Nobody ever bitter a good comedy, because a dose of laughter comes from fable at any time, even when we are going through a moment of psychic slump that would make us cry with titles that would cause rejection in other situations.
The most difficult thing is to find one that is really worthwhile and for that reason in Gobhy we have decided to make a selection of the 27 best comedies in the history of cinema. To that end we have focused on highlighting the funniest – hence, for example, the masterful ‘The Apartment’ (‘The Apartment’) has been left out – and I have also tried to cover a bit of everything, from classic jewels to more recent titles that are worth highlighting. Before passing with them I would like to remind you that it is a personal selection. Once this is done, we go there:
1‘At the service of the ladies’ (‘My Man Godfrey’)
Address: Gregory La Cava
Cast: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Gail Patrick, Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray, Jean Dixon
Some young people have a peculiar game in progress that leads them to get in touch with an ingenious tramp who will surprise us soon enough to do so again later on. A biting satire of high society with a very inspired William Powell – do not miss it either in the stupendous ‘Dinner of the accused’ – supported by an impeccable work of La Cava that maintains the dynamism at all times. A fantastic screwball-comedy with an unblemished script, especially its hilarious dialogues.
Direction: Woody Allen
Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Janet Margolin, Shelley Duvall, Christopher Walken, Colleen Dewhurst, Jeff Goldblum, Sigourney Weaver
I have to confess that ‘Manhattan’ seems to me Allen’s best film, but it has a much greater dramatic load than the one that concerns us, which only because of the scene with the cameo of Marshall McLuhan in the tail of the cinema would be very worthwhile . But it is also that the New York filmmaker had reached an enviable maturity on all fronts, taking the central romantic thread of wonder but adding to it with so many funny scenes or dialogues that his presence here is mandatory.
3‘Arsenic for compassion’ (‘Arsenic and Old Lace’)
Direction: Frank Capra
Cast: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Peter Lorre, Raymond Massey, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Jack Carson, Edward Everett Horton
A crazy comedy in which a crooner Cary Grant -eye to his progressive and hilarious derangement- has just committed despite having been against marriage until then he discovers that his aunts are murdering bums. There is no need to leave the house so that the cascade of events will elevate the load of black humor to cause the laughter to become your best companion during your viewing. He made a fabulous change to Capra.
4‘Ball of fire’ (‘Ball of Fire’)
Address: Howard Hawks
Cast: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka, Henry Travers, Tully Marshall, Richard Haydn, SZ Sakall, Audrey Mather, Dana Andrews, Dan Duryea, Ralph Peters, Kathleen Howard, Mary Field, Charles Lane, Elisha Cook Jr.
Hawks has comedies more reputable than the one that occupies us as ‘New Moon’ or, above all, ‘The beast of my girl’, but there is something in them that I do not finish connecting and that does happen with ‘Fireball’ ‘, in which an overwhelming Stanwyck turns upside down the life of Cooper and his fellow teachers who are trying to create an encyclopedia on human knowledge. A kind of perversion of Snow White and the seven dwarfs with wonderful dialogues-you can tell, and a lot, the script of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett-and a very neat Hawks in the staging.
Address: Larry Charles
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Pamela Anderson, Ken Davitian, Alan Keyes, Bob Barr, Luenell, Mitchell Falk
Politically correct has been prevailing for many years in all areas, so a proposal as shameless as this is already appreciated, but it is also here there was a real miracle with the forms of a mockumentary to squeeze thoroughly the Funniest creation by Sacha Baron Cohen. An excess after another but chained in such a way that the succession of nonsense strikes at a high level.
Direction: Stanley Donen
Cast: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Ned Glass, Jacques Marin, Paul Bonifas, Thomas Chelimsky, Mel Ferrer
An absolute delight that knows how to combine an efficient plot of suspense with comedy and romance. At this point we should all know the charm of Hepburn, something that comes back to look here, but it is also when he is more comfortable in comedy and his chemistry with Grant is impressive – for my taste even superior to the actress with any other companion in some of his films-. For his part, Donen is very inspired to approach Hitchcock and I simply can not think of anything to say about her that is not praise after another. One of my favorite movies.
7‘With skirts already crazy’ (‘Some Like It Hot’)
Direction: Billy Wilder
Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, George Raft, Pat O’Brien, Nehemiah Persoff, Joe E. Brown, Joan Shawlee, Billy Gray, George E. Stone, Mike Mazurki, Dave Barry, Harry Wilson, Beverly Wills, Edward G. Robinson Jr., Barbara Drew.
Billy Wilder has several better films but we are undoubtedly the most mythical of all, especially for his unforgettable last scene. Before we can see a movie that fought against the rules for decency that still prevailed in Hollywood with undeniable expertise. It is true that there are some moments in which he drops his comic charge, but in general he has a contagious spark that his three protagonists know how to make the most of.
8‘El guateque’ (‘The Party’)
Direction: Blake Edwards
Cast: Peter Sellers, Claudine Longet, Marge Champion, J. Edward McKinley, Natalia Borisova, Fay McKenzie, Jean Carson, Al Checco, Corinne Cole, Dick Crockett
A wonderful exhibition of the talent for the comedy of Sellers, who sneaks into a party that has not been really invited and does not stop messing up more and more. Already at the beginning, with the scene in the shooting of the film, it is very funny, but that progressive succession of small catastrophes is making everything more and more comical and impossible to see without at least a smile in the mouth.
9‘Young Frankenstein’ (‘Young Frankenstein’)
Direction: Mel Brooks
Cast: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, Gene Hackman, Richard Haydn, Kenneth Mars
Probably the best parodic movie of all time. A Brooks in top form-just months before had premiered ‘Hot Saddles’ -which had a luxury ally in Gene Wilder, but that does not stop the secondary characters are also hilarious, from his unrepeatable assistant to the child, going through the brief appearance of Hackman as an unforgettable blind man. Tronchante
10‘The modern Sherlock Holmes’ (‘Sherlock Jr.’)
Address: Buster Keaton
Cast: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton, Ward Crane, Erwin Connelly, Jane Connelly
A milestone in silent films and Keaton’s career. Some people prefer ‘The machinist of the general’, but in my opinion the one that now occupies us is superior, as much for the overflowing imagination that it has – a projectionist will live an unexpected adventure when it is seen inside the movie that is showing- . Full of gags, based mostly on physical humor, everything is so millimeter in ‘The modern Sherlock Holmes’ that it does not even arrive at the time of footage when many others would have stretched it unnecessarily.
Direction: Luis García Berlanga
Cast: José Isbert, Nino Manfredi, Emma Penella, José Luis López Vázquez, Ángel Álvarez, María Luisa Ponte, María Isbert, Julia Caba Alba, Guido Alberti, Erasmo Pascual, Xan das Bolas, José Orjas, José María Prada, Félix Fernández, Antonio Ferrandis, Lola Gaos, Alfredo Landa, José Sazatornil, Agustín González, Chus Lampreave, José Luis Coll, José Cordero, Pedro Beltrán, Dolores García, Emilio Laguna, Enrique Tusquets, Enrique Pelayo.
A jewel of black humor in which a young man accepts the proposal of the father of his beloved to occupy his position of executioner hoping never to have to take it to practice, but of course, the grace is that the unexpected ends up happening. Unforgettable José Isbert, Berlanga giving everything with his profuse staging in sequence shots and a script that knows how to give the right tone for the story and squeeze it thoroughly. The only small downside is that Manfredi is doing well, but I wish his role had gone to López Vázquez.
Direction: Alexander Payne
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Mark Harelik, Phil Reeves, Jessica Campbell, Molly Hagan, Colleen Camp, Delaney Driscoll, David Wenzel, Jeanine Jackson, Frankie Ingrassia, Matt Malloy, Holmes Osborne
A memorable political satire and even today the best film of its director. Also the definitive confirmation of the talent of a Reese Witherspoon that she has not shown as often as I would have liked, being here accompanied by a very inspired Broderick and a Klein who is so convincing as a foolish student who almost seems to be natural. I am aware that it is not a comedy of great laughter, but it does have hilarious situations.
13‘The Comedy of Terrors’ (‘The Comedy of Terrors’)
Direction: Jacques Tourneur
Cast: Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Joyce Jameson, Joe E. Brown, Beverly Powers, Basil Rathbone, Alan DeWitt, Buddy Mason, Douglas Williams, Linda Rogers, Luree Holmes, Paul Barselou
I suspect that it will be the choice that most disconcerted many of the list, but this film by Tourneur is a personal weakness that I could not ignore. Like ‘The Executioner’, it is based on black humor – in both cases we face death from humor – but in this case with a different approach, like a kind of vaudeville supported by a quartet unrepeatable protagonist in the that shines with its own light an untied Vincent Price
14‘Brian’s life’ (‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’)
Direction: Terry Jones
Cast: John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Sue Jones-Davies, Carol Cleveland, Terence Bayler, Andrew MacLachlan, Charles McKeown
A delirious review of the Bible that draws the best of Monty Python humor in what is his most consistent film despite the unnecessary appearance of extraterrestrials. The most unlikely classic for Easter and regular viewing during childhood or adolescence of many, ‘Brian’s life’ unites satire, absurd humor and many more elements to shape one of the clear candidates for the title of the best comedy of history.
15‘The eighth woman of Blue Beard’ (‘Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife’)
Address: Ernst Lubitsch
Cast: Gary Cooper, Claudette Colbert, David Niven, Edward Everett Horton, Elizabeth Patterson, Herman Bing, Franklin Pangborn, Armand Cortes, Rolfe Sedan, Lawrence Grant, Lionel Pape
An elegant Lubitsch comedy full of entanglements in which we follow a singular millionaire who every time he falls in love feels obliged to marry. The screenplay of Wilder and Brackett overflows with irony and even knowing how to introduce an element of unexpected tension into the most dramatic part of the story. To that we added a cast that sticks its characters and what we have left is an authentic delight.
16‘What we do in the shadows’ (‘What We Do In The Shadows’)
Direction: Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement
Cast: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzales-Macuer, Stu Rutherford, Ben Fransham, Rhys Darby, Jackie van Beek, Elena Stejko, Jason Hoyte, Chelsie Preston Crayford, Karen O’Leary, Mike Minogue
A disguising parody of the vampire world that knows how to play with its most chewed topics and other hilarious details. Another film that takes the form of a fake documentary and squeezes it until it simply would not give more than itself. A cascade of gags and first comical situations in which there is little less than a miracle to be practically all of them fun.
17‘The knights of the square table and their crazy followers’ (‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’)
Direction: Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam
Cast: John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Carol Cleveland, Connie Booth, Neil Innes, Bee Duffell
Less refined than ‘Brian’s life’, something that is perceived above all in its abrupt outcome, but in exchange for its most inspired moments considered to be above it. Already the first gag, with Arturo’s lackey faking the trot of a horse with coconuts, sets the tone of what is to come, from murderous rabbits to hilarious knights who say NI or warriors who do not recognize an obvious defeat despite having lost all his limbs. As absurd as it is great.
18‘Lights of the city’ (‘City Lights’)
Direction: Charlie Chaplin
Cast: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers, Al Ernest Garcia, Hank Mann, Jack Alexander, Tom Dempsey, Henry Bergman
I wish ‘Modern Times’ had maintained the level of his first half hour, for me by far the most fun he has done, but then it declined and that is why he has not managed to sneak into the list. From the rest of his work I am undoubtedly with ‘Lights of the city’, in which he returns to show his immense talent for comedy but adding a layer of tenderness, no stranger in his cinema, which creates a unique combination.
19‘Eight death sentences’ (‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’)
Direction: Robert Hamer
Cast: Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Valerie Hobson, Audrey Fields, John Penrose, John Salew, Arthur Lowe, Clive Morton, Hugh Griffith
An overwhelming exhibition by Alec Guinness, who is not the protagonist of the show but that does not prevent him from demonstrating his versatility giving life to the eight secondary ones whose life the protagonist wishes to finish. An excellent screenplay full of black humor that criticizes without shame the British aristocracy for what is undoubtedly the top of the comedies made by Ealing. Until its end it is unbeatable, so much so that in the United States it was forced to add a clarification to respect the moral standards that prevailed in the film industry at that time.
Direction: Luis García Berlanga
Cast: Cassen, José Luis López Vázquez, Elvira Quintillá, Amelia de la Torre, Julia Caba Alba, Amparo Soler Leal, Manuel Alexandre, Mari Carmen Yepes, Agustín González, Luis Ciges, Antonio Ferrandis
My favorite comedy, a merciless portrait of the Spain of the time in which appearances matter more than anything else, using the Christmas celebration for it. A parade of memorable characters, including some who only let themselves be seen to pronounce a phrase that feeds the controlled chaos of Berlanga’s usual sequence plans. Full of wit and acidity, it also knows how to introduce a very effective element of criticism that gives greater strength to the whole.
21‘To be or not to be’ (‘To Be or Not to Be’)
Address: Ernst Lubitsch
Cast: Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Stanley Ridges, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill, Sig Ruman, Tom Dugan, Charles Halton, George Lynn
The definitive war satire, even over the acclaimed ‘The great dictator’, is developed with the usual elegance in Lubitsch’s cinema and its script knows how to combine with an indisputable genius the need to amuse the viewer – it is corrosive and intelligent but not he despises the possibility of using elements more typical of vaudeville- with his objective of criticizing the Nazi regime and showing how dangerous it was. Insuperable.
22‘It Happened One Night’ (‘It Happened One Night’)
Direction: Frank Capra
Cast: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Thomas Jameson, Ward Bond, Eddy Chandler, Arthur Hoyt, Alan Hale
One of the few films that has managed to win the 5 most important Oscars -the principal, director, actor, actress and screenwriter-, a cover letter that is difficult to improve but then more than justified, especially by the great chemistry between Gable and Colbert, assuming wonderfully two opposing characters-a reporter and a somewhat spoiled heiress. A waste of talent with a few dialogues first, something usual in the comedies of the time and that lately is not styled too much.
23‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’ (‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’)
Address: Eli Craig
Cast: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Philip Granger, Brandon Jay McLaren, Christie Laing, Chelan Simmons, Travis Nelson, Alex Arsenault, Adam Beauchesne
A hilarious film that takes as a basis the slashers to laugh at the expense of the usual scenarios in which a psychopath ends with his victims. Here the misunderstandings are happening from the endearing characters played by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine. When you have to clarify everything takes a small step back, but even then it is still fun.
24‘A corpse to desserts’ (‘Murder by Death’)
Direction: Robert Moore
Cast: Alec Guinness, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, Eileen Brennan, Maggie Smith, Truman Capote, James Coco, Elsa Lanchester, Nancy Walker, Estelle Winwood, James Cromwell
Another wonderful parodic comedy that this time focuses on the stories of detectives and several of its most legendary representatives. It is true that it goes a little hand in its outcome, but until then it is all so funny, knowing also betting on a grateful variety and counting for it with a cast that embroiders his characters that even those excesses of resolution end up working.
25‘A fish named Wanda’ (‘A Fish Called Wanda’)
Address: Charles Crichton
Cast: John Cleese, Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin, Maria Aitken, Tom Georgeson, Patricia Hayes, Stephen Fry, Geoffrey Palmer
No wonder Kevin Kline came to win the Oscar for giving life to a hilarious criminal in a comedy that retrieves part of the Monty Python and unites a Curtis with an undeniable comic to give us perhaps the best comedy of the 80s. Memorable moments like the successive death of dogs, an unthinkable gag in a current comedy, how funny the characters were and a script full of entanglements that keeps you entertained at all times.
26‘A night at the opera’ (‘A Night at the Opera’)
Direction: Sam Wood
Cast: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Margaret Dumont, Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Sig Ruman, Walter Woolf King, Edward Keane, Robert Emmet O’Connor, Lorraine Bridges
The Marx Brothers could not miss this list and I have opted for the film that has its most memorable scene – that of the cabin that is increasingly filled with people – although it also includes another such as the hilarious discussion about contracting parties. Otherwise, another hilarious of his adventures full of moments tronchantes.
27‘One, two, three’ (‘One, Two, Three’)
Direction: Billy Wilder
Cast: James Cagney, Pamela Tiffin, Horst Buchholz, Arlene Francis, Liselotte Pulver, Howard St. John, Hanns Lothar, Leon Askin, Ralf Walter, Karl Lieffen, Hubert von Meyernick, Red Buttons.
Wilder’s most frenetic comedy, because here he got a tape with a hellish rhythm supported by an excellent script by Wilder and IAL Diamond that dares to get so much into communism with capitalism with some very sharp dialogues – and also eye an intoned James Cagney. There are other Wilder comedies with more fame than this, but when I think of the funniest it is always the first one to come to my head. In fact, it is such the succession of gags that it is best to see it more than once because I’m sure you’ve lost several while you were laughing with one.
Now I pass the word to you, do you agree with the 23 titles included or would you change any? If this is the case, do not hesitate to let us know what movies you would have selected in the comments.