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The 20 Best Comedy Movies on Amazon Prime

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The 20 Best Comedy Movies on Amazon Prime

There are 3,610 entries for Comedy Movies available with Prime Membership on Amazon Instant Video, but it can be overwhelming to find something truly funny to watch. Half of the catalog seems to be clips of Annoying Orange, and there are pages and pages of direct-to-video fluff. But we did the scouring to find some hilarious comedies and insightful dramedies available to Amazon Prime subscribers for free. These include romantic comedies, slapstick classics and a surprising number of indie coming-of-age gems.

For a broader list, check out The 75 Best Movies on Amazon Prime or you can peruse The 12 Best Stand-Up Comedy Specials on Amazon Prime or The 50 Best Comedy Movies on Netflix.

Here are the 20 best comedy movies available to stream for free with Amazon Prime:


cafe-society.jpg 20. Café Society
Year: 2011
Director: Woody Allen 
Proving once again that breaking new thematic ground is overrated, writer-director Woody Allen continues to dig into the issues that have consumed him for much of his career. Anyone looking to Café Society for fresh insights into love’s challenges or the eternal battle between substance and superficiality will leave the theater wanting, but for those who have remained loyal to Allen’s particular set of obsessions, this mildly ambitious, very familiar, ultimately rewarding comedy-drama does get to a tender, thoughtful place. Set in the 1930s, Café Society stars Jesse Eisenberg as Bobby, a plucky young New Yorker who moves out to Los Angeles to get a job working for his incredibly powerful talent agent uncle Phil (Steve Carell). Bobby doesn’t have any clear-cut aspirations beyond living among the fabulous in Hollywood, but soon his attention turns to Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), a pretty secretary in Phil’s office. If you’ve seen five Woody Allen movies, you can perhaps surmise a romantic twist is coming. Where it all leads is a finale that, although not entirely startling, is deeply felt, the filmmaker one more time expressing his uncertainty about how much control any of us have over our fates. Café Society echoes, mirrors and sometimes straight-up copies pieces of earlier, better Woody Allen movies, but he can still make the emotions underlying his well-worn themes resonate.—Tim Grierson


saint-ralph.jpg 19. Saint Ralph
Year: 2005
Director: Michael McGowan
Saint Ralph is the story of Ralph Walker, a precocious Catholic schoolboy living in Canada in the early 1950s. Blessed with an Eddie Haskell eagerness and plagued by a cruel libido, he’s willing, at one point, to receive fellatio from a swimming-pool jet. But, when the 14 year-old’s mom slips into a coma, he decides to win the Boston Marathon, a miracle he hopes will wake her. Ralph falls short as a sports film, but it succeeds as a coming-of-age comedy. To see this boy bring a jar of dog feces to his mother’s hospital bed because “smell is one of the strongest memories,” and to see him blanch from shock at the possibility of actually having a consensual kiss, is much more poignant and charming than the many training montages. First-time writer/director Michael McGowan, the steadfast Campbell Scott as Father Hibbert, and magnetic newcomer Adam Butcher as Ralph create an endearing tale of woe and redemption, redeeming the melodrama.—Kennan Mayo


kings-of-summer.jpg
18. The Kings of Summer
Year: 2013
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Like adolescence itself, this coming-of-age story is sweet, sad and very, very funny. And in a film featuring Nick Offerman, Alison Brie and Megan Mulally, many of The Kings of Summer’s biggest laughs come from a 19-year-old actor primarily known for his performance on Disney’s Hannah Montana. Moises Arias steals every scene he’s in as Biaggio, a loyal-but-hilariously-odd sidekick to two boys (Nick Robinson and Gabriel Basso) struggling to deal with oppressive family lives.—Josh Jackson


everybody-wants-some.jpg 17. Everybody Wants Some!!
Year: 2016
Director: Richard Linklater 
Everybody Wants Some!! is intended to play like a spiritual companion piece to Linklater’s ’70s-era Dazed and Confused, with the writer/director reveling in his turn-of-the-decade’s style and swagger. Big lapels, bigger hair, even bigger facial hair and outright enormous egos are the norm throughout this nostalgic saga. Boasting little in the way of plot, Linklater’s film is content to sidle up alongside Jake and his new friends to see where their appetites, whims and libidos will lead. And its laid-back vibe pays dividends as it progresses, given that one-note characters who initially appeared to be smug louts, hyper-gonzo wild cards, dim-bulb doofuses or inane hillbillies slowly develop semi-distinct personalities of their own. Their days devoted to slacking off, their nights spent trimming mustaches and dousing themselves in cologne before hitting the town in search of the next woman to bed, Linklater’s play-hard-and-party-harder characters are the embodiment of cocksure macho vitality, all of them rightly convinced that, at least for the moment, they have the world by the balls. But there’s also some requisite team-based hazing thrown in for good measure, which feels like an authentic representation of what dudes like this would be up to—and, consequently, serves as a buzzkill reminder of their fundamentally dude-bro nature.—Nick Schager


swiss-army-man.jpg 16. Swiss Army Man
Year: 2016
Directors: Daniel Scheinert, Dan Kwan
It should be ridiculous, this. A buddy comedy built atop the premise of a man (Paul Dano) lugging around, and bonding with, a flatulent talking corpse (Daniel Radcliffe)—but cinema is a medium in which miracles are possible, and one such miracle occurs in Swiss Army Man. A film with such a seemingly unpalatable concept becomes, against all odds, a near-profound existential meditation. And, for all the increasingly absurd gags about the utilities of that talking corpse’s body—not just as a jet-ski propelled by bodily gas, but as a giver of fresh water through projectile vomiting and even as a compass through its erection—there’s not one iota of distancing irony to be found in the film. Directors Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kwan are absolutely serious in their attempts to not only re-examine some of the most universal of human experiences, but also explore the idea of a life lived without limits, casting off the shackles of societal constraints and realizing one’s best self. It’s a freedom that the Daniels project exuberantly into the film itself: Swiss Army Man is a work that feels positively lawless. Witness with amazement what bizarrely heartfelt splendors its creators will come up with next.—Kenji Fujishima


lars-and-the-real-girl.jpg 15. Lars and the Real Girl
Year: 2007
Director: Craig Gillespie
Lars and the Real Girl’s premise should have been cringe-worthy: Ryan Gosling dates a life-size sex doll, and the entire town goes to great lengths to protect the fairy tale. But Nancy Oliver’s Oscar-nominated script is so gentle, and so melancholic, that it becomes a quietly powerful story of a stunted man who finally comes of age. Darkly funny but sweet-natured, Lars is a small treasure.—Jeremy Medina


trading-places.jpg 14. Trading Places
Year: 1983
Director: John Landis
A biting take on the The Prince and the Pauper story as filtered through the prism of the Decade of Greed, Trading Places stars Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy as, respectively, high class broker Louis Winthorpe III and homeless street vagrant Billy Ray Valentine. As part of a “nurture vs. nature” experiment by the Duke Brothers, two wealthy, yet unscrupulous business magnates, Louis and Billy end up abruptly, per the title, trading places on the social ladder. The Dukes frame Louis for drug dealing, resulting in him losing both his job and his girlfriend, and then bail Billy out of jail and provide him with Louis’ old job and high-class apartment. Once Billy and Louis discover this deception, they launch a plan for vengeance. Featuring both Murphy and Aykroyd at the top of their game, Trading Places represents a prime example of the kind of smart, yet decidedly un-PC comedies that could only exist at a certain point in the ‘80s (Aykroyd’s blackface-heavy disguise in one scene, for example, would never fly in today’s market). A stone-cold ’80s classic if there ever was one.—Mark Rozeman


get-shorty.jpg 13. Get Shorty
Year: 1995
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Another hardboiled Hollywood satire, this time from crime-comedy master Elmore Leonard. Both the 1990 novel and its 1995 film adaptation starring John Travolta are quite good, and epitomize one of Leonard’s central theses: the toughs may be tough, but we are all idiots who are in way over our heads. Search Party, as I see it, agrees. Let’s hope Epix’s upcoming TV adaptation will stick to the strengths of Chili Palmer’s story as it transitions to a long-form medium.—Graham Techler


major_league_poster.jpeg 12. Major League
Year: 1989
Director: David S. Ward
Many can laugh at this crazy cast of oddballs, but only a select few can look back and laugh. Because for those in Cleveland and northeastern Ohio, it’s all too real. Not until the second film’s release did the Cleveland Indians finally break out of their 30-year slump. Some will say it was the new stadium. Others, the even more superstitious ones (most baseball fans), may point to the dominance and swagger of Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, as portrayed by Charlie Sheen. (Fun fact: Sheen was actually a star pitcher in high school.) Whatever the case, the really bad times are in the past, and let’s hope, for the sake of another one of these movies popping up, they stay there.—Joe Shearer


son-of-rambow.jpg 11. Son of Rambow
Year: 2013
Director: Garth Jennings
Son of Rambow was an audience favorite at Sundance in 2007, managing to upstage Stallone with a funny little movie that uses his action franchise as a springboard for something far more rewarding. Two boys attending an English middle school, Will and Lee (played by perfectly cast newcomers Bill Milner and Will Poulter), are brought together by a slight altercation outside the headmaster’s office. Otherwise, they might not have become friends—they’re complete opposites, Lee a Huck Finn-type miscreant who’s no stranger to the principal’s office, and Will part of a family that belongs to a strict Christian denomination known as “The Brethren.” The boys’ chance meeting in the hallway eventually leads them to Lee’s house, where Will stumbles across a bootleg of First Blood, Stallone’s original Rambo film, the sight of which nearly burns his long-sheltered eyes and stokes his already fertile imagination, giving him fantasies of bombs and bowie knives and missions in the jungle. Inspired by what they’ve seen, Lee and Will set out to make their own sequel to Stallone’s film, directed by Lee and starring Will as the skinny, camouflaged “Son of Rambow.” Jennings’ sensibilities lie closest to Gondry’s, not just in the belief in camaraderie—the ever-endangered spine of this movie—but also in the way he blends whimsy with fact and can’t pass up the chance for a cute visual flourish. He has a lot of plates to keep spinning—the growing cast, the various modes of fashion—but he syncs them using plain-old traditional friendship. When all’s said and done, the do-it-yourself-video sequel is an excuse for Jennings to tell a nice little story about buddies.—Robert Davis


MorrisAmerica232x345.jpg 10. Morris from America
Year: 2016
Director: Chad Hartigan
“Hartigan is proving to be a master of the minute observation, wringing truth out of casual, even mundane interactions. And Robinson is an important collaborator in selling these moments, playing Curtis as somebody who wants to be Morris’s buddy as well as his dad. We start to understand why: He’s still reeling from the loss of his wife and desperately needs the boy to be onboard with this European adventure. Eventually, Morris reveals that Curtis has a personal connection to Germany, which partly explains why he’d pick up everything and move there, but on his friendly-but-anxious face, we sense all the risks that are being taken on his part. In addition, Curtis knows that Morris is reaching puberty, which brings up a whole slew of challenges for a single parent whose own life is deeply in flux. Robinson does a fine job negotiating Curtis’s personal travails: While the movie is told from his son’s perspective, we see the loneliness and frustration of this man quietly pouring out.” —Tim Grierson


beautiful-girls.jpg 9. Beautiful Girls
Year: 1996
Director: Ted Demme
Ted Demme’s 1996 film is many things, all but one of them not particularly unique or unheard of: it’s a well-executed ensemble relationship comedy set in a small town that’s recognizable to anyone who’s spent any time in a small town. It’s a calm, gentle study of a group of childhood friends struggling to come to terms with the responsibilities of adulthood and of their impending 30s. None of that is unique, though having it all come together as well as it does in Beautiful Girls is certainly unusual. What is uncommon, however—and pretty much absent from Hollywood—is its portrait of attraction between an older man and a young, barely teenaged girl. With the pseudo-courtship between the Marty (Natalie Portman) and Willie (Timothy Hutton), writer Scott Rosenberg allows for an attraction between age categories that isn’t prurient or melodramatic or improperly acted on—it just is. Watching the chemistry between Marty and Willie develop and watching the two wrestle with what to do about it is refreshing and romantic, even as its ultimate resolution rings true (and a bit bittersweet).—Michael Burgin


captain-fantastic.jpg 8. Captain Fantastic
Year: 2016
Director: Matt Ross
In the opening scene of Captain Fantastic, we’re introduced to what looks like a feral clan headed by Ben (Viggo Mortensen). But even the youngest of Ben’s six children can quote the nation’s founding documents and opine on the views of “Uncle” Noam Chomsky, as well as defend themselves from an armed attacker. Ben and Leslie have taken their kids to live in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, part of an experiment to raise philosopher kings. But his wife is manic depressive and commits suicide before we ever meet her character. In the wake of her death, Ben must confront the world he’s left behind and decide what kind of life is really best for his family. Writer-director Matt Ross (who plays Gavin Belson on Silicon Valley) has created an original story that is sweet, sad, funny and full of openhearted joy—the kind of Sundance movie that will play well with a wider audience. Even if the lifestyle and views are unfamiliar to some, parents will recognize the honest look at the positive and negative effects we have on our children and the pressures to conform to others’ expectations.—Josh Jackson


top-five.jpg 7. Top Five
Year: 2014
Director: Chris Rock 
The chief thing to know about the film is that it’s hilarious, as a comedy made by Rock should be. Almost as important is that it’s heartfelt. Rock uses the opportunity to reflect on his own personal and professional travails; he leans on his biting wit, offering few pleasantries in Allen’s quest for respectability. Top Five has tender times, but the film’s sentiment usually gives way to rawer moments involving, among other things, Brown’s relationship with her boyfriend (Anders Holm), Allen’s misgivings about getting hitched, the family he left behind for Hollywood and, yes, those rare occasions that unintentionally mimic the current events on our televisions today.—Andy Crump


shakespeare-in-love.jpg 6. Shakespeare in Love
Year: 1998
Director: John Madden
Another film whose reputation has suffered somewhat since its initial reception, largely in this case as a result of an ill-considered Oscar and Gweneth Paltrow’s ill-considered management of her public persona since then. No one is more annoyed with latter-day Goop than me, but even I can admit that Shakespeare in Love gets a bad rap. It’s delightful, especially for those with any experience in the theater whatsoever (the theater world itself is the romantic interest of the film, every bit as much as Gweneth’s Viola de Lesseps). And, it’s now safe to say out loud – Ben Affleck is fantastically charming in this film. If you haven’t seen it in awhile, you’ll be surprised at how much more you like it than you remembered.—Michael Dunaway


his-girl-friday.jpg 5. His Girl Friday
Year: 1940
Director: Howard Hawks
Adapted from the widely acclaimed play The Front Page, His Girl Friday is a classic whose sharp, witty dialogue matches that of old newsrooms. This smooth-talking editor, played by the always-charming Cary Grant, recognizes true journalistic talent and goes to great lengths to get his best reporter to cover a major story.—Bonnie Stiernberg


punch-drunk-love.jpg 4. Punch-Drunk Love
Year: 2002
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson 
It may be hard to recall, but there was once a time when the world believed in Adam Sandler—and we have P.T. Anderson to thank for such a glimpse of hope. Compared to the scope of There Will Be Blood, or the melancholy of Boogie Nights, or the inexorable fascination at the heart of The Master, Punch-Drunk Love—a breath of fresh, Technicolor air after the weight of Magnolia—comes off like something of a lark for Anderson, setting the stage for the kind of incisive comic chops the director would later epitomize with Inherent Vice. But far from a bit of fluff or a reactionary stab at a larger audience, Punch-Drunk Love is what happens when a director with so much untapped potential just sort of throws shit at the wall to see what sticks. A simple love story between a squirmy milquetoast (Sandler) and the woman (Emily Watson) who yanks him from his stark blue shell, the film is part musical, part silent film and all surreal comedy. That this is Sandler’s best role is hardly up for debate; that this may be Jon Brion’s best soundtrack is something we can talk about later. That the rest of the film, which in any other director’s hands would be a total mess, feels so exquisitely felt is almost … magical. And that? That’s that, Mattress Man.—Dom Sinacola


love-friendship.jpg 3. Love & Friendship
Director: Whit Stillman
The title of Whit Stillman’s latest comedy may be Love & Friendship, but while both are certainly present in the film, other, more negative qualities also abound: deception, manipulation, even outright hatred. Underneath its elegant period-picture surface—most obviously evident in Benjamin Esdraffo’s Baroque-style orchestral score and Louise Matthew’s ornate art direction—lies a darker vision of humanity that gives the film more of an ironic kick than one might have anticipated from the outset. Still, the humor in Love & Friendship is hardly of the misanthropic sort. As always with Stillman, his view of the foibles of the bourgeois is unsparing yet ultimately empathetic. Which means that, even as Stillman works his way toward a happy ending of sorts, the film leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste—which is probably as it should be. Such honesty has always been a hallmark of Stillman’s cinema, and even if Love & Friendship feels like more of a confection than his other films, that frankness, thankfully, still remains.—Kenji Fujishima


what-we-do-shadows.jpg 2. What We Do in the Shadows
Year: 2014
Directors: Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
Who knew that the undead fight over dirty dishes or primp before going out? It’s these types of little moments, paired with almost throwaway bits of dialogue, that turn the vampire mockumentary What We Do In the Shadows into a sublime comedy. As written, directed and starring Jemaine Clement, half of the comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, and Taika Waititi, writer and director of Boy, New Zealand’s highest-grossing film, the film not only tweaks the vampire genre by adding a number of mumblecore elements, but also pays a tongue-in-cheek homage to its history. The film opens with a series of title cards that credit the New Zealand Documentary Board and also explain the film’s premise: A documentary crew was given full access to follow a secret society based in Wellington, New Zealand during the months leading up to the Unholy Masquerade Ball, the social event of the year. The intertitles also note that the crew was assured protection from their subjects, and issued crucifixes, just in case. What We Do In the Shadows played the festival circuit after its Sundance debut, and picked up a number of audience awards in its wake. We can see the appeal: While there’s really not that much action or bloodletting in the fake documentary, the laughs are definitely authentic.—Christine N. Ziemba


steamboat-bill-jr.jpg 1. Steamboat Bill, Jr.
Director: Buster Keaton and Charles Reisner
Year: 1928
Steamboat Bill, Jr.’s climactic cyclone sequence—which is at once great action and great comedy—would on its own earn the film a place on this list. The iconic shot of a house’s facade falling on Keaton is only one of many great moments in the free-flowing, hard-blowing sequence. But the film also showcases some of Keaton’s best intimate acting, including a scene in which his father tries to find him a more manly hat, and a painfully hilarious attempt to pantomime of a jailbreak plan.—Jeremy Mathews

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