1. Annie Hall (1977)

Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman

Funnily enough, Woody Allen was trying to break away from being so funny. He and Marshall Brickman wanted to call their film Anhedonia (psychiatric term meaning the inability to experience pleasure). “I wanted to do a movie that might not have anything funny in it for a minute... more


2. Some Like it Hot (1959)

Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond, Based on the German film Fanfare of Love by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan

Great comedies wreak havoc on conventional wisdom, and Some Like it Hot changed what comedies could be in Hollywood – to wit, a pastiche of genres, including a throwback gangster film... more


3. Groundhog Day (1993)

Screenplay by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis, Story by Danny Rubin

Harold Ramis read Danny Rubin’s script and imagined an updating of It’s A Wonderful Life. Rubin hadn’t set out to write a Capra-esque parable, exactly. “When I first designed the original screenplay, it was almost like an experiment,” Rubin said at the 2015 Austin Film Festival... more


4. Airplane! (1980)

Written by James Abrahams & David Zucker & Jerry Zucker

Long before it became de rigueur for dramatic actors to spoof their own gravitas, the Zucker brothers and Jim Abrahams deployed Robert Stack, Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges and Leslie Nielsen beautifully in the tour de force of silliness that was Airplane!... more


5. Tootsie (1982)

Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal, Story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart

The elevator pitch – an out-of-work actor becomes a cause célèbre while disguised as a woman on a soap opera – fails to capture what made Tootsie feel hilarious and monumental. “'In my very first meeting with Larry Gelbart, I said, `If in 1982 a man puts on a dress... more


6. Young Frankenstein (1974)

Screenplay by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, Screen Story by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, Based on Characters in the Novel Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

“At the top of the page I wrote, ‘Young Frankenstein,’ and then wrote two pages of what might happen to me if I were the great grandson of Beaufort von Frankenstein... more


7. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern

No other anti-war film – much-less anti-war comedy – surpasses Stanley Kubrick’s film in the canon of contemporary cinema. George Plimpton recalled in Harper’s magazine that Peter Sellers had read Terry Southern’s comic novel The Magic Christian and gave a copy to Kubrick... more


8. Blazing Saddles (1974)

Screenplay by Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Alan Uger, Story by Andrew Bergman

In the writers’ room were Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, Alan Uger, and 26-year-old Andrew Bergman. “The thing I remember them saying is that comedy is like poetry... more


9. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin

It’s a quest movie that gave us the line, “It’s only a flesh wound.” A send-up of Middle Age barbarity and “Sir Arthur, King of the Britons” (crickets), the movie further embedded the Pythons into the American comedy consciousness after their TV series Monty Python’s Flying Circus... more


10. National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

Written by Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney & Chris Miller

Released in 1978 and written by Ramis along with National Lampoon stalwarts Doug Kenney (Harvard, class of ’68), and Chris Miller (Dartmouth, class of ’63), Animal House set box office records for a comedy. Though plenty crude, by moving the film’s time and place... more


11. This is Spinal Tap (1984)

Written by Christopher Guest & Michael McKean & Rob Reiner & Harry Shearer

The script ran to four pages, said writer-director Rob Reiner. There was a character bible on bandmates Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins, and Derek Smalls, and an outline of their “Smell the Glove” tour. From there, Reiner and writer-performers... more


12. The Producers (1967)

Written by Mel Brooks

“Where did I go right?” cries Max Bialystock, when his Hitler musical leaves them roaring. Mel Brooks won an Oscar and a Writers Guild Award for best original screenplay. On the DVD re-release in 2008, Brooks said the Bialystock character was based on a producer Brooks worked for... more


13. The Big Lebowski (1998)

Written by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

Similar to other films on this list – Duck Soup, Office Space, and Harold and MaudeThe Big Lebowski was not embraced as a classic when it hit theaters, its genius rediscovered on home video, almost as if it had originally been censored by the authorities... more


14. Ghostbusters (1984)

Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

“I thought to marry the old ’30s ghost comedies with the real vernacular, and the technical language of real ghost hunting, like Hans Holzer’s work, and [William G. Roll], and the Maimonides Dream Lab,” Dan Aykroyd told Howard Stern recently... more


15. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

Written by Nora Ephron

The premise, Nora Ephron told Written By, felt believable and bigger than itself as soon as director Rob Reiner described it to her: A man and a woman, both coming out of relationships, meet. They decide not to have sex because it will ruin the friendship. Then they have sex... more


16. Bridesmaids (2011)

Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig

Wait, so women can actually be funny and make a blockbuster comedy? That was the news flash after Bridesmaids stormed the box office. Co-writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, who had met as writer-performers in the Los Angeles improv company The Groundlings... more


17. Duck Soup (1933)

Story by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, Additional Dialogue by Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin

Duck Soup is the film that Harold Bloom called one of the great works of art of the past century,” noted critic Dana Stevens in The New York Times. “It’s one of the movies T. S. Eliot wanted to discuss when he met with Groucho in 1964, and the one that inspired Woody Allen’s character... more


18. There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Screenplay by John J. Strauss & Ed Decter and Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly, Story by Ed Decter & John J. Strauss

Something about this box office hit (penis caught in zipper and/or semen ending up as hair gel?) put it in the crosshairs of a cultural argument about “gross-out comedy” and a pushback... more


19. The Jerk (1979)

Screenplay by Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb, Michael Elias, Story by Steve Martin & Carl Gottlieb

“I had an idea for a film,” Steve Martin writes in his memoir, Born Standing Up. “It came from a line in my act: ‘It wasn’t always easy for me. I was born a poor black child.’” In trying to place himself in the wider world, the rube Navin R. Johnson considers getting listed in the phonebook... more


20. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

Screenplay by John Cleese, Story by John Cleese & Charles Crichton

A lively jewel heist farce, involving two American grifters, one of whom consumes goldfish, a British gangster, his stuttering subordinate, and Cleese himself as a seduced barrister. The script, Oscar- and Writers Guild Award-nominated, was a collaboration... more


21. His Girl Friday (1940)

Screenplay by Charles Lederer, Based on the Play The Front Page by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur

Of the rapid-fire, overlapping banter between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, Howard Hawks told Peter Bogdanovich: “I had noticed that when people talk, they talk over one another... more


22. The Princess Bride (1987)

Screenplay by William Goldman, Based on Goldman's Novel of the Same Name

“I don’t like my writing,” William Goldman said in an interview with The Writers Guild Foundation. “I’ve only liked two things I’ve ever written – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Princess Bride.” Goldman adapted his own book to the screen... more


23. Raising Arizona (1987)

Written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

Joel and Ethan Coens’ second film marked a shift from “the mundane, economical dialogue of Blood Simple” to “the kind of eccentric, ‘high hick’ diction that will become a Coens’ staple,” wrote Christopher Orr in The Atlantic. Raising Arizona not only affirmed... more


24. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Screenplay by Hagar Wilde and Dudley Nichols, Story by Hagar Wilde

In 1989, The New York Times ran part of a speech given by Budd Schulberg at the Deauville film festival, in which Schulberg compared the “auteur theory” of directing to “that of a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up all the contributions of the writers...” more


25. Caddyshack (1980)

Written by Brian Doyle-Murray & Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney

The movie is lionized for Bill Murray’s “Cinderella story” speech (improvised, apparently), for Rodney Dangerfield’s golf pants, for Chevy Chase’s ad hoc wisdom (“…be the ball…”), and for its raucous send-up of country club WASP culture. Harold Ramis made his directorial debut... more


26. Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)

Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin

The story of Jesus as told via a Jew named Brian Cohen, born one manger over from the Messiah Himself. The Pythons’ satire made them a target for critics not pleased that they were having a laugh with such sacred events as the Sermon on the Mount... more


27. The Graduate (1967)

Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, Based on the Novel by Charles Webb

“I always thought The Graduate was the best pitch I ever heard: this kid graduates college, has an affair with his parents’ best friend, and then falls in love with the friend’s daughter. Give that to 20 writers and you’ve got 20 scripts,” Buck Henry told Vanity Fair in 2008... more


28. The Apartment (1960)

Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond

Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond collaborated on 11 screenplays. The Apartment won them an Oscar and a Writers Guild Award. In an interview with the Writers Guild Foundation, Wilder recalled a five-page outline initially inspired by the David Lean film Brief Encounter... more


29. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Peter Baynham & Dan Mazer, Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Peter Baynham & Anthony Hines & Todd Phillips, Based on a Character Created by Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen took his wrong-headed Kazakhstani rube-reporter Borat on the road... more


30. The Hangover (2009)

Written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore

Among the highest-grossing comedies of all time, the spec script by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore was called What Happens in Vegas. Their twist on a bachelor party comedy was not to show the party. “These movies didn’t translate well onscreen,” Moore told Variety... more


31. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Written by Judd Apatow & Steve Carell

Inherent in the title is a twist on the well-trod turf of teen films – the quest for first-time sex. But what if the teen is 40? No stranger to using the love act as a vehicle for comic mortification, Apatow this time has a grounding protagonist in the sweet and earnest Andy Stitzer (Steve Carrell)... more


32. The Lady Eve (1941)

Screenplay by Preston Sturges, Story by Monckton Hoffe

“The secret of Mr. Sturges's distinctive style is yet to be analyzed,” The New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther wrote when this film came out in 1941. “But mainly it is composed of exceedingly well-turned dialogue, a perfect sense for the ridiculous in the most mundane... more


33. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – TIE

Written by John Hughes

In placing the comedy on its National Film Registry, the Library of Congress called Ferris Beuller “one of film’s greatest and most fully realized teen heroes.” For writer-director John Hughes, Ferris Bueller (coming hard upon the releases of Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club)... more


33. Trading Places (1983) – TIE

Written by Timothy Harris & Herschel Weingrod

The screenplay by the team of Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod “rediscovers and brings up to date a kind of social awareness that was so important to such comedies of the ’30s and ’40s as My Man Godfrey and Sullivan’s Travels,” wrote Vincent Canby in The New York Times... more


35. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)

Written by Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges’s self-reflexive 1941 masterpiece of a Hollywood satire is, as Richard Brody of The New Yorker points out, “two movies in one. The comedy that it’s framed as, and the earnest, indeed grim drama, that the story, and for that matter ultimately Sullivan himself, repudiate...” more


36. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Written by John Hughes

An enduring John Hughes holiday film, constructed around the perils of travel at the crowded Thanksgiving holiday. Beneath this, Hughes made room for a great straight man v. clown dynamic in the pairing of confident ad executive Neal (Steve Martin, playing it straight)... more


37. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart, Based on the Play by Philip Barry

Like his Algonquin Round Table co-horts Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman and Robert Benchley, Donald Ogden Stewart, a humorist and essayist, went west to work in pictures. “The Algonquinites hated Hollywood, but that doesn't mean they weren't good at it... more


38. A Night at the Opera (1935)

Screenplay by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind

When the film came out, playwrights George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind had already written the musicals The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers, both Marx Brothers Broadway shows. “Morrie Ryskind and I learned a great lesson... more


39. Rushmore (1988)

Written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson

Wes Anderson’s characters aren’t strange so much as lit from within by their idiosyncratic behaviors. Max (Jason Schwartzmann) is a 15-year-old outsider at a rich kids’ prep school, a self-starter with droll interests... more


40. Waiting for Guffman (1996)

Written by Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy

The “Guffman” of the title is Mort, a Broadway producer who fails to show up for the premiere of the original musical Red, White and Blaine, in small-town Blaine, Mo. Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy’s satire of community theater, and the mounting of a show from soup to nuts... more


41. The Odd Couple (1968)

Screenplay by Neil Simon, From the Play by Neil Simon as Produced on the Stage by Saint-Subber

When he conceived the play, Neil Simon thought he’d come up with “a grim, dark play about two lonely men” in Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison, Simon told The Paris Review. Instead, his Broadway show, a smash hit in 1965, became a hit film in 1968... more


42. The Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad! (1988)

Written by Jerry Zucker & Jim Abrahams & David Zucker & Pat Proft, Based on the Television Series Police Squad! Created by Jim Abrahams & David Zucker & Jerry Zucker

From their first collaboration, 1977’s The Kentucky Fried Movie, brothers David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams began making trenchant, joke-heavy pop-cultural spoofs, but without polished... more


43. Office Space (1999)

Written for the Screen by Mike Judge, Based on the "Milton" Animated Shorts by Mike Judge

Like The Big Lebowski, Office Space has enjoyed an after-life of appreciation that its modest release failed to predict. That’s possibly because it seemed so modest in its ambitions – a slow-burn of a comedy about the crushing, institutional tedium at a tech company... more


44. Big (1988)

Written by Anne Spielberg & Gary Ross

The screenplay earned Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg nominations for a Writers Guild Award and an Oscar. A 12-year-old boy makes a wish at a carnival: He wants to be all grown up. Josh Baskin wakes up the next morning in the body of a 30-year-old man... more


45. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Screenplay by John Hughes

When he was still an advertising copywriter in Chicago, John Hughes published a short story in The National Lampoon called “Vacation ’58.” It was about a family driving from Gross Pointe, Mich., to Disneyland, and their misadventures along the way... more


46. Midnight Run (1988)

Written by George Gallo

A fear of flying was the initial spark for George Gallo’s screenplay about bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro) tasked with bringing a mob accountant nicknamed “The Duke” (Charles Grodin) from New York to Los Angeles. In an early scene that touches off their journey... more


47. It Happened One Night (1934)

Screenplay by Robert Riskin, Based on the Short Story by Samuel Hopkins Adams

Opposites – of class, certainly, and of temperament, ostensibly – attract in what has become one of the most important romantic comedies of all time. Claudette Colbert is an heiress fleeing her impending marriage and Clark Gable is the tough-minded newspaperman... more


48. M*A*S*H (1970)

Screenplay by Ring Lardner, Jr., From the Novel by Richard Hooker

M*A*S*H “was the first major American movie in which the word ‘fuck’ was spoken,” Ring Lardner Jr. writes in his memoir I’d Hate Myself in the Morning. Lardner was a member of the Hollywood 10, and his career was derailed for decades... more


49. Harold and Maude (1971)

Written by Colin Higgins

In 1983, 12 years after its theatrical release, The New York Times reported that Harold and Maude had at last turned a profit. This was largely due to its runaway popularity in college towns and repertory theaters, where its cult following flourished. The story of an unlikely romance... more


50. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright

Simon Pegg doesn’t consider Shaun of the Dead a zombie spoof movie so much as a “zombie film that happens to be funny,” as Pegg told Kurt Anderson on the radio program Studio 360. Pegg made his debut feature with frequent collaborators Edgar Wright and Nick Frost... more


51. Broadcast News (1987)

Written by James L. Brooks

You’d be hard-pressed to think of a better role written for a woman in a contemporary romantic comedy than the neurotic and driven TV producer played by Holly Hunter in Broadcast News. The character, James L. Brooks told Written By... more


52. Arthur (1981)

Written by Steven Gordon

“Suddenly, everyone loves Steve Gordon,” began a 1981 New York Magazine profile of the writer-director of Arthur. “Strangers on the street pound him on the back and congratulate him.” Before Arthur, Gordon was a successful TV writer and a not-so-successful playwright... more


53. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Written by Richard Curtis

“Its influence on the British film industry, on romantic-comedy writing, on the pop charts, on funeral readings, on haircuts, was enormous,” said The Guardian, looking back on the film 20 years later. Four Weddings and a Funeral was a sensation in the U.S., too... more


54. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) – TIE

Written by Will Ferrell & Adam McKay

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay met at SNL; their first feature together had Ferrell as a chauvinist pig of a 1970s San Diego news anchor and bloviator extraordinaire. To call the film a parody of local news fails to capture how far out the comedy goes, as when rival news teams square off... more


54. Dumb and Dumber (1994) – TIE

Written by Peter Farrelly & Bennett Yellin & Bob Farrelly

“We went nine years in Hollywood without getting a movie made,” Peter Farrelly told Newsweek. “But we had a good attitude.” The drought ended with Dumb and Dumber, an unlikely hit in which Jim Carrey, a hot comedic star, and Jeff Daniels, heretofore seen in dramatic roles... more


56. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Written by Mike Myers

“Coming off of the success of Wayne’s World, Mike Myers conjured himself as a thawed-out relic of London’s swinging ’60s era, as well as a spy in the 007 mold. Myers told The Toronto Star that the idea for Austin Powers sparked in the car... more


57. The General (1926)

Screenplay by Al Boasberg, Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton, Based on the Book The Great Locomotive Chase by William Pittenger

Buster Keaton’s remarkable film was shot on location in Oregon aboard moving trains, with chase scenes that build dramatically as much as comedically... more


58. What’s Up, Doc? (1972)

Screenplay by Buck Henry and David Newman & Robert Benton, Story by Peter Bogdanovich

This screwball comedy seemed an unlikely follow-up for both director Peter Bogdanovich, coming out of The Last Picture Show, and screenwriters David Newman and Robert Benton, who had earned a three-picture deal at Warner Bros... more


59. Wedding Crashers (2005)

Written by Steve Faber & Bob Fisher

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are a pair of rapscallion divorce lawyers who crash weddings for sex, until they meet their match at the blue-blooded nuptials for a daughter of the U.S. Treasury Secretary. The film has something of a sweet, romantic comedy structure... more


60. Sleeper (1973)

Written by Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman

Cryogenically frozen after expiring during routine surgery sometime in the 1970s, Woody Allen awakens 200 years into a future where fruits and vegetables are the size of public monuments and human sexuality is an intimacy-free zone of automated pleasure... more


61. Galaxy Quest (1999)

Screenplay by David Howard and Robert Gordon, Story by David Howard

The original draft of the script, by David Howard, was called Captain Starshine, which evolved, over subsequent revisions by Robert Gordon, into Galaxy Quest. The comedic premise is somewhat ingenious: The cast of a once-popular Star Trek-like show... more


62. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

Screenplay by William and Tania Rose, Story by William and Tania Rose

The husband-and-wife team of William and Tania Rose wrote the screenplay for a film that is most-remembered for its kitchen-sink cast – Phil Silvers, Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman and Spencer Tracy, to name five. They and others are on a mad... more


63. Best in Show (2000)

Written by Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy

Having lampooned the hubris of a heavy metal band in This Is Spinal Tap and amateur thespian intimations of greatness in Waiting for Guffman, Christopher Guest trained his dry, satiric gaze on the Westminster Dog Show. Well, not exactly the Westminster Dog Show, but close... more


64. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Written by Michael D. Arndt

A dysfunctional-family comedy in which the Hoovers of Albuquerque hit the road to take 7-year-old Olive (Abigail Breslin) to a kid beauty pageant. The family unit exists on a continuum of American dreamers and non-conformists: a father who’s a motivational speaker... more


65. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

Written by Trey Parker & Matt Stone & Pam Brady

“It’s Sunday morning in a quiet little, white-bread, redneck mountain town,” the denizens of South Park sing in the opening number of this cinematic spin-off of the TV series. A decade before Trey Parker and Matt Stone delivered their hilarious and highly un-PC Broadway musical Book of Mormon... more


66. Being There (1979)

Screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski, Inspired by the Novel by Jerzy Kosinski

Jerzy Kosinski’s adaptation of his novella was a Writers Guild Award winner. Peter Sellers starred as a guileless character of dubious origin who has spent his entire life in the same Manhattan townhouse, tending to a garden, his perception of the wider world consisting of the imagery... more


67. Back to the Future (1985)

Written by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale

The script that launched a time-travel franchise (if not an entire sub-genre) might never have been made: Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis’ script was rejected over 40 times, Gale told Empire magazine. The germ of the idea, Gale said, came on a visit home to Missouri... more


68. Superbad (2007)

Written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg

Writing partners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg got a head start on their script, when they were 13. Rogen and Goldberg were writing what they knew – the story of two high school best friends who really, really, really want to lose their virginity before college... more


69. Bananas (1971)

Written by Woody Allen, Mickey Rose

Part of the “early Woody Allen” canon and the filmmaker’s second collaboration with Mickey Rose after Take the Money and the Run. This time Allen played the hapless and sex-starved Fielding Mellish, a New York Jew who joins a band of revolutionaries to impress his leftist girlfriend... more


70. Moonstruck (1987)

Written by John Patrick Shanley

Playwright John Patrick Shanley burst onto the Hollywood scene with his first screenplay, winning an Oscar and Writers Guild Award with a topsy-turvy love story between a strong-willed Bronx widow and the brutish, soulful brother of her fiancé... more


71. Clueless (1995)

Written by Amy Heckerling

Having examined high school in the San Fernando Valley (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), writer-director Amy Heckerling came over the hill and did it again, this time among Beverly Hills rich kids of the 1990s. While Clueless traffics in a far more materialistic world than Fast Times... more


72. The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Written by Preston Sturges

The idea for this screwball comedy, Preston Sturges says in his autobiography, “was conceived as an illustration of my theory of the aristocracy of beauty, or, as Claudette Colbert expressed it to Joel McCrae, ‘You have no idea what a long-legged gal can do without doing anything... more


73. The Pink Panther (1963)

Written by Maurice Richlin & Blake Edwards

A jewel heist plot – involving an heiress and a precious diamond, nicknamed “the pink panther” – anchored the first installment of a franchise that became synonymous with the careers of director Blake Edwards and the wonderfully bumbling antics of Peter Sellers... more


74. The Blues Brothers (1980)

Written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis

Long a side passion project for John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, the Blues Brothers had a hit record when the SNL stars decided to make a movie about the brothers Jake and Elwood. As recounted by Ned Zeman in Vanity Fair: Aykroyd holed up on the Universal lot to write the script... more


75. Coming to America (1988)

Screenplay by David Sheffield & Barry W. Blaustein, Story by Eddie Murphy

For posterity, this is the first movie in which Eddie Murphy played multiple characters: a pampered African prince arriving in Queens to look for a more enlightened wife, mainly, but also several denizens of a local barbershop... more


76. Take the Money and Run (1969)

Screenplay by Woody Allen and Mickey Rose, Story by Jackson Beck

Written with his childhood friend, the comedy writer Mickey Rose (the duo would next collaborate on Bananas) Allen directed and starred as Virgil Starkwell, a criminal “wanted in six states for assault, armed robbery, and illegal possession of a wart... more


77. Election (1999)

Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Based on the Novel by Tom Perrotta

Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, the script by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor won the 2000 Writers Guild Award for best adapted screenplay and earned Payne and Taylor their first Oscar nominations. Dark satire meets a campaign for student council president... more


78. Love and Death (1975)

Written by Woody Allen

The last of the zany, out-and-out comedies Allen made before Annie Hall transformed the trajectory of his career. As film critic Scott Tobias wrote in slate.com, Love and Death was the climax of a decade in which Allen mastered “a sophisticated form of low comedy, mingling the silly antics... more


79. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) – TIE

Written by Dale Launer and Stanley Shapiro & Paul Henning

Screenwriter Dale Launer updated the 1964 comedy Bedtime Story, written by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning, which co-starred David Niven and Marlon Brando as con artists on the French Riviera seducing women out of their clothes and money. “Launer reorganized the story... more


79. Lost in America (1985) – TIE

Written by Albert Brooks & Monica Johnson

Having made two idiosyncratic films, Real Life and Modern Romance, Albert Brooks’ third comedy, co-written with Monica Johnson, was a road movie of sorts, with plenty of room for Brooks’ inimitable comic indignation to flourish. David and Linda, a yuppie couple... more


81. Manhattan (1979)

Written by Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman

“Few cities – Fellini’s Rome? – have ever belonged to a filmmaker as fully as New York has to Allen,” Peter Biskind wrote in Vanity Fair. Shot in black and white, Manhattan was both a love letter to a city and a companion piece of sorts to Annie Hall... more


82. Modern Times (1936)

Written by Charles Chaplin

Chaplin’s masterwork about man and machines, and the film in which he literally became caught in the gears of mechanization. Released in 1936, when Hollywood had gone the way of the talkie, Modern Times was mostly a silent, and even those characters who spoke... more


83. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Written by Dale Launer

A wiseguy in the Deep South is the fish-out-of-water premise, but only partly so. Vinny Gambini isn’t a gangster, he’s a lawyer who needed six tries to pass the New York bar and now has to get his college-aged cousin and friend out of a murder charge in small-town Alabama... more


84. Mean Girls (2004)

Screenplay by Tina Fey, Based on the Book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman

For all the comedies that have come out of Lorne Michaels’ Saturday Night Live creative nest, Mean Girls is one of the more underrated. That might be because it wasn’t a vehicle for a Bill Murray or Mike Myers, it was the first screenplay by Tina Fey... more


85. Meet the Parents (2000)

Screenplay by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg, Story by Greg Glienna & Mary Ruth Clarke

Like many comedies, it’s about the perils of concealment – in this case during a first visit home to meet your future in-laws. Ben Stiller was in top twitchy form as the future son-in-law (with the last name of Focker, evidently Jewish), and the odd site of Robert DeNiro in a cardigan... more


86. Fargo (1996)

Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

The main character of Fargo is as much place as person: Minnesota in depth of winter, where otherwise decent folks endure the long winter with uncomplaining aplomb and plain-speaking diction. The Coens disturb the peace with a violent, kidnapping-gone-awry story... more


87. My Favorite Year (1982)

Screenplay by Dennis Palumbo and Norman Steinberg, Story by Dennis Palumbo

Nominated for a Writers Guild Award, the script by Norman Steinberg and Dennis Palumbo is set in the backstage world of a comedy-variety series in TV’s Golden Age. A newbie writer, Benji Stone, is assigned to babysit a washed-up Hollywood star named Alan Swann... more


88. Stripes (1981)

Written by Len Blum & Dan Goldberg and Harold Ramis

Len Blum and Dan Goldberg had already teamed up with Harold Ramis to write the summer camp romp Meatballs when they created a second straight vehicle for Bill Murray, this time making him a hard-luck schnook who enlists in the Army... more


89. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Screenplay by Daniel Petrie, Jr., Story by Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie, Jr.

Daniel Petrie Jr. had advanced from the mailroom at ICM to become an agent, but it wasn’t until he was fired after five years that he returned to screenwriting. His first produced effort was a studio rewrite on Beverly Hills Cop, “which was then in development hell... more


90. City Lights (1931)

Written by Charles Chaplin

Despite the advent of sound, Charlie Chaplin made this silent classic in which his Little Tramp meets and falls for a blind flower girl, for whom he goes to great lengths to find the funds to restore her sight. Among the comic set pieces Chaplin created for his character... more


91. Sideways (2004)

Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Based on the Novel by Rex Pickett

The screenplay, by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, based on the novel by Rex Pickett, won an Oscar and Writers Guild Award. You could call Sideways a road comedy – the roads here being the ones that wind through Santa Barbara wine country, as a groom and his best man... more


92. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

Written by Woody Allen

Allen employed a great framing device to establish the tone and plot: The movie opens on four Ed Sullivan Show-era comedians at the Carnegie Deli, reminiscing about a colorful talent manager named Danny Rose, whose acts ranged from a flock of parakeets... more


93. Swingers (1996)

Written by Jon Favreau

Revisiting his impetus to write his first feature, Jon Favreau told the Web site Grantland.com that he didn’t even realize he was writing a movie. “I couldn’t wait to share it with my friends more as, like, doodles in the notebook than saying, ‘Hey, here’s my big movie... more


94. The Gold Rush (1925)

Written by Charles Chaplin

There is more than mere laughter in The Gold Rush,” said Mordaunt Hall, film critic for The New York Times, in 1925. “Masked by ludicrous situations is something of the comedian's early life – the hungry days in London, the times when he was depressed by disappointments... more


95. The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944)

Written by Preston Sturges

With the country at war, the plot of this Preston Sturges screwball comedy made waves in Washington, D.C. Trudy (Betty Hutton), a nice girl from small-town Morgan’s Creek, wakes up from a drunken revelry with departing soldiers to discover she’s married one of them... more


96. All About Eve (1950)

Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Based on the Short Story and Radio Program "The Wisdom of Eve" by Mary Orr

"Dialogue comes easy to me,” writer-director Joseph Mankiewicz told The New York Times in 1950. “Organization is my problem, but once I have a beginning and an end in mind... more


97. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Screenplay by Julius Epstein & Philip G. Epstein, Based on the Play by Joseph Kesselring

The identical twins Julius and Philp Epstein adapted the dark farce as contract writers at Warner Bros. in the 1930s and ’40s, during which their credits also included Casablanca (with Howard Koch), The Strawberry Blonde and The Man Who Came to Dinner... more


98. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson

Writer-director Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson met in a playwriting class at the University of Texas at Austin. After Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, they co-wrote The Royal Tenenbaums, which really established Anderson as part-ironist and part-fantasist... more


99. Mrs. Doutbtfire (1993)

Screenplay by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon, Based on Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine

Mrs. Doubtfire was Randi Mayem Singer’s first produced screenplay. “I was drawn to the idea of a divorced couple learning to put their differences aside in the interests of co-parenting... more


100. Flirting with Disaster (1996)

Written by David O. Russell

Writer-director David O. Russell “finds the strong central line” where all screwball comedies begin, wrote the late film critic Roger Ebert. “The seemingly serious mission or quest.” The quest here belongs to Mel, a first-time father who decides to track down his birth parents... more


101. Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard

“Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter?” Toiling away at that unfortunately titled work, Shakespeare needs a muse – his Juliet. He finds her in Lady Viola, even if young Will is just an ink-stained wretch and the lady (she really wants to act) belongs to a count... more