Entertainment

The Best Comedy Directors in Film History  

Ranker Film
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14.3k votes 1.4k voters 77.7k views 118 items

Titans of comedy! These kings of clowning are the best comedy directors ever to make side-splitting movies. This list includes film directors that specialize in hilarious slapstick, comedy-dramas, directing their own work, or just know how to capture perfect comedic timing. The prove comedy may be tough, but they're tougher, earning a spot among the top comedy directors in the entire world of film. 

This list includes frequent Hollywood collaborators like the Farrelly Brothers (known for Dumb & Dumber and There's Something About Mary, among others) and Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker, responsible for Airplane!, one of the funniest movies of all time. This list of the funniest directors spans the history of the big screen, starting with Charlie Chaplin, who made his first silent movie in 1921.

Vote up the directors with the most successful comedies under their belts or who just make you laugh the most!

You might also enjoy this list of rom-com directors.

list ordered by
1
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 93

Credits (Film): Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Producers (1968)

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

The Producers (1968)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Silent Movie (1976)
History of the World, Pt. 1 (1981)
Spaceballs (1987)
Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

2
Harold Ramis is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
Dec. at 70 (1944-2014)

Credits (Film): Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Caddyshack (1980)
National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Multiplicity (1996)
Analyze This (1999)
Year One (2009)

3
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
Dec. at 88 (1889-1977)

Credits (Film): Modern Times, The Great Dictator, City Lights, The Gold Rush

Birthplace: Walworth, United Kingdom

Nationality: United Kingdom, England

The Tramp (1915)
The Kid (1921)
City Lights (1931)
Modern Times (1936)
The Great Dictator (1940)

4
Coen brothers is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History

Credits (Film): The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou? Fargo, No Country for Old Men

Birthplace: Minneapolis, MN

Nationality: American

The Ladykillers (2004)
Burn After Reading (2008)
A Serious Man (2009)
Hail, Caesar! (2016)

5
John Landis is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 69

Credits (Film): Animal House, Trading Places, Coming to America, ¡Three Amigos!, The Blues Brothers

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
Animal House (1978)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Trading Places (1983)
Spies Like Us (1985)
¡Three Amigos! (1986)

6
Ivan Reitman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 73

Credits (Film): Ghostbusters, Stripes, Kindergarten Cop, Twins, Dave, + more

Birthplace: Komárno, Slovakia

Nationality: Canada, Slovakia, Czechoslovakia

Meatballs (1979)
Stripes (1981)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Twins (1988)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Kindergarten Cop (1990)
Dave (1993)
Junior (1994)
Fathers' Day (1997)
No Strings Attached (2011)

7
Terry Jones is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 77

Credits (Film): Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life

Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, United Kingdom

Nationality: Wales, United Kingdom

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983)
 

8
John Hughes is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
Dec. at 59 (1950-2009)

Credits (Film): Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Planes Trains & Automobiles, Weird Science, Uncle Buck

Birthplace: Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Sixteen Candles (1984)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Weird Science (1985)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
She's Having a Baby (1988)
Uncle Buck (1989)
Curly Sue (1991)

9
Edgar Wright is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 45

Credits (Film): Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Birthplace: Poole, United Kingdom

Nationality: England

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
The World's End (2013)

10
Judd Apatow is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 52

Credits (Film): The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, This is 40, Funny People

Birthplace: Flushing, New York City, New York, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Knocked Up (2007)
Funny People (2009)
This Is 40 (2012)
Trainwreck (2015)

11
Rob Reiner is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 72

Credits (Film): When Harry Met Sally, This is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride

Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York

Nationality: United States of America

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
The Princess Bride (1987)
When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
Rumor Has It... (2005)
The Bucket List (2007)

12
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
Dec. at 96 (1906-2002)

Credits (Film): Some Like It Hot, Sabrina, The Apartment, The Fortune Cookie

Birthplace: Sucha Beskidzka, Poland

Nationality: United States of America, Austria-Hungary

Sabrina (1954)
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
One, Two, Three (1961)
Kiss Me, Stupid (1964)

13
Kevin Smith is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 49

Credits (Film): Clerks, Dogma, Chasing Amy, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, + more

Birthplace: Red Bank, USA, New Jersey

Nationality: United States of America

Clerks (1994)
Mallrats (1995)
Chasing Amy (1997)
Dogma (1999)
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
Clerks II (2006)
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

14
Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 50

Credits (Film): Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, + more

Birthplace: Texas, USA, Houston

Nationality: United States of America

Bottle Rocket (1996)
Rushmore (1998)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Isle of Dogs (2018)

15
Terry Gilliam is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
Charley Feldman added
age 79

Credits (Film): Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brazil, 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Life of Brian, + more

Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America

Nationality: United Kingdom

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

16
Mike Judge is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 57

Credits (Film): Office Space, Idiocracy, Beavis and Butt-head Do America, Extract

Birthplace: Guayaquil, Ecuador

Nationality: United States of America

Office Space (1999)
Idiocracy (2006)
Extract (2009)
 

17
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 84

Credits (Film): Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, What's Up Tiger Lily?, Husbands and Wives, Bullets Over Broadway, + more

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972)
Annie Hall (1977)
Manhattan (1979)
A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
Husbands and Wives (1992)
Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)
Match Point (2005)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Midnight in Paris (2011)
To Rome with Love (2012)
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Café Society (2016)

18
Blake Edwards is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
Charley Feldman added
Dec. at 88 (1922-2010)

Credits (Film): Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark, 10, The Return of the Pink Panther, + more

Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
The Pink Panther (1963)
The Great Race (1965)
The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)
The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
10 (1979)
S.O.B. (1981)
Victor Victoria (1982)
Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)
That's Life! (1986)
Son of the Pink Panther (1993)

19
Carl Reiner is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 97

Credits (Film): The Jerk, Summer School, Oh God!

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Oh, God! (1977)
The Jerk (1979)
The Man with Two Brains (1983)
Summer Rental (1985)
Summer School (1987)

20
Robert Zemeckis is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
CraigAlarm added
age 68

Credits (Film): Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future Part II, Back to the Future Part III, + more

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Back to the Future (1985)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Back to the Future Part III (1990)
Death Becomes Her (1992)
Forrest Gump (1994)

21
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
Charley Feldman added
Dec. at 71 (1895-1966)

Credits (Film): Sunset Boulevard, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, + more

Birthplace: Piqua, Kansas, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Our Hospitality (1923)
The Three Ages (1923)
The Navigator (1924)
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Seven Chances (1925)
Go West (1925)
Battling Butler (1926)
The General (1927)
Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)

22
Farrelly brothers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History

Credits (Film): Dumb & Dumber, There's Something About Mary, Kingpin, Stuck on You, Shallow Hal

Nationality: United States

Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Kingpin (1996)
There's Something About Mary (1998)
Me, Myself & Irene (2000)
Shallow Hal (2001)
Stuck on You (2003)
Fever Pitch (2005)
The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
Hall Pass (2011)
The Three Stooges (2012)
Dumb and Dumber To (2014)

23
Adam McKay is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 51

Credits (Film): Anchorman, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, Eastbound & Down, The Other Guys

Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
Step Brothers (2008)
The Other Guys (2010)
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)

24
Frank Capra is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
Charley Feldman added
Dec. at 94 (1897-1991)

Credits (Film): It's a Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Arsenic and Old Lace, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, + more

Birthplace: Bisacquino, Italy

Nationality: Italy, United States of America

It Happened One Night (1934)
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1946)
You Can't Take It with You (1938)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

25
Richard Linklater is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
age 59

Credits (Film): Dazed and Confused, The School of Rock, Bernie, Before Sunrise

Birthplace: Texas, USA, Houston

Nationality: United States of America

Dazed and Confused (1993)
School of Rock (2003)
Bad News Bears (2005)
Bernie (2011)
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)