The Spin’s Top 60 Comedies of All Time

“You put WHAT on your top comedy list?”

I was recently asked by the film blogger extraordinaires at Wonders in the Dark to submit a ballot for the Top 60 Comedies of All-Time in preparation for their next feature which will tabulate the ballots and produce a definitive list later in the summer.  At first I found the task daunting – as many will remember guest-blogger Nicky D’s hotly contested and wildly popular Top 47 Comedies of All-Time that graced The Spin not so long ago.  For me, comedy is the most subjective and generational-based of genres – and it’s hard to judge films on personal tastes in humor.  However, the always generous Sam Juliano at WitD invited balloters to adopt an “anything goes” policy – meaning – if it’s a comedy to you! – put it on the list.  This opened up the door for me to include some of my favorite accidental comedies as well as satires and dark comedies that many would judge as dramas.  One will see my love for the darker side of comedy in this list, as well as my love for Woody Allen and those rascally kids that had me in stitches when I was a kid – yup – short films are allowed – hence the love for Our Gang.  At any rate…let the debate that started with Nicky D’s list continue as  I present to you my official rebuttal and ballot for the Wonders in the Dark polling.  I will provide no additional commentary and let the list speak for itself…

1. Network (1976, Lumet)
2. Dr. Strangelove (1964, Kubrick)
3. Fargo (1996, The Coens)
4. Manhattan (1979, Allen)
5. Annie Hall (1977, Allen)
6. Hope and Glory (1987, Boorman)
7. Lost in Translation (2003, S. Coppola)
8. In Bruges (2008, McDonagh)
9. Airplane! (1980, Abrams & Zucker)
10. Young Frankenstein (1974, Brooks)
11. Groundhog Day (1993, Ramis)
12. A Serious Man (2009, The Coens)
13. Hannah & Her Sisters (1986, Allen)
14. Our Gang: The Kid From Borneo (1933, McGowan)
15. Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979, Jones)
16. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974, Gilliam & Jones)
17. Paper Moon (1973, Bogdanovich)
18. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999, Parker)
19. Raising Arizona (1987, The Coens)
20. Office Space (1999, Judge)
21. Wet Hot American Summer (2001, Wain)
22. Heathers (1988, Lehmann)
23. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986, Hughes)
24. The Naked Gun Trilogy (1988, 1991, 1993, Zucker)
25. American Graffiti (1973, Lucas)
26. Being John Malkovich (1999, S. Jones)
27. Our Gang: Teacher’s Pet (1930, McGowan)
28. Oh Brother Where Art Thou? (2000, The Coens)

I’ll drink to your taste in comedies, sir!

29. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008, Allen)
30. Best in Show (2000, Guest)
31. In the Loop (2009, Iannucci)
32. Anchorman (2004, McKay)
33. Blazing Saddles (1974, Brooks)
34. Being There (1979, Ashby)
35. Dazed and Confused (1993, Linklater)
36. Major League (1989, Ward)
37. Talladega Nights (2008, McKay)
38. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007, J. Kasdan)
39. Used Cars (1980, Zemeckis)
40. Young Adult (2011, J. Reitman)
41. Sideways (2004, Payne)
42. Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948, Barton)
43. Laurel and Hardy: The Music Box (1932, Parrott)
44. To Die For (1995, Van Sant)
45. Clerks (1994, Smith)
46. My Cousin Vinny (1992, Lynn)
47. Our Gang: Spanky (1932, McGowan)
48. Wag the Dog (1997, Levinson)
49. Harold and Maude (1971, Ashby)

2012 – It’s a comedy to me!

50. 2012 (2009, Emmerich)
51. Our Gang: Pups is Pups (1930, McGowan)
52. Our Gang: Dogs is Dogs (1931, McGowan)
53. Zelig (1983, Allen)
54. The Producers (1968, Brooks)
55. Bullets over Broadway (Allen, 1994)
56. My Life as a Dog (1985, Hallstrom)
57. What about Bob? (1991, Oz)
58. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963, Kramer)
59. Plan Nine from Outer Space (1959, Wood)
60. Observe and Report (2009, Hill)

Written by David H. Schleicher

What are your favorite comedies of all-time?

Stay tuned later in the summer for the official results at Wonders in the Dark

Check out the recent feature where I was interviewed by Sam Juliano at WitD.



  1. Fabulous listing David, and was thrilled to get it this afternoon by email. Love the Our Gang photo and cap line, and applaud you including some of their shorts. But this is really a fantastic list for so many reasons!

    Sam – I’m excited to see how the polling piles up. There have been some interesting and varied lists for sure! –DHS

  2. May I just tell you how great it is to see Emmerich’s 2012 on a list of comedies? I think it was one of the funniest movies of 2009 (intentionally or not!)

    As for this observation – “comedy is the most subjective and generational-based of genres” – how true that is! What’s funny to one is baffling or appalling to another.

    Pat – glad to see you are part of the 2012 Comedy Club. It’s a riot. I rank it right up there with the greatest of spoofs and watch it the same way I would Airplane! – the fact that it was unintentional adds a great layer to the enjoyment. –DHS

    • I’ve avoided the schlocky-looking 2012 for awhile, but now that I know it’s a comedy, I might give it a go! 😉

      Julio – it is a classic! There are also some dubious parenting skills on display in the film that you might get a kick out of. –DHS

  3. Wooooo boy. If the definition of comedy doesn’t necessarily name laughter as a trait, then I *may* agree with you. Talk about funny being in the gut of the beholder. In the top 10, only Airplane and a few of the Belgian pedo jokes from in Bruges I found very funny. Monty Python and Naked Gun – we’re getting somewhere. South Park the movie is painfully dated, I can’t watch any South Park made prior to Butters’ Very Own Episode anymore, it seems like it’s all ancient, sloppy, and unfunny. Blazing Saddles – yes, love it. But I think I’ll always love History of the World Part I from Mel Brooks’ movies, though I love them all.

    My own selections:

    I disagree about the South Park film – it’s also my favorite musical of all time! –DHS

  4. David,
    Quite an eclectic list….however one can’t help but notice you left off (intentionally or not) Chaplin and Keaton. Was this a conscious choice? Do you not like them? As far as Comedy being a generational thing, what do you mean exactly? Do you mean that tastes are different depending on what generation you’re from? Some generations don’t appreciate another’s comedy? I’m not so sure I agree with that. I grew up as a child in the 1980’s and loved watching the Marx Brothers. I’m still prepping my list and it will include films from 1923-2006. I have noticed that some lists submitted practically stop with 1980… hence maybe you’re right.

    Jon – Often comedy is contextual, and it can be difficult to “get” humor from another time or another place, which is why I think comedy is more prone than other genres to be biased by generations and cultures. I’ve never been a big fan of Chaplin or Keaton; while I respect the artistry of their comedy, I’ve just personally never found it that funny or entertaining. That being said, 35% of the films on my list are from before I was born and clearly Our Gang was way before my time and I find that hilarious. –DHS

  5. “I’ve never been a big fan of Chaplin or Keaton; while I respect the artistry of their comedy, I’ve just personally never found it that funny or entertaining.”

    I just don’t know what to say to that.


    But I guess it’s still a free country, so…

    Jason – I have finally left you…without speech…my work here is done 🙂 –DHS

Provide your own Spin and tell us what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s