Woody Allen’s All Over the WGA’s Funniest Screenplays List; Annie Hall Comes Out on Top

The Cinema Society With FIJI Water And Metropolitan Capital Bank Host A Screening Of Sony Pictures Classics'
Woody Allen. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/2015 Getty Images

The east and west factions of the Writers Guild of America have published their official list of 101 funniest screenplays, revealing Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman’s Annie Hall as their top pick. Members of both guilds voted on the films, which had to have had theatrical releases, English-language scripts, and hour-plus run times (live-action, animated, silent, and doc features were eligible; films without onscreen credits were not), according to the WGA.

Seven Allen scripts total found their way into the results; Mel Brooks and Preston Sturges also fared well, popping up amid more contemporary, varied comedy powerhouses, including Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey, and Kristen Wiig, among others. As a whole, the results showcase the best from almost a century of hilarious filmmaking (for your debating pleasure, of course), but they also underline more of the industry’s historic and still-changing imbalance in behind-the-scenes diversity, which the WGA notes in a prelude on its website: “Comedy screenwriting has long been a playground that women and writers of color have not had enough time in,” WGA’s Paul Brownfield writes. “The work of Richard Pryor on Blazing Saddles, Tina Fey on Mean Girls, Amy Heckerling on Clueless, and Hagar Wilde, co-writer of Bringing Up Baby, makes you wonder what a list would be if the playground had been more inclusive all along.”

Although other criteria and voting methods were not released, Brownfield continues: “The best comedy writers and comedians are like astronauts, launching themselves beyond the ozone layer of the tasteful and the expected in order to find the forbidden or the outrageous or the merely uncomfortable,” for the goals of provocation and truth.

Read on for the full list, which includes a mix of classic and recent scripts, spanning nearly nine decades of filmmaking and almost as many sub-genres of comedy (via WGA):

  1. Annie Hall
    Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman
  2. Some Like It Hot
    Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
  3. Groundhog Day
    Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis
  4. Airplane!
    James Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker
  5. Tootsie
    Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal; story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart
  6. Young Frankenstein
    Screenplay by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks; screen story by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks
  7. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
    Stanley Kubrick, Peter George, and Terry Southern
  8. Blazing Saddles
    Screenplay by Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, and Alan Uger; story by Andrew Bergman
  9. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin
  10. National Lampoon’s Animal House
    Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, and Chris Miller
  11. This Is Spinal Tap
    Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner, and Harry Shearer
  12. The Producers
    Mel Brooks
  13. The Big Lebowski
    Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
  14. Ghostbusters
    Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
  15. When Harry Met Sally …
    Nora Ephron
  16. Bridesmaids
    Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig
  17. Duck Soup
    Story by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby; additional dialogue by Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin
  18. There’s Something About Mary
    John J. Strauss, Ed Decter, and Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly; story by Ed Decter and John J. Strauss
  19. The Jerk
    Screenplay by Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb, and Michael Elias; story by Steve Martin and Carl Gottlieb
  20. A Fish Called Wanda
    Screenplay by John Cleese; story by John Cleese and Charles Crichton
  21. His Girl Friday
    Charles Lederer
  22. The Princess Bride
    William Goldman
  23. Raising Arizona
    Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
  24. Bringing Up Baby
    Screenplay by Hagar Wilde and Dudley Nichols; story by Hagar Wilde
  25. Caddyshack
    Brian Doyle-Murray, Harold Ramis, and Douglas Kenney
  26. Monty Python’s Life Of Brian
    Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin
  27. The Graduate
    Calder Willingham and Buck Henry
  28. The Apartment
    Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
  29. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
    Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, and Dan Mazer; story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Anthony Hines, and Todd Phillips
  30. The Hangover
    Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
  31. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
    Judd Apatow and Steve Carell
  32. The Lady Eve
    Screenplay by Preston Sturges; story by Monckton Hoffe
  33. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (tied)
    John Hughes
  34. Trading Places (tied)
    Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod
  35. Sullivan’s Travels
    Preston Sturges
  36. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
    John Hughes
  37. The Philadelphia Story
    Donald Ogden Stewart
  38. A Night at the Opera
    George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind
  39. Rushmore
    Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson
  40. Waiting for Guffman
    Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy
  41. The Odd Couple
    Neil Simon
  42. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
    Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Pat Proft
  43. Office Space
    Mike Judge
  44. Big
    Anne Spielberg and Gary Ross
  45. National Lampoon’s Vacation
    John Hughes
  46. Midnight Run
    George Gallo
  47. It Happened One Night
    Robert Riskin
  48. M*A*S*H
    Ring Lardner, Jr.
  49. Harold and Maude
    Colin Higgins
  50. Shaun of the Dead
    Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
  51. Broadcast News
    James L. Brooks
  52. Arthur
    Steven Gordon
  53. Four Weddings and a Funeral
    Richard Curtis
  54. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (tied)
    Will Ferrell and Adam McKay
  55. Dumb and Dumber (tied)
    Peter Farrelly, Bennett Yellin, and Bob Farrelly
  56. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
    Mike Myers
  57. The General
    Written by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman; adapted by Al Boasberg and Charles Smith
  58. What’s Up, Doc?
    Screenplay by Buck Henry, David Newman, and Robert Benton; story by Peter Bogdanovich
  59. Wedding Crashers
    Steve Faber and Bob Fisher
  60. Sleeper
    Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman
  61. Galaxy Quest
    Screenplay by David Howard and Robert Gordon; story by David Howard
  62. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
    Screenplay by William and Tania Rose; story by William and Tania Rose
  63. Best in Show
    Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy
  64. Little Miss Sunshine
    Michael D. Arndt
  65. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
    Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Pam Brady
  66. Being There
    Jerzy Kosinski
  67. Back to the Future
    Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale
  68. Superbad
    Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
  69. Bananas
    Woody Allen and Mickey Rose
  70. Moonstruck
    John Patrick Shanley
  71. Clueless
    Amy Heckerling
  72. The Palm Beach Story
    Preston Sturges
  73. The Pink Panther
    Maurice Richlin & Blake Edwards
  74. The Blues Brothers
    Dan Aykroyd and John Landis
  75. Coming to America
    Screenplay by David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein; story by Eddie Murphy
  76. Take the Money and Run
    Screenplay by Woody Allen and Mickey Rose; story by Jackson Beck
  77. Election
    Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
  78. Love and Death
    Woody Allen
  79. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (tied)
    Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro, and Paul Henning
  80. Lost in America (tied)
    Albert Brooks and Monica Johnson
  81. Manhattan
    Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman
  82. Modern Times
    Charles Chaplin
  83. My Cousin Vinny
    Dale Launer
  84. Mean Girls
    Tina Fey
  85. Meet the Parents
    Screenplay by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg; story by Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke
  86. Fargo
    Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
  87. My Favorite Year
    Screenplay by Dennis Palumbo and Norman Steinberg; story by Dennis Palumbo
  88. Stripes
    Written by Len Blum, Dan Goldberg, and Harold Ramis
  89. Beverly Hills Cop
    Screenplay by Daniel Petrie, Jr.; Story by Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie, Jr.
  90. City Lights
    Charles Chaplin
  91. Sideways
    Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
  92. Broadway Danny Rose
    Woody Allen
  93. Swingers
    Jon Favreau
  94. The Gold Rush
    Charles Chaplin
  95. The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek
    Preston Sturges
  96. All About Eve
    Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  97. Arsenic and Old Lace
    Screenplay by Julius Epstein and Philip G. Epstein
  98. The Royal Tenenbaums
    Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson
  99. Mrs. Doubtfire
    Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon
  100. Flirting with Disaster
    David O. Russell
  101. Shakespeare in Love
    Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard

Annie Hall Proclaimed Funniest Screenplay by WGA