EntertainmentMovies25 Best Dark Comedy Movies of All Time, Ranked

25 Best Dark Comedy Movies of All Time, Ranked

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We are all guilty of giggling in a super serious situation or bursting out laughing as someone does or says something they are not supposed to. Dark humor can be found in almost any situation: when pointed out, it’s often used to either provoke an audience for a reaction or point out how ridiculous a set of norms are.


Between intricate and layered jokes or in-the-face physical comedy, getting people to laugh at their movies and stories is the ultimate goal for filmmakers with a penchant for making the best dark comedies. While these best dark humor movies aren’t for everyone, they have dedicated followings and a lot going for them.


25 ‘Thanks for Sharing’ (2012)

Director: Stuart Blumberg

Directed by Stuart Blumberg, Thanks For Sharing is an obvious dark comedy because it boldly tackled a hush-hush topic that people didn’t want to discuss openly in 2012, at least. While people have come forward and grappled with sex addiction more recently than ever, a movie focusing solely on that issue was unheard of. That’s what makes this once shocking and controversial movie stand out as a unique must-watch.

Thanks for Sharing is meaningful in three main aspects. First, it’s a funny, well-written, and well-acted take on an important issue. Second, it accurately depicts the difficulties and joys of recovering from sex addiction. Third, it is a movie that can and hopefully will inform current sex addicts and the broader public about the nature (and treatment options for) of a condition that has hitherto received little attention.

Thanks for Sharing

Release Date
September 19, 2013

Director
Stuart Blumberg

Cast
Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad, Joely Richardson, Patrick Fugit

Rating
R

Runtime
100

Watch on Tubi

24 ‘I Care a Lot’ (2020)

Director: J Blakeson

Rosamund Pike as Marla Grayson smiling in front of a whiteboard covered with photos in I Care A Lot (2020)
Image via Netflix

Portraying a very caring and sublime profession like caregiving as a duplicitous and menacing one is brilliant and worth watching. With Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage headlining the Netflix original movie, the story focuses on a legal guardian of the elderly who swindles rich old people of their money but meets her match for a war of the wits till death.

Audiences will be relieved to know that I Care a Lot isn’t based on one particular true incident. However, the movie is based on several actual guardianship fraud cases that prey on the riches and independence of elderly, defenseless Americans. Despite this serious premise, I Care a Lot manages to be a thoughtful satirical comedy that prods at guardianship issues.

I Care A Lot

Release Date
February 19, 2021

Director
J Blakeson

Cast
Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza Gonzalez, Dianne Wiest

Rating
R

Runtime
118 minutes

Watch on Netflix

23 ‘A Simple Favor’ (2018)

Director: Paul Feig

Emily smiling confidently in A Simple Favor.
Image via Lionsgate

A not-so-usual chick flick with drama and intrigue, A Simple Favor was made into a huge success primarily because of the brilliant performances by Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick. Blake Lively owned her character Emily gracefully as an immensely successful woman who is dominant and always gets what she wants.

Based on the best-selling 2017 novel, A Simple Favor is a blockbuster that revolves around a twisted friendship between two women who unexpectedly become friends and a sudden disappearance. Directed by Paul Feig, A Simple Favor is set to get a sequel as fans are dying to know what comes next. So get your Emily-style perfect martini ready for a whole new rollercoaster ride soon.

A Simple Favor

Release Date
August 29, 2018

Director
Paul Feig

Cast
Anna Kendrick, Ian Ho, Joshua Satine, Glenda Braganza, Andy Rannells, Kelly McCormack

Rating
R

Runtime
119

Watch on Prime Video

22 ‘Game Night’ (2018)

Directors: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein

a couple lying on their belly on the ground

A murder mystery mixed with comedy, Game Night is a film praised for its dark humor and an eccentric mix of the cast. According to reviews, the movie is a good time that maintains tension and humor without getting snarky, as evidenced by its 85% Rotten Tomatoes rating. The movie’s ensemble cast, led by Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, has received a lot of praise. The two stars play Max and Annie, a married couple who became close because of their shared love of games, and they host a regular game night.

For folks over a certain age, Game Night provides almost ideal entertainment. A ridiculous vehicle pursuit, an abrasive event that necessitates emergency surgery, and a house party with overtones of Eyes Wide Shut‘s mask-draped spectacle are all interwoven with commentary on aging, disappointment, doomed romance, and sibling rivalry.

Game Night

Release Date
February 22, 2018

Director
John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein

Cast
Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris

Rating
R

Runtime
100

Watch on Roku

21 ‘Sorry to Bother You’ (2018)

Director: Boots Riley

sorry-to-bother-you-tessa-thompson-lakeith-stanfield-social-feature
Image via Focus Features

Boots Riley, perhaps best known for his Oakland-based hip-hop group The Coup and social activism, released his first movie, Sorry to Bother You. This debut pits working people against their biggest villain: capitalism. Through his direction and screenplay, Riley demonstrates that he’s a natural when it comes to filmmaking.

LaKeith Stanfield portrays Cassius, a Black man who advances through the ranks of his telemarketing company after realizing that his “white” voice may help him close more deals. Armie Hammer stands out as the Jeff Bezos-like antagonist. A hilarious office-life film, Sorry to Bother You features a ton of turns that you wouldn’t anticipate, stunning visuals, and a jam-packed soundtrack. It’s one of the best films of the 2010s overall, not just one of the best dark comedies.

Sorry to Bother You

Release Date
July 6, 2018

Director
Boots Riley

Cast
Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, LaKeith Stanfield, Patton Oswalt, Steven Yeun, Terry Crews

Rating
R

Runtime
105

Watch on Prime Video

20 ‘Risky Business’ (1983)

Director: Paul Brickman

Tom Cruise as Joel Goodsen in Risky Business
Image via Warner Bros.

Featuring Tom Cruise’s hilarious breakout role as high school senior Joel Goodsen, Risky Business depicts his antics when his parents leave him home alone for their vacation. Instead of just throwing a party gone wrong, Joel goes the extra mile when he unexpectedly turns the house into a brothel to pay for the services of a sex worker from the night before.

Full of mischief and sexual exploits, director Paul Brickman’s Risky Business became a box office hit and was often compared to another classic, 1967’s The Graduate. Cruise’s performance perfectly captured a unique type of youthful recklessness that only suburban ennui can bring.

Risky Business

Release Date
August 5, 1983

Director
Paul Brickman

Cast
Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Richard Masur, Bronson Pinchot, Curtis Armstrong

Rating
R

Runtime
98

Rent on Apple TV

Director: Mark Mylod

Anya Taylor-Joy as Margot Mills eating dinner in 'The Menu'
Image via Searchlight Pictures

Set in an exclusive restaurant on an isolated island, The Menu follows a couple’s experience during their dinner, which the chef (masterfully played by Ralph Fiennes) has meticulously prepared with dark intentions. Directed by Mark Mylod, the movie features an ensemble cast led by Anya Taylor-Joy as the last-minute customer, alongside Nicholas Hoult, Janet McTeer, Reed Birney, Judith Light, and John Leguizamo.

With an all-star cast performing at their best, a grotesquely shocking premise full of twists and turns, and biting satire combined with a direct parody of food documentaries, The Menu is a deliciously grim but funny film made for fans of dark comedies.

The Menu

Release Date
November 18, 2022

Director
Mark Mylod

Cast
Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, John Leguizamo, Nicholas Hoult

Rating
R

Runtime
107 minutes

Watch on Max

18 ‘The Dictator’ (2012)

Director: Larry Charles

The Dictator

One of the best and most awesome movies that come to mind when you think of dark comedies is this blockbuster flick – The Dictator. Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, and Anna Farris feature in the movie in lead roles. Cohen did a fantastic job portraying an over-the-top, suave, and extremely eccentric dictator, Aladeen (Cohen), who wants nothing but the best for his country.

The movie offers a hilarious take on the dictator’s situations and actions, which would be troublesome and problematic in reality. Viewers will almost feel guilty laughing at everything he does. According to producers Jeff Schaffer and David Mandel, Kim Jong-il, Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Mobutu Sese Seko, and Saparmurat Niyazov served as inspirations for Cohen’s portrayal.

The Dictator

Release Date
May 15, 2012

Director
Larry Charles

Cast
Megan Fox, Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly, B.J. Novak

Rating
R

Runtime
105

Watch on Prime Video

17 ‘Promising Young Woman’ (2020)

Director: Emerald Fennell

Promising Young Woman_Cassie reads a book while sipping on a drink
Image via Focus Features

An award-winning thriller film and satisfying revenge movie directed by Emerald Fennell in her feature directorial debut, Promising Young Woman depicts Cassie Thomas’ (Carey Mulligan) story. The 30-year-old medical school dropout works in a coffee shop by day and spends her nights feigning drunkenness until a man takes her home. When some of them inevitably try to take advantage of her, she calls them out for it. Her routine changes with the unexpected arrival of a charming man in her life.

A twisty, gripping, and surprisingly emotional movie, Promising Young Woman proves over and over that it’s never what it seems through its well-written narrative. Cassie’s story – masterfully told through a darkly comedic lens – is incredibly powerful and, more importantly, resonates with real-life experiences that women around the world face.

Promising Young Woman

Release Date
December 13, 2020

Director
Emerald Fennell

Cast
Carey Mulligan, bo burnham, laverne cox, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Runtime
113

Watch on Prime Video

16 ‘Heathers’ (1988)

Director: Michael Lehmann

Heathers

Heathers is considered a timeless classic of the dark comedy genre and an innovative film that transformed teen movies that followed. Taking place in an Ohio high school the film follows a clique of teenage girls, one of whom – Veronica (Winona Ryder) – is getting sick of her peers’ horrible attitudes. Alongside her boyfriend J.D. (Christian Slater), Veronica confronts the clique’s leader, but then unintentionally ends up poisoning her. The duo soon scramble to cover up the murder as a suicide. Things quickly take an even darker turn when it’s revealed that J.D. is an actual murderer.

Directed by Michael Lehmann in his film debut, Heathers wasn’t initially well-received by critics, which isn’t surprising considering how subversive and provocative it was for its time. Today, a well-deserved re-evaluation has placed it among the very best of the genre, and its important influence on subsequent films and humorous reflection of teen culture in the late ’80s are rightly widely recognized by fans and critics alike.

Heathers

Release Date
March 31, 1989

Director
Michael Lehmann

Cast
Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker, Penelope Milford

Rating
R

Runtime
103

Watch on Prime Video

15 ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ (2022)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrel as Colm and Podrick talking while drinking beer in 'The Banshees of Inisherin'

Director Martin McDonagh‘s The Banshees of Inisherin rightly gained recognition during the awards circuit, as it’s easily the best dark tragicomedy of 2022. Set on a quiet island off the coast of Ireland, the film revolves around the abrupt end to a long friendship between Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) and Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson). Soon Pádraic’s attempts at fixing their relationship lead to disastrous results.

With genuine laugh-out-loud moments, a thought-provoking script, and gorgeous cinematography, it’s not too far-fetched to imagine that The Banshees of Inisherin is already a classic that will go down in history as being among the top movies of this decade. Farrell and Gleeson’s stellar performances, the dark story and the setting’s bleak atmosphere can easily pull viewers in.

The Banshees of Inisherin

Release Date
2021-00-00

Director
Martin McDonagh

Cast
Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan, Kerry Condon

Watch on Max

14 ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’ (1996)

Director: Todd Solondz

welcome-to-the-dollhouse

In director Todd Solondz’s Welcome to the Dollhouse, Heather Matarazzo plays the role of Dawn Weiner, a middle-school student who is constantly teased and bullied both in school and at home. Unpopular and socially awkward, Dawn’s attempts at earning the respect of her peers only get the attention of the school’s bully.

Welcome to the Dollhouse is a fantastic coming-of-age story that depicts the uncomfortable parts of growing up in a painfully honest way. Matarazzo’s vulnerable performance as Dawn is memorable for the way she makes the character likable and relatable, getting audiences to root for her until the very end.

Welcome to the Dollhouse

Release Date
May 24, 1996

Director
Todd Solondz

Cast
Heather Matarazzo, Victoria Davis, Christina Brucato, Christina Vidal, Siri Howard, Brendan Sexton III

Rating
R

Runtime
88

Rent on Apple TV

13 ‘Barton Fink’ (1991)

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Barton Fink’ (1)

A genre-bending Palme d’Or winner by the Coen Brothers, Barton Fink is an influential film that tells the story of the title character (played by John Turturro), a socially awkward playwright who struggles with artistic and personal crises when he moves to Hollywood. His neighbor, Charlie Meadows (played by John Goodman), tries his best to help.

Set in 1941, the movie depicts the protagonist’s experiences with writer’s block, which soon gives way to deeper personal issues that stop him from writing a B-movie script. With a touch of absurdity and a load of humor, Barton Fink explores the writing process while commenting on the grueling processes artists have to deal with in the industry. It’s no wonder it has resonated with so many creatives and is still relevant today.

Barton Fink

Release Date
August 1, 1991

Director
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Cast
John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, Michael Lerner, John Mahoney, Tony Shalhoub

Rating
R

Runtime
116

Rent on Apple TV

12 ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ (1998)

Director: Terry Gilliam

Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro staring at the camera while on drugs in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Adapted from Hunter S. Thompson‘s eponymous 1971 novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas depicts Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his attorney Dr. Gonzo’s (Benicio del Toro) wild trip to the titular city. For the sake of journalism, they carry bags full of drugs in their iconic convertible as they zoom through the desert to make it in time for a motorcycle race.

Despite combining dark humor, psychedelic visuals, and fantastic performances from the main duo, Fear and Loathing was severely underrated when it first premiered. Some felt that it couldn’t effectively translate the source material on the big screen, but the dark comedy’s growing cult following today shows that it offered something else entirely, and is a great entry in the genre.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Release Date
May 22, 1998

Director
Terry Gilliam

Cast
Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Ellen Barkin, Gary Busey, Christina Ricci

Rating
R

Runtime
118

Rent on Apple TV

11 ‘Knives Out’ (2019)

Director: Rian Johnson

Daniel Craig sitting in a chair in front of a wheel of knives

Knives Out is a gripping yet comedic mystery film directed, written, and produced by Rian Johnson and starring an ensemble cast led by Daniel Craig. The plot centers around the murder of the rich crime author Harlan Thrombey, who is found dead at his house shortly after his 85th birthday party.

Johnson’s directing, the cast’s performances, the writing, and the film’s mixing of several genres made it an instant classic. Knives Out took old murder-mystery tropes and applied humor, wit, and stellar acting to create a wholly unique dark comedy. Its 2022 sequel, Glass Onion, presents an entirely new story and comes close to the quality of the original, making both films worth seeing at least once.

Knives Out

Release Date
November 27, 2019

Director
Rian Johnson

Cast
Toni Collette, Ana De Armas, Chris Evans, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Edi Patterson, Daniel Craig

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
130 minutes

Rent on Apple TV

10 ‘Jojo Rabbit’ (2019)

Director: Taika Waititi

jojo rabbit-Taika-Waititi-Hitler
Image via Fox Searchlight Pictures

It’s hard to derive humor from one of the darkest periods of human history (World War II and the Holocaust), but this coming-of-age film did so without downplaying the tragedy of it all. Jojo Rabbit follows a young boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), who’s in the Hitler Youth nearing the end of World War II and creates an imaginary friend of Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi). He has regular conversations with Hitler that “guide” him along the way. As the war nears its conclusion, Jojo realizes that everything he was taught is a lie.

Invoking the absurd to take down fascism, Jojo Rabbit‘s moments of humor are deliberately juxtaposed with more serious scenes, often featuring distressing violence. Wounded soldiers, dead bodies, kids with machine guns in their hands, and the bodies of Nazi execution victims are all present in the dark satire movie.

Jojo Rabbit

Release Date
October 18, 2019

Director
Taika Waititi

Cast
Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
108

Watch on Fubo

9 ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (2006)

Directors: Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton

Alan Arkin as Edwin Hoover, Steve Carell as Frank, Paul Dano as Dwayne, Abigail Breslin as Olive, Toni Collette as Sheryl, and Greg Kinnear as Richard in Little Miss Sunshine
Image via Fox Searchlight

A wonderfully optimistic movie full of dark humor, Little Miss Sunshine is a beloved road film centered on the Hoover family made up of quirky characters, from the motivational speaker father (Greg Kinnear) to the disillusioned uncle (Steve Carell) and the foul-mouthed grandfather (Alan Arkin). When the youngest member Olive (Abigail Breslin) decides to join a beauty pageant, the whole dysfunctional family hops into the now-iconic yellow van to travel and support her.

Directed by the husband-wife team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Little Miss Sunshine follows the messy family as their individual issues unravel and clash throughout their journey. Their misadventure ends up helping them more than anyone expected, and the film soon reveals its core message to be about finding love and humor in imperfections and life’s darkest moments.

Little Miss Sunshine

Release Date
July 26, 2006

Director
Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Cast
Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell

Rating
R

Runtime
101

Watch on Hulu

8 ‘In Bruges’ (2008)

Director: Martin McDonagh

in-bruges-brendan-gleeson-colin-farrell-social-featured
Image via Focus Features

The Banshees of Inisherin is not the first collaboration between director Martin McDonagh and actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Set in Belgium, the 2008 film In Bruges follows two London-based Irish hitman (Farrell and Gleeson) as they go into hiding in the picturesque city of Bruges.

Using deliciously dark humor mixed with existential crises for the two protagonists, In Bruges explores the characters’ capacities for guilt and change as they become increasingly disoriented by their bleak surroundings. Viewers who have already seen it will know that it gets surprisingly surreal at times and hits an unexpected level of emotional depth in its exploration of life, death, and morality, all delivered through razor-sharp dialogue and a truly jarring twist.

In Bruges

Release Date
February 8, 2008

Director
Martin McDonagh

Cast
Elizabeth Berrington, Rudy Blomme, Olivier Bonjour, Mark Donovan, Ann Elsley, Colin Farrell

Rating
R

Runtime
107

Watch on Starz

7 ‘Fargo’ (1996)

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

fargo-social
Image via Gramercy Pictures

Fargo is a terrific film that would be difficult for its directors, the Coen Brothers, to top in terms of perfection. It is a true masterpiece that only improves over time and adds new levels to each viewing.

Fargo is a beautifully shot, sardonically funny thriller that discreetly defies every convention of the genre. This polite Midwestern criminal thriller, which deftly treads the line between pitiful and dryly comic, best embodies the two brothers’ aesthetic.

Fargo

Release Date
April 5, 1996

Director
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Cast
William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Frances McDormand, Peter Stormare, Kristin Rudrüd, Harve Presnell

Rating
R

Runtime
98

Watch on Max

6 ‘American Psycho’ (2000)

Director: Mary Harron

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) on a couch smoking and wearing sunglasses in 'American Psycho'
Image via Lionsgate Films

Christian Bale stars as Patrick Bateman, a rich, materialistic Wall Street investment banker who spirals into madness and violence in Mary Harron‘s legendary psychological horror thriller, American Psycho. The film is based on Bret Easton Ellis‘s best-selling 1991 novel of the same name.

Although it was initially divisive, American Psycho has now become a cult classic thanks to the movie’s dark humor, stellar performances, and faithful adaptation of the source material. Its mix of graphic violence and Bale’s humorous over-the-top performance is perfect for fans of dark comedy films.

American Psycho

Release Date
April 13, 2000

Director
Mary Harron

Cast
Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Bill Sage, Chloe Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon

Rating
R

Runtime
102

Watch on Peacock



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