The 45 Best Comedies of All Time

These are required viewing, people!

Listen, when it comes down to it, there are comedies that are marginally amusing at BEST, and there are absolute classics. You know…the movies you find yourself randomly quoting all the time and forcing everyone you care about to enjoy as much as you do? But when you’ve exhausted enough re-watches out of your favorites, what's the next step??

If you’re scrolling endlessly through Netflix waiting for the ~algorithm~ to provide you with your next favorite flick, stop right there my friend. Here's a definitive list of 35 high quality comedy movies that will make you laugh even on the darkest of days. If what you seek is some entertainment for a lazy night in, or some killer recommendations to impress your friends with, we’ve got you. You’ll be just as obsessed with these side-splitting comedies as we are. From petty high school politics to raunchy buddy cop antics, this list contains absolute quality CINEMA. Go ahead and check it out out below if you value taste at all.

 

1. Eight grade

 Imagine scrolling through your most embarrassing middle school Facebook posts for 90 minutes. Thats basically how watching this feels, but in like an enjoyable, funny, way. Man, you're gonna wanna laugh, but also protect the movie’s eighth grade protagonist from all that's bad in the worl

2. Girls Trip

Sometimes there’s nothing better than watching a good group of friends go absolutely haywire. Not only did this movie introduce us to Tiffany Haddish, but it’ll inspire messy girl’s weekends for years to come. Also Paul Thomas Anderson recently called it one of his favorite movies of all time. Would you ever doubt PTA? Happy grapefruiting.

3. Booksmart

This is possibly Olivia Wilde’s greatest accomplishment since her stint on The O.C. Her directorial debut takes the standard "last day of high school" movie structure and makes it seem completely one-of-a-kind. The characters are so well written, and the soundtrack absolutely bangs.

4. Drop Dead Gorgeous

This severely underrated movie probably has the most interesting ‘Where are they now?’ cast ever. The story follows a fake documentary film crew covering pageant girls that ruthlessly compete for a small town crown. Its just classic 90s fashion and antics, who doesn’t love that?

5. They Came Together

Ahh rom-coms, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all. Except maybe this one? This wacky parody gives us Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler in peak SNL skit mode and we couldn’t ask for anything better.

6. Meet The Parents

If you’re scared your in-laws don’t like you, this movie will assure you that it could be worse. This list wouldn’t even be close to complete without this hilarious addition. Also, it has probably Robert De Niro’s most iconic performance. (Please don’t mention Goodfellas, Taxi Driver and countless others.)

7. Romy and Michele's High School Reunion

Who doesn’t want everyone to be jealous of them at their high school reunion? Here we follow a pair of friends who are desperate to impress, even if that mean stretching a few truths. I mean, 1) Lisa Kudrow 2) cute outfits 3) and delusional best friends spiraling? Sign me up.

8. 21 Jump Street

 

High school drug stings have literally never been more endearing. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill star as as naive undercover cops and shocked 2012 audiences everywhere with their effortless on-screen chemistry. Its a guaranteed laugh, and probably the rare instance of a comedy thats sequel also holds up, (the brilliantly titled 22 Jump Street.)

  1. 9. Waiting for Guffman

 

I introduce at least one person a year to this movie and they all offer to name their children — all of their children! — after me. It's a madcap take on the world of the thee-ater and every single cast member is perfectly suited to their role. Plus, it'll begin your obsession with human angel Parker Posey, and every single one of her movies is worth seeing.

10. Billy Madison

Before we were blessed with the glory that is ‘Uncut Gems,’ some might’ve called this Adam Sandler's only great movie, (don't come for me.) Happy Gilmore is good, and The Wedding Singer is pretty charming, but Billy Madison is just a straight-up comedic masterpiece.

11. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

A delightful romp starring two of the most watchable dudes in the game. Also, it's more progressive than you think! As writer Ashley Spurgeon once pointed out on Twitter, Harold & Kumar actually passes the Bechdel Test if you count the time the women play battle shits in the bathroom!

12. Spaceballs

You don't have to like the movie Spaceballs parodies — Star Wars, ever heard of it?! — to appreciate this hilarious take on a ragtag group of outer space weirdos. The entire movie is extremely quotable, so get ready to enter a very excellent club where you can talk about things like ludicrous speed and Pizza the Hutt.

13. Obvious Child

Your imaginary best friend, Jenny Slate, stars in this rom-com that travels into territory not normally associated with rom-coms. It pays off big-time and makes you wish there were more comedies about "taboo" topics — Jenny, are you on it?!

14. Elf

When Will Ferrell was cast as Buddy the Elf, an angel got her wings. It's the role he was meant to play, and it's just such a lovely, sweet, funny, hopeful movie about being yourself and believing in magic that it deserves its spot next to Die Hard as one of the best Christmas movies ever made.

15. Bridesmaids

The movie that introduced the once-in-a-lifetime talent of Melissa McCarthy to the world. Not only is it poop-your-wedding-gown funny (sorry; I don't even really like that scene), it's also a heartwarming ode to the power of female friendship. Oh, WILSON PHILLIPS is in it. 10/10.

16. Shaun of the Dead

The only movie about zombies worth watching. (Well, except for Zombieland. That is a good movie with a good cast! It's funny too! But not funny enough for this list!) Director Edgar Wright is both totally unhinged and completely in control of this insane ride, and it'll make you laugh a lot and also never want to visit the English countryside.

17. Hair Show

Mo'Nique and Gina Torres star in this underappreciated gem that goes out to anyone who's ever had a sister. Not only is it funny, the clothes and hair are so 2004 that you feel like you've been put in a time machine and dumped in the mid-aughts. We are so old.

18. Clueless

As if I even needed to tell you this was gonna be on the list. Plus, Paul Rudd as Cher's stepbrother/boyfriend (?!) launched a million girls' obsessions with hot nerds.

19. Bottle Rocket

Ca-caw! This is Wes Anderson before Wes Anderson ruined Wes Anderson. Nah, he's still fine and great and everything, but Bottle Rocket is an unpolished, awkward masterpiece. It'll also make you want to call up your best friends and convince them to do something stupid with you. Don't! Instead watch Rushmore, Anderson's second-best movie that probably also deserves to be on this list.

20. Bringing Up Baby

 

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant star in this charming screwball comedy that has more gags than Christian Grey's Red Room. And it's wonderful — why are pratfalls so funny!? I think, deep down, we just hate each other. Can a sociologist confirm that for me?

21. Coming to America

 

I am running out of ways to call these movies perfect, but you would be hard pressed to find a more perfect movie than Coming to America! It's so iconic that Beyoncé dressed up as a character from it for Halloween. Do I need to say anything more?!

22. Wet Hot American Summer

I know that when I type LOL, most of the time, I'm just slightly smiling at my desk. When I say this movie is LOL, I mean you will be laughing until tears are running out of all your orifices. And if you actually went to summer camp as a kid, this will just ruin you. Ruin you!

23. Mean Girls

Get in, loser, we're going to see the best movie about being a teenage girl ever made. Tina Fey's 2005 take on the well-documented existence of queen bees speaks to the hearts and minds of any woman who has ever gone to high school. We laugh so we don't cry — and also because it's hilarious.

24. My Cousin Vinny

Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for her performance in this movie and let me tell you: They should've just shut down the Academy Awards after because no performance will ever be as inspired as her take on Mona Lisa Vito, my queen. And her wardrobe! Every piece is iconic.

25. Real Women Have Curves

America Ferrera, one of our national treasures, stars in a movie about a chubby, first-generation Mexican-American girl who's just doing the best she can with the tools she has. As with Mean Girls, if you've ever been a teenage girl, you're gonna relate so hard that you'll be laughing through the tears. (And please don't #AllBodiesMatter this movie; yes, real women have every shape of body, but this title is in response to the fact that we really only celebrate one type of body — white and thin — in the media.)

26. Step Brothers

Two comedic powerhouses — Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly — are perfectly matched in this tale of two old-ass weirdos who are forced to be roommates when their parents move in together. It includes one of the truly great chase scenes of this century — and I'm including all the Fast and Furious movies, so you know it's serious!!! (It's hard to choose Will Ferrell movies, too; Blade of Glory almost made the list and should be watched early and often.)

27. School of Rock

Writer Mike White bottled the essence of comedian Jack Black's soul and turned it into the sweetest, funniest, most good-hearted comedy of the past bazillion years. Plus, the songs are catchy AF.

28. Zoolander

It's so dumb and great, and I love it so much. Stupid movies are the best movies and this is the crème de la crème of idiocy. It doesn't hurt that the top-notch cast is all working at 11; I mean they are just throwing themselves into this garbage with all they've got. It's a wonder. (Also, sorta unrelated, but The Ladies Man is another super-dumb and super-great movie.)

29. Jumpin' Jack Flash

This movie has it all! There's action, there's mystery, there's some of the best physical comedy you'll ever see! I enjoy double featuring this with Sister Act for what I like to call "An Afternoon of Whoopi." I live in excitement/fear for the day Hollywood remakes this film with Kevin Hart as the lead. YOU KNOW IT'S COMING. 

30. Borat

It's just ... it's good. It's really, really good. When you're done, watch Bruno too, because it's also really, really good. Sacha Baron-Cohen would probably be a nightmare to be around — he stays in character harder than Daniel Day-Lewis! That's wild! — but the end results are art.

31. Bend It Like Beckham

Parminder Nagra's comedic timing is next-level and makes this coming-of-age tale better than, like, 99 percent of other coming-of-age tales.

32. Freeway

It's hard to choose which Reese Witherspoon comedic vehicle to feature here — her performance as Tracy Flick in Election is *fat Italian chef's kiss* — but her take on Vanessa, a troubled teen trying to make her way to grandma's house, is just ... it's bonkers. This movie also reinvents the wheel on swearing — so many swears used in such a brilliant variety of ways, it's fucking mind-blowing.

33. His Girl Friday

This mile-a-minute wackadoo comedy features more one-liners than an evening at an improv show — a good improv show! Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell are perfectly matched, and their chemistry damn near lights the joint on fire.

34. Friday

If you smoke weed, you have to see this movie. If you don't smoke weed — and it's legal where you are and you want to do it! — then you should smoke some weed and watch this wonderful movie. Bonus points: This is where "Bye, Felicia" comes from — and if you didn't already know that, isn't it about damn time you did?

35. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

If I could marry one movie, it would be this one. Steve Martin and Michael Caine as two low-down dirty rotten scoundrels being bad boys on the French Riviera. Please excuse me, I have to go watch it for the millionth time right now.

36. Mrs. Doubtfire

 

I mean, it can't get any more classic than a Robin Williams comedy. And this one, where he plays a single dad disguised as a female housekeeper to spend more time with his children, is laugh-out-loud funny from the get-go. If you're not rolling on the floor from Williams' accent alone, then you need to watch this movie again... and again... until you do.

37. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

There's something so sweet about watching a young English girl crush on the hot guy from her prep school... until you realize how many jokes there are in this movie that you totally didn't get when you were young but will find hilarious now.

38. Palm Springs

It's like an updated version of Groundhog Day. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti star as two strangers who find themselves meeting at a wedding in Palm Springs. It looks like things are going well for both of them... until they realize they're stuck in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over again. Clearly people found this movie funny, as it received two Golden Globe noms. And food for thought: What doesn't Samberg do that isn't hilarious?

39. The Princess Diaries

Oh, the movie which made us all fall in love with Anne Hathaway. While she and Julie Andrews certainly hold center-stage throughout the movie, we're here to give mad props to Sandra Oh, because her sarcastic turn as Vice Principal Gupta is enough to keep you in constant stitches. You're welcome.

40. 10 Things I Hate About You

There's just something about this film which is magical. Is it the never-ending sex jokes (including a rather NSFW drawing on someone's face?), or is it the truly heart-breaking poem at the end of the movie? TBD! But it's also surprisingly funny.

41. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Who's the best spy to ever hit the box office? Well, that's James Bond. But this film does provide some good-old fashioned hijinks, with Mike Myers in the titular role. I mean, who else can make a '70s velvet suit feel like it is fashion from 2021? And once you're done, continue watching the franchise... you might just see a Destiny's Child singer at some point.

42. 17 Again

What happens when you get Troy Bolton, Chandler Bing, Jan from The Office and some other famous faces all together for one movie? A ton of slapstick comedy, that's what. Following a curmudgeonly soon-to-be divorced man, somehow he goes back to being his teenage self, at the height of his high school career. Does that scream funny to you? Well, after thwarting off his daughter's crush on him (FYI: she doesn't realize it's her dad!), hooking up his best friend with the school principal, and trying to win his wife back, there's a lot to be explored... and a lot to laugh about.

43. American Pie

Ever thought a story about five best friends trying to lose their virginities before high school graduation would be funny? Um, yes, you did. This movie is the epitome of a teen comedy, from NSFW scenes with a pie to dancing around the room in just underwear... until a parent comes in and watches, horrified.

44. Ghostbusters (2016)

Before you start screaming, we know, we know—the 1984 version will always be iconic. But this group of female comedic geniuses (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones) just take the idea of ghost hunting to new comedic heights. And if those ladies aren't necessarily your cup of tea (who are you?), may I suggest watching it for Chris Hemsworth?

45. Sister Act

This movie is, IMO, one of the best movies to come out of the 1990s. With Whoopi Goldberg starring as a lounge singer turned nun (thanks to being placed in the Witness Protection Program), and Maggie Smith (you know... Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter films?) playing the Reverend Mother, it's comedic gold.

Laura Beck Laura Beck is a Los Angeles-based TV writer and frequent contributor to Cosmopolitan.com — her work has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Jezebel, and the Village Voice. Adrianna Freedman Adrianna Freedman writes all things TV and film for Cosmo. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io