When looking for a definitive list of the greatest comedy movies of all time, whose judgement would you trust?  The viewing audience, or people in the business of making those movies?

This question came up recently in debates I've had about the nature of comedies today and their decline in quality since the 1980s.  I've been told I was wrong and that comedies today are just as good, if not better, than the classics that came out three decades ago.  So that got me thinking, which are truly the greatest comedies of all time and whose opinion should I value?

Should I go with the opinions of the movie going audience?  You can go to a website like College Humor and find their list of the greatest comedies of all time as voted on by their readers, but you have to take into account their readers' experience and tastes.  Are 20-somethings going to value classic comedies like 'Young Frankenstein', or focus more on recent movies like 'The Hangover' and 'Superbad'?

Is there a scientific approach?  Well, in the scientific community its best to have your work peer reviewed, judged by those in similar fields of expertise.  Why not the same here?  And that brought me to the list below, compiled by TimeOut.com and voted on by journalists, critics, and most importantly people like Dan Aykroyd and Edgar Wright; experts in the art of making great comedies.

The greatest comedies of all time are...

100. Sister Act (1992)
99. Carry on Screaming (1966)
98. Brazil (1985)
97. Swingers (1996)
96. BASEketball (1998)
95. The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
94. Midnight Run (1988)
93. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
92. Nuts in May (1976)
91. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
90. Mean Girls (2004)
89. The Great Dictator (1940)
88. Arthur (1981)
87. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
86. Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953)
85. Caddyshack (1980)
84. Galaxy Quest (1999)
83. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
82. The Pink Panther (1963)
81. Raising Arizona (1987)
80. Clockwise (1986)
79. Bridesmaids (2011)
78. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
77. Stir crazy (1980)
76. Old School (2003)
75. Bananas (1971)
74. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
73. The Party (1968)
72. Bedazzled (1967)
71. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
70. The General (1926)
69. Clerks (1994)
68. The King of Comedy (1982)
67. His Girl Friday (1940)
66. National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
65. Elf (2003)
64. Coming to America (1988)
63. Kingpin (1996)
62. Hot Fuzz (2007)
61. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
60. Sleeper (1973)
59. Happy Gilmore (1996)
58. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)
57. The Hangover (2009)
56. A Night at the Opera (1935)
55. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
54. The Blues Brothers (1980)
53. Way Out West (1937)
52. Young Frankenstein (1974)
51. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
50. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
49. Love and Death (1975)
48. Play It Again, Sam (1972)
47. The Apartment (1960)
46. Harold and Maude (1971)
45. Office Space (1999)
44. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
43. Tootsie (1982)
42. The Ladykillers (1955)
41. The Odd Couple (1968)
40. Three Amigos (1986)
39. Waiting for Guffman (1997)
38. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
37. Top Secret! (1984)
36. Kind hearts and Coronets (1949)
35. Zoolander (2001)
34. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
33. In the Loop (2009)
32. The Main with Two Brains (1983)
31. The Princess Bride (1987)
30. The Producers (1968)
29. Rushmore (1998)
28. Wayne’s World (1992)
27. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
26. Best in Show (2000)
25. The Castle (1997)
24. Four Lions (2010)
23. Ghostbusters (1984)
22. Dumb and Dumber (1994)
21. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
20. Trading Places (1983)
19. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
18. The Naked Gun (1988)
17. Duck Soup (1933)
16. Shaun of the Dead (2005)
15. Blazing Saddles (1974)
14. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
13. The Big Lebowski (1998)
12. Borat: Cultural Learning of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
11. Team America: World Police (2005)
10. The Jerk (1979)
9. Some Like It Hot (1959)
8. Groundhog Day (1993)
7. Withnail & I (1987)
6. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
4. Annie Hall (1977)
3. Monty Python’s Life or Brian (1979)
2. Airplane! (1980)
1. This is Spinal Tap (1984)

And to look at the earlier question, have comedies gone downhill since the 80s?  Looking at the percentage of decades in this list, the 80s were definitely the high point and there's been a gradual decline since...

  • 1920s: 1%
  • 1930s: 3%
  • 1940s: 5%
  • 1950s: 3%
  • 1960s: 8%
  • 1970s: 14%
  • 1980s: 28%
  • 1990s: 20%
  • 2000s: 16%
  • 2010s: 2%

What do you think of the list?  Whose opinions on great comedies do you value most?  Let us know in the comments below!