funniest screenplays ever

Comedy is no laughing matter, especially when you’re ranking some of the most hilarious movies of all time. The Writer’s Guild of America has released a list of the 101 funniest screenplays ever written, and like any list on the internet, there are plenty of obvious picks, more than a few surprise choices, and handful of selections that are a little baffling. Also like any list on the internet, this ranking doesn’t feel like a definitive statement. It’s more of a window into a larger discussion.

In other words, prepare to read over the list and starting arguing. Check out the full list of the 101 funniest screenplays ever written (according to the WGA) after the jump.

This list comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter, but it’s unclear exactly how it was created. Were members polled? Were committees assembled? In any case, we can assume that there were many arguments to be had during its creation.

It’s hard to argue with the top 15, which is a comprised entirely of bonafide classics. Woody Allen‘s brilliant Annie Hall stands at number one and it’s an interesting choice. It probably contains fewer laugh-out-loud moments than Some Like It Hot (number two) and Airplane! (number four), but it’s one of the best constructed comedies ever made and a definitively great romantic comedy. However, it also raises a big question about this list. Since Annie Hall was famously “found” in the editing room when the bulk of the original screenplay was thrown away, does it really have the funniest screenplay of all time? It’s a masterpiece for sure, but for reasons beyond what was on paper.

This discussion also extends to movies like Borat (number 29), Waiting For Guffman (number 40), and Anchorman (number 54), which feature just as much improvisation as scripted material. And what about Duck Soup (number 17), where the screenplay was really just a clever way to string together a collection of the Marx brothers‘ inspired vaudeville bits? It’s probably better to think of this list as as the funniest movies ever according to the WGA, because “screenplay” may not apply to everything here.

There are also plenty of debates to be had about the placement of newer films. Bridesmaids (number 16) is wonderful, but it hasn’t had the time to age into a time-tested classic like The Jerk (number 19), His Girl Friday (number 21), The Princess Bride (number 22). That’s the problem with lists like these – who the hell thinks The Hangover (number 30) has a better screenplay than Midnight Run (number 46)? That’s insanity! Total craziness, WGA!

Nitpicking aside (and we kid because we love), it’s hard to get too angry about any list that contains multiple screenplays written and co-written by Allen, Billy Wilder, Mel Brooks, the Coen brothers, and the Monty Python troupe. We’ve assembled the complete list of every movie below and because you deserve to have a good laugh today, we’ve included some clips for the top five movies. Enjoy, and remember to laugh as you explain why this list is so wrong in the comments below.

1. Annie Hall

2. Some Like It Hot

3. Groundhog Day

4. Airplane!

5. Tootsie

6. Young Frankenstein

7. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

8. Blazing Saddles

9. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

10. National Lampoon’s Animal House

11. This Is Spinal Tap

12. The Producers

13. The Big Lebowski

14. Ghostbusters

15. When Harry Met Sally…

16. Bridesmaids

17. Duck Soup

18. There’s Something About Mary

19. The Jerk

20. A Fish Called Wanda

21. His Girl Friday

22. The Princess Bride

23. Raising Arizona

24. Bringing Up Baby

25. Caddyshack

26. Monty Python’s Life Of Brian

27. The Graduate

28. The Apartment

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

30. The Hangover

31. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

32. The Lady Eve

33. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off / Trading Places (TIE)

35. Sullivan’s Travels

36. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

37. The Philadelphia Story

38. A Night at the Opera

39. Rushmore

40. Waiting for Guffman

41. The Odd Couple

42. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

43. Office Space

44. Big

45. National Lampoon’s Vacation

46. Midnight Run

47. It Happened One Night

48. M*A*S*H

49. Harold and Maude

50. Shaun of the Dead

51. Broadcast News

52. Arthur

53. Four Weddings and a Funeral

54. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy/Dumb and Dumber (TIE)

56. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

57. The General

58. What’s Up, Doc?

59. Wedding Crashers

60. Sleeper

61. Galaxy Quest

62. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

63. Best in Show

64. Little Miss Sunshine

65. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

66. Being There

67. Back to the Future

68. Superbad

69. Bananas

70. Moonstruck

71. Clueless

72. The Palm Beach Story

73. The Pink Panther

74. The Blues Brothers

75. Coming to America

76. Take the Money and Run

77. Election

78. Love and Death

79. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels/Lost in America (TIE)

81. Manhattan

82. Modern Times

83. My Cousin Vinny

84. Mean Girls

85. Meet the Parents

86. Fargo

87. My Favorite Year

88. Stripes

89. Beverly Hills Cop

90. City Lights

91. Sideways

92. Broadway Danny Rose

93. Swingers

94. The Gold Rush

95. The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek

96. All About Eve

97. Arsenic and Old Lace

98. The Royal Tenenbaums

99. Mrs. Doubtfire

100. Flirting with Disaster

101. Shakespeare in Love

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