The feel-good film genre known as comedy has been around since virtually the dawn of cinema. People love to laugh, and some are so good at helping them do so they deserve some special recognition for their singular abilities to do so. Some argue that gone are the days of Chevy Chase and Steve Martin, film contemporaries of themselves on the Saturday Night Live television series. However, since then (and even before those days), there have been so many noteworthy examples of film from the comedy genre which prove that it is alive and well. Each one is so good, it stands alone in its own right, almost impossible to place one above another. So, without further ado, here is a look at the top 10 best comedy movies of all time.
#10 American Pie
This movie spawned a franchise that carried the torch of the iconic one last hurrah between high school and college into 3 sequels and 5 spinoff films. Even the band camp running gag ends up getting a movie to call its own. Featuring breakout stars Alyson Hannigan, Jason Biggs, and Seann William Scott, this movie lampoons everything from masturbation, premature ejaculation, and nymphomania. Helping to maintain a comedy film tradition of gross-out jokes out of the 1990’s and into the 21st century, American Pie’s hilarious situations involving food and musical instruments sets the golden standard for this style of comedy film.
#9 Office Space
This movie holds a special place among the top 10 best comedy movies of all time. It makes the viewer want to hold onto that red Swingline stapler and file those TPS reports. Occasionally confused with the Office TV series, this comedy gold from 1999 takes the cubicle life and manages to make it hilarious but relatable. Taking a few lighthearted jabs at corporate culture, insufferable bosses, and even Michael Bolton, this hit film has more than enough staying power to keep that desk at the window, watching those squirrels.
If there is one Mel Brooks movie which earns its top spot on this list, it’s Spaceballs. Featuring the superstar talents of John Candy, Michael Winslow, Rick Moranis, and even Dick Van Patten, Spaceballs demonstrated to the world of the late 1980’s that there could be only one way to spoof Star Wars. This film not only contains some of the most quoted lines of any Mel Brooks movie, but it also boasts some of the most successful fourth wall jokes of all time. This movie is quite simply one of the best.
#7 The Hangover
One of the newest franchises to grace the comedy genre, this super-popular comedy film has attained a spot in the top 10 best comedy movies of all time. A night of debauchery in Las Vegas for one group of misfit friends turns into a desperate search for one of their lost companions. Without borrowing too heavily from other blackout movies like Dude, Where’s my Car, the Hangover takes us through the missing events of the previous night leaving in its wake a laugh-riot almost anyone can enjoy. The world is better off that what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas.
This movie made careers. Featuring Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader and writer Seth Rogan, Superbad reminds adults what it was like to be teenagers on a quest to score booze, babes, and great times with best buds. Much like another one of the top 10 best comedy movies of all time, the film bases its premise on one last hurrah before college. Having some of the best misadventures one can have without getting arrested, Superbad earns its spot on the list (and doesn’t even need a fake ID to be there).
Superstars Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield (and one puppet-gopher named Chuck Rodent billed as Mr. Gopher) drive home a ton of laughs and score multiple holes-in-one. The career-making Caddyshack, one of the premier gross-out comedies of the 1980’s, sets the bar insurmountably high for films to follow in years to come.
#4 Animal House
College films have been around since the inception of cinema, but Animal House almost has to be the absolute best if not the most memorable. No one in the meantime has even come close, not even National Lampoon’s later attempt could reach the notoriety Animal House achieved. Featuring the talents of the late John Belushi and even the prolific Kevin Bacon, this film lampoons the college experience and demonstrates the rigors and challenges of the party-college lifestyle with a tagline that reads, “Relive the best 7 years of your college education.”
#3 Monty Python and the Holy Grail
One of the most widely quoted comedies of all time, this British film displayed the writing and talents of the now legendary comedy group Monty Python. In a land where Camelot is just a silly place, nights say “ni,” and one of the most important items after which to quest is a shrubbery, French knights taunt and black knights maintain that it is only a flesh wound. This piece of British comedy gold is at home on both sides of the pond.
#2 Some Like it Hot
This classic, starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis is one of the premier cross-dressing comedies of the late 20th century. Two musicians witness a homicide by a mobster, and have to take up hiding in an all-female band. However, hilarious shenanigans ensue when Marilyn takes the scene. This all star classic cast demonstrates legendary talents, even in their own time to bring this film to one of the top spots on the top 10 best comedy movies of all time.
This movie, and to a lesser extent, its sequel, has proven to be a timeless comedy classic ripe with great one-liners and jokes interjected into private conversations at opportune moments. Surely, no one is alone in this (and don’t call me Shirley). This movie had it all. The writing is near-perfect. The casting is superior, bringing us the talents of Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Nielsen, and Robert Stack. Simply put, this can’t miss classic deserves a spot in any person’s DVD collection.
Without paying too much lip service to particular actors, directors, or franchises, this list of the top 10 best comedy movies of all time explores and highlights the most notable examples of the best writing, best premises, and best casting to grace the genre.