Cape Fear laughing scene

Comedy is a peculiar film genre to dissect and understand. After all, despite the fact that everyone loves to laugh, comedy movies often go overlooked when it comes to critical reception and awards recognition. With so few concrete accolades, it becomes difficult to discern the good comedies from the bad ones. That is an issue that BBC recently decided to rectify, and a list of the greatest comedy movies of all time is now available to help make sense of the genre. The top ten funny flicks of the bunch are:

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

BBC Culture took a relatively straightforward approach towards compiling this list of great comedies. Polling 253 film critics (118 women and 135 men), the publication merely asked them to name the ten best comedy movies ever delivered to the public. Nothing was overly taxing from a mental perspective; it was just a simple question asked to people who know and appreciate film as an art form. In the end, a list of 100 comedy movies came together with these ten representing the cream of the crop -- with Annie Hall, Dr. Strangelove and Some Like It Hot taking bronze, silver and gold, respectively.

The findings of this poll revealed a few key topics that seldom get discussed in the world of comedies. For starters, mostly 20th-century comedies made the cut, with Adam McKay's 2004 comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy ranking the highest for 21st-century films (at No. 33). The poll also found that men and women generally agreed on comedies, with some notable exceptions for movies like Clueless (overwhelmingly preferred by women) and Animal House (overwhelmingly favored by men).

It was also established that comedies are often very localized within specific cultural groups, which likely has a lot to do with language gaps. While visual and visceral stories like horror movies and action movies tend to perform well at the international box office (even when their domestic performance falters), comedies often find success in very specific regions. Of course, at the end of the day, your mileage will vary with a list like this. Taste in film (especially comedy) is entirely subjective, which means most people will likely pick wildly different choices to top their own lists. It makes comedy hard to figure out, but it also makes it an utterly fascinating genre.

What do you think of these results? Make sure to let us know in the comments section below, and tell us your favorite comedy of all time! Beyond that, take a look at our movie premiere guide for more information on 2017's remaining theatrical releases!

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