This post is updated frequently as movies leave and enter Netflix. *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.
As the world continues to fall apart, don’t you just want to something to make you laugh? Netflix is becoming the country’s biggest source for a laughter after a long week at work, but it can be hard to find exactly what you’re in the mood for when you log on to the service. So we’re here to help. (And for more public service announcements, check out our regularly updated lists of the 100 Best Movies on Netflix and the 50 Best TV Series on Netflix.)
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller made their live action directorial debuts with this 2012 buddy comedy that really has no right to be as funny as it is. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star in the adaptation of the ‘80s TV series but they turn it into a charming flick about perception, identity, and the best and worst of high school life.
The romantic comedy genre has been in a dire state for many years now, but Hollywood occasionally produces a clever twist on the stale formula. Take this Richard Curtis (Yesterday) movie that features Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams at their most charming. Gleeson plays a man who can travel back in time, and uses that ability to alter his romantic future, learning that it’s better to accept life one day at a time with all of its imperfections.
Addams Family Values
Forget those recent animated movies and go back to the original franchise, especially the 1993 sequel by Barry Sonnenfeld that’s weirder and even better than the first movie. Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, and Christopher Lloyd leas the creepiest family in town, although the movie is arguably stolen by Joan Cusack as a serial killer who married Uncle Fester.
Believe it or not, this is the last movie to win both the Oscar for Best Actor (Jack Nicholson) and Best Actress (Helen Hunt). James L. Brooks’ romantic comedy is a perfect example of a movie that caught its cast at just the right moment, getting one of the last Nicholson performances that could be called charming and supporting it with great work from Hunt and Greg Kinnear. Some of it is a bit dated, but it catches just enough lightning in a bottle in terms of casting to justify another look.
Jake Kasdan’s 2011 comedy has found a loyal audience on Netflix, who have regularly returned it to the top ten offerings on the service. The kind of adult comedy that may never get released in theaters again, this is the story of a foul-mouthed middle school teacher who is very bad at her job. It reminds one how sad it is that Cameron Diaz has retired. She was hysterical with material worthy of her talents and often elevated films that weren’t.
Eric Andre turns his prank-tastic schtick into a brilliant hidden camera comedy that focuses its Borat-esque energy on the good people of this country, those who are shocked by Andre’s ridiculous behavior, and often reach out to help. Andre plays a Florida Guy who travels with his buddy (Lil Rel Howery) to chase after who he thinks is the love of his life. Tiffany Haddish steals the movie, but it’s really the bystanders who make it work.
Audiences fell so in love with this look at barbershop culture in the Black community that they turned this low-budget film into a franchise with two sequels. Tim Story’s 2002 film is charming and funny, held together by a great cast that includes Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, and Anthony Anderson. One wonders what they’d be talking about at the barbershop in 2020. Maybe it’s time for another sequel?
John Carney (Once) directed this musical rom-com starring Mark Ruffalo as a record label executive who discovers a potential superstar in Keira Knightley’s singer-songwriter. Like he did with Once, Carney finds the humanity in the world of creative musical expression and draws very likable performances from his two leads.
There was a time when whimsical European rom-coms were all the rage. One of the most successful was the 2000 dramedy Chocolat, based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Joanne Harris. Lasse Hallstrom directs the story of Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche), who opens a chocolaterie in a small village in France. Co-starring Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Lena Olin, and Johnny Depp, it was so successful that it was nominated for Best Picture.
Another family movie! This adaptation of the famous kids’ book by Judi and Ron Barrett completely expands on the world of its source material to tell the story of an inventor (voiced wonderfully by Bill Hader) who unleashes a storm of food. The character design here is clever and the script is very smart, written by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who went from this to make a little flick called The LEGO Movie and produce Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. They know a thing or two about great cartoons.
Eddie Murphy is back! It’s been a long time since we saw this version of Eddie, who reminds us how funny and charismatic he can be with the right part. That part is the flashy personality that was Rudy Ray Moore, a washed-up musician who transformed himself into the character of Dolemite. Like The Disaster Artist and Ed Wood, this is an ode to DIY filmmaking with not just a great performance from Murphy, but Wesley Snipes and Keegan Michael Key too.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed, and stars in this 2013 rom-com with a dirty side. JGL plays Jon Martello, a Jersey bartender who has what could politely be called an active sex life. When he meets a beautiful woman named Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson, it looks like he may actually have to settle down. An incredible supporting cast fills this one out, including Julianne Moore, Brie Larson, Anne Hathaway, Channing Tatum, and a great turn from Tony Danza.
There was a time, young readers, when Eddie Murphy was the biggest stand-up comedian in the world. Raw remains the highest-grossing stand-up comedy concert movie of all time, and one of the funniest that will ever be made.
Great comedies about those harrowing days of late teenage life, especially from a female perspective, are few and far between. So it’s a shame that more people didn’t see this one with Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, and Woody Harrelson. It’s truthful, hysterical, and anchored in reality in a way that most of the movies don’t even try to be.
A ridiculous B-movie in big-budget clothing, the 2002 comedy action film knows exactly how silly it needs to be to work for anyone interested in watching a movie that was once called Arach Attack. A throwback to the days of giant monster movies, it’s the tale of a colony of spiders who run across some toxic waste and end up growing into man-killing machines. David Arquette and Scarlett Johansson star.
One of the most delightful surprises of the dumpster fire that is Summer 2020 has been Eurovision Song Contest, an unexpectedly sweet and clever flick and Will Ferrell’s best comedy in a decade. The Anchorman star plays half of an Icelandic duo who stumble their way through the Eurovision singing contest, but the movie really belongs to Rachel McAdams, who gives a performance that joyfully reminds everyone that she has absolutely perfect comic timing.
One of Adam Sandler’s biggest hits, this 2010 comedy gets the whole gang together, including Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider. The five guys play lifelong friends who reunite after the death of their beloved basketball coach who took them to a championship in high school. It’s more goofy Happy Madison stuff, but Grown Ups one has a big heart and a loyal following.
The Coen brothers wrote and directed this divisive 2016 comedy about the film industry in the 1950s. Forget Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood and stick with this razor sharp gem with a great Coen ensemble that includes Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, and many more.
Alice Wu wrote and directed a delightful coming-of-age dramedy that spins the norms. A loose retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac, it features a star-making performance from Leah Lewis as Ellie Chu, a girl who starts writing love letters for the awkward Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer). The object of his affection, Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire), turns out to be more than just a typical unrequited love. It’s a sweet and smart film.
Remember Kid ‘n Play? There was a time when this rap/dance duo was so popular that they launched a comedy film franchise that was big enough that it produced multiple sequels (the next two are also on Netflix). The movie is a nostalgic time capsule now to how people dressed, acted, and, most of all, danced three decades ago. It’s fun.
Critically derided when it was released with intense vitriol, Hudson Hawk has developed a very loyal cult following over the years. A live-action cartoon in a lot of ways, Michael Lehmann’s film stars Bruce Willis in the title role, ably supported by Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell, James Coburn, and Richard E. Grant. It’s a truly quirky movie, the kind of flick that felt like a cult classic in the making from the minute it came out.
Before he made Hemsworth your favorite Chris in Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi wrote and directed this adaptation of Barry Crump’s Wild Pork and Watercress. Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) has a new foster family, including a sweet foster mother. Sadly, he’s stuck with the surly husband when his new mom passes away, leading Ricky and Hec (Sam Neill) on an unforgettable adventure. Funny and truly heartwarming, this is a comedy that’s almost impossible to dislike.
There are not a lot of great Netflix Original comedies (sorry, Adam Sandler fans) as the company has focused more on sci-fi and drama in its first few years of nonstop production. One of the exceptions is this Sundance hit, a great vehicle for Jessica Williams. The former Daily Show correspondent stars as the title character, someone trying to find happiness and love. She’s charming and delightful in a movie that not enough people have seen.
Remember the movie that almost started a war? It was actually pretty funny. The drama leading up to the release of The Interview, which made Kim Jong-un so mad that he ordered a hack of Sony and threatened terrorist attacks against multiplexes, understandably overshadowed the actual movie. The truth is that while it’s not perfect, The Interview contains some inspired work from James Franco, and a great supporting turn from Randall Park as Kim. Go ahead and watch it. North Korea will never know. (We hope.)
Long before he was Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds was a fat kid named Chris Brander. Ignoring the arguably offensive fat jokes, this is an underrated laugher about a guy who is stuck in the friend zone with his best friend (played by Amy Smart) but gets a chance to make his dreams come true a decade later. It’s far from perfect but features very likable performances from Reynolds, Smart, and Anna Faris.
Greta Gerwig’s Oscar nominee is one of the most personal and striking coming-of-age films of the 2010s. Saoirse Ronan stars as a young Californian who longs for someplace cooler than her own hometown. It’s a heartfelt and very smart film, buoyed by great performances throughout, including Ronan, Tracy Letts, Timothee Chalamet, Lucas Hedges, Beanie Feldstein, and Laurie Metcalf, who was robbed of that Oscar.
Nicole Holofcener is one of the most underappreciated writer-directors alive, even if she did just earn an Oscar nod for co-writing Can You Ever Forgive Me? You simply have to see Enough Said, Lovely and Amazing, and Please Give. Her latest stars Ben Mendelsohn as a man deep in a mid-life crisis that comes from the realization that he’s not as important as he thought that he was his whole life. It’s not as good as some of her best work, but minor Holofcener is still worth a look.
Ted Demme’s 1999 comedy is a unique project in that parts of it are a change of dramatic pace for star Eddie Murphy. The legendary comedian pairs well with Martin Lawrence in the tale of two men who are wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Life is an episodic comedy with some scenes that work better than others, but Murphy and Lawrence give it unexpected gravity in the final beats.
One of Tim Burton’s most purely enjoyable flicks was based on a series of trading cards. The sci-fi ensemble comedy about an alien attack features one of the director’s most remarkable casts, including Jack Nicholson, Annette Bening, Glenn Close, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, and so many more. Most of all, it’s just a goofy, fun time.
Martin Brest directed one of the best ‘80s buddy comedies in a gem of a movie that paired Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. The Oscar winner plays a bounty hunter assigned to bring back Grodin’s embezzling accountant, who stole money from the Chicago mob. Easier said than done. Grodin and De Niro have perfect comic chemistry.
Once set to be released in theaters with the name Connected, Sony shipped the project off to Netflix, and the result is one of the most delightful animated films of 2021. Produced by Phil Lord & Chris Miller of The LEGO Movie fame, this wonderful film is like a hybrid of a family road comedy like Vacation and a robot apocalypse movie like T2: Judgment Day. With great voice work and vibrant visuals, it’s a Netflix original that people will be talking about all year.
There’s a bunch of Monty Python specials and movies on Netflix, but this remains arguably the career peak of one of the most beloved comedy troupes of all time. A parody of tales like those of the Knights of the Round Table, Holy Grail is one of the most heavily quoted movies of all time, a comedy that feels like it’s playing in some theater somewhere in the world, probably at midnight, every single day. Its popularity simply never recedes.
Holy Grail may be laugh-out-loud funnier, but it’s arguable that Life of Brian is actually smarter. Monty Python’s most controversial movie stars Graham Chapman as Brian Cohen, the neighbor of Jesus Christ. It’s an incredibly smart film that caused quite an uproar when it was released due to accusations of blasphemy. Modern comedy could use a little more blasphemy every now and then.
Not every movie on a list like this should be a smash hit, so we’re digging a little deeper for this South by Southwest hit starring the delightful Noël Wells of Master of None and Saturday Night Live. She also wrote and directed this story of a young lady returning to her hometown and dealing with some unresolved issues regarding her ex-boyfriend, now with a new partner. Wells is charming and funny.
The cult of the 1999 superhero comedy Mystery Men grows every single year. Sadly, when it came out, almost nobody saw this clever adventure film about mediocre superheroes. Two decades later, it can be seen as ahead of its time, deconstructing comic book culture in a way that modern offerings like The Boys have turned into smash hits. The cast here is just wonderful, including Ben Stiller, William H. Macy, Paul Reubens, Hank Azaria, Janeane Garofalo, and — wait for it — Tom Waits.
When it was released in 1988, this romantic comedy barely had an audience, although people who did see it could tell that co-star Julia Roberts would be something special (this was the year before Pretty Woman), and it also marked the debut of Matt Damon. In the three decades since, the cult status of Mystic Pizza has only grown. Check it out and remember the good old days.
This a case of a relatively mediocre indie comedy being elevated greatly by a remarkable cast. The ensemble here is perfect, consisting of Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, and Emily Mortimer — with Paul Rudd as the title character to these women. Rudd’s brother is a memorable character, a guy who means well but generally causes problems for his sisters.
We don’t deserve Laika. The geniuses at the best stop-motion animation studio in the world delivered the goods with films like Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, but their best work remains Paranorman, a 2012 gem about a kid who can see ghosts. As Norman tries to end a centuries-old curse, this visually striking and ultimately moving work never falters once.
Andrew Bujalski’s Support the Girls got a lot of buzz last year, even winning some awards for its great central performance from Regina Hall. If you liked it, check out Bujalski’s last film, another movie about a very unique working environment. Cobie Smulders, Guy Pearce, and Kevin Corrigan star in this quirky rom-com set in the high-pressure world of personal trainers.
The great Sydney Pollack directed an adaptation of the classic romantic comedy by Billy Wilder . Filling the shoes of a legend like Audrey Hepburn can be a tough challenge that star Julia Ormond isn’t quite up to, but the male stars here — Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear — keep the film light and charming.
When Set It Up hit Netflix in the Summer of 2018, it felt like a splash of cold water for one reason: the rom-com is in a dire state. They barely get released in theaters at all any more, and they’re typically awful when they do. So to see an old-fashioned, charming romantic comedy felt like something new again. It also helps that Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell have future stars written all over them. They’re charming and delightful — two things we wish we could say about more rom-coms in the past decade.
Silver Linings Playbook
Sometimes a director finds a cast at just the right time and that’s exactly what happened when David O. Russell tapped Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jacki Weaver in this romantic dramedy. They’re all perfect, making this one of the more likable and easy-to-watch movies you could possibly bring up on Netflix.
The pinnacle of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s comedy career remains this modern classic, a movie that’s as rewatchable as anything you could possibly find on any streaming service. One of the reasons for that is the fearless joy with which Ferrell and John C. Reilly literally throw themselves into the roles of stepbrothers who start as enemies and end as family.
We still miss John Candy. His co-starring work here is only one of the great things about this near-perfect comedy, a flick that caught Candy, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis at their charismatic peaks. Murray is at his sad sack best as a man who gets knocked down by life and decides to join the Army. Comedy hijinks ensue. A lot of comedies from the early ‘80s have not aged well. This one has.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone broke out of their South Park world with a 2004 spoof of not just the action genre but the entire industry of faux patriotism. Hysterical and subversive, it doesn’t entirely hold up today, but there’s enough to like here, and a comedic fearlessness that isn’t seen that often, then or now.
Tim Story directed a 2012 ensemble dramedy based on a book by, believe it or not, Steve Harvey. It’s far from a perfect comedy, but it is an incredibly likable cast, which is sometimes all anyone wants on Netflix on a Saturday night. This one includes Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Romany Malco, Gabrielle Union, and more.
Addiction robbed viewers of more movies as funny as Tommy Boy when Chris Farley died in 1997 at only 33. Farley’s best film will forever be this hysterical buddy comedy with David Spade as the employee forced to babysit Farley’s man-child heir to his dad’s company. The Odd Couple chemistry between Farley and Spade was never better than it was here.
If a studio had released this delightful romantic dramedy in theaters, even just in major cities, people would have noticed. It’s smart, funny, and contains a pair of wonderful young performances. It’s the story of Danny (Callum Turner) and Ellie (Grace Van Patten), two struggling New Yorkers drawn together over a mysterious briefcase.
Yes, God, Yes
Natalie Dyer (Stranger Things) is delightful in this 2020 coming-of-age comedy that has had a quick cycle from July VOD to Netflix. She plays Alice, a junior at a Catholic high school in 2000 who learns a few things about sexuality. It’s a smart character study that avoids the clichés of the teen sex comedy to present something truer.
Jason Reitman directs the always-great Charlize Theron in this 2011 dark comedy about a writer of young adult novels who returns to her hometown to wreak havoc. The movie is a bit inconsistent at times but Theron (and Patton Oswalt) is simply great, especially in the way she allows her character to be genuinely unlikable. It’s a smart movie about someone who thinks she’s superior to those around her and learns maybe she’s not.