The National Lampoon franchise has become one of the most well-known in cinema history, which these days pretty much just means no-one's ever not talking about sequel rumours. Vacation is the movie that started it all, except if by "it" you mean "everyone hating Chevy Chase", which has just been a condition of humanity since creation.
Parody films are tricky, which is why someone making them look easy is so special. Each one of Mel Brooks' movies is a different kind of masterpiece, and while ranking them in quality is pretty much impossible and idiotic, you couldn't do much better in demonstrating the guy's "deal" than Spaceballs does. It's the perfect parody, one which could only be devised by the genius lunatic behind what has to be the weirdest collection of movies in history.
English comedy post-Monty Python had its work cut out for it. It seemed almost disrespectful to try to recreate the crazy energy that worked so well. It's only fitting, then, that the best English comedy of the 80's was a little bit quieter and sadder than most other on this list. Don't worry, it's still funny as hell.
The second-craziest film to ever feature Keanu Reeves and a magic phone booth, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure combines everything you love about buddy movies, with everything you love about history class! It's also a cruel reminder of what might have been, demonstrating Reeves has what it takes to be hilarious, rather than known for what some might call an understated acting style, and others might call the darkened shuffling and murmurs of a half-comatose wraith.
Certain names come up again and again with this kind of thing, and with Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase at its core, Caddyshack seemed destined for success from the start. It's also pretty amazing how many funny films have been made out of a sport as boring as golf. I can really only think of 2 or 3, but that's still kind of incredible.
A reviewer once called this movie " endlessly tasteless juvenilia", and I can think of no greater endorsement than that.Known for being Leslie Nielsen's first starring role (I know! What?), The Naked Gun is probably the second-finest James Bond parody movie ever made, behind any of those ones with Pierce Brosnan.
Before the Mockumentary was even really a thing, hijacked by 57% of all network comedies and whatever the hell Joaquin Phoenix thought he was doing that time, This Is Spinal Tap confused audiences everywhere with an apparently believable take on the Rock and Roll industry. Now everyone's in on the joke, though, and the consensus remains that this is one of the funniest and most important films in modern comedy, and that anyone who thought this was real even for a second is only slightly less funny. Lest we forget, this is a movie which features Ed Begley Jr. as a character named "Stumpy".
If there's a trio that better encapsulates 80's comedy than John Hughes, Steve Martin, and John Candy, then please let me know because everyone loves being told they're wrong. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a more grounded, adult movie than most released within the decade, with Martin doing his best impression of a straight-man and Hughes doing one of someone who doesn't have to counterbalance every moment of humor with one of tragic, angsty pathos. Neither really succeeds, thank God.
80's comedies like Back to the Future and Gremlins were disqualified from this list because, as delightful as they are, you couldn't in all good conscience call them "comedy" movies when so much time is focused on time travel and monsters. This doesn't extend to Ghostbusters which, yes, is about ghosts and those who bust them, but doesn't let that get in the way of pervasive silliness. The line between genre films and funny films is a fine one to tread, but when your climactic apocalypse showdown is between a big candy monster and SNL legends (fine, and those other guys), you've done it just right.
Airplane is maybe not just the funniest film of the 80's but of all-time. There might not be a more influential (see: endlessly quoted by every goddamn person on the planet) film in the pantheon of modern comedy. What it's got going against it is exactly its greatest strength: Airplane's a relentless barrage of setups and jokes and idiocy held together by about 2 minutes of plot, which is exactly how it should be. Not a moment is wasted on character development or scoff emotional honesty. You came here for the laffs and you're going to get 'em. Sadly, the laughter can't last forever. While all three of the movie's writer-directors are still alive, they're also the ones responsible for the more recent entries in the Scary Movie franchise, a fate far, far, far worse than death.