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The 30 Best Comedies on Amazon Prime

The Spy Who Dumped Me Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate

This article is updated frequently as titles leave and enter Amazon. New titles are indicated with an asterisk.

Everybody needs a laugh now and then, and Amazon Prime has a rotating selection of high-quality comedies for those times you need to escape the troubles of the real world and decompress with humor. From classics of the genre to Amazon originals to films that were in theaters recently, there’s a bit of everything on this list. Hopefully, a few of them will hit your funny bone in just the right way.

24 Hour Party People

Michael Winterbottom directs his muse Steve Coogan (the two also worked together on The Trip series, Tristram Shandy, and others) in this dramedy about the vibrant Manchester music scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Coogan plays Tony Wilson, the head of Factory Records, and the film charts the emergence of groups like Joy Division, New Order, and Happy Mondays. It’s funny, and you can dance to it.

The Bellboy

One of Jerry Lewis’s biggest hits was this 1960 comedy classic that the most beloved comedian in France also wrote and directed. The film is introduced by a studio executive warning viewers that what follows has no plot — it’s just the silly adventures of a silent bellboy named Stanley. He’s not lying. It’s a great intro to Lewis’s physical-comedy style.

The Big Sick

It’s not common for a breakthrough comedy to be so acclaimed and popular that it actually becomes an Oscar nominee for Best Screenplay, but The Big Sick is not a typical comedy (and Holly Hunter was robbed of a nomination too, by the way). Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon loosely adapt their own story, with Nanjiani starring alongside Zoe Kazan. It’s really as crowd-pleasing as comedies get. You kind of have to be an asshole not to like it.

Clue

This 1985 comedy based on the beloved board game made hardly any money or cultural impact when it was released — it didn’t even make back its budget — but it has become such a cult hit over the years, quoted endlessly by Gen-Xers. The main reason is the cast, featuring a wonderful array of talents like Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, and Lesley Ann Warren.

Eighth Grade

Bo Burnham’s feature-film debut won him multiple awards last year, and it’s already on Amazon Prime for you to see what all the fuss is about. Elsie Fisher gives a breakthrough performance as a young lady who makes YouTube videos that pretty much only she sees as she struggles her way through the most socially awkward years of existence. Smart, moving, and incredibly clever, this is a great comedy that rings true enough that it hurts.

Election

Alexander Payne’s best film is still this 1999 comedy that uses a student-government election to comment on not just politics on a grander scale but human nature. Reese Witherspoon stars as the unforgettable Tracy Flick, the overachiever who basically drives her teacher, played by Matthew Broderick, totally insane. Scathing and hysterical, this is a movie that could have come out unchanged two decades after its release.

Fighting With My Family

In 2019, Florence Pugh had one of the best years for a young actress in movie history, anchored mostly by her Oscar-nominated work in Little Women and critical acclaim for Midsommar. But this film was actually the prologue, a fun little comedy based on the true story of an amateur wrestler’s rise to fame. Pugh is charming and believable, and watching this now just reveals her already remarkable range.

*Galaxy Quest

Relatively unsuccessful upon its release, Dean Parisot’s 1999 sci-fi comedy has become a major cult hit in the past two decades. A loving ode to the world of shows like Star Trek, it stars Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Sam Rockwell, and Tony Shalhoub. The ensemble plays the cast of a fictional sci-fi show who get caught up in an actual alien invasion. Very funny stuff.

Harold and Maude

Hal Ashby’s 1971 black comedy about the strange friendship that forms between a young man and an old woman became a beloved movie after its release, playing on college campuses and in art-house theaters before really breaking out on VHS. It’s amazing to consider how a movie that was basically ignored when it was released would be on most lists of the best comedies of all time just a generation later.

Heathers

Christian Slater kinda does a Jack Nicholson impression, and Winona Ryder is at the peak of her ’80s emo-charm in this clever satire of high-school life. Ryder plays the school outcast with Slater as the guy who teaches that revenge is a dish best served with an attitude.

Heaven Can Wait

Warren Beatty co-wrote, co-directed, and stars in this smash-hit remake of Harry Segall’s play about a young man taken to Heaven before his time and how the powers that be try to help him get back to Earth. A massive success, it was also nominated for nine Academy Awards, which just doesn’t happen that often to a comedy.

His Girl Friday

Look, a really old movie! The fact is there aren’t many true classics on any streaming service, and when you get a chance to watch a movie with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell from before World War II, you should take it. This is one of the most delightful and influential comedies ever made, a Howard Hawks masterpiece about a reporter doing one last story with his ex-wife and (maybe) winning her back in the process.

Hot Rod

Andy Samberg’s first time headlining a comedy didn’t make much money or get much attention when it was released, but as the Lonely Island grew in fame so did this film’s rep. Samberg stars as a stuntman who tries to raise money to save the life of his irascible father, played by Ian McShane, and maybe even win his love, too. It’s a goofy, funny film that has held up remarkably well.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Imagine a comedy in 2020 that features basically everyone whom most people find funny. That’s kind of what this sprawling epic was to audiences in 1963, gathering over a dozen comedians and sending them on a madcap race around the world to find a ton of stolen cash. It’s one of the most beloved comedies of the early ’60s for a reason.

Jackass 3

Believe it or not, they’re currently making a fourth Jackass film to be released in March of next year. Go back to the last one with Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, and the rest of the dangerous idiots, a massive and nauseating hit when it was released back in the fall of 2010. These movies are often derided as dumb, but they’re a glorious, infectious kind of dumb that wants nothing more than to make you laugh.

Jeff Who Lives at Home

Jay and Mark Duplass, known more for their acting and producing, directed this quirky comedy starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms as two very different brothers. Segel plays Jeff, who kind of just goes wherever the day takes him, while Helms plays Pat, a businessman with a marriage that’s falling apart. It’s an unassuming, gentle little comedy about characters having one of the more unusual days of their lives.

Logan Lucky

Steven Soderbergh came back from semi-retirement with this 2017 heist comedy featuring a remarkably wonderful cast. It’s led by Channing Tatum, but this movie also features simply great performances from Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, and Adam Driver. This is a fun, smart movie that’s actually made for adults, which means almost everyone ignored it in theaters. Make up for that oversight now.

Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen is probably done releasing movies Stateside, so this will be one of his final greats, a 2011 comedy in which the writer-director explores his own fascination with nostalgia. It’s the story of a screenwriter (Owen Wilson) who literally travels back in time every night and starts to get stuck in the past, much as Allen has done in some of his films. It’s witty and funny in a manner Allen wouldn’t really be again.

Moonstruck

It’s fun to see a movie that catches a star at just the right moment in his or her career. A great example of that is 1987’s Moonstruck, which contains Cher’s best performance, an acting turn that won the famous singer an Oscar. She stars as an Italian American who faces a small problem when she falls for the brother of her fiancé, played by an also perfectly cast Nicolas Cage.

The Nutty Professor

No, sorry, not the Eddie Murphy remake with the fat suits but the Jerry Lewis original from all the way back in 1963. This is one of Lewis’s best, a movie that really highlights his comic timing and fearlessness in doing whatever it takes to get a laugh. He is often imitated without being fully appreciated.

*The Opposite of Sex

Don Roos wrote and directed this clever 1998 comedy that you’ve probably forgotten about (if you even knew it existed in the first place). Christina Ricci plays a teenager who runs away from home and moves in with her half-brother in the American heartland. She causes trouble in this smart comedy that includes a phenomenal supporting performance by Lisa Kudrow.

Pineapple Express

James Franco and Seth Rogen are at their stoner-comedy-duo best in this David Gordon Green flick about an average guy and his pot dealer who get caught up in a very violent night. Funny from first frame to last and paced simply perfectly, this is the kind of movie people can watch over and over again, even if they haven’t smoked down too.

Roman Holiday

William Wyler directed this swooning classic rom-com starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in two of their most defining roles. Hepburn plays a princess who goes out on her own in Rome and runs into a reporter played by Peck. Not only do they have stunning chemistry against a gorgeous backdrop, but Hepburn is so charismatic here that she won the Oscar for Best Actress.

Sex Drive

This 2008 comedy came super-late in the subgenre of movies trying super-desperately to be the next American Pie. But director Sean Anders and stars like Clark Duke, Seth Green, and James Marsden allow it to stand out a bit from the crowd. It’s about a guy going on a road trip to have sex with someone he meets online and the crazy things that happen along the way.

*Silver Streak

One of the best collaborations between the comedy duo of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder is this 1976 Arthur Hiller smash hit that blends their physical humor with a Hitchcockian setup. It’s about a murder that takes place on a train from L.A. to Chicago and the average guys who get caught up in the drama. It was the first Pryor-Wilder collab and was arguably never topped.

The Skeleton Twins

Craig Johnson directed this dramedy about fraternal twins played wonderfully by Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig that won the Screenwriting Award at Sundance in 2014. Hader plays Milo, a suicidal young man — yes, it’s mostly a comedy — who goes to live with his sister after an attempt. Wiig and Hader have wonderful chemistry as siblings, making their dynamic completely believable. It’s also got one of the best lip-sync scenes ever.

Soapdish

The script for this one is a little thin, but it’s a great example of the sheer ability of a perfect ensemble to make something fun. Just look at who’s in this silly behind-the-scenes look at a daytime soap opera: Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Robert Downey Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Cathy Moriarty, Teri Hatcher, Carrie Fisher, and Elisabeth Shue. It’s a good choice for when you’re looking for something goofy.

Spaceballs

Mel Brooks’s last great parody is this hysterical spoof of the world of Star Wars, filtered in a comedic style that is distinctively from one of movie history’s greatest writers. Spaceballs takes most of its direct aim at the Lucas trilogy (yes, there were only three back in 1987), but Brooks tackles other sci-fi properties, too, and he does it all with his wicked sense of timing and hysterical wordplay.

*The Spy Who Dumped Me

Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon star in this pitch-black spy comedy about two friends who get caught up in international intrigue as they race across Europe. It’s a surprisingly violent film, often playing more like action than comedy, but Kunis and McKinnon keep the laughs coming enough to be a distraction.

Under the Silver Lake

A24 had no idea what to do with David Robert Mitchell’s follow-up to It Follows, holding it for almost a year after its Cannes premiere and then barely releasing it at all. The lack of exposure may explain how it has sneaked its way onto Amazon Prime already, but this film is developing a loyal following. It’s one of those movies everyone will tell you they always loved in about a decade.

The 30 Best Comedies on Amazon Prime