30 Best Movie Comedies of All Time

The Best Comedy Movies of All Time: Timeless Laughter That Endures

Making a comedy movie with enduring appeal is no small feat. Humor is so context-dependent that most comedies age poorly. After a few years, the jokes no longer land, and the references are outdated. Characters that were funny to one generation are cringy to the next. However, there are nevertheless some comedies that defy this trend. They remain hilarious and engaging years – or even decades – after their release.

The best comedy movies of all time transcend their era, remaining delightful decades after their release. From silent character studies to slapstick blockbusters, genre parodies to political satire, these films unite runaway creativity and the sheer unbridled joy of a good laugh. They’re sure to keep audiences chuckling, giggling, and guffawing for a long time to come.

30. The Producers (1967)

Washed-up Broadway producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) hatches a scheme to become rich by producing a surefire Broadway flop called “Springtime for Hitler.” With help from his timid accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder), he hires the worst director and actors in town and sets the stage for disaster. However, their plans take an unexpected turn when the play becomes a roaring success – leaving Max and Leo in a state of utter chaos.

The Producers received mixed reviews on release, with some critics finding it to be in bad taste. However, that’s actually a testament to Mel Brooks’s boldness and willingness to explore controversial topics. With its sharp wit and slapstick humor, the film ranks among the best show business parodies of the 1960s.

29. Hot Fuzz (2007)

Edgar Wright’s entire Cornetto Trilogy is fantastic, but Hot Fuzz fires on all cylinders. Elite cop Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is transferred to the sleepy town of Sandford, where he and his bumbling partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) begin investigating a string of mysterious deaths.

The script is hilarious, but it’s the visual gags that elevate the movie. Wright is peerless among his generation when it comes to visual humor. He uses smash cuts, dynamic camera moves, and masterful framing to deliver some of the movie’s funniest moments. Is it a masterpiece?

28. Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)

“Always look on the bright side of life.” More than any other film, Life of Brian demonstrates Monty Python’s skill at poking fun at the most serious of topics. It revolves around Brian Cohen of Nazareth (Graham Chapman), a man born on the same day as Jesus in the apartment next door. Mistaken for the Messiah on several occasions, Brian reluctantly gets caught up in a series of absurd events.

It’s a fantastic satire of religious dogmatism, packed with big-brain references to religion, politics, and literature. There are so many iconic moments in the endlessly quotable movie, like “What did the Romans ever do for us?”, the stoning scene, “This bloke won’t haggle!” and, of course, Biggus Dickus.

27. The Big Lebowski (1998)

Directed by the Coen brothers, The Big Lebowski is a quirky crime-comedy that centers around Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), an easygoing slacker and avid bowler. When two thugs mistake him for a millionaire also named Jeffrey Lebowski, they urinate on his rug and set off a chain of bizarre events. The Dude seeks restitution from the wealthy Lebowski, inadvertently becoming entangled in various wacky plots.

Surreal, silly, and endlessly quotable, The Big Lebowski quickly earned a cult following. The highlights are the eccentric performances: John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, and John Turturro have never been better. “Nobody f**ks with the Jesus!”

26. Modern Times (1936)

Modern Times, written and directed by Charlie Chaplin, is a silent comedy that explores the struggles of the working class during the industrial era. Chaplin stars as a nameless factory worker overwhelmed by modern life, leading to a nervous breakdown. After recovering, he meets a young homeless woman (Paulette Goddard), and together, they strive to build a life.

It’s particularly famous for the scene where Chaplin struggles to keep up with the assembly line and is sucked into the gears. The film is a great blend of physical comedy and thoughtful themes, hinting at the more pointed films like The Great Dictator that would follow.

25. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Steve Martin and John Candy were at the height of their powers when they teamed up for the John Hughes classic about two unlikely travel companions forced to endure a wild journey back home for Thanksgiving, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Martin plays Neal Page, a businessman eager to get home to his family, while Candy is Del Griffith, a bumbling shower curtain ring salesman who inadvertently becomes Neal’s travel partner.

With their vastly different personalities, the duo’s misadventures across planes, trains, and automobiles make for a side-splitting comedy with a ton of heart. The stellar performances by Martin and Candy have earned it a place among the most beloved road trip movies.

24. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

“Great Odin’s raven!” Will Ferrell has played a number of iconic characters throughout his career, but none can top Ron Burgundy, a pompous and chauvinistic ’70s news anchor. The film follows Ron’s ego-driven journey as he competes with his colleagues, navigates his complicated relationship with his female co-anchor, and ultimately finds himself in a battle for his career.

He’s joined by an ensemble cast made up of several comedy heavy-hitters like Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, and Steve Carell. Director Adam McKay would go on to explore the darker side of politics and finance with movies like The Big Short and Vice, but with his debut feature, he was still very much focused on producing the biggest laughs possible – and he more than succeeds.

23. This is Spinal Tap (1984)

Among the most influential mockumentaries ever, This Is Spinal Tap stars Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer as members of a fictional heavy metal band. The film follows the band on their ill-fated tour of the United States, in the process satirizing the music industry and celebrity culture.

This Is Spinal Tap breezes by at just 82 minutes long but crams an unbelievable amount of jokes into its lean runtime, from the band stuffing vegetables down their trousers to the disastrous mini-Stonehenge. Its devotees include Edgar Wright, who called it a “solid gold classic.”

22. Groundhog Day (1993)

Bill Murray is Phil Connors, a cynical weatherman who finds himself stuck in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over again. As he struggles to break the cycle, Phil goes through a series of emotions, from frustration and despair to acceptance and personal growth. Murray showcases his talent for both comedy and drama, hinting at the depth he would bring to future roles like Lost in Translation.

The film’s clever writing and unique premise have influenced countless other films, to the point that time-loop movies have become a subgenre unto themselves. Groundhog Day also put the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on the map. Before the film, its annual Groundhog Day festival drew hundreds of attendees. Now, it’s ten thousands.

21. Clueless (1995)

Amy Heckerling directed this teen comedy featuring Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz, a popular and fashionable high school student in Beverly Hills. Cher navigates the ups and downs of teenage life, including crushes, friendships, and the transition to adulthood.

Heckerling said she was inspired by Jane Austen’s novel Emma, but relocated the story to the “hyper-pastel fantasy place” of Beverley Hills. The result is one of the most fun coming-of-age stories of the ’90s, perfectly capturing that decade’s fashion and slang like a moment frozen in time.

20. Dumb and Dumber (1994)

“So you’re telling me there’s a chance.” Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels deliver among their most committed performances here as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, two well-meaning but incredibly dim-witted friends who embark on a road trip to return a suitcase full of money to its rightful owner.

There are plenty of hilarious moments that have since become iconic. Roger Ebert said that the dead parakeet joke, especially, “made me laugh so loudly I embarrassed myself. I just couldn’t stop.” Sure, Dumb and Dumber is a little crude and, yes, the jokes don’t always land, but when it works, it works, with Carrey and Daniels bouncing off each other to produce an infectious energy.

19. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Another John Hughes classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off stars Matthew Broderick as a charismatic high school student who decides to skip school and spend the day in Chicago with his best friend, Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck, now known for playing Connor on Succession), and his girlfriend, Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara). They embark on a wild adventure, dodging school officials, stealing a Ferrari, and enjoying all the city has to offer.

The lead actors are all in top form, and John Hughes regular, Edie McClurg, also delivers a great supporting performance. Fundamentally, the film is about the joy of youth, and more than any other popular ’80s comedy movie, it has become emblematic of its decade.

18. The Graduate (1967)

Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) is a recent college graduate struggling to find his place in the world. He begins an affair with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), a family friend and wife of his father’s business partner. However, things become complicated when Benjamin falls in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross).

Hoffman delivers a nuanced performance as Benjamin, capturing the character’s confusion, disillusionment, and desire for independence; the ’60s generation in microcosm. However, the standout performance goes to Bancroft, who is enchanting and complex. The cinematography, soundtrack, themes of generational conflict, and the search for identity have made The Graduate a New Hollywood classic. What’s perhaps most impressive about the movie is how fresh and modern it still feels, more than 50 years after its release.

17. Raising Arizona (1987)

The Coen brothers’ debut feature Blood Simple established them as talents to watch, but they took things to an entirely different level with their sophomore project. Raising Arizona is easily the most wildly creative comedy of the ’80s, bursting with larger-than-life characters and stylized direction.

Nicolas Cage plays H.I. McDunnough, a hapless ex-convict who falls in love with a police officer named Ed (Holly Hunter). The two of them struggle with infertility and ultimately decide to kidnap one of a set of quintuplets born to a wealthy family. Chaos ensues as they attempt to raise the child as their own, with hilarious and often surreal results.

16. Coming to America (1988)

Comedy legends Eddie Murphy and John Landis reunited for this flick about Prince Akeem, the heir to the throne of the fictional African country of Zamunda, who travels to America with his best friend and servant Semmi (Arsenio Hall), in search of true love and adventure. They settle in Queens, New York, and attempt to blend in with the locals while searching for a suitable bride for the prince. Along the way, they encounter a wide array of colorful characters, from a fast-talking barber to a soulful singer.

Murphy is consistently hilarious, imbuing his character with just the right mix of charm, humor, and innocence. The result is a wacky blend of satire, romance, and fish-out-of-water comedy that ranks among Landis’ most entertaining work.

15. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) (Continued)

Despite its controversial nature, there’s no denying the impact of Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen’s unorthodox brand of comedy challenged boundaries, making the audience laugh while also confronting uncomfortable truths about society. It’s a daring and provocative film that has left a lasting mark on the comedy genre.

14. Annie Hall (1977)

Woody Allen’s romantic comedy masterpiece, Annie Hall, is a film that transcends the genre’s conventions. It follows Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), a neurotic comedian, and his relationship with the quirky and charming Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). The film masterfully weaves humor and drama, exploring love, identity, and the complexities of human relationships.

Annie Hall won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and is widely considered one of the greatest romantic comedies ever made. Allen’s unique style, breaking the fourth wall, and his witty and introspective dialogue make it a standout film in his extensive filmography.

13. The Princess Bride (1987)

A fairy tale for all ages, The Princess Bride is a heartwarming and hilarious adventure. Directed by Rob Reiner and based on William Goldman’s novel, the story follows Westley (Cary Elwes) as he embarks on a quest to rescue Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) from an unwanted marriage to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon).

The film cleverly blends romance, action, and comedy, and its memorable quotes and delightful characters have earned it a dedicated fan base over the years. From Inigo Montoya’s famous line to the humorous banter between the characters, The Princess Bride is a timeless classic.

12. The Great Dictator (1940)

Charlie Chaplin’s first talkie film, The Great Dictator, is a daring political satire and one of the most poignant anti-fascist films of its time. Chaplin plays dual roles: Adenoid Hynkel, a ruthless dictator modeled after Adolf Hitler, and a nameless Jewish barber who bears a striking resemblance to Hynkel.

In the film, Chaplin uses humor to criticize the Nazis and their ideology, emphasizing the importance of compassion, freedom, and democracy. The final speech delivered by the Jewish barber is a powerful call for peace and unity that remains relevant even today.

11. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Billy Wilder’s screwball comedy Some Like It Hot is a hilarious romp set in the Prohibition era. When two struggling musicians, Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon), witness a mob hit, they disguise themselves as women and join an all-female band to escape the mobsters.

Marilyn Monroe delivers an unforgettable performance as Sugar Kane, a ukulele player and singer who becomes the object of affection for both “Josephine” and “Daphne.” The film’s clever script, fast-paced humor, and memorable performances have made it an enduring classic in the comedy genre.

10. Airplane! (1980)

Airplane! is a parody film that takes aim at the disaster film genre, especially the 1957 Paramount film Zero Hour!. The film’s plot revolves around an airplane crew and a group of passengers who fall ill due to food poisoning. A former pilot with a fear of flying, Ted Striker (Robert Hays), must overcome his phobia and land the plane safely.

Airplane! is known for its rapid-fire visual and verbal puns, slapstick comedy, and absurd gags. The film’s unique style of humor, led by directors Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers, has influenced countless comedy films that followed.

9. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) (Continued)

Ron Burgundy’s comedic antics and the film’s absurdity have made it a cult favorite. Will Ferrell’s portrayal of the pompous news anchor and the hilarious supporting cast combine to create a quotable and endlessly entertaining movie.

8. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is a visually stunning and darkly comedic tale of friendship, art, and theft. The film follows Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), the concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel, and his lobby boy, Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), as they become embroiled in a series of misadventures, including the theft of a priceless Renaissance painting.

The film’s distinctive visual style, meticulous production design, and offbeat humor make it a standout in Anderson’s filmography. The ensemble cast, including Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, and Tilda Swinton, delivers remarkable performances that add to the movie’s charm.

7. Ghostbusters (1984)

“Who you gonna call?” Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters is a timeless supernatural comedy that has become an integral part of pop culture. The film stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson as a group of paranormal investigators who start a ghost-catching business in New York City.

Ghostbusters expertly balances comedy, science fiction, and action, becoming a massive box office success and spawning a beloved franchise. Murray’s deadpan humor and the catchy theme song contributed to the film’s enduring popularity.

6. Caddyshack (1980)

Caddyshack, directed by Harold Ramis, is a comedy classic set in a golf course. The film features an ensemble cast, including Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, and Ted Knight, who all deliver memorable performances.

The movie’s absurd and irreverent humor, combined with the actors’ comedic talents, has solidified Caddyshack as a favorite among comedy enthusiasts.

5. The Simpsons Movie (2007)

The long-awaited Simpsons Movie brings the beloved animated television series to the big screen with a clever and hilarious story. Directed by David Silverman, the film follows the Simpsons family as they try to save Springfield from environmental disaster after Homer unwittingly pollutes the town’s lake.

The movie captures the wit and humor that made the TV show a cultural phenomenon, and the transition to the big screen provides ample opportunities for inventive visual gags and humorous references. The Simpsons Movie perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the show that has entertained audiences for decades.

4. Superbad (2007)

Superbad, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, is a coming-of-age comedy centered around three high school friends played by Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. The trio embarks on a wild adventure to obtain alcohol for a party in an attempt to impress their crushes.

The film’s raunchy humor, heartfelt moments, and authentic portrayal of teenage friendships struck a chord with audiences, making it a beloved classic for a new generation.

3. Animal House (1978)

Directed by John Landis, Animal House is a raucous college comedy that follows the misadventures of a rowdy fraternity, Delta Tau Chi, at the fictional Faber College. Led by the irreverent and anarchic John “Bluto” Blutarsky (John Belushi), the fraternity members challenge the authority of the college administration, leading to a series of outrageous pranks and antics.

The film’s unapologetic and chaotic humor resonated with audiences, making it one of the most successful and influential comedies of its time. Animal House remains a symbol of the carefree college experience and a celebration of rebellion and camaraderie.

2. The Hangover (2009)

The Hangover, directed by Todd Phillips, is a comedy film that took the world by storm with its raunchy and absurd humor. The story follows a group of friends, played by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha, as they embark on a bachelor party trip to Las Vegas. However, their memory of the wild night disappears, leaving them with no recollection of the events and no idea where the groom has disappeared to.

As they retrace their steps to piece together the night’s events, they encounter a series of hilarious and bizarre situations. The Hangover became a massive hit, quickly earning its place as one of the highest-grossing R-rated comedies of all time. Galifianakis’s portrayal of the eccentric and clueless Alan garnered particular acclaim and further solidified his status as a comedic star.

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Topping our list is the absurdist comedy classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The film, directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, is a comedic take on the legend of King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail. The British comedy troupe Monty Python’s unique blend of surreal humor, satire, and anachronisms results in a film that defies categorization.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is filled with iconic scenes and lines that have become legendary in comedy history. From the Knights Who Say “Ni” to the Black Knight’s hilarious duel, the film is packed with memorable moments.

The movie’s low-budget production, evident in its use of coconuts for horse sound effects and its clever use of meta-humor, adds to its charm. The absurdity and inventiveness of Monty Python and the Holy Grail have made it one of the most beloved and enduring comedies of all time, delighting audiences for generations.

And there you have it, the top 30 best comedy movies of all time. From classics to modern favorites, these films have left a lasting impact on the world of comedy and continue to bring laughter and joy to audiences around the globe.

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Stevie Flavio
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