A Definitive List of the 150 Best Comedies of the 80s – Part Three

Big (1988) movie backdrop
49 – Big (1988)
Fantasy | Comedy | Drama | Romance | Family
7.3
8.2
7.16
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.55

After a wish turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) into a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks), he heads to New York City and gets a low-level job at MacMillen Toy Company. A chance encounter with the owner (Robert Loggia) of the company leads to a promotion testing new toys. Soon a fellow employee, Susan Lawrence (Elizabeth Perkins), takes a romantic interest in Josh. However, the pressure of living as an adult begins to overwhelm him, and he longs to return to his simple, former life as a boy.

48 – Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Action | Comedy | Crime
7.3
8.2
7.16
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.55

After his childhood buddy is murdered while visiting Detroit, rebellious cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) follows the leads to Beverly Hills, Calif., under the auspices of a vacation. He checks in with old friend Jenny Summers (Lisa Eilbacher) and starts to believe her boss, art dealer Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff), might somehow be involved in the murder. However, Lt. Bogomil (Ronny Cox) of the Beverly Hills Police Department does not trust Foley, and hinders his search for evidence.

47 – Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
Comedy | Drama | War
7.3
8.2
7.20
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.57

Radio funny man Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams) is sent to Vietnam to bring a little comedy back into the lives of the soldiers. After setting up shop, Cronauer delights the G.I.s but shocks his superior officer, Sergeant Major Dickerson (J.T. Walsh), with his irreverent take on the war. While Dickerson attempts to censor Cronauer’s broadcasts, Cronauer pursues a relationship with a Vietnamese girl named Trinh (Chintara Sukapatana), who shows him the horrors of war first-hand.

46 – Polyester (1981)
Comedy
7.1
8.1
7.52
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.57

A frustrated housewife, Francine Fishpaw (Divine), tries to maintain her sanity while taking care of her dysfunctional household. Elmer (David Samson), her husband and the owner of an adult theater, is sleeping with his secretary, and her delinquent teen son, Dexter (Ken King), and pregnant teen daughter, Lulu (Mary Garlington), aren’t helping matters any. But when Francine meets dashing Todd Tomorrow (Tab Hunter), the owner of a theater specializing in art films, her life appears rosier.

45 – Tootsie (1982)
Comedy | Romance
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.4
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.1
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.32
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.61

New York actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a talented perfectionist who is so hard on himself and others that his agent (Sydney Pollack) can no longer find work for him. After a soap opera audition goes poorly, Michael reinvents himself as actress Dorothy Michaels and wins the part. What was supposed to be a short-lived role turns into a long-term contract, but when Michael falls for his castmate Julie (Jessica Lange), complications develop that could wreck everything.

The Return of the Living Dead (1985) movie backdrop
44 – The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Comedy | Horror
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
7.9
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.64
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.61

When foreman Frank (James Karen) shows new employee Freddy (Thom Mathews) a secret military experiment in a supply warehouse, the two klutzes accidentally release a gas that reanimates corpses into flesh-eating zombies. As the epidemic spreads throughout Louisville, Ky., and the creatures satisfy their hunger in gory and outlandish ways, Frank and Freddy fight to survive with the help of their boss (Clu Gulager) and a mysterious mortician (Don Calfa).

43 – Caddyshack (1980)
Comedy
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.7
LETTERBOXD SCORE
6.90
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.63

Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe), a teen down on his luck, works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club to raise money for his college education. In an attempt to gain votes for a college scholarship reserved for caddies, Noonan volunteers to caddy for a prominent and influential club member (Ted Knight). Meanwhile, Danny struggles to prepare for the high pressure Caddy Day golf tournament while absorbing New Age advice from wealthy golf guru Ty Webb (Chevy Chase).

Big Trouble in Little China (1986) movie backdrop
42 – Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Action | Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.2
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.44
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.65

Kurt Russell plays hard-boiled truck driver Jack Burton, who gets caught in a bizarre conflict within, and underneath, San Francisco’s Chinatown. An ancient Chinese prince and Chinatown crime lord has kidnapped a beautiful green-eyed woman, who is the fiancee to Jack’s best friend. Jack must help his friend rescue the girl before the evil Lo Pan uses her to break the ancient curse that keeps him a fleshless and immortal spirit.

41 – Say Anything… (1989)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.5
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.16
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.65

In a charming, critically acclaimed tale of first love, Lloyd (John Cusack), an eternal optimist, seeks to capture the heart of Diane (Ione Skye), an unattainable high-school beauty and straight-A student. It surprises just about everyone when she returns the sentiment. But Diane’s overly possessive, divorced father (John Mahoney) doesn’t approve and it will take more than the power of love to conquer all.

40 – National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Comedy | Adventure
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.4
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.5
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.06
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.65

Accompanied by their children (Dana Barron, Anthony Michael Hall), Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his wife, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), are driving from Illinois to a California amusement park. As Clark increasingly fixates on a beautiful woman driving a sports car, the Griswolds deal with car problems and the death of a family member. They reach Los Angeles, but, when Clark worries that the trip is being derailed again, he acts impulsively to get his family to the park.

39 – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Comedy | Crime
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.4
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.4
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.16
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.65

Con artist Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine) is a longtime resident of a luxurious coastal resort, where he enjoys the fruits of his deceptions — that is, until a competitor, Freddy Benson (Steve Martin), shows up. When the new guy’s lowbrow tactics impinge on his own work, Jamieson resolves to get rid of him. Confident of his own duplicitous talents, Jamieson challenges Benson to a winner-takes-all competition: whoever swindles their latest mark first can stay, while the other must leave town.

38 – Better Off Dead… (1985)
Comedy
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.1
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.7
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.16
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.65

Lane Meyer (John Cusack) is a teen with a peculiar family and a bizarre fixation with his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda Wyss). When Beth dumps Lane, he decides to kill himself, making bumbling attempts at suicide. Outside of his morbid endeavors, Lane spends time with his oddball buddy, Charles (Curtis Armstrong), and befriends Monique (Diane Franklin), a visiting French student. Eventually, Lane resolves to race Beth’s obnoxious new beau on the ski slopes, with unexpected results.

37 – Broadcast News (1987)
Comedy | Romance
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.2
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
7.9
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.90
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.67
Basket-case network news producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) falls for new reporter Tom Grunnick (William Hurt), a pretty boy who represents the trend towards entertainment news she despises. Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), a talented but plain correspondent, carries an unrequited torch for Jane. Sparks fly between the three as the network prepares for big changes, and both the news and Jane must decide between style and substance.
36 – Heathers (1989)
Comedy | Crime
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.2
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.3
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.58
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.69

Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other girls’ cruel behavior. When Veronica and her new boyfriend, J.D. (Christian Slater), confront clique leader Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) and accidentally poison her, they make it appear a suicide. Soon Veronica realizes that J.D. is intentionally killing students he does not like. She races to stop J.D. while also clashing with the clique’s new leader, Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty).

35 – Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)
Comedy
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.5
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.3
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.34
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.71

The stages of life are told through multiple sketches and songs by the British comedy troupe. The seven parts of life cover birth, growing up, war, middle age, organ transplants, old age and death. Not all stages are singular: “Part I: The Miracle of Birth” is from the perspective of an ignored woman in labor, and of a Roman Catholic couple with too many children, and “Part VII: Death” encompasses a funeral and heaven. Added are three unrelated skits placed in the beginning, middle and end.

34 – Trading Places (1983)
Comedy
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.5
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.5
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.16
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.72

Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a bet by successful brokers Mortimer (Don Ameche) and Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy). An employee of the Dukes, Winthorpe is framed by the brothers for a crime he didn’t commit, with the siblings then installing the street-smart Valentine in his position. When Winthorpe and Valentine uncover the scheme, they set out to turn the tables on the Dukes.

33 – Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
Comedy
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.4
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.4
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.36
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.72

Danny Rose (Woody Allen), a hopeless New York talent agent, is a tireless workhorse for his eccentric, unimpressive acts. When Rose signs has-been lounge singer Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte), he knows he has to go to great lengths to keep his new client, which means escorting Canova’s mistress, Tina (Mia Farrow), to the singer’s shows. The only problem is that her ex-boyfriend is a jealous gangster who thinks Rose is her new man and wants revenge.

32 – Restless Natives (1985)
Comedy | Crime
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.1
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
9.1
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.00
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.73

Two lads in Edinburgh embark on a non-violent spree of robberies. They dress up in clown masks and act as modern highwaymen, robbing coach loads of tourists in the highlands. In the process they become folk heroes to the locals. Their adventures make for a whimsical and gentle comedy, in the Bill Forsyth vein.

31 – Radio Days (1987)
Comedy | Drama | Music
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.5
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.4
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.36
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.75

A middle-aged man looks back on his childhood in Rockaway, N.Y., in a series of vignettes focused on the golden days of radio. Joe (Woody Allen), who narrates, is portrayed as a teenager in the film by Seth Green. Eccentric relatives and radio personalities inhabit various stories, including an unlucky aunt (Dianne Wiest), a cigarette girl (Mia Farrow) with career ambitions, and two burglars with excellent timing. Young Joe involves his friends in a scam to earn a decoder ring.

30 – A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Comedy | Crime
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.5
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.4
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.38
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.76

British gangster George Thomason (Tom Georgeson) and his hapless aide, Ken Pile (Michael Palin), draft a pair of arrogant Americans, grifter Wanda Gerschwitz (Jamie Lee Curtis) and weapons expert Otto West (Kevin Kline), for a massive diamond heist. When the job goes badly, Wanda attempts to seduce George’s stuffy lawyer, Archie Leach (John Cleese), to find out where George hid the diamonds. Meanwhile, Ken repeatedly attempts to kill an elderly woman (Patricia Hayes) who witnessed the robbery.

Beetlejuice (1988) movie backdrop
29. Beetlejuice (1988)
Comedy | Fantasy
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.5
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.2
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.62
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.77

After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their country residence, unable to leave the house. When the unbearable Deetzes (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) buy the home, the Maitlands attempt to scare them away without success. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a rambunctious spirit whose “help” quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia.

28 – The Naked Gun (1988)
Comedy | Crime
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.6
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.4
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.34
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.78

Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen), a rather clueless police detective, tries to foil a plot to turn innocent people into assassins through mind control. After his partner, Norberg (O.J. Simpson), is shot, Frank sets out to find the culprit, leading him to business tycoon Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban). However, Frank has no evidence until he meets Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley), Ludwig’s assistant. She knows nothing about Ludwig’s devious plans, but falls for Frank and agrees to help him.

27 – Clue (1985)
Comedy | Thriller | Crime | Mystery
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.6
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.46
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.79
Based on the popular board game, this comedy begins at a dinner party hosted by Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving), where he admits to blackmailing his visitors. These guests, who have been given aliases, are Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan), Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), Mr. Green (Michael McKean), professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn) and Col. Mustard (Martin Mull). When Boddy turns up murdered, all are suspects, and together they try to figure out who is the killer.
26 – Steel Magnolias (1989)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.9
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.24
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.81

M’Lynn (Sally Field) is the mother of bride-to-be Shelby Eatenton (Julia Roberts), and as friend Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton) fixes the women’s hair for the ceremony, they welcome a helping hand from aspiring beautician Annelle Dupuy Desoto (Daryl Hannah). Diabetic Shelby has a health scare, which is averted but doesn’t bode well for her hopes of having children. Time passes, and the women and their friends encounter tragedy and good fortune, growing stronger and closer in the process.

25 – Raising Arizona (1987)
Comedy | Crime
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.5
LETTERBOXD SCORE
7.64
AVERAGE-SCOREV3
7.81
The Coen Brothers tell the story of an absurd yet likable family with an unproductive couple as the focal point. The couple has gotten themselves into some trouble while kidnapping a baby and give Hollywood one of the most memorable chase scenes to date. Starring Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter and John Goodman
24 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Comedy
IMDb Users Score and link to the IMDb website
7.6
Rotten Tomatoes Users Score and link to the Rotten Tomatoes website
8.6