The 10 Best Intelligent Comedy Movies Of All Time, According To Ranker – Screen Rant

The 10 Best Intelligent Comedy Movies Of All Time, According To Ranker – Screen Rant

From Monty Python to The Big Lebowski, Ranked users have voted on the best movies that they feel made them laugh and think simultaneously.
Whilst smart comedies haven’t been as prominent at the box office in recent years, movies like next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy 3 ensure that viewers will still have plenty of opportunities to get their fill of inventive humor from the big screen. In the meantime, however, there are also some amazing intelligent comedies from the past that are more than worth watching.
With classics like Groundhog Day, the Monty Python movies, and many more in this category, movie fans on Ranker had a tough time deciding which of these clever comedy films belong at the top. With thousands of votes cast, some clear winners rose to the top of the genre for fans.
A hilarious zombie apocalypse comedy from Edgar Wright that’s full of clever pop-culture nods, Shaun of the Dead stands out as a parody that’s actually as good as the movies it references. The movie stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as ordinary men caught up in a Zombie epidemic that they take far too long to notice.
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In typical Edgar Wright fashion, the directing is sharp and stylish, frequently turning mundane activities and the most ordinary lines into memorable moments. Also worth watching out for is the coordinated zombie-fighting scene set to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” playing on the jukebox, a scene that previewed the director’s inventive use of music in his more recent movie, Baby Driver.
The second original movie from the absurdist British comedy troupe drew inspiration from an unlikely source of comedy in the form of the Bible, but Life of Brian‘s iconic tale of mistaken identity was massively successful. The central character, Brian Cohen, may have been born on the same day as Jesus Christ but he is certainly not ready for the fame that comes with being mistaken for the Messiah.
Full of iconic scenes and quotable moments, the movie is the perfect example of the genius of Monty Python and why it remains such a revered name in the world of offbeat comedy. There are even brief moments of poignancy in Life of Brian but, with everything delivered in such a dry, self-aware manner, there isn’t an unfunny scene in the movie.
Farcical plots involving many interweaving stories can easily become frustrating to watch but, of course, in the expert hands of the Coen brothers, it works perfectly. In The Big Lebowski, mistaken identity and poorly thought-through schemes lead to a hilariously messy story dominated by some hugely memorable characters.
However, this is only one-half of what makes the movie a classic of smart comedy. Equally important is the way it puts clever twists on film noir tropes like the femme fatale and the lone wolf antihero. Presented in an episodic structure that only gets more ridiculous as the movie continues, The Big Lebowski has almost infinite rewatch value.
Not many romantic comedies can claim to have had anywhere near the influence of the iconic Groundhog Day, which spawned an entire subgenre of time loop movies. Whilst these can be hit-or-miss, Groundhog Day nailed its use of the tricky narrative tool that had its central character, weatherman Phil, living through the same day endlessly.
A product of the Harold Ramis and Bill Murray partnership that brought forth so many classic comedies, the movie doesn’t shy away from showing the darkness and nihilism that comes with a person being able to do anything without consequences but balances it perfectly with sentimental moments that still resonate.
Even with the rise of working from home, there is something about Mike Judge’s cult classic office satire that rings true even over 20 years after its original release. Starring Jennifer Aniston and Ron Livingston, Office Space is razor-sharp in its observations of office environments and especially the plight of the IT worker.
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Whilst the movie devolves into farce towards the latter half, the steady flow of jokes, all delivered in a completely deadpan way mean that it never outstays its welcome. Before The Office became a worldwide phenomenon, Mike Judge had already crafted an incredible sendup of the typical office space.
With the Fargo television series recently renewed for a fifth season, there has never been a better time to revisit the iconic black comedy that, in its opening text, claims to be based on a true crime story that occurred in Minnesota. The movie showcases what the Coen brothers are best at with complex subplots, disturbing yet funny moments, and characters so distinctive they couldn’t have appeared anywhere else.
Revolving around the central plot of a police chief, played by Frances McDormand, investigating murders that occur after a car salesman hires criminals to kidnap his own wife for the ransom money, the movie might be too smart for its own good at times, with even film buffs needing a second viewing to understand all the plot threads.
For any movie fan that thought that intelligent comedy had to be dark and introspective, Splash stands as proof that that’s not the case as it contains enough sweetness to make anyone leave with a smile on their face. Directed by Ron Howard, the movie stars Tom Hanks as Allen Bauer, a man who was once saved from drowning by a mermaid, played by Daryl Hannah.
They reunite twenty years later, unbeknownst to Allen, and soon begin to fall in love. Mixing fish-out-of-water comedy with some hilarious misunderstanding, the movie gets great value out of its central premise. Tension is created by a scientist determined to expose the incognito mermaid, but Howard smartly ties up the plot threads for a perfectly happy, if cheesy, ending.
Although the absurdist comedy troupe had already achieved a degree of success with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, their first original film secured their legacy as all-time greats of the genre. Inspired by Arthurian legend, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a deceptively simple caper centered on the King and his knights.
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In fact, at times it seems as though the film is almost a collection of loosely connected sketches, albeit hilarious ones. However, the genius of the movie is in the way everything turns out to have purpose sooner or later, with an offhand discussion about the loadbearing capabilities of swallows turning out to be of crucial importance later.
Spielberg’s follow-up to the success of Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal is a movie based on the true story of a man who is stranded in an airport after being denied entry to the country but equally unable to return home. With such a premise, the movie could easily have been tragic and hopeless, but the director used his storytelling talent to weave a memorable tale of friendship and hope.
As Viktor Navorski, the stranded immigrant played by Tom Hanks, builds his makeshift home in the airport, the story perfectly balances the lies he’s forced to keep up to maintain his existence there with his need to constantly avoid the airport commissioner doing everything to get him to leave. Spielberg keeps up this balancing act with just the right amount of humor to make it an incredibly watchable comedy.
A biographical cat-and-mouse tale of an FBI agent, played by Tom Hanks, attempting to bring down a master con artist named Frank W. Abagnale, Catch Me If You Can is an entertaining mix of drama and comedy. The con artist played by Leonardo DiCaprio turns out to be a master of disguise, convincingly turning into a doctor, a pilot, and even a parish prosecutor without being discovered.
Although the movie is one of the best Tom Hanks comedy movies, the smartest choice it makes is never trying too hard to force the humor. Instead, the laughs come from the sheer absurdity of the purportedly real events being portrayed by the movie. Spielberg’s vivid storytelling is perfect for creating this unique effect.
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