10 Best British Comedies

Friday, February 11 by Miranda Caliban

Those who are in a funk may find some cheer in the following 10 Best British Comedies. There is something in this group for everyone. From classic Shakespearean mix-ups to modern career satire, each of these films is sure to keep audiences laughing.

  1. "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". This Python favorite will immerse viewers in a twisted Arthurian tale, featuring spam, shrubbery and knights that say “Ni!” Because of its ability to make even the gloomiest viewer crack a smile, "The Holy Grail" is worthy of the top spot in any collection of best British comedies.
  2. "The Pink Panther". Peter Sellers stars as the bumbling but lovable Inspector Clouseau in this classic British comedy. In spite of his incompetence, Clouseau manages to land David Niven’s Sir Charles Lytton behind bars, but only after making a series of absurd mistakes.
  3. "The Importance of Being Earnest". This best British comedy is a beautiful and superbly acted adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s witty play. It centers around two friends, Jack and Algy, each of whom claim, at different times, to be named “Earnest,” in order to woo their prospective mates. This charade becomes difficult to pull off when both men and both ladies wind up together on the same day.
  4. "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People". This film is loosely based on the autobiography of a British magazine writer who leaves his casual magazine to work for a New York publication he had previously criticized. His often comic, sometimes painful struggles to fit in and to be promoted will keep audiences laughing.
  5. "Much Ado about Nothing". In this playful British comedy, Beatrice and Benedick two characters who despise marriage and each other, are tricked into falling in love. Their love is tested when Beatrice’s sister Hero and Benedick’s best friend Claudio are separated by false rumors of infidelity. Witty dialogue and skillful acting make this film one of the best British comedies of all time.
  6. "About a Boy". About a boy is a heartwarming and, at times, hilarious tale about a womanizer who pretends to be a boy’s father in order to pick up a girl he has his eye on. The boy, who is a bit of a social outcast, latches onto him and hampers his womanizing efforts. Yet it is his kindness to that boy that eventually leads to his happiness. Nicholas Hoult and Hugh Grant are especially hilarious in their passionate performance of “Killing Me Softly” towards the end of the film.
  7. "Bridget Jones’s Diary". This irreverent re-telling of Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice" is especially funny to those who have read Austen’s original work. Classic heroine Elizabeth Bennet is replaced by chubby, clumsy, Bridget Jones who, rather than trading witty barbs with the proud Mr. Darcy, often ends up making a fool of herself. Renee Zellwegger’s quirky acting and embarrassing mannerisms make this film one of the best British comedies in recent years.
  8. "Mr. Bean's Holiday". Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean is at his best in this best British comedy, where Bean takes a vacation to France. On his way to the beach, Bean slurps down a whole lobster, spills his coffee over a fellow train passenger’s laptop, and tries to speak Spanish to the locals, gets his tie stuck in an ATM and causes disasters everywhere he goes.
  9. "School for Scoundrels". In This classic British comedy, Ian Carmichael plays the unlucky Henry Palfrey, who finds himself bested by his partner Raymond in everything from sports to pursuing women. Henry’s attempts to impress April Smith are pathetic, but side-splittingly funny. In one memorable moment, he challenges Raymond to a game of tennis. Raymond purposely positions Henry where the sun will shine in his eyes. Henry’s futile attempts to hit the ball will make viewers both wince and smile. When Henry comes across the School for Scoundrels, however, the tables are turned.
  10. "Love Actually". The film follows an all-star British cast into eight interlinked love stories. Highlighting the embarrassing, tragic, but most of all comical aspects of love, this film has become one of the most heartwarming and most loved British films of the decade.
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