The 25 Best Comedies of All Time


In the mood for some yuck-yucks? Or perhaps a gaggle of giggles? Look no further because we’ve compiled the 25 best comedy movies ever made!

Given that this genre of cinema has been around practically since the birth of moving pictures, this was a particularly challenging list to wrangle. Many IGN editors cast their votes for this one, with the idea also that this would be a balanced showcase. Is there a world where this list could have had five Mel Brooks films on it? Of course? Multiple Will Ferrells? Absolutely. More than one Mike Myers movie? You’re damn right. But in order to spread the love, we aimed to select the absolute best from some of these comedy legends while also pulling from as many decades as we could.

What you’ll find here are comedies that have stood the test of time, ones we can safely call “the best comedies of all time.” Also, some of these movies are so danged important we can forgive their dated qualities, while others are relatively new but seem destined to go down as among the most hilarious motion pictures ever made.

But no matter what kind of sense of humor you have, you’re bound to find these films full of thigh-slappers. We’ve got spoofs, goofs, road trips, head trips, aliens, zombies, ghosts, vampires, and a whole heck of a lot of pratfalls ahead of us, so let’s get started. This is our list of the 25 best comedies of all time!


25. Groundhog Day (1993)

Where to Watch: Netflix

Bill Murray is a mean-spirited and almost completely unlikable weatherman who’s forced to live out the same day of his life – Groundhog Day – over and over again with no end in sight. The genius of Harold Ramis’ film is how ingeniously well-developed that concept is. What could have been a repetitious gag becomes an endless series of brilliant jokes, from heists to therapy sessions to felonious groundhog-napping. Nobody gets annoyed like Bill Murray, but nobody sees the error of his ways quite like him either. Groundhog Day is one of the cleverest movies ever produced, and one of the funniest too.

24. Mean Girls (2004)

Where to Watch: Netflix, Paramount+

Mean Girls, written by Tina Fey, is a hilarious cultural touchstone, taking cues from past high school comedies while also spinning the cliches off in new, bold directions. Starring Lindsay Lohan as an international transfer student who immediately discovers how ill-prepared she is for the cutthroat teenage social hierarchy of the American education system, Mean Girls is a delightful, quotable revenge film that inspired a whole new generation of moviegoers, a Broadway musical, and (not using) the word “Fetch.” Also starring Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, and Fey herself.

23. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Where to Watch: rentable on most platforms

Chevy Chase stars as a suburban dad trying to chase down an old-fashioned American Dream: the wholesome cross-country road trip. Unfortunately, modern America has other plans, and each stop along the way sends Chase and his family further into hilarious madness. Some of the gags have aged poorly – including a nasty incident with a dog and some unfortunate racial stereotyping – but the film’s overall impression, of a dream gradually dying, is one of the darkest, funniest gags in movie history. (The third film in the series, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, recaptures that sensation wonderfully too.)

More Like This: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Fletch

22. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

Where to Watch: rentable on most platforms

It’s hard to find the right balance between horror and comedy, and Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s ebullient What We Do in the Shadows doesn’t really bother. It’s an endlessly witty comedy about vampire roommates, all of them from different centuries, trying to adapt to the 21st century. Half fish-out-of-water jokes, half ghoulish murder humor, and always utterly charming, it transforms monsters into everyday Joes, and makes us love them. Even when their teeth are in necks. (And the werewolves are hilarious too.)

21. Bridesmaids (2011)

Where to Watch: Netflix, Peacock

Paul Feig’s comedy smash Bridesmaids stars Kristen Wiig as a working class woman whose best friend is getting married, and who has to nearly destroy herself just to keep up with the expensive wedding festivities. Bridesmaids made the statement that women can headline blockbuster comedies too, and be just as crass as their male counterparts (there’s a heck of a lot of poop, that’s for sure). But this isn’t just a broad comedy; it’s a real motion picture about social and economic distress, with an Oscar-nominated performance from Melissa McCarthy that will always be great.

More Like This: Spy, The Heat

20. Game Night (2018)

Where to Watch: Hulu

Game Night officially marks Rachel McAdams’ second film on this list as she and Jason Bateman toplined this awesome laugh-fest from the previous decade. Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (who also did the sidesplitting Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Amongst Thieves), Game Night follows Bateman and McAdams’ ultra-competitive couple and their friends during a get-together gone horribly wrong, after their scheduled game night unravels into real-life mystery when one of them is kidnapped. Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, and Kyle Chandler also star in this sharp, dark instant classic.

19. It Happened One Night (1934)

Where to Watch: n/a

There were comedy romances before this film, but It Happened One Night pretty much invented the “romantic comedy.” Clark Gable stars as a reporter following runaway socialite Claudette Colbert on a cross-country journey, and they spend the whole film sniping before they realize – almost too late – that they’re in love. It seems formulaic now but this film invented that formula, and it’s still just as lively and funny and romantic as it’s ever been. It Happened One Night earned the top five Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, and Gable’s gangster impersonation was a direct influence on the creation of Bugs Bunny!

18. The General (1926)

Where to Watch: The Roku Channel (w/ ads), Freevee (w/ ads), Tubi (w/ ads)

Buster Keaton is a train conductor who tries to enlist for the Civil War, but then gets rejected because his job is too important and gets labeled a coward. But when the woman he loves is kidnapped he hops in his engine, “The General,” and the most epic chase in movie history begins. Keaton was renowned for unbelievable gags and he literally defies death multiple times over the course of this complex and hilarious motion picture, which is full of stunts you won’t believe were real (even though every single one of them is). 

17. Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Where to Watch: Max

Honestly, it’s all there in the title. Two of the stupidest dudes on Earth – played by Jim Carrey and (in a surprising turn) Jeff Daniels – hit the road in an attempt to return a briefcase to a beautiful woman (Lauren Holly) one of them hopes to ask out on a date. That’s it. And that’s enough, truly. Lloyd and Harry’s riotous idiocy carries this ’90s gem across the finish line. Dumb and Dumber was a huge hit, helped cement “in his heyday” Carrey’s legacy even more, and put the Farrelly brothers on the map as new usurpers to the throne of comedy. Poop, boogers, dead birds, more poop, the most annoying sound in the world… the movie’s got it all.

More Like This: There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

16. Coming to America (1988)

Where to Watch: Netflix

The comedy stylings of SNL vet Eddie Murphy confidently dominated a big chunk of the ’80s, with many offerings to choose from. It’s Coming to America though, from director John Landis, that encapsulates the best of Murphy. It’s sweet, silly, and raunchy all at once as a wealthy African prince, Akeem, travels to Queens, NY, to find… well, his queen. Refusing an arranged marriage, Akeem believes he can find true love in the U.S., with his best friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) by his side. Coming to America was also a prosthetic precursor to the ’90s Klump family as Murphy and Hall would both play several roles in the movie, sometimes camouflaged beneath miles of makeup.

More Like This: 48 Hrs., Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop

15. The Princess Bride (1987)

Where to Watch: Disney+

One of the most endlessly rewatchable movies ever filmed, The Princess Bride has everything: action, romance, magic, and most of all, hilarity. A sick child’s grandfather stops by to read him a bedtime story, and the saga of ultimate adventure gets frequently interrupted by impatient cries to get to the good stuff, and the good stuff is unbelievably good – strange, amusing characters in wonderful adventures, trading perfectly written barbs and ultimately falling into true love. Whoops, sorry, that’s not true love… it’s “to blave!”

14. City Lights (1931)

Where to Watch: Max

Cinema pioneer Charlie Chaplin, megastar of the silent film era, doubly proved his muster with City Lights, a classic crafted during a time when sound was already a part of movies. Chaplin is at his vaudevillian best here as his Little Tramp falls head over heels for a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill). Chaplin gives one of the greatest early performances in film history; with expert pantomime, slapstick, and ingenuity, he cracked the code and comedy was never the same.

More Like This: The Gold Rush, Modern Times

13. Ghostbusters (1984)

Where to Watch: rentable on most platforms

Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters has one of the greatest ideas in all of movie history. It takes the most fantastical job in the world and treats it like pest control. That’s how we get a team of ghost hunters who save the world from otherworldly monsters but still come across like average, working-class schmoes. Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd (who co-wrote the script with Ramis) and Ernie Hudson co-star as the heroes who strap nuclear accelerators on their backs, get slimed, watch people turn into dogs, and ultimately blow up the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and yet we believe every second of it. Featuring endlessly quotable dialogue, wonderful performances, and incredible visual effects, Ghostbusters is one of the best movies ever.

12. Borat (2006)

Where to Watch: Hulu

An argument can be made that, with the addition of Maria Bakalova, and the fact that comedian Sacha Baron Cohen was able to pull off this character 14 years after the original movie, Borat 2 is the superior film. But without the original, groundbreaking Borat, we’ve got nothing. It was a twisted, gut-busting revelation, making viewers howl with both laughter and second-hand embarrassment. It proudly watches over us from the Mount Rushmore of Cringe Comedy as fictional Kazakhstan journalist, the backwards-thinking Borat Sagdiyev, bizarrely found his way into our hearts via real-life interactions with Americans not in on the joke.

More Like This: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

11. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Where to Watch: Prime Video, Peacock

The zombie apocalypse is upon us and it’s unexpectedly hilarious in Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead. Simon Pegg stars as a young man trapped in arrested development who, over the course of a single day in the undead outbreak, has to overcome every single one of his hangups. He proves he’s a responsible adult, he comes to terms with his stepfather, he makes peace with his mother, and ultimately grows the hell up. But in the meantime, he has to live out moments from classic horror movies, and kill the undead by throwing his least favorite vinyl records at them. Inspired, exciting filmmaking that goes beyond mere horror parody, and tells a story that’s so real it makes the movie seem timeless.

More Like This: Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

10. This is Spinal Tap! (1984)

Where to Watch: rentable on most platforms

Rob Reiner pretty much invented the mockumentary comedy genre with This Is Spinal Tap!, a fake doc about aging British heavy metal musicians who aren’t nearly as hardcore as they think they are. How loud is their music? Their volume knobs go to 11! Never mind how little sense that makes, and never mind that each of their drummers has died under mysterious circumstances, or that time they got lost backstage, or the unthinkable “Stonehenge” incident. There aren’t many losers more lovable than Spinal Tap. And their music is surprisingly good too!

More Like This: Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind

9. Galaxy Quest (1999)

Where to Watch: Prime Video, Paramount+

A movie for fans, about fans, Galaxy Quest was, during an era when Star Trek was re-entering some lean times, the best Trek movie around. And a super funny one, at that. Following the aging cast of a once-beloved sci-fi series, who accidentally get caught up in a real space adventure with aliens who think they’re all actually heroes, the film had a killer premise, clever execution, and a crowd-pleasing story. Starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Daryl Mitchell, and Sam Rockwell (in a wonderful “Red Shirt” in-joke role), Galaxy Quest is comedy gold, and a rousing, inspirational one at that.

8. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

Where to Watch: Paramount+

Lots of movies are silly, but the silliness in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is superlative. Adam McKay’s film ladles complete absurdist humor on an already very effective comedy storyline, about a sexist newsroom adapting to the newly-shattered glass ceiling, and making complete rear-ends of themselves in the process. Will Ferrell and his news team are delightful buffoons, and Christina Applegate matches them all as a serious newswoman who’s also funny as funny can be. Anchorman is the kind of dumb comedy that makes you feel smart for loving it.

More Like This: Step Brothers, Elf, Talladega Nights, Old School

7. Young Frankenstein (1974)

Where to Watch: Max

Mel Brooks mercilessly sends up the Frankenstein franchise with his Oscar-nominated comedy classic. The film stars Gene Wilder as the son of the mad scientist Doctor Frankenstein (it’s pronounced “FRAHNK-ensteen”), who follows in his father’s footsteps and creates a monster of his own. Brooks expertly recreates the eerie atmosphere of the Universal Horror classics, which makes even the silliest gags seem extra funny by contrast. Every performance is a comedy all-timer, and the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” musical number is one for the ages. Young Frankenstein never stops making you laugh, no matter how many times you watch it.

More Like This: Blazing Saddles, The Producers, Spaceballs

6. The Big Lebowski (1998)

Where to Watch: Peacock

What if someone made a rich and complicated film noir and nobody told the protagonist? The Big Lebowski stars Jeff Bridges as Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. The Dude. He’s a laidback bowler who accidentally gets sucked into a world of kidnapping and conspiracy, and watching him cluelessly shamble in his bathrobe through situations worthy of a Raymond Chandler novel is a joke that never, ever gets old. Throw in a scene-stealing, rage-fueled performance by John Goodman as The Dude’s best friend, Walter, and all you can do is abide.

More Like This: Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy

5. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Where to Watch: rentable on most platforms

The summer camp genre gets a welcome and gut-busting shot in the arm with Wet Hot American Summer, David Wain’s inspired, star-studded parody of the oft-derided genre. A group of teenagers, all played by actors who are WAY too old for this, find themselves in a series of wild misadventures… and then there’s also somehow a talking can of vegetables. The wacky stuff is unrepentantly absurd, the serious moments cannot possibly be taken seriously, and the complete deconstruction of what would have been any other film’s centerpiece – a baseball game against “anonymously evil” rival campers – is a masterfully constructed joke if ever there was one.

More Like This: They Came Together, The Baxter

4. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Where to Watch: rentable on most platforms

Skewering a particular “Swinging London” English era, and particular ’60s spy genre (Bond, The Avengers, etc), that no one knew needed a good kick in the trousers, Austin Powers was a stupendously silly niche offering that blew up into a huge comedy franchise (with quotes that were absolutely inescapable for a good 20 years). SNL and Wayne’s World alum Mike Myers doubled his ’90s gold rush with both rambuctiously and inappropriately promisucous secret agent Austin Powers and his Lorne Michaels-evoking nemesis, Dr. Evil. The first Powers entry, which was the most modestly-budgeted, is the best of the trilogy, becoming a sleeper hit as more and more people found their way to this fantastically foolish film.

More Like This: Wayne’s World, So I Married an Axe Murderer

3. Airplane! (1980)

Where to Watch: Max

Woe betide anybody who actually tries to count all the jokes in Airplane!, the most exhaustingly funny motion picture ever made. A brutal send-up of the blockbuster disaster movie genre, Airplane! takes place on a flight where half the passengers and all of the pilots succumb to deadly food poisoning, forcing a traumatized war vet pilot to overcome his drinking problem (it’s not what you think) and get back in the cockpit. But the plot is nothing, the jokes are everything, and there are so many different kinds of gags that you’ll never catch them all the first time you watch Airplane! Or the second time. Or the third. Seriously. (And don’t call me Shirley.)

More Like This: The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, Hot Shots! Part Deux, Top Secret!

2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Where to Watch: Netflix

The British comedy troupe Monty Python travels to the Middle Ages, using off-the-wall humor to send up a whole era’s worth of ignorance, injustice and inequity. Graham Chapman stars as King Arthur, and all the rest of the Python boys play multiple roles as the cowards, villains and maniacs he runs into along the way. Monty Python and the Holy Grail takes ideas that are objectively not funny – like the air speed velocity of a swallow – and spins them into timeless comedy gold. And also into… a SHRUBBERY!

More Like This: Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Time Bandits

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

Where to Watch: rentable on most platforms

Comedy can be a pleasant diversion from reality, but the best comedy can change the way we look at reality. Stanley Kubrick’s absolutely astounding indictment of Cold War politics, Dr. Strangelove, is the latter. It’s the saga of how one man’s impotence dooms the world to potential nuclear annihilation, and all the other macho schmucks who can barely get over their egos and libidos and warmongering long enough to do the (kinda) right thing. Jokes like “You can’t fight in here, this is a War Room!” fly right in the face of the very concept of international relations, and beautifully illustrate just how childish the people who run the world really are, and how dangerous that is to anyone with half a functioning brain. It’s unbelievably funny, impossibly smart, and downright important filmmaking. In other words, it’s the best comedy ever.


What are your favorite comedies? Let’s discuss in the comments!

This list originally ran on July 3, 2018. It was updated on August 18, 2023, with our latest picks.



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