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Recommendations

Action/Adventures | Comedies | Crime/Noirs | Dramas | Epics | Family Films | Holiday Films | Musicals | Suspense/Mysteries | Romances | Romantic Comedies | Tear-Jerkers | Westerns

 Comedies:
Everyone has a different sense of humor and it takes more than slipping on a banana peel to make me laugh (usually).  Here are a few films I get a kick out of however.  Be aware though, that just because I find parts of them funny doesn't mean some don't have their serious moments as well.  Most of the romantic ones are in Romantic Comedies, so you might check out that category too, as well as the Comedies section of the Westerns page.
STAGE DOOR (1937)

This film has its serious moments, but overall the quick biting dialogue of a troop of aspiring actresses living together in a New York boarding house makes it a joy to watch.  Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers play out their frustrations and roommate difficulties with some of the best sequences of one-liners you'll hear anywhere, and wise-cracking contributions from the likes of Lucille Ball and Eve Arden also fill things out nicely. A little bit of a chick-flick since all the protagonists are women and there's only one significant male character (played by Adolphe Menjou), but anyone can appreciate good acting and good dialogue -- and this film has both.

THE LION IN WINTER (1968)

The term "dysfunctional family" takes on new meaning when Peter O'Toole (as King Henry II of England) and Katharine Hepburn (as his wife Eleanor) get together to celebrate Christmas and decide which of their three sons will inherit the throne.  Plotting, planning, back-stabbing -- it's all there, not to mention 12th century insults that still ring true. Great performances and great fun.

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (1944)

Cary Grant discovers that his innocent elderly aunts are poisoning gentlemen callers with arsenic-loaded elderberry wine, and what follows is still unbelievably funny over fifty years after the film's original release. Don't miss this one.

THE COURT JESTER (1956)

Danny Kaye leads a peasant rebellion to restore the rightful heir to the throne of England in this fast-paced medieval comedy/adventure, full of witty dialog and better-than-usual Kaye antics.

SHERLOCK JR. (1924)

Don't let the fact that this is a silent movie scare you away from it.  It may be old, but Buster Keaton was a master at comedy and this film has some of the greatest gags I've ever seen. The plot is totally meaningless and unimportant, but the timing is incredible and the special effects, though simplistic, are very effective.  Check this one out anytime you need a good chuckle.  I've witnessed a whole room full of college students really let loose watching it.

FRIENDLY PERSUASION (1956)

I suppose I could get in trouble for calling this one a comedy, because the overall plot line -- a Quaker family during the Civil War struggling between their desire to protect their home and the pacifism of their religion -- is pretty serious stuff.  But this movie is chock-full of those wonderful William Wyler touches that just make you laugh out loud. Between Samantha the goose, Gary Cooper's unholy desire to race his horse to Meeting on Sundays, and Dorothy McGuire's extreme opposition to an organ, you really almost forget it's a serious movie.  A great film for a gentle laugh.

THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S (1945)

Bing Crosby plays Father O'Malley, newly appointed to take charge of financially-troubled St. Mary's school.  But he and the sisters (lead by Ingrid Bergman) don't always see eye-to-eye when it comes to how things should be run.  Bing croons a little of course, and things do get a tad sentimental at times, but this movie is a fun one and Henry Travers makes a good hypochondriac.

HARVEY (1950)

Jimmy Stewart's best friend is an invisible six-foot rabbit named Harvey. Enough said?  Get a load of how his Aunt Veta (Josephine Hull) reacts when Stewart starts introducing Harvey to the guests at her tea party. She almost steals the show.

STEEL MAGNOLIAS (1989)

I don't deny this movie can easily be labeled a 'chick flick,' and you might be aware that it's listed under Tear-Jerkers as well, but Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine et al. do such a wonderful job as modern Southern belles who seem to find the humor in everything, I can't help but list it under comedies too.

GOOD MORNING VIETNAM (1987)

Robin Williams at his best -- a one-man-show Radio Saigon disc jockey during the Vietnam Conflict who rocks the boat to say the least. A fun 1960s soundtrack too.

Also:

  • THE BAD NEWS BEARS (1976)
  • BEDTIME FOR BONZO (1951)
  • CAREFREE (1938)
  • HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE (1953)
  • A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992)
  • MRS. DOUBTFIRE (1993)
  • PROFESSIONAL SWEETHEART (1933)
  • THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (1985)
  • THE STING (1973)
  • THE THIN MAN (1934)
  • THREE MEN AND A BABY (1987)
  • WONDER MAN (1945)

Return to the Index of Recommended Films.


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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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