The Movie Forums Top 100 Comedies Countdown

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My brother and I went to the Cerritos Theatre seven times in about a month in 1975 to watch a double bill of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, my #19, and What's Up, Tiger Lily?. He even snuck in a tape recorder to record both movies, so that when he wasn't watching them during that month, you could hear all the dialogue coming from inside his bedroom. Therefore, he and I have known all the dialogue to both movies since 1975. As far as stupid characters go, King Arthur is near the top, but considering that he's up against the following, I wouldn't say it's him. We have such semi-nitwits as The Black Knight, Sir Robin, the Swamp Castle guards, the Three-Headed Knight, Sir Bedevere, the Knights who say Ni!, the Bridgekeeper, Sir Lancelot, the taunting French guard, Sir Galahad, etc.

One of my fave (among fave) parts:

Alice in Wonderland is my #7.


Walt Disney hated this awesome version of the Lewis Carroll novel. He couldn't find anybody to root for and he found the lack of a strong story to be a huge roadblock. All I can say is I'm thankful that he didn't force the animation and writing team to change the incredibly surreal and uproarious content of this, my vote for the greatest traditional animated film ever made. I don't really want to go into how fast-paced and insane this film is, but it's a non-stop assault on the pomposity of logic and staid Victorian England which is also still able to include digs at many modern foibles which humans have in our current day and age, among them being rude and in far too much of a hurry to even say good day. It's also a potent political satire when we get to the Red Queen and how all things must be her way. There are so many wonderfully-drawn and beautifully-voiced characters that it's unfair to single some out, but I have to mention the Cheshire Cat (Sterling Holloway), the Caterpillar (Richard Haydn), the Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn) and the March Hare (Jerry Colonna). The crazy songs are frosting on the cake and a perfect aural counterpoint to the mind-blowing visuals. Some of this movie, especially the incredible opening scene, seems to be almost shot in 3-D.

My List

1. Richard Pryor Live in Concert [#113]
5. Back to the Future [#35]
6. The Graduate [#27]
7. Alice in Wonderland [DNP]
8. The Quiet Man [DNP]
9. American Graffiti [DNP]
10. Pygmalion [DNP]
11. Harold and Maude [#46]
12. Play It Again, Sam [DNP]
13. One, Two, Three [#86]
14. Some Like It Hot [#9]
15. An American Werewolf in London [DNP]
16. It's Such A Beautiful Day [#62]
17. A Fish Called Wanda [#38]
19. Monty Python and the Holy Grail [#5]
20. City Lights [#11]
21. Tootsie [#108]
22. Toy Story [DNP]
23. Who Framed Roger Rabbit [DNP]
24. The Trouble with Harry [DNP]
25. Ruthless People [My One Pointer]
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Have seen so far: 50 - Monty Python and the Holy Grail - A decent comedy 70's movie, few laughs here and there
Have not seen so far: 45

Made a mistake earlier with kung fu hustle, I actually never saw it, instead I saw Kung Pow enter the fist, got those 2 movies mixed up lol
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Monty Python and the Holy Grail was #16 on my ballot.

On an unweighted list, this would have been higher, but I wanted some of the other films above it to get a few more points, so I slid it down some on my final ballot; I knew it would get plenty of votes on MoFo. Back in the 80s, when I was in High School, this is probably my favorite comedy film, easy. Or maybe that is Clue at that time... anyway, I wore out my jittery VHS tape watching this over and over and over. One of the most quotable films of all time.



"Well, now, uh, Lancelot, Galahad, and I, uh, wait until nightfall, and then leap out of the rabbit, taking the French, uh, by surprise. Not only by surprise, but totally unarmed!"
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Ahh, I had Monty Python and the Holy Grail pegged as winner of this countdown, but perhaps that was simply because it was my #1 - still, at number 5 it's still done rather well. Is this the most quoted comedy of all time? It has to be. I'm not even going to quote any of the usual quotes - I'm sure they'll all be trotted out over the next few posts as they have been for generations it seems. It is one of the funniest films I've ever seen, and one of the most likely to still make me laugh no matter how many times I've seen it. It breaks the 4th wall in wonderful ways, and in doing so does a lot that comedies hadn't really experimented with until then. The opening credits were used to full effect for humour - everything about the film was unusual and off-beat. I remember being transfixed by the duel where one knight has all of his limbs lopped off in pure fascination as a child. Some parts - like the coconuts hoofs being clopped together - were born out of pure necessity - but the whole troupe had a wonderful eye for eccentric absurdity, and that's what made them really great. A classic that I love, no matter how overexposed it has become, and how well known certain parts of it were. It runs deep with genius ideas, and pure comedy.

Ghostbusters is a classic btw. I really love it, and have seen it many times, but it probably resides more comfortably in my top 100 - I've never really turned to worshipping that film like some do. There were always certain problems I had with parts that just didn't click with me in a comedic sense - but those were mainly nitpicks, and aside from the comedy I loved the effects and creatures. Some of the ideas that came up in making Ghostbusters were inspired. That inspiration ran out after that first film, and the second was just tedious stuff which drew on the very worst of sequel moviemaking. Love the Ghostbusters song, and I'm always up for watching the film again, but it's not up in my top 25 comedies.

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Films I've seen : 77½
Films that have been on my radar : 16½
Films I've never even heard of : 2

Films from my list : 16

#5 - My #1 - Monty Python and the Holy Grail - (1975)
#7 - My #14 - Groundhog Day - (1993)
#10 - My #17 - Blazing Saddles - (1974)
#12 - My #19 - Hot Fuzz - (2007)
#13 - My #2 - This is Spinal Tap - (1984)
#14 - My #5 - Galaxy Quest - (1999)
#15 - My #6 - Shaun of the Dead - (2004)
#17 - My #24 - The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! - (1988)
#20 - My #12 - Life of Brian - (1979)
#24 - My #18 - The Jerk - (1979)
#30 - My #10 - What We Do in the Shadows - (2014)
#34 - My #9 - Back to the Future - (1985)
#62 - My #13 - The In-Laws - (1979)
#65 - My #21 - Black Dynamite - (2009)
#82 - My #8 - The Producers - (1967)
One pointer - Brewster McCloud (1970)

#70. The Nice Guys (2016)
#62. It's Such a Beautiful Day (2012)
#31. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
I didn't even stop to think, did I? I mean, one of those is on my list.
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I didn't even stop to think, did I? I mean, one of those is on my list.
It's Such a Beautiful Day was my #1 and I spent the first 40 reveals wondering if it would even make the list, so one example was very present in my mind.



Okay, but nothing in that article outright suggests "canceling" the movie. You could infer that, sure, but why?

The basic critique of the article is that the movie suggests that Phil has gone through a redemption arc, but that this isn't actually true. Obviously, this isn't the standard reading of the film, but criticism doesn't need to be right, it just needs to have some kind of textual basis. So my basic response is: So what? Someone didn't like the movie, and gave their reason. I think that's fine!

To me these things are always a two fold frustration. There is one side that believes there is some kind of injustice in enduring criticism. That we aren't supposed to pick apart the ideas a film might contain either on top or beneath its surface. But criticism isn't cancellation. Criticism is one of the most valuable elements of any art form, probing what it says and how well it says it. This becomes especially annoying when an artist veers straight towards hot button topics, and when they ultimately provoke a reaction, they can crow about how they are being cancelled. No, you entered an already active dialogue, how about you do your job and be prepared for whatever backlash you get and stop whining? Being an artist has always been difficult and there has always been push back and in many ways we need that push back. That friction is what creates dialogue.


But then the other side of the same coin I also find frustrating in how there is a true emptiness to so much of the criticisms I am reading the last few years. Elements of films are being deliberately taken out of context in order to maximize the supposed offence that a movie has caused. And it is not only frequently disingenuous, but the sheer glut of these kinds of articles has just begun to dilute the true impact that criticism should have. I feel like much of what we are seeing these days, isn't particularly far removed from the anger movies like The Life of Brian or Last Temptation of Christ caused in people who either wilfully misrepresent what the point of those film were, or didn't understand the point, or haven't even seen the ****ing movie in the first place and are joining the choir of critics because they think it is their duty to do so because of whatever political or religious or sociological affiliations they have. And just like back then, much of the complaints these days ring hollow. They sometimes even demand we join ranks with their (frequently) bad faith arguments and be just as angry as them, or we are complicit.



As I said above, I haven't read the article all the way through, mostly because I found it boring and obvious (more than a good enough reason for me to ignore something). I have no doubt there are elements of Bill Murray's character that may be problematic because, duh, of course there is. There always is. Our culture is flawed and every character is born out of these flaws. And its also fair to pay attention to what we think gets overlooked in the analysis of something so seemingly harmless as Groundhog Day. Maybe even some good points were made later in this particular article. But I was just finding, in this instance, there is always this tone of 'a-ha, found another one', as if these sorts of things are actually adding to the conversation in any substantative way, and that they aren't just clutter. More of the same points that have already been established over and over again, and with considerably better examples. Does that mean pointing out the fallacy of Groundhog Day's redemptive arc is completely pointless? Well, much like the artist who jumps into controversy and then is ill prepared for blow back, the people who write the criticisms should be equally braced for the push back they will get. And when you start needing to talk about 'all the bad stuff Bill Murray does that we don't even see because its not in the movie', the argument has the appearance of straining to be fit into the box they are trying to fit it in. Do better. If you want to be provocative in taking down the reputation of a generally feel good film, laziness of thought is your enemy.



Now, does this article matter much in the grand scheme of things? Probably not. But in the way society seems to be working these days, something like this becomes yet another thing that can be used to fuel both of the above irritants for me. It gives some creedence to the idea that 'everything is wrong and they are trying to cancel everything I like', even when it isn't really doing this. And it also heaps more kindling on the notion that we need to be angry and disappointed at everything pop culture has given us, even when the complaints almost immediately start spreading themselves thin. Which then won't matter a lick if this particular hot take gets picked up and amplified by social media.



Also, I don't really like Groundhog Day. But its not an offensive 'don't really like'. More just a 'meh, that was fine, now what's for supper', kinda not like.



Also, I don't really like Groundhog Day. But its not an offensive 'don't really like'. More just a 'meh, that was fine, now what's for supper', kinda not like.
Did you by any chance watch it well after release?

(I'm not trying to change your mind or criticize your response, just wondering if that could explain a meh reaction, because it's the kind of film that was pretty ahead of its time and I can see it losing a lot of its appeal if someone saw it when high-concept films like that were suddenly a dime a dozen.)



Monty Python and the Holy Grail is another entry from the list of films my friends and I frequently quote, as well as another film I had very high on my ballot. It's style of comedy is right up my alley, and I've only grown to appreciate it more over the years.

What's funny is that I took a Medieval Studies class in University, and one day our professor played a few scenes from Holy Grail since it had some historically accurate content he wanted to highlight. That somehow made the film even more amusing to me, since a parody was actually one of the best cinematic examples of what he wanted to discuss.

My List: 14
02. The Princess Bride (1987) - #16
03. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) - #5
04. Evil Dead II (1987) - #94
06. Brazil (1985) - #48
07. The Great Dictator (1940) - #51
10. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) - DNP #117
11. His Girl Friday (1940) - #26
12. Ghostbusters (1984) - #6
14. Clerks (1994) - #65
15. Shaun of the Dead (2004) - #15
16. Galaxy Quest (1999) - #14
17. What We Do in the Shadows (2014) - #31
19. Hot Fuzz (2007) - #12
21. Tropic Thunder (2008) - #59
22. Arsenic & Old Lace (1944) - #28




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Holy Grail was #7 on my list.

Those who did not have this movie on their list will now be sacked.

And now, he wants to sing...

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Did you by any chance watch it well after release?

(I'm not trying to change your mind or criticize your response, just wondering if that could explain a meh reaction, because it's the kind of film that was pretty ahead of its time and I can see it losing a lot of its appeal if someone saw it when high-concept films like that were suddenly a dime a dozen.)

I only just saw it.


I doubt I really would have been taken by it that much if I saw it at the time though. It just has the safe comedy sheen to its style that generally shuts off my critical receptors. All of its supposed subversions and meaning come mostly in the structure of the films narrative, and my brain doesn't have the power to follow such things too closely without drifting away.


I've got nothing against it. At least outside of the fact that has now placed as a top 10 comedy, which I think is a bit much since I don't find it terribly funny or terribly interesting as a film. It's just kinda....there.



Surprised [Monty Python and the Holy Grail] is only 5
That makes one of us.
OK, my final guess for the Top Ten and a shot and the order they are in...

1. Airplane!
2. Dr. Strangelove
3. Young Frankenstein
4. The Big Lebowski
5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
I love all things Python very much, of course including Holy Grail. But I hold Life of Brian as their masterpiece, which is why it was fifth on my ballot and I didn't make room for Grail. Despite knowing the entire thing by heart. Clearly it did not need my help.

The highest placed film on my ballot that did not make the Top 100 was...

...Harvey (1950). One of Jimmy Stewart's most charming turns is as Elwood P. Dowd, a happy fella in a small town whose best friend is the title character. Elwood describes Harvey as a 6'31⁄2" white rabbit. He is a pooka, a creature of Celtic mythology, and Elwood's companion. Most of the people in town who know Mr. Dowd accept his eccentricity, including his sister and niece who live with him. But after some of Harvey's antics ruin an important party, his sister Veta (Josephine Hull) reluctantly decides to have him committed to a sanitarium. What follows is a lovely little tale about what being "normal" even means, with Stewart and his unseen associate at the center.

I didn't suspect Harvey would be anywhere near top twenty-five material for the collective, but I did expect it would show in the bottom half. Alas. It was eleventh on my ballot, good for fifteen points.

Despite being one of the biggest and most beloved movie stars of all time, James Stewart did not make the list at all. Harvey and The Philadelphia Story were likely his two best shots but he also starred in Destry Rides Again, The Shop Around the Corner, and You Can't Take It with You and all are certainly worthy of consideration for such an exercise. Oh, well.

While not as iconic a star, another actor with plenty of well-regarded comedy classics and near-classics who isn't going to have a showing on the Top 100 is Richard Dreyfuss.

Let it Ride (1989) is a movie I did not hold out any hope for showing, but I used my twenty-fifth spot for it just the same. Because I LOVE this little underseen gem about a chronic gambler's last day at the track turned lucky. I tried to talk some of you MoFos into checking it out or remembering it for your lists HERE before the ballots were due. It did not seemingly make much difference, though since Let it Ride was not revealed in the initial one-pointers at the beginning that means at least one of you voted for it, too.

Dreyfuss, who won an Oscar for The Goodbye Girl, didn't see it nor Down in Out in Beverly Hills, Tin Men, What About Bob?, Stakeout, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, American Graffiti, nor my Let it Ride come within a whiff of the Top 100.

Holden’s Ballot
3. After Hours (#29)
4. His Girl Friday (#26)
5. Monty Python’s Life of Brian (#20)
6. Singin’ in the Rain (#50)
7. Rushmore (#54)
8. Duck Soup (#8)
9. Bringing Up Baby (#22)
10. The Graduate (#27)
11. Harvey (DNP)
12. Raising Arizona (#23)
13. The Palm Beach Story (DNP)
14. Ghostbusters (#6)
15. One Two Three (#86)
16. The Blues Brothers (#21)
17. Defending Your Life (DNP)
18. Fletch (DNP)
19. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (DNP)
20. Joe versus the Volcano (DNP)
22. This is Spın̈al Tap (#13)
23. L.A. Story (DNP)
24. OSS-117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (DNP)
25. Let It Ride (DNP)


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I only just saw it.


I doubt I really would have been taken by it that much if I saw it at the time though. It just has the safe comedy sheen to its style that generally shuts off my critical receptors. All of its supposed subversions and meaning come mostly in the structure of the films narrative, and my brain doesn't have the power to follow such things too closely without drifting away.


I've got nothing against it. At least outside of the fact that has now placed as a top 10 comedy, which I think is a bit much since I don't find it terribly funny or terribly interesting as a film. It's just kinda....there.
Got it. Yeah, I mean I still won't say with confidence that's why you had that reaction, exactly, but I think being able to guess that suggests there might be something to that as a general explanation. Time loop stuff, high concept stuff, it's all over the place now and barely registers, but 30 years ago it felt pretty groundbreaking. I saw it pretty young and thought it was just so insanely cool that a mainstream movie with a huge star in it was doing something so weird.

I'd probably disagree with all the safe comedy stuff, but like I said, not trying to convince anyone so to each their own, just collecting an additional data point for the theory.



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Monty Python and the Holy Grail was my #8. I don't think anything has ever been funnier than this film, the first time I watched it. It's got a lot of rewatchable appeal, of course, but that first viewing I was in tears before the end of the opening credits.

I'm not surprised it wasn't higher, only about 10% of this countdown has been from somewhere other than the US. I do wonder how much things like age, gender and nationality affect our comedy preferences.



Holy Grail was on my list, how could it not be? It reaches levels of silliness only Monty Python can cook up. I saw it a bunch as a kid and in high school one day our History and English teachers combined their periods and classes together so we could watch it all the way through together.


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“What the curtains?”
“No not the curtains!”



Holy Grail woulda been my #1 and for those that don't like it - I fart in their general direction!
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terrible, 0/5, not enough puppies.



I love Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Came to see it full late; actually in 2018... but enjoyed it a lot. Here's a bit of what I wrote...

"The strength of this film is in the absurdity; Directors Jones and Terry Gilliam take a surreal approach to their comedy, full of zany and silly occurrences. Add to that the cleverly funny dialogue and some great physical comedy, and you have a recipe for a damn funny comedy. Cleese is always a delight to watch, but I also enjoyed Palin's over-the-top approach to his characters."
That said, I prefer Life of Brian and decided to give only one spot to the Pythons. I knew this one wouldn't need my help and here it is.



Seen: 73/96

My ballot:  
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