If you have a funny-bone that needs tickling, try some of our Comedy Movies starring Jack Nicholson, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, John Raitt, Keenan Wynn, The Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, Alec Baldwin, Peter Lawford, Forrest Tucker, Fred Willard, Strother Martin along with Rhonda Flemming, Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Joan Fontaine, Brigitte Bardot, Dawn Wells, Hope Lang, June Allyson and Judy Garland. Some of the directors of our Comedy movies are George Cukor, Roger Corman, Hal Walker, George Abbott, Mike Hodges and Stanley Donen.
Comedy is a genre or category of film, in which humor is the main emphasis. These films are designed to entertain the audience through amusement, and most often work by exaggerating characteristics of real life for humorous effect. Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending, with black comedy being an exception. One of the oldest genres in film, some of the very first silent movies were comedies, as slapstick comedy often relies on visual depictions, without sound. During the 1930s, the silent film comedy was replaced by dialog from film comedians such as the W. C. Fields and the Marx Brothers.
In the United Kingdom, film adaptations of stage farces were popular in the early 1930s. By the 1950s, the television industry had become a serious competition for the movie industry. The 1960s saw an increasing number of broad, star-packed comedies. In the 1970s, black comedies were popular. Leading figures in the 1970s were Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. Most British comedy films of the early 1970s were spin-offs of television series. One of the major developments of the 1990s was the re-emergence of the romantic comedy film. Another development was the increasing use of “gross-out humor“. Since the late 2000s, the live-action comedy film has entered a period of severe decline, with studios green-lighting far fewer of them each year.
Comedy, unlike other film genres, puts much more focus on individual stars, with many former stand-up comics transitioning to the film industry due to their popularity. While many comic films are lighthearted stories with no intent other than to amuse, others contain political or social commentary, such as Wag the Dog and Man of the Year. There are a number of hybrid comedy genres, including action comedy, comedy horror, sci-fi comedy and military comedy.
Here are some examples of the types of Comedy films:
A Comedy of manners film satirizes the manners and affectations of a social class, often represented by stock characters. The plot of the comedy is often concerned with an illicit love affair or some other scandal. However, the plot is generally less important than its witty dialogue. This form of comedy has a long ancestry, dating back at least as far as Much Ado about Nothing created by William Shakespeare.
Slapstick – The Three Stooges is an excellent example of this kind of comedy, as this form relies predominately on visual depictions of events, and therefore does not require sound. Accordingly, the subgenre was ideal for silent movies.
In a fish-out-of-water comedy film, the main character or character finds himself in an unusual environment, which drives most of the humor. Situations can be swapping gender roles, as in Tootsie (1982); an age changing role, as in Big (1988); a freedom-loving individual fitting into a structured environment, as in Police Academy (1984); a rural backwoodsman in the big city, as in “Crocodile” Dundee, and so forth. The Coen Brothers are known for using this technique in all of their films though not always to comic effect. Some films including people fitting the “fish-out-of-water” bill include The Big Lebowski and A Serious Man.
A parody or spoof film is a comedy that satirizes other film genres or classic films. Such films employ sarcasm, stereotyping, mockery of scenes from other films, and the obviousness of meaning in a character’s actions. Examples of this form include Blazing Saddles (1974), Airplane! (1980), Young Frankenstein (1974) and Scary Movie (2000).
The anarchic comedy film, as its name suggests, is a random or stream-of-consciousness type of humor, which often lampoons a form of authority. The genre dates from the silent era, and the most famous examples of this type of film would be those produced by Monty Python.Others include Duck Soup (1933) and National Lampoon’s Animal House.
The black comedy film deals with normally taboo subjects, including, death, murder, sexual relations, suicide and war, in a satirical manner. Examples include Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), The Ladykillers (1955), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), The Loved One (1965), MASH (1970), Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983),Brazil (1985), The War of the Roses (1989), Heathers (1989), Your Friends & Neighbors (1998), Keeping Mum (2005), and Burn After Reading(2008).
Gross out films are a relatively recent development and rely heavily on vulgar, sexual or “toilet” humor. Examples include Porky’s (1982), Dumb and Dumber (1994), There’s Something About Mary (1998) and American Pie (1999).
The romantic comedy film subgenre typically involves the development of a relationship between a man and a woman. The stereotyped plot line follows the “boy-gets-girl”, “boy-loses-girl” and “boy gets girl back again” sequence. Naturally, there are innumerable variants to this plot, and much of the generally light-hearted comedy lies in the social interactions and sexual tensions between the pair. Several examples of this style of film include It’s a Wonderful World (1939), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), Sabrina (1954), Annie Hall (1977), When Harry Met Sally… (1989), Pretty Woman(1990), and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).
It was not uncommon for the early romantic comedy film, to also be categorized as a screwball comedy film. This form of comedy film was particularly popular during the 1930s and 1940s. There is no consensus definition of this film style, and it is often loosely applied to slapstick or romantic comedy films. Typically, it can include a romantic element, interplay between people of different economic strata, quick and witty repartee, some form of role reversal, and a happy ending. Some examples of the screwball comedy are: It Happened One Night (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Philadelphia Story (1940), His Girl Friday (1940), and more recently What’s Up, Doc? (1972).