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BBC Names Top 100 Comedies of All Time

By Kimberley Jones, August 22, 2017, 11:52am, Picture in Picture

This summer, BBC Culture queried 253 international critics (including yours truly) to name and number the best comedy films ever made. The results of that poll launched Tuesday morning.

Unsurprisingly, the comedy that nabbed the top slot frequently shows up on lists of the best films of all time, full-stop: Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, which put Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in a dress and a spotlight on Marilyn Monroe’s undersung comic gifts. Rounding out the very well-rounded top 10 – a classic Cold War satire, silent slapstick, romantic comedies, the Marx Brothers, Monty Python, and more. Here’s the list:

1) Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)
2) Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
3) Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
4) Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)
5) Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)
6) Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979)
7) Airplane! (Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, 1980)
8) Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)
9) This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984)
10) The General (Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton, 1926)

It’s worth bopping around the BBC Culture’s site, which includes the top 100 vote getters, a comparison of how male and female critics ranked the comedies, and the individual lists of critics filing from 52 countries and every continent save Antarctica. As for my own list, I too settled on a Billy Wilder film starring Jack Lemmon for my #1 slot – The Apartment, which I will forever count as tops, comedy-wise and otherwise-wise. Here’s my list:

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1) The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
2) The Palm Beach Story (Preston Sturges, 1942)
3) The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937)
4) Office Space (Mike Judge, 1999)
5) M*A*S*H (Robert Altman, 1970)
6) What's Opera, Doc? (Chuck Jones, 1957)
7) The Jerk (Carl Reiner, 1979)
8) Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939)
9) Rushmore (Wes Anderson, 1998)
10) What's Up, Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich, 1972)

And my near-misses and long shots still lovingly remembered, in alphabetical order:

Arizona Dream, Bridesmaids, Bringing Up Baby, Broadcast News, Clue, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Flirting With Disaster, The Hudsucker Proxy, In the Loop, The Lady Eve, Moonstruck, A New Leaf, Pillow Talk, Pootie Tang, Shaun of the Dead, Sherlock Jr., Spy, When Harry Met Sally…, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

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