Top 5 Dark Comedies


Do you enjoy a slightly more twisted brand of humor? Then our list of Top 5 Dark Comedies is for you, offering stories employing farce, morbid humor, and taboo topics. Most of these films spurred a bit of controversy in their day, but that’s ok-- we all crave a little controversy every now and then ;-)

1) Dr. Strangelove

dr strangelove sitting in chair
  • 1964 political satire that satirizes the Cold War fears of a nuclear conflict between the USSR and the US
  • Rated as the fifth greatest film in the 2002 Sight & Sound's directors' poll—the only comedy in the top ten
  • On Roger Ebert's list of The Great Movies, described as "arguably the best political satire of the century"
  • In 1989, the United States Library of Congress included it in the first group of films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry
  • Listed as number three on AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs list

2) Network

network film - name standing by lights
  • 1976 satirical film directed by Sidney Lumet, about a fictional television network, UBS, and its struggle with poor ratings
  • Won four Academy Awards, in the categories of Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay
  • Inducted into the Producers Guild of America Hall of Fame as a film that has "set an enduring standard for U.S. American entertainment"
  • In 2007, it was 64th among the 100 greatest American films as chosen by the American Film Institute
  • The film's noted line "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore" and its derivatives are referenced in numerous films and other media

3) Fargo

fargo - men standing by car
  • 1996 neo-noir black comedy crime film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
  • Earned seven Academy Award nominations, winning two for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Inducted into the National Film Registry for preservation, making it one of six films to have been preserved in their first year of eligibility
  • Siskel & Ebert both named Fargo the best film of 1996. It was also Ebert's fourth favorite of the 1990s. In his original review, Ebert called it "one of the best films I've ever seen" and said that "films like Fargo are why I love the movies"
  • Ranked number 84 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years...100 Movies" list in 1998

4) Pulp Fiction

pulp fiction - jackson and travolta pointing guns
  • 1994 American black comedy crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, known for its eclectic dialogue, ironic mix of humor and violence, nonlinear storyline, and a host of cinematic allusions and pop culture references
  • Nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture; Tarantino and Avary won for Best Original Screenplay
  • Awarded the Palme d'Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival
  • Considered a cultural watershed, Pulp Fiction's influence has been felt in several other media, and was judged the greatest film between 1983–2008 by Entertainment Weekly
  • Viewed as the inspiration for many later movies that adopted various elements of its style. The nature of its development, marketing, and distribution and its profitability had a sweeping effect on the field of indie cinema

5) Harold & Maude

Harold and Maude - with bottle
  • 1971 romantic dark comedy directed by Hal Ashby, incorporating elements of dark humor and existentialist drama
  • Was considered controversial due to its subject matter, depicting a young man starting a relationship with an elderly woman
  • Film is ranked number 45 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Funniest Movies of all Time
  • Selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1997, for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant"
  • Ranked as the 9th best Romantic Comedy by the American Film Institute

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