Top 15 Comedies From the Golden Age of Comedy – The 1980s

I am a huge fan of comedy movies and there have been some great ones lately. The Hangover was an instant classic that immediately jumped onto one of the Top 3 spots on my all-time favorite comedies list. The Aughts had great ones like Wedding Crashers and Old School. And of course the 90s had a couple of my favorites in The Big Lebowski and Swingers.

But for my money, no other decade rivals the 1980s for Comedy Movies; it was the Golden Age of Comedies. The amazing thing about the 80s was the sheer depth of great comedies as well as the creativity of the writers. You don’t believe me? Well consider that on my personal list of the Top 30 Comedies of the 1980s, Airplane! and Sixteen Candles do not show up until numbers 20 and 21. That is depth.

Because of the deep comedy field from the 1980s it is fun to browse through all the member rankings for this category as they vary dramatically. Using the rankings of all members, we have compiled a weighted average composite ranking of the Top 35 Comedies from the 1980s. However, to accommodate our ever-shrinking attention spans, we present the Top 15 from that list with short Twitter-like descriptions.

1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Combine 3 high school seniors with spring fever in Chicago, throw in Dad’s vintage convertible Ferrari and you end up with an epic adventure is the envy of every hooking-playing teenager.

2. Caddyshack

Often lands at the top of lists for both Sports movies and Comedies. This hilarious movie about golf caddies really shines because of brilliant performances by Bill Murray and Ted Knight.

3. Airplane!

Not one of my favorites on the list but many consider it a Top 10 Comedy of all time. This is the granddaddy of the parody movie poking fun at the disaster movies of the 70s. “And don’t call me Shirley.”

4. The Blues Brothers

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, its dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it!” And thus starts one of the silliest, most destructive car chase scenes in movie history.

5. Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Jeff Spicoli! That’s really all you have to say as this movie has one of the greatest comedic characters ever created for a movie – and performed by a non-comedic actor. Brilliant!

6. Ghostbusters

“Boy, the Super’s gonna be pissed!” This is one of many great lines from this cutting edge classic. I still remember the boys going on David Letterman before the movie came out and they deadpanned it so well that I honestly could not tell if they really believed in ghosts or not.

7. The Breakfast Club

Some purists might say that TBC was a drama not a comedy, but it is still one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Great characters, a classic storyline about stereotypes and a hilarious setting in weekend detention, what more could you want. And kudos to John Hughes for landing two of the Top 7 comedy slots.

8. This is Spinal Tap

Before there was reality TV or mock-umentaries like Blair Witch, there was Spinal Tap. Talk about originality. This fictional story about the rise and fall of a heavy metal rock band is outstanding. Nigel describing his amp that goes to Eleven in volume is one of my favorite scenes.

9. Big

This story has been remade many times over the years but this is the original – as far as I know. A guy caught up in the rat race becomes a kid again and through that process, rediscovers what is important in life. While funny at times, I preferred Hanks in Splash, which unfortunately did not even make the Top 35 list.

10. Bull Durham

Another of the great Sports Comedies, Bull Durham is the story of players struggling to deal with life in the minor leagues. This also ends up at the top of a lot of sports lovers lists and overall is a must see comedy.

11. Raising Arizona

Its part dark comedy, part comedy caper and overall a non-stop adventure. We get Goodman’s first great comedic role, Holly Hunter and Nicholas Cage blossom as comedians and the Coen Brothers launch a brilliant comedic career with this classic.

12. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Steve Martin and the late John Candy are fantastic in this tale of business travelers trying to get home for the Thanksgiving holiday. This is right up there with Roxanne, as one of Steve Martin’s best comedic roles. While the laughs are big, the film is also touching and poignant. A real gem.

13. Vacation

Definitely Chevy Chase’s best movie role, unfortunately it was mostly downhill from there for Chase. Road trips have been great comedy fun over the years and this is the granddaddy of them all.

14. Spaceballs

This is a Mel Brooks parody of the Star Wars series. I have to admit that I have never seen this movie so it is tough to comment. However, I have heard that everyone loves John Candy’s role as Chewbacca.

15. Revenge of the Nerds

This is the original after which every Michael Cera and Jon Heder movie is shaped. It is a hilarious college comedy of the little guy overcoming the BMOC. I loved Napoleon Dynamite and Superbad, but you must view the original to truly enjoy the newer geek flicks.