Looking for the best comedies of all time? Then you’ve come to the right place.
One of the most beautiful things about the genre of comedy is its broad-reaching and all-encompassing definition. Witty, complex comedies can be enjoyed just as much as slapstick, absurdist productions and there’s a place in cinema history for films at any point along that spectrum.
However, while this scope may be a blessing for fans of cinema, picking just our top 10 comedy movies feels like a bit of a curse. In compiling this list we could think of more than ten times that many, we kept adding, and deleting, and reworking, and rethinking… but we’re confident we’ve nailed it. A list that consists of ten absolute classics, and ten films that anyone who considers themselves a ‘movie-buff’ should have seen end to end. So without further ado, we present our 10 best comedies for the aspiring cinephile:
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
A classic in every sense of the word. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has to be one of the more enjoyable movies of the 20th century. With a lovable protagonist (who, let’s be real, we all wanted to be as cool as when we were kids), Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), and a crazy but bordering on believable story – this is a film we’re glad we’ve indulged in multiple times.
Back to the Future (1985)
While certainly not a comedy that’ll have you wiping away tears, this film’s light-hearted nature and happy-go-lucky attitude make it – definitionally – a comedy. If you haven’t seen Back to the Future (have you lived under a rock since the ’80s?), then put this at the top of your “to-watch” list. Featuring a very young Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Crispin Glover, Back to the Future is the first in a trilogy that still brightens the world of entertainment today.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
If you’re unfamiliar with Edgar Wright’s work, we suggest you quickly study up. Edgar Wright is one of the most uniquely brilliant comedy directors to ever grace our screens; responsible for the likes of Shaun of the Dead (2004) and most recently Baby Driver (2017). Hot Fuzz, being the most hilarious of his ‘cornetto’ trilogy, is an absolute masterclass in British humour. Wright has a superb knack for creating absurdity from the mundane and Hot Fuzz stands as a testament to this. Expect the unexpected and, of course, expect to laugh the whole way through.
Any Leslie Nielsen comedy is solid gold, but Airplane! could well be one of the greatest comedies of all time. The premise is absolutely crazy, the characters diverse and the punchlines thick and fast, but this high-paced stalwart of cinema history never fails to deliver. Almost every line in this movie is either a setup or a punchline, and every joke is better than the last. Surely you have to put this one on your list… and don’t call me Shirley.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Probably one of the least well-known comedies on the list, What We Do in the Shadows doesn’t let anything hold it back. One of the earlier projects of lauded director Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clements (Flight of the Conchords). This New Zealand based mockumentary about a group of vampires navigating life in modern Wellington really shouldn’t work. But by god it does. This film didn’t make much of a splash when it first landed, but as Taika’s fame grew so did awareness of the film, and it’s now consistently mentioned as one of the decade’s best comedies. You won’t regret this one.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
From cult-classic, we now move on to one of the decade’s biggest blockbusters – and a film that everyone knows about (for better or worse). Yes, The Wolf of Wallstreet is a graphic no-holds-barred look into the sex, drugs, and money filled world of Wall Street bankers – but, the craziest part of it all is that it’s based on a true story. This film made the career of Margot Robbie and cemented DiCaprio as one of the greatest actors of our generation. A wild ride from start to finish for sure, but an absolute classic of cinema, and a pretty funny movie too (when you aren’t too shocked to laugh).
Blazing Saddles (1974)
If this were a ranked list, Blazing Saddles would have to be in the top three. Mel Brooks is one of the greatest comedy creators of all time, and Blazing Saddles is his pièce de résistance. Sure, if it came out today it’d likely see heavy backlash, but its crudeness and offensiveness is somehow an endearing characteristic for those who watch it now. Gene Wilder delivers punchline after punchline and cements this film as an absolute cinema classic.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
For most, categorising this film as a comedy may be difficult to digest. However, Kaufman’s films have a funny uniqueness to them that makes them so difficult to sort into any one genre. To sum it up, Eternal Sunshine is a film that shows a phenomenal understanding of the human experience, the emotional journeys, we all face. Although it is a film that will make you laugh, it’s also a film that will make you cry, feel angry, helpless, and just about everything in between. Jim Carey and Kate Winslet both put in the performances of their careers, and it’s one of the closest things we’ve ever seen to a perfect film. For this film we recommend you go in without any research or expectations, and let the movie take you on its journey. Ultimately, it’s a must-watch film, this rings especially true if you’re struggling to deal with a heartbreak or loss.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Anchorman has to be one of the most quoted films of the ’00s. Every character in this film is insane, every scene seems to be an attempt to one-up the absurdity of the previous scene, and every line of dialogue is comedy gold. Featuring one of the world’s favourite comedy actors, Will Ferrell, Anchorman proves to be a career-defining role. Of course, it’s not just Ferrell that makes this film – his news crew featuring Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and David Koechner all put in phenomenal performances as Christina Applegate acts as a perfect straight-man (woman?) to bring the absurdity back to earth. If you’re the 0.01% of the population that hasn’t seen Anchorman, watch it tonight and don’t live another second without having seen this ridiculously magnificent classic.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
If Anchorman was the most quoted film of the ’00s, then Holy Grail has to be the most quoted film of all time. Monty Python are, there’s no other way of putting it, comedic geniuses; and Holy Grail is their crown jewel. It’s a ridiculously wild adventure, and everything that happens is absolutely hysterical. Holy Grail is a trans-generational classic that can be understood and appreciated by just about everyone.