Screwball Comedies

by fairfax512 | created - 27 Mar 2014 | updated - 15 Apr 2014 | Public
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1. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Not Rated | 102 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett

Votes: 49,087

2. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Not Rated | 112 min | Comedy, Romance

When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey

Votes: 55,754

3. It Happened One Night (1934)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

87 Metascore

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns

Votes: 79,905

4. The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Passed | 88 min | Comedy, Romance

An inventor needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee

Votes: 9,394

5. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Not Rated | 121 min | Comedy, Romance

97 Metascore

When two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft

Votes: 206,922 | Gross: $25.00M

6. The Lady Eve (1941)

Passed | 94 min | Comedy, Romance

A trio of classy card sharks targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, until one of them falls in love with him.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette

Votes: 16,495

7. Ball of Fire (1941)

Approved | 111 min | Comedy, Romance

A group of professors working on a new encyclopedia encounter a mouthy nightclub singer who is wanted by the police to help bring down her mob boss lover.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka, Henry Travers

Votes: 9,135

8. The Mad Miss Manton (1938)

Approved | 80 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

When the murdered body discovered by beautiful, vivacious socialite Melsa Manton disappears, police and press label her a prankster until she proves them wrong.

Director: Leigh Jason | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Sam Levene, Frances Mercer

Votes: 1,597

9. Bachelor Mother (1939)

Approved | 82 min | Comedy, Romance

An unemployed woman discovers an abandoned baby on the steps of an orphanage, and accepts an offer to take responsibility for the child in return for a job.

Director: Garson Kanin | Stars: Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn, Frank Albertson

Votes: 3,054

10. The More the Merrier (1943)

Passed | 104 min | Comedy, Romance, War

During the World War II housing shortage in Washington, two men and a woman share a single apartment and the older man plays Cupid to the other two.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Richard Gaines

Votes: 4,824

11. The Talk of the Town (1942)

Not Rated | 118 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

An escaped prisoner and a stuffy law professor vie for the hand of a spirited schoolteacher.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Ronald Colman, Edgar Buchanan

Votes: 6,006

12. The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

Approved | 92 min | Comedy, Romance

A tycoon goes undercover to ferret out agitators at a department store, but gets involved in their lives instead.

Director: Sam Wood | Stars: Jean Arthur, Robert Cummings, Charles Coburn, Edmund Gwenn

Votes: 3,043

13. It's a Wonderful World (1939)

Not Rated | 86 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

When a tycoon is accused of murder, the private eye tracking him finds himself roped in as an accessory and attempts to evade police, kidnapping a poetess along the way.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Claudette Colbert, James Stewart, Guy Kibbee, Nat Pendleton

Votes: 2,134

14. Midnight (1939)

Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy, Romance

A chorus girl stranded in Paris is set up by a millionaire to break up his wife's affair with another man, while being romantically pursued by a cab driver.

Director: Mitchell Leisen | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore, Francis Lederer

Votes: 3,871

15. Topper (1937)

Passed | 97 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

A fun-loving couple, finding that they died and are now ghosts, decide to shake up the stuffy lifestyle of a friend of theirs.

Director: Norman Z. McLeod | Stars: Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Roland Young, Billie Burke

Votes: 5,758

16. My Favorite Wife (1940)

Approved | 88 min | Comedy, Romance

Missing for seven years and presumed dead, a woman returns home on the day of her husband's second marriage.

Director: Garson Kanin | Stars: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Gail Patrick

Votes: 7,904

17. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

Approved | 95 min | Comedy, Romance

A high school girl falls for a playboy artist, with screwball results.

Director: Irving Reis | Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee

Votes: 6,781

18. Vivacious Lady (1938)

Approved | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

A professor marries a nightclub singer, much to the consternation of his family and friends back home.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Ginger Rogers, James Stewart, James Ellison, Beulah Bondi

Votes: 2,674

19. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

Approved | 94 min | Comedy, Romance

A man and his wife decide they can afford to have a house in the country built to their specifications. It's a lot more trouble than they think.

Director: H.C. Potter | Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas, Reginald Denny

Votes: 8,872

20. The Awful Truth (1937)

Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Romance

Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other's attempts to find new romance.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, Alexander D'Arcy

Votes: 15,134

21. I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Approved | 105 min | Comedy, Romance, War

After marrying an American lieutenant with whom he was assigned to work in post-war Germany, a French captain attempts to find a way to accompany her back to the States under the terms of the War Bride Act.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Cary Grant, Ann Sheridan, Marion Marshall, Randy Stuart

Votes: 6,545

22. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Not Rated | 118 min | Comedy, Crime, Thriller

A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson

Votes: 59,291

23. His Girl Friday (1940)

Not Rated | 92 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart

Votes: 46,095

24. Safety Last! (1923)

Not Rated | 70 min | Comedy, Thriller

A store clerk organizes a publicity stunt in which a friend climbs the outside of a tall building.

Directors: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor | Stars: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother, Noah Young

Votes: 15,148 | Gross: $0.62M

25. Professional Sweetheart (1933)

Approved | 73 min | Comedy, Romance

A vice-free radio singer wants to experience the dark side of life, so a press agent convinces her sponsor to choose a "professional sweetheart" from her fans.

Director: William A. Seiter | Stars: Ginger Rogers, Norman Foster, Zasu Pitts, Frank McHugh

Votes: 417

26. Julia Misbehaves (1948)

Approved | 99 min | Comedy, Romance

1936. Julia Packett, a London chorus girl, is always in trouble financially, but she always seems to manage to land on her feet by using her feminine wiles to manipulate the men in her life... See full summary »

Director: Jack Conway | Stars: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Peter Lawford, Elizabeth Taylor

Votes: 747

27. We're Rich Again (1934)

Passed | 71 min | Comedy

The wedding of their daughter brings many surprises, including a determined bill collector, a bad business venture, an elopement, and an unexpected windfall. They all add up to a barrel of one-liners and slap-stick.

Director: William A. Seiter | Stars: Edna May Oliver, Billie Burke, Marian Nixon, Reginald Denny

Votes: 187

28. The Thrill of It All (1963)

Approved | 108 min | Comedy, Romance

A housewife's sudden rise to fame as a soap spokesperson leads to chaos in her home life.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Doris Day, James Garner, Arlene Francis, Edward Andrews

Votes: 3,886

29. There's Always a Woman (1938)

Passed | 81 min | Comedy, Mystery

An investigator for the district attorney and his amateur-sleuth wife compete to solve a murder mystery.

Director: Alexander Hall | Stars: Joan Blondell, Melvyn Douglas, Mary Astor, Frances Drake

Votes: 427

30. Theodora Goes Wild (1936)

Approved | 94 min | Comedy, Romance

The author of a controversially racy best-selling book tries to hide her celebrity status from her provincial small-town neighbors, who'd be scandalized if they knew.

Director: Richard Boleslawski | Stars: Irene Dunne, Melvyn Douglas, Thomas Mitchell, Thurston Hall

Votes: 1,792

31. The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)

Approved | 92 min | Biography, Comedy, Romance

A financially-strapped charter pilot hires himself to an oil tycoon to kidnap his madcap daughter and prevent her from marrying a vapid band leader.

Director: William Keighley | Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Stuart Erwin, Eugene Pallette

Votes: 2,457