Top Comedy Movies of All Time
Top Five Comedy Movies
Unbelievable, the challenge to select only the top five comedy movies of all time. This is an impossible task considering all of the great movies in this genre by one film maker alone. That film maker being the incomparable Mel Brooks. Mr Brooks has in his repertoire three of the Top 20 listing of the 100 All Time Comedy Movies.
Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein are in this bracket.
Blazing Saddles must be on the very top of the list, although it must be viewed only in the original version which is politically incorrect and not the, sanitized, TV version.
The cast alone will start one laughing. Staring roles include Cleavon Little as Bart and Gene Wilder as Jim. Bart is a black man chosen as the Sheriff of Rock Ridge (ultra WASP town) and Jim the town drunk once the fastest gun in the west. Others in the cast are greats of comedy: Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn and Dom DeLousie. The movie uses every imaginable stereotype, cliche and parody of westerns, oaters, complete with societal and ethnic slurs. No category on the planet escapes the razor sharp wit of Mel Brooks who writes, directs, and also excels in two roles, portrayed in the movie, an Indian Chief, with Jewish language idioms, attacking a wagon train, and a shyster Governor with mob style cabinet and a super buxom secretary. Harvey Korman conniving with Slim Pickens to gain property in Rock Ridge for the rail line to transect. Bringing in every type of cut-throat villain ever, German soldiers, KKK sheet wearers, camel jockeys, Mexican Banditos and horse thieves; just to name a few of the ethnic evil-doers. All these are to attack the town inhabited by a bevy of Johnson’s: Howard (with one flavor ice cream and a red roof), Van Johnson, Reverend Johnson and so on. Including Gabby Johnson a knock off of Gabby Hayes, none of who like their new sheriff, a “Nigger”. Even one old woman greets Bart as he tips his hat to her with an “Up Yours N……” Madeline Kahn plays, Lily, a vamp entertainer enlisted to seduce Bart with her feminine whiles, and Alex Karras as “Mongo” a slow-witted, bean eating, outgassing mountain of a cowpoke selected to kill, “Sheriff Bart”.
The entire essay could be covered by this number one comedy movie. Once I had seen this movie classic I described it to my boss the next day, a week later he told me of being in trouble with his wife as he took her to see the movie and embarrassed her and himself by literally rolling in the aisle with side splitting laughter. And believe me this man could roar unashamedly.
Number Two on my list is also a Mel Brooks movie; the classic “The Producers”. Again staring in this movie is Gene Wilder with co-star Zero Mostel as an accountant and New York Broadway producer who scheme to develop the most blatantly obnoxious play designed to fail and close on opening night, selling thousands of percent to little old lady investors. The play, “Springtime for Hitler” is written as a love story by a wack job ex-Nazi pigeon keeper, to be directed by a seriously gay cross-dresser who turns a serious, Adolph and Eva, love story into a sappy Broadway Musical with outlandish costumes and dance numbers. The lead of Hitler is played by Dick Shawn as a stoned flower child singer/poet.
Number Three could continue the trilogy of Mel Brooks parodies as outrageously funny knocking off another movie, “Young Frankenstein”; which goes a generation into the future as Gene Wilder, continues the research in re-animation of human tissue. Creating another “Monster” (Peter Boyle) who ends up in all the weirdest of situations encountering a little girl, a blind hermit (Gene Hackman) and Madeline Kahn who was betrothed to Dr. Frankenstein (Wilder). Gene is aided in the recreation of the monster by Teri Garr, and Igor (Marty Feldman) a bungling assistant with traveling hump and bulging eyeballs, with housekeeper, Frau Bleuker (Chloris Leachman) to round out major players.
All three of these top three are must see comedy classics by Mel Brooks.
Because I like action and ensemble casting I have added:
Number Four – It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. A zany chase scene movie where the entire cast of characters is after a stash of cash hidden years earlier. Any mode of transportation is employed with antics and fast paced action, crashes and mishaps along the route. A partial list of the cast foretells how comical the action will become. Over 60 notaries of film and stage include: Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Buddy Hacket, Dick Shawn, Terry Thomas, Mickey Rooney, Johnathon Winters, and Ethel Merman. The only sanity in the movie provided by Spencer Tracy who acts as the long arm of the law. Go see it to find the radical climax.
Number Five – “Cannonball Run” another madcap chase scene movie taken from real life action of highway scofflaws partaking in a rally across the country named “Sea to Shinning Sea” rally from New York to California speeding a prerequisite, horsepower and tons of fuel a must. Another ensemble cast makes this a non-stop comedic powerhouse. Starring roles are played by Burt Reynolds and his partner, Dom DeLouise co-driver with an alto ego super-hero “Captain Chaos” racing their hopped up ambulance in the rally. They kidnap as a patient; “Beauty”, Farrah Fawcett, being cared for by a supposed doctor, Jack Elam. Antics across the nation include many other competitors: Dean Martin teamed with Sammy Davis, Jr.,as priests, Mel Tillis teamed with Terry Bradshaw as good ole boys, Jamie Farr as sheik driving a Rolls and Roger Moore as a movie star secret agent in an Aston Martin (James Bond equipped car). Jackie Chan in a computerized rice-rocket, and Peter Fonda as a motorcycle gang leader. This cast listing only begins the mass of speed freaks; a seriously disturbed group. On DVD the out-takes are even funnier than the movie scenes.
Many of my other favorites, below, could on any given day move to the top of the A-list and become one of the top five: all depends on which way my funny bone is pointing.
Any collection of classic comedy movies should include: From SNL alum: “Animal House”, “Blues Brothers”, “Caddyshack” and “1941”
A group capable to top category: “Casino Royale”, “Monty Python’s Holy Grail”, “A Fish Called Wanda”, “True Lies”; action adventure but hysterical, none-the-less.
My favorites for dry comedy and satirical films are “Dr. Strangelove” and “Catch 22”.
Building a collection or video library it would not be complete without any Marx Brothers films: Horse Feathers, A Night at the Opera and others; add in Pink Panther and Return of.
Old time classics one and two reelers need inclusion, featuring: W.C. Fields, The Stooges, and the Keystone Kops.
All with minor exceptions are 100% comedy movies, not sit-coms which are another genre. Comedy in its true form is not gentle; Comedy is slap-stick, rollicking, joke after joke, or every sight gag going. Not a slight tickle here and there, I need to roll in the aisle, I love comedy.