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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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.

Rent for £3.50


Comedy201788 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.

Rent for £3.50

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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Withnail & IWithnail & I

Comedy1988107 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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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 and Norman Lee

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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Fantasy202177 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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What We Do in the ShadowsWhat We Do in the Shadows

Comedy201486 minsDirector: Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement

An achingly funny mockumentary about New Zealand’s hitherto unknown vampire (and werewolf) communities, from the creators of Flight of the Conchords.

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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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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.

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The Goose Steps OutThe Goose Steps Out

Comedy194275 minsDirector: Will Hay and Basil Dearden

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.

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Comedy201495 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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That Sinking FeelingThat Sinking Feeling

Comedy197990 minsDirector: Bill Forsyth

Before Gregory's Girl, Bill Forsyth mate this equally hilarious caper about a group of unemployed teenagers who hatch a plan to steal a job lot of stainless steel sinks.

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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

Comedy201588 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.

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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.

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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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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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Mr. TopazeMr. Topaze

Comedy196197 minsDirector: Peter Sellers

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

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Rita, Sue and Bob TooRita, Sue and Bob Too

Drama198793 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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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.

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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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Blazing SaddlesBlazing Saddles

Comedy197493 minsDirector: Mel Brooks

Gather around the campfire for one of the all-time great film comedies, Mel Brooks’ inspired and anarchic deconstruction of the cowboy film.

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Chicken RunChicken Run

Animation & Artists Moving Image200084 minsDirector: Peter Lord and Nick Park

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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Comedy2019109 minsDirector: Sophie Hyde

Sophie Hyde's joyous ode to female friendship stars Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat as two 30-something women navigating booze, boyfriends, wild nights and blurry mornings.

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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

Comedy1994101 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

Comedy199384 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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Children's201495 minsDirector: Paul King

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

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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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Comedy201895 minsDirector: Carlos López Estrada

While on probation, a man begins to re-evaluate his relationship with his volatile best friend, in this electrifying Sundance hit.

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The Philadelphia StoryThe Philadelphia Story

Comedy1940112 minsDirector: George Cukor

Love is a rollercoaster for socialite Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn), who has three men tangled in her web.

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South Park: Bigger Longer & UncutSouth Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut

Animation & Artists Moving Image199981 minsDirector: Trey Parker

In the outrageous spinoff from the animated series, Cartman and co. inadvertently instigate a war between the US and Canada.

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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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