Comedy/Tragedy Mood Swing Films

This is a selection of films that achieve what is arguably the most difficult to do in movies, at least in American culture. That is, blend the humorous with the harrowing. It's not necessarily a matter of black comedy or satire, though both appear on the list, as well as a non-American film or two. It's simply a matter of making light of horrible circumstances, and horrible circumstances coming out of light-hearted hilarity. Like life more than anything else.
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1.
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A recently widowed woman is on the road with her precocious young son, determined to make a new life for herself as a singer. (112 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
2.
Amarcord (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A series of comedic and nostalgic vignettes set in a 1930s Italian coastal town. (123 mins.)
 
3.
American Beauty (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend. (122 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
 
4.
The Beaver (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A troubled husband and executive adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communicating. (91 mins.)
Director: Jodie Foster
 
5.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A somewhat romanticized account of the career of the notoriously violent bank robbing couple and their gang. (111 mins.)
Director: Arthur Penn
 
6.
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife, while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated by another woman. (104 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
 
7.
The Dying Western (2009 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
In The Dying Western, Howard obsessively pursues his dreams to be the next John Wayne, but has only... (32 mins.)
 
8.
Extras (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Andy Millman is an actor with ambition and a script. Reduced to working as an extra with a useless agent, Andy's attempts to boost his career invariably end in failure and embarrassment. (30 mins.)
 
9.
The Front (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A cashier poses as a writer for blacklisted talents to submit their work through, but the injustice around him pushes him to take a stand. (95 mins.)
Director: Martin Ritt
 
10.
Funny People (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When seasoned comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal, inoperable health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship causes him to take a relatively green performer under his wing as his opening act. (146 mins.)
Director: Judd Apatow
 
11.
Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A look at a few chapters in the life of Poppy, a cheery, colorful, North London schoolteacher whose optimism tends to exasperate those around her. (118 mins.)
Director: Mike Leigh
 
12.
The Hospital (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An over-burdened doctor struggles to find meaning in his life while a murderer stalks the halls of his hospital. (103 mins.)
Director: Arthur Hiller
 
13.
The Host (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A monster emerges from Seoul's Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people. One victim's loving family does what it can to rescue her from its clutches. (120 mins.)
Director: Joon Ho Bong
 
14.
Husbands and Wives (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
When their best friends announce that they're separating, a professor and his wife discover the faults in their own marriage. (103 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
 
15.
Life (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The story of wrongfully convicted men (Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence) who discover the value of life after serving 65 years in prison. (108 mins.)
Director: Ted Demme
 
16.
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp. (116 mins.)
Director: Roberto Benigni
 
17.
Little Murders (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Comedy about how New Yorkers are coping with pervasive urban violence, obscene phone calls, rusty water pipes, electrical blackouts, paranoia and ethnic-racial conflict during a typical summer of the 1970s. (110 mins.)
Director: Alan Arkin
 
18.
Louie (2010 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The life of Louis CK, a divorced comedian with two kids living in New York. (22 mins.)
 
19.
Man Bites Dog (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand. (95 mins.)
 
20.
Melinda and Melinda (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Two alternating stories, one comedy and the other tragedy, about Melinda's attempts to straighten out her life. (99 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
 
21.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients. (133 mins.)
Director: Milos Forman
 
22.
Pete 'n' Tillie (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Unassuming and single thirty-three year old Tillie Shlain is at that phase of her life of being known... (100 mins.)
Director: Martin Ritt
 
23.
Radio Days (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A nostalgic look at radio's golden age focusing on one ordinary family and the various performers in the medium. (88 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
 
24.
The Savages (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A sister and brother face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father. (114 mins.)
Director: Tamara Jenkins
 
25.
Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother... (92 mins.)
 
26.
Six Feet Under (2001 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A drama series that takes a darkly comical look at members of a dysfunctional California family that runs an independent funeral home. (55 mins.)
 
27.
Sólo con tu pareja (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Yuppie and womanizer Tomas is caught in a trap when falsely diagnosed with A.I.D.S. by Silvia, a nurse who finds herself cheated by the young Casanova... (94 mins.)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
 
28.
Something Wild (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A free-spirited woman "kidnaps" a yuppie for a weekend of adventure. But the fun quickly takes a dangerous turn when her ex-convict husband shows up. (114 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
 
29.
Stalag 17 (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When two escaping American World War II prisoners are killed, the German POW camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer. (120 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
 
30.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss' daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant. (129 mins.)
Director: Chan-wook Park
 
31.
Terms of Endearment (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love and her daughter's family problems. (132 mins.)
Director: James L. Brooks
 
32.
Trainspotting (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends. (94 mins.)
Director: Danny Boyle
 
33.
Visitor Q (2001 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A troubled and perverted family find their lives intruded by a mysterious stranger who seems to help find a balance in their disturbing natures. (84 mins.)
Director: Takashi Miike
 
34.
World's Greatest Dad (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
When his son's body is found in a humiliating accident, a lonely high school teacher inadvertently attracts an overwhelming amount of community and media attention after covering up the truth with a phony suicide note. (99 mins.)