drama The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians  

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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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Good Will Hunting Robin Williams 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

2
409 121
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotle... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey 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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333 83
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Dead Poets Society Robin Williams 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

4
404 118
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The Truman Show Jim Carrey 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

5
281 103
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Little Miss Sunshine Steve Carrell 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

6
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Lost in Translation Bill Murray Lost in Translation is a 2003 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Sofia Coppola. It was her second feature film after The Virgin Suicides. It stars Bill Murray, Scarlett ...more

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Ray Jamie Foxx 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

8
199 102
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Stranger than Fiction Will Ferrell 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

9
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Being There Peter Sellers Being There is a 1979 American comedy-drama film directed by Hal Ashby. Adapted from the 1970 novella by Jerzy Kosinski, the screenplay was written by Kosinski and the uncredited Robert C. ...more

10
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Man on the Moon Jim Carrey 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

11
128 78
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The Fisher King Robin Williams 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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183 103
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The Pursuit of Happyness Will Smith 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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Rushmore Bill Murray 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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Ralphie added Awakenings Robin Williams 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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Punch-Drunk Love Adam Sandler 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

16
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Ralphie added Patch Adams Robin Williams 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

17
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Batman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians
looksharp added Batman Michael Keaton Batman is a 1989 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It is the first installment of Warner Bros.' ...more

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wiabux added One Hour Photo Robin Williams 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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The King of Comedy Jerry Lewis 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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Insomnia Robin Williams Insomnia is a 2002 American crime 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

21
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wiabux added Enemy of the State Will Smith Enemy of the State is a 1998 American spy-thriller about a group of rogue U.S. National Security Agency agents conspiring to kill a U.S. Congressman and try to cover up the murder. It was ...more

22
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RichieRich123 added Reign Over Me Adam Sandler In Reign Over Me, two former college roommates Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler) and Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) run into each other years later and rekindle their friendship. Charlie, who recently ...more

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Broken Flowers Bill Murray 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

24
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wiabux added Seven Pounds Will Smith 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

25
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Dreamgirls Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy 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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Tom Islava added Birdman Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis Birdman or, commonly referred to as Birdman, is a 2014 American black comedy-drama film co-written, produced, and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. It stars Michael ...more

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wiabux added The Number 23 Jim Carrey 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

The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

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King Kong is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians
wiabux added King Kong Jack Black King Kong is a 2005 epic monster film and remake of the 1933 film of the same name. Directed, co-written, and produced by Peter Jackson, it stars Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow, Jack Black as Carl ...more

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willyboymcoy added The Majestic Jim Carrey, Matt Damon, Rob Reiner 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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Funny People Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen Funny People is a 2009 American comedy-drama film written, produced and directed by Judd Apatow, and starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, and Leslie Mann. The film was released on July 31, 2009 in ...more

31
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Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire Mo'Nique Precious is a 2009 American drama film, directed and co-produced by Lee Daniels. Precious is an adaptation by Geoffrey S. Fletcher of the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire. The film stars Gabourey ...more

32
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The Spanish Prisoner Steve Martin The Spanish Prisoner is a 1997 American suspense film, written and directed by David Mamet and starring Campbell Scott, Steve Martin, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ben Gazzara, Felicity Huffman and Ricky ...more

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looksharp added Collateral Jamie Foxx Collateral is a 2004 American neo-noir crime film directed by Michael Mann from a screenplay written by Stuart Beattie, and starring Tom Cruise as a contract killer and Jamie Foxx as a taxi ...more

34
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Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen, Daryl Hannah, Mia Farrow Crimes and Misdemeanors is a 1989 existential drama written, directed by and co-starring Woody Allen, alongside Martin Landau, Mia Farrow, Anjelica Huston, Jerry Orbach, Alan Alda, Sam Waterston ...more

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Grand Canyon Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Mary-Louise Parker Grand Canyon is a 1991 American drama film directed and produced by Lawrence Kasdan, and written by Kasdan with his wife Meg. Featuring an ensemble cast, the film is about random events ...more

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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is a 2004 American comedy-drama film directed, co-written, and co-produced by Wes Anderson. It is Anderson's fourth feature length film, released in the U.S. ...more

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Big Fan is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians
Big Fan Patton Oswalt Big Fan is a 2009 independent drama film written and directed by Robert D. Siegel, and starring Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Michael Rapaport, and Scott Ferrall. The story ...more

The Best Things About Fall

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A Face in the Crowd Andy Griffith, Walter Matthau, Lee Remick A Face in the Crowd is a 1957 film starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau, directed by Elia Kazan. The screenplay was written by Budd Schulberg, based on his short story ...more

39
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Six Degrees of Separation Will Smith Six Degrees of Separation is a 1993 American comedy-drama film directed by Fred Schepisi. It serves as a film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated John Guare play of the same title, which ...more

40
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Permanent Midnight Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson Permanent Midnight is a 1998 independent drama film directed by David Veloz and starring Ben Stiller. The supporting cast features Maria Bello, Elizabeth Hurley, Owen Wilson, Cheryl Ladd and ...more

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Tom Islava added Life Is Beautiful Roberto Benigni Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 Italian tragicomedy comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. Benigni plays Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who must employ his ...more

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looksharp added Everything Must Go Will Ferrell Everything Must Go is an upcoming film directed by Dan Rush. "After 16 years devising motivational speeches that promise certain success, Nick Porter (Will Ferrell) is abruptly fired. He ...more

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Mrs Brown Billy Connolly Mrs Brown, also theatrically released as Her Majesty, Mrs Brown, is a 1997 British drama film starring Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer, Antony Sher and Gerard Butler. It was written ...more

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Cablogula added Spanglish Adam Sandler, Sarah Hyland, Téa Leoni Spanglish is a 2004 American comedy-drama film written and directed by James L. Brooks, and starring Adam Sandler, Paz Vega, and Téa Leoni. It was released in the United States on ...more

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looksharp added Leap of Faith Steve Martin Leap of Faith is a 1992 American dramedy film, directed by Richard Pearce and starring Steve Martin, Debra Winger, Lolita Davidovich, Liam Neeson and Lukas Haas. The film is about Jonas ...more

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looksharp added Clean and Sober Michael Keaton Clean and Sober is a 1988 American drama film directed by Glenn Gordon Caron and starring Michael Keaton as a real estate agent struggling with a substance abuse problem. This film was a ...more

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Lilytabby added The Big Short Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling

Steve Carell

The Big Short is a 2015 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Adam McKay, based on the 2010 book by Michael Lewis about the 2007-2008 financial crisis. A group of investors bet ...more

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Jim_In_Texas added Arthur Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore, John Gielgud 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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Jim_In_Texas added MASH Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould MASH is a 1970 American satirical black comedy film directed by Robert Altman and written by Ring Lardner, Jr., based on Richard Hooker's novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. The ...more

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Jim_In_Texas added Foul Play Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Dudley Moore Foul Play is a 1978 American comic mystery/thriller film written and directed by Colin Higgins, and starring Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Dudley Moore, Burgess Meredith, Eugene Roche, Rachel ...more