Comedy Genius

Celebrating side-splitting cinema, from slapstick legends to today's anarchic voices.

Fooling about became a fine art through the early decades of cinema, but comedy genius is too often under-recognised.

It’s the gift of perfect timing, an expertly executed sight-gag, a zinging wise-crack, a giddy rush of manic energy. Whether perfectly choreographed, brutally raw, or conjured out of improvisation and collaboration, the best comedy is ultimately disruptive.

It punctures pomposity, and blows a raspberry at social convention: the proto-feminist whiplash of screwball wit, the rambunctious working-class revolt of Carry On, the purposeful anarchy of alternative comedy.

Our three online collections (Rentals, Subscription, Free) celebrate the changing face of what – and who – we find funny.

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Rent for £3.50

Withnail & IWithnail & I

Comedy1986107 minsDirector: Bruce Robinson

Richard E. Grant steals the show in the indomitable cult classic following two washed-up actors as they embark on a booze-filled getaway to the Lake District.

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Comedy201688 minsDirector: Sean Foley

Julian Barratt is hilarious as the washed-up actor forced to reprise his 80s TV role as a sleuth with a robotic truth-telling eye, to help catch a deranged killer.

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Hunt for the WilderpeopleHunt for the Wilderpeople

Comedy2016101 minsDirector: Taika Waititi

Juvenile delinquent Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) forms an unlikely partnership with Sam Neill’s grizzled bushman in this hilarious wild adventure from Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows).

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The WeekendThe Weekend

Comedy201694 minsDirector: Sheridan De Myers

Street-smart Hackney comedy about three friends whose unexpected cash windfall funds the mother of all parties; from the talents behind YouTube hit Mandem on the Wall.

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In the LoopIn the Loop

Comedy2009106 minsDirector: Armando Iannucci

Armando Iannucci returns to the world of his hit show The Thick of It as Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) and Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) deal with a Middle-East crisis of their own making.

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Spring MeetingSpring Meeting

Comedy194194 minsDirector: Walter C. Mycroft

A penniless woman’s attempts at matchmaking her way to riches go awry when her son falls for the wrong daughter of a nobleman.

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Toni ErdmannToni Erdmann

Comedy2016162 minsDirector: Maren Ade

A lonely prankster upends the life of his high-powered daughter in a riotous comedy, deep and sharp.

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The LobsterThe Lobster

Science Fiction2015118 minsDirector: Yorgos Lanthimos

Colin Farrell, Ben Whishaw and Rachel Weisz star in this bleakly hilarious dystopian drama from Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth).

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Fantasy202077 minsDirector: Quentin Dupieux

When Jean-Gab and Manu find a giant fly trapped in the boot of a car, they decide to train it in the hope of making a ton of cash.

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The Big SickThe Big Sick

Comedy2017120 minsDirector: Michael Showalter

The hilarious, breakout indie comedy about a Pakistan-born comedian and his culture-clash relationship with an American grad student.

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Black Mountain PoetsBlack Mountain Poets

Comedy201585 minsDirector: Jamie Adams

Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells play criminal sisters who steal the identity of two poets, only to be charmed by the world of competition poetry.

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Comedy201393 minsDirector: Darren Stein

Three high-school girls wage war to win the latest must-have social accessory - a Gay Best Friend.

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Comedy201288 minsDirector: Ben Wheatley

Young lovers Chris and Tina turn their first holiday together into a rural killing spree in Ben Wheatley's priceless black comedy.

Currently unavailable

The Death of StalinThe Death of Stalin

Comedy2017107 minsDirector: Armando Iannucci

Chaos and comedy ignite in Armando Iannucci’s acerbic satire, as Soviet officials frantically react to the passing of their glorious leader.

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Shaun of the DeadShaun of the Dead

Horror200499 minsDirector: Edgar Wright

The original ‘rom-zom-com’: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the slacker mates tasked with battling a zombie apocalypse in Crouch End.

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Comedy201395 minsDirector: Lenny Abrahamson

Michael Fassbender is the man inside the papier-mâché head, in this fictionalised reimagining of the story of northern entertainer Frank Sidebottom.

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Frances HaFrances Ha

Comedy201286 minsDirector: Noah Baumbach

Lady Bird creator Greta Gerwig steals this hit comedy about an awkward girl and her complex passions, a critical smash hit for its star and her director, Noah Baumbach.

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Alan Partridge: Alpha PapaAlan Partridge: Alpha Papa

Comedy201390 minsDirector: Declan Lowney

It’s Alan’s finest hour, as the veteran DJ for North Norfolk Digital (Steve Coogan) is called into action to mediate a hostage situation following a siege.

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Man UpMan Up

Romance201488 minsDirector: Ben Palmer

Simon Pegg’s date is hijacked by Lake Bell in this effervescent urban comedy, a fresh twist on the British rom-com.

Currently unavailable

The Big LebowskiThe Big Lebowski

Comedy1998117 minsDirector: Joel Coen

Arguably one of the greatest comedies of modern times; the Coen brothers’ deconstructed film noir following slacker hero ‘The Dude’ (Jeff Bridges).

Currently unavailable

Notting HillNotting Hill

Comedy1999124 minsDirector: Roger Michell

Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant followed Four Weddings with this featherlight, frequently funny romance between an ordinary bloke and a visiting Hollywood starlet.

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The JerkThe Jerk

Comedy197994 minsDirector: Carl Reiner

Steve Martin brought his sensational standup persona to the screen, in his utterly hilarious screen debut about a loser who momentarily finds success.

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Privates on ParadePrivates on Parade

Comedy1983113 minsDirector: Michael Blakemore

Musical comedy with John Cleese. In Singapore, 1948, the Song and Dance Unit tour their 'Jungle Jamboree' review.

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Comedy199997 minsDirector: Frank Oz

Hysterically funny Hollywood satire, with Steve Martin as a director who'll stop at nothing to make a movie with his top star (Eddie Murphy).

Currently unavailable

Monty Python's the Meaning of LifeMonty Python's the Meaning of Life

Comedy1983107 minsDirector: Terry Jones

Mr. Creosote, live organ transplants, salmon mousse... The Python's cinematic swansong contains some of the troupe's most notorious and hilarious sketches.

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The MissionaryThe Missionary

Comedy198386 minsDirector: Richard Loncraine

In his first substantial feature-film role away from the involvement of his Monty Python cohorts, Michael Palin stars as a 19th-century missionary tasked with setting up a mission for fallen prostitutes.

Currently unavailable

Half BakedHalf Baked

Comedy199882 minsDirector: Tamra Davis

Dave Chappelle stars in the fondly (if hazily) remembered stoner comedy, as an entrepreneur whose weed business goes up in smoke.

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The Brand New TestamentThe Brand New Testament

Comedy2015110 minsDirector: Jaco van Dormael

Catherine Deneuve and Benoît Poelvoorde head the cast in Jaco Van Dormael’s wildly inventive comedy, in which God’s daughter decides to rewrite the rules.

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Serial MomSerial Mom

Comedy199394 minsDirector: John Waters

Kathleen Turner is brilliant as a house-proud serial killer in John Waters' gloriously funny suburban satire.

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I'm So Excited!I'm So Excited!

Comedy201390 minsDirector: Pedro Almodóvar

Pedro Almodóvar’s highly enjoyable over-the-top comic satire is set on an aeroplane experiencing in-flight difficulties.

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East Is EastEast Is East

Comedy199997 minsDirector: Damien O'Donnell

Damien O'Donnell's charming comedy-drama about Zaheed Khan (Om Puri), the patriarch of a Pakistani-British family whose children begin to reject their heritage and embrace UK life.

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Bhaji on the BeachBhaji on the Beach

Comedy1993101 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha

Gurinder Chadha's charming and critically acclaimed comedy about a group of British Asian women from Birmingham who bond during a day-trip to Blackpool.

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Wild WestWild West

Comedy199284 minsDirector: David Attwood

Defying opposition from his conservative Pakistani family, Zaf Ayub dreams of becoming Southall's greatest gift to country & western.

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Nanny McPheeNanny McPhee

Comedy200598 minsDirector: Kirk Jones

Emma Thompson leads an all-star cast as the governess who uses magic to tame a widower’s seven unruly children.

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Children's201495 minsDirector: Paul King

Unexpectedly beautiful and bewitching return for the marmalade-loving bear with a sense of adventure.

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Chicken RunChicken Run

Animation & Artists Moving Image200084 minsDirector: Peter Lord

Mel Gibson’s Rocky the rooster helps the chickens escape from fascistic farmers in Aardman Animations first foray into feature films.

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Wild TalesWild Tales

Comedy2014122 minsDirector: Damian Szifron

This Oscar-nominated, Almodóvar-produced anthology of six tales of ordinary madness is the most riotously enjoyable portmanteau film since Pulp Fiction.

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Comedy199492 minsDirector: Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith ushered in a new wave of no-budget indie filmmaking, and introduced the world to his enduring one-man brand, with this classic convenience-store comedy.

Currently unavailable

Intolerable CrueltyIntolerable Cruelty

Comedy2003100 minsDirector: Joel Coen

The Coen brothers update the acerbic, fast-talking style of the screwball comedy, with George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones as scheming, warring lovers.

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Swimming with MenSwimming with Men

Comedy201897 minsDirector: Oliver Parker

Rob Brydon leads a motley crew who pool their resources as part of a synchronised swimming team, in this buoyant feelgood comedy.

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The Station AgentThe Station Agent

Drama200390 minsDirector: Thomas McCarthy

Before Tyrion Lannister, Peter Dinklage excelled as another sardonic misanthrope in this award-winning indie comedy from director Tom McCarthy (Spotlight).

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Rita, Sue and Bob TooRita, Sue and Bob Too

Drama198693 minsDirector: Alan Clarke

A married man seduces two teenage babysitters in Alan Clarke’s mix of bawdy comedy and social comment, based on Andrea Dunbar’s Bradford plays.

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Local HeroLocal Hero

Comedy1983111 minsDirector: Bill Forsyth

An American oil-man goes native while on a mission to buy up a Scottish fishing village, in Bill Forsyth’s tribute to Scotland’s irresistible charm.

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Mr. TopazeMr. Topaze

Comedy196197 minsDirector: Peter Sellers

Charming character comedy, unseen for decades, starring Peter Sellers as a school teacher corrupted by big business.

Currently unavailable

Duck SoupDuck Soup

Comedy193369 minsDirector: Leo McCarey

The Marx Brothers' lunatic satire of international relations finds Groucho in his his most memorable role as Rufus T. Firefly - leader of Freedonia. A comic masterpiece.

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Carry On CampingCarry On Camping

Comedy196989 minsDirector: Gerald Thomas

Happy campers Sid Boggle (Sid James) and Bernie Lugg (Bernard Bresslaw) are troubled by hippies in one of the best-loved films of the famed series.

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On ApprovalOn Approval

Comedy194479 minsDirector: Clive Brook

Splendid lead performances and a well-crafted, witty script make this adaptation of the Frederick Lonsdale play a delight.

Currently unavailable

A Show Called Fred Ep 5A Show Called Fred Ep 5

195628 minsDirector: Richard Lester

Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan invite you to leap into your dustbin and dance in this episode of their 50s comedy show

Currently unavailable

My Little ChickadeeMy Little Chickadee

Comedy194084 minsDirector: Eddie Cline

Two of comedy's coarsest wise-crackers, W.C. Fields and Mae West, saddle up for this ribald comic western.

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My Man GodfreyMy Man Godfrey

Comedy193693 minsDirector: Gregory La Cava

Carole Lombard and William Powell star in the classic screwball comedy about a tramp who becomes a high-society butler.

Currently unavailable

Son of FredSon of Fred

195619 minsDirector: Richard Lester

Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan serve up some inspired goonery in this madcap Milligan-penned crazy comedy show from 1956.

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The Goose Steps OutThe Goose Steps Out

Comedy194275 minsDirector: Will Hay

Will Hay's third film for Ealing Studios finds the legendary comic parachuted into Nazi Germany when British intelligence discover that he's the spitting image of an enemy master spy

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Oh, Mr. Porter!Oh, Mr. Porter!

Comedy193784 minsDirector: Marcel Varnel

A bumbling railway worker played by Will Hay is appointed as stationmaster in the isolated, and apparently haunted, Northern Irish town of Buggleskelly.

Currently unavailable

Remember the NightRemember the Night

Comedy193994 minsDirector: Mitchell Leisen

Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray are the shoplifter and attorney who fall for other in this charming, Christmas comedy scripted by Preston Sturges.

Currently unavailable

Sullivan's TravelsSullivan's Travels

Comedy194191 minsDirector: Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges' comic masterpiece about a filmmaker who decides to experience life as a tramp in order to help write his socially significant screenplay.

Currently unavailable

The Palm Beach StoryThe Palm Beach Story

Comedy194288 minsDirector: Preston Sturges

Marriage and money cause unending chaos in this sublime screwball comedy from of of the masters of the form - Preston Sturges.

Currently unavailable

Gregory's GirlGregory's Girl

Comedy198092 minsDirector: Bill Forsyth

The ultimate depiction of coming-of-age awkwardness, Bill Forsyth’s comedy about a teen who falls for the new female footballer on the school team.

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Charlie Chaplin
Rentals collection

Charlie Chaplin

Twelve hugely influential comedy classics from the little star who became a giant of cinema.

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