Premiere Magazine's
50 Greatest Comedies
of All Time

Part 2

Premiere Magazine compiled a list of the 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time in the July/August 2006 issue - the unranked list in chronological order represented a wide range of some of the best comedies ("the funniest stories ever told on film"), from "the Little Tramp to the Wedding Crashers". Descriptions are from the original source. See also this site's descriptive section on the Comedy Films genre, and illustrated listings of the Funniest Movie Moments and Scenes in the best comedy films in film history.

Premiere Magazine's
50 Greatest Comedies of All Time
(part 2, chronological)

We always knew grave-robbing and bringing the dead back to life had some comic potential, but Gene Wilder and Co. make them utterly hilarious. Werewolf? There wolf.
The secret strength of this madcap reworking of the Arthurian legend? That amid all the silliness—the flying cow, the killer rabbit, the holy hand grenade, the knights who say "Ni!"—the dialogue is often surprisingly erudite ("Didn't know we had a king; I thought we were an autonomous collective"). Well, they're Brits, you know; one expects that sort of thing.

George Burns takes an Oscar-winning turn as a dotty vaudevillian whose decision to retire outrages the other half of his act—played by a very grumpy Walter Matthau. When a TV special reunites the comic cranks after 11 years, artistic differences prove nearly fatal.

29. ANNIE HALL (1977)
Branching out from his "early funny ones," Woody Allen crafted a delightful tale of quirky love among New York neurotics. Who would have thought that a skit involving Marshall McLuhan would be so damn funny?

Dean Wormer and his smirking rich-boy Omega minions futilely try to bring down Otter, Boon, Blutarsky, Flounder, and the rest of the slovenly misfit Deltas. The movie that turned the toga party into a campus staple and taught us how to make like a zit.

31. HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1978)
Warren Beatty and Julie Christie prove there's more to life and death than liver and whey shakes in a clever updating of the angel-makes-an-error fantasy Here Comes Mr. Jordan.

32. THE IN LAWS (1979)
Loopy unpredictable exchanges between Alan Arkin's dentist and Peter Falk's CIA agent—about, say, giant tsetse flies who carry children away in their beaks—make this movie sing. Scientific fact: No one can keep a straight face during the "Serpentine! Serpentine!" scene.

33. THE JERK (1979)
Finally a movie that explains the difference between shit and Shinola. Steve Martin used bits from his stand-up routine to create this Jerry Lewis-style misadventure about a kindhearted simpleton "born a poor black child" who loves his thermos, Twinkies, and Tab.

34. AIRPLANE! (1980)
Q: What do you get when you combine a singing nun, a jive-talking little old white lady, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and a fear of flying? A: The granddaddy of all pop-culture spoof movies, starring Leslie Nielsen. And don't call him Shirley.

35. CADDYSHACK (1980)
An incredible cast including Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase—and an anarchic spirit make this golf comedy's tasteless set pieces sublime. Who wouldn't want to throw a Baby Ruth in the pool?
What's a girl to do after her husband perishes on her wedding night? Join the army, of course. With her tour de farce performance, Goldie Hawn demonstrates how basic training can be more fun than—ooh la la!—a French gynecologist.
Oscar nominee Peter O' Toole is captivating as a movie star who flips from genteel to debauched with Jekyll-and-Hyde like regularity. Great line: "Ladies are unwell, Gentlemen vomit."

Two bored millionaires perform a sociology experiment by switching the lives of a scam artist (Eddie Murphy) and an uptight banker (Dan Aykroyd). The result is hardly scientific, but it does make for splendid fish-out-of-water humor, including "pimps," "bitches," and one great "jive turkey."

Slide in next to dead Aunt Edna and have some Hamburger Helper minus the meat, as the Griswold family takes a disastrous road trip to Wally World. As Clark says, "We're all going to have some much fun that we'll need plastic surgery to remove the smiles from our faces."

Spandex, Stonehenge, and amps that go to 11. This early mockumentary spoofed heavy metal so well that many believed the self proclaimed world's loudest band was actually the real deal. And who can forget spontaneously combusting drummers?
A sublime mix of British slapstick and American vulgarity, this crime caper features some c-c-c classic c-c-c- comedy centering around a jewel heist and multiple double-crosses. You'll never listen to Italian the same way again.
42. GROUNDHOG DAY (1993)
Bill Murray's misanthropic weatherman is doomed to repeat the same day over and over again until he redeems himself. Spending every day with the guy, even when it starts at 6 A.M. with "I Got You, Babe" on the radio alarm, is a delight.

Cryo-frozen in the free love '60s and thawed in the politically correct '90s, the poorly dentured, swinging superspy returns to battle the equally out-of-synch Dr. Evil. Mike Myers's anachronistic cracks are always spot-on, and the relationship between the doctor and his son, Scott (Seth Green), is genius.

Raise a White Russian, spark a doobie, and give it up for the Dude. By melding film noir and screwball comedy—and adding an irate Vietnam vet, some ferret toting nihilists, and a case of mistaken identity—the Cohen Brothers created the smoking man's The Maltese Falcon.

At heart, this gross-out gem is a simple love story about a geeky guy (Ben Stiller) reconnecting with his high school crush (Cameron Diaz). In the process he catches his "frank and beans" in his zipper, has his bodily fluids mistaken for hair gel, and proves just how funny pain and humiliation can be.

46. RUSHMORE (1998)
Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) excels at extracurriculars—including competing for the affections of Rushmore Academy's first grade teacher. Bill Murray reinvented his career playing the middle-aged captain of industry who fights like a schoolboy for the woman he loves.
47. BEST IN SHOW (2000)
The most universally appealing of Christopher Guest's faux documentaries—who doesn't love a man's best friend?—brilliantly skewers owners, trainers, pet shrinks and everyone connected with the dog-show circuit. Especially great announcer Fred Willard's random remarks ("It's sad to think...that in some countries these dogs are eaten").

48. ZOOLANDER (2001)
It's not easy being really, really good-looking—especially when you're a male supermodel who has been programmed to assassinate the Malaysian prime minister. Ben Stiller departs from his usual comic angst to play an oddly endearing character too dim to sustain a neurosis.

Two divorce mediators drop in on weddings for the free champagne and freer love in this R-rated romp. Mellow Owen Wilson and rat-a-tat-tat Vince Vaughn, go together like white dresses and three-tiered cakes…or bridesmaids and condoms, as it were.
50. THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN (2005)
Virgins…they're just like us, except they have way more time for hobbies. A heartwarming coming-of-middle-age tale about one man's mission to do the deed, Steve Carrell's breakout film is 116 minutes of pure, unadulterated pleasure.

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