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.

20

Trading Places (1983)

Dir John Landis (Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis)

‘It ain't cool being no jive turkey so close to Thanksgiving.’

A definition of comedy greatness: a movie you can watch in the depths of winter, on a low-rent Canadian cable channel, dubbed into French (and you don’t speak French), and it’s still ridiculously funny. The Eddie Murphy we loved in the ’80s may be long gone, but we still have the memories, and movies like this. ‘Trading Places’ may not be as slick as ‘Beverly Hills Cop’, as confrontational as ‘48 Hrs’ or as raw as, um, ‘Raw’, but it’s still the best Murphy vehicle on the road: whipsmart, close to the bone, unashamedly capitalist but unexpectedly decent at the core. A bit like the man himself. TH

19
'South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut'

'South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut'

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

Dir Trey Parker (Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes)

‘Hey Stan, tell them about the part where Terrence calls Phillip a testicle-shitting rectal wart.’

What’s the greatest musical of all time? ‘Singin’ in the Rain’? Too cute. ‘West Side Story’? Too butch. ‘Meet Me in St Louis’? If Judy Garland had called Margaret O’Brien a 'donkey-raping shit eater', it might have stood a chance. Surely, the finest example of the musical form in cinema has to be this wistful rites-of-passage tale of life in a quiet Colorado mountain town, where all the folks need to worry about is parking provision, bad language, gay dogs, an impending land war with Canada, Satan’s fuck-buddy Saddam, whether it really was Cartman’s mother in that German scheisse video and, of course, those goddamned Baldwins. Aw, shucks. TH

18
Leslie Nielsen in 'The Naked Gun'

Leslie Nielsen in 'The Naked Gun'

The Naked Gun (1988)

Dir David Zucker (Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, OJ Simpson)

‘I promise you: whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest one minute until he's behind bars. Now let's grab a bite to eat.’

In the wake of ‘Scary Movie’ and ‘Meet the Spartans’, it’s hard to remember that the scattergun, slapstick, movie-pastiche genre started out with the noblest of intentions: to level the comedy playing field by making even the smartest moviegoers laugh like total idiots. In translating their criminally overlooked TV show ‘Police Squad!’ to the big screen, the Zuckers delivered the purest expression of the form outside of their own masterpiece ‘Airplane!’. ‘The Naked Gun’ is a film so devastatingly daft it leaves the stoniest of cynics gasping for breath and shrieking, ‘It’s Enrico Pallazzo!’ TH

17

Duck Soup (1933)

Dir Leo McCarey (Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx)

‘I could dance with you till the cows come home...But I would rather dance with the cows till you come home.’

Journalists ritually cite George Orwell’s ‘1984’ when bemoaning the rotten state of contemporary politics. Let's put that down to the fact that they’ve probably never seen ‘Duck Soup’. Groucho Marx plays Rufus T Firefly, the dangerously daffy autocrat of the sovereign state of Freedonia, whose anarchic style of governance is as much a rib-crackingly hilarious indictment of power-hungry tyrants as it is a harrowing harbinger of things to come. We may chuckle when he attempts to squeeze ‘financial assistance’ from a status-hungry dowager. We may guffaw when he inducts a pair of friendly nitwits (Chico and Harpo Marx) into high government posts. We may snigger when the boys break into song at a war crimes trial. But is this not also a bracing vision of a grim future (and, of course, a very funny one)? DJ

16
Bill Nighy in 'Shaun of the Dead'

Bill Nighy in 'Shaun of the Dead'

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Dir Edgar Wright (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield)

‘How's that for a slice of fried gold?’

Our voters declare this the funniest of the films made by the reigning kings of British comedy, the triumvirate of Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. Previous beloved Brit comedy duos –  from Eric and Ernie to Cannon and Ball and the great Hale and Pace – failed to make, or faltered on, their elevation from the small to the silver screen. It was more than the making of  perky Pegg and frolicsome Frost – the surprise hit of ‘Shaun of the Dead’ catapulted them to just below demi-god status (as enjoyed by,  of course, the Pythons) and to the second highest spot in the poll for British performers.  ‘Shaun...' is not a film about survival: this genuinely suspenseful rom-zom-com is about respect, and the getting of it. That what’s Pegg/Frost/Wright give to the living dead of Crouch End, Highgate and North Finchley in spades, with due compassion, not a little heroism and without losing their sense of humour and essential Britishness. WH


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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