The Top 100+ Funniest Movies of All Time

Looking for a laugh? Check our picks for the best cinematic comedies.

By Stefan Kanfer

MASHThe Funniest Movies of 1970-1980:
M*A*S*H (1970) Robert Altman’s weirdly appealing antiwar comedy that gave birth to the tamer, long-running TV series. With overlapping dialogue, odd camera angles and provocative performances by Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman et. al.

HAROLD AND MAUDE (1971) A cult film, featuring Bud Cort as a 20-year-old and Ruth Gordon as the octogenarian with whom he falls in love. Director Hal Ashby stresses credibility as well as oddball comedy. Ace score by Cat Stevens.

AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973) Another coming-of-age movie–with a big difference. George Lucas (Star Wars) directed, and chose a cast of newcomers with real talent, among them Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and Harrison Ford.

SLEEPER (1973) Woody Allen wakes up in a futuristic dictatorship only to be kidnapped by Diane Keaton and her rebel cohorts. Hilarious and prescient scenes parodying politics, lifestyle, and sex abound.

HARRY AND TONTO (1974) Retired teacher (Art Carney in an Oscar-winning performance) goes cross-country with his cat, calling on his children, and former lovers, with mostly comic but sometimes poignant results. Paul Mazursky’s direction is sensitive; Ellen Burstyn and Larry Hagman are exceptional.

MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975) The inventive British sketch comedians (John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Eric Idle) do battle with the Arthurian legend, complete with a Trojan Rabbit and a Holy Hand Grenade. Tradition loses. We win.

SILVER STREAK (1976) A bright parody of Alfred Hitchcock’s “train” pictures, starring Gene Wilder as a mild-mannered executive who boards the Silver Streak from L.A. to Chicago and finds himself embroiled in mystery and romance. Richard Pryor pushes the humor to a new level; Jill Clayburgh contributes the glamour, Patrick McGoohan the villainy.

CAR WASH (1976) Like L.A.’s teeming freeways, disparate lives intersect in this bubbly ensemble piece abut a white-owned car washery and the African-American and Latino crews who work there. This ’70s time capsule sports an irresistible soundtrack and appearances by some of the era’s top comic talent, including Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Franklyn Ajaye.

THE BINGO LONG TRAVELING ALL-STARS AND MOTOR KINGS (1976) The Negro Leagues just before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line. With James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor, Billy Dee Williams and lesser known, but just as enjoyable, performers.

THE GOODBYE GIRL (1977) Aspiring actor Richard Dreyfuss and bitter divorcee Marsha Mason are forced to share an apartment. It’s aversion at first sight. Neil Simon’s script and Herb Ross’s direction assure that there are at least two laughs per minute.

ANNIE HALL (1977) A mix of autobiography, surrealism and romance, this Woody Allen comedy was named Best Picture because of lines like: “Life is full of loneliness, misery, suffering and unhappiness–and its all over much too quickly.” Starring Allen as a Jewish stand-up comedian, and Diane Keaton as his deliciously ditsy WASP girlfriend. In a prototypical scene, a moviegoer bombinates about the meaning of Marshall McLuhan–whereupon Allen brings on the Professor himself to refute the loudmouth.

SEMI-TOUGH (1977)A satire of professional football would have been funny enough, but this film also dispatches such once-fashionable movements as est and Rolfing. Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson are the players; Jill Clayburgh is the love interest; Bert Convy and Lotte Lenya are the hysterical gurus of self-improvement.

NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE (1978) “Boys just wanna have fun” could have been the tagline for this flick. College life in America changed overnight when this film debuted.

THE JERK (1979) Steve Martin was just one of the “Wild and Crazy Guys” of “Saturday Night Live” when he burst onto the screen in this farce about a white moron adopted by black sharecroppers. Like Forrest Gump in a later era, Martin succeeds in spite of himself, and we laugh all the way to the bank. Director Carl Reiner may not be much on nuance, but he knows how to tell a joke.

BREAKING AWAY (1979) A charming tale of youths from blue-collar families growing up in the class-conscious town-and-gown atmosphere of Bloomington, Indiana. Competitive bicycling is the lead character’s way of life, and a series of contests makes for excitement and edgy humor.

THE IN-LAWS (1979) Dentist Alan Arkin lives in a quiet world of cavities and Novocain. All that changes when the father of his future son-in-law, Peter Falk, turns out to be CIA and drags him into international espionage. Serpentine, anyone?

THE BUGS BUNNY/ROADRUNNER MOVIE (1979) Disney films got applause and Oscars, but Warner Bros. cartoons engendered nonstop laughter. Some of the very best shorts were created by Chuck Jones, as this compilation demonstrates in overplus.

NEXT: 1960-1970

  • Your Comments

    • Kat Harley

      Whoever put this list together has a weird sense of humor. Except for a handful TRULY good ones, this list blows. Netflix is really good at estimating my taste, and most of these would get one or two stars (out of 5) from me.

    • hwy505

      Blazing Saddles….funniest movie of ALL TIME! And yet not on the list? The funniest thing is this list….it’s a joke!

    • Funnyman

      Where is the “God Must Be Crazy 1 2 3???… These movies are all time funny!!!

    • zizi

      You’re missing one from the classics: Bringing up Baby…hilarious film

    • Barry

      My top-ten list definitely includes: “Dumb and Dumber”; “Tommy Boy”; “Liar Liar”; “My Cousin Vinny” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. Additional possibilities include: “Naked Gun”; “Airplane” and “Idiocracy”. Still others like “Trading Places”; “Coming to America”; “Uncle Buck” and “Being There” aren’t necessarily a laugh-a-minute but IMO comedy is more than just making people laugh hysterically. Sometimes a good comedy is pure genius on some level that also happens to make you laugh. I still can’t believe that “Being There”–which I only recently discovered–had evaded my radar all these years… Brilliant!

    • JustinN

      Lol I cant believe GALAXY QUEST made this list…. Ive NEVER heard anyone bring this movie up when we are talking about the funniest.

    • Grammyd55

      Funniest movie I have ever seen was What’s Up Doc with Barbra Streisand , Ryan O’Neal and Madelynn Kahn….from beginning to end, knee slapping, side splitting laughter….my second funniest  would be Rat Race….again, laughter from beginning to end.

      • Zen

        Dead on with What’s Up Doc. Most people have never heard of this film. One of my top five comedies.

    • JeffKLass

      This list is seriously flawed and useless because it does not include Animal House (1978) — considered one of the funniest movies ever created.  WTF!  In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed the Animal House culturally significant and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.