July 28, 2000
The Second 100 Funniest Films
By TOM WILLIAMS
Just a few weeks ago, the American Film Institute (AFI) announced its
list of the 100 funniest films. It was an impressive list (see chart at bottom) led by
"Some Like It Hot", considered the funniest film of all time.
No argument here. Put Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis
together with a great script and great direction (Billy Wilder was
responsible for both) and you're bound to have a winner.
There were some inconsistencies, however. A couple of years ago, the
AFI selected "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid" as the 50th best film
of all-time. Yet, it was not selected among the 100 funniest.
Okay, there were other aspects to that film. It wasn't one rollicking
laugh after another. But it was funny. The AFI also did select films
like Diner, Broadcast News and Sullivan's Travels that, like Butch
Cassidy, had some serious moments.
All of this makes us believe that 100 funny films are not enough. So,
we decided to select the next 100 funny films. Check them out and see
what you think.
American Hot Wax- This story, about rock and roll creator Allan
Freed, mixes a lot of great early rock with its comedy. Includes a rare
screen appearance by Jay Leno.
The American President- Michael Douglas in a story about the
dating struggles of a single President of the United States. Annette
Bening is the woman who catches his eye.
An American Werewolf in London- A horror movie satire that
catches you by surprise and keeps you entertained. Starring David
Naughton and Griffin Dunne, it also uses "wolf" songs to add to the
And Now For Something Completely Different- The creative British
group, Monty Python, does many of its best skits.
Animal Crackers- The Marx Brothers moving into Margaret Dumont's
mansion - what more can you want. This film introduced the song,
"Hooray for Captain Spaulding", that became Groucho's theme.
As Good As It Gets- Academy Award winners Jack Nicholson and
Helen Hunt have a strong supporting cast in a great story about
contemporary life in New York, with all of its unique characters.
Babe- Funny story about talking animals and the pig that wins
the sheepdog competition.
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer- Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and a
teenaged Shirley Temple bring lots of laughs to this story about a
bachelor and, well, a Bobby-Soxer.
Back to the Beach- Frankie Avalon and Annette star in this funny
send-up of the many beach movies they brought us.
Back to the Future- Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in a
brilliant time machine story by Robert Zemeckis, with great use of
music and lots of hidden humor.
The Bad News Bears- Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal in a comedy
about Little League baseball.
The Bank Dick- Written by and starring W.C. Fields, this one is
a riot with Fields at his very best.
Barefoot in the Park- A classic Neil Simon stage comedy, this
funny screen version starred Jane Fonda and Robert Redford.
The Bellboy- Jerry Lewis goes through skit after skit as a
bellboy at a large hotel.
The Blues Brothers- John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in a classic
comedy that features almost as many singing stars as comedy actors. Led
to a chain of good restaurants and a lousy sequel last year.
Broadway Danny Rose- A Woody Allen classic that revolves around
the deli conversations of some classic comedians, including Milton
Buck Privates- The first of the Abbott & Costello films and the
one the rest of them copied.
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid- Paul Newman and Robert Redford
as hapless bank robbers trying to get away from Lord Baltimore.
Bye Bye Birdie- Great screen adaptation of the giant Broadway
hit with Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, Ann Margret, Wildwood's Bobby
Rydell and Paul Lynde.
Catch-22- Written by Buck Henry (he wrote The Graduate) this
film is a war satire featuring an all star cast.
Clueless- Alicia Silverstone is perfect as the Beverly Hills
teenager in this terrific parody by Amy Heckerling. Good supporting
effort by the always solid Wallace Shawn.
The Cocoanuts- The screen debut of the Marx Brothers.
Cooley High- About black high school students in Chicago, this
film uses great Motown music to set the stage. Is much better than the
TV show, "What's Happening", which it inspired.
Crocodile Dundee- Paul Hogan as the guy from the Outback who
takes on New York City.
A Day at the Races- The Marx Brothers take over a sanitorium.
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid- Steve Martin inter-acts with the
great movie detectives of the past in this very clever film he created
with Carl Reiner. You must see it to really appreciate the creativity,
timing and editing skills required.
Down and Out in Beverly Hills- Nick Nolte, Richard Dreyfuss,
Bette Midler and a great supporting effort by Little Richard make this
simple story very funny.
Dragnet- Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks in a tribute to the
long-running TV show, with Aykroyd doing a perfect Jack Webb as Joe
The Dream Team- Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Boyle
and Stephen Furst as four mental patients lost in New York City when
their chaperoning doctor in hospitalized.
Drop Dead Gorgeous- A documentary-style spoof of the teenage
girls competing in a beauty pageant (and their families).
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (but were Afraid to
Ask)- Woody Allen, with help from his usual assortment of talented
co-stars, makes a funny movie out of what was actually a sex manual.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off- A real fun film, written and directed
by the talented John Hughes, that features a terrific performance by
Fletch- Chevy Chase is a lot of fun in this private detective
Forrest Gump- Robert Zemeckis directing again, this time
following Tom Hanks wonderful performance as a non-judgmental character
who changes the world. Great use of special effects.
Four Weddings & a Funeral- Intelligent British comedy about the
people who attend the five social events in the title. Terrific,
low-key performance by Hugh Grant in the lead.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes- Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on a
cruise to Europe with good laughs, good songs and great scenery.
Get Shorty- John Travolta interacts with Hollywood characters,
played by, among others, Danny DeVito and Gene Hackman.
The Goodbye Girl- Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason and Quinn
Cummings as the sassy kid in this New York comedy by Neil Simon.
Grease- It's the word, with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
as Danny and Sandy. Good supporting cast, including the ageless Frankie
Gremlins- Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates star as a young couple
who see their town attacked by small, and sometimes funny, little
Grumpy Old Men- The seventh movie pairing Jack Lemmon and the
late Walter Matthau, this one is just as good as the others. You can
watch this one many times and always find something new to make you
laugh. Burgess Meredith is terrific in a supporting role.
Hairspray- Rikki Lake, before she lost weight and got her own
talk show, is great as a typical, overweight teen going through life in
a bizarre town. How bizarre? David Nelson and Patty Hearst are married
in this John Walters film.
Harry and Tonto- Academy award winning performance by the great
Art Carney as he travels across the country with Tonto, his cat.
High Anxiety- Mel Brooks takes off on Hitchcock with a terrific
parody featuring a great lineup of comedy actors. Will be even more
enjoyable to Hitchcock fans.
History of the World, Part 1- Mel Brooks again, this time
changing history into a funny story. "It's great to be the king".
Hollywood Knights- A bunch of hot-rod loving teens try to save
their favorite drive-in restaurant. Features the debuts of Michelle
Pfeiffer, Tony Danza and Robert Wuhl. (A classic favorite among editors
and newsroom types!)
Home Alone- A funny slapstick starring Macaulay Culkin as an
eight-year old left at home and his battle with robbers Joe Pesci and
House Party- The rap duo Kid 'n' Play has fun with this hip-hop
How to Marry a Millionaire- Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and
Lauren Bacall are struggling to find men. That's funny enough right
The In-Laws- Peter Falk and Alan Arkin in a zany adventure of
two future in-laws.
Into the Night- Jeff Goldblum gives a classic performance in
this offbeat film that follows him as he tries to save Michelle
Pfeiffer from a group of funny killers.
Jerry Maguire- Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. not only "show me
the money", they also bring a lot of laughs.
L.A. Story- Steve Martin wrote and starred in this take off on
life in Los Angeles. Good supporting effort by Sarah Jessica Parker.
Life of Brian- The Monty Python guys again in the story of a guy
mistaken for Jesus.
The Little Shop of Horrors- The musical version of an old film. Rick
Moranis stars with big supporting efforts from Steve Martin and Bill
Murray. And the lovely Tisha Campbell as part of the singing trio.
Live on Sunset Strip- Richard Pryor's hilarious stand-up routine
is the centerpiece of this film.
Love Finds Andy Hardy- This Mickey Rooney series was about a
young man growing up in the 30s and 40s. All were entertaining, but
this one - featuring Judy Garland, Lana Turner and Ann Rutherford -
might have been the best.
The Major and the Minor- Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland in a
story about a woman who is forced to pretend she's a little girl.
Major League- A comedy about the Cleveland Indians winning the
pennant. Need more? Introduced "Wild Thing" to major league stadiums.
Mars Attacks- A disaster spoof with Jack Nicholson as president
and lots of little green men.
Monkey Business- Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe in
a slapstick about a chemical that makes people act younger.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail- The British group yucks it up
as they search for a special piece of history.
My Cousin Vinny- Joe Pesci is an inexperienced attorney and
Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei is his girlfriend in this legal comedy. Tomei
is superb, stealing every scene. Also a great supporting effort by Fred
Gwynne, as the judge. "Did you say, yoots?"
My Favorite Year- Peter O'Toole and Mark Linn-Baker in a big
comedy about the struggles of an old-time movie hero. A loose takeoff
on Sid Caesar's old TV show.
My Fellow Americans- Former presidents, played by Jack Lemmon
and James Garner, work together to solve a political mystery.
The Naked Gun: Files From the Police Squad- Leslie Neilsen stars
in this spoof of police by the creators of "Airplane".
National Lampoon's Vacation- Chevy Chase takes the family to
Wally World, with lots of funny stops along the way.
The Night Before- Keanu Reeves takes out beautiful classmate
Lori Loughlin and it turns into a night of craziness.
Night Shift- Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton organize hookers
through the morgue. Funnier than it sounds.
Oh, God!- John Denver and George Burns, in the title role, bring
laughs to a simple story.
The Out-of-Towners- Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis are a couple
trying to get through a visit to New York. Much better than the re-make
with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn.
Peggy Sue Got Married- A married woman relives her senior year
of high school, with the expected situation comedy. Kathleen Turner is
effective in the lead.
The Pink Panther Strikes Again- Peter Sellers in one of his
Planes, Trains & Automobiles- John Hughes wrote and directed
this funny story of two men, stranded together on the day before
Thanksgiving. Well acted by Steve Martin and John Candy.
Play It Again, Sam- Woody Allen gets help from Humphrey Bogart
in dealing with life.
Pleasantville- Ken Leary is not even mentioned in this comedy,
about two teens magically transported into a black and white TV sitcom
and how they change things around.
Police Academy- It's not Shakespeare, folks, but there are
enough sophomoric jokes that it turns into a funny film.
Porky's- See Police Academy, above. (Besides, how can we include
Hollywood Knights and not this one?)
Risky Business- Tom Cruise and his high school classmates use
Rebecca DeMornay and her fellow hookers to raise money at a series of
parties. Cruise's lip-sync dance in underwear and Ray-Bans is one of
the classic scenes of the 80s.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show- Still a cult classic after all
Room Service- The Marx Brothers do whatever is necessary to get
their play produced.
Sixteen Candles- Molly Ringwald stars in John Hughes' hilarious
story of a memorable weekend in the life of a high school girl. Anthony
Michael Hall is among many strong supporting actors.
Smile- A funny parody of how a small town handles a teen beauty
pageant, starring Bruce Dern.
Smokey and the Bandit- The Burt Reynolds classic about a run for
beer, with great efforts from Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed and Sally
Soapdish- Sally Field again, along with Kevin Kline, Robert
Downey Jr. and Whoopi Goldberg in a take off on soap operas.
Splash- Tom Hanks and John Candy play brothers (funny already!)
who deal with a mermaid, played by Daryl Hannah. Literally, a fish out
of water comedy.
Stakeout- Some great scenes in this comedy about undercover cops
starring Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez.
The Sting- Paul Newman and Robert Redford pull off the big con.
Summer Rental- John Candy as a man on vacation with his family
in Florida and the characters they run across.
The Sunshine Boys- George Burns and Walter Matthau are great in
this Neil Simon comedy.
Tin Cup- Kevin Costner, Don Johnson and Cheech Marin in a comedy
about professional golf.
To Die For- A dark comedy with Nicole Kidman as a TV reporter
who will do anything to move up the ladder.
Trading Places- A very enjoyable romp, partly shot in
Philadelphia, with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. Directed by John
The Truman Show- Jim Carrey as a man whose entire life has been
televised, without his knowledge. Not the big-gesture Carrey effort,
but funny just because of him.
Viva Las Vegas- Elvis and Ann Margret have a rollicking good
time without betting a dime.
Wag the Dog- Modern political comedy about using Hollywood
techniques to elect a president. Big cast includes Robert DeNiro,
Dustin Hoffman and Anne Heche.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit- Animation and live actors inter-act in
this well-done comedy starring Bob Hoskins. Directed by Robert
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man- W.C. Fields and Edgar Bergen star
in this film, which includes some of Fields' best bits.
You Can't Take it With You- James Stewart, Jean Arthur and
Lionel Barrymore in Frank Capra's rollicking portrayal of a very
strange family in New York City.
Zelig- Woody Allen's documentary spoof about a man who seems to
Well, there's our list. The first 100 - the one's selected by AFI - are listed below. You
probably won't get a chance to see them all before Labor Day so, take these lists with
you and you can rent some of them later.
AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs
1. SOME LIKE IT HOT. 1959
2. TOOTSIE. 1982
3. DR. STRANGELOVE. 1964
4. ANNIE HALL. 1977
5. DUCK SOUP. 1933
6. BLAZING SADDLES. 1974
7. M*A*S*H. 1970
8. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. 1934
9. THE GRADUATE. 1967
10. AIRPLANE!. 1980
11. THE PRODUCERS. 1968
12. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. 1935
13. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. 1974
14. BRINGING UP BABY. 1938
15. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. 1940
16. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. 1952
17. THE ODD COUPLE. 1968
18. THE GENERAL. 1927
19. HIS GIRL FRIDAY. 1940
20. THE APARTMENT. 1960
21. A FISH CALLED WANDA. 1988
22. ADAM'S RIB. 1949
23. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. 1989
24. BORN YESTERDAY. 1950
25. THE GOLD RUSH. 1925
26. BEING THERE. 1979
27. THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. 1998
28. GHOSTBUSTERS. 1984
29. THIS IS SPINAL TAP. 1984
30. ARSENIC AND OLD LACE. 1944
31. RAISING ARIZONA. 1987
32. THE THIN MAN. 1934
33. MODERN TIMES. 1936
34. GROUNDHOG DAY. 1993
35. HARVEY. 1950
36. NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE. 1978
37. THE GREAT DICTATOR. 1940
38. CITY LIGHTS. 1931
39. SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS. 1941
40. IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD. 1963
41. MOONSTRUCK. 1987
42. BIG. 1988
43. AMERICAN GRAFFITI. 1973
44. MY MAN GODFREY. 1936
45. HAROLD AND MAUDE. 1972
46. MANHATTAN. 1979
47. SHAMPOO. 1975
48. A SHOT IN THE DARK. 1964
49. TO BE OR NOT TO BE. 1942
50. CAT BALLOU. 1965
51. THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH. 1955
52. NINOTCHKA. 1939
53. ARTHUR. 1981
54. THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK. 1944
55. THE LADY EVE. 1941
56. ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. 1948
57. DINER. 1982
58. IT'S A GIFT. 1934
59. A DAY AT THE RACES. 1937
60. TOPPER. 1937
61. WHAT'S UP, DOC?. 1972
62. SHERLOCK, JR. . 1924
63. BEVERLY HILLS COP. 1984
64. BROADCAST NEWS. 1987
65. HORSE FEATHERS. 1932
66. TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN. 1969
67. MRS. DOUBTFIRE. 1993
68. THE AWFUL TRUTH. 1937
69. BANANAS. 1971
70. MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN. 1936
71. CADDYSHACK. 1980
72. MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE. 1948
73. MONKEY BUSINESS. 1931
74. 9 TO 5. 1980
75. SHE DONE HIM WRONG. 1933
76. VICTOR/VICTORIA. 1982
77. THE PALM BEACH STORY. 1942
78. ROAD TO MOROCCO. 1942
79. THE FRESHMAN. 1925
80. SLEEPER. 1973
81. THE NAVIGATOR. 1924
82. PRIVATE BENJAMIN. 1980
83. FATHER OF THE BRIDE. 1950
84. LOST IN AMERICA. 1985
85. DINNER AT EIGHT. 1933
86. CITY SLICKERS. 1991
87. FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. 1982
88. BEETLEJUICE. 1988
89. THE JERK. 1979
90. WOMAN OF THE YEAR. 1942
91. THE HEARTBREAK KID. 1972
92. BALL OF FIRE. 1941
93. FARGO. 1996
94. AUNTIE MAME. 1958
95. SILVER STREAK. 1976
96. SONS OF THE DESERT. 1933
97. BULL DURHAM. 1988
98. THE COURT JESTER. 1956
99. THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. 1963
100. GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM. 1987
Be sure to read The Sandpaper in the Ocean City
area and The Beachcomber in the Wildwood area throughout the summer
months for similar features.