Although it was a bad era for hairstyles, rock star pants, and synthesizer haters, the task of narrowing down the 10 best '80s comedies is extremely difficult. That's because there are just so many good ones to choose from. Maybe this humor heyday had something to do with all the Saturday Night Live graduates moving up to Hollywood. Whatever the case, there is much to laugh about when thinking back on '80s comedies.
- "Airplane!" No, nobody took up jive as a second language after flying through this fast and furious laugh fest. But this parody of disaster films kicked off the comedy career of Leslie Nielsen, and even revealed a previously unseen funny side to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
- "The Blues Brothers." Granted, the chase scenes got old after a while. But just to hear Dan Aykroyd explain how a couple of soul singers were on a mission from God, made it all worth while.
- "A Christmas Story." Much like It's a Wonderful Life, it took a while for this holiday comedy about a gun-loving pre-teen to find its audience. But few films deserve the sort of marathon devotion this one receives in many regions every Christmastime.
- "Ghostbusters." The film that answers the question, "Who you gonna call?" Bill Murray's sly womanizing steals the show, even with a topnotch cast that also includes Dan Aykroyd.
- "9 to 5." Even a man's man cheers when Dolly Parton's character threatens to transform Dabney Coleman's character from a rooster to a hen. Lily Tomlin is great, as always, but who knew Jane Fonda could get such laughs?
- "The Princess Bride." Before Pixar perfected animated comedies, which had both adult humor and kid humor built in, this Peter Falk narrated fair tale (with heart) made both parents and children alternate the laughter throughout.
- "Planes, Trains & Automobiles." This mishap-filled John Hughes travelogue excels, due to the pairing of Steve Martin's prissy character with John Candy's regular Joe. You'll never utter the phrase, "How about them Bears?" the same way again.
- "Trading Places." Some will think of this as one of Eddie Murphy's funny films, back before he became the Bill Cosby family film star he once mocked. But he was truly funny here, in a film that also had an underlying serious message about the nature vs. nurture argument.
- "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad." This film series proved that the yucks Leslie Nielsen got with Airplane! weren't flukes. It also featured a guy that got away with murder in real life. Can you guess who?
- "Arthur." It's difficult to decide what makes this film funnier: Dudey Moore's drunken child-man, or John Gielgud's droll butler. When Gielgud says, with an oh so proper English accent, "Bathing is such a lonely business," you may just forget about his Shakesperean pedigree for a moment.
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