Comedies have been entertaining us at the movies since Charlie Chaplain’s Little Tramp was cheering up audiences during the Great Depression. Romantic comedies have eased fears of ominous clouds of war. Absurd plots can help audiences forget their own problems for a little while, and satires are a way to defang danger. No doubt Americans stuck at home to protect against COVID-19 have binge-watched plenty of comic shows.
To help pick a film that will inspire plenty of laughs, Stacker used data from Metacritic to compile a list of the 100 best comedies, according to critics. All films on the list were listed or co-listed as comedies on Metacritic. Of course, audiences don’t always love the films that reviewers praise, and reviewers don’t always love audience favorites.
Scroll through to see which of your favorite films were critical favorites or find a funny movie or two that might bring you a couple of hours of escape and smiles.
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100. ‘Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ (2005)
– Directors: Nick Park, Steve Box
This stop-motion animated story follows pest control agents Wallace, an inventor, and Gromit, his dog, as they protect the annual vegetable competition from an invasion of rabbits. Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes lend their voices to the film, which won an Oscar for the Best Animated Feature.
99. ‘Back to the Future’ (1985)
– Director: Robert Zemeckis
Director Robert Zemeckis introduced audiences to Michael J. Fox in this first installment of the Back to the Future series. Marty McFly is a high school student whose eccentric scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) accidentally sends him 30 years into the past through a time-traveling DeLorean. Stuck in 1955, McFly must be careful to prevent changes to his present. A Vox critic claimed the film was “the most perfect blockbuster ever made.”
98. ‘I Vitelloni’ (1953)
– Director: Federico Fellini
This sardonic 1953 film, directed by Federico Fellini, follows five young men in Italy who are facing a turning point in their lives. In English, the title roughly translates into “The Overgrown Teenagers” or “The Big Loafers.” The movie was Fellini’s third.
97. ‘The Long Goodbye’ (1973)
– Director: Robert Altman
Elliott Gould stars as Philip Marlowe, a private investigator who is caught up in the mysterious death of a close friend’s wife. Gould made five movies with Robert Altman, starting with M.A.S.H . in 1970. Altman dedicated the movie to Dan Blocker, an actor on the television Western Bonanza who had recently died. Altman had directed several episodes of the TV series.
96. ‘It Happened One Night’ (1934)
– Director: Frank Capra
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert star in this romantic comedy directed and co-produced by Frank Capra. Colbert plays a spoiled heiress who has eloped against the wishes of her parents. Gable plays a journalist who will help Colbert’s character reunite with her husband as long as he gets a story out of it. It was the first film to win all five major Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
95. ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ (2018)
– Director: Marielle Heller
Melissa McCarthy plays Lee Israel, a lonely and broke writer who realizes she can make ends meet by forging handwritten letters of famous playwrights and authors and tangles up a good friend in her fraud. The film is based on the real-life story of Israel , a New York writer who forged letters by Noel Coward, Fanny Brice, and Dorothy Parker in the early 1990s. Caught by the FBI , she was sentenced to house arrest and probation, and she died in 2014.
94. ‘The Awful Truth’ (1937)
– Director: Leo McCarey
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne play a couple getting divorced but plotting to sabotage each other’s plans for getting remarried. Their prolonged entanglement included court-ordered visits with their dog, Mr. Smith. The dog in real life was named Skippy and appeared as Asta in The Thin Man and its sequels. The cast had to take a break of several days from shooting when Skippy was shooting another movie.
93. ‘Shakespeare in Love’ (1998)
– Director: John Madden
This romantic period comedy-drama depicts a young William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) in love with a woman who disguises herself as a man so she can be an actor (Gwyneth Paltrow). The film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Picture.
92. ‘Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ (2014)
– Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Michael Keaton made his comeback in this dark comedy. Writer-director Alejandro González Iñárritu tells the story of an actor (Keaton) famous for playing a superhero, before the start of his new Broadway play. Emma Stone, Edward Norton, and Zach Galifianakis also appear in the film. It took home four Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Motion Picture.
91. ‘Mary Poppins’ (1964)
– Director: Robert Stevenson
Julie Andrews made the word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” famous in Mary Poppins . Dick Van Dyke joined Andrews in this musical-fantasy film about a nanny helping two kids become closer to their father. The film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, winning five.
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90. ‘Life Is Sweet’ (1990)
– Director: Mike Leigh
This British comedy directed by Mike Leigh takes a look at the lives of a lower-middle-class family in suburban London. Los Angeles Times writer Kenneth Turan said the film “has the wild, brazen, anything-goes energy of a 2-year-old.”
89. ‘Brooklyn’ (2015)
– Director: John Crowley
Screenwriter Nick Hornby adapted a Colm Tóibín novel for this film directed by John Crowley. The story follows an Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan) who comes to Brooklyn in the 1950s and falls in love. In the end, she must choose between her native country or her new home. Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday described the film as a “sincere, unabashedly tender coming-of-age tale.”
88. ‘Toy Story 2’ (1999)
– Directors: Ash Brannon, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich
In a sequel that many considered to be magic , Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks) is kidnapped by a toy collector as his owner Andy goes off to summer camp. The Toy Story 2 gang, including Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and newcomer Jessie the Cowgirl (Joan Cusack), must band together to rescue him.
87. ‘Anomalisa’ (2015)
– Directors: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
Charlie Kaufman used puppets and stop-motion animation to portray an aging motivational speaker as he tries to connect with others. He finally makes a friend when he meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh). The film taps into “an existential loneliness most films can only hint at,” according to NPR’s Bob Mondello .
86. ‘Tootsie’ (1982)
– Director: Sydney Pollack
Before Robin Williams played Mrs. Doubtfire, Dustin Hoffman donned a wig and a dress in Tootsie . Hoffman plays Michael Dorsey, a failing actor who dresses up like a woman to get a role in a soap opera. Problems arise when he falls in love with his co-star Julie (Jessica Lange). Teri Garr, Bill Murray, and Geena Davis make up a cast New York Times critic Vincent Canby called “splendid.”
85. ‘Up’ (2009)
– Directors: Bob Peterson, Pete Docter
This CGI-animated comedy starts sadly when an elderly man’s wife dies, but the majority of the movie is an uplifting story about an aging explorer who uses helium balloons to travel the world. A young boy joins him for the ride. The film won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
84. ‘Chicken Run’ (2000)
– Directors: Nick Park, Peter Lord
In the first of the Chicken Run series, a group of chickens band together to escape their evil owners. Critics generally agreed this animated film was just as much fun for adults as it was for children.
83. ‘Three Colors: White’ (1994)
– Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
This French-Polish comedy-drama is the second in the Three Colors series. The story follows a man who is left by his wife (Julie Delpy) because he could not consummate the marriage. He loses his money, home, and friends. He must regain his livelihood while learning to let his wife go.
82. ‘Mafioso’ (1962)
– Director: Alberto Lattuada
Originally released in 1962, this Italian black comedy stars Alberto Sordi as a factory manager living in Milan who is asked to make good on an oath with the local mob after he returns with his wife to Sicily. New York Times critic A.O. Scott said the movie was “at once a giddy mixture of farce, satire, and opera buffs.”
81. ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ (2014)
– Director: Wes Anderson
In his eighth feature film, director Wes Anderson tells the story of Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel, and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the lobby boy who becomes his friend. Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, F. Murray Abraham, and Tilda Swinton star in this stylish, eccentric, and silly comedy .
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80. ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ (2017)
– Director: Martin McDonagh
After her daughter is murdered, a mother (Frances McDormand) puts up three controversial billboards after local police (Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell) fail to find the killer. McDormand’s performance in the black comedy won her an Academy Award for Best Actress.
79. ‘Tulpan’ (2008)
– Director: Sergei Dvortsevoy
Director Sergei Dvortsevoy tells the story of Asa, a discharged Russian sailor living in Kazakhstan. He wants to be a herdsman who owns his own ranch one day, but first, he thinks he must get married. He sets his sights on Tulpan, the only eligible young woman in his proximity.
78. ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ (1947)
– Director: George Seaton
The heartwarming Christmas standard stars Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood at age 8 as her daughter, and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle. Wood said in her biography that she believed Gwenn really was Santa Claus until she saw him without a beard when filming had ended. The movie was originally called The Big Heart , and released with that name in Britain, but the title was changed for the American audience.
77. ‘The Death of Stalin’ (2018)
– Director: Armando Iannucci
After Joseph Stalin dies in Moscow in 1953, his underlings (Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin) struggle to see who will wield the power and become the next Soviet leader in this satire directed by Armando Iannucci. Critics described the humor as ” frightfully uneasy ,” with ” perfectly timed slapstick .”
76. ‘Paddington 2’ (2018)
– Director: Paul King
In this animated sequel, Paddington gets used to living with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens. The film follows the bear as he tries to find a gift for his aunt’s 100th birthday. Critic Christy Lemire wrote that the film “proves the smart-but-sweet combination that marked the first live-action film was no fluke. ”
75. ‘Y Tu Mamá También’ (2002)
– Director: Alfonso Cuarón
This art-house comedy, the title of which translates to “And Your Mother Too,” was a breakout hit. The story follows two macho teenagers in Mexico City: a rich kid (Diego Luna) and his middle-class friend (Gael García Bernal).
74. ‘Ghost World’ (2001)
– Director: Terry Zwigoff
Adapted from a Daniel Clowes comic book, Ghost World stars an angsty Scarlett Johansson alongside Thora Birch. The film explores the friendship of two teenage girls as they leave high school. New York Times critic A.O. Scott said the film was “the best depiction of teenage eccentricity since Rushmore .”
73. ‘Columbus’ (2017)
– Director: Kogonada
When his father falls into a coma, a Korean man played by John Cho is suddenly stuck in Columbus, Indiana. He strikes up a friendship with a local girl (Haley Lu Richardson) who isn’t as keen on leaving town. Critics agree the movie is endearing and beautifully filmed.
72. ‘The Madness of King George’ (1994)
– Director: Nicholas Hytner
The film shows King George III (Nigel Hawthorne) as he slips into insanity after losing his American colonies in 1788. Some believe Hawthorne should have won the Oscar that year instead of Tom Hanks for Forrest Gump .
71. ‘Eighth Grade’ (2018)
– Director: Bo Burnham
Writer-director Bo Burnham shows the awkwardness of adolescence through the story of an eighth-grader named Kayla (Elsie Fisher). The audience watches Kayla as she makes it through the last week of middle school.
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70. ‘Uncertain’ (2015)
– Directors: Anna Sandilands, Ewan McNicol
In a documentary that takes an artful look at the town of Uncertain, Texas, viewers get a closer view of a few of the small town’s residents. Variety ‘s Peter Debruge called the film “instantly fascinating.” It also won the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival’s prestigious Albert Maysles Documentary Director Award.
69. ‘Elle’ (2016)
– Director: Paul Verhoeven
In a career-defining role , Isabelle Huppert played Michele, the head of a successful video game company. After she is attacked and raped in her home, she decides to track the criminal down and exact revenge. Critic Sheila O’Malley called the movie a “high-wire act without a net.”
68. ‘The Farewell’ (2019)
– Director: Lulu Wang
A Chinese family decides not to tell their grandmother that she has terminal cancer, and they schedule a hasty wedding to gather together before her death. Awkwafina won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy. The plot was based on Lulu Wang’s real family who lied to their grandmother about her illness and had a wedding to get the family to visit. Wang not only wrote and directed the movie, but she played piano on the soundtrack as well.
67. ‘Funny Girl’ (1968)
– Director: William Wyler
The movie follows film star and comedian Fanny Brice and her relationship with gambler Nicky Arnstein. Barbra Streisand won an Academy Award for her role in this musical-comedy.
66. ‘Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’ (2006)
– Director: Larry Charles
British comedian and master of disguise Sacha Baron Cohen wrote and starred in this 2006 mockumentary. He plays Borat Sagdiyev, a news reporter from Kazakhstan, who comes to the United States to make a documentary. Cohen uses Borat’s character to illuminate misogyny and racism as he travels across the country in an ice cream truck.
65. ‘The Last Detail’ (1973)
– Director: Hal Ashby
In this profane comedy based on a novel by the same name, Jack Nicholson and Otis Young play Navy sailors escorting another sailor (Randy Quaid) to the Portsmouth Naval Prison. Nicholson and Young show the sailor a good time before dropping him off to serve his sentence.
64. ‘Love and Death’ (1975)
– Director: Woody Allen
Woody Allen satirizes Russian literature in Love and Death . Allen stars as a 19th-century Russian who falls in love with his married cousin (Diane Keaton). Allen wins a duel against a cuckolded husband and is then asked to join a plot to kill Napoleon.
63. ‘Paterson’ (2016)
– Director: Jim Jarmusch
Adam Driver stars in this quiet comedy-drama written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. Driver plays Paterson, a bus driver in New Jersey who dabbles in poetry. Viewers follow Paterson through a week of his life in a film that celebrates the normal .
62. ‘Gosford Park’ (2001)
– Director: Robert Altman
Robert Altman directed this mystery in which the lives of both guests and servants are upended when a murder occurs at a party. The ensemble cast includes Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Ryan Phillippe, Maggie Smith, and Kristin Scott Thomas, among others.
61. ‘The Circus’ (1928)
– Director: Charles Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp is hired as a clown by a traveling circus. The silent movie’s famous scene is Chaplin, with his fine-tuned comic timing, as he walks a tightrope and is attacked by escaped monkeys. Chaplin won his first Academy Award for “versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing and producing.” But it was made as Chaplin was going through an acrimonious divorce, and production halted for eight months while lawyers tried to seize the studio’s assets.
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60. ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ (1986)
– Director: Woody Allen
This 1986 comedy-drama was written and directed by Woody Allen. The story follows a family over two years culminating around a Thanksgiving dinner. The cast includes Mia Farrow, Michael Caine, Dianne Wiest, Carrie Fisher, and Farrow’s own mother Maureen O’Sullivan. The film won Oscars for Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.
59. ‘American Splendor’ (2003)
– Directors: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman
This biographical comedy-drama is about Harvey Pekar, the author of the American Splendor comic book series for which the film is named. Paul Giamatti plays Pekar, who chronicled his life as a hospital file clerk in Ohio in his comic books. The film mixes in scenes that show the real-life Pekar, who died in 2010.
58. ‘Being John Malkovich’ (1999)
– Director: Spike Jonze
Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is an unemployed puppeteer who takes a job as a file clerk. When Craig finds a portal that leads inside the head of actor John Malkovich, the two explore what it’s like to be the actor. Director Spike Jonze paired up with writer Charlie Kaufman to produce this original and sometimes outlandish film.
57. ‘Topsy-Turvy’ (1999)
– Director: Mike Leigh
Topsy-Turvy is set in the late 1800s, and tells the story of how the musical theater-writing duo of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan nearly fell apart before the two made The Mikado , one of their most well-known comic operas. Variety critic Deborah Young called the film, “[A] beautifully crafted and lively romp around the 1880s stage world.”
56. ‘Finding Nemo’ (2003)
– Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
Clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) sets out to find his lost son Nemo when the two become separated in the Great Barrier Reef. Along the way, Marlin meets up with forgetful Pacific regal blue tang Dory (Ellen DeGeneres). The animated film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and spawned a successful sequel 13 years later.
55. ‘It’s Such a Beautiful Day’ (2012)
– Director: Don Hertzfeldt
This black comedy-drama is an animated film directed, written, drawn, and produced by Don Hertzfeldt. The film is split into three chapters that follow a stick-figure named Bill who has an unknown illness that causes memory lapses and strange visions. The visuals may be simple , but emotions still come through.
54. ‘Her’ (2013)
– Director: Spike Jonze
Director Spike Jonze shows viewers a future in which artificial intelligence can help with loneliness. Quiet, solitary Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his operating system Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). New York Times critic Manohla Dargis says the film is a touching and remarkably believable love story between man and machine.
53. ‘After Hours’ (1985)
– Director: Martin Scorsese
Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) has an absurd night as he makes his way through SoHo after meeting Marcy (Rosanna Arquette) in a New York cafe. Martin Scorsese directed this black comedy that critics liked , but that wasn’t an instant audience favorite.
52. ‘Bringing Up Baby’ (1938)
– Director: Howard Hawks
Critics panned the screwball comedy starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant when it was first released. Hepburn plays a mad-cap heiress, and Grant is an absent-minded professor who needs $1 million to finish constructing a brontosaurus skeleton. The movie is a trove of gags, physical antics, and double entendres.
51. ‘The Favourite’ (2018)
– Director: Giorgos Lanthimos
Olivia Colman won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role as the ailing Queen Anne. Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone play a palace aristocrat and a servant competing for her attention. Both were nominated for Oscars in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. Colman said in interviews later that she didn’t remember making her Oscar acceptance speech—” This is hilarious,” she exclaimed —thanks to all the trips she made to the bar at the back of the awards ceremony auditorium.
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50. ‘Secrets & Lies’ (1996)
– Director: Mike Leigh
Directed by Mike Leigh, Secrets & Lies addresses issues of race and identity when a woman (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) living in London finds out her birth mother (Brenda Blethyn) is living in a run-down part of town. The film was nominated for five Oscars and won the Palme d’Or at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. Blethyn won a Golden Globe for Best Actress.
49. ‘Uncut Gems’ (2019)
– Directors: Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie
Adam Sandler is a fast-talking, manic, and deeply-in-debt gem dealer who thinks he has found a solution to his problems by selling a huge uncut opal. But he allows a customer, an NBA star, to borrow the gem, setting off a string of calamities. Inspiration for the movie came in part from directors Ben and Joshua Safdie’s father, who worked for a time in midtown Manhattan’s Diamond District.
48. ‘Jafar Panahi’s Taxi’ (2015)
– Director: Jafar Panahi
The Iranian government banned Jafar Panahi from making films in 2010. To get around the censorship, he posed as a taxi driver to make a funny and captivating movie addressing social issues in Iran. This was Panahi’s third feature he filmed after the ban.
47. ‘A Bread Factory Part One: For the Sake of Gold’ (2018)
– Director: Patrick Wang
Part One was created to be shown back-to-back with a second piece, Walk with Me a While , each two hours long and separated by an intermission. It’s set in a fictional town in upstate New York where two women, played by Tyne Daly (of television’s Cagney & Lacey ) and Elizabeth Henry, run an arts center at risk of losing its funding and challenged by competition across town.
46. ‘The Ladykillers’ (1955)
– Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, this black comedy tells the story of a group of five men who plan a bank robbery while renting rooms from an elderly widow who believes the men are classical musicians. Alexander Mackendrick directed the original feature, but Joel and Ethan Coen remade the film in 2004 with a cast that included Tom Hanks, Marlon Wayans, J.K. Simmons, and Irma P. Hall.
45. ‘Children of Tokyo’ (2010)
– Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Originally released in 1932, Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu’s silent film was digitally restored with retranslated subtitles in 2010. The story tells the story of a family through two young brothers who are disappointed with their father’s submissive behavior at work. After viewing their father in a different light, the boys shed some of their innocent views of the world.
44. ‘A Bread Factory Part Two: Walk With Me a While’ (2018)
– Director: Patrick Wang
The second half of paired movies about tumult at a fictionalized arts center in upstate New York marked the last performance of South African Shakespearean actor Brian Murray, who died at age 80 in 2018. On the New York stage, Murray earned Tony Award nominations for his performances in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead , The Little Foxes , and The Crucible .
43. ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ (1975)
– Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Filled with Monty Python’s signature British humor, this installment was a “marvelously particular kind of lunatic endeavor,” according a New York Times review . As the name suggests, the comedy follows King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they search for the Holy Grail.
42. ‘The Triplets of Belleville’ (2003)
– Director: Sylvain Chomet
Directed by French filmmaker Sylvain Chomet, this animated feature tells the story of Madame Souza, a grandmother who must rescue her kidnapped son from a group of gangsters who want to use his bicycling prowess in a gambling scheme. Along the way, Souza and her friend meet a 1930s jazz group known as The Triplets of Belleville. The film features Oscar-nominated music by Benoit Charest.
41. ‘Love Affair’ (1939)
– Director: Leo McCarey
Charles Boyer plays a dashing French painter, and Irene Dunne is an American singer who meet and fall in love on an ocean cruise, but each is engaged to marry someone else. The movie was remade in 1957 as An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, and again in 1994 as Love Affair with Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, and Katharine Hepburn.
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40. ‘Breaking Away’ (1979)
– Director: Peter Yates
A group of young men adjusts to life after high school. Dennis Christopher plays Dave, a cycling enthusiast who wants to become a world champion. After meeting the Italian racing team, he and his friends (Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley) decide to challenge some college boys in the town’s annual bike race. The film won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
39. ‘Swing Time’ (1936)
– Director: George Stevens
The fifth movie pairing Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers is a comedy based on mistaken identity, but its high points are their dance numbers, especially their “Never Gonna Dance” routine. Due to Astaire dancing a solo, “Bojangles of Harlem,” in blackface, the movie is not broadcast on television as much as other Astaire-Rogers collaborations.
38. ‘A Summer’s Tale’ (2014)
– Director: Eric Rohmer
A man who has recently graduated from university heads to the beaches in Bretagne for a three-week vacation. After his girlfriend declines his invitation, he meets another woman who sparks his interest. He must decide between his new love interest and his former flame. Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turansaid the movie was “unhurried and gently amusing.” Originally released in the U.S. in 1996, the newly restored film made its American debut in the summer of 2014.
37. ‘The Rider’ (2018)
– Director: Chloé Zhao
This film—based on a true story—stars Brady Jandreau as a star on the rodeo circuit trying to make a comeback after a riding accident. Brady must grapple with finding a new identity if he can no longer ride and compete. Jandreau’s real-life siblings Tim and Lilly appear opposite him in the film. The Atlantic considered it one of the best movies of 2018 .
36. ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ (1984)
– Director: Rob Reiner
One of the first mockumentary films, this satire focuses on a once-famous aging British heavy metal group while they plan a concert tour after 17 years out of the spotlight. Rob Reiner directed and co-wrote the script for this cult classic, along with the film’s stars Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer.
35. ‘Toy Story 3’ (2010)
– Director: Lee Unkrich
Pixar succeeded again with the third installment of the Toy Story series. This time, Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and the gang find themselves sent to daycare as Andy heads off to college. The film won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.
34. ‘Annie Hall’ (1977)
– Director: Woody Allen
The story follows neurotic New Yorker Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) as he falls in love and navigates a relationship with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). Written and directed by Allen, the film won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor.
33. ‘Top Hat’ (1935)
– Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers perform the classic dance routines “Isn’t This a Lovely Day?” and “Cheek to Cheek.” Astaire disliked the gown Rogers wore in “Cheek to Cheek” that was made mostly of ostrich feathers, complaining that it detracted from the dancing’s clean lines. Lucille Ball has a small uncredited role.
32. ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939)
– Directors: George Cukor, King Vidor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Victor Fleming
One of America’s all-time classics won an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, for “Over the Rainbow,” and another Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score. The Munchkins were played by a troupe of European actors, many of whom were Jewish and remained in the United States to escape Nazi persecution. Star Judy Garland grew close to the dog who played Toto and wanted to adopt her, but her owner did not want to give her up. Lines from the movie are among cinema’s most iconic: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” “There’s no place like home,” and “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
31. ‘The Band Wagon’ (1953)
– Director: Vincente Minnelli
Headed by stars Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, the cast includes Ava Gardner and Julie Newmar, who appear uncredited. Newmar played the Catwoman in television’s Batman series in the 1960s. Vincente Minnelli directed two movies that won Oscars for Best Picture— An American in Paris in 1951 and Gigi in 1958. Minnelli also invented the crab camera dolly that can move in any direction for shooting.
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30. ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ (2009)
– Director: Nina Paley
This ambitious and visually loaded animated film tells the Hindu story of the Ramayana interspersed with musical numbers featuring the vocals of 1920s star Annette Hanshaw. The feature placed first at several international film festivals around the world.
29. ‘Do the Right Thing’ (1989)
– Director: Spike Lee
Director Spike Lee details events that led to a race riot between residents in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year. The events center around an Italian American pizza parlor owner named Sal (Danny Aiello), his employee Mookie (Spike Lee), and Mookie’s friend Buggin’ Out (Giancarlo Esposito). Some see this groundbreaking movie as a Black nationalist manifesto , as well as one of the most important films of its time.
28. ‘Toni Erdmann’ (2016)
– Director: Maren Ade
A professional woman’s estranged father likes to play jokes and dress in disguises. He poses as a life coach for her CEO in order to get close to her. Father and daughter attempt to repair their relationship when his identity is finally revealed. Maren Ade wrote and directed the German-Austrian film, which was Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.
27. ‘Duck Soup’ (1933)
– Director: Leo McCarey
Groucho Marx is Rufus T Firefly, head of the country of Fredonia that is badly in need of a financial boost from Mrs. Gloria Teasdale, played by Margaret Dumont. Harpo and Chico Marx play spies from a neighboring country that is hoping to overthrow Freedonia. In Italy, Benito Mussolini saw the movie as an affront and banned it. It was the last Marx Brothers’ movie with Zeppo Marx, who quit the family troupe.
26. ‘The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie’ (1972)
– Director: Luis Buñuel
Six people at a dinner party try to finish a meal together but are interrupted by a series of dreams. Directed by Luis Bunuel and written in collaboration with Jean-Claude Carriere, the surrealist comedy won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
25. ‘La La Land’ (2016)
– Director: Damien Chazelle
Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) keep ending up together as they both pursue their desires—with plenty of singing and dancing along the way—in this romantic feature. The musical comedy-drama took home six Academy Awards, including Best Actress and Best Director. While many critics praised the film , some weren’t as enamored with the feature.
24. ‘Marriage Story’ (2019)
– Director: Noah Baumbach
Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson head up the cast of the film that follows the unraveling of a marriage, with added performances by Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, and Alan Alda. Driver plays a theater director, and Johansson is an actress who feels lost in his shadow. The movie marked the fourth time Driver collaborated with director Noah Baumbach, who shot 76 takes of its final scene.
23. ‘Chimes at Midnight’ (1967)
– Director: Orson Welles
Director Orson Wells stars as Sir John Falstaff in this compilation drawn from Shakespeare’s Henry IV , Richard II , Henry V , and The Merry Wives of Windsor . The top-notch cast includes Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford, and Sir John Gielgud. Many critics consider it to be the best work of Wells, who directed and starred in Citizen Kane in 1941.
22. ‘Lady Bird’ (2017)
– Director: Greta Gerwig
Writer Greta Gerwig makes her directorial debut with a film called exquisite by New Yorker critic Richard Brody. Lady Bird , a script loosely based on Gerwig’s own life, tells the story of an angsty teenager (Saoirse Ronan) at a California Catholic school and explores her relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf). The feature was nominated for five Academy Awards and won Golden Globes for Best Actress and Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy).
21. ‘The Apartment’ (1960)
– Director: Billy Wilder
Jack Lemmon is an insurance company employee who lends his Manhattan apartment to company bigwigs for trysts in hopes of getting a promotion. To create the illusion of a vast office of workers, movie designers placed adult actors in the front, children in suits in the back, and tiny desks with small cut-out figures further back. Billy Wilder became the first person to win Oscars all in the same year for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The movie also won Oscars for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White, and Best Film Editing.
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20. ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ (1945)
– Director: Vincente Minnelli
This Christmas musical stars Judy Garland, and Margaret O’Brien who was given a special Juvenile Oscar for her performance. Garland and Vincente Minnelli met in the making of the film and soon were married; he was nearly 20 years older than she was. By 1949, the pair separated.
19. ‘Sideways’ (2004)
– Director: Alexander Payne
Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) go on a road trip through California wine country before Jack gets married. Miles meets another wine buff (Virginia Madsen) while Jack spends the weekend with winemaker Stephanie (Sandra Oh). The film increased the popularity of Pinot Noir by 170 percent after it was released.
18. ‘Inside Out’ (2015)
– Directors: Pete Docter, Ronaldo del Carmen
Emotions come to life in this innovative animated film. After a young girl moves from the Midwest to San Francisco, viewers get a look inside her head as her feelings try to navigate this new life. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, and Jack Black are among the cast. The film won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
17. ‘La Dolce Vita’ (1960)
– Director: Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini directed this 1960 classic that shows viewers a week in the life of a playboy journalist in Rome. The feature won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and Fellini took home the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
16. ‘The Social Network’ (2010)
– Director: David Fincher
Based on a book by Ben Mezrich, writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher tell the story of Facebook . Jesse Eisenberg portrays founder Mark Zuckerberg as he gets caught up in a lawsuit after two Harvard students sue him, claiming Facebook was their idea. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay.
15. ‘Toy Story’ (1995)
– Director: John Lasseter
The Pixar computer-animation that spurred three sequels, Toy Story introduced audiences to the cowboy doll Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks) as he struggles to accept his owner’s latest birthday present: a spaceman toy named Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). The film helped launch Pixar—then a young company headed by Steve Jobs—and changed the animation industry forever .
14. ‘The Producers’ (1968)
– Director: Mel Brooks
Before it became a Broadway hit, The Producers starred an over-the-top Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel on the silver screen in 1968. Mel Brooks, who wrote and directed the film, won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, and Wilder received a Best Supporting Actor nod.
13. ‘Modern Times’ (1936)
– Director: Charles Chaplin
Originally released in 1936, Charlie Chaplin wrote, directed, and starred in Modern Times . The film tells the story of Chaplin’s iconic character, Little Tramp, as he struggles to adapt to the modern, industrialized world. This was the last film featuring Chaplin’s Tramp character.
12. ‘The Lady Eve’ (1941)
– Director: Preston Sturges
Barbara Stanwyck is a con artist who sets her sights on the bumbling but wealthy Henry Fonda on board an ocean cruise. The movie is considered one of the best by writer and director Preston Sturges, who was known for fast-paced dialogue and zany physical comedy in the 1940s.
11. ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (1964)
– Director: Richard Lester
The Beatles made their film debut in this 1964 musical comedy. The audience gets a feel for Beatle-mania, as they follow the band through a fictional day-in-the-life of the musicians.
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10. ‘Parasite’ (2019)
– Director: Joon-ho Bong
The story of two interconnected families, one rich and one poor, won four Oscars—Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film—and a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. It also was the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
9. ‘Ratatouille’ (2007)
– Director: Brad Bird
In this 2007 animated film, a rat who loves to cook teams up with a young chef at a popular restaurant. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
8. ‘The Philadelphia Story’ (1940)
– Director: George Cukor
Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart all grace the screen in this romantic comedy. Hepburn plays the daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia family who is on the way to her second marriage. Grant stars as the ex-husband who wants to foil the wedding, and Stewart plays a tabloid journalist who falls for Hepburn. The American Film Institute considers it one of the top 100 American films of all time.
7. ‘Nashville’ (1975)
– Director: Robert Altman
The ensemble cast included Ned Beatty, Lily Tomlin, Keith Carradine, Henry Gibson, Karen Black, Geraldine Chaplin, Michael Murphy, Elliott Gould, and Julie Christie. Most of the movie was improvised, and the actors wrote and performed their own songs. The movie was nominated for a record 11 Golden Globes.
6. ‘The Shop Around the Corner’ (1940)
– Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Two shop employees in this romantic comedy—Margaret Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart—dislike each other and are unaware that they are anonymous pen pals. The movie was made in 28 days for less than $500,000 . It was the basis for the 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail , with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, in which Ryan’s bookstore is called The Shop Around The Corner.
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5. ‘American Graffiti’ (1973)
– Director: George Lucas
Set during summer in the early ’60s, four teenagers experience their last night before heading to college. The film features a young Ron Howard, Harrison Ford , Richard Dreyfuss, and Suzanne Somers. Directed and co-written by George Lucas and produced by Francis Ford Coppola, this 1973 classic was voted one of the American Film Institute’s top 100 films of all time .
4. ‘Some Like It Hot’ (1959)
– Director: Billy Wilder
Set in 1929, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon star as two musicians who flee a police raid of their speakeasy and accidentally witness a mob hit. They decide to disguise themselves as female band members to avoid detection, and during their travels, they meet Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe). BBC Culture considers it one of the greatest comedies of all time .
3. ‘Pinocchio’ (1940)
– Directors: Ben Sharpsteen, Bill Roberts, Hamilton Luske, Jack Kinney, Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson
The movie portrayal of the beloved children’s story won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song, for “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and an Oscar for Best Music, Original Score. It had an original budget of $500,000 but cost five times as much. It originally bombed at the box office.
2. ‘City Lights’ (1931)
– Director: Charles Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin is the Little Tramp who falls in love with a beautiful blind girl, played by Virginia Cherrill. Chaplin shot one scene of the Little Tramp buying a flower from the blind girl 342 times to get it right. Other movies already had sound, but Chaplin made the movie silent. It was expensive at $1.5 million, in part because Chaplin held the cast and crew on standby for nearly two years but only shot for six months.
1. ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ (1952)
– Directors: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
This 1950s classic starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds received universal acclaim. The musical-comedy was directed and choreographed by Kelly and Stanley Donen, and followed a group of performers transitioning from silent films to “talkies.” The movie, which features the iconic scene where Kelly sings and dances while twirling an umbrella in the rain ( some say with a fever ), has since been preserved in the National Film Registry of the United States Library of Congress .
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