10 Best Crime Comedy Movies, Ranked

Movies


The crime and comedy genres are already great on their own. However, when these two popular categories are combined, the results are nothing short of incredible since the comedic elements add an intriguing contrast to the serious themes of violence, gore, and corruption that the crime genre is known for, making for a truly captivating viewing experience.




This distinctive blend ultimately produces absorbing movies for audiences who enjoy both immersing themselves. Throughout the years, as the sub-genre has grown in popularity, plenty of crime comedy movies have captured the attention of global moviegoers, with some of them even becoming cult classics, as is the case of the Coen Brothers’ fan-favorite The Big Lebowski. From A Fish Called Wanda to The Long Goodbye, these are the best crime comedy films.


10 ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ (1988)

Director: Charles Crichton, John Cleese

Image via MGM/UA Communications Co.

This Charles Crichton and John Cleese film depicts the planning of a jewelry heist, led by four very different people (TomGeorgeson, MichaelPalin, JamieLeeCurtis, and KevinKline), as they then attempt to double-cross each other for the loot. When their plan goes badly, Wanda tries to seduce George’s British gangster Thomas’s lawyer, Archie (John Cleese) in order to find out where George hid the diamonds.


A Fish Called Wanda is mandatory viewing for crime comedy enthusiasts. This British screwball comedy is nothing short of hilarious, with its second part standing out a bit more than the first. Kline and Palin’s comedic performances, in particular, are really funny, and the narrative is clever, witty, and intriguingly examines betrayal and loyalty. Furthermore, the bonds between its characters are three-dimensional. With all this being said, A Fish Called Wanda is easily one of the funniest crime comedies of the 1980s.

A Fish Called Wanda

Release Date
July 15, 1988

Runtime
108 minutes

Watch on Amazon Prime

9 ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ (1994)

Director: Frank Capra

Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) and Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane) take shelter together by a stone wall in 'Arsenic and Old Lace' (1944)
Image via Warner Bros.


Based on JosephKesselring‘s 1941 play of the same name, Frank Capra‘s fantastic screwball mystery black comedy film stars the iconic Cary Grant (in a role originally intended for BobHope) opposite PriscillaLane and tells the story of a Brooklyn author who risks his reputation after he decides to get married. In the meantime, circumstances are complicated when he learns that his maiden aunts (JosephineHull, JeanAdair) are murderers, his uncle is disturbed (John Alexander) and his brother is homicidal (JohnAlexander).

Set in Brooklyn, New York, Arsenic and Old Lace is wicked fun, with two strong performances at its center, resulting in the perfect crime comedy watch for old Hollywood aficionados. It’s not difficult to understand why Capra’s crime comedy was so beloved when it was released (and a box office hit at the time), considering how funny it was and endures, standing the test of time even today.


Watch on Vudu

8 ‘Knives Out’ (2019)

Director: Rian Johnson

Ana de Armas as Marta looking at Daniel Craig as Benoit explaining something with his hands in Knives Out.
Image via Lionsgate Films

Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out is a brilliant addition to contemporary cinema and a love letter to Agatha Christie‘s whodunit murder mystery novels, from which Johnson drew inspiration. Starring Daniel Craig in one of his most memorable roles, this 2019 film sees a detective investigate the death of the patriarch (ChristopherPlummer) — for whom Anda de Armas‘ Marta Cabrera used to work as a caretaker — of an eccentric, wealthy family.


Knives Out‘s talented ensemble cast is not its only valuable asset. On top of the narrative being incredibly entertaining (likely to have audiences on the edge of their seats with its nail-biting mystery and laughing out loud with its comedic bits) and memorable characters (Benoit’s Hercule Poirot type of character stands out), Johnson’s crime comedy is visually pleasing and unpredictable, keeping audiences guessing throughout.

Knives Out

Release Date
November 27, 2019

Runtime
130 minutes

Rent on Amazon

7 ‘Hot Fuzz’ (2007)

Director: Edgar Wright

A group of police officers stand in a hallway in Hot Fuzz. Simon Pegg is at the front.
Image via Universal Pictures


Next up is Edgar Wright‘s Hot Fuzz, a cult classic that clearly deserves a spot on this list. The Edgar Wright story centers around Simong Pegg‘s ambitious London police sergeant, illustrating his struggles to adapt to his new job after being transferred to a small village where a string of murders strikes, and the easygoing officers object to his fervor for regulation.

The second installment in the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (which also includes Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End) is, to some, the best film out of the three. Not only does the crime comedy brilliantly satirize American action cop movies, but it also provides a sharp parody of English country life. All in all, Hot Fuzz is an immensely fun time in front of the screen mostly thanks to its perfect blend of comedy, crime, and action.

Hot Fuzz

Release Date
February 20, 2007

Runtime
121 minutes

Rent on Amazon


6 ‘The Sting’ (1973)

Director: George Roy Hill

Paul Newman and Robert Redford as Henry and Johnny, standing in suits in front of a bar with their hands raised in The Sting
Image via Universal Pictures

Set in 1930s Chicago, this high-grossing, critically acclaimed American caper film by George Roy Hill sees Robert Redford and Paul Newman team up to come up with a scheme to pull off an ultimate con. The characters and storyline are inspired by real-life cons perpetrated by brothers Fred and Charley Gondorff documented by DavidMaurer in his book The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man.

The Sting was nominated for ten Oscars and took home seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Editing, and Best Original Screenplay. As such, it is not surprising that Roy Hill’s movie is highly regarded and considered one of the best crime comedies of all time. With such talented actors at its center and a thoroughly absorbing, clever, and well-written screenplay, The Sting stands the test of time as one of the best in its genre.


The Sting

Release Date
December 25, 1973

Runtime
129

Watch on Netflix

5 ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (2013)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Jordan Belfort, standing on a boat and holding a glass of wine while the American flag waves behind him in The Wolf of Wall Street
Image via Paramount Pictures

The renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese has directed several popular projects, but The Wolf of Wall Street stands out as one of his most talked-about movies. The crime comedy, released in 2013, has gained a surprising cult following over time, with many “film bros” considering it the best movie ever made. The plot is based on the true story of JordanBelfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, depicting his journey from a wealthy stockbroker to his downfall involving corruption and crime.


DiCaprio delivers one of his finest tours de force in Scorsese’s five-time Oscar-nominated epic, elevating the genre to new heights with his astounding performance. Margot Robbie is exceptionally good at playing Jordan’s wife, Naomi, in it, too (her breakout role). The lavish and visually immersive The Wolf of Wall Street is ambitious, bold, and surely not to everyone’s taste, nor fit for audiences of all ages. However, those who like it probably love it.

Watch on Apple TV

4 ‘My Cousin Vinny’ (1992)

Director: Jonathan Lynn

A close-up shot of Marisa Tomei and Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny.
Image via 20th Century Fox


In JonathanLynn‘s 1992 crime comedy film My Cousin Vinny, which was inspired by a real-life encounter, two New Yorkers played by JoePesci and MarisaTomei, are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college. They call upon the help of one of their cousins (Karate Kid’s RalphMacchio), a loudmouth lawyer with no trial experience, to defend them.

It’s not for no reason that My Cousin Vinny is considered one of the best crime comedies of its time — it is funny and thoroughly amusing throughout, with the jokes and comedic bits delivered to perfection and with the right timing. What’s more, the unconventional courtroom drama is said to be a very accurate illustration of courtroom procedure and trial strategy, painting a close-to-reality picture even in its details.

My Cousin Vinny

Release Date
March 13, 1992

Runtime
120


Watch on Hulu

3 ‘Fargo’ (1996)

Director: Joel Coen

Frances McDormand as Marge looking up in Fargo.
Image via Gramercy Pictures

Joel Coen‘s Fargo illustrates the poorly executed crime of Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) and his henchmen surrounding the kidnapping of his wife for ransom to be paid by her wealthy father. Eventually, his plan falls apart while a pregnant police officer, played to perfection by Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning role, persistently investigates it.

With solid central performances from all those involved and hilarious comedic moments serving as a counterbalance to the violence depicted in the film (as expected in a feature of the crime genre), Coen’s crime comedy Fargo is nothing short of unforgettable, earning a spot among the best films of the 1990s thanks to its memorable screenplay. At the Cannes Film Festival, Coen won the Prix De La Mise En Scène (Best Director Award).


Fargo

Release Date
April 5, 1996

Runtime
98

Watch on Max

2 ‘The Big Lebowski’ (1998)

Director: The Coen Brothers

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jeff Bridges having a discussion in 'The Big Lebowski'.
Image via Gramercy Pictures

After his astounding work in Fargo, Joel Coen delivered another cult classic in 1998 alongside his brother Ethan Coen. The Big Lebowski features Jeff Bridges in a career-defining performance as a Los Angeles slacker and enthusiastic bowler. The story sees “The Dude” being mistaken for a millionaire also named Lebowski (David Huddleston). When his precious rug is ruined, he enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.


Despite being released to mixed reviews, this independent crime comedy movie became one of the most beloved in the category, with millions of film enthusiasts now finding it a remarkable cult classic. There are many reasons why The Big Lebowski is so good, and its off-beat characters, hilarious storyline, and overall flawless execution are at the top of the list. It’s also a great pick for fans of surrealist films.

Watch on Hulu

1 ‘The Long Goodbye’ (1973)

Director: Robert Altman

A medium shot of Elliott Gould in a suit smoking a cigarette at the beach while waves splash behind him in The Long Goodbye.
Image via United Artists


At the forefront is Robert Altman‘s The Long Goodbye, a 1973 film starring Elliott Gould as a private detective who is requested by his old friend Terry Lennox (JimBouton) to give him a ride to Mexico. While he agrees to the request, he is questioned by the police about the death of Terry’s wife upon returning to Los Angeles. Eventually, it’s reported that Terry has committed suicide in Mexico. While Marlowe doesn’t buy it at first, things change when he takes a new case from a beautiful blonde (NinavanPallandt), who has a past with Terry.

Standing among the best films of the 1970s, Altman’s crime comedy is a clever satirical critique of Hollywood, mockingly exposing everything from fascism to the industry’s pretentiousness, even providing audiences with a comical take on the film noir and the detective genres. Whether one enjoys it or not, it is undeniable that The Long Goodbye is a satirical, genre-bending feature that defies the conventions of its category, with utterly intriguing results.

The Long Goodbye

Release Date
March 8, 1973

Runtime
112 minutes


Watch on Amazon Prime

NEXT: 10 Underrated Crime Comedies of the ’90s



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