The 22 best comedy movies of all time

These are the very best comedy movies of all time, from Borat to Bridesmaids, and classics like This is Spinal Tap and Ghostbusters.

Best comedy movies

What are the best comedy movies? Humour is a very personal thing, but we’re willing to bet our list of the best comedy movies will stand up to scrutiny. There’s something here for everyone, whether it’s full-on belly laughs, the best kind of tears, or cringe-induced sniggering behind your sofa cushion.

The sign of a great comedy movie is not only its ability to make you laugh but to make you think and feel. From the slapstick satire of Borat to the spooky shenanigans of Ghostbusters and Shaun of the Dead, this list has it all. If you love farce, we’ve even included the surreal jokes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the mortifying Napoleon Dynamite.

So, join us at The Digital Fix for some of the best comedy movies you should definitely consider watching the next time you need cheering up, or if you’ve watched them already, why not have a viewing party? After all, laughter is the best medicine. So without further adieu here are our picks…

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1. Groundhog Day

It’s Groundhog Day! Potentially Billy Murray‘s best performance (shocking coming from a Ghostbusters fan), Groundhog Day manages the impossible. It’s a side-splittingly hilarious morality story that isn’t po-faced or hectoring. Murray is integral to the movie’s success bringing a sardonic but sentimental edge to the film.

best comedy movies: Simon Pegg as Shaun, Nick Frost as Ed in Shaun of the Dead

2. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Who knew a zombie movie could be so funny? Dubbed by its creators a ‘rom-zom-com’, Shaun of the Dead follows dead-end salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) and his friend Ed (Nick Frost) as they take refuge from zombies in their local pub to protect themselves and their loved ones.

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All of a sudden, Shaun’s seemingly pointless life becomes a fight to save himself and those closest to him. This horror-comedy zombie parody is the first in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, directed by Edgar Wright and starring both Simon and Nick, and the overarching theme that runs through them all is that they’re hysterical.

Best comedy movies: Airplane!

3. Airplane! (1980)

When it comes to the comedy classics, few hold a candle to the ‘80s movie Airplane! A parody film on disaster movies – particularly the ‘50s movie Zero Hour! – Airplane! follows the events of a commercial flight gone wrong, as passengers and crew members fall ill following a case of food poisoning.

An ex-fighter pilot is tasked with saving the day. The only problem is that his time at war gave him a fear of flying as well as a ‘drinking problem’ – splashing his beverages everywhere – leading to some complications. There are one-liners, side-splitting jokes, and stellar performances from the likes of Robert hays and Leslie Nielsen.

Airplane! is a feel-good movie like no other, a highly acclaimed flick, and may just be one of the most quotable movies ever to be made. In short, you can’t miss it.

best comedy movies: Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat in Borat

4. Borat (2006)

Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) is a reporter from Kazakhstan tasked with heading to the United States to film a documentary all about how it’s the greatest country on Earth. Instead, he decides to launch a far-fetched scheme to find Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and make her his wife.

It’s full of absolutely outrageous scenes that fly so incredibly close to the boundaries of acceptability that it’s questionably controversial. The tongue-in-cheek satire of Borat brings vulgarity to the forefront with hilarious results.

best comedy movies: Adam Sandler as Gilmore in Happy Gilmore

5. Happy Gilmore (1996)

We couldn’t make a list of comedy movies and not put an Adam Sandler and Happy Madison Productions movie on it, and Happy Gilmore is one of the absolute finest. Failed hockey star, Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) realises his hockey slap translates incredibly well into the world of golf making him a golfer with a shot at the big time.

Get in the hole! Best Adam Sandler movies

Happy takes on the champions to try and win a large cash prize and buy back his grandmother’s house to keep her from moving into a nursing home. For Sandler, the ’90s and ’00s were a golden era, and this no-hope-turns-good yarn is one of his best.

best comedy movies: Steve Carell as Andy in The 40-Year Old Virgin

6. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

As the title suggests, Andy (Steve Carell) is a 40-year-old virgin. One day, during work at the electronic store, his colleagues learn about his four decades of abstinence and make it their personal quest to help him have sex for the very first time.

Directed by Judd Apatow, known for other comedy greats like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Superbad, Andy learns to navigate the world of relationships with his innocence and naivety getting him into all sorts of awkward, absurd, and amusing situations. Throw in Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd for good measure, and you’ve got yourself a top comedy flick.

best comedy movies: Ron Livingston as Peter in Office Space

7. Office Space (1999)

Cult hit Office Space wasn’t immediately recognised as a comedy classic but time has done it justice. Peter (Ron Livingston) hates his office job but by trying his hardest to lose it, he ends up getting promoted.

Alongside his two colleagues, they hatch a plan to embezzle money from the company in a bid to break out from the corporate world that holds them down. This ‘cubicle classic’ comes from director Mike Judge, the man behind iconic animated series, King of the Hill and Beavis and Butt-head, whose style of comedy translates wonderfully to the big screen.

best comedy movies: Steve Martin as Neal and John Candy as Del in Planes, Trains and Automobiles

8. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

This ’80s movie classic sees Neal (Steve Martin) and Del (John Candy) as a mismatched pair brought together after their flights get cancelled, and they want to make it home in time for Thanksgiving. In true comedy style, the two men start as a bickering odd couple but over the course of their three-day misadventure, against all odds, they become friends.

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John Candy’s character Del is a quirky curtain ring salesman with a very laid-back attitude, in contrast to Steve Martin’s Neal, a highly-strung marketing exec on the verge of a breakdown should he not get his way. Both iconic comedy actors at the time, this comedy holds its own to this very day.

best comedy movies: Kirsten Wiig as Annie, Maya Rudolph as Lillian, and Ellie Kemper as Becca in Bridesmaids

9. Bridesmaids (2011)

Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a single woman floating around aimlessly in her 30s when she’s asked to be the Maid of Honour at her best friend, Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding. But she’s got competition. Helen (Rose Byrne) brings both money and togetherness to the table to rival Annie’s questionable life decisions, which leads to rivalry and hilarity.

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Paul Feig and Judd Apatow break the Hollywood mainstream with this mostly female cast making it a standout movie for challenging the ideals set out in the comedy world.

The best comedy movies: Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman

10. Anchorman (2004)

We don’t know how to put this but, Ron Burgundy is kind of a big deal. People know him. He’s very important. He has many leather-bound books and his apartment smells of rich mahogany. Will Ferrell was the king of comedy in the 2000s, and Anchorman may well be his pièce de résistance.

With a star-studded cast including Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate, and Vince Vaughn, this hilarious story of the rise and fall of a charismatic newsreader is endlessly quotable. You stay classy, readers.

best comedy movies: Bill Murray as Dr Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stanz, Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters

11. Ghostbusters (1984)

If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters! As close to perfect as a movie’s ever come, the original Ghostbusters combines a high-concept story, some of the finest comedic actors of the day at the height of their powers, and brilliant special effects to make one of the finest supernatural comedies ever.

If there’s something strange! Best ghost movies

Directed by Ivan Reitman, the film sees three paranormal investigators launch their own ghost exterminator business after being fired from their university. While some have credited Bill Murray as carrying the film, we believe it’s far more of an ensemble piece than people think, with Ramis, Ackroyd, Weaver, and Hudson all adding their own shine to an already brilliant script.

best comedy movies: Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, and Graham Chapman in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

12. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

This critically-acclaimed movie brings the farcical and witty together thanks to the Monty Python comedy grouping of Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, and Graham Chapman.

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This paradoxical movie plays out King Arthur and his knights’ quest to find the Holy Grail during the Middle Ages, and it’s ram packed with memorable quotes that you may have already heard but didn’t know come from this movie. This is why, if you haven’t already, you need to watch it.

best comedy movies: Jon Heder as Napoleon Dynamite in Napoleon Dynamite

13. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) is an awkward teenager navigating life when a new kid called Pedro joins his school. Napoleon embarks on a campaign to get Pedro elected as class president.

This off-beat comedy movie is hard to pigeonhole given its vast range of iconic moments, such as a dance performance to Jamiroquai’s ‘Canned Heat’, the infamous liger, and a grandmother’s broken coccyx on the sand dunes.

best comedy movies: Marilyn Monroe and the cast of Some Like It Hot

14. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Big screen stalwarts Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis star in this 1959 iconic movie where their characters, a pair of musicians, witness a mafia hit and have to flee for their lives. They end up going undercover in an all-female travelling band by disguising themselves as a couple of their members.

Best of the best: Best movies of all time

There they meet Sugar, the lead singer of the band, played by Marilyn Monroe herself. Considered by many to be one of the greatest movies of all time, Some Like It Hot is quick-witted, raucous, and spectacularly funny. Best comedy movies: This is Spinal Tap

15. This Is Spinal Tap

A mockumentary that occasionally cuts very close to the bone in its satire of ’80s rock stardom. Spinal Tap, a fictitious British group, is riding high on the back of a hit album, but all the attention puts a strain on their dynamic.

Increasingly comical stage segments are mixed with interviews and candid personal drama, many of which were improvised under the eye of director Rob Reiner. When you’ve talents like Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, and Michael McKean, the laughs come easy. On top of their comedic chops, they’re all quality musicians, adding to the authenticity.

Best comedy movies: Rachel Sennot in Shiva Baby

16. Shiva Baby (2020)

Shiva Baby is anxiety attacks in movie form. Packed with cringe humour, bitting delivery from its star Rachel Sennot, and a sensitive romance subplot, this dramedy is soul-food for people in their 20s who feel like tumbleweeds.

Hilarious, but with character drama that matches the comedic chops in its ability to cut, this mostly-single-location movie is easily one of the best comedies of the 2020s so far.

Best comedy movies: Jack Black as Dewey Finn in School of Rock

17. School of Rock (2003)

Could this really be a best comedies list without the historical works of Jack Black making an appearance? The School of Rock brought us genuinely gut-busting gags, physical comedy, and quotable lines that we still use to this day (“Because I’m sexy! And chubby, man!”) all in the form of a digestible but unique family movie.

Plus, with a (literally) rocking soundtrack and a legacy that’s probably to thank for breeding a whole legacy of wannabe rock stars, School of Rock is an important piece of culture. We love Jack Black in everything he does, but something about this particular flick just warms our hearts and reminds us of better days.

Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping

18. Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)

The union between the best musicals and comedy movies is a fruitful one, and it became even more fruitful in 2016 when The Lonely Island delivered a satirical spin on the vanity music documentary. Andy Samberg plays the vaguely talented but exceptionally vain – no matter how much he sings about being humble – Conner4Real, as his music career crumbles.

Packed with celeb cameos and one of the strongest gag rates of any recent comedy, Popstar is sharp, silly, and full of memorable tunes. Get ready to request the Donkey Roll at every wedding you ever go to.

The best comedy movies of all time: Peter Sellars as Dr Strangelove

19. Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Stanley Kubrick mastered the art of filmmaking across many genres. While his more serious work like horror movie The Shining and war movie Full Metal Jacket often dominate discussion, it’s easy to forget just how funny he could be as a director.

Featuring a star turn from comedy legend Peter Sellers, Dr Strangelove uses Cold War tensions as a backdrop for a most chaotic and hilarious series of events that threaten to destroy the entire planet. After all, if you can’t laugh (or fight) in the war room, where can you?

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20. The Big Lebowski (1998)

Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi having this much time together would always yield some gold. Under the sharp comedic instincts of Joel and Ethan Coen, it’s no accident they created one of the best ’90s movies.

Bridges plays Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski, a bowling enthusiast and white Russian drinker who winds up delivering ransom money for another Lebowski in a bizarre case of mistaken identity. The Dude being as confused as you are at every turn is key to the overall vibe, and loud performances all around make it a crowd-pleaser every time. The entry that ties this list together.

Best Comedy Movies: Booksmart

21. Booksmart (2019)

Olivia Wilde’s high school graduation comedy features a tripped-out Barbie doll sequence, an absurd Billie Lourd performance, and fresh humour that doesn’t sound like it was written by thirty-year-old dudes wearing the skin suits of teenaged girls — a rarity.

Booksmart’s frenetic energy, above-the-belt humour, and genuine care for its characters set it apart from other teen movies. The premise may sound like it was made for a cheap Netflix movie, but this movie won’t be slipping into the void anytime soon.

Best Comedy movies: Withnail and I

22. Withnail and I

When we put this list together, we demanded the finest comedy movies available to humanity, we want them here, and we want them now… ahem! Sorry about that. I’ve not been the same since I went on holiday by mistake.

Written and directed by Bruce Robinson, Withnail and I follows two unemployed bohemians as they attempt to take a country break. Heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure, Withnail and I is a drugged-up and giddy exploration of nonconformism and the tragedy inherent in life on the fringes.

If you’d also like to get deep into your feels with some heart-warming and heart-breaking movies, why not check out the best romance movies of all time, or, if you’re feeling a little more serious, we have a list of the best drama movies. We also have a guide breaking down the best new movies 2023 has to offer.