The 100 Best Comedy Movies of All Time You Must Watch

The 100 Best Comedy Movies of All Time You Must Watch

Have you ever thought about what makes a comedy unforgettable? Among many funny films, only a few become truly timeless. These movies are not just any comedies. They’re the best comedy movies of all time. The American Film Institute has named these movies the top 100 funniest ones ever made1. What makes them so special?

The story of a film plays a big part. For example, think of a movie set in Chicago in 1929. Its story follows the adventures of Joe and Jerry. This film brings together different characters, like a federal agent and a famous criminal. It shows funny moments in various places, from secret bars to fancy hotels. The mix of the interesting plot, quirky characters, and funny jokes is what makes people still love these films today1.

The right mix of clever jokes, fun actions, and interesting characters is key. These elements make a movie truly hilarious1. It shows that by working together, the characters create laughter that lasts for decades. Their fun and silly mistakes make them unforgettable comedy stars.

Key Takeaways

  • Find out why the AFI thinks the 100 funniest American films are top-notch comedies1.
  • Learn how important characters, places, and stories are for memorable comedy movies1.
  • See the many types of characters and places that make comedy classics truly unique1.
  • Discover the secrets to making comedy movies that stand the test of time1.
  • Understand how great comedic moments are created with clever lines and funny situations1.

Defining Comedy Across the Decades

Comedy changes with each decade, reflecting what makes people laugh through time. Early in the 20th century, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton started it all2.

In the 1960s, comedy tackled big issues like culture and politics, shaping a new kind of humor32. This time highlighted films mixing wit with social insight, a trend that continued2.

In the 1970s, Mel Brooks led a parody revolution, while Richard Pryor and Steve Martin became big screen stars. Comedy became smarter and broader, changing our view of it all3.

By the 2000s, comedies focused more on characters and real-life situations. Films like “The Hangover” brought life to familiar but funny stories3.

Comedy’s strength is not just making us laugh. It also changes with time, reflecting and sometimes challenging society’s views. Humor is more than jokes; it’s a way to understand and discuss the world around us.

Decade Comedy Style Cultural Influence
1920s Slapstick Silent film era’s physical comedy was pivotal in the foundational years of cinematic humor2.
1960s Social Commentary Introducing a blend of societal critique and humor, reflecting the dynamic cultural shifts of the time2.
1970s Parody and Satire Distinguished by powerful subversive narratives challenging political and social norms3.
2000s Character-driven Humor Focused on relatable, plot-driven comedy that mirrors contemporary interpersonal dynamics3.

Icons of Comedy: The Actors and Directors Who Shaped Humor

Comedy’s world is dynamic, thanks to actors and directors. They made iconic movies that have guided humor’s story for years. From the past to the present, the change in comedy shows our rich heritage and fun now.

The Enduring Legacy of Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin was a key player in the silent film time. He made the famous “The Tramp” character famous. His funny moves changed comedy and stayed in our hearts4. He’s a big reason why we laugh today.

Modern Comedic Voices: From Steve Martin to Melissa McCarthy

Bill Murray and Robin Williams made their marks with humor and heart. Murray wowed us in *Ghostbusters* and other films. Williams won an Oscar in *Good Will Hunting*, showing his deep emotions and wit4.

Now, Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey bring fresh fun to comedy. Ferrell is known for *Elf* and *Anchorman*. Carrey was a hit in the 90s with *The Mask*4. They show how comedy keeps growing with new talents.

Directorial Vision: The Craft Behind the Laughs

Great comedies have great directors too. John Landis made hits like *Animal House*, adding humor to big topics. These films are comedy classics5.

Edgar Wright mixes humor and action in films like *Shaun of the Dead*. Paul Feig’s *Bridesmaids* brought out stars like Melissa McCarthy5. They both keep comedy fresh and interesting.

Director Notable Films Impact on Comedy
John Landis *Animal House*, *The Blues Brothers* Cemented slapstick and ensemble casts in the ’80s
Edgar Wright *Shaun of the Dead*, *Hot Fuzz* Merged genres with a sharp comedic style
Paul Feig *Bridesmaids*, *Ghostbusters* Revitalized female-led comedy narratives

Famous comedians and their directors make comedy meaningful. They make us laugh and think. Together, they push comedy to new heights, showing us humor’s role in our world.

Classic Comedies That Stand the Test of Time

Classic comedies take us back to when they were made. They make us laugh then and still today. They are the foundation of funny films and inspire jokes we see now.

Look at how much people still love My Cousin Vinny and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Fans and critics give them high scores. They make us laugh a lot but also have great stories we can watch again and again.

Even though some didn’t like Step Brothers at first, now it’s a favorite of many. The same happened with Napoleon Dynamite. Now, lots of people enjoy them, and they are a big part of our culture.

These films are not just liked by some; many more can watch them easily. Like The Birdcage, you can find it on Amazon Prime. This shows they are still important in comedy.

Awards and Recognitions: Singing in the Rain won a big award for its script. This shows it’s not just about dancing and singing, but also very funny. It’s so well-made that people still talk about it today.

The Big Sick got special praise from the British Film Institute. It has a new twist on romance and comedy, blending old charm with today’s feelings. It refreshes a style that will keep being loved.

Film Title Critical Rating (Rotten Tomatoes) Current Streaming Platform
My Cousin Vinny 87%6 Not specified
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 92%6 Not specified
Step Brothers Cult Classic6 Not specified
The Birdcage Available for Streaming6 Amazon Prime
The Big Sick Critically Acclaimed6 Not specified

Each of these classic comedies brings timeless laughter. They fit in with the past but also today. They always find a way to make people smile and stay in our hearts forever.

Hidden Gems: Underrated Comedy Movies You Might Have Missed

In the world of funny movies, some films are not so well-known. Yet, they can make us laugh and think a lot. These hidden gem comedies don’t always get the attention big movies do. They bring fresh and clever jokes, along with original stories. If you want to find some great, funny movies not everyone knows, keep reading.

Finding these comedy treasures is really exciting. They bring new laughter, show amazing actors, and introduce talented directors. These movies let you explore different kinds of funny. You may find some new favorite comedies.

Example hidden gems like “The Station Agent” (2003) from the USA7 and “Mary and Max” (2009) from Australia7 are special for their stories and feelings. They prove great comedy can exist outside of big Hollywood budgets. Also, “The Intouchables” (2012), from France mixes fun with touching moments7.

Hidden Gems in Comedy Movies

Despite being well-liked by critics, “The Big Sick” (2017) with a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes is often missed by comedy fans8.

Here’s a list of overlooked comedies from around the world. They show the wide range and lasting fun of comedy:

Movie Title Country of Origin Release Year Rotten Tomatoes Score
The Big Sick USA 2017 98%
Eurotrip USA 2004 46%8
Tag USA 2018 56%8
Top Secret! USA 1984 75%8
Wild Tales Argentina, Spain 2014 N/A

Watching these hidden comedies is a fun way to find new laughs and support deserving films. Next time you’re looking for a movie, consider these hidden gems. They’re full of jokes that’ll make you laugh and stories that’ll make you think.

Evolving Comedy: How Humor Reflects Changing Societies

Comedy mirrors our changing world, showing shifts in what we find funny. We see this as we look back at humor over the years. Humor reflects society, like the rise of social-issue films in the ’60s and parody in the ’80s3.

Today, 70% of top comedy movies talk about social and political issues. Humor is not just for fun, but to make us think and talk3. Comedy talks about things we didn’t before, like politics and social justice issues. This shows humor is keeping up with what we care about today.

In the 2000s, comedy changed from only jokes to stories with real meaning. This change means we think more deeply about society’s stories. Comedy often brings us together by sharing moments and feelings of our lives3. Books like “Ha! The science of when we laugh and why” show how humor brings us closer in tough times9.

Saturday Night Live (SNL) has always been a place for funny yet smart views on society. Since 1975, it has brought important ideas into our living rooms. It changes how we see society, often in very funny ways3. These acts don’t just make us laugh; they make us think and perhaps want to do things differently9.

In New York, stand-up comedy happens every month, where comics talk about the newsy stuff. They bring up what’s happening today and make it funny. This adds to how humor in today’s world helps us understand and enjoy life better together.

Humor and society go hand in hand, changing as we do. As the world moves, so does comedy. It always finds ways to bring us together.

The Best Comedy Movies of All Time

Some movies are special in the world of comedy. They mix humor, smarts, and talk about society well. These movies show how great comedy is and how it can make people laugh and think.

The Genius of ‘Young Frankenstein’

‘Young Frankenstein’ is a top movie by Mel Brooks. It’s a mix of classic scary stuff and funny jokes. This movie is loved for its humor and clever use of old movie themes. It’s still a favorite today.6

The Timeless Satire of ‘Dr. Strangelove’

‘Dr. Strangelove’ is a classic by Stanley Kubrick known for smart comedy about the Cold War. It makes fun of serious topics like nuclear war in a funny and interesting way. This has made it a top pick in the comedy world for many.101

Breaking Boundaries with ‘Borat’

‘Borat’ by Sacha Baron Cohen is very different and daring. It not only makes fun but talks about big issues. Its unique way of comedy has made it very popular and known for being out of the box.6

These great movies are not just for fun. They tell us about the times they were made. They also change how we see comedy by being smart and funny. That’s why people of all ages still love them.

Critical Acclaim vs. Box Office Hits: Analyzing Comedic Success

Critical acclaim and box office success play a key role in the movie world, especially in comedy. Big hits show many people like them, but award winners are known for their smart jokes and beauty. These things help us see what makes a comedy do well.

Every year, about 2,577 movies are made worldwide. They earn more than $107 billion at the box office in a decade11. Also, a movie’s budget often matches how much it will make. So, spending more can mean earning more.

Directors like Peter Jackson and Christopher Nolan mix box office hits with praise. Their films do really well, making lots of money11. They’re good at telling great stories with amazing film work.

Companies like Lucasfilm help make movies that do very well. These successes show lots of people enjoy these films11. Often, what critics and viewers say about a movie is very different. This can shape a film’s future in big ways.

Looking at what’s funny through critical eyes, we see a deeper meaning in jokes. The scores on IMDB linked to box office sales show something interesting. A movie might be loved in one time but not in another, showing how we change our minds11.

Comic movies have seen up and downs in different years. How funny movies do is tied to what people like at the time12. Those that are loved by both critics and viewers tell us about the balance between what’s popular and what’s truly good12.

To do well, a comedy must be both liked by many and seen as good. This way of looking at films helps us see their big role. They make money but also touch our hearts and minds in special ways.

The International Perspective: Comedy Beyond Hollywood

Comedy is a lively genre, reflecting various world cultures. It creates a bridge between people by sharing jokes that everyone gets. International comedies show us the funny sides of life all over the world. They help us see what we have in common, using humor as a universal language.

Many foreign gems, such as “Wild Tales” from Argentina and “The Worst Person in the World” from Norway, stand out. They offer unique and touching tales that span cultural borders. Films like “Tampopo” from Japan and “The Triplets of Belleville” from France bring us laughter and a shared sense of being human13.

Directors like Damián Szifron and Joachim Trier bring their own flair to comedy. They cover topics from dark humor to heartwarming tales. Jūzō Itami’s movie, “Tampopo,” mixes a funny quest for the best noodle soup with a look at what makes us human. It’s a prime example of global comedy13.

These comedies reach far beyond the borders of their home countries. They make us laugh and think, no matter where we’re from. The following list showcases some key international comedies that have shaped the world of humor:

Movie Director Country Themes
Wild Tales Damián Szifron Argentina Dark Comedy
The Worst Person in the World Joachim Trier Norway Emotional, Quirky
A Man Called Ove Hannes Holm Sweden Character-driven, Feel-good
Tampopo Jūzō Itami Japan Quirky, Culinary
The Triplets of Belleville Sylvain Chomet France Animated, Quirky

Global Humor in International Comedies

Looking back at these films, we see comedy’s power to unite us. It draws laughter from our everyday and extraordinaries. Humor is a core part of our movie-watching experience, highlighting our shared humanity. These stories make us chuckle, think, and feel closer to one another. They prove the strength of global humor to connect us all.

Audience Favorites: Comedies That Define Pop Culture

Comedies are loved when they mix with pop culture, affecting our way of talking and reaching everyone. These movies are more than just fun. They become milestones of our culture, showing big moments in our society’s path.

The Cult Status of ‘Office Space’

In 1999, ‘Office Space’ hit the big screen, making fun of boring office jobs in a smart way. It quickly became a must-watch, with jokes still popular today. This movie is known for making us laugh at office life in a way we all understand14.

Gross-Out Comedy: The Impact of ‘American Pie’

‘American Pie’ came out the same year, surprising many with its bold and sometimes gross jokes targeted at teens. It started a trend of daring comedy, a trend that others soon followed. Even now, it keeps a high place in the list of favorite comedies, with a score of 67298%10. Its brave humor has earned it a top spot in our pop culture memory.

The Subtle Wit of ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is a bit different. It uses its own magic to tell hilarious stories through its looks and clever words. This kind of comedy is so special. It has made a lasting impression on everyone who has seen it. The film is known for its fancy jokes and amazing look, making it stand out when we talk about funny movies.

These top comedies have done more than make us laugh. They have shaped our culture, inspiring many other stories. From the smart humor about work in ‘Office Space’ to the brave jokes in ‘American Pie’, and the beautiful storytelling in ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, these movies have made a big mark. They show that jokes and laughter are things we all enjoy, no matter our differences.

Influential Comedy Movements: From Slapstick to Satire

Comedy’s story is rich and colorful, filled with all kinds of fun. You’ve got your loud, physical slapstick humor and clever satirical comedy. With the start of sound in films, comedy changed. From just dancing and falling silent acts, it grew into something new. Smart jokes and funny stories took over15.

Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton were big in the old days of films. People loved how they moved and made silly faces in silence. These funny guys started something that still makes us laugh today. They turned comedy into more than just jokes. They made it about what’s right and wrong in a silly way1516.

The funny stuff kept changing over time. Even though new styles of comedy showed up, the old funny, falling stuff stayed. Sometimes, jokes copied others or showed what is silly in life. Love and laughter got all mixed up in the 30s and 40s films16.

Movement Characteristics Key Examples
Slapstick Physical humor, visual gags The General, The Party17
Screwball Romantic entanglements, fast-paced repartee It Happened One Night
Parody Humorous imitation, commentary on original subjects Spaceballs, Young Frankenstein16
Dark Comedy Taboo subjects, satirical undertones Dr. Strangelove, Fargo16

Every funny time in history tells us something. It not only shows new ways to make people laugh but also talks about what’s important or funny at the time. These stories are like a mirror showing us what we find funny. And they keep inspiring new jokes and stories today.

Filmmakers of today still learn from past laughs. They mix old and new ideas to keep comedy fun for everyone. This way, old jokes and plays stay alive, even in our new digital world.

From old-timey silent films to today’s shows, funny moments always make us smile. They’ve changed how we see and tell jokes. This shows us that laughter brings everyone together, no matter the time or place.

The Art of Comedy: How Writing and Timing Create Classics

Learning the art of comedy is more than making people laugh. It’s mixing comedic writing with perfect timing. This mix is key to making memorable comedy scenes. For example, movies like “La Cage Aux Folles” and “Private Lives” used unique stories to wow their viewers. These stories show the importance of a strong foundation in comedy18.

Some comedies stay popular for a long time. Think of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Some Like It Hot. They are known for their great stories and making everyone laugh. These movies show how much people love romantic comedies. They are a big part of the best comedy lists19.

Now, schools are teaching how to write strong stories in comedy classes. This helps new writers mix smart jokes with good timing, which is vital in comedy. It shows why writers must know when to tell a joke to be funny. They learn by studying old and new comedy shows and movies18.

Technique Importance in Comedy Examples from Industry
Strong Premises Core to humor engagement Private Lives, The Man Who Came to Dinner18
Perfect Timing Enhances punchlines impact Timing in romantic comedies like Some Like It Hot19
Inclusive Storytelling Appeals to broad audiences Recent trends in films like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before19

Todays comedies include themes that connect with people now, like believing in not the same but different. Successful shows and movies like “Heartstopper” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” highlight this push19. This keeps their stories loved by many and always interesting to watch.

From the past to now, comedy’s magic is in great writing and timing. This mix makes funny plays and movies last forever. They trust the creators to know the best time to make us laugh.


The world of funny movies is vast and heartwarming. It shows how humor is key in film history. AFI’s list, “100 Funniest American Movies of All Like,” proves the great range of laugh-out-loud films that have caught our attention over time1. By watching these comedy classics, we learn to enjoy the moment and think about what makes a film truly amazing. We see a story that connects with us across ages and changes in society1.

‘Some Like It Hot’ and ‘Groundhog Day’ are still loved today20. Newer films like ‘Don’t Look Up’ use humor to talk about big world issues. Looking at the past 20 years, the 2010s were big for comedies. More and more films are led by women in recent times, showing the rise of diversity in humor21.

The best comedy films, from jokes to smart satire, show the genre is always growing. They teach us that laughter is an art form that lasts forever. Everyone, no matter the age, can enjoy the fun, the cleverness, and the never-ending humor of these classic films1. This type of cinema draws people together through laughter and by highlighting the funny side of life1.


What are considered the best comedy movies of all time?

The best comedy movies make us laugh across different times. They include movies everyone loves to watch. For example, some films have jokes that are always funny, no matter when you watch them.

How has the definition of comedy evolved over the decades?

Comedy changes as we do, showing our different types of humor over the years. For every era, there are funny masterpieces that reflect what’s happening socially. These range from silly jokes to smart commentaries.

Who are some of the most influential actors and directors in comedy?

Many big names have shaped comedy, from actors like Charlie Chaplin to Melissa McCarthy. Directors such as Mel Brooks infused their films with unique humor, leaving a lasting impact. This helped create the comedy world we know today.

What makes classic comedies continue to be relevant and beloved today?

Classic comedies stay funny by talking about things we can all relate to. They’re made with skilled jokes, telling stories we love. Their humor never gets old, making people laugh for years and years.

How can I find underrated comedy movies that I might have missed?

To find hidden comedy gems, look beyond the big hits. These gems often include festival favorites and indie films. Listening to film fans can point you toward movies that are full of humor and unique stories.

In what ways does comedy reflect the changing values and attitudes of society?

Comedy shows us what’s funny, and sometimes, what’s not. As we change, so does what makes us laugh. New comedy can even talk about things that were off-limits before, sharing important messages in a lighter way.

Are there comedies that have revolutionized the genre or broken new ground?

Yes, some movies completely changed how we see comedy. These films were brave, adding new styles and ideas into humor. Movies like ‘Borat’ and ‘Dr. Strangelove’ do things no one else has, becoming comedy legends in the process.

How do box office success and critical acclaim affect the legacy of a comedy film?

Success at the box office means a lot of people liked the movie. Winning awards or high praise shows it’s a quality film. Both factors can make a film memorable, ensuring it’s part of comedy’s history.

Why is international perspective important in comedy?

Laughing across borders connects us through shared humor. International comedies mix worldwide and local jokes, making for richer stories. They show that jokes are funny in any language, making us laugh together.

How can a comedy movie become iconic in pop culture?

Iconic comedies speak to their time, touching something true for many. They have lines everyone knows and loves, and moments that just stick with us. Movies like ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ do this, becoming parts of our everyday talk and fun.

What are the different comedy movements that have influenced film?

Comedy in film has seen many styles, like slapstick and satire, each reflecting its time. Stand-up comedy also made its way to the big screen, adding new laughs and perspectives. These movements have shaped how we find stories funny in movies.

What role do writing and timing play in creating a classic comedy?

Being funny in a movie takes clever lines and knowing when to say them. Great writing and the perfect delivery make comedy films shine. It’s all about making people laugh, and good writing and timing do just that.

Which comedy movies are essential viewing for fans of the genre?

For comedy fans, there are movies that stand above the rest, making us laugh time and again. These include classics and top-rated films, showcasing the best of what comedy can be. They are a must-watch for anyone looking to have a great time.

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