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BBC's List of 100 Greatest Comedies (1 Viewer)

Adam Lenhardt

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The BBC asked 253 film critics – 118 women and 135 men – from 52 countries and six continents a simple question: “What do you think are the 10 best comedies of all time?” Films from any country, and made anytime since cinema was invented, were eligible, and there was no fixed definition of what makes a movie a comedy.

  1. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)
  2. Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
  3. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
  4. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)
  5. Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)
  6. Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979)
  7. Airplane! (Jim Abrahams, David & Jerry Zucker, 1980)
  8. Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)
  9. This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984)
  10. The General (Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton, 1926)
  11. The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998)
  12. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)
  13. To Be or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)
  14. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)
  15. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, 1975)
  16. The Great Dictator (Charlie Chaplin, 1940)
  17. Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)
  18. Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton, 1924)
  19. The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)
  20. Blazing Saddles (Mel Brooks, 1974)
  21. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
  22. Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks, 1974)
  23. The Party (Blake Edwards, 1968)
  24. Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)
  25. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
  26. Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati, 1958)
  27. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
  28. It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934)
  29. When Harry Met Sally… (Rob Reiner, 1989)
  30. Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (Jacques Tati, 1953)
  31. Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982)
  32. Raising Arizona (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1987)
  33. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Adam McKay, 2004)
  34. Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995)
  35. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly, 1952)
  36. A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton, John Cleese, 1988)
  37. Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941)
  38. The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940)
  39. A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding, 1935)
  40. The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1967)
  41. Borat: Cultural Learnings … (Larry Charles, 2006)
  42. The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937)
  43. M*A*S*H (Robert Altman, 1970)
  44. Bridesmaids (Paul Feig, 2011)
  45. Big Deal on Madonna Street (Mario Monicelli, 1958)
  46. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
  47. Animal House (John Landis, 1978)
  48. Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)
  49. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Bunuel, 1972)
  50. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodovar, 1988)
  51. Seven Chances (Buster Keaton, 1925)
  52. My Man Godfrey (Gregory La Cava, 1936)
  53. The Blues Brothers (John Landis, 1980)
  54. Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971)
  55. Best in Show (Christopher Guest, 2000)
  56. Broadcast News (James L Brooks, 1987)
  57. Mean Girls (Mark Waters, 2004)
  58. Zelig (Woody Allen, 1983)
  59. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
  60. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)
  61. Team America: World Police (Trey Parker, 2004)
  62. What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, 2014)
  63. Arsenic and Old Lace (Frank Capra, 1944)
  64. Step Brothers (Adam McKay, 2008)
  65. Caddyshack (Harold Ramis, 1980)
  66. Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright, 2007)
  67. Sons of the Desert (William A Seiter, 1933)
  68. Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939)
  69. Love and Death (Woody Allen, 1975)
  70. In the Loop (Armando Iannucci, 2009)
  71. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)
  72. The Naked Gun (David Zucker, 1988)
  73. The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis, 1963)
  74. Trading Places (John Landis, 1983)
  75. The Palm Beach Story (Preston Sturges, 1942)
  76. Design for Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933)
  77. Divorce Italian Style (Pietro Germi, 1961)
  78. The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987)
  79. The Dinner Game (Francis Veber, 1998)
  80. Office Space (Mike Judge, 1999)
  81. There’s Something About Mary (Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, 1998)
  82. Top Secret! (Jim Abrahams, David & Jerry Zucker, 1984)
  83. Safety Last! (Fred C Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, 1923)
  84. Waiting for Guffman (Christopher Guest, 1996)
  85. Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973)
  86. Kind Hearts and Coronets (Robert Hamer, 1949)
  87. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953)
  88. Zoolander (Ben Stiller, 2001)
  89. Daisies (Vera Chytilová, 1966)
  90. A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971)
  91. What’s Up, Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich, 1972)
  92. The Exterminating Angel (Luis Buñuel, 1962)
  93. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Trey Parker, 1999)
  94. Rushmore (Wes Anderson, 1998)
  95. Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984)
  96. Born Yesterday (George Cukor, 1950)
  97. The Music Box (James Parrott, 1932)
  98. The Hangover (Todd Phillips, 2009)
  99. The Jerk (Carl Reiner, 1979)
  100. (tie) The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1982)
  101. (tied for 100) The Ladies Man (Jerry Lewis, 1961)

Key:
1920s
1930s
1940s
1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s
2010s


How many have you seen? What should have made the list? What shouldn't have?
 

Walter Kittel

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That isn't a bad list by any means. I've seen 66 of the films listed. A handful of older features and most of the foreign films are the ones that I haven't had the pleasure of viewing. I love Pulp Fiction but I feel like it isn't a film that should be in this list.

I would agree with Tino that IAMMMMW should be on this list. The one film that I'm a bit dismayed didn't make the list, as it is a personal favorite and a film I can view any, any time is 1950s Harvey with James Stewart. A film I would personally rate much higher than a significant number of films on that list. But to quote one of the better films in the list... "Yeah well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

On the other hand, Some LIke It Hot has been my favorite comedy for probably 30 years. The final scene with Osgood and Jerry never fails to make me laugh uncontrollably.


- Walter.
 

Sam Favate

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I've only seen 37. Yikes. I agree Pulp Fiction does not belong on the list.

Also, it strikes me how few good comedies have been made in recent years. Nothing of the caliber of a Young Frankenstein or Airplane or Caddyshack, etc.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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The one film that I'm a bit dismayed didn't make the list, as it is a personal favorite and a film I can view any, any time is 1950s Harvey with James Stewart. A film I would personally rate much higher than a significant number of films on that list.
I agree with you. I adore Harvey, arguably Jimmy Stewart's best performance. The five big glaring omissions for me were Harvey, National Lampoon's Vacation, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and My Cousin Vinny.

As a general observation, the fact that there isn't a single picture directed by John Hughes on that list seems like a big hole.

It's interesting that of the seven Best Picture winners that the BBC identifies as comedies, only Annie Hall breaks into the top ten on the comedies list. At 28 and 27, It Happened One Night and The Apartment are far too low on this list. You Can't Take It With You, Around the World in 80 Days, Tom Jones and Birdman don't make the cut at all here. You Can't Take It With You probably feels too dated and too innocent for the polled critics. Around the World in 80 Days was spectacle first, comedy second (or third or forth...). A lot of comedies that followed owe a debt to Tom Jones, but is the film itself anybody's favorite comedy? And the argument for calling Birdman a comedy is roughly as dubious as calling Pulp Fiction a comedy.
 

cinemiracle

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Hmm. I've seen 52.

But seriously. No Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad World????

That immediately invalidates the list.

I've seen 94..IAMMMMW was in my opinion, almost devoid of comedy despite an extremely talented list of comedians in the film. It was showing in Cinerama where I worked so I got to see it many times.
 

sleroi

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58.

I know this is subjective and to each their own, but clueless?

Also, I saw the jerk when it was released and my nine year old self found it very funny. I've seen it plenty of times since and I don't think its aged well. There are a lot of funny bits, (cat juggling!), but they don't add up to a whole. Story wise it seems disjointed. A nice first collaboration, but I find the Man with two Brains much funnier and a much better film.

And I wholeheartedly concur, how on earth is IAMMMMW not on this list?
 

Angelo Colombus

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I have tried to like Some Like it Hot and seen it a few times but I did not laugh that much. Glad to see Playtime high on the list.
 

TravisR

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I'm surprised I've only seen 78. For anyone that hasn't seen them, the Preston Sturges movies are really good.

I love Pulp Fiction and it's a movie that is frequently funny but I find it odd to classify it as a comedy. If you're going to categorize it, I'd call it a drama.
 

Walter Kittel

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As a general observation, the fact that there isn't a single picture directed by John Hughes on that list seems like a big hole.

I would agree, particularly Ferris Bueller's Day which feels like one of the seminal comedies of that era. At least for me, anyway.

And while I wouldn't argue for its inclusion another film that kind of surprises me by its absence is 1983's Risky Business mostly because it was the film that put Tom Cruise on the map. He had obviously appeared in a few features before Risky Business, but this was the first film that featured him in a leading role. Just another idle thought about this list.

- Walter.
 

BobO'Link

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I've seen 76. Surprisingly there are only a handful of films whose presence I question, with Pulp Fiction leading the list. It's an excellent film, but I've never considered to be a comedy.

Yes, it needs IAMMMMW, as well as Harvey, National Lampoon's Vacation, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Also odd omissions to me are No Time for Sergeants, Mister Roberts, and a few others. But overall, it's a strong list.
 

Mike Frezon

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The thing I really liked about the list is Groundhog Day at #4.

I count Groundhog Day among the all-time great films. And I think it's got the legs to remain a great film even as time passes and other films come and go.

I, too, can't imagine even considering Pulp Fiction for a list of comedy films.

And, as for:

Zoolander? Really?

should we add Bridesmaids and some others to that? ;) I think most any list like this (because of the spread of time) is going to have lesser--but more recent--films on it because they are fresher in our collective memory. But I don't think some of the more recent films on this list will stand the test of time (like I foresee for Groundhog Day).
 

sleroi

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Why are people so confused about pulp fiction being labeled as a comedy but not the big lebowski? They're both over the top parodies of chandleresque urban crime dramas. And both are hilarious.

Zoolander looked awful and I avoided it for a long time. But eventually my friends pestered me enough and it came on cable so I watched it. I laughed my butt off. Even though I've seen it several times now, i still find something new to laugh at with every viewing.
 

TravisR

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Why are people so confused about pulp fiction being labeled as a comedy but not the big lebowski? They're both over the top parodies of chandleresque urban crime dramas. And both are hilarious.
Like I said, Pulp Fiction is very funny but I would call it a drama. Reservoir Dogs and The Hateful Eight have a surprising number of laughs too but I don't think too many people would call them comedies.



I think most any list like this (because of the spread of time) is going to have lesser--but more recent--films on it because they are fresher in our collective memory. But I don't think some of the more recent films on this list will stand the test of time (like I foresee for Groundhog Day).
I'm a big proponent of the test of time but I think this list actually went too far in excluding newer movies. Love him or hate him, Seth Rogen is going to be poster boy for 2010's comedy and movies like Superbad and Pineapple Express did pretty well critically and are already beloved by people who saw them as kids and teens. Judd Apatow is a filthy version of James Brooks and like Brooks, alot of his work will be fondly remembered by critics in the decades to come.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I know this is subjective and to each their own, but clueless?
It's not my favorite either, but a lot of people love it and it's one of the most critically respected comedies of the nineties -- and a much better adaptation of Jane Austin's Emma than the Gwyneth Paltrow movie that followed a year later.

The thing I really liked about the list is Groundhog Day at #4.

I count Groundhog Day among the all-time great films. And I think it's got the legs to remain a great film even as time passes and other films come and go.
I agree. It's a polarizing film -- the people who don't like it seem to really hate it -- but it's one of my favorites too. But then again, I'm a sucker for movies about growth and redemption.
 

Robert Crawford

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I like Groundhog Day, but I wouldn't place it on this list. With that said, I can see why others would have done so. Comedy is so subjective more so than any film genre. I think Ferris Bueller's Day Off not being on this list is an omission.

Another one, is Abbbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Perhaps, they think of it as a horror film, but it's more of a comedy than Pulp Fiction.
 

Jonathan Perregaux

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Years ago, I was utterly oblivious to the works of Jacques Tati. A French-speaking woman I was dating found that incredible, and so I was treated to Mon Oncle.

He makes high art out of slapstick.
 

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