Best Comedy Movies, Ranked by Metacritic

Discover the best comedy movies, ranked by Metascore.

Cynthia Widmayer


Courtesy of YouTube

If there's one genre of movies loved by all ages, it's comedy. And it doesn't take much to have a hit comedy, right? As long as you tickle the funny bone of the audience and have them laughing all the way home, you've done a successful job.

But comedy can also be much more. What about the emotional, provoking, heartwarming comedies that provide food for thought and deliver a powerful message while making us laugh? 

Here, we highlight the best comedy movies, which have not only earned some of the highest Metascores, but also have gone down as some of the most memorable through the ages.

City Lights

Metascore: 99
Best for: Charlie Chaplin fans and silent movie enthusiasts
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 89 minutes

In this 1931 silent comedy, the Tramp (Chaplin) goes all out to financially help a blind flower girl he is in love with. It's funny and sad and bittersweet, but in the end, City Lights is not only memorable for the comedy: It is also remembered for its pathos and the emotions induced without a spoken word. Your eyes will be wet, but your heart will be all smiles.

"The closing shot of Charlie Chaplin's face in City Lights, his heart breaking: the highest form of screen acting, the most effective tear extraction exercise the medium has yet to offer." — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

Singin' in the Rain

Metascore: 99
Best for: Fans of old-fashioned rom-coms and musicals
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 103 minutes

Exuberant, magical, and a feel-good journey into the Roaring '20s, Singin' in the Rain is the epitome of the American musical. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's 1952 magnum opus is a simple story of a silent movie production company and its cast faced with a painful transition to talking pictures. A fun, endearing ride from start to finish and a larger-than-life look back on Hollywood's glorious days, filled with magnificent set pieces, unforgettable songs, and incredible comic timing.

"Singin' overflows with the pleasure of movie creation, stitching together references to Hollywood history with more alacrity than Tarantino. One of the highpoints of hoofin' history but, more importantly, an unadulterated joy." — William Thomas, Empire

Some Like It Hot

Metascore: 98
Best for: Slapstick comedy lovers
Where to watch: 

Google PlayiTunesVudu
Runtime: 121 minutes

Two men (played by Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) disguise themselves to join an all-female jazz band and flee the state in this 1959 rollercoaster of a ride by Billy Wilder. If that doesn't sound complicated enough, enter Marilyn Monroe as a love interest, who met and connected with these men when they were dressed as women. Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, the movie stirred a storm with its sexual innuendos and farcical style when it was first released but is a favorite today for being a delightful mix of comedy gold, gangster style, and of course, its iconic closing line.

"If Billy Wilder achieved nothing else in his entire career, he would still rank as one of the great masters of cinema for pulling off this comic tour de force." — Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle

American Graffiti

Metascore: 97
Best for: Fans of coming-of-age comedies and rock-n-roll culture
Where to watch: 

, Google PlayiTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 110 minutes

This 1973 George Lucas movie is largely about three teenage boys driving around in an old car, having the best night of their lives before heading off to college. The nostalgia of the '60s is blended with child-like innocence, witty dialogues, and a brilliant soundtrack that epitomizes the era. If you like slice-of-life movies with depth and humor, American Graffiti should be on your list of must-watch comedies.

"A brilliant work of popular art, it redefined nostalgia as a marketable commodity and established a new narrative style, with locale replacing plot, that has since been imitated to the point of ineffectiveness." — Dave Kehr, Reader


Metascore: 96
Best for: Enthusiasts of political dramas and satires
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 160 minutes

Bringing together an eclectic ensemble cast, Nashville is the story of a group of interrelated people whose lives cross in the leadup to a political convention. Often called Robert Altman's best work, the 1975 film showcases hypocrisies, pathos, and human vulnerability against the backdrop of country music. In true Altman style, the movie is both poignant and ridiculous at the same time.

"It is the masterful ways in which Altman weaves doubt, hard truths, and holds up a mirror to the hypocrisies of contemporary America, that elevates his 1975 film to be one of the decade's greatest cinematic achievements." — Matthew Anderson, Cinevue


Metascore: 96
Best for: Psychological thrill-seekers
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 132 minutes

Two families on the opposite sides of the economic spectrum are brought together by chance, and the one on the bottom end cleverly starts to exploit the other. With four Academy Awards (including a history-making Best Picture win as the first non-English language film to win in that category), one Palm d'Or, one Golden Globe, and several other accolades to its name, Bong Joon-ho's Parasite has enthralled the audience with its dark humor, social satire, and psychological horror. It's a brilliant commentary on the unjust social class division and the juxtaposition of the luxuries of the wealthy with the struggles of the poor.

"Parasite isn't just thrillingly unpredictable. It pivots with purpose, the class politics setting the trajectory." — A.A. Dowd, The A.V. Club

The Philadelphia Story

Metascore: 96
Best for: Fans of fluffy, whimsical romances
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 112 minutes

A rich woman (Katharine Hepburn) is getting remarried and there couldn't be a better time for her ex-husband and a tabloid reporter (Cary Grant) o turn up. What ensues in director George Cukor's early 1940s film is funny, sassy, upper-class chaos, centered on a woman's search for herself at the core. It is based on the 1939 Broadway play of the same title, which was inspired by real-life socialite Helen Hope Montgomery Scott.

"A studio picture far deeper and richer than its whimsical surface style might lead you to believe." — Jeremiah Kipp, Slant

The Producers (1967)

Metascore: 96
Best for: Fans of loud, over-the-top comedies
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 88 minutes

A broke and hapless theatrical producer (played by Zero Mostel) teams up with his accountant (played by Gene Wilder) to get investors for a play that's sure to be a flop and then keep the money. A hilarious spoof of Broadway, The Producers was Mel Brooks' directorial debut and more than put him on the map as both a writer and a director. (He won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award for the film.) Although it has been remade quite a few times since, including an equally over-the-top season-long plot on Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, the original film stands the test of time and still gives the audience plenty of laughs with its brilliant direction, witty dialogue, and specific brand of humor.

"The one aspect of the original Producers that still stuns is the roaring, over-the-top, in-your-face thereness of its two lead performances.— Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

The Shop Around the Corner

Metascore: 96
Best for: Romantic comedy fans
Where to watch: 

Google PlayiTunesVudu
Runtime: 99 minutes

If you've watched the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan rom-com You've Got Mail, then the premise of The Shop Around the Corner will not come as a surprise. A sweet, tender mailbox romance about two shop clerks with a strong animosity who are unknowingly carrying on a courtship with each other through the post, this Ernst Lubitsch gem is all about the lives of ordinary people and love winning the day. 

"Close to perfection — one of the most beautifully acted and paced romantic comedies ever made in this country." — Pauline Kael, The New Yorker


Metascore: 94
Best for: Wine-loving road movie fans
Where to watch: 

Google PlayiTunesTubiVudu
Runtime: 126 minutes

Sideways is best described as two friends' epicurean trip down American vineyards for a last taste of freedom before one of them gets married. (Paul Giamatti plays Miles, the man taking his soon-to-be-married pal on the trip, while Thomas Hayden Church plays that pal, Jack.) A tale of self-discovery, flawed relationships, and middle-age fears, Sideways is credited with increasing California's pinot noir sales by 170-percent when it was released in 2004. 

"A warm, ingratiating, and fitfully hilarious epicurean road movie with a steady ache — an ache like a red-wine hangover." — David Edelstein, Slate