Top 10 comedy movies
The best funny, feel-good films
Watching a good comedy movie is the perfect way of lifting your mood, giving you that all-important 'feel-good factor'. Here's our top 10 of comedy movies that are sure to exercise your laughter muscles and boost your sense of mental wellbeing.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Tagline: The movie too HOT for words.
Consistently appearing at the top of ‘best of’ movie lists, this comic take on the 1928 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre sees Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis playing musicians who witness a gangland killing in Chicago and need to get out of town fast. Dressed in drag and joining an all-girl band, they meet the sexy singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe) – leading to some hilarious results.
The movie is fast paced and full of constant humor – from subtle comedy to slapstick farce – so there’s something to amuse everyone. The three main stars all provide flawless performances, and Curtis’s take on Cary Grant is exceptional. The movie is so good that the lack of color is barely noticeable.
Annie Hall (1977)
Tagline: A nervous romance.
A bittersweet comedy romance in which Diane Keaton plays a quirky Midwestern nightclub singer, Annie Hall, who meets Alvy Singer, a neurotic stand-up comic (Woody Allen) – and then the story of their doomed romance unfolds. This is unquestionably Allen’s best work, and one which re-invented the whole romance genre.
The Oscar-Winning movie (including Best Picture and Best Actress) has plenty of witty one-liners – some of which you’ll only pick up on after several viewings. There are also numerous classic comedy scenes in the movie – many of which come from Allen’s inventive use of split-frame scenes, or cartoons representing the main characters, or even when Allen directly addresses the audience.
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Tagline: Never give a saga an even break!
A Wild West parody providing laughs from beginning to end. This is Mel Brooks’ wildly irreverent spoof in which no social convention escapes ridicule, and tells of a Black American man who becomes the sheriff in a racially prejudiced town in the Old West.
There are moments that are just plain silly – with the one most likely to be remembered being the scene demonstrating the digestive effects of eating beans! Dozens of movie conventions are broken, and the movies far from panders to the politically correct crowd – yet is eminently watchable and superbly daft.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Tagline: The scariest comedy of all time!
Non-stop comedy spoofing 1930s classic horror movies such as Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. The story involves Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), who succeeds in making his own monster (Peter Boyle) after continuing the re-animation experiments pioneered by his late father.
The comedy highlights in Young Frankenstein are too many to mention, and the attention to detail on the sets is superb (Brooks even recreated the Frankenstein laboratory using the equipment from the original Frankenstein movie). The movie features top quality comedic performances from start to finish – with Wilder and Boyle perfectly backed up by a supporting cast of Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Terri Garr, Cloris Leachman, and Gene Hackman.
The Jerk (1979)
Tagline: A rags to riches to rags story.
An absurd comedy in which Steve Martin plays Navin Johnson, a hilariously stupid adopted son of a black family, who makes a simple invention which brings him a fortune – which he inevitably loses.
All of the gags in the movie are ageless, and Martin’s portrayal of the character just adds to the humor. There are many highlights in The Jerk – in which Navin’s endless enthusiasm, optimism and failure to note what is going on around him will have you in raptures.
Tagline: Desperate, he took a female role and became a star. If only he could tell the woman he loves.
Dustin Hoffman excels in the lead role of this movie, playing struggling actor Michael Dorsey – whose career goes off in a completely different direction when he dresses as a woman and finds himself hired by the producers of a daytime soap. His character, Dorothy, becomes an overnight sensation, and Michael has to learn to balance his double life.
Tootsie is a witty, memorable movie, and Hoffman is highly plausible as a woman – while the supporting cast including Jessica Lange, Bill Murray, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning and Teri Garr are all excellent. The absurdities of the situations produced by the story’s premise are what makes the movie all the more enjoyable to watch.
Tagline: The Plane's going to Chicago. The Pilot's going to New York. The Passengers are going to Pieces!
One of the funniest spoof disaster movies you’re ever likely to see. It takes just about every cliche of the old disaster flicks and adds a new twist. Robert Hays is the troubled ex-navy pilot given the task of landing a plane full of food-poisoned passengers in order to avert a potential disaster.
This movie is all about both visual and verbal gags, including parodies of classic movie moments such as those from Saturday Night Fever and From Here to Eternity. You won’t watch this for the plot – rather the total silliness of the action and characters. It’s the sort of humor you would find in a movie such as The Naked Gun or Police Squad, and so inevitably Leslie Nielsen has a great role to play here.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Tagline: Makes Ben Hur look like an epic.
This is a typically British comedy which follows King Arthur and his quest for the Holy Grail, aided by a ridiculous bunch of knights – from Sir Lancelot the Brave to Sir Robin the not-quite-as-brave-as-Sir-Lancelot – all traveling on pretend horses (using coconuts to replicate the sound of hooves!)
The fight with the Black Knight and the killer bunny scenes are just two of the many memorable moments in the movie – which finishes with as bizarre an ending as you would expect from Cleese, Palin and the rest of the Monty Python team.
This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Tagline: Does for rock 'n' roll what The Sound of Music did for hills.
One of the funniest documentary spoofs – or ‘mockumentaries’ – of all time. It parodies the heavy metal music scene and follows the career of the fictional band ‘Spinal Tap’ through their US tour, including the petty backstage squabbles that are probably so common among real rock bands.
There are many unbearably funny moments and quotes in this movie – including the famous guitar amp whose volume goes up to 11 (‘it’s one louder than ten’). The movie shows everything that regular rock bands do, and features a number of self-mocking songs that were actually well performed by the actors themselves.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Tagline: A romantic comedy. With zombies.
Forget the idea of this being a gory horror movie – this is a witty, light-hearted spoof flick, and the best antidote to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Shaun (Simon Pegg) is not having a good time of things having split from his girlfriend – and then things turn from bad to worse when he fails to notice that most of the people in London have turned into flesh-eating zombies. When he finally realizes, he has to set off – armed with his trusty cricket bat – in a race to save his ex, his mother and his friends.
The movie gently pokes fun at Dawn of the Dead, but it is not essential to have seen that movie to enjoy this one. Look out for the scene where Shaun has to decide which of his treasured record collection to use as weapons against the zombies – it’s a truly classic scene.