The WGA’s Funniest Screenplays List Has Some… Interesting Choices


Last night at a bi-coastal event, the Writers Guild of America released their ordered list of the 101 funniest screenplays of all time. Decided via a vote by both the East and West branches of the WGA, the list was topped by Annie Hall; writer Woody Allen had the most titles on the list (seven, most of them from the so-called “early, funny” period: Annie, Sleeper, Bananas, Take the Money and Run, Love and Death, Manhattan, and Broadway Danny Rose), followed by Harold Ramis with five, Mel Brooks and Preston Sturges with four, and three each for Charles Chaplin, Christopher Guest, John Cleese, and the Coen Brothers.

There’s a lot of great stuff on the list, along with a few indications of a decidedly dude-bro bent (predicted, it seems, by Girls producer Jenni Konner); aside from such questionable inclusions as Wedding Crashers, Dumb and Dumber, and Austin Powers, your film editor will note that while I enjoyed The Hangover and can separate the original from its loathsome sequels, the notion that it’s the 30th funniest screenplay of all time (ahead of, to name just a few, The Philadelphia Story, A Night at the Opera, Waiting for Guffman, Arthur, The General, The Lady Eve, The Pink Panther, Coming to America, Election, Lost in America, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, and All About Eve) is, erm, questionable.

Anyway, here’s the full list, via Deadline:

Annie Hall Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman

Some Like It Hot Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A. L. Diamond, Based on the German film Fanfare of Love by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan

Groundhog Day Screenplay by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis, Story by Danny Rubin

Airplane! Written by James Abrahams & David Zucker & Jerry Zucker

Tootsie Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal, Story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart

Young Frankenstein Screenplay by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, Screen Story by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, Based on Characters in the Novel Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern

Blazing Saddles Screenplay by Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Alan Uger, Story by Andrew Bergman

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin

National Lampoon’s Animal House Written by Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney & Chris Miller

This Is Spinal Tap Written by Christopher Guest & Michael McKean & Rob Reiner & Harry Shearer

The Producers Written by Mel Brooks

The Big Lebowski Written by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

Ghostbusters Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

When Harry Met Sally… Written by Nora Ephron

Bridesmaids Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig

Duck Soup Story by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, Additional Dialogue by Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin

There’s Something About Mary Screenplay by John J. Strauss & Ed Decter and Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly, Story by Ed Decter & John J. Strauss

The Jerk Screenplay by Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb, Michael Elias, Story by Steve Martin & Carl Gottlieb

A Fish Called Wanda Screenplay by John Cleese, Story by John Cleese & Charles Crichton

His Girl Friday Screenplay by Charles Lederer, Based on the Play “The Front Page” by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur

The Princess Bride Screenplay by William Goldman, Based on Goldman’s Novel of the Same Name

Raising Arizona Written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

Bringing Up Baby Screenplay by Hagar Wilde and Dudley Nichols, Story by Hagar Wilde

Caddyshack Written by Brian Doyle-Murray & Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney

Monty Python’s Life Of Brian Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin

The Graduate Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, Based on the Novel by Charles Webb

The Apartment Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Peter Baynham & Dan Mazer, Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Peter Baynham & Anthony Hines & Todd Phillips, Based on a Character Created by Sacha Baron Cohen

The Hangover Written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore

The 40-Year-Old Virgin Written by Judd Apatow & Steve Carell

The Lady Eve Screenplay by Preston Sturges, Story by Monckton Hoffe

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off *TIE Written by John Hughes

Trading Places *TIE Written by Timothy Harris & Herschel Weingrod

Sullivan’s Travels Written by Preston Sturges

Planes, Trains and Automobiles Written by John Hughes

The Philadelphia Story Screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart, Based on the Play by Philip Barry

A Night at the Opera Screen Play by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, From a Story by James Kevin McGuinness

Rushmore Written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson

Waiting for Guffman Written by Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy

The Odd Couple Screenplay by Neil Simon, From the Play by Neil Simon as Produced on the Stage by Saint-Subber

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Written by Jerry Zucker & Jim Abrahams & David Zucker & Pat Proft, Based on the Television Series Police Squad! Created by Jim Abrahams & David Zucker & Jerry Zucker

Office Space Written for the Screen by Mike Judge, Based on the “Milton” Animated Shorts by Mike Judge

Big Written by Anne Spielberg & Gary Ross

National Lampoon’s Vacation Screenplay by John Hughes

Midnight Run Written by George Gallo

It Happened One Night Screenplay by Robert Riskin, Based on the Short Story by Samuel Hopkins Adams

M*A*S*H Screenplay by Ring Lardner, Jr., From the Novel by Richard Hooker

Harold and Maude Written by Colin Higgins

Shaun of the Dead Written by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright

Broadcast News Written by James L. Brooks

Arthur Written by Steven Gordon

Four Weddings and a Funeral Written by Richard Curtis

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy *TIE Written by Will Ferrell & Adam McKay

Dumb and Dumber *TIE Written by Peter Farrelly & Bennett Yellin & Bob Farrelly

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Written by Mike Myers

The General Written by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman, Adapted by Al Boasberg and Charles Smith

What’s Up, Doc? Screenplay by Buck Henry and David Newman & Robert Benton, Story by Peter Bogdanovich

Wedding Crashers Written by Steve Faber & Bob Fisher

Sleeper Written by Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman

Galaxy Quest Screenplay by David Howard and Robert Gordon, Story by David Howard

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Screenplay by William and Tania Rose, Story by William and Tania Rose

Best in Show Written by Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy

Little Miss Sunshine Written by Michael D. Arndt

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Written by Trey Parker & Matt Stone & Pam Brady

Being There Screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski, Inspired by the Novel by Jerzy Kosinski

Back to the Future Written by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale

Superbad Written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg

Bananas Written by Woody Allen, Mickey Rose

Moonstruck Written by John Patrick Shanley

Clueless Written by Amy Heckerling

The Palm Beach Story Written by Preston Sturges

The Pink Panther Written by Maurice Richlin & Blake Edwards

The Blues Brothers Written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis

Coming to America Screenplay by David Sheffield & Barry W. Blaustein, Story by Eddie Murphy

Take the Money and Run Screenplay by Woody Allen and Mickey Rose, Story by Jackson Beck

Election Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Based on the Novel by Tom Perrotta

Love and Death Written by Woody Allen

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels *TIE Written by Dale Launer and Stanley Shapiro & Paul Henning

Lost in America *TIE Written by Albert Brooks & Monica Johnson

Manhattan Written by Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman

Modern Times Written by Charles Chaplin

My Cousin Vinny Written by Dale Launer

Mean Girls Screenplay by Tina Fey, Based on the Book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman

Meet the Parents Screenplay by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg, Story by Greg Glienna & Mary Ruth Clarke

Fargo Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

My Favorite Year Screenplay by Dennis Palumbo and Norman Steinberg, Story by Dennis Palumbo

Stripes Written by Len Blum & Dan Goldberg and Harold Ramis

Beverly Hills Cop Screenplay by Daniel Petrie, Jr., Story by Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie, Jr.

City Lights Written by Charles Chaplin

Sideways Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Based on the Novel by Rex Pickett

Broadway Danny Rose Written by Woody Allen

Swingers Written by Jon Favreau

The Gold Rush Written by Charles Chaplin

The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek Written by Preston Sturges

All About Eve Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Based on the Short Story and Radio Program “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr

Arsenic and Old Lace Screenplay by Julius Epstein & Philip G. Epstein, Based on the Play by Joseph Kesselring

The Royal Tenenbaums Written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson

Mrs. Doubtfire Screenplay by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon, Based on Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine

Flirting with Disaster Written by David O. Russell

Shakespeare in Love Written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard