20 Best Comedies of All Time
Isn’t it true that “one apple a day keeps the physician away”? A good belly laughs every day can assist keep that persistent sense of impending dread at bay. Even if you’re not the sort to smile out loud at sitcoms, the films below are sure to evoke a modest chuckle or one of those big, unexpected guffaws. The 20 funniest movies of all time, from National Lampoon comedy oldies to iconic hippie adventures and innovative spins on the sex comedy genre, are included below.
The National Lampoon classic continues to set the standard for portrayals of college decadence in film. Watch John Belushi in one of his most memorable roles as a frat mate at the rowdy Delta house as the guys fight a university dean who seeks to withdraw their charter and destroy their house.
The Big Lebowski
“My name is Dude. So that’s how you refer to me. That, or His Dudeness, or Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not interested in the whole brevity thing.” In this stoner classic, Jeff Bridges’ persona is famous. The strange, chaotic tale of false identification, bowling, and the Dude’s filthy carpet is as amusing today as it was then.
The comedy, directed by Paul Feig and Judd Apatow, depicts Annie (Kristen Wiig), an unmarried lady in her 30s who is chosen to be the Maid of Honor at the marriage of her closest friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). Annie is broke and alone when her seemingly ideal opponent, Helen, commandeers the bachelorette celebration and other bridal rites (Rose Byrne).
There’s a purpose to why Superbad has become synonymous with the coming-of-age youth drama. “I am McLovin!” follows two unbreakable close buddies (Michael Cera and Jonah Hill) as they negotiate the final weeks of high school and strive to shed their chastity before moving to college. Hoping to get lucky, the duo and their nerdy friend attempt a series of hijinks to obtain alcohol for a large party.
When Harry Met Sally
Even casual viewers will recognize this 1989 rom-com for its “I’ll Have What She’s Having” sequence, in which Meg Ryan pretends to have an orgasm eating sandwiches at Katz’s Delicatessen. Nora Ephron’s award-winning script elevates this to a true classic, a film that lives to keep people smiling and will do so for many years.
Dazed and Confused
The happenings of the final day of class in a 1976 Texas town are chronicled in Richard Linklater’s stoner comedy. The plot revolves around Randall ‘Pink’ Floyd’s decision from the liberty to be his reefer-toking personality and his loyalty to his football team, as well as rising freshman Mitch Kramer’s attempt to avoid hazing by a particularly nasty senior (Ben Affleck). Come for Matthew McConaughey’s iconic words “Fine, alright, alright” and a wonderful 70s rock soundtrack. Keep your eyes peeled for drill sergeant Parker Posey bellowing “Air raid!” at the peak of her voice.
Coming to America
Before seeing the follow-up, watch the first Coming to America first. Eddie Murphy portrays the Prince of an African kingdom in this 1988 romantic comedy, and he travels to America—specifically, Queens—hoping to find and woo the lady of his desires.
Best in Show
Christopher Guest’s amusing mockumentary involves five Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show candidates and their eccentric masters as they journey to and participate in the show. Jennifer Coolidge, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Parker Posey appear in this all-star group. Fun fact: it inspired the genuine National Dog Show, which is telecasted on television every Thanksgiving.
Shaun of the Dead
One of the undead comedy genre’s ancestors. Shaun’s life is dull. He is trapped in a dead-end job and abandoned by his lover until the zombie outbreak strikes. Shaun must put up a fight against the zombies by concealing out at his neighborhood tavern with his buddies and battling for his life.
A band of womanizing, freewheeling, alcoholic army physicians heal injured soldiers and break laws left and right while the Korean Military rages around them in this hilarious dark war comedy that produced the TV series.
There must be a few Bill Murray films on this list—but particularly Meatballs? Because Meatballs is Murray’s first leading cinematic role and one of his most underappreciated films. Murray portrays a camp instructor managing 300 kids competing against a wealthy nearby camp. It’s hilarious, it’s touching, and it’s Meatballs. Try not to feel a little better after hearing Murray’s emotional “It just doesn’t matter!” rant.
Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder), a young misfit in his tiny Idaho hometown, partners up with the newcomer, Pedro, to run against all chances for class president. It’s tough to sum up Napoleon’s odd shenanigans—the liger doodles, the tater tots, and his “Vote for Pedro” dancing performance—you have to see it yourself.
Harold and Maude
A melancholy, death-obsessed young guy finds love in a 79-year-old Holocaust victim in this delightful and odd cult classic, acquiring a fresh outlook on life.
Don’t be deceived by the title: filmmaker Kay Cannon’s groundbreaking sex comedy is great. Leslie Mann, John Cena, and Ike Barinholtz play parents attempting to prevent their girls (Big Little Lies’ Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Gideon Adlon) from carrying out a prom night sexual agreement. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg created the film (the funny pair behind Superbad).
Girls Trip is a hilarious, riotous comedy about four best buddies (Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, and Tiffany Haddish) reuniting for the Essence Music Festival. Through a sequence of escapades in New Orleans, they rediscover their crazy partying energies and reunite as friends.
Little Miss Sunshine
A troubled family embarks on a cross-country road journey so that their feisty 7-year-old, Olive, can participate in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest. Little Miss Sunshine, starring Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Greg Kinnear, Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano, and Steve Carell, is as original and poignant as it is crazy and amusing.
The Breakfast Club
John Hughes, oh, John Hughes. With his candid portrayals of ordinary anxiety, individuality, and yearning, the director epitomized 1980s adolescence. Drama about adolescent maturation The Breakfast Club follows five high school kids (“an intellectual, a stunner, an athlete, a rebel, and a loner”) as they are assigned to Saturday punishment and discover they have more in connection than they realized.
This campy cult comedy features seven individuals invited to a strange dinner party, all of whom become suspects when one of them is killed. In this farcical whodunit themed on a board game, corpses drop left and right.
Robin Williams plays Armand, a gay Miami drag club proprietor whose son is about to marry the daughter of a conventional Republican politician in this version of the classic French farce (Gene Hackman). When the potential in-laws meet, Armand’s son requests that his father and companion Albert (Nathan Lane) conceal their true identity and claim to be heterosexual.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the one and only. The funny satire of King Arthur and his knights’ adventure to discover the Holy Grail, full of memorable phrases, is still relevant today.