The 1970s was a golden era for comedy in cinema. This transformative decade saw the emergence of groundbreaking comedic talent, innovative storytelling, and a willingness to push boundaries. From slapstick to satire, the ’70s gave us some of the most iconic and enduring comedy films in the history of cinema. In this article, we’ll take a trip down memory lane and celebrate the twenty of the best comedy movies of the 1970s that continue to make us laugh.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
These comedy movies are in no particular order, they are simply all some of the best that era had to offer. As always, comment on social media with your picks and let us know what you think.
Table of contents
- Twenty Fantastic ’70s Comedy Movies
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
- Blazing Saddles (1974)
- Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
- Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
- M*A*S*H (1970)
- Life of Brian (1979)
- The Jerk (1979)
- Oh, God! (1977)
- 1941 (1979)
- Hooper (1978)
- Young Frankenstein (1974)
- Silver Streak (1976)
- The Longest Yard (1974)
- Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
- Silent Movie (1976)
- Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
- Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke (1978)
- Meatballs (1979)
- The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)
Twenty Fantastic ’70s Comedy Movies
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
One of the absolute best from the troop of Monty Python. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles.
Blazing Saddles (1974)
A Mel Brooks classic! In order to ruin a western town, a corrupt politician appoints a black Sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
Before Johnny Depp turned the character into a freak, Gene Wilder played a much different Willy Wonka. A poor but hopeful boy seeks one of the five coveted golden tickets that will send him on a tour of Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Burt Reynolds was a powerhouse actor in the ’70s, and this was one of my favorite films of the era. The Bandit is hired on to run a tractor-trailer full of beer over state lines, in hot pursuit by a pesky sheriff.
Before the classic TV show, this movie had audiences in stitches. The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.
Life of Brian (1979)
Monty Python is at it again in this film, one of the greats. Born on the original Christmas in the stable next door to Jesus Christ, Brian of Nazareth spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.
The Jerk (1979)
This film was one that put Steve Martin on the map and helped him to become successful into the ’80s and ’90s. A simpleminded, sheltered country boy suddenly decides to leave his family home to experience life in the big city, where his naïveté is both his best friend and his worst enemy.
Oh, God! (1977)
Millennials will probably look at you cross-eyed if you ask them if they know who George Burns was. This is a classic with one of the great comedians of any era. When God appears to an assistant grocery manager as a good-natured old man, the Almighty selects him as his messenger for the modern world.
Belushi and Aykroyd were a powerhouse duo in the ’70s and ’80s and Steven Spielberg’s 1941 showcased that talent. Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.
Burt Reynolds and Sally Field were never far apart in the ’70s. From the Bandit movies to Hooper, Reynolds was a strong presence on the silver screen in this era. Aging Hollywood stuntman Sonny Hooper wants to prove that he’s still got what it takes to be a great professional in this risky, under-recognized line of work.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
More classic Mel Brooks directing and more classic Gene Wilder acting. An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that his grandfather was not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body.
Silver Streak (1976)
Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder did numerous films together and their chemistry was fantastic, as showcased in Silver Streak. On a long-distance train trip, a man finds romance but also finds himself in danger of being killed, or at least pushed off the train.
The Longest Yard (1974)
Before Adam Sandler brought his ’90s comedic flare to the story, Burt Reynolds made his own version in the ’70s. A sadistic warden asks a former pro quarterback, now serving time in his prison, to put together a team of inmates to take on (and get pummeled by) the guards.
Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
The Pink Panther was one of the best series of films throughout the ’70s. To prove that he is still strong and powerful, Philippe Douvier decides to kill Clouseau. Once news of his “death” has been announced, Clouseau tries to take advantage of it and goes undercover with Cato to find out who tried to kill him.
Silent Movie (1976)
Mel Brooks was on a tear in the ’70s. A film director and his strange friends struggle to produce the first major silent feature film in forty years.
Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
This 1970 comedy stars Clint Eastwood, Don Rickles, and Telly Savalas. A group of U.S. soldiers sneaks across enemy lines to get their hands on a secret stash of Nazi treasure.
The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
Before Steve Martin modernized the franchise, there were the originals. After escaping from an insane asylum, the bonkers Charles Dreyfus sends 26 assassins on the trail of the forever bumbling Inspector Clouseau.
Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke (1978)
Before Harold & Kumar were in diapers, Cheech and Chong ruled the stoner genre. Two stoners unknowingly smuggle a van – made entirely of marijuana – from Mexico to L.A., with incompetent Sgt. Stedenko on their trail.
Crazy, zany, wacky, and politically incorrect just about describes many of Bill Murray’s old movies. Wacky hi jinks of counselors and campers at a less-than-average summer camp.
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)
The great Tim Conway and Don Knotts head up this film’s cast. Set in the Wild West in the year 1879, a slick gambler named Russell Donovan (Bill Bixby) comes to the town of Quake City en route to opening a casino in New Orleans.
The 1970s were a remarkable decade for comedy movies, pushing the boundaries of humor and storytelling. These twenty films represent a diverse range of comedic styles and continue to make audiences laugh, think, and appreciate the timeless art of comedy in cinema. Whether you’re a fan of slapstick, satire, or absurdity, there’s something in this list for everyone, showcasing the enduring appeal of ’70s comedy.
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