Comedy movies can do more than just make you laugh. Sure, they need to be funny but they encompass so much more than just humor. From Charlie Chaplin’s silent-film antics to quote-worthy parodies like “Airplane” to the animated movies of the new millennium, comedy classics have taken many forms over the decades. These are the movies of all time that you always end up renting from the movie store if there is nothing new out and will always watch until the credits if you come across them while flipping through the channels. These hilarious movies are not only laugh-out-loud funny, but they’re also considered to be some of the best comedy movies of all time.
Here are some of the best comedy movies of all time listed below.
- The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
Judd Apatow had already made a name for himself with small-screen sketch comedy, peerless cringe-comedy (The Larry Sander Show) and sensitive character-based comedy (R.I.P., Freaks, and Geeks). For his big-screen directorial debut, he took a bit from all three and concocted what’s become a modern-comic art: the heavily improvised, ensemble-cast manchild farce. A post-Daily Show/pre-The Office Steve Carell is the title character, a geek-culture lifer who’s never had a real relationship; a crack team of supporting players including Romany Malco, Jane Lynch, Seth Rogen, and Paul Rudd offer horrible romantic advice and off-the-cuff riffs about everything from soft rock to skin-mag stashes. (Seen today, the Rudd/Rogen volley of absurd “you’re gay” playground taunts is somehow both a highlight and a low point.) The talent bench is deep here – blink and you’ll miss Kat Dennings, Mindy Kaling, Jonah Hill and Kevin Hart in small parts – while Apatow’s knack for connecting outrageous set pieces with a surprisingly overall sweetness would become his signature. But it starts here, and as everyone knows, you never forget your first time.
- “Juno” (2007)
The chemical equation of writer Diablo Cody plus director Jason Reitman explodes onscreen with this non-traditional family comedy showcasing Cody’s edgy contemporary dialogue. The story of a whip-smart teenager (Ellen Page) who gets pregnant by her new boyfriend (Michael Cera) and decides to give the baby up for adoption to a yuppie couple (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) plays like a comedy but packs an unexpected emotional wallop. Everyone came out ahead on this movie (Cody won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar), which grossed $231 million worldwide. The downside: this inventive indie spawned far too many imitators.
- “Shaun of the Dead” (2004)
The movie was directed by Edgar Wright and the stars who played a key role were Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis. This movie is one of the best comedy movies of all time in which a man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.
- “The Gold Rush” (1925)
Charlie Chaplin was himself the director and star of this movie. The movie is all about Chaplin’s little tramp finds himself braving the Alaskan gold rush in this celebrated silent feature, whose surreal invention – watch him fend off starvation by chomping down his boots – has gone down in screen history. The romantic asides (his poignant longing for a flighty showgirl) still play too, showcasing the sophistication of Chaplin’s acting as well as his facility for a balletic knockabout. Lovely stuff, but do try to see the silent original rather than the awkwardly narrated sound reissue.
- “Groundhog Day” (1993)
Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. It was written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, based on a story by Rubin. Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. After indulging in hedonism and tried to end his life multiple times, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities.
- “I Heart Huckabees” (2004)
Jason Schwartzman is the sensitive, lovesick environmentalist getting his life audited by existential detectives Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman. Mark Wahlberg is a philosophically woke fireman, Jude Law is a sleazy department store executive with an identity crisis, Naomi Watts is his beautiful girlfriend/spokesmodel stuck in a behavioral loop and Isabelle Huppert is … the devil? Nihilism? We’re not sure. What matters is that all of these characters are essentially director David O. Russell himself, in this bizarrely hilarious, symbolic and surreal melodrama of American life that keeps going in circles. Don’t let his post-Fighter respectability fool you – this is the movie that probably most accurately depicts what it’s like to be inside the filmmaker’s head.
- “School of Rock” (2003)
No one has been able to harness Jack Black’s manic energy quite like Richard Linklater, whose first collaboration with the musically inclined actor resulted in this definitive performance. Sweet, funny and catchy as hell, this earworm of a movie has inspired actual schools of rock to open up across the country and teach impressionable children the power of the riff. That’s good news, as some of the most important lessons — like remembering to get the led out — aren’t found on normal curricula.
- “Ghostbusters” (1984)
Ghostbusters is a 1984 American sci-fi-fantasy comedy film, directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City who start a ghost-catching business. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis co-star as a client and her neighbor. The Ghostbusters business booms after initial skepticism, eventually requiring a fourth Ghostbuster, played by Ernie Hudson; but, when an uptown high-rise apartment building becomes the focal point of spirit activity linked to the ancient god Gozer, it threatens to overwhelm the team and the entire world.
- “Mean Girls” (2004)
Directed by Mark Waters, this movie is one of the best comedy movies of all time starring Lindsay Lohan, Jonathan Bennett, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey. Cady Heron is a hit with The Plastics, the A-list girl clique at her new school until she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George.
- “In Bruges” (2008)
Irish directors bring out the best in fellow countryman Colin Farrell. Playwright-director Martin McDonagh, made his film feature directing debut with this anarchic black comedy (and earned an Oscar nomination for his screenplay), handing Farrell his richest comedy role to date as a soulful hit man. Farrell’s Ray is sweetly violent as he hangs out in dullsville Belgium with his partner Ken (Brendan Gleeson), making mischief and mayhem while seeking an ounce of redemption.