Comedies have a special way of cheering up one’s attitude and making people see the beauty of life. Classic comedies in particular tend to have important life themes that one can learn from. Comedies also have a special way of mocking social structures and ideas that need to be criticized; brilliantly, comedies can make these serious criticisms happen without making us depressed. Here’s a list of classic comedy movies that are well suited for young people.
1. The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)
The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) is a charming and silly comedy film about a professor who is very intelligent and yet struggles to focus on the surrounding environment. The professor played by Fred MacMurray invents a strange rubber substance which can bounce incredibly high. The film traces the influence of this strange invention on the social existence of the professor’s small college town.
2. The Court Jester (1956)
The Court Jester (1956) is a story following the Black Fox, a robin hood like character who is looking to put the royal heir on the throne instead of a usurper. One of the Black Fox’s followers named Hawkins goes under-cover as the King’s new jester. The plot is noted for being funny, kid friendly and exciting all at once.
3. The Princess Bride (1987)
The Princess Bride (1987) is a sweet, witty, charming and delightful combination of action, romance and comedy in a single gem. The film is about a grandfather telling a long story to his grandchild in his bedroom; although almost all of the movie takes place within the world of the story that the grandpa is telling, the film ends by showing how the grandchild has been changed. The story follows the true-love romance between Princess Buttercup and Westley. Throughout the film, the two lovers show an unyielding belief in their destiny to be a couple despite terrible obstacles that keep them away from each other.
4. The Great Race (1965)
The Great Race (1965) is a silly slapstick comedy about a car race from New York to Paris between the heroic The Great Leslie and his villainous enemy Professor Fate.
5. Modern Times (1936)
Modern Times (1936) is a silent slapstick comedy film starring Charlie Chapmen; the film’s social commentary is focused on class issues.
6. The Muppet Movie (1979)
The Muppet Movie (1979) is a road trip comedy with slapstick action and puppet characters. This funny and entertaining film is great for kids 8 and older.
7. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952) is one of the most famous musical films of all time. It’s known for being good-natured and positive.
8. Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) is a classic comedy hero film which is appropriate for older kids and teens. The film presents the monsters in a silly and enjoyable way. Today’s youth is used to movies with a lot of special effects; this movie might help them to appreciate the power of what body language alone can do for inspiring fear, laughter and drama.
9. A Night at the Opera (1935)
A Night at the Opera (1935) is a Marx Brothers comedy about an Italian opera star who comes to NYC. The film then follows Rodolfo Laspari’s romantic pursuit of the opera star. The film has some of the most famous comedy moments of all time.
10. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Bringing Up Baby (1938) is a screwball comedy about David Huxley, a paleontologist who is hoping to advance his research and to marry his colleague Miss Swallow.
10. City Lights (1931)
City Lights (1931) is a Charlie Chaplin slapstick comedy with serious social themes involving depression, wealth and love. In the film, Chaplin plays a tramp who falls in love with a blind girl. Chaplin accumulates money to help her medical situation.
11. The Pink Panther (1963)
The Pink Panther (1963) is a hilarious crime investigation film starring Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau, an awkward and disorganized detective whose frequent mistakes and miscalculations generally don’t lead him to the failures that one would expect. The humor of the film is rooted in Clouseau’s strange and ironic ability to succeed despite being almost totally inept and clumsy in everything he does. This film follows Clouseau’s investigation of a super-thief known as the Phantom who has been fooling law enforcement for 15 years. Clouseau predicts that the item which Phantom is planning to steal next is a diamond worn by an Indian Princess who will be visiting the alps.
12. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
101 Dalmatians (1961) is a Disney animated classic based on a children’s story of the same title by Dodie Smith. The story is about a group of dogs owned by a struggling composer and his wife. One female dog gives birth to 15 spotted puppies. The villain of the story demands the couple give up their puppies and then steals the puppies later. A network of dogs go on a rescue mission to save the puppies. Home Alone (1990) is a film about an 8-year-old troublemaker who must defend his home all by himself against a group of burglars.