The Captain's Top Ten Comedies of All TimeOct 15, 2005 (Updated Apr 30, 2009) Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line My favourite comedies spanning the last 6 decades (or thereabouts)
Top Ten Comedies of All Time
Well you might have guessed it, picking just ten and actually putting them in order was just impossible. Considering that some of my choices here are also in other top ten lists that I’ve written, I thought it wouldn’t be right to stick at a mere ten anyway (actually it's more like 20!), so here are some of the funniest films I’ve ever seen, covering all styles and genres. (Some are included in my other lists, i.e. spoofs, romantic comedies, but they deserve to be here as well.)
ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE. OR MAYBE MINE...
Film: Bringing Up Baby
Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and a leopard!
Synopsis: David Huxley is simply trying to complete a collection for his museum when he becomes entangled with Susan Vance and a leopard called “Baby”… perhaps not surprisingly, all hell breaks loose…
Film: The Perfect Woman
Director: Bernard Knowles
Stars: Patricia Rox, Stanley Holloway
Synopsis: An oxymoron in itself, this black and white masterpiece has an over-protective inventor’s daughter pretending to be the android modelled on herself in order to get out of the house for a change. When the android itself escapes and ends up in close proximity to the daughter – unbeknownst to anyone – all manner of chaos ensues…
Film: The Lavender Hill Mob
Director: Charles Chrichton
Stars: Alec Guiness, Stanley Holloway, Sid James, Alfie Bass
Synopsis: Another Ealing Studios classic, once you’ve seen this you’ll never quite look at the Eiffel Tower the same way again!
Film: The Bells of St Trinians
Director: Frank Lauder
Stars: Alastar Sim, Joyce Grenfell, George Cole,
Synopsis: The school that headmasters have nightmares about, this time the pupils of the all-girls school are intent on making their fortune through betting on horse races… the headmistress though (brilliantly played by Alastair Sims) is intent on helping them rather than stamping this travesty out and “Flash” Harry is also on the scene and, no doubt, up to no good…
Film: The Ladykillers
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Alec Guiness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellars, Danny Green, Frankie Howerd
Synopsis: The story of a musical bunch who just happen to like murdering old ladies… why it needed to be murdered by a Hollywood remake half a century later is beyond me!
Film: We’re No Angels
Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov, Basil Rathbone
Synopsis: Three convicts escape from Devils Island – but will they mend their ways?!? It doesn’t seem likely… but then again, with help, maybe they can? A wonderful comedy of yesteryear.
Film: Carry On Sergeant
Director: Gerald Thomas
Stars: William Hartnell, Shirley Eaton, Bill Own, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques
Synopsis: The first and quite possibly best of the Carry On films, with a Sergeant trying to get the best out of a…. somewhat below average platoon.
Film: Some Like It Hot
Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon, Marilyn Monroe
Synopsis: After witnessing the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, two male musicians flee the state – but they have to do so disguised as women… Hilarious comedy, with one of the funniest last lines of any film ever.
Film: School for Scoundrels
Director: Robert Hamer, Hal E. Chester, Cyril Frankel
Stars: Ian Charmiachael, Terry Thomas, Alastair Sim
Synopsis: A brilliant comedy about a college which teaches you how to get anything you want… by abandoning all of your scruples…
Director: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Stars: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Nielson
Synopsis: The plane is going to crash… but feelings of tension is replaced with helpless laughter as the Zucker brothers take no pity on the “Airport” series of disaster films to hilarious effect.
Film: Raising Arizona
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Cohen
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman
Synopsis: A childless couple (one an ex-con, the other an ex-cop) take ownership of a baby from a large family with several new babies (surely they wouldn’t miss just one?!?) – but things aren’t going to be simple for them, what with a couple of the ex-con’s buddies showing up after escaping and the mysterious biker from hell turning up when least expected… (and let’s face it, a biker from hell is never expected…)
Film: The Princess Bride
Year of Release: 1987
Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Cary elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the GiantChris Sarandon, Christopher Guest)
Synopsis: A fairy tale with so much humour that it will have you laughing from start to finish. Features some great acting and comic talent, with great performances especially from Cary Elwes adn Mandy Patinkin. A truly wonderful film!
Film: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Director: Frank Oz
Stars: Michael Caine, Steve Martin, Glenne Headly
Synopsis: Two con merchants - Caine and Martin - get more than they bargain for when territorial rights on conning the local rich womenfolk of the French coast depends on extracting money from a newcomer to the area (Glenne Headly).
Film: The Cutting Edge
Director: Paul Michael Glaser
Stars: D B Sweeney, Moira Kelly
Synopsis: An ex ice hockey (Sweeney) player who can no longer play that game is given another chance at getting to the Olympics – as the figure skating partner of Kate Moseley (Kelly), who is notoriously difficult to work with. All is not lost, however, because they have an acerbic Russian coach to help them…
Film: Strictly Ballroom
Director: Baz Luhrm ann
Stars: Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice, Bill Hunter, Pat Thompson
Synopsis: The career of a young ballroom dancer becomes more complicated when he starts to do his own thing, much to the disgust of the judges and his mother…
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Stars: Robert Redford, Dan Akroyd, Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, David Strathiarn, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell
Synopsis: With one of the best casts ever assembled, this film about a team who check how well electronic security systems work is wonderfully funny, and not to be missed is Strathiarn’s excellent performance as the blind team member “Whistler”, which puts the icing on the cake of a truly memorable film.
Film: Undercover Blues
Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Kathleen Turner, Fiona Shaw, Stanley Tucci
Synopsis: Married FBI (/ CIA / anything else that comes to mind) agents Jane and Jeff Blue decide that after the birth of their child it’s maybe time to take a break. Their bosses and the criminal underworld of course have other plans… Quaid and Turner’s chemistry is wonderful in this movie and it’s funny and sweet throughout. Best line – possibly, there are so many good ones…: (Jane talking to the baby) - ”Can you say plastic explosive”!
Film: Galaxy Quest
Director: Dean Parisot
Stars: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub
Synopsis: A take off of the Star Trek phenomenon, this has the disenchanted cast of the hit TV show “Galaxy Quest” go from boring conventions to having to become real-life heroes!
Film: 28 Days
Director: Betty Thomas
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic West, Steve Buscemi
Synopsis: A young woman enters rehab for her drinking problem, but despite her initial reluctance, she ends up learning – and changing – a whole lot more than she bargained for…hilarious and sensitive by turns.
Film: About A Boy
Director: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
Stars: Hugh Grant, Toni Collette, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hault
Synopsis: No man is an island… as Will finds out when his life is invaded by a young boy called Marcus and all the emotional luggage he trails behind him, most notably his mother…
Film: Cool Runnings
Director: Jon Turtelaub
Stars: John Candy, Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba
Synopsis: Jamaica finally have a bobsleigh team competing in the Winter Olympics! But how will they manage to get their rag-tag ensemble of athletes to get a rattling old bobsleigh down the track? Only with the help of Irving Blitzer (Candy)… but he doesn’t want to help…
Film: The Dish
Director: Rob Stitch
Stars: Sam Neill, Kevin Harrington
Synopsis: While Neil Armstrong & Co. were making history on the moon, the only way to keep communications open 24/7 was to have a receiving station on both sides of the world… things at the Australian station weren’t going particularly smoothly though…
Also wanted to give a thumbs up to the Kevin Kline / Sigourney Weaver film Dave - a role change film with a satirical political bite. Highly recommended, made in 1993.
The 1985 murder mystery spoof Clue also deserves a mention. So.. .there's a mention!
The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain (1995)
Hugh Grant, Colm Meaney and others star in this utterly charming film about a small Welsh community determined not to let a measly 16 feet deprive them of their mountain!!
Another honourable mention - Penelope (1966) - an utterly mad comedy about a kleptomaniac married to a banker - quite good for the first hour, utterly brilliant for the last half-hour! Starring Natlie Wood, Dick Shawn and Peter Falk.
Well there are many more that I could mention but I’m going to stop there or I’ll be typing for hours. I hope you’ve enjoyed perusing some of my favourite funny films from the past few decades!
Thanks for reading,
My Other Movie Top Ten Lists:
Top Ten Movies of 2002
Top Ten Movies of 2003
Top Ten Movies of 2004
The Top Ten Movies of All Time
Science Fiction Films
Top Ten Star Trek Movies
Top Ten Science Fiction Series
Top Ten Spoof Movies
Top Ten Musicals
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