My favorite comedies

I included Dr. Strangelove and The Big Lebowski despite being one of the few people comfortable with filing them as okay; nevertheless, I don’t change them when I catch them on the cable teevee. I can think of only two occasions when I sound like a reactionary churl: Drake and modern Hollywood comedy. I suspect that scriptwriters and directors have made so few good ones in the last thirty years because a secret part of them doesn’t respect comedy, hence the tendency towards bloat and elephantine running times; if you’re going to release an insubstantial movie, their thinking goes, then it had better look expensive.

1. The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges)
2. The Bank Dick (Edward F. Cline)
3. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis)
4. Tootsie (Sydney Pollack)
5. Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch)
6. Midnight (Mitchell Leisen)
7. Smiles of a Summer Night (Ingmar Bergman)
8. A Taxing Woman (Juzo Itami)
9. Damsels in Distress (Whit Stillman)
10. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks)
11. The Palm Beach Story (Preston Sturges)
12. What Have I Done to Deserve This! (Pedro Almodovar)
13. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)
14. Duck Soup (Leo McCarey)
15. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder)
16. Clueless (Amy Heckerling)
17. My Man Godfrey (Gregory La Cava)
18. Bringing Up Baby (Cary Grant)
19. Sleeper (Woody Allen)
20. To Be Or Not to Be (Ernst Lubitsch)
21. Best in Show (Christopher Guest)
22. Withnail & I (Bruce Robinson)
23. Flirting with Disaster (David O. Russell)
24. Ghostbusters (Harold Ramis)
25. Monty Python’s The Life of Brian (Terry Jones)
26. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)
27. A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton)
28. Kingpin (Farrelly Brothers)
29. Way Out West (James W. Horne)
30. Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (Jacques Tati)
31. The Big Lebowski (Coen brothers)
32. Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick)
33. I Vitelloni (Federico Fellini)
34. Pretty Poison (Noel Black)
35. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel)
36. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright)
37. Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino)
38. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin)
39. Handle with Care (Jonathan Demme)
40. Bull Durham (Ron Shelton)
41. The Thin Man (Gregory La Cava)
42. Twentieth Century (Howard Hawks)
43. Holiday (George Cukor)
44. Slap Shot (George Roy Hill)
45. The Producers (Mel Brooks)

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4 Responses to My favorite comedies

  1. Some excellent choices! Glad to see The Lady Eve, Trouble in Paradise, and especially Smiles of a Summer Night among many others. One I would add to the list is “Tampopo”, a 1985 Japanese “ramen western”. If you have not seen it yet, please do!

  2. I like your list. Quite a few I should look out for, especially the top 2 which I have not seen. My list would have Fish Called Wanda higher. But I am biased 🙂

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