Entertainment

The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians 

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Originally by Ranker Community
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List Rules Dramatic or serious films with a traditionally comic actor in a lead role

Dramatic movies starring comedians, ranked by comedy and film fans. Often, after making a name for themselves appearing in wacky or silly movies, comics will purposefully take on a more serious role, often in an attempt to show off their range. Comics like Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler and Robin Williams are all noted for their tendency to alternate between funny and more serious roles (with Williams at some points in his career altogether abandoning comedies in favor of dramas.)

Often, fans are initially resistant to attempts by comedians to change around their style or appeal to new audiences. Sometimes, the experiments blatantly don't work out, with viewers unable to see their favorite funny performers in a new light. But other times, the decision to switch gears in favor of working in a drama pays off for a comedian, sometimes even resulting in award nominations or greater appreciation from acting peers. (As when Eddie Murphy was nominated for an Oscar - and won a Golden Globe - for his role in the musical "Dreamgirls" after years of being written off as the star of goofy features like "Nutty Professor" and "Norbit.")

What are the best serious movies starring comedians? Vote for your favorite serious dramatic films starring comedians. And if your favorite comic-starring drama isn't featured, make your own list and add it as a suggestion!

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Robin Williams

Released: 1997

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgård. Written by Affleck and ...more

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2
Dead Poets Society is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians
Robin Williams

Released: 1989

Directed by: Peter Weir

Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film written by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set at the conservative and aristocratic Welton Academy in the ...more

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#112 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #36 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Eternal Sunshine of the ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians
Jim Carrey

Released: 2004

Directed by: Michel Gondry

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories, written by Charlie ...more

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#323 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #423 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
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Jim Carrey

Released: 1998

Directed by: Peter Weir

The Truman Show is a 1998 American satirical social science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Peter Weir and written by Andrew Niccol. The cast includes Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, Laura ...more

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#805 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #96 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

5
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Steve Carrell

Released: 2006

Directed by: Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton

Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 American comedy-drama road film and the directorial film debut of the husband-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The screenplay was written by ...more

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#168 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #163 of 1,009 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Filmslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
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Bill Murray

Released: 2003

Directed by: Sofia Coppola

Lost in Translation is a 2003 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Sofia Coppola. It stars Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, and Fumihiro Hayashi. The ...more

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#426 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #67 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
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Jim Carrey

Released: 1999

Directed by: Miloš Forman

Man on the Moon is a 1999 American biographical comedy–drama film about the late American entertainer Andy Kaufman, starring Jim Carrey. The film was directed by Miloš Forman and also features ...more

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8
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Robin Williams

Released: 1991

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

The Fisher King is a 1991 American comedy-drama film written by Richard LaGravenese and directed by Terry Gilliam. It stars Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges, with Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer, ...more

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9
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Jamie Foxx

Released: 2004

Directed by: Taylor Hackford

Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles. The independently produced film was written, produced and directed by Taylor Hackford, and ...more

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10
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Ralphie added Robin Williams

Released: 1990

Directed by: Penny Marshall

Awakenings is a 1990 American drama film based on Oliver Sacks' 1973 memoir of the same title. It tells the true story of British neurologist Oliver Sacks, fictionalized as American Malcolm ...more

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11
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Will Ferrell

Released: 2006

Directed by: Marc Forster

Stranger than Fiction is a 2006 American comedy-drama-fantasy film directed by Marc Forster, written by Zach Helm, and starring Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, ...more

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#674 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #531 of 1,196 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #281 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

12
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Will Smith

Released: 2006

Directed by: Gabriele Muccino

Did you love this Will Smith movie?

The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's nearly one-year struggle with homelessness. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the film features Will ...more

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13
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Bill Murray

Released: 1998

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Rushmore is a 1998 comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson about an eccentric teenager named Max Fischer, his friendship with rich industrialist Herman Blume, and their mutual love for ...more

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14
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wiabux added Robin Williams

Released: 2002

Directed by: Mark Romanek

One Hour Photo is a 2002 American psychological thriller film written and directed by Mark Romanek and starring Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Gary Cole, and Eriq La Salle. ...more

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#21 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #37 of 146 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

15
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Adam Sandler

Released: 2002

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

Punch-Drunk Love is a 2002 romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Luis ...more

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16
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Ralphie added Robin Williams

Released: 1998

Directed by: Tom Shadyac

Patch Adams is a 1998 semi-biographical comedy-drama film starring Robin Williams, Monica Potter, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Bob Gunton. Directed by Tom Shadyac, it is based on the life story of ...more

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#352 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #169 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies

17
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wiabux added Will Smith

Released: 1998

Directed by: Tony Scott

Enemy of the State is a 1998 American spy-thriller about a group of rogue U.S. National Security Agency agents conspiring to take out a U.S. Congressman and try to cover up. It was written by ...more

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18
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Robin Williams

Released: 2002

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Insomnia is a 2002 American thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan, and starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. It tells the story of two Los Angeles homicide detectives ...more

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19
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Jerry Lewis

Released: 1982

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

The King of Comedy is an American black comedy film starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis. Directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul D. Zimmerman, the film focuses on themes including ...more

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#442 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time #217 of 439 The Funniest '80s Movies

20
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wiabux added Will Smith

Released: 2008

Directed by: Gabriele Muccino

Seven Pounds is a 2008 American fantasy drama film, directed by Gabriele Muccino, in which Will Smith stars as a man who sets out to change the lives of seven people. Rosario Dawson, Woody ...more

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#95 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #26 of 151 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made

21
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Bill Murray

Released: 2005

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Broken Flowers is a 2005 French-American comedy-drama film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and produced by Jon Kilik and Stacey Smith. The film focuses on an aging "Don Juan" who ...more
22
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Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy

Released: 2006

Directed by: Bill Condon

Dreamgirls is a 2006 American musical drama film, directed by Bill Condon and jointly produced and released by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures. The film debuted in three special road ...more

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23
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Jim_In_Texas added Dudley Moore

Released: 1981

Directed by: Steve Gordon

Arthur is a 1981 comedy film written and directed by Steve Gordon. The film stars Dudley Moore as the eponymous Arthur Bach, a drunken New York City millionaire who is on the brink of an ...more

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#281 of 1,009 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #277 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
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willyboymcoy added Jim Carrey

Released: 2001

Directed by: Frank Darabont

The Majestic is a 2001 American drama film directed and produced by Frank Darabont, written by Michael Sloane, and starring Jim Carrey, Martin Landau, Jeffrey DeMunn, David Ogden Stiers, James ...more

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#44 of 58 The Best Small Town Movies, Ranked #5 of 15 Oscar Bait Movies That Utterly Failed To Bait Any Oscars

25
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wiabux added Jim Carrey

Released: 2007

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

The Number 23 is a 2007 American psychological thriller film written by Fernley Phillips and directed by Joel Schumacher. Starring Jim Carrey, the film was released in the United States on ...more

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