My favorite performance in the film is the one turned in by the late great Lloyd Bridges, who has the audience in stitches every time he comes onscreen as Admiral Thomas “Tug” Benson.
72 – Dazed & Confused – Though I may have dissed Matthew McConaughey for his recent string of bad romantic comedies his turn as the lecherous stoner David Wooderson in this 90s comedy about the 70s is sheer brilliance. “Alright, alright, alright!” is still frequently worked into the conversation between my friends and I, and that is just one of Wooderson’s many quotable lines throughout the film. Yes, Dazed and Confused is first and foremost a stoner comedy, no doubt about it, but there is some surprising depth there as well. It is a well done period piece about what teenage life was like in 1976, and the accompanying soundtrack, with some great tunes like Foghat’s Slow Ride, Low Rider’s War, Nazareth’s Love Hurts and Alice Cooper’s School’s Out is arguably one of the best movie soundtracks of all time. In fact, there are so many good tunes in this movie they actually released a second soundtrack album. However, it is a crime that Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion played at the opening of the movie as a 1970 Pontiac GTO slowly cruises into the parking lot, is absent from both soundtracks. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this film is that the bulk of the actors were completely unknown at the time. McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Rory Cochrane, and Adam Goldberg have all gone on to have huge careers.
71 – 40 Year Old Virgin – Unlike the mysterious Pineapple Express or Superbad all you need to do is read the title of this film to figure out that this is a comedy through and through. Steve Carrell has been just as hot a commodity in Hollywood over the past few years as Rogen or Ferrell, gaining huge popularity with North American audiences during his 5 years on NBC’s hit sitcom The Office where he stars as painfully politically incorrect boss Michael Scott. Since the first episode aired Carrell has gone on to star in films like Evan Almighty, Get Smart, Little Miss Sunshine and of course 40 Year Old Virgin. Carrell takes the lead role as Andy Stitzer, and he is indeed a 40 year old virgin. Once his friends/co-workers discover he’s never done the deed they make it their mission to make sure he doesn’t hit age 41 with his virginity still intact. Andy has some misadventures along the way, but eventually finds love with Trish, played by Catherine Keener. Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd are hilarious as usual in a supporting role. Hmmm, at this point I should seriously consider putting together a list of the top 10 Seth Rogen movies.
70 – Uncle Buck – The loss of John Candy in 1994 was a huge loss for movie fans everywhere. However, before his untimely death this Canadian funnyman made some of the most popular comedy movies of all time for us to remember him by. Spaceballs, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and The Great Outdoors are just a few of the many other great comedy films Candy was a part of. In the film Candy plays Buck Russell, a lazy slob who is also a bit of a grifter who winds up with the responsibility of baby-sitting his nephew and two nieces when their parents after to go out of town after a death in the family. Buck’s lack of parenting skills are immediately apparent, and Mia, the oldest of the kids, has Buck at his wit’s end as he tries to deal with her teenage rebellion. Candy’s performance in the film is great, but he is nearly upstaged by a pre-Home Alone Macaulay Culkin, who has a series of great one-liners and one particularly amusing interview in the movie. If you haven’t seen it recently or at all, definitely pick it up. Uncle Buck is still a great family comedy more than 20 years after its release.
69 – Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – Before he became famous as Michael Scott on The Office and Andy Stitzer in 40 Year Old Virgin Steve Carrell starred as Brick Tamland in this Adam McKay film. Actually, Carrell had a pretty minor part, but his “I love lamp” and “Loud noises!” quotes are among the most memorable in the movie. Of course, it is Will Ferrell in the lead role as Ron Burgundy who really makes the movie. Set in the 70s, the movie follows the hilarious exploits of Burgundy, a network anchorman, drunk with power and his own importance who gets a reality check when anchorwoman Veronica Corningstone arrives at the network. Though he has a sexual relationship with her their work tensions quickly ruin everything and Burgundy’s life quickly spirals out of control. Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Champ Kind (David Koechner) join Brick Tamland as members of Burgundy’s posse, and the dialog between the four of them is absolutely priceless.
68 – Bull Durham – Though Kevin Costner is more known for his dramatic work in films like Dances With Wolves, Field of Dreams and The Postman he showed he could hold his own in a romantic comedy with his turn as Crash Davis, a minor league baseball catcher caught in a love triangle with diehard female fan Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) and teammate and up and coming pitching superstar Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins). Again, like Wedding Singers, Bull Durham’s creators have managed to walk that fine line, coming up with a romantic comedy that will appeal to the women, without making it too painful for the men.
67 – My Big Fat Greek Wedding – One of the biggest surprises in Hollywood over the past ten years was the enormous popularity this little independent film enjoyed during its run in 2002. Word of mouth kept slowly building and it seemed like this movie’s run would never end as more and more people flocked to the theater to see what all the fuss was about. When the dust finally settled the movie had grossed over $241 million domestically, and had earned writer and star Nia Vardalos an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Original Screenplay. The movie itself was charming, tender-hearted, and though it had its share of drama, retained its comedic spirit throughout (particularly the father’s Windex scenes).
66 – Super Troopers – At the exact opposite end of the comedy spectrum from My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the goofy, but uproariously funny cop comedy Super Troopers. From the demented mind of writer/director Jay Chandrasekhar, who also directed both Beerfest and The Dukes of Hazzard this comedy about a group of Vermont state troopers is one of those rare movies that you can watch over and over again without getting sick of it. Foster, Farva, Mac, Thorny and Rabbit spend most of their time pulling pranks and aren’t too concerned about the serve and protect part of the job. Throughout the film the “Super Troopers” are pitted against not only a powerful drug cartel, but also a group of local law enforcement officers that are making the gang look bad with their superior crime fighting techniques.
65 – Beverly Hills Cop – Though these days Eddie Murphy is best known for his voice work as Donkey in Dreamwork’s animated Shrek movies, more than 2 decades ago he was carving a name for himself as a foul mouthed entertainer with an inimitable style and an infectious laugh. Another comedian whose career path started at Saturday Night Live, where he gained a cult following with characters like Buckwheat, Gumby, and Mr. Robinson, Murphy was also known for his raunchy stand-up comedy, and the release of the profanity-laden Delirious in 1983 gained him an enormous following with those who enjoyed more “adult” humor. Prior to Beverly Hills Copy Murphy also starred in comedies like 48 Hours with Nick Nolte and Trading Places with fellow SNLer Dan Akroyd. These 80s comedies were well received, and it was clear Murphy was an up and comer in the genre. However, nobody could have anticipated the huge success that Beverly Hills Copy would enjoy. Murphy became a mega-star virtually overnight. He went on to star in films like The Golden Child and Coming to America and also made Beverly Hills Cop II and III.
64 – Broadcast News – Though the plot line may bear some similarity to Will Ferrell’s Anchorman this one doesn’t devolve into the realm of complete silliness, which could explain why is was nominated for seven Oscars to Anchorman’s zero. William Hurt and Albert Brooks star as rival TV reporters who use completely different strategies to try and beat one another to the top. Hurt’s character Tom Grunick is a Ron Burgundy type, shallow, and self-important, who tries to use charm to make up for his journalistic skills. Brooks’ character Aaron Altman is the complete opposite, lacking in charm, but chock full of journalistic integrity and keen intuition. Both vie for the attention of producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) in a bizarre work love triangle.
63 – American Graffiti – Did I say there weren’t that many great 70s comedy movies? Well, this is another exception to the rule, and is an American film classic in any genre. Before George Lucas really hit the big time with Star Wars he directed this gem about graduated high school seniors who spend a night out cruising before they head off for college. Though the premise sounds pretty simple, and bears some resemblance to Dazed and Confused the characters, the cars, and the stellar soundtrack make the movie a must watch. Set in 1962, this period piece features plenty of beautiful automobiles, and songs like Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock, Del Shannon’s Runaway and The Crests’ Sixteen Candles will take you back if you were lucky enough to be alive during this magical time. The young trio of Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Mr. Holland’s Opus), Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner) and Ron Howard (Actor – Happy Days & Director (Backdraft, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13) all saw their great careers launched by this movie.
62 – Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – If this was a list of the top 100 gross out comedy movies ever made this kooky film would get consideration for the number one spot. Sacha Baron Cohen of Da Ali G Show takes his Borat character from that series to the big screen in this movie about a Kazakh reporter who is sent to America to film a documentary. Along the way the ignorant and abrasive Borat manages to offend just about everyone he comes in contact with, and spends most of the documentary sidetracked in an attempt to marry Pam Anderson. If you are easily offended (or maybe even if you are not) you might want to give this one a miss. Sacha Baron Cohen really exceeds the boundaries of good taste with this one.
61 – Spaceballs – In the 1970s and 80s actor/director/producer Mel Brooks was one of the biggest heavyweights in the comedy film business. With hits like Blazing Saddles, The History of the World: Part I and To Be or Not to Be Brooks had audiences howling with his goofy, genre-spoofing brand of comedy. In 1987’s Spaceballs he took direct aim at the space opera genre, firing shots at sci-fi hits like Star Wars, Alien and Planet of the Apes. Star Wars takes the brunt of the assault with characters like Lone Starr (Bill Pullman), Barf (John Candy), Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis), Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga), and Pizza the Hut spoofing Han Solo, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and Jabba the Hutt respectively. Moranis is particularly good in his role as the nefarious Dark Helmet, and Brooks even makes an appearance himself as both Yogurt (Yoda) and President Skroob. Even Joan Rivers is good as C3PO knock-off Dot Matrix.
60 – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery – Though Mike Myers enjoyed a certain level of Hollywood notoriety following the theatrical release of Wayne’s World it wasn’t until his James Bond spoof, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery that he really hit the big time as one of the planet’s biggest comedy movie stars. Myers performance as Austin Powers is an example of perfect casting. He is spot on as swinging British agent/sex symbol with bad teeth, and equally as good as Powers’ nemesis, the lazy-eyed villain Dr. Evil. Unlike some popular comedy films where there are ebbs and flows to the humor the laughs never seem to stop coming in this one, and memorable quotes from both Austin Powers and Dr. Evil abound. Elizabeth Hurley is deliciously sexy as Austin’s love interest, Vanessa Kensington, and Seth Green provides plenty of laughs as Dr. Evil’s son Scott, who struggles with the sort of issues that go hand in hand with having the most diabolical man on the planet for a father. The success of the first Austin Powers was so huge that, in predictable Hollywood fashion, it went on to spawn a pair of sequels. However, in unpredictable Hollywood fashion Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Austin Powers in Goldmember were almost as good as the original, and introduced such memorable characters as Mini Me (Verne Troyer), Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham), Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles), Goldmember (Mike Myers), and, last, but certainly not least, Fat Bastard (Mike Myers).
59 – Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story – Wow, here we are at number 59 on the list of the top 100 funniest movies of all time and this is Vince Vaughn’s first appearance. However, with so many great comedy films under his belt like Old School, Wedding Crashers and the cult classic Swingers you can bet it won’t be his last. In Dodgeball Vaughn plays Peter La Fleur, the owner of Average Joe’s gym, a low rent fitness facility with a small but loyal clientele. However, when fitness chain Globo Gym comes to town, Average Joe’s is under siege by Globo Gym fitness guru White Goodman (Ben Stiller). In a desperate effort to raise the $50,000 he needs to stay in business La Fleur and his “Average Joes” enter a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament. When Goodman gets wind of the plan he puts together his own superstar team in order to crush Average Joes once and for all. Though a movie about a fringe sport like dodgeball seems like a silly premise it actually works pretty well, and Stiller in particular is hilarious as the overbearing, mustachioed White Goodman. Christine Taylor, Justin Long, Hank Azaria, Jason Bateman, and even Rip Torn also lend their comedic talents to the film, and Lance Armstrong is pretty funny in a cameo.
58 – Van Wilder – I’ll grant you that not many film critics would have this college gross out comedy film on their list of the 100 best comedy movies, but I laughed way too hard not to include it. The comic timing of Ryan Reynolds from his facial expressions to his vocal inflections is just spot on in this film, and he provides a constant flow of laughs as title character Van Wilder. Kal Penn, of Harold and Kumar Go To Whitecastle fame is excellent in a supporting role as Taj Mahal Badalandabad, Van Wilder’s assistant. Tara Reid plays Ryan Reynolds’ love interest in the film, and though I still think her best role to date was as Bunny Lebowski she does a decent job in the film. Much like Borat there is some extremely crude humor that definitely crosses the line of decency.
57 – The Blues Brothers – Though many consider the late great John Belushi one of the greatest comedians of his era this legendary performer didn’t actually star in many movies before his untimely death in 1982. However, there is one role for which he will never be forgotten, and that is his turn as Jake Blues in the cult classic film The Blues Brothers. This iconic film starring Belushi and fellow SNL cast member Dan Akroyd is a true classic in any film genre and remains one of the most quotable movies of all time. Belushi and Akroyd weren’t the only star power behind this zany musical about two brothers on a mission from God. Ray Charles, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Cab Calloway are just a few of the musical legends who show up in the film. In 1998 Akroyd made the terrible decision to come back to star in a sequel called Blues Brothers 2000. The movie was a flop, and proved once again that you just shouldn’t mess with a classic.
56 – Slapshot – While there certainly is no shortage of sports comedies (particularly baseball) in the annals of Hollywood, there has definitely been a dearth of comedic hockey films. No, The Mighty Ducks doesn’t count. As far as I can tell it wasn’t intentionally humorous. However, Canadians, and other hockey fans around the world, seem to be more than content to keep watching the 1970s comedy classic Slapshot over and over again. Paul Newman is the unlikely lead man, Reg Dunlop in this picture about a minor league hockey team that lays it all out on the line in what is likely to be their last season. Rather than go out with class, Newman, an aging player-coach decides to try and goon his way to the championship, changing the mentality of the team from a skilled squad to a team that intimidates their opponents with physical punishment. Newman is decent in the lead role, but it is the supporting cast in this movie that really makes it one of the funniest sports movies of all time. Players like Dave “Killer” Carlson and goalie Denis Lemieux have their moments, but it is the Hanson brothers (Jeff, Steve and Jack) who really steal the show. With long hair, taped up horn rim glasses, and a penchant for playing with toys the Hansons steal every scene they are in, wreaking terrible physical havoc on opposing players and soda machines alike. Once again memorable quotes abound, and I still hear “Puttin’ on the foil” on a regular basis before my own hockey games.
55 – Christmas Vacation – The Vacation series of movies by National Lampoon really seems to have a split personality. The original Vacation is recognized as one of the funniest comedy movies of the 80s. Then came the sequel European Vacation, a stinker by even the most generous critics’ reckoning. When Christmas Vacation came out it brought back respectability to the series, and producers should have known to leave well enough alone. Alas, it is always about the almighty dollar and not the legacy of a franchise that matters in Hollywood, so they decided to go with one more quick cash grab, firing out the horrendously bad Vegas Vacation before (hopefully) finally retiring the franchise. As mentioned above they got it right with this Christmas comedy, and Christmas Vacation could easily earn a spot on a list of the best Christmas movies of all time. Chevy Chase stars once again as the well-meaning, but bumbling Clark Griswold who tries to give his family the biggest and best Christmas ever, but predictably ends up messing everything up. Beverly D’Angelo, who has recently revitalized her career with a role as Barbara “Babs” Miller on the hit HBO show Entourage stars as Clark’s incredibly patient wife, who despite being constantly exasperated with his antics, always sticks with him through thick and thin. And Randy Quaid is again a scene stealer as cousin Eddie, who tests Clark’s own patience. All in all the movie is a Christmas classic and one that we sit down and watch every holiday season along with other classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol.
54 – The Incredibles – Though nearly every animated movie of the past 15 years or so (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars, Madagascar etc.) has comedic elements, it is probably inaccurate to peg them specifically into the comedy film genre. There are a few exceptions, however, where the laughs are so continuous that they must be considered comedies first and foremost. One example of this is Pixar’s 2004 superhero parody, The Incredibles. Written and directed by the supremely talented Brad Bird, who credits also include 1999’s underrated The Iron Giant and Pixar’s Ratatouille this fantastic animated comedy film is about a family of superheroes who’ve been living in retirement and are “forced” to get back into their superhero duds to save the world from the evil machinations of Syndrome. The animation, as with any Pixar film, is top notch, and the voice acting by Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jason Lee is one of the film’s greatest strengths.
53 – Stripes – Though it may seem like subject matter that is not conducive to humor, war and the military has always provided a fertile breeding ground for great comedy films and TV shows. M*A*S*H, Private Benjamin and Good Morning Vietnam are all examples of great war movie comedies that can make us laugh, even if the surrounding subject matter is about as grim as it gets. All of these movies have great characters, whose funny, vibrant personalities can make us forget the less than jovial setting. Ivan Reitman’s 1981 comedy Stripes falls in that category as well, and helped Bill Murray continue the momentum he’d built in Caddyshack in making the transition from TV to film acting. Harold Ramis, who also teamed up with Murray in Ghostbusters is excellent as co-lead in this film about a pair of average guys, fed up with their jobs, who decide to join the army to meet girls.
52 – Rushmore – Back to back Bill Murray on the list of the best comedy movies of all time. The role as Herman Blume, a depressed multi-millionaire, is a little different than the characters Murray had built his reputation on in the 80s, but just like he did in Lost in Translation he shows his acting chops, and pulls it off. However, the real star of the show is Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), a nerdy 10th grader whose whole reason for living seems to be the time he spends at the prep school Rushmore. He isn’t exactly a model student, barely scraping by in his academic studies, but manages to cram in an extraordinary amount of extracurricular activities. The comedy shifts into high gear when Max falls in love with elementary school teacher Ms. Cross (Olivia Williams). Unfortunately, Herman Blume, whom Max has befriended develops a crush on the same woman, fomenting an unlikely war for love between the two.
51 – The Thin Man – Though readers of this list of funny movies have probably seen many of the films described here, but chances are this 1934 classic isn’t one of them. If you are in that camp then consider yourself lucky because you get the opportunity to see this great film for the very first time. William Powell and Myrna Loy star as Nick and Nora in this playful romp about a former detective and his rich wife who solve murder mysteries just for giggles. This one is not only a great comedy film, but would probably find a high spot on the list of the top 100 mystery movies of all time as well. It was nominated for 4 Oscars, including best picture and best actor, and went on to spawn several sequels including After the Thin Man, Another Thin Man, Shadow of the Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home and Song of the Thin Man.
50 – Trainspotting – A little international flavor once again as we enter the top 50 comedy movies ever made. Though drugs play a central role in the film, it can’t really be described as a “stoner comedy”. Scotsman Ewan McGregor (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Moulin Rouge!, Shallow Grave, Angels & Demons) stars in the lead role as Renton, a junkie living in Edinburgh who is desperately trying to escape from the drug culture of the city. However, his friends Spud, Tommy, Sick Boy and Begbie keep dragging him down. It certainly doesn’t sound like a comedy film from the description but trust me when I say there are plenty of laughs, and tons of great quotes. Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) are particularly funny, if you can understand what they are saying.
49 – Office Space – Talk about quotable cult comedy classics, Office Space fits the bill on all counts in this hilarious movie about office workers who try to get revenge on Initech, a software company that lays them off, by creating a computer virus to try and embezzle money. As you can imagine hilarity ensues. As is often the case with cult movies like this one the primaries aren’t well known actors. Ron Livingston plays the lead character Peter Gibbons. He is good in the role, but is upstaged by the performance of Gary Cole as Bill Lundbergh. Lundbergh has gained a cult following all of his own, and memorable quotes like “I’m gonna need you to…” and “…that’d be great” continue to be widely borrowed to this day.
48 – Diner – No, the title doesn’t really give a lot away about what this movie is about, but then there really isn’t much to give away. Set in the late ‘50s the film is about a group of young men who try and forestall the imminent arrival of adulthood and the attached responsibility by spending all their time in a diner. Sounds a little like the Seinfeld gang’s coffee shop doesn’t it? Ultimately, they must leave their haven and face the real world. With not much of a plot to speak of the movie must stand on other pillars like memorable characters and strong dialog. Diner delivers both, and you will find yourself laughing along with Eddie, Shrevie, Boogie and the gang even as you are empathizing with them.
47 – Dumb & Dumber – From thought-provoking, dialog driven comedy to pure stupid slapstick humor. Dumb & Dumber is definitely at the shallow end when it comes to depth in film-making. But a good comedy doesn’t need to change the way you think about life, it only needs to make you laugh, and unless you are a complete stick in the mud the antics of Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne will have you in stitches throughout this mindlessly entertaining picture. Jim Carrey, former In Living Color cast member and star of such hit comedies as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and The Cable Guy stars as the moronic Lloyd Christmas, a limo driver with an IQ well below triple digits. Jeff Daniels (Arachnophobia, Pleasantville, RV) stars as his equally witless buddy, Harry Dunne. The two become entangled in a cross-country misadventure when Lloyd shuttles the beautiful Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) to the airport and sees her leave her bag (filled with money) behind, unaware that she has done so on purpose. He gathers up Harry and the two take off in a gallant journey to return said bag. Don’t forget to watch for Cam Neely’s cameo as Sea Bass.
46 – The Pink Panther – One of the biggest icons in comedy film history is without a doubt the late great Peter Sellers. This legendary funny man has starred in some of the best comedy movies of all time including The Party, Dr. Strangelove and, of course, The Pink Panther and its sequels. According to reports Sellers was moody and difficult to work with, but when the film starting rolling he was simply hilarious. The Pink Panther is probably the work Sellers is best known for, and his Inspector Jacques Clouseau is one of the most beloved characters in any film genre. Clouseau bumbles about trying to catch a jewel thief dubbed The Phantom before he can steal the largest diamond in the world: the Pink Panther. The only thing wrong with this film is the fact that Clouseau’s house boy, Cato (based on the Bruce Lee character Kato from the Green Hornet) does not show up in this film. He appears in all the other movies, and his random martial arts battles with Clouseau are the stuff of film legend.
45 – Ghost Busters – This could easily nab on spot on the best Halloween movies of all time, or the top 10 sci-fi films ever made, but it delivers enough laughs to crack the best comedy movies ever with room to spare. Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and Harold Ramis star as Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Raymond Stantz, and Dr. Egon Spengler respectively, three parapsychology professors who decide to go into the spirit removal business after they are fired from ColumbiaUniversity. Their unique service becomes very much in demand as New York starts to get overrun with ghosts and goblins, foreshadowing the imminent return of the God Gozer the Gozerian. The ghost busters, never dreaming they’d be facing an evil deity, quickly find themselves in over their heads, but manage to find their heroic side, battling off demon dogs, a giant stay puft marshmallow man, and a hotdog gobbling green ghoul named Slimer. Sigourney Weaver gives a great performance as Venkman’s love interest Dana Barrett, and Zuul, ‘The Gatekeeper’ that will help facilitate Gozer the Gozerian’s entrance to the world. Former SCTV alum Rick Moranis (Strange Brew, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Little Shop of Horrors) provides plenty of laughs as well as the nerdy, but friendly Louis Tully, who becomes possessed as ‘The Keymaster’, whose is supposed to join with Zuul. Despite being 25 years old now the special effects in Ghost Busters have stood the test of time surprisingly well, and though certainly not on par with today’s CGI are still respectable. The movie was so popular that it spawned a sequel (Ghost Busters II) and multiple live action TV and cartoon series. For those of you who still want more there is apparently a Ghost Busters III in the works.
44 – Wedding Crashers – The premise of this movie is surprisingly simple, yet refreshingly original and the laughs never stop in this clever romantic comedy. Vince Vaughn (Swingers, Old School) and Owen Wilson (Shanghai Noon, Marley & Me, Bottle Rocket) star as Jeremy Grey and John Beckwith, two unabashed bachelors who keep their love life sizzling by crashing weekend weddings and seducing and subsequently sleeping with hot, single women. However, their partnership becomes strained when Jeremy meets and falls in love with Claire Cleary (played by the lovely Rachel McAdams). To further complicate things Claire is engaged to arrogant ivy leaguer Sack, who is less than friendly to Jeremy. In the meantime John is being stalked by Claire’s young, but far more sexually aggressive sister Gloria, and her pursuit of him provides some of the film’s biggest laughs. The incomparable Christopher Walken stars as the father of the girls, and once again steals the show with one of his signature monologues. And even Will Ferrell, who starred with Vaughn and Owen’s brother Luke Wilson in the movie Old School makes a cameo as Chazz Reinhold (he was also a Chazz in Blades of Glory), Vaughn’s wedding crashing mentor from back in the day.
43 – Meet the Parents – When people see the name Robert DeNiro show up in the opening credits, probably the last type of movie they expect to see is a comedy. However, DeNiro proved with 2000’s Meet the Parents that although he tends to be at his Oscar winning best in criminal roles like Jimmy Conway from Goodfellas or Ace Rothstein from Casino he does a surprisingly talent for comedy as well. In the film he is perfectly cast as Jack Byrnes, the suspicious, overprotective ex-CIA father of Pam (Teri Polo). When his daughter decides to marry a male nurse by the name of Gaylord Focker (Ben Stiller) his fatherly instincts shift into overdrive, and Stiller wilts under the intense pressure and scrutiny of his future father-in-law. Owen Wilson again teams up with Stiller, playing the perfect Kevin, an old boyfriend of Pam’s that can’t seem to do anything wrong. Meanwhile, Focker can’t seem to do anything right, and he digs himself a deeper and deeper hole with the family following a serious of incidents where he loses the family cat, nearly kills Pam’s sister with a volleyball, and lights the garden on fire. He is finally given the heave-ho by the whole family (including Pam) and manages to get himself arrested when he freaks out on the plane he is supposed to be leaving on. Ironically, it is Jack who uses his law enforcement connections to get Focker out of the scrape, and Gaylord and Pam are reunited when the whole confusing truth is finally out in the open.
42 – The Princess Bride – Though it is not quite in the class of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this film would still definitely get a high spot if I were putting together a list of the top 10 fantasy movies of all time. However, despite its fantasy theme, much of the material is delivered with tongue firmly planted in cheek, and there are plenty of laughs throughout. Cary Elwes (Saw, Twister, Days of Thunder) and Robin Wright Penn (Forrest Gump, Beowulf) star as Westley and Buttercup, an unlikely couple who have managed to find true love. However, their love is put on hold when Westley is kidnapped by the Dread Pirate Roberts and Buttercup is betrothed to the evil Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). Westley returns in spectacular fashion to prevent the wedding, battling giants, master swordsmen, rodents of unusual size and brilliant schemers. He withstands unimaginable torture and even comes back from the (mostly) dead to reclaim his true love. Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant star as Inigo Montoya and Fezzik, who align themselves with Westley’s cause. The two are hilarious throughout the film, delivering one memorable quote after another. Billy Crystal throws in a great cameo as Miracle Max, who uses his considerable healing talents to restore Westley to life for one last assault on the castle. Peter Faulk of Columbo fame is fantastic as the film’s narrator, and a young Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) does a good job as the impatient grandchild for whom the story is being told.
41 – Napoleon Dynamite – The phrase “quirky comedy” was invented for movies like this one from the strange minds of Jared and Jerusha Hess. It is just about impossible to explain the humor to anyone who hasn’t seen the film, and there are plenty of people who have watched it that “just don’t get it”. Jon Heder, who was also so good as Jimmy MacElroy in 2007’s Blades of Glory, stars as Napoleon, a singularly unique teenager who tries to help his friend Pedro (the only kid in high school who can grow a mustache) win the class presidency. However, though that might be the only part of the film that can be pegged down to a plot, there are plenty of random scenes that will have you chuckling in confusion. Napeleon’s brother Kip (Aaron Ruell) and his uncle Rico (John Gries) are just as bizarre as he is, and each one is definitely a character. Reading this summary you are probably scratching your head, wondering what specifically is supposed to be funny about this film. That is the difficulty in trying to sum up Napoleon Dynamite. It is impossible to categorize.
40 – The Graduate – Ah, a true classic to crack into the top 40 funniest films ever made. The Graduate stars a young Dustin Hoffman as Ben Braddock, a college graduate who finds himself in a bizarre love triangle Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft – The Miracle Worker, The Elephant Man) the wife of his father’s business partner, and her daughter Elaine (Katherine Ross). As you can imagine young Ben’s life quickly becomes complicated, and there are plenty of laughs as he tries to extricate himself from the tangled web he finds himself snared in. Though it is an older film (1967) the plot, the dialog, and the acting easily stand it up against today’s best romantic comedy films.
39 – American Pie – Funny that these two films would be back to back as one of the subplots to 1999’s teenage sex comedy, American Pie is actually an homage to The Graduate and Eddie Kaye Thomas’s Finch is seduced by the voluptuous, mysterious woman known only as Stifler’s mom. That particular plot line in this film about 4 high school senior guys who are trying to lose their virginity is but a sampling of the humor that abounds throughout. Jason Biggs stars as the main character Jim Levenstein, who is arguably the most challenged of the group when it comes to scoring with girls. He blows it (literally – twice) with foreign exchange student Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), has relations with an apple pie (to the mortification of his father, played by the incomparable Eugene Levy), and ultimately winds up the boy toy of the geeky but domineering band chick Michelle Flaherty, played to perfection by How I Met Your Mother’s Alyson Hannigan. Along with Finch and Jim, Oz (Chris Klein) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) each have their own challenges as they try and score with Mena Suvari and Tara Reid respectively. However, it is the obnoxious Stifler (Seann William Scott) who ultimately winds up stealing scene after scene in the movie, and Stiler’s antics and advice for his four virgin friends will have you laughing every time his obnoxious mug is on screen. All in all American Pie has to be considered one of the best high school teen comedy movies ever made.
38 – When Harry Met Sally – Though romantic comedy queen Meg Ryan is best known for her work opposite Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle, Joe vs. the Volcano, and You’ve Got Mail, her best work was with Billy Crystal in 1989’s smash hit When Harry Met Sally. Ryan stars as Sally Albright, who gives Harry Burns (Crystal) a ride from Chicago to New York. At first they seem like oil and water, and the idea of friendship seems like a very long shot indeed (especially after Harry spits grape seeds on Sally’s passenger window). However, against the odds the two go on to become very good friends, bumping into each other again and again throughout the years. They both go on to their own relationships, yet never end up getting together themselves fearing introducing sex into the mix will ruin the friendship. The sexual tension between the two throughout the film is palpable, and much like Ross and Rachael from TV’s Friends the audience keeps pulling for them to get together. Ultimately, this is a chick flick, and for the guys in the audience only Crystal’s sardonic brand of humor makes it bearable (that and Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm performance).
37 – Clerks – Though director Kevin Smith is these days a Hollywood heavyweight back in 1994 when this critically acclaimed black and white low budget comedy about the misadventures of two grocery clerks came out he was a relative unknown. However, Clerks served as a springboard for his career and he has gone on to direct such cult comedy classics as Dogma, Chasing Amy, Mallrats and the recent Zack and Miri Make a Porno. However, no matter how many hits he puts on his resume he will forever be known for creating Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson), the two road hockey loving movie nuts that work at the Quickstop. Smith also has a bit role in his own movie as Silent Bob, sidekick to the obnoxious Jay (Jason Mewes) who deal drugs outside the store. Overall, Clerks much like Napoleon Dynamite offers a fresh take on the comedy genre, and would easily take a high spot on a list of the top 10 indie comedy movies ever made.
36 – Young Frankenstein – Odd that Frankenstein would make two appearances on this list. Maybe the top 100 horror movies, scariest movies, or best monster movies, but comedy? The story of a monster sewn together with the parts of dead bodies and brought to life by a demented scientist doesn’t sound funny, but when legendary funnymen like Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder are involved the plot gets turned on its ear, and there are far more laughs than screams from the audience. Wilder, whose comedy resume includes such laugh fests as Blazing Saddles, The Woman in Red, and Stir Crazy with the equally funny Richard Pryor, is hilarious as the grandson of the original Dr. Victor von Frankenstein, a young neurosurgeon who has spent his life trying to disassociate himself from him grandpa’s rather infamous reputation. However, when he inherits the family castle (along with Igor and Inga) he winds up recreating his grandfather’s old experiments with hilarious results.
35 – Old School – “We’re going streaking!” is just one of the legendary quotes from this underrated film about a group of 30 something guys who try to recapture their glory days by opening a frat house. Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn star as Mitch, Frank the Tank and Beanie, who quickly find themselves in hot water with Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven) after they start the frat house. The comedy never stops throughout the film and you can tell that the actors were genuinely having a blast filming the movie, and there is plenty of adlibbing going on. There is plenty of star power beyond “the big three” with Artie Lange, Seann William Scott, Elisha Cuthbert, Snoop Dogg, Craig Killborn and Juliette Lewis all making appearances in the film. No, there is nothing groundbreaking here, but if you are a fan of Animal House, or you love Ferrell’s goofy brand of comedy or Vaughn’s and Wilson’s sardonic sense of humor then you will likely love Old School.
34 – Vacation – Though Christmas Vacation may have ultimately turned out to be the more popular film this 1983 classic is still, in my humble opinion, the best film of the series to date. In this film we are introduced to Chevy Chase’s iconic character Clark Griswold, and he takes his family on a cross country odyssey in their metallic pea station wagon to visit the theme park Wally World. Along the way Clark manages to kill both a dog and Aunt Edna, go skinny dipping with Christie Brinkley, and hold a Wally World security guard at gunpoint in order to get his family a ride on the roller coaster. Clark’s wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), his son Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and his daughter Audrey (Dana Barron) all eventually get fed up with Clark and he must soldier on without their support.
33 – The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! – Legendary Canadian comedian Leslie Nielsen is best known for his work on the comedy classic Airplane!, but this cop movie spoof is not far behind in terms of quality and popularity. Nielsen stars as Lt. Frank Drebin, a completely incompetent police officer who must stumble and bumble until he can manage to foil a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II by the evil Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban). To complicate matters Drebin finds himself romantically entangled with Priscilla Presley’s Jane Spencer, and gets some cheap laughs by admiring a stuffed beaver she owns. When his best friend and partner, detective Nordberg (OJ Simpson) is murdered even Drebin figures out that something isn’t right in Denmark, and he puts his bloodhound nose on the trail of the criminals. The movie is pure goofy, parody fun, and you’ll find yourself laughing against your will. Want even more enjoyment? Pick up the two sequels – The Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell of Fear and The Naked Gun 33 1/3rd: The Final Insult.
32 – Father of the Bride – Sorry Steve Martin fans, I am referring to the original 1950 classic version of the film, not the 1991 remake. That being said, Martin’s version is quite funny and well worth a laugh, and Martin Short as wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer is a riot every time he is on screen. Still, as is almost always the case with both sequels and remakes they never quite seem to live up to the high standard and Father of the Bride is no exception. A young Elizabeth Taylor stars as Kay Banks (the bride) and the late great 2 time Oscar winner (Boys Town, Captains Courageous) Spencer Tracy stars as the patriarch. In fact, Tracy went on to receive an Oscar nomination for best actor in this role as well, one of 9 such nominations he received in his illustrious career.
31 – Ace Ventura: Pet Detective – Despite a bit of a comeback recently with hits like Yes Man and the animated Dr. Seuss classic Horton Hears a Who Jim Carrey’s career in recent years has been a pale shadow of what it was about 15 years ago when he was reeling off some of the best comedy movies of the 90s with films like The Cable Guy, The Mask, Dumb & Dumber, Liar Liar and The Truman Show. But the movie that really launched him to superstardom was his wacky turn as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Carrey is at his over the top best, starring alongside Courtney Cox in this goofy caper comedy where Carrey puts his animal instincts to work to sniff out the kidnappers of a football team’s dolphin mascot. The humor is pretty low brow, but there is no denying Carrey’s amazing ability to become a living caricature and contort both his face and his body in ways no human being should. Rap fans will recognize a cameo by Tone Loc, who also showed up in Andrew Dice Clay’s 1990 detective spoof The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Want a double feature? Pick up both Ace Ventura: Pet Defective and its sequel Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls for a double dip of mindless laughter.
30 – Private Benjamin – Once again the military provides the backdrop for one of the best comedy movies ever made. Goldie Hawn, who list films like The First Wives Club and Shampoo upon her comedy resume, stars in the title role as Private Benjamin, a spoiled socialite woman with little exposure to the harsh realities of life who decides to join the army after her new husband dies on their wedding night. As you can imagine this is not the smoothest transition for the army’s newest recruit, and Benjamin is forced to adjust in a hurry as calamity after calamity befall her. The movie enjoyed such popularity that it went on to spawn a short lived TV series, but the TV show couldn’t compare to the movie, mostly because star Lorna Patterson was no Goldie Hawn.
29 – M*A*S*H – Back to back war movies on the list of the top 100 funniest movies of all time. This one, like Private Benjamin went on to spawn a TV series, only in this case the TV series was so good the original movie is often forgotten, instead of vice versa. However, this overlooking of the movie is no fault of the film. The movie is, in the opinion of most, one of the best war movies ever made in any genre, and certainly the best military comedy of all time. The incredibly versatile and prolific Donald Sutherland Klute, JFK, Ordinary People is just as funny, if not funnier than Alan Alda in the role of Hawkeye Pierce. Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven, American History X) plays his fellow surgeon, swampmate and partner in mischief Trapper John McIntyre. And Robert Duvall (The Godfather, Colors, Apocalypse Now) plays Hawkeye’s and Trapper’s nemesis, old ferret face himself, Major Frank Burns. All the other usual suspects are there as well from Colonel Henry Blake to Hot Lips O’Houlihan, and Gary Burghoff stars as Radar O’Reilly, the only member of the cast to star both in the movie and TV versions.
28 – The Odd Couple – There are few names in Hollywood more well known or respected for producing great comedy than Jack Lemmon The China Syndrome, Save the Tiger, Mister Roberts) and Walter Matthau (The Fortune Cookie, Grumpy Old Men, The Bad News Bears), but when they got together as Felix Ungar, and Oscar Madison watch out, because the laughs just don’t stop coming. After Felix’s wife leaves him he winds up trying to kill himself, but his friend Oscar stops him and invites Felix to come live with him in his apartment until Felix can get back on his feet again. The relationship quickly gets rocky as Felix is fastidious to a fault, while Oscar is his polar opposite. Unsurprisingly the two quickly clash, and their time as roommates is constantly contentious, but hilarious. Though the Odd Couple is their best known collaboration, Lemmon and Matthau made a career out of working together and Grumpy Old Men, Out to Sea, JFK, Kotch and Fortune Cookie are just a sampling of their collaborative work.
27 – Arthur – In the 80s Dudley Moore could be counted on for one thing: making bad movies. With stinkers like Best Defense, Micki & Maude, Lovesick and Unfaithfully Yours on his resume it is a wonder this British comedian kept landing roles for as long as he did. Perhaps, it was his performance in the one bright spot of his career: the 1981 romantic comedy hit Arthur. Moore is endlessly quotable as he tries to choose between love and riches, stuck, as Christopher Cross puts it, between the moon and New York City. Arthur is faced with a tough decision when he stands to inherit 750 million dollars as long as he agrees to marry a woman of his family’s choosing. Unfortunately Arthur falls in love with someone else, a waitress (Liza Minnelli) who certainly doesn’t fit his family’s strict criteria. The movie was both a box office and a critical success, and spawned an ill-conceived sequel in 1988 titled Arthur II: On the Rocks.
26 – A Fish Called Wanda – Though this is not officially a Monty Python movie the famous British comedy troupe’s fingerprints are all over it, with John Cleese (Fawlty Towers, Shrek 2, Time Bandits) and Michael Palin (Brazil, Monty Python’s Meaning of Life) in lead roles. Kevin Kline (Dave, The Big Chill) and Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, True Lies) have to be pretty fast to keep up with the veteran funnymen, and they prove they are more than up to the task in this hilarious caper comedy about a diamond heist. Palin’s character Ken is particular amusing with his uncontrollable stutter, and Kline’s Otto taunts him mercilessly for his speech impediment. Though not strictly a British comedy, the presence of Palin and Cleese surely give it the feel of one, and there is plenty of dry humor to appreciate here.
25 – Kingpin – Who would have thought that when Nicholas Colasanto died and the producers of the hit TV show Cheers were forced to replace his beloved character Coach Ernie Pantusso that the young man they found (Woody Harrelson) would eventually go on to such an illustrious film career. Stepping into Coach’s shoes was obviously no easy task, and could have gone disastrously wrong, but Woody (also his name on the show) managed to win the demanding audience over and give everyone a sneak peek at the acting ability of the film star in the making. Harrelson would go on to star in films like Natural Born Killers, No Country For Old Men, White Men Can’t Jump and Will Ferrell’s Semi Pro. However, it is arguably his role as Roy Munson in the cult favorite bowling movie Kingpin for which Harrelson is best loved. Starring alongside Bill Murray and Randy Quaid Harrelson is at his sleazy best, and despite the goofy nature of this Farrelly brothers’ comedy he is completely believable in the role. There is no low he won’t sink to, and the lengths he goes to to get his rent paid makes me shiver just thinking about it. Randy Quaid is great as Munson’s protégé Ishmael, a Quaker who defies his people and his way of life to compete in the sport he loves. And what can you say about Bill Murray? Hilarious as always as Roy’s longtime nemesis, professional bowler Ernie McCracken. As with other Farrelly brothers movies like There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber there are definitely scenes that cross the boundaries of good taste.
24 – Swingers – Vince Vaughn makes another appearance on this list of the funniest movies ever, however unlike films like Dodgeball, Wedding Crashers and Old School where he was already an established star, this 1996 film about a pair of wannabe actors trying to pretend they are hip to the scene was the launching pad for Vaughn’s career. Jon Favreau (Very Bad Things, Iron Man, Deep Impact, Elf), who also wrote the movie, stars alongside Vaughn’s Trent as the insecure Mike, who spends most of the movie in Trent’s rather sizeable shadow, acting as his wingman. This little flick gained surprising momentum and is certainly one of the most quotable on the list with terms like “Double down” and “You’re so money” firmly entrenched in pop culture lore to this day. Favreau and Vaughn are fantastic together, and the easy chemistry between the two rings true as a couple of buddies that every guy can identify with.
23 – Caddyshack – Something about the sport of golf just lends itself to comedy. From Happy Gilmore to Tin Cup movies that show the agonizing frustration of the sport is something that every weekend duffer can identify with and laugh at. However, when it comes to the best golf movie of all time in any genre it isn’t even close. Caddyshack was one of the best comedy films of the 80s and featured such comedic geniuses as Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Ted Knight. However, despite all that Hollywood power it is a stuffed gopher that ends up being the funniest character in the film. The main character in the film is Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe), a caddy who is trying to earn a scholarship from the owner of the country club where he works. In the meantime Rodney Dangerfield’s character Al Czervik is trying to buy the country club, which would sabotage Danny’s plans. The greatest conflict in the film, however, is the ongoing battle between Bill Murray’s Carl Spackler and the gopher who is hell bent on destroying the golf course.
22 – Duck Soup – Okay, now we are going way back in the annals of film history. 1933 to be exact. Groucho Marx (Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Go West) and his brothers Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo, arguably the most famous comedy troupe of all time, are at their brilliantly funny best in this tale of love, war and money. The Marx brothers are so adept at slapstick and sight gags that it is commonly held that even if Duck Soup were a silent picture it would still be hilarious. However, as good as their physical routines are the dialog is just as punchy and you’d be missing out on some of Groucho’s legendary zingers if you turned the sound down to test this theory.
21 – Brazil – If you made a list of the top 10 weirdest movies of all time, there is no doubt that Terry Gilliam’s Brazil would challenge such strange cinema as The Naked Lunch, Delicatessen, A Clockwork Orange and Donnie Darko for the title. However, just because it is beyond strange doesn’t mean that it isn’t funny. With Terry Gilliam involved it has to be hilarious, doesn’t it? The movie stars Jonathan Pryce (Glengarry Glen Ross, Haunted Honeymoon) as Sam Lowry, a bureaucrat in a futuristic world who tries to clear up a clerical error that has resulted in the wrongful arrest of an innocent man and ends up himself getting wrongfully accused of terrorist acts. Robert De Niro plays the part of Harry Tuttle, who is the real criminal, and Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) , Michael Palin (A Fish Called Wanda, Monty Python’s: The Holy Grail), Katherine Helmond (TV’s Soap and Who’s the Boss?), and Ian Holm (Bilbo from Lord of the Rings) also star.
20 – Harold and Maude – Another classic marks our entry into the top 20 funniest movies of all time. Harold and Maude stars Bud Cort (Harold) and Ruth Gordon (Maude) as one of the unlikeliest pairs in cinematic history. Almost 60 years separate the pair. Harold is only 20 years old, obsessed with death and entertains himself by faking suicides and attending funerals. It is at one of these funerals where he meets Maude, shockingly vivacious despite being just shy of her 80th birthday. Ultimately, fed up with his mother’s attempts to manipulate his life and find him a mate, Harold pulls his ultimate stunt, attempting to make his mother take notice by proposing to Maude.
19 – Raising Arizona – The Coen Brothers make another appearance on the list of the best comedy films ever made with Raising Arizona a delightfully twisted movie about a criminal and a barren policewoman who decide to kidnap a child when they discover they are unable to have one of their own. Not wanting to cause too much upset they decide to take one of a set of recently born quintuplets. However, much to their chagrin the fifth baby is actually strongly missed by its family and the millionaire patriarch Nathan Arizona hires the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse to track down and return his missing child. Nicholas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, The Rock, Con Air) and Holly Hunter (The Piano, The Incredibles, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) star as Ed and Hi, the unlikely matched convict and policewoman who perpetrate the crime. Like any of the Coen Brothers movies there are plenty of twists and turns, and lots of gems to be found as you watch the film time and again. Like The Big Lebowski, Barton Fink or Fargo, Raising Arizona might not appeal to all tastes, but those who get it will likely count it among their favorite comedy films of all time.
18 – Animal House – Though Old School is a great college fraternity comedy movie it can’t come close to competing with the ultimate film from that particular sub-genre. I am speaking of course about Animal House, the 1978 comedy starring John Belushi about the Delta House Fraternity and Dean Wormer’s (John Vernon) attempts to have said fraternity disbanded and its members expelled. Wormer enlists the aid of another frat house to take on the disreputable band at Delta, but his strategy doesn’t exactly work out as planned. There are so many great scenes in this movie from toga parties to John Belushi’s Bluto helping himself to a bite of just about everything in the cafeteria food line. Tim Matheson (Fletch, Up the Creek, Drop Dead Fred) is great in a lead role as Otter. Ironically, in the movie Van Wilder Matheson plays the goofy college prankster Van Wilder’s very straight laced father in an obvious tongue in cheek homage to Animal House. Mark Metcalf turns in one of the iconic performances in comedy film history with his portrayal as the militaristic Doug Neidermeyer. Metcalf would go on to reprise the role in Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It music video.
17 – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – Though more noted for dramatic turns in films like Cider House Rules, and the Dark Knight franchise, Michael Caine shows his penchant for comedy, teaming up with the always (okay, usually) hilarious Steve Martin in this comedy classic about a pair of con men, who, upon finding they can’t work together, place a bet in which the loser has to vacate the territory. This one has plenty of laughs and a delicious twist at the end.
16 – The Hangover – This movie was the surprise hit of 2009, and helped launch Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis into superstardom. What starts out as a simple Las Vegas bachelor party goes completely off the rails as three members of the “Wolf Pack” wake up, with the fourth member missing and absolutely no memory of what happened to him (or anything that happened the night before for that matter). They follow a trail of evidence in order to retrace their steps from the night before and find there missing buddy in time to get him home for his wedding. Throw in some hilarious cameos by Mike Tyson, Rob Riggle and Heather Graham and you’ve got the recipe for one of the funniest movies ever made. Sadly the second installment in the franchise couldn’t live up to the high standard set in the first. Hopefully the final chapter in the trilogy will conjure the same level of laughter that the original film did.
15 – Some Like It Hot – Talk about a movie packed with star power, how about Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon? Yes, Some Like It Hot certainly doesn’t lack when it comes to seeing some of Hollywood’s biggest names in one place. However, this movie doesn’t just rest on the reputation of its stars. It is a genuinely hilarious film and worthy of its high spot on this list of funny movies. Just the plot description is enough to elicit a laugh. Lemmon and Curtis witness the St. Valentine’s Day massacre and the only way they can think of to avoid the mob is to take a job performing in an all girl’s band. Two guys in an all girl’s band would be enough difficulty for most, but Lemmon’s Daphne and Curtis’s Josephine complicate matters further. One falls in love with band mate Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe) while the other becomes the object of affection for another man. Both must try and manage their untenable situations without revealing their gender and thus jeopardizing their lives. As you can clearly see there is more than enough fuel for a laugh out loud comedy, and Some Like It Hot is certainly one of the funniest films not only of its day, but of all time.
14 – Tootsie – In The Graduate Dustin Hoffman found out just how much trouble women can get you in. In Tootsie he finds out just how much trouble you can get in as a woman. Yes, Hoffman joins legions of other men (Robin Williams – Mrs. Doubtfire, Tony Curtis & Jack Lemmon – Some Like It Hot to name a few) who’ve dressed up in drag to get a laugh from movie audiences. Hoffman’s motivation might not be as desperate as Curtis’s and Lemmon’s – he doesn’t witness a mob hit, he just wants to land a role on a soap opera – but he finds himself dealing with many of the same difficulties, including falling in love with one of his female cast mates on the show in which he stars. Dustin Hoffman, who has given so many great performances in films like The Graduate, Rain Man , Midnight Cowboy and Kramer vs. Kramer again shows his incredible versatility, and two time Oscar winner the beautiful Jessica Lange is equally good in a supporting role.
13 – Planes, Trains and Automobiles – If this was a list of my favorite comedy films, rather than an objective list of the best comedy movies then Planes, Trains, and Automobiles would be significantly higher than even #13 on the list, and was easily the top comedy movie of 1987. John Candy and Steve Martin form one of the best comedy teams of all time as overbearingly friendly shower curtain ring salesman Del Griffith and uptight family man Neal Page, who only wants to be left alone as he tries in vain to make it back home for Thanksgiving. The affable but annoying Griffith almost immediately begins to grate on Page, and it is only a matter of time before the two are at each other’s throats. Like many of these great comedy films there are plenty of quotes to keep audiences roaring, including everyone’s favorite, “Those aren’t pillows!”
12 – Fast Times At Ridgemont High – This 1982 comedy classic would merit a high spot both on a list of the best high school movies of all time, and a list of the top 10 stoner movies, and though some might find the subject matter somewhat dark and depressing there is plenty of humor to counterbalance that. Sean Penn, who is best known for dramatic roles in films like Mystic River, I Am Sam, Milk and Dead Man Walking is almost unrecognizable as stoner and slacker Jeff Spicoli, and his ongoing battle with strict teacher Mr. Hand provide many of the film’s best laughs. Judge Reinhold (Beverly Hills Cop, Ruthless People, Gremlins) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hitcher, Miami Blues, Single White Female) also star in this movie about high school students growing up and experimenting in Southern California. Fast Times At Ridgemont High has no shortage of memorable scenes, from Spicoli ordering pizza in the middle of Mr. Hand’s class to Brad Hamilton (Reinhold) getting busted pleasuring himself in the bathroom.
11 – Superbad – The funniest movie of 2007 just narrowly misses cracking the top 10 best comedy movies. Michael Cera of Arrested Development and Juno fame and Jonah Hill (Knocked Up, Evan Almighty, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) star as high school seniors and best friends who get into a plethora of amusing adventures in their attempt to procure alcohol and get to a party where a pair of hot girls are waiting for them. Cera brings the same awkward nice guy demeanor that worked so well for him as George Michael on Arrested Development and Paulie Bleeker in Juno. Jonah Hill, on the other hand, is brash and crude, yet somehow still charismatic despite his many flaws. The pair are joined by newcomer Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Role Models) in the role of the nerdy Fogell, who they grudgingly spend time with due to the fact he has the fake ID that will help them get the alcohol they need. Unfortunately that same fake ID bears the name McLovin, the 25 year old Hawaiian organ donor. However, they don’t spend much time with Fogell, who is quickly picked up by the cops following a robbery at the liquor store where he is attempting to buy booze. The cops, officers Michaels and Slater played by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader respectively, take Fogell under their wing, get him drunk, teach him how to shoot a gun, help him blow up a police car, and ultimately make him a high school legend. As you can tell there is plenty going on in this teen comedy, and this brief description only scratches the surface.
10 – The Party – It is only fitting that an acting legend would mark the entrance to the top 10 funniest movies of all time. Peter Sellers, best known for his work as Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther and its sequels, once again plays a bumbling character, unaware of the chaos that is going on in his wake. This time Sellers plays Hrundi V. Bakshi, a clumsy film extra who is supposed to be fired after causing an incident (to put it mildly) during shooting. Instead of getting his walking papers, however, Bakshi is the recipient of an invitation to an exclusive party. Bakshi attends, and continues to sow the same seeds of chaos that caused such turmoil on the set. The Party is a treat for those who like sight gags, and humor based on misunderstanding. Sellers is so good in the role you will cringe at his antics, and when you hear him say “Birdie num-nums over the house intercom you’ll be laughing so hard you’ll have tears running down your face.
9 – This Is Spinal Tap – If you like parodies and mockumentaries then chances are good you’ve already seen This Is Spinal Tap, but if you’ve somehow missed it then make sure you rectify that in short order. The film stars Rob Reiner (All in the Family, Mixed Nuts, Sleepless in Seattle) as a documentary filmmaker who travels with and chronicles the life of times of British heavy metal supergroup Spinal Tap, the world’s loudest band. The film is done so well that an unsuspecting audience might confuse it for a genuine rockumentary.
8 – There’s Something About Mary – Though well known for hits like Kingpin and Dumb & Dumber there can be little question that the Farrelly brothers’ signature hit is the 1998 comedy smash hit There’s Something About Mary. Cameron Diaz (Charlie’s Angels, The Mask, Shrek) stars as Mary, the object of everyone’s affection, and it is for love of her that Ben Stiller (Ted), Matt Dillon (Healy), Lee Evans (Tucker), Chris Elliott (Dom), and even Brett Favre all sacrifice their pride and their sanity in order to win her hand. Not just a love triangle, There’s Something About Mary is a love hexagon, and the Farrelly brothers and the actors involved do a masterful job of juggling all the sub-plots, and of making sure each character in the film is relevant.
7 – Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – Wow, that is a mouthful of a title, but a classic comedy film of this caliber deserves such a lofty description. From the warped mind of director Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining) comes this war movie comedy about a U.S. general who goes completely nuts and sends bombers to take out the U.S.S.R., acting under the belief that the Soviets are conspiring to pollute the precious bodily fluids of the American populace. The Soviets, when informed of the impending attack, warn that any such attack will trigger a “Doomsday Machine” that will destroy all animal and plant life (an ultimately every man, woman and child) on the globe. Obviously, the subject matter is far darker than your usual light, airy comedy, particularly considering that this movie came out in 1964, at the height of the Cold War, but that is par for the course with a director like Kubrick. Peter Sellers works overtime in this one, playing three parts as Colonel Lionel Mandrake – the only man who might be able to talk the insane general Jack Ripper out of his mad plan, U.S. President Merkin Muffley – who must break the news of the impending attack to the Soviets and soothe their understandable outrage, and Dr. Strangelove – the former Nazi and scientific genius with a bionic hand. Sellers manages to juggle all three roles with his usual aplomb, giving the audience plenty of laughs along the way.
6 – Annie Hall – This 1977 classic absolutely cleaned house at the Oscars in 1978, capturing awards for Diane Keaton (The Godfather, Manhattan, The Family Stone) as best actress in a leading role, and Woody Allen (The Purple Rose of Cairo, Mighty Aphrodite, Vicky Christina Barcelona) for best director, and nabbed the big prizes for best screenplay and best picture that year. Like most Woody Allen screenplays there is plenty of wit and lots of depth to this picture about a New York comedian and his relationship with his girlfriend. The screenplay is described as semi-autobiographical, roughly paralleling Woody Allen’s and Diane Keaton’s time as a couple in 1970, and is considered by many to be Allen’s breakthrough film. Perhaps Annie Hall’s biggest claim to fame, however, is the fact that it defeated George Lucas’s massively popular space opera Star Wars for best picture that year.
5 – The Producers – Surprise, surpise, Mel Brooks is back as we enter the top 5 funniest movies of all time. The Producers (the 1968 original, not the 2005 remake with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick) stars Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder as producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, who come up with a scheme to pocket a bundle by delivering a guaranteed box office flop. Their musical of choice is the hilariously titled Springtime for Hitler The film landed director Mel Brooks the only Oscar of his career for best original screenplay, and Gene Wilder also landed a nomination for best actor in a supporting role. Much like Woody Allen Mel Brooks did his best work early in his career, and if you’ve only caught stinkers like Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Dracula: Dead and Loving It then you owe it to yourself to check out The Producers and see for yourself why Mel Brooks commands so much respect as a comedic director.
4 – The Big Lebowski – Though I said I be keeping this list as objective as possible, I cannot avoid sneaking in this choice, because, if truth be told, it is my favorite movie of all time. That being said, I think there are plenty of legitimate objective reasons to give this hugely popular Coen brothers cult comedy a high spot on the list of the top 100 funniest movies ever made, and those that disagree have probably only seen the film once and just don’t get it. The dialog absolutely sparkles throughout and though there is plenty of foul language the wordplay between Jeff Bridges (The Dude – Jeff Lebowski), John Goodman (Walter Sobchak), and Steve Buscemi (Donny) is absolutely hilarious throughout the movie. However, the interaction between characters is hardly limited to these three. Julianne Moore’s Maude Lebowski, Philip Seymour Hoffmann’s Brandt, Tara Reid’s Bunny, and David Huddleston’s Big Lebowski all provide great support and the convoluted web that ties all these characters together might have people scratching their heads, but once they finally figure it out they will be applauding the Coen brothers for their genius in making this fantastic film. As good as the main characters and the rest of the supporting cast are in the film none is as memorable as John Turturro (Miller’s Crossing, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Mr. Deeds) as the Dude’s creepy bowling nemesis Jesus Quintana. Fans of the film have literally dozens of great quotes to choose from, and though it has been 15 years since its release the rabid fan base for this movie has only grown larger. The best evidence of this is the annual Lebowski Fest that takes place in Kentucky every year. Attended by legions of fans Lebowski Fest brings like-minded individuals together for a night of bowling and drinking White Russians. The event has even grown so large that it has broken off to separate regions and Lebowski Fest West has graced such major cities as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Seattle. The Dude abides.
3 – Blazing Saddles – Speaking of quotable films, there are few that can match Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles. This spoof could easily make a top 10 list of the best western movies of all time, and though a lot of the humor is pretty low brow even those with sophisticated taste in comedies can’t help snickering. Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder again team up to deliver the laughs, and Cleavon Little is hilarious as Bart, the wild west’s first black sheriff, and Slim Pickens, a former cowboy and rodeo clown who later became a prolific actor, stars as Taggart. Warning, a big part of the humor of the film is based on racial stereotypes, and much of the dialog may shock those who’ve become acclimatized to this age of politically correct humor.
2 – Airplane! – Our runner-up is 1980’s spoof comedy Airplane!. After an airplane crew gets struck down by food poisoning the fate of the passengers is in the hands of Ted Striker (Robert Hays – Starman), a former Navy pilot who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is afraid to fly. Hays has plenty of company in the humor department from the likes of Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Nielsen and even basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The one liners don’t stop flying in this parody of airline disaster films, and the film’s classic movie lines like “Don’t call me Shirley” are still widely quoted today. Airplane! was so popular it spawned a sequel, the obviously named and appalling terrible Airplane II: The Sequel.
1 – Monty Python and the Holy Grail – There really was only one choice for the funniest movie of all time, and I doubt anyone is surprised to see this Monty Python comedic masterpiece head up the list. Some may prefer Life of Brian or even The Meaning of Life, however I think the vast majority of Monty Python fans would agree that The Holy Grail trumps those other two films by a wide margin. Python legends Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin are all involved in perhaps the least accurate, but certainly the most entertaining, film made about the legend of King Arthur and his knights. There are so many great scenes in this film it is hard to know where to start from Arthur’s battle with the never-say-die Black Knight, the Knights who say Nii, the siege of the castle of the rude Frenchman, and the story of Brave Sir Robin the movie just leaps from one hilarious scene to another, and there is barely time to catch your breath between waves of laughter.
There you have it, the best comedy movies of all time counted down from 100 to 1. Disagree with some of my selections? Have I made any gross oversights? Make sure to leave any criticisms (or praise) in the comments below.