Time Out Film | Top 100 Comedy Films | My Personal Top 10

Time Out recently did a poll from comedians, writers, actors, directors and the public to find the Top 100 Comedy Films of all time. I was one of people kindly asked for my selections.

So before you go here for the whole list to see what made the cut, why not have a quick butchers at my own Top 10 that I submitted to them and the full notes to accompany.

Here’s just ten of my favourite comedies of all time. Tough to make a selection; could have certainly written a second ten featuring more Allen, Landis, ZAZ, Brooks, the Coens etc.

If you haven’t seen any of the ten (11) movies below, I suggest you rectify that and enjoy!


    There is more visual and verbal wit in the opening 15 minutes than some comedy writers or directors manage in their entire career. And even better than that? The rest of the film lives up to it. Hugely influential, highly enjoyable. A film I can watch again and again and again.


    I know this movie off by heart. The best British accents by American actors, the best faux rock songs, the best improvisation. Started as a word of mouth cult, now recognised as an all time classic.

3 - AIRPLANE! (1980)

    Though the ZAZ style was Xeroxed, ripped off and diluted over the years to lesser and lesser impact, this still stands tall as one of the funniest films of all time. Ruthlessly paced, phenomenally funny.

4 - DUCK SOUP (1933)

    Lightning sharp verbal wit, legendarily terrible puns, incredible visual comedy and gags that broke the fourth wall gags before people knew what one was. The Marx Brothers at their peak of lunacy.


    Woody Allen has no right to dismiss his early work when it is this smart, this funny, this profound and this epically silly. The first of his movies and one of his best.


    Satire so brilliantly executed that it makes you want to give up ever trying to better it. Six great minds working in glorious union.


    Still outrageous by 2011 standards, this raucous movie is amazingly infectious in its scattergun mischief.


    The dawn of a new age of comedy, Landis’ movie was hugely influential on adult (and juvenile) comedy for decades after. Still an absolute blast.

9 - ELECTION (1999)

    Alexander Payne’s brillant classroom comedy turns small town intrigue into full blown opera. Reece Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick never better.


    I have a vivid memory of laughing at this movie in a cinema until I hurt. As they would go on to prove with Book Of Mormon, Parker & Stone are incredible musical writers as well as savage comedy writers.

Honorable Mention - NUTS IN MAY (1976) (TV MOVIE)

    One of the funniest movies of all time. But it was a Mike Leigh TV production for the BBC, not a theatrical release. Does it count?

NB. When the list was originally printed my Number 8 pick was erroneously listed as ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’. Not so!

  • There’s also the comedy movies quiz!

    Click here to play: http://youtu.be/KyKm_AjUfrg

  • No Kevin Smith Movies ? No Prob. But What do You Think About Them ? 🙂

  • charley

    Nice list. Although my favorite Payne is “Citizen Ruth,” and I can’t imagine a list of great comedies that doesn’t include Keaton’s “The General.” Suh. Blime.

  • My dear, you need more Buster Keaton and Preston Sturges in your life.

  • Derek

    I’ve only seen five of these. But I agree with them.

  • Anonymous

    Great list. And nice to see Nuts in May mentioned.  (Mr Robin Ince quoted from it only today)

    Take The Money and Run - thats not the Woody Allen film with some shenanigans with a piano concert, and a hotel lobby bit of business (a Woody Allen film I saw but can’t place).

    Love Life of Brian. I’d have put Some Like it Hot among my top 10.
    A film I saw recenty that I’d forgotten how laugh out loud funny it is is Tootsie. Brilliant.
    But yeah it would be so difficult to pick just 10.

  • Joelvallie

    Never seen Election I guess I’ll have to go visit it.

  • great list (though disappointed by the lack of Naked Gun, Airplane is close enough)

  • Shawnji_us

    Nice!  You did pretty well for yourself on their list as well with both Shaun and Hot Fuzz!   Oh, by the way, my wife and I are big fans of Game Center CX, so we were pleased as punch that the Japanese Blu-Ray had a commentary feature with you and Arino-san.  Did you ever get to watch some of his show?

  • Adam

    Did Edgar forfeit his future OBE by not picking nationally beloved Withnail & I? 

    Across the Channel … Get Out Your Handkerchiefs & Going Places are pretty good. And there are the classics: Howard Hawks, Preston Sturges & Buster Keaton stuff… They can’t give you just 10 for comedies, it’s not fair!

  • Gateway Staff account

    Tough ask to list 10, but no Trading Places? Flawless comedy and great cast. Fistful of Fingers over Saddles, seminal western spoof…

  • Raising Arizona is my favorite. I think as far as Coen Bros. films go, Hudsucker Proxy is very underrated.

  • Ryan

    Edgar, have you seen “Down and Out in Beverly Hills?” I think it is one of the funniest films ever made and very much in your wheelhouse. 

  • John Guertin

    Excellent list Mr. Wright, and it is very similar to my own top 10. Nice to see that you included Election, a very underrated movie in my opinion.

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  • Jholm12

    Not a single Roland Emmerich film on here. For shame.

  • Nelson Núñez

    I miss Big Deal On Madonna Street (Mario Monicelli), Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch), Annie Hall (God) and The Goodbye Girl (Herbert Ross)  in this Top 100 comedy films…”nobody is perfect”…

  • oh yes! Election and Raising Arizona would be in my top ten for sure!
    One of my favorite’s (I’m not sure it would make it to my top ten but it would be very close) is Drop Dead Gorgeous with kirstin Dunst and Denise Richards. Really great understated performances in there.

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  • AmberGrindstaff

    Airplane,Rasing Arizona,South Park are in my Top 10 Comedy Movies

    other fantastic funnies:: Get Him To The Greek,Bridesmaids,Hangover 1+2,Zoolander,Waynes World

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  • Chardir

    I would try to wedge in “The thin man”. Hard to do on this list.

  • Dopdyke

    Overlooked gem: Top Secret!

  • I love both Holy Grail and Life of Brian, but if I had to pick one, I would pick Holy Grail. Comedians though always seem to prefer Life of Brian over Holy Grail. Why is that?

    • Holy Grail is awesome too. Life Of Brian is one of the best comedy screenplays ever. Think that’s why.

  • The Coen Brothers have a very witted comedies, The Big Lebowski, Burn After Reading, are more like a dense dark humor, and I too love Raising Arizona, I think is the best role of Nicholas Cage. Spinal Tap is a classic mockumentary and what can be said of the Monty Python, a jolly good laugh. Great selection.

  • Sometimes I get the menstrual cramps real hard.

    Seriously though, it’s a deal breaker if someone doesn’t find “Raising Arizona” to be hilarious. My favorite film from the Coen Brothers. I wish Criterion could get the rights so they could give it a proper special edition. Would kill for a reel of blown takes due to laughter on set.

    Sam McMurray steals every scene that he’s in.

  • MissMonster

     AIRPLANE!!!, one of the best film.. ever.I don’t really remember any of the other films.. I’ve seen them.. but they were meh.

  • oscar

    Mmmmmmmmm! Spinal Tap!

  • oscar

    Mmmmmmmmm! Spinal Tap!

  • oscar

    Mmmmmmmmm! Spinal Tap!

  • oscar

    Mmmmmmmmm! Spinal Tap!

  • oscar

    Mmmmmmmmm! Spinal Tap!

  • oscar

    Mmmmmmmmm! Spinal Tap!

  • oscar

    Mmmmmmmmm! Spinal Tap!

  • oscar

    Mmmmmmmmm! Spinal Tap!