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The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Comedy Movies

Updated September 21, 2019 14.8k votes 969 voters 18.1k views25 items

List RulesVote up the comedy movies that define the genre and should be required viewing for beginners in an Intro to Comedy Movies Class.

Comedies have been a staple of filmmaking since the dawn of the movie industry, and it's understandable. Who doesn't love a good, healthy laugh? Essential comedy films did something new with the genre, often pushing boundaries, making political points, or questioning traditional societal roles in a satirical fashion. If you feel like you want to get to know comedy better as a genre, check out these comedy films for beginners. 

What makes a comedy movie great has everything to do with its ability to make you laugh. Must-see funny movies always strive to find new and innovative ways to elicit giggles from their audiences. The most popular comedy movies often break new ground for cinema in general while doing so. The Big Lebowski introduced us to innovative storytelling and quirky characters. Bridesmaids made it clear that comedy would no longer be a solely male arena. These are comedy movies everyone should see, especially if you're looking for a better understanding of the genre as a whole.  

For a movie to make it onto a list like this one, it has to fit one distinct criteria - it has to be able to make you laugh, whether it's the first time you are watching it or the 300th time. It's highly unlikely you haven't seen at least one of the films found here, but if you are new to the genre, consider this your intro to comedy movies. Without a doubt, the films found below are some of the most famous and influential films in the genre. 

Beginners, intermediate, and advanced viewers alike - find your favorite comedy movie on this list and vote it up! 

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  • The Jerk
    Video: YouTube
    The Jerk is a 1979 American comedy film directed by Carl Reiner and written by Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb, and Michael Elias. This was Martin's first starring role in a feature film. The film also features Bernadette Peters, M. Emmet Walsh, and Jackie Mason.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner, Jackie Mason
    • Released: 1979
    • Directed by: Carl Reiner
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    #263 of 1,647 The Most Rewatchable Movies#43 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#54 of 553 The Best '70s Movies

  • Blazing Saddles
    Video: YouTube
    Blazing Saddles is a 1974 satirical Western comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards, and is ranked No. 6 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Laughs list. Brooks appears in two supporting roles, Governor William J. Le Petomane and a Yiddish-speaking Indian chief; he also dubs lines for one of Lili von Shtupp's backing troupe.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Anne Bancroft, Madeline Kahn, Alex Karras
    • Released: 1974
    • Directed by: Mel Brooks
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  • Caddyshack
    Video: YouTube
    Caddyshack is a 1980 American sports comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Brian Doyle-Murray, Ramis and Douglas Kenney. It stars Michael O'Keefe, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray. Doyle-Murray also has a supporting role. This was Ramis' first feature film and was a major boost to Dangerfield's film career; previously, he was known mostly for his stand-up comedy. Grossing nearly $40 million at the domestic box office, it was the first of a series of similar comedies. A sequel, Caddyshack II, followed in 1988, although only Chase reprised his role and the film was poorly received. Caddyshack has garnered a large cult following and has been hailed by... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Brian Doyle-Murray, Ted Knight
    • Released: 1980
    • Directed by: Harold Ramis
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  • Ghostbusters
    Video: YouTube
    Ghostbusters is a 1984 American sci-fi-fantasy comedy film, directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City who start a ghost-catching business. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis co-star as a client and her neighbor. The Ghostbusters business booms after initial skepticism, eventually requiring a fourth Ghostbuster, played by Ernie Hudson; but, when an uptown high-rise apartment building becomes the focal point of spirit activity linked to the ancient god Gozer, it threatens to overwhelm the team and the entire world. Originally intended by Aykroyd as a... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Walton, Ron Jeremy
    • Released: 1984
    • Directed by: Ivan Reitman
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