100 Best Underrated Comedy Movies of All Time

100 Best Underrated Comedy Movies of All Time

May 4, 2024

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Comedy is so much more than the loudmouthed slapstick humor that still dominates screens to this day. This isn’t to slander the average farce, some of which are actually hilarious, but there are also dark comedies, romantic comedies, meta comedies, and satire comedies to enjoy. In other words, there are many shades of funny, but we miss out on a lot of them when we only tune into what’s popular. 

Below we round up our 100 favorite comedy films of all time. These movies are highly rated but little seen, meaning there’s a high chance of them being underrated. If you’ve already gone through the usual films that appear in lists like this, go give the ones below a try and have your faith in funny be restored. 

61. Pauline at the Beach (1983)

best

8.4

Country

France

Director

Éric Rohmer

Actors

Amanda Langlet, Arielle Dombasle, Féodor Atkine, Pascal Greggory

Moods

Character-driven, Discussion-sparking, Slice-of-Life

Éric Rohmer movies are what you watch when you want to experience the thrill of someone putting into words something you might never have been able to express yourself. The magic of his characters is that they’re breezily candid, even if that honesty doesn’t protect them from committing the same contradictory foibles we all do. Pauline at the Beach is a dazzling example of that quality; it may even be more honest than usual, because it also tells a truth about its characters that they’re not even aware of themselves.

The most perceptive character is actually the youngest: 15-year-old Pauline (Amanda Langlet), who’s vacationing with her older cousin Marion (Arielle Dombasle). Having never fallen in love herself, Pauline receives a thorough education in the matter by observing the love triangle that Marion becomes entangled in with needy Pierre (Pascal Greggory) and predatory Henri (Féodor Atkine). Though the adults give the film its brilliantly articulate philosophical meditations on love — ranging from the idealistic to the dispassionate — their actions often fall short of their words. Shot through Pauline’s keen eyes, Rohmer’s film wryly reveals the decisive role that delusion and unchecked ego play in so many grown-up lives — ironically making the self-aware and measured teenager the most mature of all.

62. Bo Burnham: Inside (2021)

best

8.4

Country

United States of America

Director

Bo Burnham

Actors

Bo Burnham

Moods

Funny, Grown-up Comedy, Original

A healthy mix of despair and self-deprecation has always been Bo Burnham’s signature, but Inside takes it to the next level. It’s a deconstructed film, rather than a simple one-night special; a one-man-show that constantly undercuts itself. Even more so, it sabotages its own immersive qualities and explores the depths of self-loathing by turning oneself into comedy material. Some may say, it’s a classic move, but the pandemic reality and Burnham’s unkempt look predispose us to embrace all the cringe (YouTube reactions), quirkiness, (the sock puppet), and frightening angst (suicide jokes) he puts forward. Emotional rawness and a polished DIY look fits the Netflix bill, but as far as the content goes, this one goes straight to the world heritage lockdown archives.

63. A Summer’s Tale (1996)

best

8.4

Country

France

Director

Éric Rohmer

Actors

Aimé Lefèvre, Amanda Langlet, Aurelia Nolin, Gwenaëlle Simon

Moods

Character-driven, Discussion-sparking, Easy

The sunniest installment of Éric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons series is a sly, slow burn of a character study. Everything looks sensuously beautiful in the honey-toned French sunshine, except for the ugly egotism of Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud), the full extent of which is gradually revealed over the film’s runtime to amusing — if maddening — effect.

A brooding twenty-something, Gaspard has the traumatic task of having to decide between three beautiful and brilliant young women while vacationing alone on the French coast one summer. He dithers and delays his choice, each woman appealing to a different insecurity of his — but, as frustrating and plainly calculating as he is, you can’t help but be charmed by Gaspard. That’s partly because of Poupaud’s natural charisma, but also because Rohmer grants Gaspard as many searingly honest moments as he does deceitful ones. These come through Rohmer’s hallmark naturalistic walking and talking scenes (a big influence on the films of Richard Linklater), coastal rambles that produce conversations of startling, timeless candor. That inimitable blend of breeziness and frankness is never better matched in the director’s films than by the summer setting of this one, the sharp truths going down a lot smoother in the gorgeous sunlight.

64. Fingernails (2023)

best

8.4

Country

Australia, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Christos Nikou

Actors

Albert Chung, Amanda Arcuri, Annie Murphy, Ashleigh Rains

Moods

Emotional, Gripping, Original

In what is only his second feature, Greek director Christos Nikou crafts a singular universe that is orderly and enticing. The dystopian premise that you can now scientifically test for love may be bizarre, but it answers to one of the biggest anxieties humans share. That said,  this particular world feels so close to ours today, that you want to dive right in it, weirdness and all. Even the topos of the love clinic, where couples get evaluated and take on exercises before they take the test is framed as a space for hope. There’s no underlying cynicism in Nikou’s film, which is perhaps the most surprising fact about it; on the contrary, longing—however painful it may be—abounds and seeps through the carefully composed images of shared doubt and suspect intimacy. Last, but not least, the chemistry shared by Buckley-Ahmed-White is nothing short of explosive.

65. Falling in Love Like in Movies (2023)

best

8.4

Country

Indonesia

Director

Yandy Laurens

Actors

Abdurrahman Arif, Alex Abbad, Dion Wiyoko, Ernest Prakasa

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Funny, Lovely

Given the title, it isn’t surprising that Falling in Love Like in Movies would be a metanarrative with the main romance mirroring the filmmaking and the filmmaking reflecting the main romance. It’s a familiar approach, and at first, Falling seems to follow the inevitable ending where the couple falls in love, but right on time, in around Sequence Four, writer-director Yandy Laurens chooses a more honest, less chosen path– a path that plenty of previous romance films hasn’t examined– that still falls within the eight sequence screenplay structure Bagus talks about. While Bagus is pitching his film to Hana, and to his producer, Jatuh Cinta Seperti di Film-Film pitches a new way of thinking about love, grief, and of course, filmmaking.

66. Cleaners (2019)

best

8.4

Country

Philippines

Director

Glenn Barit

Actors

Carlo Mejia, Gianne Rivera, Ianna Taguinod, Julian Narag

Moods

Character-driven, Original, Quirky

In Letterboxd, Cleaners was once the highest rated film of 2021, and was once in the list of the top 250 narrative features overall before the rating system changed in 2023. To viewers outside the Philippines, this might have been mind-boggling, especially since the film wasn’t yet released internationally the year it premiered, but it shot up the ranks for a reason. The coming-of-age anthology just looks so different, being filmed live, then xeroxed and highlighted, frame by frame, just like print-outs for school. The unique approach evokes a sense of nostalgia in high contrast print and blurred movement, and it’s matched with the classic Filipino coming-of-age moments that has rarely been seen before.

67. Election (1999)

best

8.3

Country

Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Alexander Payne

Actors

B.J. Tobin, Chris Klein, Colleen Camp, Delaney Driscoll

Starring Matthew Broderick and a young Reese Witherspoon as, respectively, Jim McAllister, a high school teacher and Tracy Flick, a notorious ‘that girl’ in his class. When Tracy decides to run for class president, we see the floodgates open as all sorts of bizarre and insane behavior pours out of the two. Quickly, it becomes clear that Tracy will do nearly anything to win, and as circumstances spiral out of control, madness descends – along with hilarity!

68. The Trotsky (2009)

best

8.3

Country

Canada

Director

Jacob Tierney

Actors

Alain Goulem, Angela Galuppo, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Ben Mulroney

Moods

Easy, Funny

A fantastic and light Canadian comedy, the Trotsky stars Jay Baruchel as Leon Bronstein, a young man who believes himself to be the reincarnation of the Soviet leader Leon Trotsky. True to his past life, Leon soon begins a quest to organize a revolution at his father’s clothing company, while dealing with the transition from ritzy private to a Montreal public school. Smart and pointed, the Trotsky is a gem not to be missed.

69. 303 (2018)

best

8.3

Country

Germany

Director

Hans Weingartner

Actors

Anton Spieker, Arndt Schwering-Sohnrey, Caroline Erikson, Hannah Schröder

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Easy, Feel-Good

A sweet and romantic German movie about two Berliners who meet randomly and go on a road trip to the south of Europe. It might seem like a silly premise but it’s actually a philosophical movie, one that feels very realistic. The two characters debate human nature, politics, relationships, etc; almost throughout their trip. And they’re played by excellent newcomers who ooze charisma and make the question of what will happen between them incredibly thrilling.

70. Raw (2017)

best

8.3

Country

Belgium, France, United States of America

Director

Female director, Julia Ducournau

Actors

Alexis Julemont, Alice D'Hauwe, Amandine Hinnekens, Benjamin Boutboul

Moods

Raw, Weird

One of the sharpest horror films of the last decade, Julia Ducournau’s Raw follows in the footsteps of films like Carrie by translating coming of age anxieties into visceral full-throated terror. Justine is a beginner veterinary student leaving home for the first time. After a brutal hazing ceremony forces this young vegetarian to eat meat, she develops an insatiable hunger for flesh that begins to consume her.

Raw is as much an intense body-horror (not for the squeamish) as it is an astute psychological drama. Underneath its nightmarish sheen, Ducournau layers social commentary on sexuality, patriarchy, and deviance using the school’s sadistic initiations as metaphors for larger structures. All of this depth is paired with striking cinematography, crisp pacing, and an unforgettable performance from Garance Marillier as Justine.

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