You think it’d be easy to please comedy critics. After all, if it makes you laugh, the movie did its job. In reality, very few comedies hold the prestigious 100% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes and we can’t even blame it on a time period. Since the days of silent films, everyone’s been a critic.
In chronological order, here’s every comedy movie that got a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
12 The Gold Rush (1925)
It would be a crime if at least one Charlie Chaplin film didn’t make it on the list. And wow, is this a big one. Successful in its original 1925 release and the 1942 re-release, Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush was inspired by the events of the Klondike Gold Rush. It captures the essence of Chaplin’s work and even if you’re not into the silent film era, it’s worth your time.
11 Modern Times (1936)
Chaplin’s Little Tramp persona takes the cake again in the 1936 silent film, Modern Times. Created as a commentary on working conditions during the Great Depression, this film has been declared “culturally significant” by the Library of Congress. Though a comedic film, there’s no erasing Chaplin’s social commentary about industrialization and its impact on the workforce.
10 The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Starring the OG comedy stars Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story is the premier romantic comedy of all time. At least, in American film culture. It’s a reflection of the popular love stories at the time: a couple gets divorced, both parties flirt with other people, but then they end up getting back together. The trope isn’t particularly popular today, but now films aren’t barred by the Production Code to tell those types of stories. But this is definitely a must watch for any Katharine Hepburn or Cary Grant fans.
9 Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Still in the era of black and white, Kind Hearts and Coronets hails from Great Britain. Based loosely off of the novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal, it tells the story of Louis D’Ascoyne Mazzini. His mother had been disowned by her aristocratic family for marrying outside of her social class, so Louis decides to avenge her. The film has since been digitally restored for DVD release and given the 4k treatment.
8 Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
A staple of the film industry, Singin’ in the Rain is a musical comedy about the film industry shifting from silent films to “talkies,” otherwise known as synchronized sound films. Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds, this is the oldest movie on the list that you’ve either seen or will definitely see in the near future. Seriously, get on it. This film is iconic and if you’re a film major, you’re going to be writing a paper on this. Also, Gene Kelly in his hayday is a joy.
7 Mary Poppins (1964)
It’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Earning itself 5 Academy Awards, Mary Poppins has turned into a timeless classic that most of us have seen at some point in our childhoods. Its success led to a Broadway musical, Saving Mr. Banks (telling the story of P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, with questionable historical accuracy), and Mary Poppins Returns.
6 Playtime (1967)
Proving that money isn’t the only thing that makes the history books, Playtime was an absolute commercial failure during its release. Created with a more experimental approach, the film is separated into six sequences with the overarching story being connected by two recurring characters. The most impressive aspect of the film is the huge sets director Jacques Tati specially built for the film.
5 Tampopo (1985)
A Japanese comedy, Tampopo (literally translating to “dandelion”) tells the story of two truck drivers who end up helping a widow revamp her noodle business. The root of the plot is anchored in food, with various subplots and comedic situations popping up. It’s something of a satire too, riffing on American story themes, camera movements, and character tropes.
4 Toy Story 2 (1999)
There’s no snake in this boot. Toy Story 2 had an almost overwhelmingly positive reception considering the impact the first film had on the film industry and animation as a whole. But the sequel not only expands upon the characters and the universe, it actually works really well as a standalone and took even greater strides in computer animation. And we’re living for the Star Wars references. Buzz Lightyear of Star Command anyone?
3 Mr. Roosevelt (2017)
Indie films have a place in the world! Directed by Noël Wells, Mr. Roosevelt is just a big suburban girl mood. Or at least, resonates with anyone who left their home to escape. The film follows Emily Martin, played by Wells. She returns to her hometown to face some past demons and ends up staying with her ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend during her visit. It premiered at South by Southwest and was later released on Netflix.
2 Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (2018)
It’s hard for a comedy movie to earn a perfect score. It’s even harder for a comedy special to do it. Hannah Gadsby: Nanette debuted in 2017 and was recorded by Netflix for a 2018 release. The performance contains a lot of social commentary, including LGBT issues, mental health, and experience as a marginalized individual. Gadsby uses comedy in a powerful way, earning laughs as well as a better understanding between people.
1 Paddington 2 (2018)
Yes, the second movie about a fuzzy CGI bear with a love for marmalade is the purest movie to be released in the last five years. And it was one of the most understated movie of 2018 too, despite having a pretty good financial return. Pretty much everyone agrees that this movie is fun, lighthearted, funny, and very, very enjoyable. Our intrepid little bear just wants to spread some joy and buy a present for his aunt’s birthday, but ends up being framed for a crime. Cue the gloriously cute Paddington nonsense, witty dialogue, and heartwarming family story. Like, what did we ever do to deserve the Paddington franchise?