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Best comedy films of all time, according to critics

Walt Disney Pictures

100 best comedy films of all time, according to critics

Laughter not only makes people feel good, it helps them bond with others and some say watching comedies can even make you a better person. Whether it’s a funny flick full of sap, satire, or slapstick, picking a comedy over a drama might also improve health.

In 2018, critics have loved all types of the genre. Romantic comedies like “Crazy Rich Asians,” have dominated at the box office. “Sorry to Bother You,” a dystopian satire about a telemarketer, is another critic favorite. “American Vandal,” the fictional documentary-style investigative series about high school pranks gone too far, won a Peabody award.

To help pick a film that will inspire plenty of laughs, Stacker used data from Metacritic to compile a list of the 100 best comedies, according to critics. Audiences don’t always love the films that reviewers praise, but click through to see which of your favorite films were critic favorites as well.

RELATED: Best comedy movies of all time, according to IMDb data.

New Line Cinema

#100. About Schmidt

Metascore: 85

Release date: Dec. 13, 2002

This 2002 comedy-drama stars Jack Nicholson as an actuary who battles loneliness after he decides to retire, embarking on a cross-country trip to convince his only daughter not to go through with her wedding. The film was a critical and commercial success, more than doubling its production budget of $30 million. The Guardian described the film as a “tender, acrid, comedy masterpiece.”

Je Suis Bien Content

#99. April and the Extraordinary World

Metascore: 85

Release date: March 25, 2016

Marion Cotillard lent her voice to this animated science fiction film that was first released in 2015 as “Avril et le Monde Truqué” in France and Belgium. Cotillard voices a character who lives in an alternate version of 1941, where scientists like her parents—along with Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi—have mysteriously disappeared, leaving a modern day that’s stuck in the 19th century. The animation style was based on the work of French cartoonist Jacques Tardi. The New York Times described the film as a “beautiful, inventive, and uncannily satisfying new example of animated sci-fi.”

Universal Pictures

#98. Knocked Up

Metascore: 85

Release date: June 1, 2007

Seth Rogen stars alongside Katherine Heigl as two strangers who decide to become parents after a one-night stand results in a pregnancy. Judd Apatow of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Freaks and Geeks,” directed this film that Rolling Stone said had “unexpected gravity.”

Jafar Panahi Film Productions

#97. Offside

Metascore: 85

Release date: March 23, 2007

Inspired by his daughter, Jafar Panahi directs this film about six Iranian young women who dress up like boys so they can watch the 2006 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain. Female fans are forbidden from entering football stadiums for fear they will be cursed at, or worse. Critics dubbed it thought-provoking and funny.

Paranoid Pictures

#96. Exit Through the Gift Shop

Metascore: 85

Release date: April 16, 2010

This 2010 documentary was directed by British street artist Banksy. It follows Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in Los Angeles who loves street art. Guetta meets artists like Shepard Fairey along the way. Though some speculated the film might be more of a mockumentary, it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Duplass Brothers Productions

#95. Tangerine

Metascore: 85

Release date: July 10, 2015

An American comedy-drama, this film follows a transgender sex worker who finds out that her boyfriend—and pimp—has been cheating on her. One of the most remarkable things about this film, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, is that it was shot on iPhone 5s smartphones.

42 Km Film

#94. The Treasure

Metascore: 85

Release date: Jan. 8, 2016

Director Cornelius Porumboiu tells the story of two men in post-Communist Romania as they search for lost treasure. The New York Times lauded Porumboiu's ability to not force the movie forward, instead letting events emerge from “the quirks and puzzles of human behavior.”

Fox Searchlight Pictures

#93. The Savages

Metascore: 85

Release date: Nov. 28, 2007

In “The Savages,” Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman play siblings who revisit their dysfunctional family history when their aging father has to be moved into a nursing home. The film was written and directed by Tamara Jenkins (“The Slums of Beverly Hills”) and released right before Christmas. Critics agreed the film wasn’t the season’s normal cheery holiday fare, but was still uplifting and funny.

Burn Later Productions

#92. Support the Girls

Metascore: 85

Release date: Aug. 24, 2018

A female cast portrays what it’s like to support each other while working at Double Whammies, the kind of Hooters-style eatery colloquially referred to as a “breastaurant.” Rolling Stone applauded the movie’s stealthy feminism, and hailed it as one of the best films of 2018.

Twentieth Century Fox

#91. Say Anything...

Metascore: 85

Release date: April 4, 1989

Cameron Crowe made his directorial debut with “Say Anything.” John Cusack also made the boombox serenade famous in this '80s film. The Hollywood Reporter described the comedy as “somewhere between John Hughes’ adolescent fantasies, and the corrosive satire in ‘Heathers.’”

TriStar Pictures

#90. Baby Driver

Metascore: 86

Release date: June 28, 2017

In this 2017 comedy-drama, a young getaway driver (Angel Elmore) depends on his personally curated soundtrack to help him speed away. Things take a turn when he is forced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey). Critics agreed the movie was fun and exciting, and did indeed have a great soundtrack.

La Parti Productions

#89. Ernest & Célestine

Metascore: 86

Release date: Feb. 28, 2014

A mouse and bear form an unexpected bond in this French-Belgian animated film. Their friendship is tested when each of their communities expresses fears about the other. Forest Whitaker, Megan Mullally, and Nick Offerman all add their voices to an Oscar-nominated animation that NPR described as clever and sweet.

Avenue Pictures

#88. The Player

Metascore: 86

Release date: April 3, 1992

In this early-'90s satire directed by Robert Altman, Tim Robbins plays a not-so-likeable Hollywood executive who starts to get threats from a screenwriter whose work he rejected. When Robbins confronts the mystery letter writer, the meeting ends in murder. Robert Ebert called Altman’s portrayal of Hollywood “hilarious and heartless in about equal measure.”

Walt Disney Pictures

#87. Aladdin

Metascore: 86

Release date: Nov. 25, 1992

The Arabic folktale “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” provided the inspiration for this animated film. The story follows a street urchin named Aladdin as he tries to woo Princess Jasmine after finding a genie in a magic lamp. The movie title may have been “Aladdin,” but Robert Williams’ portrayal of the genie stole the show and charmed critics and audiences alike.

Apatow Productions

#86. The Big Sick

Metascore: 86

Release date: June 23, 2017

This romantic comedy is based on the real-life events of the film’s husband-and-wife writing team: comedian Kumail Nanjiani and writer Emily V. Gordon. The movie follows the couple as they navigate their cultural differences, after Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan) is put into a medically induced coma. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Indigo Film

#85. The Great Beauty

Metascore: 86

Release date: Nov. 15, 2013

A successful journalist (Toni Servillo) has lived a charmed life among the elite in Rome’s social scene. As he ponders death after turning 65, he reevaluates his life. The New York Times described the movie as “deliriously alive.”

Cinesthesia Productions

#84. Stranger Than Paradise

Metascore: 86

Release date: July 25, 1984

In this understated comedy, a group of friends spontaneously decide to take a road trip across the country. The Washington Post described the film as a “funny, luminously real, and utterly original new film” from director Jim Jarmusch.

Paramount Pictures

#83. Nobody's Fool

Metascore: 86

Release date: Jan. 13, 1995

Paul Newman plays a 60-year-old man who never grew up. He subsists on part-time construction work and lives in a rooming house owned by his eighth-grade teacher (Jessica Tandy). Melanie Griffith, Bruce Willis, and Philip Seymour Hoffman also appear in this '90s comedy. Newman received an Oscar nod for his charismatic performance.

Madragoa Filmes

#82. I'm Going Home

Metascore: 86

Release date: Aug. 14, 2002

Gilbert Vance (Michel Piccoli) is an aging actor who becomes the guardian for his grandson after the child’s parents, along with Vance’s wife, die in a car accident. The story follows the two as they navigate grief and adjust to their new life. According the the Guardian, it was a “perfectly poised and perfectly acted movie.”

Focus Features

#81. The Kids Are All Right

Metascore: 86

Release date: July 9, 2010

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play Nic and Jules, a married couple with teenage children who seek out their biological father (Mark Ruffalo). The all-star cast, which included Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”) and Josh Hutcherson (“Hunger Games”), made for an “easygoing comedy of emotional difficulty, a witty portrait of postmodern family life,” according to The Guardian.

Hoody Boy Productions

#80. Krisha

Metascore: 86

Release date: March 18, 2016

Krisha Fairchild—writer-director Trey Edward Shults’ real-life aunt—plays the role of Krisha, a woman fighting addiction who tries to reconnect with her relatives one Thanksgiving at home in Texas. The film was Shults’ directorial debut.

American Empirical Pictures

#79. Rushmore

Metascore: 86

Release date: Dec. 11, 1998

Jason Schwartzman plays Max Fischer, a know-it-all high school student at Rushmore Academy who hopes to get into Oxford early, despite his less-than-stellar grades. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mr. Herman Blume (Bill Murray), a millionaire who soon becomes involved with Fischer’s crush: a first-grade teacher. This cult classic was only the second feature film by director Wes Anderson (“Bottle Rocket” was his first). The Washington Post said the movie was witty, enjoyable, and “almost in an indefinable genre of its own.”

Columbia Pictures Corporation

#78. To Die For

Metascore: 86

Release date: Sept. 27, 1995

Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, and Joaquin Phoenix star in this 1995 dark comedy directed by Gus Van Sant. Kidman’s character wishes to become a television news anchor. She enlists the help of high school student Jimmy (Phoenix) to get her husband (Dillon) out of the picture. Kidman won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.  

Romaine Film Corporation

#77. To Be or Not to Be

Metascore: 86

Release date: March 6, 1942

Carole Lombard and Jack Benny star in this 1940s comedy in which a theater group uses their acting skills to disguise themselves from soldiers during Nazi-occupied Poland. One of the actors takes a successful stab at passing for Hitler on the street. The film debuted only one month after Lombard died in a plane crash.


#76. Force Majeure

Metascore: 87

Release date: Oct. 24, 2014

While vacationing at a French ski resort, the father of a Swedish family runs for cover—without grabbing his wife and children—when he thinks an avalanche is headed his way. His marriage is shaken by his desire to save himself first. Critics agreed the movie was an uncomfortably funny look into relationships. The Chicago Tribune called it a highlight of 2014.

Westerly Films

#75. Love & Friendship

Metascore: 87

Release date: May 13, 2016

In this Jane Austen adaptation directed by Whit Stillman, Kate Beckinsale plays Lady Susan Vernon, a widow trying to secure a future for herself and her daughter while battling society’s rumor mill. She strikes up a friendship with Alicia Johnson (Chloe Sevigny) along the way. The period piece was one of the best movies of 2016, according to Rolling Stone.

Kick the Machine

#74. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Metascore: 87

Release date: March 4, 2011

Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul tells the story of Uncle Boonmee, a man who is dying of kidney disease. While facing death and contemplating life, ghosts from his path return to comfort him. The Cannes Film Festival awarded the Palme d’Or to the film.

Columbia Pictures Corporation

#73. Tootsie

Metascore: 87

Release date: Dec. 17, 1982

Before Robin Williams played Mrs. Doubtfire, Dustin Hoffman donned a wig and a dress in “Tootsie.” Hoffman plays Michael Dorsey, a failing actor who dresses up like a woman to get a role on a soap opera. Problems arise when he falls in love with his co-star Julie (Jessica Lange). Teri Garr, Bill Murray, and Geena Davis make up a cast The New York Times called “splendid.”

DreamWorks Animation

#72. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Metascore: 87

Release date: Oct. 5, 2005

This stop-motion animated story follows pest control agents Wallace, an inventor, and Gromit, his dog, as they protect the annual vegetable competition from an invasion of rabbits. Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes lend their voices to the film, which won an Oscar for the Best Animated Feature.

Universal Pictures

#71. Back to the Future

Metascore: 87

Release date: July 3, 1985

Director Robert Zemeckis introduced audiences to Michael J. Fox in this first installment of the “Back to the Future” series. McFly is a high school student whose eccentric scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) accidentally sends him 30 years into the future through a time-traveling DeLorean. McFly must revisit his past to prevent changes to his present. A Vox critic claimed the film was “the most perfect blockbuster ever made.”

Cité Films

#70. I Vitelloni [re-release]

Metascore: 87

Release date: Nov. 14, 2003

This sardonic 1953 film, directed by Federico Fellini, follows five young men in Italy who are facing a turning point in their lives. In English, the title roughly translates into “The Overgrown Teenagers” or “The Big Loafers.” The movie was Fellini’s third.

Wildgaze Films

#69. Brooklyn

Metascore: 87

Release date: Nov. 4, 2015

Screenwriter Nick Hornby adapted a Colm Tóibín novel for this film directed by John Crowley. The story follows Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan) who comes to Brooklyn in the 1950s and falls in love. In the end, she must choose between her native country or her new home. The Washington Post described the film as a “sincere, unabashedly tender coming-of-age tale.”

Columbia Pictures Corporation

#68. It Happened One Night

Metascore: 87

Release date: Feb. 22, 1934

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert star in this romantic comedy directed and co-produced by Frank Capra. Colbert plays a spoiled heiress who has eloped against the wishes of her parents. Gable plays a journalist who will help Colbert’s character reunite with her husband as long as he gets a story out of it. It was the first film to win all five major Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Writing (Adaptation).

Universal Pictures

#67. Shakespeare in Love

Metascore: 87

Release date: Dec. 11, 1998

This romantic period comedy-drama depicts a young William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) in love with a woman who disguises herself as a man so she can be an actor (Gwyneth Paltrow). The film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Picture.

Walt Disney Productions

#66. Mary Poppins

Metascore: 88

Release date: Aug. 27, 1964

Julie Andrews made the word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” famous in “Mary Poppins.” Dick Van Dyke joined Andrews in this musical-fantasy film about a nanny helping two kids become closer to their father. The film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, winning five.

British Screen Productions

#65. Life Is Sweet

Metascore: 88

Release date: Oct. 25, 1991

This British comedy directed by Mike Leigh takes a look at the lives of a lower middle-class family in suburban London. The Los Angeles Times said the film “has the wild, brazen, anything-goes energy of a 2 year old.”

New Regency Pictures

#64. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Metascore: 88

Release date: Oct. 17, 2014

Michael Keaton made his comeback in this dark comedy. Writer-director Alejandro González Iñárritu tells the story of an actor (Keaton) famous for playing a superhero, before the start of his new Broadway play. Emma Stone, Edward Norton, and Zach Galifianakis also appear in the film. It took home four Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Motion Picture.

Walt Disney Pictures

#63. Toy Story 2

Metascore: 88

Release date: Nov. 24, 1999

In a sequel many considered “pure magic,” Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks) is kidnapped by a toy collector as his owner Andy goes off to summer camp. The “Toy Story 2” gang, including Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and newcomer Jessie the Cowgirl (Joan Cusack), must band together to rescue him.

Paramount Animation

#62. Anomalisa

Metascore: 88

Release date: Dec. 30, 2015

Charlie Kaufman used puppets and stop-motion animation to portray an aging motivational speaker as he tries to connect with others. He finally makes a friend when he meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh). The film taps into “an existential loneliness most films can only hint at,” according to NPR.

Walt Disney Pictures

#61. Up

Metascore: 88

Release date: May. 29, 2009

This CGI-animated comedy starts off sad, when an elderly man’s wife dies, but the majority of the movie is an uplifting story about an aging explorer who uses helium balloons to travel the world. His young neighbor joins him for the ride. The film won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

DreamWorks Animation

#60. Chicken Run

Metascore: 88

Release date: June 21, 2000

The first of the “Chicken Run” series, a group of chickens band together to escape their evil owners. Critics agreed this animated film was just as much fun for adults as it was for children.

MK2 Productions

#59. Three Colors: White

Metascore: 88

Release date: June 10, 1994

This French-Polish comedy-drama is the second in the “Three Colors” series. The story follows a man who is left by his wife (Julie Delpy) because he could not consummate the marriage. He loses his money, home, and friends. He must regain his livelihood while learning to let his wife go.

Compagnia Cinematografica Antonio Cervi

#58. Mafioso [re-release]

Metascore: 88

Release date: Jan. 19, 2007

Originally released in 1962, this Italian black comedy stars Alberto Sordi as a factory manager living in Milan who is asked to make good on an oath with the local mob after he returns with his wife to Sicily. In a recent review from The New York Times, a critic described the movie as “at once a giddy mixture of farce, satire, and opera buffs.”

Fox Searchlight Pictures

#57. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Metascore: 88

Release date: March 7, 2014

In his eighth feature film, director Wes Anderson tells the story of Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel, and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the lobby boy who becomes his friend. Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, F. Murray Abraham, and Tilda Swinton star in this stylish, eccentric, and silly comedy.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

#56. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Metascore: 88

Release date: Nov. 10, 2017

After her daughter is murdered, a mother (Frances McDormand) puts up three controversial billboards after local police (Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell) fail to find the killer. McDormand’s performance in the black comedy won her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Pallas Film

#55. Tulpan

Metascore: 88

Release date: April 1, 2009

Director Sergei Dvortsevoy tells the story of Asa, a discharged Russian sailor living in Kazakhstan. He wants to be a herdsman who owns his own ranch one day, but first he thinks he must get married. He sets his sights on Tulpan, the only eligible young woman in his proximity.

Studio Canal

#54. Paddington 2

Metascore: 88

Release date: Jan. 12, 2018

In this animated sequel, Paddington gets used to living with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens. The film follows the bear as he tries to find a gift for his aunt’s 100th birthday.

Anhelo Producciones

#53. Y Tu Mamá También

Metascore: 88

Release date: March 15, 2002

This art-house comedy, whose title translates to “And Your Mother Too,” was a breakout hit. The story follows two macho teenagers in Mexico City: a rich kid (Diego Luna) and his middle-class friend (Gael Garcia Bernal). The Chicago Tribune said the movie was sexy, insightful, funny, and “not to be missed.”

United Artists

#52. Ghost World

Metascore: 88

Release date: July 20, 2001

Directed by Terry Zwigoff and adapted from a Daniel Clowes comic book, “Ghost World” stars an angsty Scarlett Johansson alongside Thora Birch. The film explores the friendship of two teenage girls as they leave high school. The New York Times said the film was “the best depiction of teenage eccentricity since Rushmore.’”

Quad Productions

#51. The Death of Stalin

Metascore: 88

Release date: March 9, 2018

After Joseph Stalin dies in Moscow in 1953, his underlings (Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin) struggle to see who will wield the power and become the next Soviet leader in this satire directed by Armando Iannucci (“Veep”). Critics described the humor as “frightfully uneasy,” with “perfectly timed slapstick.”

The Samuel Goldwyn Company

#50. The Madness of King George

Metascore: 89

Release date: Dec. 28, 1994

The film shows King George III (Nigel Hawthorne) as he slips into insanity after losing his American colonies in 1788. Some believe Hawthorne should have won the Oscar that year instead of Tom Hanks for “Forrest Gump.”


#49. Uncertain

Metascore: 89

Release date: March 10, 2017

In a documentary that takes an artful look at the town of Uncertain, Texas, viewers get a closer view at a few of the small town’s residents. Variety called the film “instantly fascinating.” It also won the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival’s prestigious Albert Maysles Documentary Director Award.

SBS Productions

#48. Elle

Metascore: 89

Release date: Nov. 11, 2016

In a career-defining role, Isabelle Huppert played Michele, the head of a successful video game company. After she is attacked and raped in her home, she decides to track the criminal down, and exact revenge. One critic called the movie a “high-wire act without a net.”

Columbia Pictures Corporation

#47. Funny Girl (re-release)

Metascore: 89

Release date: Aug. 31, 2001

The movie follows film star and comedian Fanny Brice and her relationship with gambler Nicky Arnstein. Barbra Streisand won an Academy Award for her role in this musical-comedy originally released in 1968.

Everyman Pictures

#46. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Metascore: 89

Release date: Nov. 3, 2006

British comedian and master of disguise Sacha Baron Cohen wrote and starred in this 2006 mockumentary. He plays Borat Sagdiyev, a news reporter from Kazakhstan, who comes to the United States to make a documentary. Cohen uses Borat’s character to illuminate misogyny and racism as he travels across the country in an ice cream truck.

Columbia Pictures Corporation

#45. The Last Detail

Metascore: 89

Release date: Dec. 12, 1973

In this profane comedy based on a novel by the same name, Jack Nicholson and Otis Young play Navy sailors escorting another sailor (Randy Quaid) to the Portsmouth Naval Prison. Nicholson and Young show the sailor a good time before dropping him off to serve his sentence.

Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

#44. Love and Death

Metascore: 89

Release date: Aug. 28, 1975

Woody Allen satirizes Russian literature in “Love and Death.” Allen stars as a 19th-century Russian who falls in love with his married cousin (Diane Keaton). Allen wins a duel against a cuckolded husband, and is then asked to join a plot to kill Napoleon.

Depth of Field

#43. Columbus

Metascore: 89

Release date: Aug. 4, 2017

When his father falls into a coma, a Korean man played by John Cho (“Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle”) is suddenly stuck in Columbus, Indiana. He strikes up a friendship with a local girl (Haley Lu Richardson) who isn’t as keen on leaving town. Critics agree the movie is endearing and beautifully filmed.

K5 International

#42. Paterson

Metascore: 90

Release date: Dec. 28, 2016

Adam Driver stars in this quiet comedy-drama written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. Driver plays Paterson, a bus driver in New Jersey who dabbles in poetry. Viewers follow Paterson through a week of his life in a film that celebrates the normal.


#41. Eighth Grade

Metascore: 90

Release date: July. 13, 2018

Writer-director Bo Burnham shows the awkwardness of adolescence through the story of an eighth-grader named Kayla (Elsie Fisher). The audience watches Kayla as she makes it through the last week of middle school.

USA Films

#40. Gosford Park

Metascore: 90

Release date: Dec. 26, 2001

Robert Altman directed this mystery in which the lives of both guests and servants are upended when a murder occurs at a party. The ensemble cast includes Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Ryan Phillippe, Maggie Smith, and Kristin Scott Thomas, among others.

Orion Pictures

#39. Hannah and Her Sisters

Metascore: 90

Release date: Feb. 1, 1986

This 1986 comedy-drama was written and directed by Woody Allen. The story follows a family over two years culminating around a Thanksgiving dinner. The cast includes Mia Farrow, Michael Caine, Dianne Wiest, Carrie Fisher, and Farrow’s own mother Maureen O’Sullivan. The film won Oscars for Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.

Good Machine

#38. American Splendor

Metascore: 90

Release date: Aug. 15, 2003

This biographical comedy-drama is about Harvey Pekar, the author of the “American Splendor” comic book series for which the film is named. Paul Giamatti plays Pekar, who chronicled his life as a hospital file clerk in Ohio in his comic books. The film mixes in scenes that show the real-life Pekar, who died in 2010.


#37. Being John Malkovich

Metascore: 90

Release date: Oct. 29, 1999

Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is an unemployed puppeteer who takes a job as a file clerk. When Craig finds a portal that leads inside the head of actor John Malkovich, the two explore what it’s like to be the actor. Director Spike Jonze paired up with writer Charlie Kaufman to produce this original and sometimes outlandish film.

Goldwyn Films

#36. Topsy-Turvy

Metascore: 90

Release date: Dec. 17, 1999

“Topsy-Turvy” is set in the late 1800s, and tells the story of how the musical theater-writing duo of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan nearly fell apart before the two made “The Mikado,” one of their most well-known comic operas.

Walt Disney Pictures

#35. Finding Nemo

Metascore: 90

Release date: May 30, 2003

Clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) sets out to find his lost son Nemo when the two become separated in the Great Barrier Reef. Along the way, Marlin meets up with forgetful Pacific regal blue tang Dory (Ellen Degeneres). The animated film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and spawned a successful sequel 13 years later.

Bitter Films

#34. It's Such a Beautiful Day

Metascore: 90

Release date: Oct. 5, 2012

This black comedy-drama is an animated film directed, written, drawn, and produced by Don Hertzfeldt. The film is split into three chapters that follow a stick-figure named Bill who has an unknown illness that causes memory lapses and strange visions. The visuals may be simple, but emotions still come through.

Annapurna Pictures

#33. Her

Metascore: 90

Release date: Dec. 18, 2013

Director Spike Jonze shows viewers a future in which artificial intelligence can help with loneliness. Quiet, solitary Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his operating system Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). The film is a touching and remarkably believable love story between man and machine.

The Geffen Company

#32. After Hours

Metascore: 90

Release date: Sept. 13, 1985

Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) has an absurd night as he makes his way through SoHo after meeting Marcy (Rosanna Arquette) in a New York cafe. Martin Scorsese directed this black comedy that critics liked, but that wasn’t an instant audience favorite.

Channel Four Films

#31. Secrets & Lies

Metascore: 91

Release date: Sept. 27, 1996

Directed by Mike Leigh, “Secrets & Lies” addresses issues of race and identity when a black woman (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) living in London finds out her birth mother (Brenda Blethyn) is living in a run-down part of town. Another surprise: she’s white. The film was nominated for five Oscars and won the Palme D’Or award at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. Blethyn won a Golden Globe for Best Actress.

40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

#30. Do the Right Thing

Metascore: 91

Release date: June 30, 1989

Director Spike Lee details events that led to a race riot between residents in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year. The events center around an Italian-American pizza parlor owner named Sal (Danny Aiello), his employee Mookie (Spike Lee), and Mookie’s friend Buggin’ Out (Giancarlo Esposito). Some see this groundbreaking movie as a black nationalist manifesto, as well as one of the most important films of its time.

Jafar Panahi Film Productions

#29. Jafar Panahi's Taxi

Metascore: 91

Release date: Oct. 2, 2015

The Iranian government banned Jafar Panahi from making films in 2010. To get around the censorship, he posed as a taxi drive to make a funny and captivating movie addressing social issues in Iran. This was Panahi’s third feature he filmed after the ban.

Ealing Studios

#28. The Ladykillers

Metascore: 91

Release date: Feb. 20, 1956

Starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, this black comedy tells the story of a group of five men who plan a bank robbery while renting rooms from an elderly widow who believes the men are classical musicians. Alexander Mackendrick directed the original feature, but Joel and Ethan Coen remade the film in 2004 with a cast that included Tom Hanks, Marlon Wayans, J.K. Simmons, and Irma P. Hall.

Shôchiku Eiga

#27. Children of Tokyo

Metascore: 91

Release date: June 25, 2010

Originally released in 1932, Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu’s silent film was digitally restored with re-translated subtitles in 2010. The story tells the story of family through two young brothers who are disappointed with their father’s submissive behavior at work. After viewing their father in a different light, the boys shed some of their innocent views of the world.

Les Armateurs

#26. The Triplets of Belleville

Metascore: 91

Release date: Nov. 26, 2003

Directed by French filmmaker Sylvain Chomet, this animated feature tells the story of Madame Souza, a grandmother who must rescue her kidnapped son from a group of gangsters who want to use his bicycling prowess in a gambling scheme. Along the way Souza and her friend meet a 1930s jazz group known as the Triplets of Belleville. The film features Oscar-nominated music by Benoit Charest.

Twentieth Century Fox

#25. Breaking Away

Metascore: 91

Release date: July 20, 1979

A group of young men adjust to life after high school. Dennis Christopher plays Dave, a cycling enthusiast who wants to become a world champion. After meeting the Italian racing team, he and his friends (Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley) decide to challenge some college boys in the town’s annual bike race. The film won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

Spinal Tap Prod.

#24. This Is Spinal Tap

Metascore: 91

Release date: March 2, 1984

One of the first mockumentary films, this satire focuses on a once-famous aging British heavy metal group while they plan a concert tour after 17 years out of the spotlight. Rob Reiner directed and co-wrote the script for this cult classic, along with the film’s stars Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer.


#23. A Summer's Tale

Metascore: 91

Release date: June 20, 2014

A man who has recently graduated from university heads to the beaches in Bretagne for a three-week vacation. After his girlfriend declines his invitation, he meets another woman who sparks his interest. He must decide between his new love interest and his former flame. The Los Angeles Times said the movie was “unhurried and gently amusing.” Originally released in the U.S. in 1996, the newly restored film made its American debut in the summer of 2014.

Highwayman Films

#22. The Rider

Metascore: 92

Release date: April 13, 2018

Directed by Chloe Zhao, this film—based a true story—stars Brady Jandreau as a star on the rodeo circuit trying to make a comeback after a riding accident. Brady must grapple finding a new identity, if he can no longer ride and compete. Jandreau’s real-life siblings Tim and Lilly appear opposite him in the film. The Atlantic considered it one of the best movies of 2018.

Walt Disney Pictures

#21. Toy Story 3

Metascore: 92

Release date: June 18, 2010

Pixar succeeded again with the third installment of the “Toy Story” series. This time, Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and the gang find themselves sent to a daycare as Andy heads off to college. The film won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, and Best Original Song.

Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

#20. Annie Hall

Metascore: 92

Release date: April 20, 1977

The story follows neurotic New Yorker Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) as he falls in love and navigates a relationship with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). Written and directed by Allen, the film won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor.

Michael White Productions

#19. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Metascore: 93

Release date: April 14, 1975

Filled with Monty Python’s signature British humor, this installment was a “marvelously particular kind of lunatic endeavor,” according to The New York Times' review. As the name suggests, the comedy follows King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they search for the Holy Grail.

Nina Paley

#18. Sita Sings the Blues

Metascore: 93

Release date: Dec. 25, 2009

Directed by Nina Paley, this ambitious and visually loaded animated film tells the Hindu story of the Ramayana interspersed with musical numbers featuring the vocals of 1920s star Annette Hanshaw. The feature placed first at international film festivals around the world.

Riama Film

#17. La Dolce Vita (re-release)

Metascore: 93

Release date: April 30, 2004

Federico Fellini directed this 1960 classic that shows viewers a week in the life of a playboy journalist in Rome. The feature won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and Fellini took home the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Summit Entertainment

#16. La La Land

Metascore: 93

Release date: Dec. 9, 2016

Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) keep ending up together as they both pursue their desires—with plenty of singing and dancing along the way—in this romantic feature. The musical comedy-drama took home six Academy Awards, including Best Actress and Best Director. While many critics praised the film, some weren’t as enamoured with the feature.

Komplizen Film

#15. Toni Erdmann

Metascore: 93

Release date: Dec. 25, 2016

A professional woman’s estranged father likes to play jokes and dress in disguises. He poses as a life coach for her CEO in order to get close to her. Father and daughter attempt to repair their relationship when his identity is finally revealed. Maren Ade wrote and directed the German-Austrian film, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

Greenwich Film Productions

#14. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie [re-release]

Metascore: 93

Release date: May 12, 2000

Six people at a dinner party try to finish a meal together, but are interrupted by a series of dreams. Directed by Luis Bunuel and written in collaboration with Jean-Claude Carriere, the surrealist comedy won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

Scott Rudin Productions

#13. Lady Bird

Metascore: 94

Release date: Nov. 3, 2017

Writer Greta Gerwig makes her directorial debut with a film some called exquisite. “Lady Bird,” a script loosely based on Gerwig’s own life, tells the story of an angsty teenager (Saoirse Ronan) at a California Catholic school, and explores her relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf). The feature was nominated for five Academy Awards and won Golden Globes for Best Actress and Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy).

Fox Searchlight Pictures

#12. Sideways

Metascore: 94

Release date: Oct. 22, 2004

Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) go on a road trip through California wine country before Jack gets married. Miles meets another wine buff (Virginia Madsen) while Jack spends the weekend with winemaker Stephanie (Sandra Oh). The film increased the popularity of Pinot Noir by 170% after it was released.

Walt Disney Pictures

#11. Inside Out

Metascore: 94

Release date: June 19, 2015

Emotions come to life in this innovative animated film. After a young girl moves from the Midwest to San Francisco, viewers get a look inside her head as her feelings try to navigate this new life. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, and Jack Black are among the cast. The film won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Columbia Pictures Corporation

#10. The Social Network

Metascore: 95

Release date: Oct. 1, 2010

Based on a book by Ben Mezrich, writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher tell the story of Facebook. Jesse Eisenberg portrays founder Mark Zuckerberg as he gets caught up in a lawsuit after two Harvard students sue him, claiming Facebook was their idea. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay.

Walt Disney Pictures

#9. Toy Story

Metascore: 95

Release date: Nov. 22, 1995

The Pixar computer-animation that spurred two sequels, “Toy Story” introduced audiences to the cowboy doll Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks) as he struggles to accept his owner’s latest birthday present: a spaceman toy named Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). The film helped launch Pixar—then a young company headed by Steve Jobs—and changed the animation industry forever.

Crossbow Productions

#8. The Producers (re-release)

Metascore: 96

Release date: June 7, 2002

Before it became a Broadway hit, “The Producers” starred an over-the-top Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel on the silver screen in 1967. Mel Brooks, who wrote and directed the film, won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, and Wilder received a Best Actor nod.

Charles Chaplin Productions

#7. Modern Times (re-release)

Metascore: 96

Release date: Dec. 26, 2003

Originally released in 1936, Charlie Chaplin wrote, directed, and starred in “Modern Times.” The film tells the story of Chaplin’s iconic character, Little Tramp, as he struggles to adapt to the modern, industrialized world. This was the last film featuring Chaplin’s Tramp character.

Walter Shenson Films,

#6. A Hard Day's Night (re-release)

Metascore: 96

Release date: Dec. 1, 2000

The Beatles made their film debut in this 1964 musical comedy. The audience gets a feel for Beatle-mania, as they follow the band through a fictional day-in-the-life of the musicians.

Walt Disney Pictures

#5. Ratatouille

Metascore: 96

Release date: June 29, 2007

In this 2007 animated film, a rat who loves to cook teams up with a young chef at a popular restaurant. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#4. The Philadelphia Story

Metascore: 96

Release date: Dec. 5, 1940

Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart all grace the screen in this romantic comedy. Hepburn plays the daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia family who is on the way to her second marriage. Grant stars as the ex-husband who wants to foil the wedding, and Stewart plays tabloid journalist who falls for Hepburn. The American Film Institute considers it one of the top 100 American films of all time.

Universal Pictures

#3. American Graffiti

Metascore: 97

Release date: Aug. 11, 1973

Set during summer in the early '60s, four teenagers experience their last night before heading to college. The film features a young Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss, and Suzanne Somers. Directed and co-written by George Lucas and produced by Francis Ford Coppola, this 1973 classic was voted one of the American Film Institute’s top 100 films of all time.

Ashton Productions

#2. Some Like It Hot

Metascore: 97

Release date: March 29, 1959

Set in 1929, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon star as two musicians who flee a police raid of their speakeasy and accidentally witness a mob hit. They decide to disguise themselves as female band members to avoid detection, and during their travels, they meet Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe). BBC Culture considers it one of the greatest comedies of all time.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#1. Singin' in the Rain

Metascore: 99

Release date: April 11, 1952

This 1950s classic starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds received universal acclaim. The musical-comedy was directed and choreographed by Kelly and Stanley Donen, and followed a group of performers transitioning from silent films to “talkies.” The movie, which features the iconic scene where Kelly sings and dances while twirling an umbrella in the rain (some say with a fever), has since been preserved in the National Film Registry of the United States Library of Congress.

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