When I have a bad day at work or life just doesn't go my way, I like to retreat into the living room and put on one of the best comedy movies of all time to turn my frown upside down.

Movies have always been an escape for me. I use them to transport myself from the mundane, and when the crushing elements of Hollywood creep in, I put them on and go back.

But I think that's what great movies do, they provide us with a destination we desperately want to go. And no one gives you a more reliable ride than a comedy.

In today's post, we'll delve into the vast and varied world of comedy movies—exploring their history, tropes, and global influence. Plus, we'll give you a best of all time list.

Let's dive in.

What is a Comedy?


O Brother Where Art Thou


It's hard to define the comedy genre as something other than one that just makes you laugh.

The genre often employs exaggeration, surprise, incongruity, and witty observations to achieve this effect. Comedy can be lighthearted and playful or dark and satirical, but it always aims to elicit a humorous response from its audience.

The History of Comedy Movies

The thing I love about comedies is that they're relatively timeless. Sure, some jokes don't always hold up by current standards, but a great comedy just makes you laugh when you put it on.

Comedy films have their roots in the silent era, where physical gags and visual humor worked best.

Pioneering legends like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton perfected the art of slapstick comedy, creating timeless classics filled with chases, pratfalls, and hilarious misunderstandings.

If you haven't seen movies like The General, I suggest you check them out as soon as possible.

As sound entered the picture, comedy films evolved, incorporating witty dialogue, wordplay, and clever plotlines.

The screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s brought rapid-fire banter and eccentric characters to the forefront.

From that point, comedy began to mirror the social cues of each era, taking on huge topics and creating even bigger stars.

Comedy films blossomed further throughout the 20th century, branching into subgenres like parodies, romantic comedies, and dark comedies.

Directors like Mel Brooks, the Coen Brothers, and Edgar Wright continuously push the boundaries of humor, proving comedy's versatility and enduring appeal.

Comedies change with the times, which means more great comedy movies are made every year.

Global Comedies

Global Comedies

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

EMI Films

Another great thing about comedy is that it changes across the globe. There are different sense of humor for different people. But a lot of times, comedy can transcend borders.

Many countries boast rich traditions of comedic cinema.

Let's take a brief look at a few:

  • British Humor: Known for its dry wit, understatement, and a healthy dose of absurdity. Think Monty Python and the Holy Grail or Shaun of the Dead.
  • French Comedy: Often relies on farce, mistaken identities, and a touch of the whimsical, as seen in Amélie.
  • Japanese Comedy: Can range from deadpan humor to over-the-top wacky situations, such as in Tampopo.
  • Bollywood Comedies: Bollywood films often incorporate elements of romance, music, and slapstick humor into a delightful mix.

The Best Comedy Movies of All Time

Let's get this out of the way right now, this selection represents a diverse range of comedic styles and eras. Humor is subjective, so feel free to rearrange and add more titles of take some off based on your own tastes!

  1. Some Like It Hot (1959): Two musicians witness a mob hit and go undercover in an all-girl band, leading to hilarious cross-dressing antics and an unforgettable Marilyn Monroe performance.
  2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975): A surreal and side-splitting take on the legend of King Arthur, filled with absurd jokes, killer rabbits, and quotable silliness.
  3. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964): A brilliant satire of the Cold War, where political and military incompetence threaten to bring about nuclear apocalypse.
  4. Annie Hall (1977): Woody Allen's masterpiece explores the complexities of love and relationships with neurotic wit and self-deprecating humor.
  5. Airplane! (1980): A relentless barrage of deadpan gags, puns, and slapstick parodies the disaster movie genre with gleeful abandon.
  6. Bringing Up Baby (1938): A whirlwind of chaos ensues when a free-spirited heiress (Katharine Hepburn) and a hapless paleontologist (Cary Grant) get mixed up in a series of hilarious mishaps involving a pet leopard named Baby.
  7. The Lady Eve (1941): A cunning con-artist (Barbara Stanwyck) sets her sights on a naive, wealthy heir (Henry Fonda), intending to fleece him, but love unexpectedly complicates her plan in this delightful romantic comedy.
  8. It Happened One Night (1934): A spoiled heiress (Claudette Colbert) runs away from her father and teams up with a cynical reporter (Clark Gable) on a cross-country road trip filled with bickering, romance, and unforgettable hijinks.
  9. Blazing Saddles (1974): Mel Brooks's uproarious Western spoof tackles racism and Hollywood tropes with gleeful irreverence.
  10. Duck Soup (1933): The Marx Brothers reach peak absurdity as they wreak havoc in a fictional country, delivering a whirlwind of wordplay and anarchic humor.
  11. Young Frankenstein (1974): Mel Brooks lovingly pays homage to classic monster movies with this hilarious send-up, filled with iconic gags and unforgettable performances.
  12. This is Spinal Tap (1984): A mockumentary so convincing and hilarious that it blurred the lines between fiction and reality, following a dimwitted heavy metal band on tour.
  13. The Big Lebowski (1998): The Coen Brothers' cult classic follows "The Dude," a laid-back slacker caught in a bizarre kidnapping plot filled with oddball characters and dreamlike absurdity.
  14. Groundhog Day (1993): Bill Murray delivers a career-defining performance as a cynical weatherman trapped in a time loop, forced to relive the same day with hilarious and ultimately heartwarming results.
  15. The Princess Bride (1987): A fairy tale adventure turned on its head, filled with sword fights, giants, pirates, true love, and endlessly quotable dialogue.
  16. Tootsie (1982): Dustin Hoffman shines as a struggling actor who finds success by dressing as a woman, leading to a hilarious and insightful take on gender roles.
  17. Ghostbusters (1984): A supernatural comedy classic with the perfect blend of scares, laughs, and iconic one-liners, as a team of unlikely heroes battle ghosts in New York City.
  18. The Graduate (1967): A landmark film that captures youthful disillusionment with sharp humor, an iconic soundtrack, and a seductive turn by Mrs. Robinson.
  19. Raising Arizona (1987): The Coen Brothers deliver a quirky and hilarious tale of an ex-con and a cop who kidnap a baby, leading to a wild chase and unforgettable characters.
  20. The Philadelphia Story (1940): A sophisticated screwball comedy starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart in a delightful battle of wits and romantic hijinks.
  21. Caddyshack (1980): A chaotic and hilarious ode to golf, featuring Rodney Dangerfield's unforgettable one-liners, a pesky gopher, and Bill Murray at his eccentric best.
  22. Modern Times (1936): Charlie Chaplin's timeless satire on industrialization and the struggles of the working man, filled with iconic slapstick sequences and social commentary.
  23. Singin' in the Rain (1952): A joyous musical celebration of Hollywood's transition to sound, featuring unforgettable dance numbers and Gene Kelly's iconic performance in the rain.
  24. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986): The ultimate teen wish-fulfillment fantasy as Ferris Bueller masterfully skips school and has the best day ever, leading to hilarious mayhem and quotable lines.
  25. Bridesmaids (2011): A refreshingly raunchy and heartwarming look at female friendship, filled with relatable mishaps and laugh-out-loud scenes.
  26. Office Space (1999): A cult classic that perfectly skewers soul-crushing corporate culture and inspires fantasies of workplace rebellion.
  27. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004): Will Ferrell's pompous newsman became an icon of quotable absurdity in this outlandish look at 1970s chauvinism.
  28. Clueless (1995): A witty and stylish update of Jane Austen's "Emma," set in a Beverly Hills high school and filled with memorable slang and iconic outfits.
  29. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Wes Anderson's visually stunning and delightfully quirky caper, set in a luxurious European hotel with a charming concierge and a priceless painting at the center of intrigue.
  30. When Harry Met Sally (1989): A witty exploration of friendship, love, and the differences between men and women, filled with iconic scenes and sharp dialogue.
  31. The Naked Gun (1988): Leslie Nielsen stars as the hilariously incompetent Detective Frank Drebin in this slapstick parody of police procedurals.
  32. The Hangover (2009): A group of friends wake up in Vegas with no memory of the previous night, leading to a chaotic quest to retrace their steps and find their missing groom.
  33. Mean Girls (2004): A sharp and hilarious look at the social hierarchy of high school, featuring a new student navigating the treacherous world of teen cliques.
  34. Shaun of the Dead (2004): A brilliant blend of horror and comedy as a hapless man tries to survive a zombie apocalypse with his slacker friends.
  35. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005): Steve Carell delivers a hilariously awkward performance as a middle-aged man who finally decides to explore his sexuality.
  36. Superbad (2007): A raunchy coming-of-age comedy about two high school friends trying to score alcohol and lose their virginity before graduation.
  37. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit GloriousNation of Kazakhstan (2006): Sacha Baron Cohen's mockumentary features his outlandish alter-ego Borat, interacting with unsuspecting Americans and exposing cultural prejudices.
  38. My Cousin Vinny (1992): Joe Pesci is hilarious as an inexperienced New York lawyer defending his cousin in a small-town Alabama murder trial.
  39. The Apartment (1960): A bittersweet romantic comedy from Billy Wilder about an office worker who lends his apartment to his superiors for their affairs.
  40. Harold and Maude (1971): A dark and quirky comedy about a death-obsessed young man who falls in love with a free-spirited 79-year-old woman.
  41. The Blues Brothers (1980): John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd are on a "mission from God" in this musical comedy classic filled with car chases, soul music, and unforgettable lines.
  42. There's Something About Mary (1998): A wildly inappropriate comedy packed with gross-out gags and a surprisingly sweet core.
  43. Step Brothers (2008): Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play two immature middle-aged men forced to become stepbrothers, leading to childish rivalry and hilarious antics.
  44. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979): A controversial yet brilliant religious satire following a man mistaken for the Messiah.
  45. Wet Hot American Summer (2001): An absurdist cult classic parodying teen summer camp movies with an all-star cast portraying wildly exaggerated characters.
  46. Best in Show (2000): A hilarious mockumentary from Christopher Guest about the eccentric contestants and their dogs at a prestigious dog show.
  47. What We Do in the Shadows (2014): A mockumentary following a group of vampires living together as roommates in modern-day New Zealand.
  48. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000): The Coen Brothers' loose retelling of Homer's Odyssey set in the Depression-era American South, filled with bluegrass music and quirky characters.
  49. His Girl Friday (1940): A ruthless newspaper editor (Cary Grant) tries to win back his ex-wife and star reporter (Rosalind Russell) with a juicy scoop and a whirlwind of fast-paced, quick-witted banter.
  50. Sullivan's Travels (1941): A successful Hollywood comedy director, disillusioned with his work, disguises himself as a hobo to research a serious film. His journey leads to unexpected misadventures and a newfound appreciation for life's simple joys.
  51. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001): Wes Anderson's signature style shines in this quirky comedy-drama about a dysfunctional family of former child prodigies.
  52. In Bruges (2008): Two hitmen hiding out in a picturesque Belgian town find themselves caught in a darkly comedic and surprisingly philosophical adventure.
  53. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994): A charming British romantic comedy about a group of friends navigating love, loss, and social awkwardness.
  54. Galaxy Quest (1999): A loving parody of Star Trek and sci-fi fandom with a hilarious cast including Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Alan Rickman.
  55. City Lights (1931): Charlie Chaplin's iconic Tramp falls in love with a blind flower girl and embarks on a series of heartwarming and hilarious misadventures to try and raise money for her sight-restoring surgery. A silent film masterpiece that blends comedy with profound social commentary.

Comedy has the power to lift our spirits, unite us through shared laughter, and offer a fresh perspective on life.

For me, it's the genre I know I can count on time and time again.

Let me know your favorites in the comments.