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

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.

Note: The films that are marked with a yellow star are the films that "The Greatest Films" site has selected as the 100 Greatest Films

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

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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