100 best comedy movies: the list

The 100 best comedy movies, picked by experts from across film, TV and comedy

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By Tom Huddleston, David Jenkins, Adam Lee Davies, Derek Adams, Edward Lawrenson, Wally Hammond, Ben Walters, Gabriel Tate and Phil Harrison. Explore the individual top tens of every contributor.

Withnail and I (1987)

Dir Bruce Robinson (Paul McGann, Richard E Grant, Richard Griffiths)

‘I feel like a pig shat in my head!’

Much is made of the thin line between tragedy and comedy. And it’s fair to say that for a comedy classic, tragedy looms large in ‘Withnail and I'. Indeed, Withnail’s despairing traipse through a rain-sodden Regent’s Park ranks among the most heartbreaking closing scenes in all cinema. For such a comedown movie, though, the film positively soars, mainly thanks to once-in-a-lifetime performances from Paul McGann and Richard E Grant and an extraordinary script.

The film is at its straight-up funniest early on as, festering within a Camden flat resembling the inside of a cancerous lung, Withnail and Marwood stumble towards the end of a seemingly epic speed and booze bender. There are delirious flights of fancy, bouts of druggy nonsense (‘My thumbs have gone weird’) an abortive attempt to clean the kitchen and a cherished visit from Ralph Brown’s terrifying drug dealer Danny. Via a scary local pub, Uncle Monty’s flat and his cottage in Penrith, they end up more or less back where they started. Withnail has survived ‘a bastard behind the eyes’, Marwood has confronted a bull and Monty has threatened burglary. Anyone attempting the ‘Withnail and I’ drinking game has seriously compromised their liver function and probably missed the point of the film into the bargain. No one’s really come close to replicating the maverick, melancholy, rat-arsed resonance of ‘Withnail’ and no one ever will. It’s a complete one-off. PH


Users say

13 comments
Steve
Steve

Its a good list, but very culture specific. Telling from this list you guys are likely about 40 and you're all white and have mostly liked the same movies for decades... I'm going to check out a few that I don't know very well, but I think you guys need to think outside of the box... or at least outside of the window - the world is a pretty diverse place and 'funny' is everywhere. (4 lions maybe an exception)

Kenny
Kenny

Do you guys even like movies?

william mayer
william mayer

Zoolander is higher than Happy gilmore enough said...

Pat
Pat

Good list! Few films I don't feel deserve a place, some films I'd put higher up then they are. This list has some seriously great comedies! It's painful seeing people upset at the absence of film's such as "Soul Plane." In the comments.

Cloé
Cloé

love that list!

Ally
Ally

Wait a minute... Talladega Nights didn't make the list and trading places did? This list is so out of date, none of the fridays either, or cheech and chong, "O Brother Where Art Thou?"... We should be able to vote on lists like these. Good job btw (Y)

anonymous
anonymous

Notable lack of "urban" comedies.

anonymus
anonymus

soul plane? barbershop? friday? friday the next?

Hughes
Hughes

give me the rest

agee
agee

Why so much Steve Martin and so little (or no?) Danny Devito? Where's Tin Men, for example? Better than lots of movies listed here. Since some classics were included, where's It Happened One Night? King of Comedy could have been left out. While a good film, it's not really a comedy (Sandra Bernhard's hilarious scene notwithstanding, I think I would take Being There over King of Comedy for a quasi comdedy) Big Lebowski is a good pick but "O Brother Where Art Thou?" definitely beats out a bunch of films listed here--for quality, laughs, and music.

walte
walte

wtf where is five

dra
dra

where is stepbrothers

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