Following last year’s poll of the 21st Century’s 100 greatest films, today BBC Culture reveals the 100 greatest comedies ever made following an extensive poll of more than 250 film critics in over 50 countries. Each critic ranked their top 10 favourite comedies, with films from Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and throughout the world being nominated.
Taking the top spot is Billy Wilder’s 1959 hit film, Some Like It Hot, pipping Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove (1964) to the post. Annie Hall (1977), Groundhog Day (1993) and Duck Soup (1933) came in third, fourth and fifth respectively.
BBC Culture film critic, Nicholas Barber, on the winning film: “As well as being a romantic comedy, a buddy movie, a crime caper, and a musical, Some Like It Hot is an anthem in praise of tolerance, acceptance, and the possibility of transformation. It’s an anthem that we need to hear now more than ever.”
Also in the top 10 are: Terry Jones’s Life of Brian (1979), Airplane! (1980), Playtime (1967), This is Spinal Tap (1984) and The General (1926).
Charlie Chaplin appears four times in the top 100 with Modern Times (1936) at number 12; The Great Dictator (1940) at number 16; City Lights (1931) at 21 and The Gold Rush (1925) at 25.
BBC Culture acting editor Rebecca Laurence says: “BBC Culture’s films of the 21st Century poll was a huge success – but few comedy films made the top 100. This year, we asked film critics and experts to nominate their favourite comedies of all time. We hope that this list will encourage lively debate and discussion – not just about greatest scenes, favourite jokes and best one-liners – but also about the importance of humour and the very human need to laugh.”
The top 25 comedy films in the poll are:
- Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)
- Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
- Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
- Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)
- Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)
- Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979)
- Airplane! (Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, 1980)
- Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)
- This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984)
- The General (Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton, 1926)
- The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998)
- Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)
- To Be or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)
- His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975)
- The Great Dictator (Charlie Chaplin, 1940)
- Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)
- Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton, 1924)
- The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)
- Blazing Saddles (Mel Brooks, 1974)
- City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
- Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks, 1974)
- The Party (Blake Edwards, 1968)
- Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)
- The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
Following the 100 greatest comedies poll, BBC Culture will feature more analysis and stories on the results including Why Some Like It Hot is the funniest film of all time; Why comedy isn’t universal; Do men and women find different films funny? and The people who voted for the 100 greatest comedies.
The full list of the world’s top 100 comedies is available on bbc.com/culture
To find out more, use the hashtag #GreatestComedies