America's 100 Greatest Comedies
100 YEARS...100 LAUGHS

100 Funniest Movies

by American Film Institute (AFI)

The American Film Institute in Los Angeles, California, in mid-June 2000 selected America's 100 Funniest Movies with a blue-ribbon panel or "jury" of more than 1,800 leaders of the American movie community including actors, directors, screenwriters, editors, cinematographers, historians, film executives and critics. AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs revealed America's 100 funniest movies from a ballot of 500 nominated movies. According to the AFI, these are "the films and film artists that have made audiences laugh throughout the century."

See also this site's sections on the Comedy Films Genre and the Greatest Comedies of All Time and Funniest Film Moments and Scenes.

AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs


(Winners Ranked in order)

1. Some Like It Hot (1959) - Ashton/Mirisch
Director: Billy Wilder
Jack Lemmon; Tony Curtis; Marilyn Monroe, Joe E. Brown, George Raft

Wilder's comic take on the 1928 St. Valentine's Day Massacre finds Lemmon and Curtis as musicians who witness a gangland killing in Chicago and need to get out of town fast. Disguised as women, they join an all-girl band headed for Miami, where Curtis doffs his wig and chases Monroe while millionaire Brown falls for Lemmon's alter ego, Daphne. When confronted with the truth about Lemmon's gender, Brown utters the film's memorable last line - "Well, nobody's perfect."

2. Tootsie (1982) - Columbia
Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Dustin Hoffman; Jessica Lange; Bill Murray (uncredited), Dabney Coleman; Charles Durning; Teri Garr

Hilarious comedy about a temperamental out of work actor Michael Dorsey (Hoffman) who puts on a dress, lands the role of a lifetime in a TV soap opera, and becomes a national phenomenon as straight-shooting female soap opera star Dorothy Michaels. Love interest/friend Lange and her lonely father make situations even more complicated in this gender-bending love story. Lange won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

3. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - Columbia
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Peter Sellers; George C. Scott; Sterling Hayden; Slim Pickens
Kubrick's black comedy of US nuclear bomb launch on Russia, focuses on an American president, played by Sellers in one of his three roles, who must contend with a Soviet nuclear attack on the United States and his own maniacal staff, including Scott's memorable General Turgidson. Features a memorable triad of performances by Sellers (as US president, British officer, and deranged scientist) and Pickens's wild ride on a missile. "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

4. Annie Hall (1977) - United Artists
Director: Woody Allen
Woody Allen; Diane Keaton; Tony Roberts
Sophisticated autobiographical comedy of the untenable love affair of two New Yorkers (Allen and Keaton), notable for its witty dialogue and sumptuous rendering of New York City. Allen's Alvy Singer, a Jewish comedian, is trying to find love in the Big Apple, despite his neurosis, and falls in love with Keaton's aspiring singer, WASPy Annie Hall. He narrates the story of his love affair as she "lah-dee-dah"s her way through life, while he obsesses on sex, New York, religion, intellectualism, fads and fate. This comedy also launched a women's fashion trend based on Annie Hall's "look." Won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Actress (Keaton, in title role), among others.

5. Duck Soup (1933) - Paramount
Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo Marx; Margaret Dumont; Louis Calhern
Quintessential, anarchic Marx Brothers comedy about the Prime Minister of Freedonia Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho), and his war on another fictional country, Sylvania, with the help of Chico's peanut salesman and his sidekick, Harpo. Released at the height of the Depression, this Marx Brothers comedy is a satirical attack on politics and the absurdity of war. At the height of battle, Groucho says to his brothers of Dumont, "Remember, we're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did." In one memorable scene, Groucho, dictator of the mythical country of Freedonia, mistakes Harpo for his mirror image. Other timeless gags involve a street vendor and a sidecar. Zeppo's last film.

6. Blazing Saddles (1974)
Director: Mel Brooks
Stars: Gene Wilder; Cleavon Little; Harvey Korman; Madeline Kahn
Brooks' wildly irreverent, foul-mouthed spoof takes aim at the Western, in which no social convention escapes ridicule, beginning with a heroic, impeccably dressed sheriff hired to keep the peace who happens to be a black convict (Little), and a bad guy/villain named Hedley Lamarr (Korman) who has other ideas. They inhabit a town where Howard Johnson's has only one flavor; the digestive effect of beans plays a major role in an unforgettable gas-passing scene; and movie conventions are smashed so violently that ultimately the cast tumbles onto the Warner Bros. lot, where Korman flags down a taxi yelling, "Get me off this picture."

7. M*A*S*H (1970) - Aspen/20th Century Fox
Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Donald Sutherland; Elliott Gould; Sally Kellerman; Robert Duvall
Bawdy black comedy about the members of a free-wheeling, Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) during the Korean War. Sutherland's Hawkeye, Gould's Trapper John and Kellerman's Hotlips push the boundaries of irreverence and inject humor into the daily horrors they encounter behind the lines. The film's episodic narrative concludes with a football game that pits the surgeons, who have much in their bag of tricks, against the general's team. Established Altman as major iconoclastic director and helped usher in a decade of US film experimentation. It also inspired a long-running television series.

8. It Happened One Night (1934) - Columbia
Director: Frank Capra
Clark Gable; Claudette Colbert; Walter Conn

Definitive screwball comedy - a landmark battle of the sexes love story between a runaway heiress bride (Colbert) who shows her legs to hitch a ride on their trip from Florida to New York, and learns about life and live, and an unemployed, unscrupulous newspaperman/reporter (Gable) who separates their beds at night with a blanket known as the "walls of Jericho." Love blossoms along the way, despite the "Wall of Jericho" that divides them. The film was an unqualified success and still provides inspiration for many comedies. It was the first film to sweep the four top Academy Awards - winning Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director - and established Capra as the preeminent director of the 1930s. Gable's bare-chested presence onscreen caused a decline in US undershirt sales.

9. The Graduate (1967) - Embassy
Director: Mike Nichols
Dustin Hoffman; Anne Bancroft; Katharine Ross
Black comedy of aimless, recent college graduate Benjamin (Hoffman) that defined a generation and established Hoffman as a star. Hoffman spends his summer trying to find out what to do next in this biting comedy. Bancroft's Mrs. Robinson has some ideas, and they're not about plastics. Hoffman's reactions to her advances and his attempts to be suave are among the film's funniest moments, and her seduction of Benjamin is withering and hilarious. The evocative Simon and Garfunkel score, that includes "Mrs. Robinson," is as much a character in the movie as Bancroft's amorous Mrs. Robinson or Ross' lovely Elaine. Nichols won an Academy Award for Best Director.

10. Airplane! (1980) - Paramount
Director: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Stars: Robert Hays; Leslie Nielsen; Julie Hagerty
Ensemble dramas and disaster films are played for laughs. Jokes fly in this zany spoof of Airport (1970) and Grand Hotel (1932), starring passenger Hays who is recruited to fly a doomed plane. From the visual - a Mayo Clinic doctor has jars of mayonnaise nearby - to the verbal - "...and don't call me Shirley" - no gag is too quick, too small or too silly. It was followed by Airplane II: The Sequel (1982).

11. The Producers (1968) - Embassy
Director: Mel Brooks
Stars: Zero Mostel; Gene Wilder; Dick Shawn
Two shysters, Mostel's Max Bialystock, a has-been Broadway producer, schemes with accountant Wilder to fleece investors of their money with an enormous flop musical. They solicit bad material until stumbling upon a musical about Nazi Germany and Hitler written by fanatical playwright Mars, who informs, "Not many people knew it, but the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer." Their plan to produce an enormous flop catches them short when the play becomes a hit. When the curtain goes up on their showstopper, Springtime for Hitler, the debacle becomes a sudden comedy hit, sending the producers to prison.

12. A Night at the Opera (1935) - MGM
Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Groucho, Chico, Harpo Marx; Margaret Dumont; Kitty Carlisle
The Marx Brothers (minus Zeppo) bring chaos to the opera house, with contractual agreements. They steam toward New York - on a voyage that includes the famous stateroom scene - to help Dumont stage a performance of Il Trovatore. Groucho arrives at the opera in tuxedo and tails, berating his driver: "Hey you! I told you to slow down. Because of you I almost heard the opera!" This was the Marx Brothers' first movie for MGM.

13. Young Frankenstein (1974) - 20th Century Fox
Director: Mel Brooks
Stars: Gene Wilder; Teri Garr; Marty Feldman; Cloris Leachman; Madeline Kahn; Peter Boyle
"Pardon me, boy. Is this the Transylvania station?" This satirical homage to 1930s horror films and spoof of Frankenstein films stars Wilder as Frederick Frankenstein, the heir to the original mad scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein's research materials. He travels to Europe to continue the experiments and create a new life. Boyle is the resultant Monster who learns to tap to Puttin' on the Ritz, and Leachman as Frau Blucher is something of a horror herself as the eerie castle housekeeper. "Some varm milk, perhaps?" Seemingly relentless gags include Feldman's shifting hunchback and the horse neighing whenever Frau Blucher is mentioned.

14. Bringing Up Baby (1938) - RKO
Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Katharine Hepburn; Cary Grant; Charlie Ruggles
Archetypal, fast-paced screwball comedy about madcap heiress (Hepburn), with the help of her pet leopard Baby and a wire-haired terrier named George, who wreaks havoc and derails the staid life of a paleontologist (Grant). Funny and fast, it features song standard, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," sung to the leopard perched on a roof.

15. The Philadelphia Story (1940) - MGM
Director: George Cukor
Katharine Hepburn; Cary Grant; James Stewart: Ruth Hussey
Divine adaptation of the Philip Barry marriage comedy features three of the screen's biggest stars at their wittiest and most beautiful. Hepburn reprises her stage role as a haughty heiress (who is "lit from within") who is about to wed a pompous self-made man. Reporter Stewart is covering the society event and helps her down from her pedestal - especially during a tipsy wedding-eve encounter - and into the arms of ex-husband Grant. Memorable drunk scenes between Stewart and Hepburn, and Stewart and Grant. Stewart won an Academy Award for Best Actor, among others.

16. Singin' In The Rain (1952) - MGM
Director: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Gene Kelly; Debbie Reynolds; Donald O'Connor, Jean Hagen
Kelly makes a splash as Don Lockwood, a Hollywood leading man who reflects on the production of The Dueling Cavalier - a film that becomes The Dancing Cavalier when the studio takes advantage of a new invention called sound. Reynolds and O'Connor are his energetic, supportive sidekicks, helping to devise a clever way to cover the grating voice of his co-star Lina Lamont, played by Hagen. Furious when she learns of their plan, Lina asserts herself by screaming, "Why, I make more money than, than Calvin Coolidge! Put together!" Delightful musical send-up of the transition-conversion from silent to sound films, with many memorable and delightful song and dance musical numbers, including "Make 'Em Laugh," "Broadway Rhythm," and the incomparable title song. This musical set in Hollywood has Kelly singing, dancing and splashing in puddles.

17. The Odd Couple (1968) - Paramount
Director: Gene Saks, Robert B. Hauser
Stars: Jack Lemmon; Walter Matthau; Herb Edelman
In this adaptation of the Neil Simon play, two diametrically-opposed divorced men share an apartment and drive each other batty. Recently divorced Lemmon has nowhere to live after being kicked out of his New York home. He reluctantly moves in with sports writer Matthau for what is supposed to be a brief period. The "couple" are immediately at odds, with fastidious Lemmon appalled at Matthau's crass and messy ways. The roles provided an ideal fit for the two comedic leads. A long-running television series followed.

18. The General (1927) - United Artists
Director: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
Stars: Buster Keaton; Marion Mack; Jim Farley
Beautifully-constructed Civil War comedy based on real-life drama of a Union spy's capture of a train in Confederate turf. The two loves of Johnnie Gray's life - his girl and his train, The General - are kidnapped by Northern spies during the American Civil War, leading him behind enemy lines to save them both. Remade as The Great Locomotive Chase (1956).

19. His Girl Friday (1940) - Columbia
Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Cary Grant; Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy; Abner Biberman
Hawks' fast-paced remake of The Front Page (1931; remade 1974) is a battle between the sexes with fast and furious overlapping dialogue. Unscrupulous newspaper editor Walter Burns (Grant) tries to get ace reporter and divorced ex-wife Hildy Johnson (Russell) to dump dull fiancee Bruce Baldwin (Bellamy). When Grant asks Russell what she sees in Bellamy, she replies, "He treats me like a woman." Grant fires back: "What did I treat you like? A water buffalo?" They reunite one last time to save a wrongly-accused man - and, if Grant can manage it, keep Russell from marrying Bellamy. This is one of the fastest-talking comedies in history. Another remake called Switching Channels appeared in 1988.

20. The Apartment (1960) - United Artists
Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon; Shirley MacLaine; Fred MacMurray
In this sparkling office comedy, a career-climbing insurance clerk (Lemmon) advances his career when he offers his boss (MacMurray) the use of his apartment as an evening love nest for an extra-marital fling. He soon gets tangled up with the boss's flighty and fragile girlfriend (MacLaine), the insurance building's elevator operator, and his career gets dangerously close to plummeting back down to the lobby. Winner of Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay.

21. A Fish Called Wanda (1988) - MGM/UA
Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: John Cleese; Jamie Lee Curtis; Kevin Kline; Michael Palin
In this off-the-wall farce with hints of Monty Python and other varieties of offbeat British humor, a low-rent gaggle of oddball thieves gets involved in a jewel robbery scheme, including a barrister (Cleese), a femme fatale (Curtis), and her shady partner (Kline). The caper plot requires "Italian-loving" Curtis to seduce British barrister Cleese, while keeping oafish lothario Kline at bay. Animal-lover Palin has some soul-searching moments as he tries again and again to murder a matronly eyewitness, offing her cherished poodles in the process. Kline won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his flamboyant performance.

22. Adam's Rib (1949)
Director: George Cukor
Stars: Spencer Tracy; Katharine Hepburn; Judy Holliday
Tracy and Hepburn are happily-married lawyers who take opposing sides to prosecute (or defend) Holliday in a murder case. Defense attorney Hepburn squares off against prosecutor Tracy, using women's rights and the double standard to free client Holliday, who is accused of the attempted murder of her husband. But the fireworks don't stop in the courtroom - their professional battles begin to take a toll on their personal lives. Husband-and-wife Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon wrote the snappy and witty screenplay, that plays off Tracy-Hepburn chemistry to detail differences between the sexes. "Let's all be manly!"

23. When Harry Met Sally.... (1989) - Columbia
Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Billy Crystal; Meg Ryan; Carrie Fisher
Two friends Harry (Crystal) meets Sally (Ryan) in Chicago, and the film follows their relationship for thirteen years while exploring the question, "Can two friends sleep together and still love each other in the morning?" They vow they will never fall into the trap of love, but finally do, accompanied by a lot of distress. Ryan's dramatization of a fake orgasm in a crowded deli is one of the film's most memorable scenes, as is the much-quoted comment by the patron (Reiner's mother).

24. Born Yesterday (1950)
Director: Columbia
Stars: Judy Holliday; Broderick Crawford; William Holden
Holliday reprises her Broadway role as junk dealer's mistress Billie Dawn, who gains culture and courage with the help of a newspaperman (Holden), Shady thug Crawford tries to ingratiate himself into Washington society, believing that girlfriend Holliday's lack of social skills is hindering his success. He hires reporter Holden to teach her the ins-and-outs of protocol, unaware that her brain is ripe for input and that her newfound knowledge will eventually spell his undoing. Includes a famous game of gin rummy. Holliday's performance earned an Academy Award for Best Actress. A remake appeared in 1993. "Wouldja do me a favor, Harry? Drop dead."

25. The Gold Rush (1925) - United Artists
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Stars: Charlie Chaplin; Georgia Hale; Mack Swain; Tom Murray
In one of Chaplin's most famous films, a poignant comedy that defines Chaplin's silent work, a lone Alaskan prospector (Chaplin), the Little Tramp, battles the elements in search of gold, adventure, love and a girl in the Yukon. He attempts to stave off hunger by dining on his shoe, much to the consternation of cabin mate Swain, who imagines that Charlie is a giant chicken. The film's many memorable scenes include the meal he makes of his boiled leather boot, a famished Swain's vision of Chaplin as a giant chicken, and the dance of the rolls. Chaplin also wrote the score and screenplay.

26. Being There (1979) - United Artists
Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Peter Sellers; Shirley MacLaine; Melvyn Douglas
In this black comedy, Sellers is Chance the gardener, a slow-witted soul who is brought into cultured society and becomes a powerful political advisor and sage when his open-faced silences and childish statements are mistaken for insight by an influential Washington, D.C. family. He has absorbed all he knows from television. "I like to watch." Jerzy Kozinski wrote the screenplay, an adaptation of his novel.

27. There's Something About Mary (1998) - 20th Century-Fox
Directors: Bobby Farrelly; Peter Farrelly
Stars: Cameron Diaz; Ben Stiller; Matt Dillon
Thirteen years after a disastrous prom date, Stiller still carries desire and a torch for the lovely, good-hearted Diaz. He hires slimy detective Dillon to track her down, but things get more complicated when Dillon falls for her too. This comedy tests the limits people go to for love. Stiller's bathroom accident is excruciatingly funny. Gross-out humor has never been more romantic.

28. Ghostbusters (1984) - Columbia
Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Bill Murray; Dan Aykroyd; Harold Ramis; Sigourney Weaver; Ernie Hudson
Three underfunded scientists of the paranormal plus an employee (Hudson) get lots of work when ghosts hit New York City. Big-budget special effects meet big laughs when Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis - a group of parapsychologists - set up shop in New York City to rid the Big Apple of its supernatural pests. Weaver is memorable as client, love interest, and human vehicle for a ghost. Soon they discover, however, that the apocalypse is near, and it's up to them to save humanity from being "slimed." Beware the Sta-Puf Man! The sequel is Ghostbusters II (1989).

29. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) - Embassy
Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Michael McKean; Christopher Guest; Harry Shearer
Reiner's directorial debut is a mock-documentary about the rise and painfully funny fall of a fictional, legendary British heavy metal group in its twilight years called Spinal Tap. This satire, that has gained cult status and established the reputation of the first-time director, gets its voltage from free-wheeling improv musical performances and the amp that goes to eleven.

30. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) - Warner Bros.
Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Cary Grant; Priscilla Lane; Peter Lorre; Josephine Hull
Faithful adaptation of the hit Broadway comedy by Joseph Kesselring, about two elderly ladies who poison their male visits with elderberry wine, that retains its whismy and zaniness. It features many of its original stage cast, along with Grant as a shocked nephew. It's Halloween night, and Grant's attempts at a honeymoon getaway with bride Lane are stalled when he discovers more than one skeleton in his closet. It turns out his charming aunts are murderers, his brother's a serial killer, and his uncle thinks he's Theodore Roosevelt. Grant's explanation: "Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops."

31. Raising Arizona (1987) - 20th Century-Fox
Director: Joel Coen
Stars: Nicolas Cage; Holly Hunter; John Goodman
Cage plays H.I., a chronic, ex-con thief who marries Hunter, the female cop who repeatedly books him for petty crimes. Their trailer park world turns upside down when, after they're unable to have children, Hunter insists that Cage kidnap one of the quintuplets just birthed by the Arizonas, a local couple who - in Hunter's words - "have more than they can handle." Slapstick and chase scenes follow when the quint is discovered missing. Joel and Ethan Coen wrote the zany screenplay.

32. The Thin Man (1934) - MGM
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Myrna Loy; William Powell; Maureen O'Sullivan
The sophisticated sleuth was perfected in stylish married couple Nick and Nora Charles (Powell and Loy), who search for a killer with wit and aplomb. Few can recall details of the film's complicated plot about a missing inventor, but the banter between the couple is unforgettable. Powell is a former detective whose wife helps him solve crimes, and they're often aided by their wire-haired terrier Asta. This adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett novel was filmed by master cinematographer James Wong Howe, and was the first in the series of six Thin Man films from 1934-1947.

33. Modern Times (1936) - United Artists
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Stars: Charlie Chaplin; Paulette Goddard; Henry Bergman
Poignant comedy-drama about the dehumanization of the machine age. Chaplin ended the silent era with this film, his last silent film, about a little man working on an assembly line, who is literally caught in the hub and cogs of an industrialized society, and after several trips to the hospital and jail, ultimately finds happiness with a kindred soul.

34. Groundhog Day (1993) - Columbia
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Bill Murray; Andie MacDowell; Chris Elliot
Whimsical existentialist comedy about a cynical TV weatherman (Murray) who doesn't want to cover the Groundhog Day ceremony in Punxsutawney, PA. And yet, it looks like he'll have to do it for eternity as he continues to mysteriously relive his previous 24 hours over and over and over. With each day, though, he gains new talents and broader insight into his surroundings and the meaning of life, eventually charming co-worker MacDowell into a well-practiced, but romantic evening. The repetition of the Sonny & Cher song "I Got You Babe" and the "Pennsylvania Polka" are appropriately excruciating.

35. Harvey (1950) - Universal
Director: Henry Koster
Stars: James Stewart; Josephine Hull; Peggy Dow
This adaptation of the Mary Chase play tells the rambling story of Elwood P. Dowd (Stewart), a man who boasts that he's "wrestled with reality for thirty-five years...and finally won out over it." Harvey is his friend, a six-foot, three-inch tall imaginary, invisible rabbit that embarrasses Dowd's society-climbing sister, Hull, to the point where she tries to have both of them put away. The pixiled Dowd became one of Stewart's best-known characterizations. Hull reprised her Broadway role as Dowd's sister and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

36. National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) - Universal
Director: John Landis
Stars: John Belushi; Tim Matheson; John Vernon
The definitive frat-house comedy is marked by sight gags and on-screen high jinks led by Belushi as party animal Bluto Blutarsky. The Delta House is struggling to save its charter at Faber College. Its members do so without much hope - led by Belushi's Bluto, who laments after being expelled for a zero grade point average, "Seven years of college down the drain!" Among notorious scenes is the toga party.

37. The Great Dictator (1940) - United Artists
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Stars: Charlie Chaplin; Paulette Goddard; Jack Oakie
This incisive, broad wartime satire of well-known Nazi and fascist rulers features Chaplin in his first feature-length talkie as Hitler, and Oakie as Benzino Napaloni. The film's slapstick, satirical look at Europe on the brink of World War II has Chaplin in double-duty as both a Jewish barber and an evil dictator, Adenoid Hynkel. The film's central image remains the dictator's ballet with an enormous balloon of the world.

38. City Lights (1931) - Chaplin/United Artists
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Stars: Charlie Chaplin; Virginia Cherrill; Harry Myers; Florence Lee
A moving tragi-comedy/drama in which the Little Tramp falls hopelessly in love with a blind flower girl (Cherrill), and experiences difficulty linked to a rich and eccentric lush (Myers). Perhaps best remembered for the dramatic ending when she first sees the face that helped her regain her sight, the film is grounded in classic Chaplin comedy. Among the most memorable laughs has Chaplin trying to raise money for the girl's operation by entering the boxing ring in a bout that he thinks has been fixed. Notable as an exquisite Chaplinesque blend of drama, passion, self-sacrifice and true love.

39. Sullivan's Travels (1941) - Paramount
Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Joel McCrea; Veronica Lake; William Demarest
Disgusted and weary of the mindless entertainment and popular comedies he makes - like So Long, Sarong - movie director McCrea decides to produce a serious film about social injustice - "a true canvas of the suffering of humanity." He sets out to research the film with only ten cents in his pocket, and tours the country as a pauper (with comrade Lake). During his unsettling journey, he learns what really counts in the cockeyed caravan of life. A Mickey Mouse cartoon helps him understand the value of bringing joy to the common man.

40. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) - United Artists
Director: Stanley Kramer
Stars: Spencer Tracy; Sid Caesar; Edie Adams; Milton Berle; Ethel Mermen
The era's great comedians star in this shaggy-dog comedy about a treasure hunt for a trove of cash. After a desert car crash (in which babbling crime-boss Durante literally kicks the bucket), a number of scheming highway travelers break every law in the book to be the first to find his alleged buried treasure - under "da big dubba-ya." The normally law-abiding citizens are unaware that they are being followed by police commissioner/detective Tracy, who's keeping track of their shenanigans and every move in this cameo-bursting slapstick marathon.

41. Moonstruck (1987) - United Artists
Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Cher; Nicolas Cage; Olympia Dukakis; Vincent Gardenia
This cheery operatic saga and love poem depicts an Italian-American family thrown into chaos when one of its members, a Brooklyn accountant and engaged widow (Cher), falls in love with her fiancee's brother (Cage) - a one-handed baker. Love and laughs come to light in the glow of a particularly bright moon. That's amore! Dukakis won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Cher's philosophical mother.

42. Big (1988) - 20th Century-Fox
Director: Penny Marshall
Stars: Tom Hanks; Elizabeth Perkins; Robert Loggia
Marshall's magical comedy warns us to be careful about what we wish for. Here the wish is made by a twelve-year-old boy who wants to be "big" and wakes up the next morning a thirty-year-old man, played by Hanks. He struggles believably and amusingly with life as a man in the world and a boy at heart. The film's memorable scenes include Hanks' reaction to the hors d'oeuvres at an office party, as well as his and Loggia's piano dance at FAO Schwartz.

43. American Graffiti (1973) - Universal
Director: George Lucas
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss; Ron Howard; Candy Clark; Harrison Ford; Paul LeMat; Cindy Williams; Mackenzie Phillips; Charles Martin Smith
"Where were you in '62?" was the advertising slogan for this nostalgic, comical, coming-of-age story of California teenagers/high-school graduates during an eventful late-summer night out on the town in 1962, who mark passage from high school into adulthood. This funny, melancholy film brought the director to prominence, featured a grown-up Howard, and made stars of newcomers Ford and Dreyfuss; use of early rock hits influenced soundtracks for years.

44. My Man Godfrey (1936) - Universal
Director: Gregory LaCava
Stars: William Powell; Carole Lombard; Eugene Pallette; Mischa Auer
This classic screwball comedy about the Great Depression stars Lombard as a rich, madcap heiress-socialite who tries to rehabilitate Powell, a "forgotten man" she finds at the city dump and hires as a butler, while participating in a society scavenger hunt. This biting satire finds humor in the friction between the idle rich and the dignity of the common man. When Lombard and Powell first meet, she looks around the dump and asks, "Can you tell me why you live in a place like this when there are so many other nice places?" Powell's wry diffidence and Lombard's zaniness make for a believable romantic pair that will never quite understand one another. A remake appeared in 1957.

45. Harold and Maude (1972) - Paramount
Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Ruth Gordon; Bud Cort; Vivian Pickles
This dark comedy that gained cult status in the 70s finds a romantic link between death-obsessed, haunted 20-year-old Cort and free-spirited, iconoclastic 79-year-old Gordon, who encourages Cort to "L-I-V-E. Live!" Pickles is Cort's mother, who desperately arranges for a series of encounters with "suitable" young women that all turn disastrous after Cort's ghoulish shenanigans.

46. Manhattan (1979) - United Artists
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen; Diane Keaton; Mariel Hemingway; Meryl Streep
Allen's black-and-white valentine to New York City finds him as a TV comedy writer who aspires to credibility while maneuvering through the complexities of friendship and love. When his wife, Streep, leaves him for another woman, Allen laments that his son is being raised by two women: "I always feel very few people survive one mother." He pointedly observes the mangled relationships around him and looks to young Hemingway for a cleansing innocence. Although its dissection of urban society is on-target, the film is more memorable for its starry depiction of Manhattan, photographed in black-and-white by Gordon Willis.

47. Shampoo (1975) - Columbia
Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Warren Beatty; Julie Christie; Goldie Hawn; Lee Grant
Election Day 1968. The doings of a seductive hairdresser (Beatty) and his well-heeled clientele make for a satire on the liberated Southern California lifestyle. The national moral tides are ebbing and flowing, and Beatty is caught in the sea of change. He plays George, a Beverly Hills hairdresser who hops from client to client, bed to bed and from the free love of the past to the it's-about-me future. When girlfriend Hawn stumbles upon him in bed with her friend, Beatty's quick reply is, "Honey, where have you been? We've been looking all over for you." Grant, as a salon client, won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

48. A Shot in the Dark (1964) - United Artists
Director: Blake Edwards
Stars: Peter Sellers; Elke Sommer; George Sanders
After the success of The Pink Panther (1964), Edwards expanded the role of Inspector Clouseau and released this second film in the series. Sellers' Clouseau returns in this fast-paced follow-up that focuses on the detective's attempted defense of a beautiful murder suspect - a sexy maid (Sommer). Amid a sea of gags, he investigates a murder at a French chateau, and though she is the chief suspect, Clouseau seems determined to prove her innocence - even tracking her through a nudist colony, where the murderer strikes again. The film also introduces Lom as Clouseau's tortured superior and Kwouk as Cato, Sellers' ever-ready valet. As in the original, Henry Mancini wrote the smooth score.

49. To Be or Not to Be (1942) - United Artists
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Jack Benny; Carole Lombard; Robert Stack
The invasion of Poland by the Nazis was an unlikely subject for a black comedy in 1942, but Jack Benny as an egotistical ham actor and Carole Lombard (in her last film) as his flirtatious wife Maria proved that it could indeed be funny. He finds himself battling Nazis while trying to save his Polish theater group. Benny's interpretation of Hamlet's soliloquy is one of the film's highlights. The 1983 remake starred director Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft.

50. Cat Ballou (1965) - Columbia
Director: Elliot Silverstein
Stars: Lee Marvin; Jane Fonda; Michael Callan
This comic Western stars Fonda as the title character Cat - a schoolmarm gone bad who tries to avenge her father's murder and reclaim her ranch with the help of a motley group of misfits. Among them is Marvin's "Kid Shelleen," a drunken outlaw with an equally inebriated horse. In one memorable scene, boozy Kid arrives at a funeral, sees the candles and begins to sing Happy Birthday To You. In a dual role, Marvin also plays Kid's sinister and nasty, silver-nosed twin brother Tim Shawn. Marvin was named Best Actor by the Academy for his two-role performance.

51. The Seven Year Itch (1955) - 20th Century-Fox
Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Marilyn Monroe; Tom Ewell; Sonny Tufts
New York publisher Ewell and his wife have been married seven years. When she and their son vacation in Maine during a long, hot summer, he flies solo. His fantastic imagination heats up with the arrival of a new upstairs neighbor, Monroe. Wilder's sex farce was wittily adapted from playwright George Axelrod's play (with co-writer Wilder) and contains one of American film's signature moments - when the updraft from a subway grate blows Monroe's white dress high above her knees, she coos, "It sort of cools the ankles, doesn't it?"

52. Ninotchka (1939) - MGM
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Greta Garbo; Melvyn Douglas; Ina Claire
As advertised in studio publicity for the film, "Garbo laughs." Communism and capitalism collide in this bright political and romantic comedy that takes place "in those wonderful days" - the narrator announces - "when a siren was a brunette and not an alarm." Staunch party leader and tough communist agent Garbo arrives in Paris to discipline some wayward comrades for their newfound materialistic ways and falls in love with Douglas' suave and rakish, capitalist aristocrat-playboy. Sparkling screenplay by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, and Walter Reisch. Remade as the musical film Silk Stockings in 1957.

53. Arthur (1981) - Warner Bros.
Director: Steve Gordon
Stars: Dudley Moore; Liza Minnelli; John Gielgud
This romantic comedy is about a ne'er-do-well, giddy millionaire playboy Moore who wants to marry waitress Minnelli, but there'll be a sobering risk and price to pay if he does. His aunt, Fitzgerald, will cut him off from the family millions! The film is notable for its oddball cheeriness and Gielgud's Academy Award-winning performance as Moore's acerbic valet. The sequel is Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988).

54. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944) - Paramount
Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Betty Hutton; Eddie Bracken; William Demarest; Diana Lynn
In the director Sturges' most manic, intricate comedy, he caught the censors napping with this story of a waifish, World War II USO worker, Trudy Kockenlocker (Hutton), who gets drunk and blacks out during a night on the town with a group of servicemen, and wakes up pregnant and maybe even married. The problem is, she can't remember a thing - either whom she married or who the father could be. Here, the plot speeds up, the Sturges way. Faithful friend Bracken helps her through the miraculous delivery of sextuplets. The remake is Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958).

55. The Lady Eve (1941) - Paramount
Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Henry Fonda; Barbara Stanwyck; Charles Coburn; William Demarest
Fonda is a doltish bachelor and heir to the "Pike's Pale Ale" fortune, who prefers snakes to women. Stanwyck is a con woman and cardsharp who tries to fleece him on an ocean voyage and winds up falling in love with him. When he discovers her ruse and dumps her, she decides to fleece him again by assuming a British accent and posing as "Lady Eve" Sidwich, and lets him fall in love with her. Elegance, wit, and buffoonery mix. Ocean cruises, train rides, and horses and used to considerable effect.

56. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) - Universal
Director: Charles T. Barton
Stars: Bud Abbott; Lou Costello; Lon Chaney, Jr.; Bela Lugosi
The final sequel in Universal's Frankenstein cycle of the 1930s and 1940s - with tip-top Abbott and Costello and winning homage to Universal's movie monsters in this combination of gags and ghoulishness. The film finds deliverymen Abbott and Costello bringing what they think are the dead Dracula and Dr. Frankenstein to a museum. Problems arise when Lugosi's Dracula arises and wants to steal Costello's brain so he can insert it into Frankenstein's skull. Chaney is a pal who tries to warn the duo of the plot, but then there's this full moon...

57. Diner (1982) - MGM/UA
Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Daniel Stern; Mickey Rourke; Steve Gutenberg; Kevin Bacon
The first of Levinson's movies set in Baltimore. 1959. This one is a wry look at a group of male friends on the verge of adulthood who congregate in the comfort of a local diner between journeys into the real world. The late night back-and-forth is about nothing...and they struggle to define what's important in their changing lives - like football trivia and what's on the flip side of a record. Notable topical scenes include a marriage test about the Baltimore Colts and a debate on the merits of Johnny Mathis vs. Frank Sinatra.

58. It's a Gift (1934) - Paramount
Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: W.C. Fields; Baby LeRoy; Kathleen Howard
Fields is Harold Bissonette, tortured family man and owner of a general store who dreams of buying an orange grove out West. Memorable laughs include the blind man who smashes his way through the store only to ask for a pack of gum to be delivered, along with Fields' attempt to get some rest while being tormented by an insurance salesman, a milkman, a faulty chain on a porch swing and, of course, scene-stealing child star Baby LeRoy. He takes his brood west, with amusing and exasperating results.

59. A Day at the Races (1937) - MGM
Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Groucho Marx; Harpo Marx; Chico Marx; Margaret Dumont
The boys are in their element at Standish Sanitarium in this characteristically zany Marx Brothers comedy. Groucho is horse doctor Hugo Z. Hackenbush who finds himself tending to humans in the sanitarium where Dumont is a patient; Chico is a racetrack tipster; and Harpo is a jockey. The film's memorable moments include Groucho's response to Dumont's amorous moves - "If I hold you any closer, I'll be in back of you." Seemingly endless comic bits include Chico selling ice cream and race tips.

60. Topper (1937) - MGM
Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Constance Bennett; Cary Grant; Roland Young
This merry adaptation of Thorne Smith's popular novel offers Bennett and Grant as ghosts. After dying in an automobile crash, the ghosts of the New York sophisticates haunt stuffy banker Cosmo Topper (Young), forcing him to evaluate his life. The fun comes from the ghosts' ability to dematerialize at will, leaving their quiet friend Topper to face the consequences. The film inspired two sequels (1939, 1941).

61. What's Up, Doc? (1972) - Warner Bros.
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Barbra Streisand; Ryan O'Neal
Filmed in the style of 1930s screwball comedies with a particular tip of the hat to Bringing Up Baby (1938), this wacky film opens when prim Professor O'Neal and his fiancee Kahn arrive at a hotel where he is to compete for a musicology research grant. Enter Streisand's unpredictable Judy - an alluring, blithe spirit who invites havoc and disruption wherever she goes, which culminates in a spectacular car/bike chase through the streets of San Francisco.

62. Sherlock Jr. (1924) - Metro
Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton; Kathryn McGuire; Ward Crane
This surreal fantasy finds Keaton as a projectionist who unwittingly steps into the film he's screening, with hilarous results. On-screen, he assumes the role of master sleuth, solves the crime and saves the girl... all this before waking in the projection booth to find his real girlfriend waiting for him. This prototypical Keaton silent film continues to influence filmmakers.

63. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) - Paramount
Director: Martin Brest
Stars: Eddie Murphy; Judge Reinhold; John Ashton; Bronson Pinchot
A fish-out-of-water crime and action comedy, with Murphy as streetwise, smart and fast-talking Detroit cop Axel Foley who arrives in swank Beverly Hills in search of the man who murdered his friend. Culture shock drives the laughs as Murphy navigates Rodeo Drive to solve the crime of his friend's death. The humorous support team includes Reinhold as a local cop straight man, and Pinchot as Serge, the flamboyant, weird-accented art gallery employee. Overall, an ideal showcase for Murphy's big, brash talent.

64. Broadcast News (1987) - 20th Century-Fox
Director: James L. Brooks
Stars: William Hurt; Holly Hunter; Albert Brooks
Genial yet pointed comedy of the TV news business featuring Hunter as a fast-talking producer - the epitome of the 1980s career woman. She does everything right, except for falling for the handsome but empty newsanchor Hurt, despite the fact that he embodies none of what she respects in a journalist. Brooks is doomed to lead the life of the romantic third wheel - a would-be paramour and ethical, caustic reporter.

65. Horse Feathers (1932) - Paramount
Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Groucho Marx; Chico Marx; Harpo Marx; Zeppo Marx; Thelma Todd
The Marx Brothers and Thelma Todd romp through this anarchic college comedy, satirizing one of the most popular genres of the 1920s and 1930s. Groucho takes the lead as Huxley College president Wagstaff who enlists the help of supposed football pros Harpo and Chico to help Huxley win the big game against rival Darwin U. They do, but not before the boys fracture every rule in the book.

66. Take the Money and Run (1969) - Palomar
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen; Janet Margolin; Marcel Hillaire
This spoof of the gangster/crime films of the 1930s marked Allen's debut as writer-director-actor. The film was shot as a pseudo-documentary about the rise and fall of one of America's most wanted - Allen's inept and unsuccessful thief Virgil Starkwell, who explains the benefits of a life of crime: "You're your own boss, the hours are good and you travel a lot." His embarrassed parents, meanwhile, hide their faces behind Groucho glasses during interviews. Hilarious gags include an attempt to escape prison with a gun made of soap that disintegrates in the rain.

67. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) - 20th Century-Fox
Director: Chris Columbus
Stars: Robin Williams; Sally Field; Pierce Brosnan; Harvey Fierstein
Field is fed up with husband Williams' free-spirited approach to life and files for divorce. Despondent and desperate for additional time with his children, Williams concocts a scheme, aided by flamboyant brother Fierstein, to transform himself into the perfect British nanny. Field hires "Mrs. Doubtfire" on the spot, allowing Williams to rejoin the household and see his children and, hopefully, he can break up his estranged wife's new romance with Brosnan. Classical Williams physical comedy and pathos follow. Based on Anne Fine's novel Alias Madame Doubtfire.

68. The Awful Truth (1937) - Columbia
Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Irene Dunne; Cary Grant; Ralph Bellamy
In this prototypical screwball comedy, soon-to-be divorced sophisticated couple Grant and Dunne set out to destroy each other's upcoming wedding plans, though it appears they still love each other. Grant is relentless with jokes about Bellamy - a comic archetype as Dunne's fiancee, a hapless hick poet with bucolic ways. And Dunne pretends to be Grant's dipsomaniac sister for his stuffy new in-laws. Originally filmed in 1925 and 1929, it was remade in 1953 as the musical Let's Do It Again.

69. Bananas (1971) - United Artists
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen; Louise Lasser; Carlos Montalban; Howard Cosell
An absurd romb in which Allen is product tester Fielding Mellish, who leaves his day job and moves to a small Latin American country following a breakup with his girlfriend. He volunteers for a revolutionary force, which eventually makes him its leader. Highlights include an oft-interrupted seduction scene with Lasser and a play-by-play commentary of a political assassination - provided by Howard Cosell. Marvin Hamlisch wrote the score.

70. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) - Columbia
Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Gary Cooper; Jean Arthur; Lionel Stander; George Bancroft
Folk humor tells the populist Capra comedy of Cooper's Longfellow Deeds, a simple, small-town New Englander who inherits $20 million and moves to New York, where his sanity is questioned after he decides to donate his millions to the needy - a situation that captivates hard-boiled reporter Babe Bennett (Arthur). Arthur, the epitome of the 1930s' "new woman," is a wisecracking reporter trying to get an angle on the seemingly eccentric Deeds. Adapted from the play Opera Hut by Clarence Budington Kelland.

71. Caddyshack (1980) - Warner Bros.
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Chevy Chase; Rodney Dangerfield; Bill Murray
The exclusive and WASPy Bushwood Country Club provides the backdrop for intertwined stories, including Dangerfield's divoting developer who wants to turn the country club into condos and Murray's "Cinderella-story" groundskeeper whose pursuit of a greens-munching gopher threatens to destroy the entire country club. Memorable laughs take place at the pool, where the caddies perform a Busby Berkeley-style water ballet and a floating candy bar sends swimmers screaming from the water in a JAWS-inspired panic. More sight gags and base jokes abound.

72. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) - RKO
Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Cary Grant; Myrna Loy; Melvyn Douglas
This good-natured satire of the post-war housing boom stars Grant as an advertising executive whose dream of building a home in the country becomes a nightmare when the architects, contractors and his wife, played by Loy, have their own ideas. Among other problems, Loy won't get her very specific choices of paint colors. During the fiasco, Douglas offers Grant advice: "The next time you're going to do anything or say anything or buy anything, think it over very carefully. When you're sure you're right, forget the whole thing."

73. Monkey Business (1931) - Paramount
Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Groucho Marx; Harpo Marx; Chico Marx; Zeppo Marx; Thelma Todd
A luxury ocean liner provides the backdrop for the chaotic antics and havoc of the stowaway Marx Brothers. One of their classic bits involves an unconvincing impersonation of Maurice Chevalier to qualify for exiting the ship, via a stolen passport and a Victrola playing Chevalier's hit You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me. The film is their first screenplay collaboration with S.J. Perelman. Todd is Groucho's love interest.

74. 9 To 5 (1980) - 20th Century-Fox
Director: Colin Higgins
Stars: Jane Fonda; Lily Tomlin; Dolly Parton; Dabney Coleman
Parton sings the title song and makes her big screen debut as the secretary to Coleman's lecherous corporate boss, in a male-dominated workplace. After being ogled and harassed one too many times, Parton threatens to get her gun and change him "from a rooster to a hen in just one shot!" Temp Fonda and office administrator Tomlin share Parton's disdain for the barbaric boss Coleman, and the ultimate secretarial trio seek revenge for his male chauvinistic ways. The movie was a box-office success. A television series followed.

75. She Done Him Wrong (1933) - Paramount
Director: Lowell Sherman
Stars: Mae West; Cary Grant; Gilbert Roland
West reprises her Broadway stage role (Diamond Lil) as Lady Lou, the wealthy, Gilded-Era siren and owner of a Bowery saloon who wisecracks, "It was a toss up between whether I go in for diamonds or sing in the choir. The choir lost." Grant is the local temperance officer who West takes a shine to. She sings "Frankie and Johnny," and plies young Grant with the line, "Why don't you come up sometime and see me?" When he reveals that he's actually an undercover cop who's been following the riff-raff who visit the saloon, West trades her summer and winter jewelry for one diamond on her ring finger.

76. Victor/Victoria (1982) - MGM/UA
Blake Edwards
Julie Andrews; Robert Preston; James Garner; Alex Karras; Lesley Ann Warren
Tight sex farce about an out-of-work singer (Andrews) who with the help of her gay manager, played by Preston, pretends to be a man to get a gig as a female impersonator in the Paris nightclub world of the 1930s. She becomes the toast of Paris cabarets and the object of desire for one macho audience member (Garner) who finds himself inexplicably drawn to "him." Warren is Garner's lusty mistress, who steals a scene with a rousing song about her hometown, Chicago. A Broadway musical adaptation followed, also with Andrews in the lead.

77. The Palm Beach Story (1942) - Paramount
Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Claudette Colbert; Joel McCrea; Rudy Vallee; Mary Astor
Sturges took the message from his Sullivan's Travels to heart and his next film was this screwball comedy that gave wartime America the giggles. Sturges-style marital mayhem occurs when happily-married Colbert hatches a plan to divorce her poor inventor husband McCrea, marry a multimillionaire and bankroll her husband's ambitions. He's reluctant, but desperate - and she's off to adventures with "The Wienie King," a train ride with the men's group "The Ale & Quail Club" where she becomes their mascot, and finally, a Palm Beach pursuit by Vallee's wealthy Hackensacker. Top 1920s crooner Vallee sings "Goodnight, Sweetheart."

78. Road to Morocco (1942) - Paramount
Director: David Butler
Stars: Bob Hope; Bing Crosby; Dorothy Lamour
This third and most consistently funny picture in "The Road To ..." series of seven films lands Hope and Crosby in the deserts of North Africa, where they meet a wisecracking camel and get tangled up in the world of Lamour's Princess Shalmar. Love blossoms among the wry asides, until Quinn's jealous sheik enters the picture. Hope is sold into slavery by Crosby, which temporarily keeps him from pursuing Lamour. When the boys realize they need to rescue Lamour, Crosby says, "We must storm the place." Hope's reply: "You storm. I'll stay here and drizzle."

79. The Freshman (1925) - Pathe Exchange
Director: Sam Taylor, Fred Newmeyer
Stars: Harold Lloyd; Jobyna Ralston; Brooks Benedict
Country bumpkin Harold "Speedy" Lamb wants to be a "Big Man on Campus" to win the girl (Ralston). In this classic comedy, one of the comedian's most popular films, his attempts fall short, however, until a hilarious, freewheeling football game proves that even the most inept of us can become a hero.

80. Sleeper (1973) - United Artists
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen; Diane Keaton; John Beck
Allen's slapstick sci-fi parody freezes him in the year 1973 and unthaws him two hundred years later when he awakens. "Where are all my friends?" he asks. A scientist explains that "everyone you knew in the past has been dead nearly two hundred years." His reply: "But they all ate organic rice." Quickly mistaken for an enemy of the people, Allen disguises himself as a robot and works for Keaton. When she realizes he's human, they fall in love as they try to overthrow the leader of the world - a nose. The satirical script, written by Allen and Marshall Brickman, features commentary on contemporary mores and obsessions, along with the cloning of a nose.

81. The Navigator (1924) - MGM
Director: Buster Keaton, Donald Crisp
Stars: Buster Keaton; Kathryn McGuire; Frederick Vroom
Gag-filled silent movie with Keaton starring as a hapless, indolent millionaire who finds himself one of two inhabitants of a deserted luxury ocean liner that's been cast to sea to sink. His traveling companion, McGuire, is a young woman who earlier rejected his marriage proposal. Despite Keaton's attempts to learn about the ship - including a scene where McGuire nearly suffocates Keaton by attaching his diving helmet while he's smoking a cigarette - the doomed duo find themselves drifting toward an island of cannibals.

82. Private Benjamin (1980) - Warner Bros.
Director: Howard Zieff
Stars: Goldie Hawn; Eileen Brennan; Armand Assante
Hawn is the pampered, suburban rich girl-princess who joins the Army for a change of scenery and quickly finds it's not her cup of tea. After receiving her uniform and saying, "Pardon me, is green the only color they come in?" she stakes out the barracks in disgust - "Look at this place. The army couldn't afford drapes?" Captain Brennan whips her into shape, and Hawn is transferred to NATO headquarters in Europe, where she is pursued by Assante's Henri. A television series followed.

83. Father of the Bride (1950) - MGM
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Spencer Tracy; Joan Bennett; Elizabeth Taylor
Tracy is the exasperated patriarch of the Banks family, who sits among the remnants of his daughter Taylor's Great American Wedding reception while relating the hectic events of the last three months. The film's advertising slogan was "The bride gets the thrills! The father gets the bills!" The sequel is Father's Little Dividend (1951). The remake, Father of the Bride, appeared in 1991.

84. Lost in America (1985) - Warner Bros.
Director: Albert Brooks
Stars: Albert Brooks; Julie Hagerty; Garry Marshall
In this satire of self-fulfillment, yuppie couple Brooks and Hagerty decide to check out of the professional rat race, buy a Winnebago and head out for a life adventure on America's highways. He figures they have about enough money to stay on the road the rest of their lives, until she makes a trip to Las Vegas' roulette tables. In one of the film's most memorable scenes, they attempt to convince casino boss Marshall to show a little mercy.

85. Dinner at Eight (1933) - MGM
Director: George Cukor
Stars: Jean Harlow; Wallace Beery; Marie Dressler; John Barrymore; Lionel Barrymore
Adapted from the stage play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, New York City's cultural elite assemble for hostess Burke's dinner party, resulting in surprising repercussions among the varied guest list. The star-studded cast shines under Cukor's direction, in this comic dissection of guests at the high-toned New York party. Dressler delivers the memorable final comment.

86. City Slickers (1991) - Columbia
Director: Ron Underwood
Stars: Billy Crystal; Bruno Kirby; Daniel Stern; Jack Palance
Amiable, gag-filled comedy about three urban mid-lifers who head out West for male bonding and to clear their minds on a lengthy cattle-drive "vacation" that is clearly out of their league. Palance is the tough and crusty trail boss who's only too happy to show them the ropes - he won the Academy Award for his supporting performance. The sequel is City Slickers: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994).

87. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) - Universal
Director: Amy Heckerling
Stars: Sean Penn; Jennifer Jason Leigh; Judge Reinhold; Phoebe Cates
Cameron Crowe's book provides the basis for this loopy comedy about teenage life at high school. Penn leads an ensemble cast of newcomers in this sharp and painfully funny look at what's on the mind of teenagers in southern California - peer pressure, sex, and the mall. Penn gained notice for his portrayal of a drugged-out student. "Hey, bud, let's party!"

88. Beetlejuice (1988) - Warner Bros.
Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Michael Keaton; Geena Davis; Alec Baldwin; Winona Ryder
Baldwin and Davis are "newly-deads" appalled at the disagreeable nouveau riche family who has moved into their home. They enlist the help of Keaton's marvelously grotesque dark spirit Betelgeuse to perform an exorcism of the living, thereby opening Pandora's Box. The haunted "Day-O" dinner party is a scream. Notable for its visual inventiveness and mix of horror and comedy. The clever music is by Danny Elfman.

89. The Jerk (1979) - Universal
Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin; Bernadette Peters; Bill Macy
This absurd and gentle comedy introduces Martin as "a poor black child." When the dim-witted man leaves his adoptive family to find his way in the world, he bumbles through many an odd job - "For one dollar, I'll guess your weight, your height or your sex." People often exploit his naivete, until he invents a nose support device for eyeglasses that brings him a fortune. His travails make for abundant humor and pathos from Martin, in his first lead role.

90. Woman of the Year (1942) - MGM
Director: George Stevens
Stars: Spencer Tracy; Katharine Hepburn; Fay Bainter
Tracy and Hepburn's first pairing has them as married columnists at the same newspaper. He's an easy-going sportswriter, while she's a high-strung political reporter. It's soon obvious that her global political interests do not match his laid-back enthusiasm for spectator sports. But they fall in love and learn amusing lessons on their differences along the way. Among these lessons is a well-paced drinking scene. After a dramatic separation, the couple is reunited after Hepburn tries valiantly - and fails miserably - to make him breakfast. The clever screenplay is by Ring Lardner, Jr., and Michael Kanin. A stage musical followed.

91. The Heartbreak Kid (1972) - Palomar/20th Century-Fox
Director: Elaine May
Stars: Charles Grodin; Cybill Shepherd; Jeannie Berlin
Based on a story by Bruce Jay Friedman, this is the wry tragi-comedy of a newlywed Jewish man (Grodin) who meets the blonde woman of his dreams, beautiful Shepherd, while on his honeymoon in Florida with wife Berlin. After a relentless and obsessive pursuit to obtain Shepherd's affections, Grodin must endure one more hurdle - convincing her protective father, played by Albert, of his sincerity. At a loss for how to do so when they first meet, he looks to his food: "This is a totally honest meal. You don't know what a pleasure it is in this day and age to eat food that you can believe in."

92. Ball of Fire (1941) - United Artists
Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Gary Cooper; Barbara Stanwyck; Dana Andrews; Oscar Homolka
A staid group of seven scholarly professors are compiling a new encyclopedia when Stanwyck's Sugarpuss O'Shea breezes into their musty world. She's a flashy, night-club jazz singer who helps them with their slang dictionary, but they have to think fast when her angry gangster friends come looking for her. The screenplay for this worldly take-off on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. The remake is A Song is Born (1948).

93. Fargo (1996) - Gramercy Pictures/Polygram Filmed Entertainment/Working Title Films
Director: Joel Coen
Stars: Frances McDormand; William H. Macy; Steve Buscemi
Dark, jaunty, but grisly crime drama about a Minnesota gruesome multiple murder case (intertwined with a botched kidnapping job hatched by Macy) in a frigid and snowy landscape under the able investigation of pregnant police chief Marge (McDormand). She reconstructs the crime with a style all her own. Wood-chipper scene and blinding white exterior shots are notable. Academy Award winner for Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay. "You betcha."

94. Auntie Mame (1958) - Warner Bros.
Director: Morton DaCosta
Stars: Rosalind Russell; Patric Knowles; Coral Browne
Notorious party-thrower Mame (Russell) towers over New York City with her lush life and eccentricities. She fashions a new lifestyle for herself when she must care for her recently orphaned nephew. Amid the colorful characters of Beekman Place's residents and visitors, Russell's elegant, wisecracking Mame reminds everyone that "Life is a banquet - and most poor suckers are starving to death." Based on the Broadway play by Jerome Robbins and Robert E. Lee which was drawn from Patrick Dennis' autobiographical novel Auntie Mame. The musical stage and later screen version is Mame (film, 1974).

95. Silver Streak (1976) - 20th Century-Fox
Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Gene Wilder; Richard Pryor; Jill Clayburgh
The first Wilder-Pryor pairing mixes mystery, fast talk, and physical humor amid a long-distance train trip meant to be a vacation getaway. Wilder's a mild-mannered, hard-working publisher onboard - and several times, off-board - a train from Los Angeles to Chicago. When he witnesses a body thrown from the train, he's framed by the killers and pursued by police. Pryor helps to disguise Wilder with shoe polish and a lesson in jive, and the action comes to a smashing conclusion at the train station in Chicago.

96. Sons of the Desert (1933) - MGM
Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Stan Laurel; Oliver Hardy; Mae Busch
"Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into," complains Hardy to Laurel in this feature-length version of their 1928 silent two-reeler, We Faw Down. A classic Laurel and Hardy film with familiar hijinks. The duo sneak off to the "Sons of the Desert" convention in Chicago after telling their disapproving wives they are going on a Hawaiian cruise for Hardy's health. They have a grand time at the convention, where they're filmed by a newsreel crew, but they return home to find that the ship they were supposed to be on had sunk, and their wives had seen them on the newsreel.

97. Bull Durham (1988) - Orion
Director: Ron Shelton
Stars: Susan Sarandon; Kevin Costner; Tim Robbins
Shelton's charming and picaresque baseball fable finds Robbins on the minor-league mound as a greenhorn pitcher who needs help focusing on the game. He gets an assist from down-and-out baseball vet and aging catcher Costner and superstitious baseball groupie Sarandon, who sits both men down to explain her one-player-per-season rule - and that they are the finalists. This romantic comedy follows the trio from bus to hotel to ballpark and back again, providing an insider's look at America's pastime. Location filming and off-the-wall pitcher's mound discussions lend realism and a fanciful sensibility to this celebration of baseball.

98. The Court Jester (1956) - Paramount
Director: Norman Panama, Melvin Frank
Stars: Danny Kaye; Glynis Johns; Basil Rathbone
Villains perch on every turret in this musical swashbuckler comedy that finds Kaye masquerading as a court jester in an attempt to infiltrate an evil government to overthrow Rathbone, a baron with a stranglehold on the throne of England. He finds himself singing, falling in love, and fighting villains along the way. "The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle..."

99. The Nutty Professor (1963) - Paramount
Director: Jerry Lewis
Stars: Jerry Lewis; Stella Stevens; Del Moore
This Jekyll-and-Hyde story focuses on Lewis as Julius Kelp, a buck-toothed, bumbling milquetoast college professor who creates a formula for a secret potion that turns him into the arrogant but irresistible swinger "Buddy Love" - for brief moments, anyway. Stevens co-stars as the object of affection to both sides of Lewis' split personality. The remake appeared in 1996, starring Eddie Murphy.

100. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) - Touchstone/Buena Vista
Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Robin Williams; Forest Whitaker; Tung Thanh Tran
Saigon in 1965 provides the backdrop for this thoughtful war comedy - the true story of Armed Forces Radio disc jockey Adrian Cronauer (Williams) who brings his madcap comedy to a world gone mad. His highly-charged, on-air improv is popular with the troops but troublesome to officers, who fear the beat of his different drummer. Memorable for the star's runaway radio patter.

Facts (and Commentary) about the selected 100 Funniest Films:

Katharine Hepburn won the title as the most represented actress on the list with four films in the top 100:

Thanks to the Marx Brothers, Margaret Dumont had three films in the top 100:

Actors appearing in the most films were:

  • Cary Grant, with eight films (none in the top 10), the Marx Brothers and Woody Allen with five each, Spencer Tracy, Charlie Chaplin, and Bill Murray with four each
  • Peter Sellers was represented by three films: Dr. Strangelove (# 3), Being There (# 26), and A Shot in the Dark (# 48)
  • Marilyn Monroe, Myrna Loy, Rosalind Russell, and Robin Williams were each represented by two films

Dustin Hoffman also had two films on the list, but both made the top 10 -- Tootsie (2nd) and The Graduate (9th)

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn each appeared in four of the top 100 comedies: Both were in Adam's Rib (22nd) and Woman of the Year (# 90); Tracy also starred in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (# 40) and Father of the Bride (# 83)
Hepburn also appeared in Bringing Up Baby (# 14) and The Philadelphia Story (# 15)

Danny Kaye, W.C. Fields, Laurel & Hardy, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin and Mae West only made the list once

Ruth Gordon co-wrote the screenplay for one film on the list -- Adam's Rib (# 22), and starred in another film -- Harold and Maude (# 45)

On the whole, voters found men funnier than women and verbal jousters such as Groucho Marx, Woody Allen and Bill Murray funnier than slapstick geniuses, such as Buster Keaton, Jerry Lewis and Peter Sellers.

Recent comedy star Jim Carrey did not get a mention

Four films, including the top two vote-getters, Some Like It Hot (# 1) and Tootsie (# 2), involved cross-dressing. Also, there were Mrs. Doubtfire (# 67) and Victor/Victoria (# 76).

Buster Keaton's The General (# 18) was the highest-ranked film from the silent era. The five other silent era films were: The Gold Rush (# 25), City Lights (# 38), Sherlock Jr. (# 62), The Freshman (# 79), and The Navigator (# 81).

In summary, there were only three silent-era Keaton films and two silent-era Charlie Chaplin films. (Note: Chaplin's talkie era films, Modern Times (# 33) and The Great Dictator (# 37), brought his total to four).

Theoretically, Sherlock Jr. (# 62) should have been disqualified - it was only a four-reeler with a run-time of 44 minutes.

Five Marx Brothers movies made the list:

The 1980s were easily considered the funniest decade, claiming 22 films on the list, while the 1930s were next on the list with 19 total. The 1920s (the heyday of slapstick) and the 1990s, however, were considered unfunny -- each with a total of only five films on the list.

Woody Allen was the most represented director - he directed the most films in the top 100 (five total), including the following:

Woody Allen and Billy Wilder both wrote five films in the top 100, and they both had the most nominations with 11 each. Billy Wilder also directed three of the top 100 comedies: Some Like It Hot (# 1), The Apartment (# 20), and The Seven Year Itch (# 51).

Directors of four films included:

George Cukor ( The Philadelphia Story (# 15), Adam's Rib (# 22), Born Yesterday (# 24) and Dinner at Eight (# 85))
Charlie Chaplin ( The Gold Rush (# 25), Modern Times (# 33), The Great Dictator (# 37) and City Lights (# 38))
Writer/director Preston Sturges ( Sullivan's Travels (# 39), The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (# 54), The Lady Eve (# 55), and The Palm Beach Story (# 77))

Frank Capra directed/produced three films: It Happened One Night (# 8), Arsenic and Old Lace (# 30), and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (# 70), as did Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles (# 6), The Producers (# 11), and Young Frankenstein (# 13)).

Harold Ramis wrote (or co-wrote) four films on the list: Ghostbusters (# 28), Groundhog Day (# 34), Animal House (# 36), and Caddyshack (# 71). (And Ramis directed two of these: Caddyshack and Groundhog Day.) Director Blake Edwards was also represented by two films: A Shot in the Dark (# 48) and Victor/Victoria (# 76).

Mel Brooks was the director with the most top 15 appearances (three):

In the list of 500 nominated films, Cary Grant was the most represented actor with 17 films, and Myrna Loy was the most represented actress with 10 films. Jack Lemmon (at the time of the survey) was the most represented living actor with 14 films, and Shirley MacLaine was the most represented living actress with nine movies.

Was the dark film Fargo (# 93) really a comedy with lots of laughs?

The Farrelly brothers' 1998 gross-out There's Something About Mary (# 27) was the most recent film on the list, while silent film star Buster Keaton's two 1924 films Sherlock Jr. (# 62) and The Navigator (# 81) were the oldest.

Unfortunately, there were no comedies from Ron Howard (e.g., Night Shift (1982), Splash (1984), Cocoon (1985), and Parenthood (1989)) or from John Hughes (e.g. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), Sixteen Candles (1984), Home Alone (1990) (as producer), The Breakfast Club (1985), Weird Science (1985) and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)).

A number of other great "comedy" omissions included the following (in alphabetical order):

All of Me (1984)
Animal Crackers (1930)
Babe (1995)
Bachelor Mother (1939)
Back to the Future (1985)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Charade (1963)
A Christmas Story (1983)
The Circus (1928)
Clerks (1994)
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Fletch (1985)
Foul Play (1978)
The Great Race (1965)
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)
The Kid Brother (1927)
Life with Father (1947)
Married to the Mob (1988)
Mary Poppins (1964)
Midnight Run (1988)
No Time for Sergeants (1958)
One, Two, Three (1961)
Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Pillow Talk (1959)
The Princess Bride (1987)
Risky Business (1983)
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Sabrina (1954)
Safety Last (1923)
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

The Sting (1973)
Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969)
Toy Story (1995)
Trading Places (1983)
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996)
Unfaithfully Yours (1948)

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