Great comedy movies come in a wide variety of forms. Some comedies are just super-efficient deliverers of jokes, and others weave a more profound or intricate story in between all of the punchlines. What unites all of them, though, is that they feature stars at the top of their form who are giving it their all.
These movies all have a similar effect, as well. They can pick you up when you’re feeling down, and remind you that laughter is one of the best things about being alive. Picking just five was an intense ordeal, and it naturally means that there are tons of movies that didn’t make it onto the final list. With that in mind, here are five of the very best comedy movies ever made.
Bill Murray is one of the all-time great comedy stars, and Groundhog Day is the best vehicle he ever had. Famously, the movie focuses on a Philadelphia weatherman who is forced to travel to Punxsutawney every year to find out whether the Groundhog will see his shadow.
When he’s forced to relive the same day over and over again, though, he begins to learn that his cynicism is the main thing getting in the way of any genuine connection. Murray is great as the cynic and even better as his character begins to learn to love.
Woody Allen’s legacy is fraught, to say the least, but Annie Hall remains fairly unimpeachable. The movie tells the story of a relationship between a free-spirited woman and a hugely neurotic man.
It remains a deeply funny film, but one that also understands the unavoidable pain that comes with any relationship. Annie Hall is a romantic comedy in the truest sense of the word, and while it may not have a purely happy ending, the ride is what really matters.
Sometimes, a great comedy is defined by the sheer volume of jokes that land. Airplane! is a sendup of the disaster movies that were hugely popular in the ’70s and ’80s, but the plot is hardly what matters here.
Instead, you should just appreciate it as a vehicle for some of the more clever and enduring puns and jokes ever to be contained in a movie. There’s no broader point here, no deeper meaning buried beneath the surface. It’s just wall-to-wall jokes, and it is all the better for it.
When you think of Stanley Kubrick, you probably don’t think about his skill as a comedic director. In spite of that preconception, though, Dr. Strangelove remains perhaps the very best comedy about the absurdity of the nuclear age.
When a single high-ranking military officer dives off the deep end and decides to start a nuclear apocalypse, everyone quickly discovers that nothing can stop him. The rest of the movie is all about the futile attempt to avert the inevitable and includes some of the very best of what dark humor has to offer.
The most recent entry on this list, Girls Trip is so shockingly funny and profane that it feels almost like a miracle. The movie follows four close friends who have drifted apart but come back together to celebrate an exciting opportunity that one of them has been given.
Along the way, they rekindle old feuds and remind one another why they became such close friends in the first place. Oh, and there’s also plenty of drinking, partying, and more general mischief-making.
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