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The 100 best comedy movies

Which are the funniest movies ever made? Giggle along with our list of the best funny movies, as voted for by top comedians including Jack Whitehall, Dan Aykroyd, Jo Brand and Sharon Horgan

Everyone loves a laugh – but which are the best comedy movies of all time? We asked comedians, actors, directors and writers to share their favourite funny movies – old, new, mainstream, experimental. As long as their choices were designed to target our funny bones and get us giggling, we wanted to know.

The result is a definitive list of the top comedy movies ever made – a worthy companion piece to our lists of the best romantic, horror, sci-fi and Bollywood movies. Discover how many films in our list you’ve seen, and explore the top tens of our comedy experts. And if you think we’re having a laugh, leave us a comment below!

By Dave Calhoun, Cath Clarke, Tom Huddleston, Trevor Johnston, David Jenkins, Kate Lloyd, Tom Seymour, Anna Smith, Ben Walters

The 100 best comedy movies: 100-91

100

Meet the Parents (2000)

‘I have nipples, Greg. Could you milk me?’

Director: Jay Roach

Cast: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro

Meeting your partner’s parents is bound to be stressful – but Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) has it worse than most. Turns out his potential father in law (Robert De Niro) is a former CIA agent with a suspicious nature – and a polygraph lie-detector machine at his disposal. Over the course of an eventful visit, Focker’s misfortune builds to a farcical crescendo as his intended (Teri Polo) looks on. Stiller is on hilarious, hapless form and De Niro has never been funnier. AS

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99

Mean Girls (2004)

‘She’s fabulous but she’s evil.’

Director: Mark Waters

Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Jonathan Bennett, Rachel McAdams

New girl Lindsay Lohan threatens the high school pecking order in a smart cult hit penned by Tina Fey. As Lohan’s homeschooled innocent Cady discovers the dynamics of the cafeteria, she infiltrates popular girl clique The Plastics, ruled by a preening Rachel McAdams. Loaded with laugh-out-loud moments, the script includes plenty of zingers for a young Amanda Seyfried as the supposedly psychic Karen. ‘It's like I have ESPN or something. My breasts can always tell when it's going to rain.’ AS

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98

Pulp Fiction (1994)

‘It's the one that says Bad Motherfucker.’

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson

Is ‘Pulp Fiction’ a comedy? Perhaps only in the sense that all Quentin Tarantino’s films, from ‘Reservoir Dogs’ to ‘The Hateful Eight’, have a solid streak of black humour running through them – and whatever the genre or story, they're often fuelled by the disconnect between their characters’ chat and their violent scenarios. That’s largely down to Tarantino’s playful use of language, typified in this stylised crime tale by hitmen John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson chewing the fat over their favourite burgers or discussing why one of them refuses to eat pork. Jackson especially proves himself a master of gallows humour. DC

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97

Hot Fuzz (2007)

‘You wanna be a big cop in a small town? Fuck off up the model village.’

Director: Edgar Wright

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman

Edgar Wright’s follow-up to ‘Shaun of the Dead’ is a bigger, busier, slightly less focused ramble through small-town cop-movie clichés, but it might just be the better film, benefiting from a script packed with smart one-liners and neat riffs on everything from Hammer horror to cosy ITV dramas. It also, lest we forget, sports arguably the finest supporting cast ever assembled, with (very deep breath) Paddy Considine, Jim Broadbent, Billie Whitelaw, Martin Freeman, Olivia Colman, Edward Woodward, Bill Nighy, Timothy Dalton, The Actor Kevin Eldon, both Adam and Joe, Rory ‘The Hound’ McCann and even a masked Cate Blanchett all getting in on the action. TH

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96

Safety Last! (1923)

‘The idea of working in your shirt sleeves! Think of the shock to your customers, women of culture and refinement!’

Director: Fred C Newmeyer

Cast: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis

Always sporting round specs and straw boater, silent comedian Harold Lloyd’s shtick was to cultivate a likeable boy-next-door persona, then put his protagonist in hair-raising jeopardy. In his best-known feature, his plan to get an athletic acquaintance to climb a department store facade as a publicity stunt backfires, so Harold tackles the perilous ascent himself. Cue pesky pigeons and an inconvenient clock face in a beautifully constructed, very funny set-piece whose clever use of perspective creates vertiginous thrills without back projection – or a single computer pixel! TJ

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95

The Graduate (1967)

‘It's like I was playing some kind of game, but the rules don't make any sense to me.’

Director: Mike Nichols

Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katherine Ross

It’s easy to forget that, in the pre-blockbuster days, ‘The Graduate’ was one of the biggest box-office smashes of all time (it’s still No 21, adjusted for inflation). So what was it about this intimate, simple drama – a film we’d now refer to as an indie, even though it was studio-made – that captured the public imagination? Quite simply, it was a matter of timing: here was a film that, with its depiction of bourgeois boredom, teenage angst and sexual liberation (not to mention those awesome Simon and Garfunkel songs) absolutely nailed the mood of the late 1960s. TH

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94

Local Hero (1983)

'We've been invaded by America. We're all gonna be rich!'

Director: Bill Forsyth

Cast: Peter Riegert, Burt Lancaster, Peter Capaldi

If you’re ever suffering from chilly cockles, Bill Forsyth’s twinkly, good-hearted comedy will warm them right up – and in the wake of Donald Trump’s terrifying ascendance, it’s even more timely. Peter Riegert plays an American lawyer dispatched by his oil-baron boss to Scotland to secure the site for their next refinery. But whaddaya know – it’s right on top of a quaint little fishing village populated by wise, loveable Scotspersons. Epic adorable-ness ensues. TH

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93

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

‘The course of true love gathers no moss.’

Director: George Cukor

Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart

A romcom that sparkles like champagne, ‘The Philadelphia Story’ is a delicious comedy of misunderstandings and misdemeanours. Which of three men will win the heart of Katharine Hepburn’s icy heiress on the eve of her wedding: her millionaire ex-husband Cary Grant, snooping reporter James Stewart or her dull businessman fiancé John Howard? At the end you might decide that she picks the wrong man, but you can’t argue with the fact that this witty, charming and romantic movie is a near-perfect comedy. CC

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92

Harold and Maude (1971)

‘Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves.’

Director: Hal Ashby

Cast: Bud Cort, Ruth Gordon

The themes of Harold and Maude may be dark, but the mood is uplifting in a wistful, witty way. A sleeper hit at the time, the film stars Bud Cort as Harold, a young man who’s obsessed with death. It’s at a funeral that he meets Maud (Ruth Gordon), an eccentric 79-year-old whose friendship gives him something to live for. Quirky characters and mischievous humour abound – and the Cat Stevens soundtrack is just perfect. AS

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91

There's Something About Mary (1998)

‘It’s like you’re dreamin’ about gorgonzola cheese when it’s clearly brie time, baby!’

Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Matt Dillon

The Farrelly Brothers are best known for reinventing gross-out comedy 20 years after ‘Animal House’, and it’s hard to argue that the best-known scenes in ‘There’s Something About Mary’ are the hilariously awful ones: the zip, the cum in the hair, the electrocuted dog. But underneath all that, it’s the film’s irrepressible sweetness that makes it sing: Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller give career-making performances, their affair is tentative and totally convincing – and Jonathan Richman’s musical cameos tie it all together. TH

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The 100 best comedy movies: 90-81

90

Superbad (2007)

‘One name? Who are you, Seal?’

Director: Greg Mottola

Cast: Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Foul-mouthed kids are a staple of comedy, from ‘ET’ (‘shut up, penis breath!’) to ‘South Park’. But they don’t come much more sailor-tongued than Michael Cera and Jonah Hill in this goofy rites-of-passage comedy. Less than a decade since its release, the unreconstructed boys-iness of the film already feels a bit dated (our heroes start with a discussion of hardcore porn and go downhill from there), but it helps that the characters are truly sweet, hapless and well-meaning. And Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s Mclovin is an icon for the ages. TH

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89

The Gold Rush (1925)

'Climbing! Plodding! Mushing! Back and forth... back and forth.'

Director: Charlie Chaplin

Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Mack Swain

Chaplin’s little tramp finds himself braving the Alaskan gold rush in this celebrated silent feature, whose surreal invention – watch him fend off starvation by chomping down his boots – has gone down in screen history. The romantic asides (his poignant longing for a flighty showgirl) still play too, showcasing the sophistication of Chaplin’s acting as well as his facility for balletic knockabout. Lovely stuff, but do try to see the silent original rather than the awkwardly narrated sound reissue. TJ

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88

The Mask (1994)

‘Ooh, somebody stop me!’

Director: Chuck Russell

Cast: Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Riegert

When The Mask first came out in 1994, reviewers raved about the ultra-modern special effects used to turn Jim Carrey into a living cartoon. While the CGI might not have stood the test of time, Carrey’s elastic performance as shy nice guy Stanley and his alter ego The Mask is just as enthralling. Jim’s Mask is a grotesque green-faced schmooze-ball with a passion for farting, cheesy chat-up lines and Cameron Diaz. And, most importantly, he’s sssssmokin’! KL

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87

Broadcast News (1987)

‘It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room.’

Director: James L Brooks

Cast: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter

If you thought ‘Anchorman’ was the only cult comedy about life in a television newsroom, you’ve been missing out. ‘Broadcast News’ is a cutting satire about the Washington DC office of a national television network. It follows a love triangle between a news-producer (Holly Hunter), her good-looking anchor (William Hurt) and her newshound reporter (Albert Brooks). Their romances and professional aspirations play out amidst the backstabbing and bitching of a true-to-life high-pressure office. Plus, it features a bonus cameo from Jack Nicholson. KL

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86

School of Rock (2003)

‘God of Rock, thank you for this chance to kick ass. We are your humble servants. Please give us the power to blow people's minds with our high voltage rock.’

Director: Richard Linklater

Cast: Jack Black, Mike White

Long before his rockin’ goofball schtick began to get tiring, Jack Black rocked our socks and won our hearts with his first breakout hit, the tale of a heavy metal frontman who poses as a substitute teacher and ends up educating a class full of misfits in the ways of the wailin’ solo and the well-turned leather trouser. Richard Linklater’s film pretty much defines the term ‘ebullient’, sailing on a wave of pin-sharp one-liners, constant heavy riffage and plucky performances from the young cast. TH

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85

Waiting for Guffman (1996)

‘People say, “You must have been the class clown.” And I say, “No, I wasn’t. But I sat next to the class clown and I studied him.”’

Director: Christopher Guest

Cast: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara

As axeman Nigel Tufnel, Christopher Guest was part of the timeless success of ‘This Is Spinal Tap’. But he also picked up the filmmaking baton, going on to direct masterworks of situational improv such as ‘Best in Show’, ‘For Your Consideration’ and this movie. The superb cast play members of a small-town, amateur-dramatic society pinning their hopes on a visit from a big-shot critic, though what he’ll make of the pageant ‘Red, White and Blaine’ is regrettably clear to everyone else. Often painful, sometimes moving, frequently hilarious, it’s an oddball delight and a tribute to self-deluding ambition everywhere. BW

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84

Love and Death (1975)

‘I was walking through the woods, thinking about Christ. If he was a carpenter, I wondered what he charged for bookshelves.’

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Georges Adet

Woody Allen took his parodic flair to new heights of sophistication in this arty romp for those with a solid grounding in Russian literature. Modern sexual neuroses play out in a Tolstoyan context, as Woody’s cowardly Russian would-be writer pines for unattainable Diane Keaton while fighting off Napoleon’s invading army. Yes, there are even costumed battle scenes in what was Allen’s most ambitious production to date, while the pointed one-liners, warm romantic chemistry and amusing steals from Ingmar Bergman provide much grown-up fun. TJ

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83

Sullivan's Travels (1941)

‘There’s a lot to be said for making people laugh.’

Director: Preston Sturges

Cast: Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake

Is comedy an honourable profession, or should great artists commit themselves to reflecting the brutal truth of human existence? That’s the question posed by Preston Sturges’s wise, searching and occasionally ludicrous comic melodrama, the tale of a filmmaker who sets out to discover the ‘real’ America and ends up fighting for his life. The chain-gang sequence is a masterpiece of pre-civil-rights empathy, and the film’s overarching message is one we can all get behind. TH

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82

Old School (2003)

‘Every now and then I get a little bit nervous then I see the fuckin’ look in your eyes...’

Director: Todd Phillips

Cast: Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn

Rebooting the frat comedy for the slightly-more-sensitive ’00s while keeping the band-of-misfits ethos intact, ‘Old School’ is basically ‘Animal House’ with a bigger heart and a few more grey hairs. The plot – grown-up dudes take a house near a university campus and decide, for reasons too convoluted to go into, to start their own fraternity – may be daft, but the superb script is matched by effortless performances: Will Ferrell’s Frank the Tank is a glorious creation. Oh, and the wedding band scene is genius, pure and simple. TH

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81

Slap Shot (1977)

‘I may be bald, but at least I'm not chickenshit like you.’

Director: George Roy Hill

Cast: Paul Newman, Michael Ontkean

Paul Newman thrives in what’s surely the least-heroic, worst-dressed role of his career as the has-been player-coach of a lower-league ice hockey team, threatened by closure just as their fortunes improve by whacking the living daylights out of their opponents. Pilloried at the time for its relentlessly salty language, George Roy Hill’s film has since gathered a considerable cult following and now stands as a milestone sports comedy that’s also a telling portrait of threatened masculinity in a declining America. Well worth discovering. TJ

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The 100 best comedy movies: 80-71

80

The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)

‘Compared to Clouseau, Attila the Hun was a Red Cross volunteer!’

Director: Blake Edwards

Cast: Peter Sellers, Christopher Plummer

Eleven years after ‘A Shot in the Dark’, Edwards and Sellers revived the Clouseau franchise. And though several dismal cash-ins followed, quality control is still in evidence for this sequel to the first movie, with Christopher Plummer now the gem-snaffling Sir Charles and Catherine Schell battling to keep a straight face as his slinky spouse under close surveillance by a disguise-swapping Sellers. Twitchy boss Herbert Lom and ninja butler Burt Kwouk rather overplay their hand, but Sellers’ mangled Gallic vowels remain resplendent. TJ

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79

Office Space (1999)

‘It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care.’

Director: Mike Judge

Cast: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston

An under-appreciated gem that’s gained a cult following, ‘Office Space’ came from the pleasingly warped mind of Beavis & Butthead creator Mike Judge, with all the slacker comedy and dark laughs you’d expect. Ron Livingston stars as frustrated white-collar worker who tries to get fired by acting outrageously and speaking his mind. Ironically, the boss declares him a ‘straight shooter with upper management written all over him’. Jennifer Aniston is terrific as a similarly bored waitress. AS

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78

The Great Dictator (1940)

‘Heil Hynkel!’

Director: Charlie Chaplin

Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard

Charlie Chaplin’s courageous 1940 satire sees him sending up Adolf Hitler as the fictional despot Adenoid Hynckel. The famous scene where he dances with a giant globe offers a comic pisstake on vaunting megalomania, though there’s also a murderous reality to Hynkel’s behaviour – and prescient talk of ‘concentration camps’. Overall, it’s more a movie about the power of comedy than a chuckle-fest in itself, since the subplot with Chaplin also playing a plucky barber rather struggles to raise a smile. TJ

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77

As Good As It Gets (1997)

‘People who talk in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch.’

Director: James L Brooks

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt

Grumpy older man meets lonely younger woman while befriending/insulting his gay neighbour. Both edgy and heartwarming, ‘As Good As It Gets’ is a relationship comedy about unlikely friendships and even less likely romance. When Jack Nicholson’s cantankerous OCD sufferer meets Helen Hunt’s kindly waitress Carol, it’s hate at first sight, but his grudging assistance to an injured neighbour (Greg Kinnear) brings the pair closer. Nicholson’s jaw-dropping insults make this worth the watch alone. AS

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76

Ace Ventura, Pet Detective (1994)

‘If I’m not back in five minutes... just wait longer.’

Director: Tom Shadyac

Cast: Jim Carrey, Courteney Cox, Sean Young

When ‘Snowflake’, a 500-pound dolphin and mascot of American football team the Miami Dolphins, is stolen on the eve of the Super Bowl, the only person with the animal instincts to solve the crime is Ace Ventura. Played by Jim Carrey, he’s a second-tier detective with a penchant for Hawaiian shirts and the hyperactive energy of a six-year-old. It’s Carrey at his most Carrey. Be warned: there’s a lot of toilet humour. KL

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75

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

‘“Vamonos, amigos,” he whispered, and threw the busted leather flintcraw over the loose weave of the saddlecock. And they rode on in the friscalating dusklight.’

Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Luke Wilson

Wes Anderson’s second feature film follows three child prodigies turned adult burnouts, called back to New York by their dying father. Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson and Ben Stiller play the siblings, who function in a typically Anderson world painted in hyper-stylised strokes and grubby pastel shades. The script (especially the narration from Alec Baldwin) is full of dry wit, but it’s the sweetly sad narrative about love and disappointment that gives the film its magic. KL

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74

Kingpin (1996)

‘You’re on a gravy train with biscuit wheels.’

Directors: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Bill Murray

The oft-overlooked oddity squeezed between the giant blockbuster tentpoles (oo-er) of ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and ‘There’s Something About Mary’, ‘Kingpin’ sees the Farrelly Brothers drawing on some mysterious inner pool of inexplicable comedy genius and coming up with the ludicrous tale of a thatch-headed Amish bowling prodigy (Quaid) and his bitter, one-handed mentor (Harrelson) as they head cross-country to the national championships. Lin Shaye’s turn as Harrelson’s grotesque, sexually rapacious landlady is unforgettably despicable. TH

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73

Best in Show (2000)

‘After the dog show I was on an El Al flight to Haifa faster than a walnut could roll off a henhouse roof.’

Director: Christopher Guest

Cast: Jane Lynch, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey

The Spinal Tap crew deliver another winning mockumentary by lampooning the peculiar beast that is the Dog Show. Following five dogs and their eccentric owners as they compete, it features hilarious performances from Jane Lynch, Catherine O’Hara and Jennifer Coolidge along with Parker Posey, whose dog has been experiencing depression after seeing her owners having sex. This, and lashings of dark humour from the judges: ‘And to think that in some countries, these dogs are eaten.’ AS

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72

Way Out West (1936)

‘Any bird can build a nest, but it’s not everyone that can lay an egg.’

Director: James W Horne

Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy

Laurel and Hardy’s frontier tale is their most varied featurette, and ranks with their very best. Having witlessly contrived to hand over a valuable property deed to a scheming saloon owner, their attempts to make amends involve an airborne mule, an ill-fated piano and much tickling. All this plus several utterly charming old-timey musical numbers (including 1970s novelty number one ‘Trail of the Lonesome Pine’) and the convincingly surreal sight of Ollie using his thumb as a lighter. Solid gold. TJ

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71

Mr Hulot's Holiday (1953)

'Mr. Hulot is off for a week by the sea. Take a seat behind his camera, and you can spend it with him.'

Director: Jacques Tati

Cast: Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Micheline Rolla

A sleepy French seaside resort becomes the playground for director-star Jacques Tati’s lanky, kindly middle-aged bachelor Monsieur Hulot, whose efforts at enjoying himself invariably end in disaster. Former mime Tati essentially dispenses with dialogue, but while his approach certainly draws on silent comedy, he's less interested in quick-fire slapstick than slowly escalating complications whose intricate choreography often proves more whimsical, or beautiful even, than out-and-out hilarious. Filled with sunny nostalgia and bittersweet longing, its funny-sad demeanour is quintessential Tati. TJ

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The 100 best comedy movies: 70-61

70

The Cable Guy (1996)

‘Free cable is the ultimate aphrodisiac.’

Director: Ben Stiller

Cast: Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick, Leslie Mann

Produced by Judd Apatow, directed by Ben Stiller and starring Jim Carrey, Jack Black and Matthew Broderick, ‘The Cable Guy’ has all the building blocks of a legendary lad comedy. The film is no bromance though – Carrey plays a manic cable guy who drags newly single Broderick into his twisted fantasy world. Featuring a weird scene where a trip to a Medieval-themed restaurant leads to the two pals jousting viciously, this dark comedy’s strengths lie in revealing the nasty side of Carrey’s acting persona. KL

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69

Top Secret! (1984)

‘I know a little German. He’s sitting over there.’

Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Cast: Val Kilmer, Omar Sharif, Billy J Mitchell

Eager to parody the WWII spy flick but keenly aware that, despite what Mel Brooks might think, the Nazis really weren’t all that funny, the ‘Airplane’ team of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker hit upon the notion of a dimwit American rock star sent into East Berlin to infiltrate the Russkies. The result isn’t quite as rampantly gag-stuffed as either ‘Airplane!’ or ‘The Naked Gun’, but the jokes there are land hard: Peter Cushing’s amazing giant eye, Kilmer’s pitch-perfect Beach Boys parody and some timeless wordplay (see above). TH

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68

The Party (1968)

‘Birdie num nums.’

Director: Blake Edwards

Cast: Peter Sellers, Claudine Longet

Between Clouseau flicks, star Peter Sellers and writer-director Blake Edwards invented Indian bit-part actor Hrundi V Bakshi – just as accident-prone as the Gallic sleuth but with a sweet-natured humility rather than indefatigable pomposity. As the amiable protagonist unwittingly reduces a swish Hollywood soirée to a shambles, there’s a melancholy wistfulness behind the hi-jinks, giving this an unlikely kinship to ‘Being There’ in the Sellers canon. But you do have to get beyond the brownface make-up and (admittedly affectionate) ethnic stereotyping. TJ

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67

Take the Money and Run (1969)

‘Nobody wears beige to a bank robbery!’

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Woody Allen, Janet Margolin, Marcel Hillaire

If you try to rob a bank, it helps if you can convince the bank you’re a robber. And if you play the cello, it’s maybe best not to join a marching brass band. Such is the life of Virgil Starkwell, the remarkably committed and useless criminal who, as a kid. ‘Take the Money and Run’, Woody Allen’s directorial debut, is a messy, at times romantic, often baggy film, full of sight gags, overlaid with some of Allen's most trusted nightclub material. If this lacks the emotional dexterity of Allen’s mid-career film, it remains a remarkable early calling card for one of the twentieth-century’s defining comic actor/directors. TS

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66

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)

‘There's a lotta things about me you don't know anything about, Dottie.’

Director: Tim Burton

Cast: Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton

Paul Reubens’s signature comedy creation, mischief-making bow-tied big kid Pee-wee Herman, was already a big live draw before Tim Burton’s movie preserved this unique persona for celluloid immortality. A wide-eyed innocent abroad and a prissy egotist with a malevolent streak, Pee-wee certainly dances to his own beat, though it’s one Burton is certainly attuned to, creating a cavalcade of carnivalesque wit, wonder and fear as the dauntless protagonist crosses America in search of his beloved stolen bicycle. TJ

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65

Heaven Can Wait (1943)

‘It’s a father's function to save his son from the mistakes he made.’

Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Cast: Gene Tierney, Don Ameche, Charles Coburn

A satirical portrait of a womaniser who messes up the great romance right in front of him, this Technicolor delight from the legendary Ernst Lubitsch features the screen’s most elegant visualisation of hell: all marble columns and shiny floors, presided over by Laird Cregar’s suave Satan, who decides whether new arrival Don Ameche is to go ‘down below’ or ‘up above’. This is a sophisticated watch – if a little forgiving of male foibles, and more likely to give you an attack of wry smiles than out-and-out guffaws. TJ

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64

GoodFellas (1990)

‘I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?’

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro

An unusual entry in a list of comedy movies, you might think – but top comedians voted for it, and here it is. And hey, Martin Scorsese’s ferocious gangster flick is damn funny, when it isn’t busy being terrifying, paranoid and ultraviolent. Joe Pesci‘s rabid chihuahua Tommy may grab most of the comic lines, including the infamous ‘funny how?’ speech. But Ray Liotta is no slouch in the raise-a-smile department, his sheer coke-fuelled haplessness a vital corrective to the steely gangster heroes of ‘The Godfather’. TH

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63

Bananas!* (1971)

‘I once stole a pornographic book that was printed in braille. I used to rub the dirty parts.’

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Woody Allen, Louise Lasser, Carlos Montalbán

The plot of Woody Allen’s second feature movie sounds like a Seth Rogen stoner comedy: lazy guy stumbles into job as leader of a South American revolution. Except this is a Woody Allen film, so amidst daft slapstick, cutting one-liners and guerrilla warfare you’ll find commentary on the corruption of power and the role of the media. It’s a bit mad – there’s one scene where someone orders 1,000 grilled cheese sandwiches – but it’s one of Allen’s best. KL

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62

Wayne's World (1992)

‘Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he put on a dress and played girl bunny?’

Director: Penelope Spheeris

Cast: Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Tia Carrere

‘Saturday Night Live’ sketches have been responsible for at least as many terrible movies as great ones (‘A Night at the Roxbury’, anyone?), but when they work, they’re unforgettable. Overgrown headbanger Wayne and his sidekick Garth may have started out as a pastiche of no-way-dude metalhead doofuses, but their first full-length movie goes out of its way to transform them into rounded, loveable, very nearly believable characters. It’s a perfect double act, and the movie wisely keeps them front and centre even as wacky business is breaking out all over. TH

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61

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

‘You’re the vulgarian, you fuck!’

Director: Charles Crichton

Cast: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin

Showcasing John Cleese on the tipping point before his spiky, irascible Fawlty-inspired public image became his actual persona, ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ manages to find the sweetness, the charisma and, improbably, the sexiness beneath that stiff-upper-everything outer shell. Hauling Ealing legend Charles Crichton out of semi-retirement to co-write and direct, Cleese also crammed the film with peerless supporting players. His old Monty Python mucker Palin, impossibly perfect man-manipulator Jamie Lee Curtis and Oscar-winning new-age berserker Kevin Kline. This is close to perfect cinema. TH

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The 100 best comedy movies: 60-51

60

Midnight Run (1988)

‘Nothing personal, but fuck off.’

Director: Martin Brest

Cast: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin

A film whose reputation seems to grow with each passing year (it’s shot up by 34 places since the last time we put together this list), ‘Midnight Run’ comes on like just another buddies-on-the-road comedy thriller. That is, until you notice just how flawlessly written and ferociously performed it is. Robert De Niro wisely plays it straight as the bail bondsman tracking down mob informant Charles Grodin, who proceeds to whinge and whine all the way from New York to LA. The pace is relentless, the supporting players are brilliantly sketched and the script cuts like a scalpel. TH

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59

Clueless (1995)

‘Why should I listen to you, anyway? You're a virgin who can't drive.’

Director: Amy Heckerling

Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy

Teen satire ‘Clueless’ is so regularly quoted on Instagram that it’s easy to forget that the movie’s more than 20 years old. Based on Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’, the film follows shallow mall queen Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) as she guides newbie Tai (Brittany Murphy) through high school. Alicia rolls through lines like ‘she's a full-on Monet. From far away, it's okay, but up close, it's a big old mess’ with the kind of charm only a sassy teenager with a fluffy pen can get away with, but it’s a brilliantly dorky Murphy who steals the show. KL

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58

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

‘Insanity runs in my family… it practically gallops.’

Director: Frank Capra

Cast: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey

This 1944 jet-black farce about serial-killing old dears was years ahead of its time. Cary Grant’s a real trouper, all wide eyes and double takes, as he uncovers the dark secret of his dotty aunt’s cellar. He shifts into another gear when his sinister murderous brother (Raymond Massey) enters the fray. Plotted with precision, delivered with panache, still a model of controlled comic hysteria. TJ

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57

Mrs Doubtfire (1993)

‘He was hit by a Guinness truck. So it was quite literally the drink that killed him.’

Director: Chris Columbus

Cast: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan

The set-up of this 1993 family comedy might be slushy and very, very silly, but it showcases Robin Williams at his most anarchic. He plays struggling actor and divorced dad Daniel who tries to stay in his kids’ lives by dressing up as an (unconvincing and slightly creepy) older woman and getting hired by his ex-wife (Sally Field) to be the children’s nanny. What comes next is a whole lot of meddling. KL

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56

It Happened One Night (1934)

‘I don't know very much about him, except that I love him.’

Director: Frank Capra

Cast: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert


Ask a film historian: what was the first ever romcom? Chances are they’ll tell you that it’s this this deliciously fizzy 1934 screwball comedy. Clark Gable is the newspaper hack who stumbles across a spoilt heiress (Claudette Colbert) on the bus to New York – she’s running away from her rich daddy to marry a fortune hunter. Pay attention and you’ll see elements that romcom scriptwriters have been ‘paying homage’ to ever since: a couple who can’t stand each other at first sight, quick-fire bickering and the realisation that they’re head-over-heels. Irresistible. CC

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55

Toy Story (1995)

‘That wasn’t flying, that was… falling with style!’

Director: John Lasseter

Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles

A modern classic, the Pixar animation ‘Toy Story’ achieved the rare feat of being equally entertaining for adults as it was for kids. When Andy’s back is turned, his toys come alive and boy, are they funny. Tom Hanks voices the adorable cowboy Woody, newly insecure when Andy acquires a snazzy new toy by the name of Buzz Lightyear. Male rivalry abounds in a zippy story with action, adventure, heart and laughs. AS

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54

The Man With Two Brains (1983)

‘Into the mud, scum queen!’

Director: Carl Reiner

Cast: Steve Martin, Kathleen Turner, David Warner

Remember the days when a cultishly popular comedian could have a dumb idea, write a script around it, pack it with jokes and get it made by a major studio for not a huge amount of money? ‘The Man With Two Brains’ is the kind of comedy that would get laughed out of any modern studio meeting, and not in a good way. Somewhere between a Blake Edwards marriage farce and a Carry-On spoof of old-dark-castle horror movies, it’s loaded with ideas, silly names and more great gags than you can shake a lobotomised gorilla at. TH

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53

Bedazzled (1967)

‘I, Stanley Moon, hereinafter and in the hereafter to be known as “the damned”… The damned?’

Director: Stanley Donen

Cast: Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Eleanor Bron

Forget the underwhelming remake with Brendan Fraser and Liz Hurley. The original ‘Bedazzled’ is a vintage piece of swinging London comedy and probably Pete and Dud’s finest big-screen outing. Dudley Moore is a sad-sack cook mooning after a waitress (Eleanor Bron) and Peter Cook plays the devil, who procures his soul in exchange for seven wishes. What follows is a Faustian series of set-pieces – some witty, some garish, some a tad aged – that offer plenty of opportunities for the duo’s distinctive power play. BW

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52

The Odd Couple (1968)

‘He's too nervous to kill himself. He wears his seat belt in a drive-in movie.’

Director: Gene Saks

Cast: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

Unrepentant slob Oscar (Walter Matthau) and cleaning-obsessive neurotic Felix (Jack Lemmon) make a perfect match as two old pals driven by marriage troubles to sharing a Manhattan apartment. This film version plonks Neil Simon’s Broadway smash on screen without rethinking it for celluloid. Still, the obvious theatricality allows the performers to play to their contrasting strengths, whipping up a frenzy of love-hate exasperation underpinned by life-long friendship. It’s so funny because it’s so believable – everyone knows an Oscar and a Felix. TJ

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51

Sons of the Desert (1933)

‘Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into.’

Director: William A Seiter

Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy

Eccentric man-child Stan Laurel and roly-poly fall-guy Oliver Hardy make the screen’s most revered comedy double-act and this is reckoned to be their finest 68 minutes, as the boys plot to evade their domineering wives and slope off to their fraternal lodge convention. It all goes horribly wrong, of course, setting off a whole series of inventive, exquisitely timed sight-gags as the hapless twosome wind up hiding out in their own attic. Short, sharp and delightful. TJ

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The 100 best comedy movies: 50-41

50

Raising Arizona (1987)

‘Does the Pope wear a funny hat?’

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter

Baby-snatching is probably not the most obvious topic for a slapstick comedy movie, but the Coen brothers manage to spin sinister crime into seedy comedy with ‘Raising Arizona’. Nicholas Cage appears as a bumbling convenience-store robber who falls in love with his prison officer (Edwina Hunter). After fertility problems they decide to kidnap a just-born quintuplet. Thus starts a steamrolling caper that tumbles through a madcap depiction of the American Deep South. KL

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49

In the Loop (2009)

‘“Climbing the mountain of conflict”? You sounded like a Nazi Julie Andrews!’

Director: Armando Iannucci

Cast: Tom Hollander, Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini

Writer Armando Iannucci and his colleagues – including current ‘Dr Who’ actor Peter Capaldi – had already enjoyed huge success on TV with their political sitcom ‘The Thick of It’. Iannucci directed this movie version, widening the scope of the show to include Washington’s backroom politicos alongside their Westminster counterparts. Like the TV show, the film fictionalised familiar events, this time satirising the rush to war on flimsy evidence post-9/11. Capaldi’s foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker remains the star and the movie has a winning screwball energy and ring of truth to it. DC

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48

The King of Comedy (1982)

‘Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime!’

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Sandra Bernhard

Martin Scorsese isn’t exactly known for his comedy, although his 2013 hit ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ was perhaps the most out-and-out funny film he’s made so far. This 1982 film, which followed ‘Raging Bull’, thrives on awkward laughs as Robert De Niro’s sociopathic and deluded Rupert Pupkin is so desperate to become a successful stand-up comic (despite an apparent total lack of talent) that he hatches a crazy kidnap plot involving a chat-show host played by Jerry Lewis. It’s watch-through-the-fingers stuff – amusing, yes, but also seriously uncomfortable. DC

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47

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

‘I never forget a pussy... cat.’

Director: Jay Roach

Cast: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York

Take Sean Connery’s suave James Bond out of his ’60s-martini-bar comfort zone and you’re left with Austin Powers. He’s a flouncy-collared, womanising secret agent who was cryogenically frozen in the 1960s, then awoken in 1997 to battle cat-stroking villain Dr Evil. Written and starring Mike Myers in both the lead roles, the film’s storyline is as silly as it sounds but that’s what makes it so much fun. Shame about the sequels. KL

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46

The Producers (1967)

‘I was born in Dusseldorf and that is why they call me Rolf.’

Director: Mel Brooks

Cast: Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Dick Shawn

Mel Brooks’ breakthrough movie takes a rock-solid narrative (theatrical shysters Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder will pocket a fortune if their latest show closes on opening night) and seasons it with positively dangerous humour (their supposedly success-proof offering is a bad-taste musical, ‘a love letter to Hitler’). Time has inevitably softened its shock-value, but the performances, including Dick Shawn’s hippy-dippy Führer, are brilliant, and the jaw-dropping finale celebrates the triumph of laughter over history. Altogether now: ‘Springtime for Hitler and Ger-man-eee!’. TJ

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45

Rushmore (1998)

‘I saved Latin. What did you ever do?'

Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams

This second film from Wes Anderson was his first collaboration with now-regular colleagues Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. Murray plays a louche industrialist and unlikely friend to Max Fischer (Schwartzman), a pupil at the private Rushmore Academy, who dedicates himself to endless extra-curricular pursuits (drama, debate, chess, school journalism) while failing academically and mooning after a teacher (Olivia Williams). The template was more or less set for all Anderson’s later comedies: meticulous design, carefully chosen soundtrack, deadpan laughs, outsider characters and a totemic use of Bill Murray. Of Anderson’s films, it’s rivalled only by ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ for the number of out-and-out laughs. DC

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44

Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

‘I don't wanna badmouth the kid, but he's a horrible, dishonest, immoral louse. And I say that with all due respect.’

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Nick Apollo Forte

New York theatrical agent Danny (Woody Allen) is career-long loser and legend in the business, with a roster of one-legged tap-dancers and incompetent ventriloquists. The choicest story here involves a has-been Italian crooner (musician Nick Apollo Forte’s only screen appearance) and a toxic Mafia widow (Mia Farrow). Brilliant one-liners, exquisite black-and-white images and zingy comedic jeopardy combine in a movie that turns Allen’s schmuck into an icon of loyalty. He’s made better-known movies, but this is simply perfect. TJ

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43

The Blues Brothers (1980)

‘Boys, you got to learn not to talk to nuns that way.’

Director: John Landis

Cast: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd

The controversy around ‘The Blues Brothers’ has been raging since its release. Is this a case of two white comedians exploiting the heroes of soul music to make themselves look cool? Or is the film actually a loving tribute to a great American art form? The truth is, a bit of both. But luckily, there’s a brilliantly paced plot, a punchy script and a riot of car chases to keep you distracted every time Belushi and Aykroyd’s mugging gets a bit much. Of course, the heart of the movie is in its musical performances: Cab Calloway, Ray Charles and James Brown all hit hard, but it’s Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ that’ll have you jiving in your seat. TH

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42

His Girl Friday (1940)

‘Walter, you're wonderful, in a loathsome sort of way.’

Director: Howard Hawks

Cast: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

Is ‘His Girl Friday’ the ultimate screwball comedy? Swift, smart and stylish with a dose of savage humour, this Howard Hawks-directed adaptation of the stage play ‘The Front Page’ pits a ruthless newspaper editor (Cary Grant) against his former wife (Rosalind Russell), a hotshot reporter who plans to remarry. Full of genial deceit and plotting, it’s energetic, crafty and romantic. DC

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41

Napoleon Dynamite

‘Just follow your heart. That's what I do.’

Director: Jared Hess

Cast: Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Efren Ramirez

‘Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills… like bow hunting skills, computer hacking…’ It’s safe to say that lanky Idaho high schooler Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) doesn’t really understand girls – or conversation. This social misfit makes for a terrific underdog hero, and when he decides his skill is dancing, things get really funny. Look out for a hilarious turn from Efren Ramirez as Napoleon’s best friend Pedro, a transfer student running for class president. Vote for Pedro! AS

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The 100 best comedy movies: 40-31

40

The Pink Panther (1963)

‘Simone, where is my Surété Scotland Yard-type mackintosh?’

Director: Blake Edwards

Cast: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner

Peter Sellers’ first appearance as the accident-prone French detective Inspector Clouseau comes as a supporting turn in Blake Edwards’s otherwise relatively straightforward saga of an aristocratic jewel thief (David Niven) pursuing the world’s most valuable gem, the eponymous Pink Panther. Sellers has already nailed the character’s strangulated vowels and inexhaustible facility for pratfalling chaos, although the movie sags a little when he’s not on screen. TJ

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39

Coming to America (1988)

‘The royal penis is clean, your highness.’

Director: John Landis

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones

This fish-out-of-water comedy may contain within it the seeds of Eddie Murphy’s downfall – heavy make-up, sketchy plotting, cloying sentimentality – but there’s also more than enough of his youthful fire to keep it ticking over. Murphy plays Akeem, spoiled crown prince of a wealthy African nation who travels to New York to find a bride. The result is less politically astute than Murphy and director John Landis’s earlier ‘Trading Places’ (despite a cameo by that film’s villains, the Dukes), but it is terrifically funny and very charming. TH

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38

Nuts In May (1976)

‘“I want to see the zoo,” she said. “I want to see the zoo.”’

Director: Mike Leigh

Cast: Roger Sloman, Alison Steadman, Anthony O’Donnell

Of all the films Mike Leigh made for TV in the 1970s, this comedy about two ‘green’ middle-class Londoners who pitch up at a Dorset campsite and make fools of themselves is almost as enduring as the better known ‘Abigail’s Party’. Arriving in the countryside, priggish Keith (Roger Sloman) turns up his nose at non-free-range eggs (this was 40 years ago), while his wife Candice Marie (Alison Steadman) might not be as floaty and submissive as she first appears. Squirm, and squirm some more. DC

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37

Elf (2003)

‘You sit on a throne of lies!’

Director: Jon Favreau

Cast: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart

The mere sight of large, looming man-child Will Ferrell dressed in a skimpy elf costume is funny enough, but there are plenty more giggles in this festive crowdpleaser. Ferrell is buddy, a man who, having been raised as an elf in the North Pole, heads to the States to find his real parents. He also has the good fortune to get to know Zooey Deschanel. A heart-warming fish out of water comedy. AS

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36

The General (1926)

‘There were two loves in his life: his engine and…’

Directors: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton

Cast: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack

Viewed today, the natural reaction to Buster Keaton’s civil-war masterpiece isn’t so much laughter as sheer, jaw-on-the-floor astonishment. In a world long before health and safety, here is a man literally risking life and limb to present some of the most astonishing sight gags ever performed, from ducking cannon balls to flipping railroad ties to chucking an entire, full-size locomotive off a bridge. It’s hilarious too, of course: the birth of the chase movie, and the template for everything from the Looney Tunes cartoons to ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. TH

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35

National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)

‘Christ. Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the fucking Peace Corps.’

Director: John Landis

Cast: John Belushi, Karen Allen, Tom Hulce

National Lampoon’s 1978 effort follows a wild fraternity of party lads, playboys and misfits put at danger of being shutdown by the dean of their straight-laced university. If that plotline sounds familiar it’s probably because it’s been aped by a whole host of college movies since, from the ‘American Pie’ sequels to the recent Zac Efron film ‘Bad Neighbours’. But none of them have the same gutsy energy brought by ‘Animal House’ cast members like John Belushi. KL

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34

When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

‘I'll have what she's having.’

Director: Rob Reiner

Cast: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher

Do women fake orgasms? Can men and women ever just be friends? With her flawless script for ‘When Harry Met Sally…’ comedy genius Nora Ephron injected a shot of adrenaline into the romcom. We all know the story. Meg Ryan is ‘high maintenance’ Sally and Billy Crystal is Harry. When they meet after college, Sally and Harry can’t stand the sight of each other. But over the years they become unlikely friends. Everything about the movie is perfect, from the chemistry between Ryan and Crystal, the gorgeous photography to that script, full of wisdom and wit. CC

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33

A Night at the Opera (1935)

‘I saw Mrs Claypool first. Of course, her mother really saw her first but there’s no point in bringing the Civil War into this.’

Director: Sam Wood

Cast: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx

Even funnier than the overblown Queen album of the same name, this was the Marxes at their anarchic apogee, an excoriating dissection of snot-nosed, jazz-age, high-society wags that contained some of their most memorable comic riffs. The story, in which Groucho falls in with a moneyed has-been and has to assist a struggling opera company, plays second fiddle to an intense barrage of puns, tongue-twisters and wisecracks. Chico’s on hand, too, with his unhinged cod-Italiano witterings, while Harpo’s energetic feats of slapstick repeatedly threaten to steal the show. And if you’ve ever pondered how many people can fit into the cabin of an art deco transatlantic ocean liner, then this is the movie for you. DJ

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32

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

‘Oh my God. She’s so drunk.’

Director: Edgar Wright

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield

There’s something comfortably British and familiar about Edgar Wright’s classic comedy, despite the presence of zombies. Using the same mix of observational character humour, movie references, bromance and slacker comedy as his TV series ‘Spaced’, Wright also made a movie star of Simon Pegg, who’s spot-on as the North Londoner trying to save his relationship amid a zombie apocalypse. Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield and Bill Nighy all add to the considerable laugh count. AS

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31

¡Three Amigos! (1986)

‘Would you say that I had a plethora of piñatas?’

Director: John Landis

Cast: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short

Pitched somewhere between ‘Seven Samurai’ and ‘The Artist’ (only with much bigger hats), this goofy Hollywood comedy sees three fading silent-era stars travelling to Mexico to appear at a warlord’s birthday party only to wind up leading a peasant’s revolt. It’s all deeply silly – most of the jokes come at the expense of wacky accents, donkeys and Martin Short falling over – but Alfonso Arau’s thunderous performance as the villainous El Guapo is a major treat, as is Randy Newman’s whacked-out cameo as a singing bush. TH

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The 100 best comedy movies: 30-21

30

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

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

Director: Trey Parker

Cast: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes

They’re now the darlings of the Broadway stage with ‘The Book of Mormon’. But Trey Parker and Matt Stone always had a way with the comic song, from their DIY debut ‘Cannibal! The Musical’, all the way through the early years of ‘South Park’. This magnificently inventive, witty and savage feature-length spinoff features more hummable tunes than a cartoon about an apocalyptic ground war between the US and Canada has any right to, from the rampant expletives of ‘Uncle Fucka’ to the soaring rock-ballad majesty of Satan’s ‘Up There’. TH

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29

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

‘Lawrence Fells. Lawrence Feings. Forest Lorenston. Low. Lars. LARS. Lawrence. Lawrence. Luch. Lawrence. Tuh. His name is James Jesenthon. Lawrence Fell. Lawrence Jesterton. LAWRENCE JESTERTON!’

Director: Frank Oz

Cast: Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly

‘Scoundrels’ is the perfect description of Steve Martin and Michael Caine’s characters in this remake of 1964’s ‘Bedtime Story’. The duo play a pair of conmen who’ve been tricking the rich women of the French Riviera out of their fortunes before realising they share the same turf. Thus begins an increasingly ridiculous duel, with Caine’s buttoned-up Lawrence making the perfect foil for Martin’s goofball Freddy. Their behaviour could easily come off as mean, but by the end of the film they’ve conned you into thinking they’re loveable rogues. KL

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28

Zoolander (2001)

‘This has been an emotional day for all of us. I think we should get naked.’

Director: Ben Stiller

Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell

There is an art to doing dumb and superficial comedy – perfected in ‘Zoolander’. Ben Stiller (who also directs) is Derek Zoolander, the ridiculously good-looking male supermodel world famous for his Blue Steel look, but whose brain is – shall we say – slightly less sharp than his haircut. When Derek loses model-of-the-year to Hansel (Owen Wilson, hilarious), he falls into the clutches of evil designer Mugatu (Will Ferrell, genius). Rumour has it that ‘Zoolander’ is one of Terrence Malick’s favourite films. CC

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27

Blazing Saddles (1974)

‘What’s a dazzling urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like this?’

Director: Mel Brooks

Cast: Gene Wilder, Cleavon Little, Slim Pickens

‘My movies rise below vulgarity,’ Mel Brooks once quipped in the salad days of his career. Exhibit A for that claim, surely, is ‘Blazing Saddles’. A satire of Hollywood’s white-centric accounts of the American West, and told from the perspective of the first black sheriff in an all-white town, the film can be wince-inducing in the politically-charged, highly racial tone of its humour. Co-written by Richard Pryor (and co-starring Gene Wilder), it remains a riot of bad taste. John Wayne was offered a cameo role, Brooks once claimed in an interview. After reading and considering the script, the iconic Cowboy declined the opportunity. The dialogue, he said was ‘too dirty’. Amen to that. TS

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26

The Castle (1997)

‘Compulsorily acquired? You know what this means, don’t you… They’re acquiring it. Compulsorily.’

Director: Rob Sitch

Cast: Michael Caton, Anne Tenney, Stephen Curry

Voted Australia’s favourite homegrown film, this modest fable about ordinary folk battling the vested interests who have issued a compulsory purchase order on their property manages the rare trick of laughing with its characters while getting significant comic mileage from their deficiencies of taste, common sense and general knowledge. The Kerrigan household aren’t the sharpest tools in the box, but their affectionate family bond creates a sense of home as something you just can’t put a price on. An irresistible feelgood charmer. TJ

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25

Bridesmaids (2011)

‘You’re really doing it, aren’t ya? You’re shitting in the street!’

Director: Paul Feig

Cast: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph

For years, Hollywood’s men in suits told Paul Feig that female-centred comedy wouldn’t sell. How wrong they were. ‘Bridesmaids’ rocked the box office and reinvented the romcom. It works because its relationships feel real and honest, an antidote to fake comedies. ‘Bridesmaids’ picked up two Oscar nominations and made stars of Kristen Wiig (who co-wrote the script with Annie Mumulo) and comedy powerhouse Melissa McCarthy. Its wider legacy is a new generation of female comedy. CC

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24

Play It Again, Sam (1972)

‘No, my parents never got divorced. Although I begged them to.’

Director: Herbert Ross

Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts

Woody Allen establishes his on-screen persona as a haplessly neurotic would-be lover in this sparkling adaptation of his 1969 Broadway play, where he’s a movie critic so obsessed by ‘Casablanca’ that he’s conjured up an imaginary Humphrey Bogart to dispense hard-boiled wisdom. Bogey’s kiss-or-kill strategies couldn’t be less appropriate, which is where the fun starts, and Diane Keaton makes a most appealing romantic foil as events head to a wittily achieved airport finale with deliciously misappropriated classic movie dialogue. TJ

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23

Tootsie (1982)

‘I have a name. It’s Dorothy. Not Tootsie or Toots or Sweetie or Honey or Doll.’ ‘Oh, Christ!’ ‘No, just Dorothy.’

Director: Sidney Pollack

Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Bill Murray

Sure, this is Dustin Hoffman’s show – he’s the gut in a dress, after all. But it’s Bill Murray who sticks in the memory: the source of most of the film’s big laughs and a goodly portion of its soul. Looking back, the concept of a guy dressing up as a woman to get a better job is a vaguely uncomfortable one, and its approach to feminism is badly out-dated. But the performances still shine, the script still sparkles and director Sydney Pollack’s smooth ’80s style still charms. Now hang on while I fix my lippy. TH

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22

Ghostbusters (1984)

‘Don’t cross the streams!’

Director: Ivan Reitman

Cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd

When New York is invaded by ghastly ghouls, who you gonna call? You know the answer: four self-styled Ghostbusters ready to dash in and zap the spirits into oblivion. Much of this sci-fi-comedy’s charm lies in its have-a-go-heroes: these underdogs are thrown into the spotlight with delightful results. Bill Murray’s deadpan, womanising scientist is an undoubted highlight, while Rick Moranis brings crazy character humour as the dork living in the most haunted building in Manhattan. AS

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21

Young Frankenstein (1974)

‘For what we are about to see next, we must enter quietly into the realm of genius.’

Director: Mel Brooks

Cast: Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle

Mel Brooks’s finest genre parody succeeds as a hilarious send-up because it’s also a love letter to the classic 1930s ‘Frankenstein’ movies. As the old Baron’s grandson (co-writer Gene Wilder) brings the family business back to life, Brooks milks the familiar material to the point of absurdity – notably when Wilder performs a tuxedo-ed song-and-dance duo to prove his monster (Peter Boyle) is a civilised creation. The knockabout is great fun, but knowing the originals only increases one’s appreciation. TJ

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The 100 best comedy movies: 20-11

20

Four Lions (2010)

‘Rubber-dinghy rapids, bro!’

Director: Chris Morris

Cast: Riz Ahmed, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak

This first (and so far only) feature from British TV and radio comedian Chris Morris dared to mock the stupidity of homegrown British jihadis in the wake of 2005’s terror attacks on London. Framed as a slapstick sitcom and built on solid satirical foundations, Morris and his co-writers based much of their script on evidence and court transcripts relating to real cases of DIY terrorism. In the years since, the film has become a regular reference point in the news as life – tragically and comically – continues to imitate art. DC

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19

Duck Soup (1933)

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

Director: Leo McCarey

Cast: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx

What to say when a film is creeping towards its first century but still feels as timely, relevant and subversive as it did on release? The Marx Brothers’s best movie, ‘Duck Soup’ takes them far out of their New York music hall milieu and into a kind of twisted miniature Mittel-Europa filtered through immigrant memory and fairytales, where war is brewing between the proud people of Freedonia and the crypto-fascists of neighbouring Sylvania. With a far lighter touch than Chaplin’s ‘Great Dictator’, the film lampoons not just fascism but patriotism and politics in general: this is satire deployed both with a sledgehammer and a scalpel, often in the same scene. TH

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18

Dr Strangelove: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)

‘Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!’

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Peter Sellers, George C Scott, Sterling Hayden

It’s the only comedy flick that ends with the annihilation of all life on Earth, but Stanley Kubrick’s lunatic satire never seems sure if that’s actually a bad thing: throughout the film, humanity is shown time and again to be either feeble (President Muffley, Captain Mandrake), heroically stupid (‘King’ Kong, Col Guano) or ferociously psychopathic (everyone else). The screenplay is justly regarded as one of the finest ever written – ‘Have you ever seen a commie drink a glass of water?’ – but the film looks amazing too, from the camera-on-the-shoulder immediacy of the airbase scenes to the apocalyptic grandeur of the War Room. TH

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17

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

‘Those. Aren’t. PILLOWS!!!’

Director: John Hughes

Cast: Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean

So much more than just a jolly fat man, John Candy was one of those performers who seemed to have comedy right down in his bones. When he added a pinch of pathos, the results could be devastating. By far the finest in that elite subgenre of movies about stressed-out guys trying to get back to their loved ones for the holidays, ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ works not because both its frontmen (Candy is joined by Steve Martin) are effortlessly hilarious – though they are, and it’s wonderful. But it’s all leading up to that finale, a sequence of unforgettable, tear-jerking poignancy. TH

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16

Trading Places (1983)

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

Director: John Landis

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis

America’s love-hate relationship with capitalism has rarely been more cannily explored than in this sadistic fairytale of two conniving businessmen who decide to replace one of their finest employees – Harvard elitist Dan Akyroyd – with Eddie Murphy’s sharp-witted street bum. The image of Aykroyd, drunk and suicidal in a Santa suit on Christmas Eve, says more about the realities (and brutalities) of Wall Street than a hundred financial-crash docs – and means that when he and his erstwhile rival pull together for the big climactic switcheroo, you’re firmly in their corner. TH

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15

Some Like It Hot (1959)

‘Real diamonds! They must be worth their weight in gold!’

Director: Billy Wilder

Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon

Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis star as Jerry and Joe, two musicians who are forced to flee Chicago after witnessing the 1929 Valentine’s Day Massacre and disguise themselves as female members of a band travelling to Florida. Joe falls for the band’s seductive singer, Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), while Jerry has to fight off the lusty attentions of a wealthy old man. Billy Wilder delivers a pacy, racy cross-dressing farce, full of gags and sauce. DC

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14

Dumb & Dumber (1994)

‘Hey, want to hear the most annoying sound in the world? ARGHHHGHHHER...’

Directors: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels

Imagine the contents of your hyperactive little brother’s brain splatted on to a TV screen and you have ‘Dumb & Dumber’. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels star as a pair of stupendously stupid no-hopers who head on a road trip across America to return a woman’s briefcase. Unapologetically gross-out, the movie’s a mulch of butt jokes, toilet jokes, snot jokes and sex jokes. It’s totally regressive but in a whoops-just-snorted-my-drink-everywhere-laughing kind of way. KL

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13

The Naked Gun (1988)

‘Hey look! It’s Enrico Pallazzo!’

Director: David Zucker

Cast: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, OJ Simpson

Second only to ‘Airplane!’ in the gag-for-gag hit-rate stakes, ‘The Naked Gun’ never met a dumb pun, slapstick pratfall or deadpan one-liner it didn’t like. The film made Leslie Nielsen a bigger star than he’d ever been playing straight-man roles in ‘proper’ disaster movies – though it has to be said, he tossed away that goodwill almost immediately in the likes of ‘Dracula: Dead and Loving It’ – and spawned a fistful of sequels, of which the first is well worth watching for the amazing ‘awfully big moustache’ line alone. TH

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12

The Big Lebowski (1998)

‘This aggression will not stand, man.’

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Cast: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore

When stoner Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski is mistaken for a local millionaire with the same name, he sets out on a big adventure with his bowling team. There are so many one-liners in this Coen Brothers comedy that you could easily credit the film’s success to its pithy dialogue alone, but with a supporting cast including Walter John and Julianne Moore, it brings so much more to the table, including life lessons about friendship and heroism. KL

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11

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

‘I’ll give this little cookie an hour before we’re doing the no-pants dance.’

Director: Adam McKay

Cast: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd


In what might be his finest hour Will Ferrell is Ron Burgundy, the sexist ’70s news reporter who gets his polyester flares in a flap when female co-host Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) is appointed. It’s impossible to pick the film’s best, silliest moment. Is it Ron throwing his burrito out of the car window? Or telling his dog that he doesn’t speak Spanish? With cameos from comedy pals Jack Black, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, ‘Anchorman’ should reek of self-indulgence. Instead it’s a comedy classic. Shame about the sequel. CC

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The 100 best comedy movies: top ten

10

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

‘Very niiiice.’

Director: Larry Charles

Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian

Say what you like about Sacha Baron Cohen, he’s got balls of steel. And in gag-packed ‘Borat’, in which he plays a Kazakh TV journalist, you watch (if you’re not hiding your face behind your hands) his most toe-curlingly cringeworthy and reckless punks. Who else would stand up with mic at a rodeo full of rednecks and butcher the American national anthem? The authorities in Kazakhstan were not amused and banned Borat, but in a bizarre twist of fate, the film gave the former Soviet state a boost in tourism. CC

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9

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

‘Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!’

Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones

Cast: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin

We all love Monty Python’s slapstick savaging of the legend of King Arthur, but we always forget about the llamas: according to the credits, Holy Grail was the creation of Reg Llama of Brixton, and thousands of his llama friends across the world (as well as Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones). Well, Reg and co. created a masterpiece. With its Bergman-ribbing credit sequence, its one-liners and its extravagantly gruesome violence, ‘Holy Grail’ was Python’s launchpad to international stardom. Neil Innes’s music and Gilliam’s animations are touchstones for British absurdist humour, while the late Graham Chapman, playing it straight as King Arthur, was never finer. TS

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8

Team America: World Police (2004)

‘I’ve got five terrorists going south-east on Bakalakadaka Street!’

Directors: Trey Parker, Matt Stone

Cast: Trey Parker, Matt Stone

‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had no idea what they were taking on when they decided to make a ‘Thunderbirds’-style puppet movie about the War on Terror. A year of 20-hour days later – Stone described it as ‘the worst time of my life’ – the film was unleashed, and justified every minute of the duo’s hard work. As concerned with skewering the twin pomposities of mainstream action cinema and liberal Hollywood as it is with the terrorist armies of Durkadurkastan and North Korea, the film borders on genius in its self-aware use of wooden marionettes, particularly in the notorious sex scene. Even Matt Damon thinks it’s funny. TH

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7

Withnail & I (1987)

‘I must have some booze. I demand to have some booze!’

Director: Bruce Robinson

Cast: Richard E Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths

As mournful as it is funny, this British comedy is the late-1960s-set story of two actors, played by Richard E Grant (Withnail) and Paul McGann (the unnamed ‘I’), who leave London for the countryside when their work dries up and life gets a little too heavy in the city. Richard Griffiths plays Withnail’s fruity Uncle Monty while Ralph Brown gives an endlessly imitated performance as a far-out drug dealer. The laughs are mostly of the nervy kind. DC

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6

The Jerk (1979)

‘Lord loves a working man, don’t trust whitey, see a doctor and get rid of it.’

Director: Carl Reiner

Cast: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters

‘I was born a poor black child…’ With those fateful words, one of the finest comedy talents of the modern era stepped off the stand-up circuit and onto the big screen. Like just about every other big-screen comic genius you care to name, Steve Martin would end up squandering his talent via an unending series of well-paid but way-beneath-him goofball-for-hire gigs. But his early work remains peerless; ‘The Jerk’ most of all. The tale of an adopted sharecropper’s son who sets out into the big wide world to make (and lose) his fortune, the film sports a dizzying array of amazing gags – ‘this is shit, and this is shinola’, ‘I’m in print!’, ‘You should call him… Shithead!’ – all anchored in Martin’s loopy but oddly empathetic performance. All together now: ‘Oh, I’m picking out a Thermos for you…’ TH

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5

Groundhog Day (1983)

‘Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.’

Director: Harold Ramis

Cast: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell

It’s been more than 20 years since Bill Murray starred as the cynical weatherman trapped in a time loop in the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania – reliving the same day over and over again. But ‘Groundhog Day’ hasn’t aged a bit. What makes it stick? Maybe it’s because under that uproarious humour are a few home truths: life is groundhoggy, full of boring repetition, but a little kindness and love go a long way. CC

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4

Annie Hall (1977)

‘I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member.’

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton

'Annie Hall' is as Woody Allen as Woody Allen gets – hilarious, neurotic and occupied by the realisation that whatever happens, life is going to trample all over you. It’s also one of the greatest romantic comedies every made (with some of the funniest lines: ‘Don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love’). Allen is Alvy Singer, who’s just split from scatty singer Annie (Diane Keaton, his real-life ex). What follows is an anatomy of their relationship. Allen has said that the film is not autobiographical – he co-wrote it with Marshall Brickman – but that’s not what we want to hear. CC

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3

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

‘I think it was “Blessed are the cheesemakers”.’

Director: Terry Jones

Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin

Absurdist humour blends with religious satire in Monty Python’s side-splitting story of a Jewish chap called Brian (Graham Chapman) who’s mistaken for Jesus Christ. As Brian’s mother (Terry Jones) points out, ‘He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!’ Deliciously irreverent, it’s a brilliant idea that became one of the greatest comedies of all time, featuring Python members such as John Cleese in multiple roles. All together now: ‘Always look on the bright side of life…’ AS

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2

Airplane! (1980)

‘Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.’

Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Cast: Leslie Nielsen, Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty

‘Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?’ A movie that raises belly laughs after countless viewings, this was the second film (after 1977’s ‘Kentucky Fried Movie’) from Jim Abraham and the Zucker brothers, who went on to make the ‘Naked Gun’ and ‘Hot Shots’ movies. Overflowing with on-target visual gags and one-liners, it’s a playful and deeply silly spoof of 1970s disaster movies and stars Robert Hays as a troubled ex-pilot forced to land an airliner when the real pilot collapses from food poisoning. Leslie Nielsen steals the film as an onboard doctor. Just don’t call him Shirley. DC

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1

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

‘What’re the hours?’

Director: Rob Reiner

Cast: Christopher Guest, Rob Reiner

You're asking, how much more funny could this be? And the answer is none. None more funny. Yes, our experts have cast their votes and the winner by a clear margin is Rob Reiner's genre-setting mockumentary – or, if you will, rockumentary – about England's largest-livin', heaviest-riffin', filthiest-lyric-singin', biggest-hair-havin', fluffiest-jumper-ownin' heavy rock combo. Sporting arguably the most quotable script in movie history ('no... these ones go to eleven') and some of the meatiest metal melodies this side of Bon Scott-era AC/DC, this is simply a perfect film: from the first chord of 'Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight' to the very final line ('I dunno, what are the hours?'), there's literally nothing about it that could be improved.

It also, lest we forget, defined an entire genre, accidentally inventing everything from 'The Office' to 'The Blair Witch Project' (not to mention lead axe-man Christopher Guest's entire subsequent career). Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer would keep gigging as Spinal Tap for three decades – proof that they were so much more than just a joke band in a funny movie. Spinal Tap: for those about to rock, we salute you. TH

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How many comedy movies have you seen?

Who voted in our top 100 comedy movies countdown?

The 100 best comedy movies: contributors

How did we choose the 100 best comedy movies of all time? We asked the experts – more than 70 stand-up comedians, actors and writer and directors who make a living tickling our funny bones. Explore the top ten entries from all our contributors, including Peter Capaldi, Sharon Horgan, Jack Whitehall and Jo Brand.

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By: Cath Clarke

Comments

29 comments
Monique P
Monique P

I can't stand Monty Python. Their humour has dated. Was Napoleon Dynamite in there? Romy and Michelle? Most of this list is bold and brash type of humour, a lot of it incredibly sexist and bigoted. It's not a list for people who enjoy subtlety. 

Rob M
Rob M

I can agree with most films on the list, but I cannot put in Cable Guy. That may very well be one of the worst movies ever.

Mari G
Mari G

The waterboy is my favorite funny movie

liam r
liam r

Groundhog day came out in 1993 not 1983

Elkun T
Elkun T

Tại sao chỉ có cách nhân giống bằng phương pháp chiết ghép là biện pháp tối ưu để tạo cây điều giống hoàn chỉnh? Đó là vẫn lưu giữ đặc tính, đặc điểm tốt của cây mẹ, Đặc biệt tăng sức đề kháng, sức sống từ hạt có rễ cọc khoẻ, không đỗ ngã khi mưa gió; lấy nước, dinh dưỡng tốt.


https://sites.google.com/site/vuonuomcaygionglaitran/cay-giong/cay-dieu-giong

https://vuonuomcaygiongcattien.wordpress.com/cay-dieu-giong/

George C
George C

The least you could do is put some kind of Next page button at the bottom, I had to scroll up and change after every page.

Tony F
Tony F

Solid list with some hefty omissions: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Caddyshack, Sleeper, Johnny Dangerously, Wedding Crashers, Election, Tropic Thunder, Repo Man, Flirting With Disaster, I Heart Huckabees, It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Paper Moon, Ed Wood

Chris N
Chris N

Bridesmaids made the list but the hangover didn't?..... Also Home Alone 2, and Shrek should have made this list.

Mick D
Mick D

The "Great Dictator" is a brilliantly daring film, but not as funny as "Modern Times". I realise that this is a poll originating in the UK, and am not surprised at the plethora of US films listed, but hey -- is there no love for "My Cousin Vinny"?

MG L
MG L

I have seen 93/100 films you've listed. I believe that qualifies me as an "expert" in this genre. Others have pointed out the absurd inclusions and exclusions on this list (and I've seen all of those too). The single most incredible proposition made is that, "Spinal Tap" is the #1 comedy. I picture some 20-something, head-sock-wearing, face-bejeweled, pseudo-mixologist hipster with a hookah, puffing medicinal marijuana and sipping on craft beer throwing darts at a list of marquis posters to select "Spinal Tap" as the winner. Where do I apply for the job the next time you do this list? :-)

Mick D
Mick D

@Rondinelli A In the late 1990s the American Film Institute (AFI) listed "Blazing Saddles" & "Young Frankenstein" in the top 10, as I recall, and "The Producers" was also on the list.  So from year to year, opinions and critics change -- but they're still up there....

S A
S A

#1 should have been the web design of this list. 

Rock G
Rock G

Groundhog Day is from 1993, not 1983.

Of all the films to get the date wrong on, you picked this one.

Chris J
Chris J

dont know who made this list but so many great movies missing and so many unfunny movies included .

King C
King C

Where the hell is Caddyshack?!?!?!?!

LPR R
LPR R

This 'Material/Flat Design' web page looks.. Well, kindergarten made.Please go back to creativity. Rectangular, mono-colored huge rectangles are not appealing, inviting or 'comfy'. There is a black panel a third way down the page!

Just cause Google says it's good... doesnt' mean it is!


Emma B
Emma B

Errr ... Ealing?

Nick M
Nick M

Reading through this list thinking, 'where is Airplane!, where is it?  I'm going to be angry if it's not there,. Phew, it's in at #2.'  Best film ever.

sagvan
sagvan

i not have seen the movie spinal tap but it is best ever movie i love it it deserve to be no 1 , although i am not able to watch this movie yet i know everybody will agree with me , what not agree go to toilet and relax and think again

Peggy
Peggy

Tropic Thunder !!