10 classic comedies

Posted by Paul

This Thursday sees the long-awaited release of Sacha Baron Cohen’s brilliant new film ‘Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’.

Check out our Borat special for the trailer, review and other features.

The film has been warmly received on both sides of the Atlantic, and some critics have gone as far to say that it is one of the funniest films of all time. As our Movies Editor Ed says in his review, Borat is “hilarious”, but it is perhaps too soon to be calling it a comedic masterpiece. So which films are deserving of that title? 

Compiling a definitive list of the ten greatest comedies ever is virtually impossible but I’ve put together my personal favourites along with one of the best quotes from each film. Let us know which movies would make it into your top 10. 


Airplane! is a spoof of the airport disaster movies that were common in the 70s. When the crew of a plane is struck by some form of virus, the fate of the passengers depends on a former war pilot, who is the only one able to land the plane safely. The passengers represent a selection of bizarre characters who take every word for its literal meaning, with hilarious consequences. The success of Airplane! is largely down to the rapid-fire succession of gags. If you don’t find a particular joke funny, another is waiting in the wings to replace it. Comedy gold.

Memorable quote:
[as the plane prepares to take off]
Lady: Nervous?
Ted: Yes.
Lady: First time?
Ted: No, I’ve been nervous lots of times.

Dr. Strangelove

A demented general named Jack D. Ripper orders a fleet of bombers to fly over Russia and attack them with full nuclear weaponry. A British military aide (played brilliantly by Peter Sellers) tries to reason with him, but discovers Ripper is a raving lunatic, obsessed with bodily fluids. Strangelove is probably Stanley Kubrick’s greatest film, which is some accolade indeed. It is one of the most hilarious satires in the history of cinema, that is as relevant today as it was four decades ago.

Memorable quote:
President Merkin Muffley: Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!

Annie Hall

After breaking up with his girlfriend Annie Hall (Diane Keaton), neurotic comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) goes on a stream of consciousness journey through his memories of their relationship, in an attempt to discover what caused them to split up. This is Allen’s quintessential masterpiece littered with devastating one-liners.

Memorable quote:
[after Annie parks the car]
Alvy Singer: Don’t worry. We can walk to the curb from here.

The Apartment

C.C. "Bud" Baxter (Jack Lemmon) advances his career by making his apartment available to colleagues for their extramarital affairs. His boss finds out and promotes Bud in return for the exclusive use of the place for his own affair. When the boss’s girlfriend turns out to be the girl Bud likes, he is heartbroken, but accepts the arrangement. It’s rare for the Best Oscar to go to a comedy but The Apartment deservedly picked up the gong. The cleverness of Billy Wilder’s sparkling dialogue has aged like a fine wine.

Memorable quote:
The blonde: Do you mean you bring other dames up here?
Kirkeby: Certainly not! I’m a happily married man.

Life of Brian

The Monty Python team tells the story of Brian, an unwilling prophet who wants to free his land from the oppression of Rome. The Pythons take satirical aim at religion with their unique brand of silly humour. It’s a highly amusing and irreverent parallel to the life of Jesus by the inspired comedy troupe.

Memorable quote:
Pontius Pilate: Stwike him, Centuwion. Stwike him vewy wuffly!


Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is desperate because he is unable to find a job. That is, until he gets a female role in a soap opera and becomes famous. Of course, nobody knows that this new TV star is a man. But, after a while, he falls in love with the leading actress of the series. Tootsie is a rousing comedy that deals with the agonies and ecstasy of being an actor. It’s a romcom of the highest order, with an incredible performance from Hoffman.

Memorable quote:
Sandy: Michael, are you gay?
Michael Dorsey: In what sense?

A Fish Called Wanda

Wanda and her boyfriend Otto come to London to plot a diamond robbery alongside George and Ken. Wanda and Otto want the stolen diamonds for themselves, so they inform the police about George not realizing that he has already moved the diamonds to another secret place. Wanda decides the best way to find out is by getting close Archie Leach (George’s lawyer). This is a delightful caper movie with John Cleese at his brilliant best, and a career best performance from Kevin Kline.

Memorable quote:
Otto: It’s K-K-K-Ken c-c-c-coming to k-k-k-kill me.

This Is Spinal Tap

A filmmaker decides to make a documentary about the world’s loudest band, the British heavy metal group Spinal Tap. The movie is a biting satire and spoof of the whole rock and roll scene that passes itself off as a real documentary of a real band. It’s a hilariously scathing indictment of the rock and roll lifestyle. Rob Reiner’s rockumentary is about as funny as parody gets.

Memorable quote:
David St. Hubbins: It’s such a fine line between stupid, and clever.

The Graduate

College graduate Benjamin Braddock finds himself trapped in an affair with Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father’s business partner. Benjamin then falls in love with their teenage daughter, Elaine. The Graduate is a delightful, satirical comedy-drama.

Memorable quote:
Mr. Braddock: Don’t you think that idea is a little half-baked?
Benjamin: Oh no, Dad, it’s completely baked.

The Odd Couple

Two friends try sharing an apartment, but their ideas of housekeeping and lifestyles are as different as night and day. It’s one hilarious situation after another in a classic comedy.

Memorable quote:
Felix Ungar: In other words, you’re throwin’ me out.
Oscar Madison: Not in other words. Those are the perfect ones!

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5 Responses to 10 classic comedies

  1. Alexander says:

    what kind of  prime minister  will gordon brown make , well if its any thing like his role as chancellor.there will be more poor people in the UK and his taxes and price hikes road charging wont bring him in much money , i havent had a pay rise in 5 years and now im at my limit , if any thing else goes up , i will have to sell my home, rent a council house, walk to work, live on beans , this year my morgage went up by 12 a month , my service charge to the local council went up by 100% ,my fuel bills went up, petrol went up ,car tax went up, water rates went up ,my car insurance increased , I have no spare cash left  it costs me half as much again per week . 5 years ago i had money to spend on other things now to even buy a tin of paint ,    i have to save , i agree this is as much my companies fault , but how do you tell a company that wont listen to any staff that they are entitled to a c,o,l,i each year this is what caauses low wages to begin with , if they had kept up with the annual rise i would not be in this state now but if the government made sure companies paid this rise and abided by the employment laws of this country and the eu , and english taxes were kept for english use not sent to Africa and other places to corupt dictators and governments then English people would not have to pay as much taxes as they do and we would all have a good standerd of living , how does gordon expect people tp live on under £200 a week I think that he should allow any one who earns less than 500 a week to have it tax free , to many fat cats in this country and they do not pay the same as we do two pound tax a month to me is one weeks wages, which means that i have to live on 600 pound a month its about time the chancellors thought about the little people for once and fleeced some of these fly by night fat cats , why should they be paid lots of money for pushing pens round a piece of paper , when the work force actually sweat and labour in their work and have set hours  we dont get the chance to have a2/3 hour dinner break at a posh restaraunt, we get 20 mins if we are lucky there may be a canteen , neither do the workers get the chance to play golf or call it a day by lunch time and still have the same amount of money at the end of the week ,  England is run by the few , to keep the many in check and poverty , and to make them rich , when was the last time a company director was in the army and went to war , the second world war may be , ill give gordon a year or till the next general election then ill bet hes out  the workers have not got any more money left in there pokets  tax the rich 3 fold make them give something back to this country , the workers have given all the blood they can ,……………

  2. tomas says:

    well lets be honest here i may be a student who sits around doing squat but i believe that gordon brown would suck ass worse than tony blair…. naw there both as bad as eachother and both need to grow up and smell the f-in cheese cus i am fed up with having to look at my tv and see two UGLY mofos chatting complete crap about how they would be able to sort things out for me and my fellows or even for the country but no!!!!  they steal my money to fund thier secret wars on the others wife or sumthing and its complete bullshit wheres my extra money for being an asshole .. hmm .. well ?
    bollox to gordon brown being anywhere near importance let alone himself.     peace out

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