Comedy film
Overview
Comedy film is a genre of film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 in which the main emphasis is on humour
Humour
Humour or humor is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement...

. They are designed to elicit laughter from the audience. Comedies are mostly light-hearted dramas and are made to amuse and entertain the audiences. The comedy genre humorously exaggerate situations, the way of speaking, the action and characters.

Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending (the black comedy
Black comedy
A black comedy, or dark comedy, is a comic work that employs black humor or gallows humor. The definition of black humor is problematic; it has been argued that it corresponds to the earlier concept of gallows humor; and that, as humor has been defined since Freud as a comedic act that anesthetizes...

 being an exception).
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Comedy film is a genre of film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 in which the main emphasis is on humour
Humour
Humour or humor is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement...

. They are designed to elicit laughter from the audience. Comedies are mostly light-hearted dramas and are made to amuse and entertain the audiences. The comedy genre humorously exaggerate situations, the way of speaking, the action and characters.

Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending (the black comedy
Black comedy
A black comedy, or dark comedy, is a comic work that employs black humor or gallows humor. The definition of black humor is problematic; it has been argued that it corresponds to the earlier concept of gallows humor; and that, as humor has been defined since Freud as a comedic act that anesthetizes...

 being an exception). One of the oldest genres in film, some of the very first silent movies were comedies. Comedy, unlike other film genres, puts much more focus on individual stars, with many former stand-up comic 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
Wag the Dog
Wag the Dog is a 1997 black comedy film starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, co-starring Anne Heche, Denis Leary and William H. Macy about a Washington spin doctor who, merely days before a presidential election, distracts the electorate from a sex scandal by hiring a Hollywood film producer...

and Man of the Year
Man of the Year (2006 film)
Man of the Year is a 2006 Comedy film directed and written by Barry Levinson and starring Robin Williams in the lead role. In addition to Williams, the film features Christopher Walken, Laura Linney, Lewis Black and Jeff Goldblum....

).

The comedy genre can be considered the oldest film genre (and one of the most prolific and popular). Comedy was ideal for the early silent film
Silent film
A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound, especially with no spoken dialogue. In silent films for entertainment the dialogue is transmitted through muted gestures, pantomime and title cards...

s, as it was dependent on visual action and physical humour rather than sound. Slapstick
Slapstick
Slapstick is a type of comedy involving exaggerated violence and activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense.- Origins :The phrase comes from the batacchio or bataccio — called the 'slap stick' in English — a club-like object composed of two wooden slats used in Commedia dell'arte...

, one of the earliest forms of comedy, poked fun at physical mishap, usually in practical jokes, accidents and water soakings.

Types

A comedy of manners
Comedy of manners
The comedy of manners is a genre of play/television/film which satirizes the manners and affectations of a social class, often represented by stock characters, such as the miles gloriosus in ancient times, the fop and the rake during the Restoration, or an old person pretending to be young...

film satirises 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
Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy written by William Shakespeare about two pairs of lovers, Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero....

by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

.

Slapstick was popular in the earliest silent films, since they didn't need sound
Sound
Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.-Propagation of...

 to be effective, and they were popular with non-English speaking audiences. The term slapstick was taken from the wooden sticks that clown
Clown
Clowns are comic performers stereotypically characterized by the grotesque image of the circus clown's colored wigs, stylistic makeup, outlandish costumes, unusually large footwear, and red nose, which evolved to project their actions to large audiences. Other less grotesque styles have also...

s slapped together to promote audience applause
Applause
Applause is primarily the expression of approval by the act of clapping, or striking the palms of the hands together, in order to create noise. Audiences are usually expected to applaud after a performance, such as a musical concert, speech, or play...

. Slapstick films involve aggressive, physical
Physical comedy
Physical comedy, also known as slapstick, is a comedic performance relying mostly on the use of the body to convey humour.Physical comedy, whether conveyed by a pratfall , a silly face, or the action of walking into walls, is a common and rarely subtle form of comedy...

 and visual action, including harmless or painless cruelty
Cruelty
Cruelty can be described as indifference to suffering, and even positive pleasure in inflicting it. If this is supported by a legal or social framework, then receives the name of perversion. Sadism can also be related to this form of action or concept....

 and violence
Violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

, horseplay, and often vulgar sight gags. Slapstick often required exquisite timing and well-honed performance
Performance
A performance, in performing arts, generally comprises an event in which a performer or group of performers behave in a particular way for another group of people, the audience. Choral music and ballet are examples. Usually the performers participate in rehearsals beforehand. Afterwards audience...

 skills.

In a fish out of water-style comedy, the main character or character finds himself in an unusual environment, which drives most of the humour. Situations can be swapping gender roles, as in Tootsie
Tootsie
Tootsie is a 1982 American comedy film that tells the story of a talented but volatile actor whose reputation for being difficult forces him to go to extreme lengths to land a job. The movie stars Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange, with a supporting cast that includes Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman,...

(1982); an age changing role, as in Big
Big
Big is a 1988 romantic comedy film directed by Penny Marshall and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" to a magical fortune-telling machine and is then aged to adulthood overnight...

(1988); a freedom-loving individual fitting into a structured environment, as in Police Academy
Police Academy (film)
Police Academy is a 1984 comedy film directed by Hugh Wilson, and starring Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall and G.W. Bailey. It grossed approximately $146 million worldwide and spawned six more films in the Police Academy series.-Plot:...

(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 comedic effect. Some films including people fitting the "fish-out-of-water" bill including The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski is a 1998 comedy film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Jeff Bridges stars as Jeff Lebowski, an unemployed Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, who is referred to as "The Dude". After a case of mistaken identity, The Dude is introduced to a millionaire also named...

and A Serious Man
A Serious Man
A Serious Man is a 2009 dark comedy written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. The film stars Michael Stuhlbarg as a Minnesota Jewish man whose life crumbles both professionally and personally, leading to questions about his faith...

.

A parody or spoof film
Parody film
A parody film is a comedy that satirizes other film genres or films. Although the genre is often overlooked, parody films are commonly profitable at the box office...

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
Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles is a 1974 satirical Western comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. The movie was nominated for three...

(1974), Airplane!
Airplane!
Airplane! is a 1980 American satirical comedy film directed and written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker and released by Paramount Pictures...

(1980), and Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard...

(1974).

The anarchic comedy film
Anarchic comedy film
Anarchic comedy is a genre of cinema using nonsensical, stream-of-consciousness humor. Films of this nature stem from a theatrical history of anarchic comedy on the stage. Jokes and visual gags are utilized, usually in a non sequitur manner that eschews narrative for sheer absurdity...

uses nonsensical, stream-of-consciousness humour which often lampoons a form of authority. Films of this nature stem from a theatrical history of anarchic comedy on the stage. Well-known films of this sub-genre include Duck Soup (1933) and National Lampoon's Animal House
National Lampoon's Animal House
National Lampoon's Animal House is a 1978 American comedy film directed by John Landis. The film was a direct spin-off of National Lampoon magazine...

(1978).

The black comedy
Black comedy
A black comedy, or dark comedy, is a comic work that employs black humor or gallows humor. The definition of black humor is problematic; it has been argued that it corresponds to the earlier concept of gallows humor; and that, as humor has been defined since Freud as a comedic act that anesthetizes...

film deals with normally taboo
Taboo
A taboo is a strong social prohibition relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs and or scientific consensus. Breaking the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society...

 subjects, including, death, murder, sexual relations, suicide and war, in a satirical manner. Examples include Arsenic and Old Lace
Arsenic and Old Lace (film)
Arsenic and Old Lace is a 1944 film directed by Frank Capra based on Joseph Kesselring's play of the same name. The script adaptation was by twins Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein. Capra actually filmed the movie in 1941, but it was not released until 1944, after the original stage version...

(1944), Monsieur Verdoux
Monsieur Verdoux
Monsieur Verdoux is a 1947 black comedy film directed by and starring Charles Chaplin. The supporting cast includes Martha Raye, William Frawley, and Marilyn Nash.-Plot:...

(1947), Kind Hearts and Coronets
Kind Hearts and Coronets
Kind Hearts and Coronets is a 1949 British black comedy feature film. The plot is loosely based on the 1907 novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman, with the screenplay written by Robert Hamer and John Dighton and the film directed by Hamer...

(1949), The Ladykillers
The Ladykillers
The Ladykillers is a 1955 British black comedy film made by Ealing Studios. Directed by Alexander Mackendrick, it stars Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, Danny Green, Jack Warner and Katie Johnson...

(1955), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, commonly known as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 black comedy film which satirizes the nuclear scare. It was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, and featuring Sterling...

(1964), The Loved One
The Loved One
The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy is a short satirical novel by British novelist Evelyn Waugh about the funeral business in Los Angeles, the British expatriate community in Hollywood, and the film industry.-Conception:...

(1965), MASH
MASH (film)
MASH is a 1970 American satirical dark comedy film directed by Robert Altman and written by Ring Lardner, Jr., based on Richard Hooker's novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. It is the only feature film in the M*A*S*H franchise...

(1970), Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983), Brazil
Brazil (film)
Brazil is a 1985 British science fiction fantasy/black comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam. It was written by Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and Tom Stoppard and stars Jonathan Pryce. The film also features Robert De Niro, Kim Greist, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm...

(1985), The War of the Roses (1989), Heathers
Heathers
Heathers is a 1989 black comedy film starring Winona Ryder, Christian Slater and Shannen Doherty. The film portrays four girls in a trend-setting clique at a fictional Ohio high school...

(1989), Your Friends & Neighbors
Your Friends & Neighbors
Your Friends & Neighbors is a 1998 comedy-drama film written and directed by Neil LaBute and starring Amy Brenneman, Aaron Eckhart, Catherine Keener, Nastassja Kinski, Jason Patric, and Ben Stiller in an ensemble cast. This film was the first to be reviewed on the website Rotten Tomatoes...

(1998), Keeping Mum
Keeping Mum
Keeping Mum is a 2005 British black comedy film starring Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith and Patrick Swayze.-Plot:In the opening scene, as pregnant young Rosie Jones rides on a train, her very large trunk starts leaking blood...

(2005), and Burn After Reading
Burn After Reading
Burn After Reading is a 2008 black comedy film written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. The film stars George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Brad Pitt. It was released in the United States on September 12, 2008, and it was released on October 17, 2008...

(2008).

Gross-out films are a relatively recent development, and rely heavily on vulgar, sexual or "toilet" humour. Examples include Porky's
Porky's
Porky's is a 1982 comedy film about the escapades of teenagers at the fictional Angel Beach High School in Florida in 1954. It was released in the United States in 1982, and spawned two sequels: Porky's II: The Next Day and Porky's Revenge! and influenced many writers in the teen film genre...

(1982), Dumb and Dumber (1994), There's Something About Mary
There's Something About Mary
There's Something About Mary is a 1998 American comedy film, directed by the Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter. It stars Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon and Ben Stiller, and it is a combination of romantic comedy and gross-out film....

(1998), and American Pie
American Pie (film)
American Pie is a 1999 teen comedy film written by Adam Herz. American Pie was the directorial film debut of brothers Paul and Chris Weitz, and the first film in the American Pie film series...

(1999).

The romantic comedy
Romantic Comedy
Romantic Comedy can refer to* Romantic Comedy , a 1979 play written by Bernard Slade* Romantic Comedy , a 1983 film adapted from the play and starring Dudley Moore and Mary Steenburgen...

sub-genre 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", "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. Examples of this style of film include It's a Wonderful World (1939), The Shop Around the Corner
The Shop Around the Corner
-External links:* Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism, Issue 1, 2010...

(1940), Sabrina
Sabrina (1954 film)
Sabrina is a 1954 comedy-romance film directed by Billy Wilder, adapted for the screen by Wilder, Samuel A. Taylor, and Ernest Lehman from Taylor's play Sabrina Fair...

(1954), Annie Hall
Annie Hall
Annie Hall is a 1977 American romantic comedy directed by Woody Allen from a screenplay co-written with Marshall Brickman and co-starring Diane Keaton. One of Allen's most popular and most honored films, it won four Academy Awards including Best Picture...

(1977), When Harry Met Sally...
When Harry Met Sally...
When Harry Met Sally... is a 1989 American romantic comedy film written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner. It stars Billy Crystal as Harry and Meg Ryan as Sally. The story follows the title characters from the time they meet just before sharing a cross-country drive, through twelve years or...

(1989), Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman is a 1990 romantic comedy film set in Los Angeles, California. Written by J.F. Lawton and directed by Garry Marshall, this motion picture features Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and also Hector Elizondo, Ralph Bellamy, and Jason Alexander in supporting roles. Roberts played the only...

(1990), and Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral is a 1994 British comedy film directed by Mike Newell. It was the first of several films by screenwriter Richard Curtis to feature Hugh Grant...

(1994).

It was not uncommon for the early romantic comedy film to also be a screwball comedy film
Screwball comedy film
The screwball comedy is a principally American genre of comedy film that became popular during the Great Depression, originating in the early 1930s and thriving until the early 1940s. It is characterized by fast-paced repartee, farcical situations, escapist themes, and plot lines involving...

. 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, an 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
It Happened One Night
It Happened One Night is a 1934 American romantic comedy film with elements of screwball comedy directed by Frank Capra, in which a pampered socialite tries to get out from under her father's thumb, and falls in love with a roguish reporter . The plot was based on the story Night Bus by Samuel...

(1934), Bringing Up Baby
Bringing up Baby
Bringing Up Baby is an American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, and released by RKO Radio Pictures....

(1938), Philadelphia Story (1940), His Girl Friday
His Girl Friday
His Girl Friday is a 1940 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, an adaptation by Charles Lederer, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur of the play The Front Page by Hecht and MacArthur...

(1940), and more recently What's Up, Doc?
What's Up, Doc? (1972 film)
What's Up, Doc? is a 1972 screwball comedy film released by Warner Bros., directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, and Madeline Kahn...

(1972).

Action comedy

Films in this sub-genre blend comic antics and action where the film stars combine wit and one-liners with a thrilling plot and daring stunts. The genre became a specific draw in North America in the eighties when comedians such as Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy
Edward Regan "Eddie" Murphy is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, singer, director, and musician....

 started taking more action oriented roles such as in 48 Hrs.
48 Hrs.
48 Hrs. is a 1982 American action comedy film directed by Walter Hill, starring Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy as a cop and convict, respectively, who team up to catch a cop-killer. The title refers to the amount of time they have to solve the crime. This was Eddie Murphy's film debut , and Joel...

and Beverly Hills Cop
Beverly Hills Cop
Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American comedy-action film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy, Lisa Eilbacher, John Ashton, Judge Reinhold, and Ronny Cox...

. These type of films are often buddy films, with mismatched partners such as in Midnight Run
Midnight Run
Midnight Run is a 1988 American action comedy film starring Robert De Niro as a bounty hunter and Charles Grodin as his prisoner....

, Rush Hour, Bad Boys
Bad Boys (1995 film)
Bad Boys is a 1995 American action comedy film directed by Michael Bay in his directorial debut, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer...

, and Hot Fuzz
Hot Fuzz
Hot Fuzz is a 2007 British action dark comedy film written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, and starring Pegg and Nick Frost. The three had previously worked together on the 2004 film Shaun of the Dead as well as the television series Spaced...

. Slapstick
Slapstick
Slapstick is a type of comedy involving exaggerated violence and activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense.- Origins :The phrase comes from the batacchio or bataccio — called the 'slap stick' in English — a club-like object composed of two wooden slats used in Commedia dell'arte...

 martial arts films became a mainstay of Hong Kong action cinema
Hong Kong action cinema
Hong Kong action cinema is the principal source of the Hong Kong film industry's global fame. It combines elements from the action film, as codified by Hollywood, with Chinese storytelling and aesthetic traditions, to create a culturally distinctive form that nevertheless has a wide transcultural...

 through the work of Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan, SBS, MBE is a Hong Kong actor, action choreographer, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer. In his movies, he is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts...

 among others. It may also focus on superhero
Superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

es such as The Incredibles
The Incredibles
The Incredibles is a 2004 American computer-animated action-comedy superhero film about a family of superheroes who are forced to hide their powers. It was written and directed by Brad Bird, a former director and executive consultant of The Simpsons, and was produced by Pixar and distributed by...

, Hancock
Hancock (film)
Hancock is a 2008 American action-comedy superhero film directed by Peter Berg and starring Will Smith, Jason Bateman, and Charlize Theron. It tells the story of a vigilante superhero, John Hancock from Los Angeles whose reckless actions routinely cost the city millions of dollars...

 or Kick-Ass
Kick-Ass (film)
Kick-Ass is a 2010 superhero comedy film based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. The film was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who co-produced the film with actor Brad Pitt, and co-wrote the screenplay with Jane Goldman...

.

Comedy horror

Comedy horror is a type of horror film in which the usual dark themes are treated with a humorous approach. These films are either use goofy horror clichés such as in Scream
Scream
Scream may refer to:*Vociferation, a loud vocalization*The Scream, a famous painting by Edvard Munch-Amusement rides:* Scream! , a roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain...

, Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard...

, Little Shop of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors (1986 film)
Little Shop of Horrors is a 1986 American comedy musical film adaptation of the off-Broadway musical comedy of the same name by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, about a nerdy florist shop worker who raises a vicious plant that feeds on human blood...

, Haunted Mansion and Scary Movie
Scary Movie
Scary Movie is a 2000 comedy-parody film directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans, as part of Warner Bros. Entertainment. It is an American dark comedy which heavily parodies the horror, slasher, and mystery genres...

where campy styles are favoured. Some are much more subtle and don't parody horror, such as An American Werewolf In London
An American Werewolf in London
An American Werewolf in London is a 1981 British-American horror film, written and directed by John Landis. It stars David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, and Griffin Dunne....

. Another style of comedy horror can also rely on over the top violence and gore such as in Dead Alive (1992), Evil Dead (1981), and Club Dread
Club Dread
Club Dread is a 2004 comedy horror film written by the comedy group Broken Lizard, who also created Super Troopers...

- such films are sometimes known as splatstick, a portmanteau of the words splatter and slapstick.

Fantasy comedy

Fantasy comedy films are types of films that uses magic
Magic (fantasy)
Magic in fiction is the endowing of fictional characters or objects with magical powers.Such magic often serves as a plot device, the source of magical artifacts and their quests...

, supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 and or mythological figures for comic purposes. Most fantasy comedy includes an element of parody, or satire, turning many of the fantasy conventions on their head such as the hero becoming a cowardly fool, the princess being a klutz. Examples of these films include Being John Malkovich
Being John Malkovich
Being John Malkovich is a 1999 American black comedy-fantasy film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze. It stars John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, and John Malkovich, who plays a fictional version of himself...

, The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride (film)
The Princess Bride is a 1987 American film based on the 1973 novel of the same name by William Goldman, combining comedy, adventure, romance, and fantasy. The film was directed by Rob Reiner from a screenplay by Goldman...

, Night at the Museum
Night at the Museum
Night at the Museum is a 2006 fantasy adventure-comedy film based on the 1993 children's book The Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc. It follows a divorced father trying to settle down, impress his son, and find his destiny...

, Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day (film)
Groundhog Day is a 1993 American comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. It was written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, based on a story by Rubin....

, Click and Shrek
Shrek
Shrek is a 2001 American computer-animated fantasy comedy film directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow. Loosely based on William Steig's 1990 fairy tale picture book Shrek!...

.

Black comedy

Much like comedy-horror, black comedy, or dark comedy, is a type of comedy film that often uses cruelty as the source of humour. Most black comedies involve crime or other intense moments like average school/workplace bullying. Some examples of these films include The Cable Guy
The Cable Guy
The Cable Guy is a 1996 black comedy film, directed by Ben Stiller, and starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick. The film also features Leslie Mann, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson...

, Ruthless People
Ruthless People
Ruthless People is a 1986 black comedy written by Dale Launer, starring Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater. It also features Bill Pullman as a supporting role in his film debut....

and Dr. Strangelove.

Sci-fi comedy

Sci-fi comedy films, like most hybrid genre of comedy use the elements of science fiction films to over the top extremes and exaggerated science fiction stereotypical characters. Popular examples of these types of films include Back to the Future
Back to the Future
Back to the Future is a 1985 American science-fiction adventure film. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Steven Spielberg, and starred Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson. The film tells the story of...

, Spaceballs
Spaceballs
Spaceballs is a 1987 American science fiction comedy parody film co-written by, directed by, Mel Brooks and starring Bill Pullman, John Candy, Mel Brooks & Rick Moranis. It also features, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and the voice of Joan Rivers. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on...

, Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters is a 1984 American science fiction comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis and follows three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City, who start a...

, Evolution
Evolution (film)
Evolution is a 2001 American science fiction comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and starring David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott, Julianne Moore and Ted Levine...

, Innerspace
Innerspace
Innerspace is a 1987 science fiction comedy film directed by Joe Dante and produced by Michael Finnell. Steven Spielberg served as executive producer. The film was inspired by the classic 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage. It stars Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, Meg Ryan, Robert Picardo and...

, Galaxy Quest
Galaxy Quest
Galaxy Quest is a 1999 science-fiction comedy parody about a troupe of human actors who defend a group of aliens against an alien warlord. It was directed by Dean Parisot and written by David Howard and Robert Gordon. Mark Johnson and Charles Newirth produced the film for DreamWorks, and David...

, Mars Attacks!
Mars Attacks!
Mars Attacks! is a 1996 American science fiction film directed by Tim Burton and based on the cult trading card series of the same name. The film uses elements of black comedy, surreal humour, and political satire, and claims to be also a parody of multiple science fiction B movies...

, and Men in Black
Men in Black (film)
Men in Black is a 1997 science fiction comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith and Vincent D'Onofrio. The film was based on the Men in Black comic book series by Lowell Cunningham, originally published by Marvel Comics. The film featured the creature effects...

.

Military comedy

Military comedy films, involve comic situations in a military setting. Examples of military comedy are The Secret War of Harry Frigg
The Secret War of Harry Frigg
The Secret War of Harry Frigg is a 1968 comedy film set in World War II. It was directed by Jack Smight and starred Paul Newman.-Plot:Several brigadier generals are unexpectedly taken prisoner by the Italians while in the sauna - which is a public relations disaster. The generals are held in an...

, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?
What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?
What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? is a 1966 comedy film written by William Peter Blatty and directed by Blake Edwards. It stars James Coburn and Dick Shawn.-Plot:...

, Stripes
Stripes (film)
Stripes is a 1981 American comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman, starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, P. J. Soles, and John Candy. It also featured several actors in their first significant film roles, including John Larroquette, Sean Young, John Diehl, and Judge Reinhold. It was one...

, Up the Academy
Up the Academy
MAD Magazine Presents Up the Academy is an American teen comedy film released in 1980, with a plot about the outrageous antics of a group of misfits at a military school.-Production:...

, MASH
MASH (film)
MASH is a 1970 American satirical dark comedy film directed by Robert Altman and written by Ring Lardner, Jr., based on Richard Hooker's novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. It is the only feature film in the M*A*S*H franchise...

, Private Benjamin
Private Benjamin
Private Benjamin is a 1980 American comedy film starring Goldie Hawn. The film was one of the biggest box office hits of 1980, and also spawned a short-lived television series. The film is ranked 82 on the American Film Institute's "100 Funniest Movies" poll, and 59 on Bravo's "100 Funniest...

, Tropic Thunder
Tropic Thunder
Tropic Thunder is a 2008 American action satire comedy film written, produced, and directed by Ben Stiller, and starring Stiller, Robert Downey, Jr., and Jack Black. The main plot revolves around a group of prima donna actors who are making a Vietnam War film...

, The Private War of Major Benson
The Private War of Major Benson
The Private War of Major Benson is 1955 comedy film starring Charlton Heston, Julie Adams, Sal Mineo and Tim Hovey, about a tough-talking U.S. Army Officer who must shape up the ROTC program at Sheridan Academy, a Catholic boys' military school, or be forced out of the Army.The movie was filmed on St...

, and the boisterous Flagg and Quirt movies.

1895–1930

Comic films began to appear in significant numbers during the era of silent films, roughly 1895 to 1930. The visual humour of many of these silent films relied on slapstick and burlesque
Burlesque
Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects...

. A very early comedy short was Watering the Gardener
L'Arroseur Arrosé
L'Arroseur arrosé is an 1895 French short black-and-white silent comedy film directed and produced by Louis Lumière and starring François Clerc and Benoît Duval...

(1895) by the Lumière brothers. In American film, the most prominent comic actors of the silent era were Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

 (although born in England, his success was principally in the U.S.), Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton was an American comic actor, filmmaker, producer and writer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face".Keaton was recognized as the...

 and Harold Lloyd
Harold Lloyd
Harold Clayton Lloyd, Sr. was an American film actor and producer, most famous for his silent comedies....

. In his native France and throughout the world, Max Linder
Max Linder
Max Linder was an influential French pioneer of silent film.-Birth and early career:Born Gabriel-Maximilien Leuvielle in Saint-Loubès, Gironde, France to a Catholic wine-growing family, he grew up with a passion for the theatre and as a young man joined a theatre troupe touring the country...

 was a major comic feature and might qualify as the first true film star.

A popular trend during the 1920s and afterward was comedy in the form of animated cartoons. Several popular characters of the period received the cartoon treatment. Among these were Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat is a cartoon character created in the silent film era. His black body, white eyes, and giant grin, coupled with the surrealism of the situations in which his cartoons place him, combine to make Felix one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history...

, Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at The Walt Disney Studio. Mickey is an anthropomorphic black mouse and typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves...

, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is an anthropomorphic rabbit and animated cartoon character created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney for films distributed by Universal Pictures in the 1920s and 1930s...

, and Betty Boop
Betty Boop
Betty Boop is an animated cartoon character created by Max Fleischer, with help from animators including Grim Natwick. She originally appeared in the Talkartoon and Betty Boop film series, which were produced by Fleischer Studios and released by Paramount Pictures. She has also been featured in...

.

1930–1950s

Toward the end of the 1920s, the introduction of sound into movies made possible dramatic new film styles and the use of verbal humour. During the 1930s, the silent film comedy was replaced by dialogue from film comedians such as the W. C. Fields
W. C. Fields
William Claude Dukenfield , better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer...

 and the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act, originally from New York City, that enjoyed success in Vaudeville, Broadway, and motion pictures from the early 1900s to around 1950...

. Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel
Arthur Stanley "Stan" Jefferson , better known as Stan Laurel, was an English comic actor, writer and film director, famous as the first half of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy. His film acting career stretched between 1917 and 1951 and included a starring role in the Academy Award winning film...

 and Oliver Hardy
Oliver Hardy
Oliver Hardy was an American comic actor famous as one half of Laurel and Hardy, the classic double act that began in the era of silent films and lasted nearly 30 years, from 1927 to 1955.-Early life:...

, who had made a number of very popular short silent films, used the arrival of sound to deepen their well-formed screen characterizations and enhance their visual humour, and went on to great success in talking films. The comedian Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

 was one of the last silent film hold-outs, and his films during the 1930s were devoid of dialogue, although they did employ sound effects.

Screwball comedies, such as produced by Frank Capra
Frank Capra
Frank Russell Capra was a Sicilian-born American film director. He emigrated to the U.S. when he was six, and eventually became a creative force behind major award-winning films during the 1930s and 1940s...

, exhibited a pleasing, idealized climate that portrayed reassuring social values and a certain optimism about everyday life. Movies still included slapstick humour and other physical comedy, but these were now frequently supplemental to the verbal interaction. Another common comic production from the 1930s was the short subject. Hal Roach
Hal Roach
Harold Eugene "Hal" Roach, Sr. was an American film and television producer and director, and from the 1910s to the 1990s.- Early life and career :Hal Roach was born in Elmira, New York...

 Studio specialized in this form. While Columbia
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

 was prolific, producing 190 Three Stooges
Three Stooges
The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy act of the early to mid–20th century best known for their numerous short subject films. Their hallmark was physical farce and extreme slapstick. In films, the Stooges were commonly known by their first names: "Moe, Larry, and Curly" and "Moe,...

 releases, alone. These non-feature productions only went into decline in the 1950s when they were migrated to the television.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, film adaptations of stage farce
Farce
In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims at entertaining the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases,...

s were popular in the early 1930s, while the music hall
Music hall
Music Hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. The term can refer to:# A particular form of variety entertainment involving a mixture of popular song, comedy and speciality acts...

 tradition strongly influenced film comedy into the 1940s with Will Hay
Will Hay
William Thomson "Will" Hay was an English comedian, actor, film director and amateur astronomer.-Early life:He was born in Stockton-on-Tees, in north east England, to William R...

 and George Formby among the top comedy stars of the time. In England in the late 1940s, Ealing Studios
Ealing Studios
Ealing Studios is a television and film production company and facilities provider at Ealing Green in West London. Will Barker bought the White Lodge on Ealing Green in 1902 as a base for film making, and films have been made on the site ever since...

 achieved popular success as well as critical acclaim with a series of films known collectively as the "Ealing comedies", from 1947 to 1957. They usually included a degree of social comment, and featured ensemble casts which often included Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE was an English actor. He was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He later won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai...

 or Stanley Holloway
Stanley Holloway
Stanley Augustus Holloway, OBE was an English stage and film actor, comedian, singer, poet and monologist. He was famous for his comic and character roles on stage and screen, especially that of Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady...

. Among the most famous examples were Kind Hearts and Coronets
Kind Hearts and Coronets
Kind Hearts and Coronets is a 1949 British black comedy feature film. The plot is loosely based on the 1907 novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman, with the screenplay written by Robert Hamer and John Dighton and the film directed by Hamer...

(1949), The Lavender Hill Mob
The Lavender Hill Mob
The Lavender Hill Mob is a 1951 comedy film from Ealing Studios, written by T.E.B. Clarke, directed by Charles Crichton, starring Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway and featuring Sid James and Alfie Bass...

(1951) and The Ladykillers
The Ladykillers
The Ladykillers is a 1955 British black comedy film made by Ealing Studios. Directed by Alexander Mackendrick, it stars Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, Danny Green, Jack Warner and Katie Johnson...

(1955).

With the entry of the United States into World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Hollywood became focused on themes related to the conflict. Comedies portrayed military themes such as service, civil defense, boot-camp and shore-leave. The war-time restrictions on travel made this a boom time for Hollywood, and nearly a quarter of the money spent on attending movies.

The post-war period was an age of reflection on the war, and the emergence of a competing medium, the television. In 1948, television began to acquire commercial momentum and by the following year there were nearly a hundred television transmitters in American cities.

By the 1950s, the television industry had become a serious competition for the movie industry. Despite the technological limitations of the TV medium at the time, more and more people chose to stay home to watch the television. The Hollywood studios at first viewed the television as a threat, and later as a commercial market. Several comic forms that had previously been a staple of movie theaters transitioned to the television. Both the short subject and the cartoon now appeared on the television rather than in the theater, and the "B" movie also found its outlet on the television.

As television became filled with family-oriented comedies, the 1950s saw a trend toward more adult social situations. Only the Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

 studios continued to steadily release family comedies. The release of comedy films also went into a decline during this decade. In 1947 almost one in five films had been comic in nature, but by 1954 this was down to ten percent.

The 1950s saw the decline of past comedy stars and a certain paucity of new talent in Hollywood. Among the few popular new stars during this period were Judy Holliday
Judy Holliday
Judy Holliday was an American actress.Holliday began her career as part of a night-club act, before working in Broadway plays and musicals...

 and the comedy team phenom of Dean Martin
Dean Martin
Dean Martin was an American singer, film actor, television star and comedian. Martin's hit singles included "Memories Are Made of This", "That's Amore", "Everybody Loves Somebody", "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You", "Sway", "Volare" and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?"...

 and Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis is an American comedian, actor, singer, film producer, screenwriter and film director. He is best known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He was originally paired up with Dean Martin in 1946, forming the famed comedy team of Martin and Lewis...

. Lewis followed the legacy of such comedians as Keaton and Harold Lloyd, but his work was not well-received by critics in the United States (in contrast to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 where he proved highly popular.)

The British film industry
Cinema of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has had a major influence on modern cinema. The first moving pictures developed on celluloid film were made in Hyde Park, London in 1889 by William Friese Greene, a British inventor, who patented the process in 1890. It is generally regarded that the British film industry...

 produced a number of highly successful film series, however, including the Doctor series
Doctor in the House
Doctor in the House is a 1954 British comedy film, directed by Ralph Thomas and produced by Betty Box. The screenplay, by Nicholas Phipps, Richard Gordon and Ronald Wilkinson, is based on the novel by Gordon, and follows a group of students through medical school.It was the most popular box office...

, the St. Trinian's films and the increasingly bawdy Carry On films. John and Roy Boulting
John and Roy Boulting
John Edward Boulting and Roy Alfred Clarence Boulting , known collectively as the Boulting brothers, were English filmmakers and identical twins who became known for their popular series of satirical comedies in the 1950s and 1960s.-Biography:The twin brothers were born in Bray, Berkshire, England...

 also wrote and directed a series of successful satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

s, including Private's Progress
Private's Progress
Private's Progress is a 1956 British comedy film based on the novel by Alan Hackney. It was directed and produced by John and Roy Boulting, from a script by John Boulting and Frank Harvey.-Plot:...

(1956) and I'm All Right, Jack (1959). As in the United States, in the next decade much of this talent would move into television.

A number of French comedians were also able to find an English speaking
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 audience in the 1950s, including Fernandel
Fernandel
Fernand Joseph Désiré Contandin , better known as Fernandel, was a French actor and singer. Born in Marseille, France, he was a comedy star who first gained popularity in French vaudeville, operettas, and music-hall revues...

 and Jacques Tati
Jacques Tati
Jacques Tati was a French filmmaker, working as a comedic actor, writer and director. In a poll conducted by Entertainment Weekly of the Greatest Movie Directors Tati was voted the 46th greatest of all time...

.

1960s–1980s

The next decade saw an increasing number of broad, star-packed comedies including It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is a 1963 American comedy film produced and directed by Stanley Kramer about the madcap pursuit of $350,000 in stolen cash by a diverse and colorful group of strangers...

(1963), Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines
Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, Or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 Minutes is a 1965 British comedy film starring Stuart Whitman and directed and co-written by Ken Annakin...

(1965) and The Great Race
The Great Race
The Great Race is a 1965 slapstick comedy film starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Natalie Wood, directed by Blake Edwards, written by Blake Edwards and Arthur A. Ross, and with music by Henry Mancini and cinematography by Russell Harlan. The supporting cast includes Peter Falk, Keenan Wynn,...

(1965). By the middle of the decade, some of the 1950s generation of American comedians, such as Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis is an American comedian, actor, singer, film producer, screenwriter and film director. He is best known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He was originally paired up with Dean Martin in 1946, forming the famed comedy team of Martin and Lewis...

, went into decline, while Peter Sellers
Peter Sellers
Richard Henry Sellers, CBE , known as Peter Sellers, was a British comedian and actor. Perhaps best known as Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther film series, he is also notable for playing three different characters in Dr...

 found success with international audiences in his first American film The Pink Panther
The Pink Panther (1963 film)
The Pink Panther is a 1963 American comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and co-written by Edwards and Maurice Richlin, starring David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner, Capucine, and Claudia Cardinale...

. The bumbling Inspector Clouseau
Inspector Clouseau
Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau is a fictional character in Blake Edwards' The Pink Panther series. In most of the films, he was played by Peter Sellers, with one film in which he was played by Alan Arkin and one in which he was played by an uncredited Roger Moore...

 was a character Sellers would continue to return to over the next decade.

Toward the end of the 1950s, darker humour and more serious themes had begun to emerge, including satire and social commentary. Dr. Strangelove (1964) was a satirical comedy about Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 paranoia, while The Apartment
The Apartment
The Apartment is a 1960 American comedy-drama film produced and directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray. It was Wilder's follow-up to the enormously popular Some Like It Hot and, like its predecessor, was a commercial and critical hit, grossing $25...

(1960), Alfie (1966) and The Graduate
The Graduate
The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy-drama motion picture directed by Mike Nichols. It is based on the 1963 novel The Graduate by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College. The screenplay was by Buck Henry, who makes a cameo appearance as a hotel clerk, and Calder...

(1967) featured sexual themes in a way that would have been impossible only a few years previously.

In 1970, the black comedies
Black comedy
A black comedy, or dark comedy, is a comic work that employs black humor or gallows humor. The definition of black humor is problematic; it has been argued that it corresponds to the earlier concept of gallows humor; and that, as humor has been defined since Freud as a comedic act that anesthetizes...

 Catch 22
Catch-22 (film)
Catch-22 is a 1970 satirical war film adapted from the book of the same name by Joseph Heller. Considered a black comedy revolving around the "lunatic characters" of Heller's satirical anti-war novel, it was the work of a talented production team which included director Mike Nichols and...

and M*A*S*H reflected the anti-war sentiment then prevalent, as well as treating the sensitive topic of suicide. M*A*S*H would be toned down and brought to television in the following decade as a long-running series.

Among the leading lights in comedy films of the next decade were Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

 and Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks is an American film director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer. He is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies. He began his career as a stand-up comic and as a writer for the early TV variety show Your Show of Shows...

. Both wrote, directed and appeared in their movies. Brooks' style was generally slapstick and zany in nature, often parodying film styles and genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

s, including Universal horror films (Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard...

), westerns
Western (genre)
The Western is a genre of various visual arts, such as film, television, radio, literature, painting and others. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. Some Westerns are set as early as the Battle of...

 (Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles is a 1974 satirical Western comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. The movie was nominated for three...

) and Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

 films (High Anxiety
High Anxiety
High Anxiety is a 1977 comedy film produced and directed by Mel Brooks, who also plays the lead. This is Brooks' first film as a producer and first "speaking" lead role...

). Following his success on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 and on film with The Odd Couple
The Odd Couple (film)
The Odd Couple is a 1968 comedy film written by Neil Simon, based on his play The Odd Couple, directed by Gene Saks, and starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau...

playwright
Playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

 and screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

 Neil Simon would also be prominent in the 1970s, with films like The Sunshine Boys
The Sunshine Boys (film)
The Sunshine Boys is a 1975 comedy film directed by Herbert Ross and produced by Ray Stark, based on the play of the same name by Neil Simon. The cast included real-life experienced vaudevillian actor George Burns as Lewis, Walter Matthau as Clark, and Richard Benjamin as Ben, with Lee Meredith, F....

and California Suite
California Suite (film)
California Suite is a 1978 American comedy film directed by Herbert Ross. The screenplay by Neil Simon is based on his play of the same title...

. Other notable film comedians who appeared later in the decade were Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, writer and MC. Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities, and profanity, as well as racial epithets...

, Steve Martin
Steve Martin
Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin is an American actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician and composer....

 and Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds
Burton Leon "Burt" Reynolds, Jr. is an American actor. Some of his memorable roles include Bo 'Bandit' Darville in Smokey and the Bandit, Lewis Medlock in Deliverance, Bobby "Gator" McCluskey in White Lightning and sequel Gator, Paul Crewe and Coach Nate Scarborough in The Longest Yard and its...

.

Most British comedy
British comedy
British comedy, in film, radio and television, is known for its consistently quirky characters, plots and settings, and has produced some of the most famous and memorable comic actors and characters in the last fifty years.-Film comedy:...

 films of the early 1970s were spin-offs of television series, including Dad's Army
Dad's Army
Dad's Army is a British sitcom about the Home Guard during the Second World War. It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and broadcast on BBC television between 1968 and 1977. The series ran for 9 series and 80 episodes in total, plus a radio series, a feature film and a stage show...

and On the Buses
On The Buses
On the Buses was a British situation comedy created by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney which was broadcast in the UK from 1969 to 1973. The writers' previous successes with The Rag Trade and Meet the Wife were for the BBC, but the Corporation rejected On the Buses, not seeing much comedy potential...

. The greatest successes, however, came with the films of the Monty Python
Monty Python
Monty Python was a British surreal comedy group who created their influential Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series...

 team, including And Now for Something Completely Different
And Now For Something Completely Different
And Now for Something Completely Different is a film spin-off from the television comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus featuring favorite sketches from the first two seasons. The title was used as a catchphrase in the television show....

(1971), Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1974 British comedy film written and performed by the comedy group Monty Python , and directed by Gilliam and Jones...

(1975) and Monty Python's Life of Brian
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Monty Python's Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film written, directed and largely performed by the Monty Python comedy team...

in 1979.

In 1980, the gag-based comedy Airplane!
Airplane!
Airplane! is a 1980 American satirical comedy film directed and written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker and released by Paramount Pictures...

, a spoof
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 of the previous decade's disaster film series was released and paved the way for more of the same including Top Secret!
Top Secret!
Top Secret! is a 1984 comedy film directed by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker. It stars Val Kilmer , Lucy Gutteridge, Omar Sharif, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough and Jeremy Kemp. The film is a parody of the GDR era and Elvis films...

(1984) and the Naked Gun films. Popular comedy stars in the 1980s included Dudley Moore
Dudley Moore
Dudley Stuart John Moore, CBE was an English actor, comedian, composer and musician.Moore first came to prominence as one of the four writer-performers in the ground-breaking comedy revue Beyond the Fringe in the early 1960s, and then became famous as half of the highly popular television...

, Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

, Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy
Edward Regan "Eddie" Murphy is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, singer, director, and musician....

 and Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd
Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd, CM is a Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, winemaker and ufologist. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter.-Early...

. Many had come to prominence on the American TV series Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

, including Bill Murray
Bill Murray
William James "Bill" Murray is an American actor and comedian. He first gained national exposure on Saturday Night Live in which he earned an Emmy Award and later went on to star in a number of critically and commercially successful comedic films, including Caddyshack , Ghostbusters , and...

, Steve Martin
Steve Martin
Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin is an American actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician and composer....

 and Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase
Cornelius Crane "Chevy" Chase is an American comedian, writer, and television and film actor, born into a prominent entertainment industry family. Chase worked a plethora of odd jobs before moving into comedy acting with National Lampoon...

. Eddie Murphy made a success of comedy-action film
Action film
Action film is a film genre where one or more heroes is thrust into a series of challenges that require physical feats, extended fights and frenetic chases...

s including 48 Hrs.
48 Hrs.
48 Hrs. is a 1982 American action comedy film directed by Walter Hill, starring Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy as a cop and convict, respectively, who team up to catch a cop-killer. The title refers to the amount of time they have to solve the crime. This was Eddie Murphy's film debut , and Joel...

(1982) and the Beverly Hills Cop
Beverly Hills Cop
Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American comedy-action film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy, Lisa Eilbacher, John Ashton, Judge Reinhold, and Ronny Cox...

series (1984–1993).

Also popular were the films of John Hughes such as Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a 1986 American teen coming-of-age comedy film written and directed by John Hughes.The film follows high school senior Ferris Bueller , who decides to skip school and spend the day in downtown Chicago...

. He would later become best known for the Home Alone
Home Alone
Home Alone is a 1990 American Christmas comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy, who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation...

series of the early 1990s. The latter film helped a revival in comedies aimed at a family audience, along with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 comedy film. The directorial debut of Joe Johnston and released through Walt Disney Pictures and Silver Screen Partners III, the film tells the story of an inventor who accidentally shrinks his and his neighbor's kids to 1/4 of an inch with his electromagnetic...

and its sequels.

1990s–2010s

One of the major developments of the 1990s was the re-emergence of the romantic comedy film
Romantic comedy film
Romantic comedy films are films with light-hearted, humorous plotlines, centered on romantic ideals such as that true love is able to surmount most obstacles. One dictionary definition is "a funny movie, play, or television program about a love story that ends happily"...

, encouraged by the success of When Harry Met Sally...
When Harry Met Sally...
When Harry Met Sally... is a 1989 American romantic comedy film written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner. It stars Billy Crystal as Harry and Meg Ryan as Sally. The story follows the title characters from the time they meet just before sharing a cross-country drive, through twelve years or...

in 1989. Other examples included Sleepless in Seattle
Sleepless in Seattle
The film was originally to have been scored by John Barry, but when he was given a list of 20 songs he had to put in the film, he quit.#As Time Goes By - Jimmy Durante #A Kiss to Build a Dream on - Louis Armstrong #Stardust - Nat King Cole...

(1993), Clueless (1995) and You've Got Mail
You've Got Mail
You've Got Mail is a 1998 American romantic comedy film directed by Nora Ephron, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It was written by Nora and Delia Ephron based on the play Parfumerie by Miklós László. The film is about two letter-writing lovers who are completely unaware that their sweetheart is in...

(1998) from the United States, and Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral is a 1994 British comedy film directed by Mike Newell. It was the first of several films by screenwriter Richard Curtis to feature Hugh Grant...

(1994), Sliding Doors
Sliding Doors
Sliding Doors is a 1998 British-American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Peter Howitt and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah, and featured John Lynch, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Virginia McKenna. The music was composed by David Hirschfelder...

(1998) and Notting Hill
Notting Hill (film)
Notting Hill is a 1999 British romantic comedy film set in Notting Hill, London, released on 21 May 1999. The screenplay was by Richard Curtis, who had written Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was produced by Duncan Kenworthy and directed by Roger Michell...

(1999) from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Spoofs remained popular as well, especially with the Scary Movie
Scary Movie
Scary Movie is a 2000 comedy-parody film directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans, as part of Warner Bros. Entertainment. It is an American dark comedy which heavily parodies the horror, slasher, and mystery genres...

series and Not Another Teen Movie
Not Another Teen Movie
Not Another Teen Movie is a 2001 American comedy film directed by Joel Gallen, released on December 14, 2001 by Columbia Pictures. It is a parody of teen movies which have accumulated in Hollywood over the last few decades...

series.

Probably more representative of British humour
British humour
British humour is a somewhat general term applied to certain comedic motifs that are often prevalent in comedic acts originating in the United Kingdom and its current or former colonies...

 were the working class comedies Brassed Off
Brassed Off
Brassed Off is a 1996 British film written and directed by Mark Herman. The film, a British-American co-production made between Channel Four Films, Miramax Films and Prominent Films, is about the troubles faced by a colliery brass band, following the closure of their pit...

(1996) and The Full Monty
The Full Monty
The Full Monty is a 1997 British comedy film directed by Peter Cattaneo, starring Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, William Snape, Steve Huison, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Barber, and Hugo Speer. The screenplay was written by Simon Beaufoy...

(1997). Other British comedies
British comedy
British comedy, in film, radio and television, is known for its consistently quirky characters, plots and settings, and has produced some of the most famous and memorable comic actors and characters in the last fifty years.-Film comedy:...

 examined the role of the Asian
Asian people
Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

 community in British life, including Bhaji on the Beach
Bhaji on the Beach
Bhaji on the Beach is a 1993 film by director Gurinder Chadha with a screenplay by Meera Syal.-Plot synopsis:A diverse group of British women of South Asian descent go on a day trip to the beach in Blackpool; despite their differences—the older women are more traditional and conservative,...

(1993), East Is East
East is East (film)
East Is East is a 1999 British black comedy/drama film, written by Ayub Khan-Din and directed by Damien O'Donnell. It is set in a British household of mixed-ethnicity, with a British Pakistani father and an English mother in Salford, Lancashire, in 1971...

(1999), Bend It Like Beckham
Bend It Like Beckham
Bend It Like Beckham is a 2002 comedy-drama film starring Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Anupam Kher, Shaznay Lewis, and Archie Panjabi first released in the United Kingdom. The film was directed by Gurinder Chadha...

(2002) and Anita and Me
Anita and Me
Anita and Me is Meera Syal's debut novel, and was first published in 1996. It is a semi-autobiographical novel which won the Betty Trask Award....

(2003).

Also there were "stoner" comedies, which usually involve two guys on an adventure with random things happening to them along the way. Big movies of this sub-genre would be "The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski is a 1998 comedy film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Jeff Bridges stars as Jeff Lebowski, an unemployed Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, who is referred to as "The Dude". After a case of mistaken identity, The Dude is introduced to a millionaire also named...

", Dude, Where's My Car, Big Nothing
Big Nothing
Big Nothing is a 2006 British neo-noir comedy film directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea starring David Schwimmer and Simon Pegg. It was released in December 2006, and had its premiere at Cardiff Film Festival in November 2006....

, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is a 2004 American stoner film and the first installment in the Harold & Kumar series...

, and Pineapple Express
Pineapple Express (film)
Pineapple Express is a 2008 American stoner action comedy directed by David Gordon Green, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and starring Rogen and James Franco. Producer Judd Apatow, who previously worked with Rogen and Goldberg on Knocked Up and Superbad, assisted in developing the story,...

. These movies usually have drug-related jokes and crude content.

Another development was the increasing use of "gross-out humour" usually aimed at a younger audience, in films like There's Something About Mary
There's Something About Mary
There's Something About Mary is a 1998 American comedy film, directed by the Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter. It stars Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon and Ben Stiller, and it is a combination of romantic comedy and gross-out film....

, American Pie
American Pie (film)
American Pie is a 1999 teen comedy film written by Adam Herz. American Pie was the directorial film debut of brothers Paul and Chris Weitz, and the first film in the American Pie film series...

and its sequels, and Freddy Got Fingered
Freddy Got Fingered
Freddy Got Fingered is a 2001 American comedy film directed, co-written by and starring Tom Green. Some of the scenes feature similar antics to those seen in his own The Tom Green Show and scenes in Road Trip. It is largely built around gross-out and shock humor...

. In mid 2000s, the trend of "gross-out" movies is continuing, with adult-oriented comedies picking up the box office. But serious black comedies (also known as dramatic comedies or dramedies) were performing also well, such as The Weather Man
The Weather Man
The Weather Man is a 2005 American comedy-drama film, directed by Gore Verbinski. Written by Steve Conrad, it stars Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine and Hope Davis and tells the story of a weatherman in the midst of a mid-life crisis....

, Broken Flowers
Broken Flowers
Broken Flowers is a 2005 French/American comedy-drama film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and produced by Jon Kilik and Stacey Smith. The film focuses on an aging "Don Juan" who embarks on a cross-country journey to track down four of his former lovers after receiving an anonymous letter...

and Shopgirl
Shopgirl
Shopgirl is a 2005 American romantic drama film directed by Anand Tucker. The screenplay by Steve Martin is based on his 2000 novella of the same name.-Plot:...

. In late 2006, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, often referred to simply as Borat, is a 2006 mockumentary comedy film directed by Larry Charles and distributed by 20th Century Fox...

blended vulgar humour with cultural satire.

See also


  • Silent comedy film
  • Slapstick film
    Slapstick film
    Slapstick films are a type of comedy film that employ slapstick comedy with five main conventions:#Pain without real consequence.#Editing to turn a situation more unrealistic.#Impossible situations.#Zooms to confuse the audience....

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