100 Best Essential Comedy Movies

The best-reviewed lists we normally publish involve thousands of movies sorted by Adjusted Tomatometer to best distill the professional critics’ consensus, a soothing balm of agreement in the internet age.

This is not that kind of list.

This is 100 Essential Comedy Movies, funny flicks hand-picked by Rotten Tomatoes editors to best represent our tastes and, hey, probably yours, too. (We also did an Essential 200 Movies.) The only caveat for our comedies list: Every movie needed to be 60% (Fresh) or higher. That’s it. You’re still here? It’s over! Go read.

#100

Modern Times (1936)
100%

#100
Adjusted Score: 109.843%
Critics Consensus: A slapstick skewering of industrialized America, Modern Times is as politically incisive as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Synopsis: This episodic satire of the Machine Age is considered Charles Chaplin's last "silent" film, although Chaplin uses sound, vocal, and... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

#99
#99
Adjusted Score: 109.624%
Critics Consensus: Clever, incisive, and funny, Singin' in the Rain is a masterpiece of the classical Hollywood musical.
Synopsis: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor star in Singin' in the Rain, one of the greatest and most successful... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

#98
#98
Adjusted Score: 107.49%
Critics Consensus: Offering a wonderfully witty script, spotless direction from George Cukor, and typically excellent lead performances, The Philadelphia Story is an unqualified classic.
Synopsis: Set among the upper class in 1930s Philadelphia, this irreverent classic romantic comedy features radiant performances by three legendary stars.... [More]
Directed By: George Cukor

#97

The Lady Eve (1941)
100%

#97
Adjusted Score: 105.046%
Critics Consensus: A career highlight for Preston Sturges, The Lady Eve benefits from Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda's sparkling chemistry, and from a script that has inspired countless battle-of-the-sexes comedies.
Synopsis: In Preston Sturges' comedy, Henry Fonda stars as Charles Pike, the son of a beer magnate who becomes the target... [More]
Directed By: Preston Sturges

#96

Playtime (1973)
100%

#96
Adjusted Score: 104.318%
Critics Consensus: A remarkable achievement, Playtime's packs every scene with sight gags and characters that both celebrates and satirizes the urbanization of modern life.
Synopsis: Hilarious, dazzlingly inventive comedy in which Mr. Hulot tries to function in an unrecognizable Paris of modernistic glass-and-steel skyscrapers.... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tati

#95

The Odd Couple (1968)
100%

#95
Adjusted Score: 103.104%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this film, compulsive neatnik Felix Unger is thrown out of his house by his wife. He gravitates to the... [More]
Directed By: Gene Saks

#94
Adjusted Score: 106.583%
Critics Consensus: Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Cold War satire remains as funny and razor-sharp today as it was in 1964.
Synopsis: In 1964, with the Cuban Missile Crisis fresh in viewers' minds, the Cold War at its frostiest, and the hydrogen... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#93
#93
Adjusted Score: 109.86%
Critics Consensus: Capturing its stars and director at their finest, It Happened One Night remains unsurpassed by the countless romantic comedies it has inspired.
Synopsis: Frank Capra's seminal screwball comedy, which won all five major Academy Awards for 1934, is still as breezy and beguiling... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

#92

City Lights (1931)
98%

#92
Adjusted Score: 104.082%
Critics Consensus: One of the best underdog romance movies ever, with an ending that will light up any heart.
Synopsis: A homeless tramp befriends a lovely blind flower seller and convinces her he is a millionaire while he secretly labors... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

#91

His Girl Friday (1940)
98%

#91
Adjusted Score: 103.974%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by stellar performances from Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, His Girl Friday is a classic screwball romantic comedy.
Synopsis: The second screen version of the Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur play The Front Page, His Girl Friday changed hard-driving newspaper reporter... [More]
Directed By: Howard Hawks

#90
Adjusted Score: 105.076%
Critics Consensus: A cult classic as gut-bustingly hilarious as it is blithely ridiculous, Monty Python and the Holy Grail has lost none of its exceedingly silly charm.
Synopsis: From its opening multi-language titles (that sure looks like Swedish) to the closing arrest of the entire Dark Ages cast... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones

#89

Annie Hall (1977)
97%

#89
Adjusted Score: 104.15%
Critics Consensus: Filled with poignant performances and devastating humor, Annie Hall represents a quantum leap for Woody Allen and remains an American classic.
Synopsis: "Annie Hall" is a comical look at the up and down relationship between a New York City TV writer and... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#88

Airplane! (1980)
97%

#88
Adjusted Score: 102.933%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly juvenile and silly, Airplane! is nevertheless an uproarious spoof comedy full of quotable lines and slapstick gags that endure to this day.
Synopsis: This spoof of the Airport series of disaster movies relies on ridiculous sight gags, groan-inducing dialogue, and deadpan acting --... [More]

#87
Adjusted Score: 102.73%
Critics Consensus: An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray's hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns.
Synopsis: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson star as a quartet of Manhattan-based "paranormal investigators". When their government... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#86
#86
Adjusted Score: 102.75%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: Robin Wright and Cary Elwes star in this fairytale adventure about a beautiful princess and the gallant hero who rescues... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#85

Safety Last! (1923)
97%

#85
Adjusted Score: 100.884%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, the silent film era's "third genius" was Harold Lloyd, who stars in this Horatio... [More]
Directed By: Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

#84
#84
Adjusted Score: 98.918%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Albert Brooks wrote, directed, and stars in this philosophical comedy about a man having a hard time making a case... [More]
Directed By: Albert Brooks

#83
Adjusted Score: 102.332%
Critics Consensus: One of the more cutting-edge films of the 1970s, this religious farce from the classic comedy troupe is as poignant as it is funny and satirical.
Synopsis: Monty Python delivers the group's sharpest and smartest satire of both religion and Hollywood's epic films. Set in 33 A.D.... [More]
Directed By: Terry Jones

#82

Some Like It Hot (1959)
96%

#82
Adjusted Score: 102.619%
Critics Consensus: Some Like It Hot: A spry, quick-witted farce that never drags.
Synopsis: Two Struggling musicians witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and are now on the run from the Mob. Jerry and... [More]
Directed By: John Huston, Billy Wilder

#81
#81
Adjusted Score: 101.805%
Critics Consensus: Smarter, fresher, and funnier than a modern vampire movie has any right to be, What We Do in the Shadows is bloody good fun.
Synopsis: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS chronicles the adventures of four vampire roommates trying to get by in a modern... [More]

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