Let's face it, there haven't been a whole lot of reasons to laugh over the past year or two. So let us offer up a temporary respite from all of the daily barrage of anxiety — actually, 20 respites — that you can enjoy mask-free in the comfort of your living room. We bet that you can't even read about these movies without laughing out loud!
What's Up, Doc? (1972)
Director Peter Bogdanovich's valentine to the fast-talking screwball comedies of the 1930s is a delirious rom-com that pairs Ryan O'Neal's uptight musicologist with Barbra Streisand's free-spirited human tornado in a daffy switcheroo caper involving four lookalike suitcases. Watch Madeline Kahn nearly steal the show as O'Neal's bossy battle-ax-in-a-bouffant fiancée, Eunice.
Peak LOL moment: O'Neal and Streisand racing down the hilly streets of San Francisco on a Chinese restaurant delivery bike.
Blazing Saddles (1974)
From the late ‘60s to the mid-'70s, Mel Brooks went on an immaculate run of hit taboo satires, including The Producers, Young Frankenstein and this raunchy, boundary-pushing riff on old Hollywood Westerns about a Black sheriff (Cleavon Little) trying to tame a town of racist roughriders. Cowritten by Richard Pryor, Blazing Saddles is so politically incorrect that it somehow manages to go full circle and wind up as hilariously progressive.
Peak LOL moment: It may be juvenile, but it's hard to top the campfire beans scene.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
The Pythons’ second feature film is a wildly irreverent send-up of musty Arthurian legends that conjures a surreal, mist-cloaked world where the Black Death reigns ("Bring out your dead!"), holy hand grenades are used against killer rabbits, and vulgar Frenchmen hurl insults from castle turrets.
Peak LOL moment: The opening scene when Graham Chapman's King Arthur “rides” onscreen with his dim-but-trusty steed Patsy (Terry Gilliam) clacking two coconuts together to simulate the sound of galloping hooves.
Shooting off the screen with a dizzying jokes-per-minute ratio, this Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker spoof of Hollywood disaster epics belongs in the Guinness Book of World Records for its sheer number of sight gags, silly puns and straight-faced one-liners. Airplane! is so dense with gags you can watch it over and over again and still notice new bits of comic anarchy in every corner of the frame.
Peak LOL moment: Leslie Nielsen's deadpan delivery of: “I am serious …and don't call me Shirley."
Writer-director Barry Levinson's love letter to coming of age in 1950s Baltimore assembles a note-perfect ensemble of young actors (Daniel Stern, Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Timothy Daly, Paul Reiser, Ellen Barkin) and brilliantly allows them to shift between laugh-out-loud comic vignettes and poignant, unspoken truths about the fear of becoming a grownup.
Peak LOL moment: Guttenberg's football quiz for his bride-to-be that he secretly wants her to fail.
Dustin Hoffman stars as an out-of-work New York actor who makes himself over into a sassy Southern belle named Dorothy Michaels to land a part on a hit daytime soap and in the process stands up for women's rights in the workplace, falls in love with Jessica Lange, and fends off the advances of her smitten father (the late, great Charles Durning).
Peak LOL moment: Hoffman asking his roommate (Bill Murray) which dress looks better on him before going out. Murray's response: “We're getting into a weird area.”