Entertainment
1.4k voters

The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians

Updated December 18, 2019 8.7k votes 1.4k voters 68.1k views59 items

List RulesDramatic 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!

Photo:
...more
  • Good Will Hunting1
    400
    94

    Good Will Hunting

    Robin Williams

    Released1997

    Directed byGus Van Sant

    Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Matt...  more

    More Good Will Hunting 

    #66 of 372 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime#4 of 84 Great Movies That Take Place in Autumn

  • Dead Poets Society2
    330
    96

    Dead Poets Society

    Robin Williams

    Released1989

    Directed byPeter Weir

    Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film written by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter...  more

    More Dead Poets Society 

    #104 of 275 The Best Movies Based On True Stories#18 of 50 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the '80s

  • The Truman Show3
    388
    134

    The Truman Show

    Jim Carrey

    Released1998

    Directed byPeter Weir

    The Truman Show is a 1998 American satirical social science fiction comedy-drama film directed...  more

    More The Truman Show 

    Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'The Truman Show'#9 of 15 Movies You Never Realized Have Super Bleak Endings

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind4

    Released2004

    Directed byMichel Gondry

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama...  more

    More Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 

    #11 of 53 The Saddest Romance Movies That Will Make You Cry#1 of 51 Great Quirky Movies for Grown-Ups

  • Little Miss Sunshine5
    277
    98

    Released2006

    Directed byValerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton

    Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 American comedy-drama road film and the directorial film debut...  more

    More Little Miss Sunshine 

    #670 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies#36 of 126 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time

  • Awakenings6
    126
    54

    Awakenings

    Robin Williams

    Released1990

    Directed byPenny Marshall

    Awakenings is a 1990 American drama film based on Oliver Sacks' 1973 memoir of the same title....  more

    More Awakenings 

    #107 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars#8 of 39 The Best Medical Movies Based on True Stories

  • The Pursuit of Happyness7
    191
    112

    Released2006

    Directed byGabriele Muccino

    Did you love this Will Smith movie?

    The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's...  more

    More The Pursuit of Happyness 

    #340 of 549 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made#24 of 170 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made

  • One Hour Photo8
    130
    61

    One Hour Photo

    Robin Williams

    Released2002

    Directed byMark Romanek

    One Hour Photo is a 2002 American psychological thriller film written and directed by Mark...  more

    More One Hour Photo 

    #84 of 230 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#19 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

  • Lost in Translation9
    180
    132

    Released2003

    Directed bySofia Coppola

    Lost in Translation is a 2003 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Sofia...  more

    More Lost in Translation 

    #230 of 246 The Best Rainy Day Movies#82 of 151 The Most Rewatchable Comedy Movies

  • Ray10
    157
    104

    Ray

    Jamie Foxx

    Released2004

    Directed byTaylor Hackford

    Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray...  more

    More Ray 

    #304 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#21 of 661 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

  • Stranger than Fiction11
    176
    116

    Released2006

    Directed byMarc Forster

    Stranger than Fiction is a 2006 American comedy-drama-fantasy film directed by Marc Forster,...  more

    More Stranger than Fiction 

    #47 of 70 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock#230 of 264 Movies That Should Be Made Into Broadway Musicals

  • Man on the Moon12
    157
    112

    Man on the Moon

    Jim Carrey

    Released1999

    Directed byMiloš Forman

    Man on the Moon is a 1999 American biographical comedy–drama film about the late American...  more

    More Man on the Moon 

    #52 of 150 The Very Best Biopics About Real People#54 of 123 The Best Cult Comedy Movies, Ranked

  • Patch Adams13
    139
    73

    Patch Adams

    Robin Williams

    Released1998

    Directed byTom Shadyac

    Patch Adams is a 1998 semi-biographical comedy-drama film starring Robin Williams, Monica...  more

    More Patch Adams 

    #149 of 252 The Funniest '90s Movies#18 of 277 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

  • Rushmore14
    109
    88

    Rushmore

    Bill Murray

    Released1998

    Directed byWes Anderson

    Rushmore is a 1998 comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson about an eccentric teenager...  more

    More Rushmore 

    #84 of 291 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time#67 of 116 The Funniest Movies About High School

  • The Fisher King15
    111
    100

    The Fisher King

    Robin Williams

    Released1991

    Directed byTerry Gilliam

    The Fisher King is a 1991 American comedy-drama film written by Richard LaGravenese and...  more

    More The Fisher King 

    #33 of 44 The Best Fish Things That Are Not Really Fish#12 of 63 The Best Ever Robin Williams Movies

  • Insomnia16
    104
    70

    Insomnia

    Robin Williams

    Released2002

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    Insomnia is a 2002 American thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan, and starring Al...  more

    More Insomnia 

    The Best Essential Oils for Sleep#11 of 37 The Best Snowy Thriller Movies, Ranked

  • Enemy of the State17
    83
    64

    Released1998

    Directed byTony Scott

    Enemy of the State is a 1998 American spy-thriller about a group of rogue U.S. National...  more

    More Enemy of the State 

    #17 of 49 The Very Best Movies About Hackers#337 of 450 The Best Movies For Guys

  • Big Fan18
    81
    74

    Big Fan

    Patton Oswalt

    Released2009

    Directed byRobert D. Siegel

    Big Fan is a 2009 independent drama film written and directed by Robert D. Siegel, and...  more
  • Seven Pounds19
    80
    76

    Seven Pounds

    Will Smith

    Released2008

    Directed byGabriele Muccino

    Seven Pounds is a 2008 American fantasy drama film, directed by Gabriele Muccino, in which...  more

    More Seven Pounds 

    #59 of 196 The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time#46 of 47 The Biggest Oscar Bait Films of All Time

  • Leap of Faith20
    89
    37

    Leap of Faith

    Steve Martin

    Released1992

    Directed byRichard Pearce

    Leap of Faith is a 1992 American dramedy film, directed by Richard Pearce and starring Steve...  more
  • Arthur21
    46
    29

    Arthur

    Dudley Moore

    Released1981

    Directed bySteve Gordon

    Arthur is a 1981 comedy film written and directed by Steve Gordon. The film stars Dudley Moore...  more

    More Arthur 

    #162 of 512 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked#101 of 305 The Funniest '80s Movies

  • Punch-Drunk Love22
    94
    120

    Punch-Drunk Love

    Adam Sandler

    Released2002

    Directed byPaul Thomas Anderson

    Punch-Drunk Love is a 2002 romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas...  more

    More Punch-Drunk Love 

    #390 of 456 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time#77 of 126 The Funniest Movies Starring SNL Cast Members

  • Dreamgirls23
    72
    84

    Dreamgirls

    Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy

    Released2006

    Directed byBill Condon

    Dreamgirls is a 2006 American musical drama film, directed by Bill Condon and jointly produced...  more

    More Dreamgirls 

    Every Song in Dreamgirls, Ranked by Singability#187 of 356 The Best Musical Movies Of All Time

  • King Kong24
    74
    82

    King Kong

    Jack Black

    Released2005

    Directed byPeter Jackson

    King Kong is a 2005 epic monster film and remake of the 1933 film of the same name. Directed,...  more

    More King Kong 

    #77 of 206 The Best Adventure Movies#35 of 136 The Scariest Animal Horror Movies Ever Made

  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou25

    Released2004

    Directed byWes Anderson

    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is a 2004 American comedy-drama film directed, co-written,...  more

    More The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou 

    #62 of 115 The Best Movies to Watch on Mushrooms#695 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time