It’s a universal experience and one of the best and most physically and psychologically necessary things in life — to laugh, that is. And that’s why comedies are so important.
One of the core and most popular genres of film, comedy has been a consistently popular movie format since the birth of the cinema. And all kinds of comedic subgenres have developed over the years, like the road trip comedy, fish-out-of-water comedy, horror comedy, the rom-com, and more. Some of the greatest movies ever produced were seemingly designed to be great works of art second and invitations to the audience to let loose and laugh first. Here then are the 98 movies, stretching back to Hollywood’s early years and all the way up to the near-present, that are not only hilarious but are also fantastic films. In no particular order, these are the best comedy movies ever made.
Updated on August 11, 2021: The world of comedy never stops, and the laughs just keep on coming. As new funny flicks hit theater screens and streaming services, we’ll be keeping an eye out for any future classics and hidden gems. Check back periodically to see if any new comedies make our list of the all-time best Candyman cijeli film.
“Wayne’s World” was such a popular sketch on “Saturday Night Live” that Hollywood wanted to expand the world of metalhead Chicago cable access hosts Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar into a film. The resulting movie isn’t a rehash but an innovative, ironic, exciting, and wildly unpredictable comedy. Amidst a story about a sleazy TV producer trying to steal and ruin Wayne’s show (and also lure away his rock star girlfriend), Wayne and Garth frequently break the fourth wall, talking to the audience and even giving the film a new ending because the one they’re stuck with is a total bummer. “Wayne’s World” is really all about those great bits, like the memorable moment where rock legend Alice Cooper delivers a lecture about the history of Milwaukee.
National Lampoon’s Animal House
Produced under the eye of the aggressively button-pushing and sometimes filthy humor magazine “National Lampoon,” “Animal House” established some new cinematic concepts, such as a the wild, R-rated college comedy and the “snobs vs. slobs” concept that would pop up in comic films throughout the ’80s. It’s set in the early 1960s on the campus of Faber College, where the Delta Tau Chi fraternity house is so libidinous and booze-soaked that it will admit almost anyone willing to help them throw legendary parties and play elaborate campus pranks. This earns them the ire of the dean, Vernon Wormer, who puts the frat on “double secret probation” and enlists a snooty rich kid fraternity to help eliminate Delta House … which won’t go down without an outrageous fight.
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Monty Python and the Holy Grail
On its sketch show “Flying Circus,” Monty Python ridiculed all aspects of English life, particularly what it meant to be English. So it’s ironic that the most enduring and popular film adaptation of Arthurian legend is “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” a film that celebrates England’s enduring collection of myths and legends about a brave and true medieval ruler by thoroughly and completely making fun of it.
“Holy Grail,” ostensibly about a quest to obtain Christ’s Last Supper goblet, is made by a sketch troupe, and as a result, we’re treated to one hilarious set piece and self-contained vignette after another, from two castle guards wondering how many swallows could carry the coconuts King Arthur’s squire uses to mimic the sound of horse hooves (in lieu of an actual horse) to a duel with the indefatigable Black Knight (who won’t stop fighting even after Arthur hacks off all his limbs) to killer bunnies and a group of knights who scream, “Ni!”
Dumb and Dumber
Harry and Lloyd are probably the two dumbest guys in Rhode Island, and they’re the last people who should come into possession of a bag of ransom money intended for some violent criminals. And so, they set out to deliver it to the woman who Lloyd thinks left it behind by accident, Mary Swanson, his dream woman. They drive their mobile dog grooming van (dressed up to look like a dog) all the way to Colorado and engage in some silly misadventures along the way, like sharing the most annoying sound in the world, destroying a toilet, and accidentally feeding rat poison to a hitman.
When he ruled the comedy world in the 1980s, Chevy Chase was at his best when he played smarmy guys who thought they were one step ahead of everybody else. He perfected the persona with “Fletch,” playing Irwin M. “Fletch” Fletcher, a versatile, quick-thinking investigative reporter who acts more like a shrewd private eye than a writer researching a story. He’s offered a big sum of money to kill a man, but a little bit of digging shows that the situation is far more complicated and dangerous than Fletch thought, sending him looking for answers and into hiding. Along the way, we’re treated to a series of ridiculous fake names and assumed identities that he gets away with because Fletch can talk his way into or out of anything. At one point, a friend asks Fletch if “everything is a joke to him.” And yes, it kind of is.
There would be no “Palm Springs,” “Happy Death Day,” or other caught-in-a-repeating-time-loop movies without the original stab at the idea: “Groundhog Day.” Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a jaded and shallow TV weatherman who resents having to travel to the Groundhog Day capital of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover whether or not the official groundhog sees his shadow or not. He’s rude to his producer, Rita, not to mention pretty much everyone else he encounters, from townsfolk to an old, long-winded acquaintance. Then something magically and utterly unexplainable happens: Phil keeps re-living Groundhog Day, in the exact same circumstances, over and over. He does it probably thousands of times, unable to break out even with death. It would seem that he’s going to have to fix something about himself and his awful ways if he ever wants the date to change.