Some of the most beloved comedies of all time don't star comedians. They feature dramatic actors.
A recent online discussion asks for examples of the funniest movies that feature a dramatic actor in a starring role. Here are the top responses.
While many recognize Leslie Neilson as a great comedic actor, he was just as talented with his dramatic roles.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
This user is correct. While Caine is a predominantly dramatic actor, he has appeared in several other comedy movies, including California Suite (1978), Blame It on Rio (1984), Miss Congeniality (2000), and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002). He was brilliant alongside comedy icon Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Men in Black (1997)
Men in Black (and its sequels, two of which also starred Tommy Lee Jones) is predominantly a sci-fi movie. It's also very much a comedy. Jones' gruff and authoritative persona – which has seen him appear in The Fugitive (1993), No Country for Old Men (2007), and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – worked well in the funny franchise.
Dr Strangelove (1964)
Satirical black comedy Dr. Strangelove is one of the finest movies ever made. Scott was known for his roles in movies like Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and Patton (1970), while Hayden famously appeared in The Killing (1956) and The Godfather (1972).
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Cruise has appeared in other comedies — notably Losin' It and Risky Business (both 1983) – but is more well known for action-packed, dramatic roles like Top Gun (1986), Days of Thunder (1990), War of the Worlds (2005), and the Mission Impossible movies (1996-present). His role as Less Grossman in Tropic Thunder required him to wear a fatsuit, which is very different from anything else he's ever done.
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
While Jim Carrey — who we mentioned in our introduction — is a comedy actor by trade, Daniels has appeared in far more straight roles (and the other comedies he's been in have been considerably less goofy than Dumb and Dumber). Daniels is known for movies like Gettysburg (1993), Speed (1994), State of Play (2009), and Steve Jobs (2015).
The Nice Guys (2016)
The comedy buddy movie is undoubtedly a far cry from the two stars' usual roles, with Crowe famous for the likes of Gladiator (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001), and American Gangster (2007), and Gosling known for movies like The Notebook (2004), La La Land (2016), and First Man (2018).
Stallone's action roles include the likes of the Rambo movies (1982-2019), Demolition Man (1993), and The Expendables franchise (2010-present), and his dramatic roles include the Rocky series (1976-present), Over the Top (1987), and Cop Land (1997). Oscar, on the other hand, was pure comedy.
We're No Angels (1955)
This is a great suggestion. The Christmas comedy movie was very different from Bogart's typical dramatic roles, which included the likes of The Petrified Forest (1936), Dead End (1937), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942), and The Big Sleep (1946).
The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)
They were the words of u/ObedMain35fart. Although the user didn't say any actors' names, we assume they're referring to Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Farrell is known best for his straight roles in the likes of Alexander (2004), In Bruges (2008), and the second season of HBO's thriller series True Detective (2015), while Gleeson is famous for his appearances in drama movies like Braveheart (1995), Gangs of New York (2002), and Calvary (2014).
Analyze This (1999)
Robert De Niro is best known as a serious and imposing actor, but his performance alongside Billy Crystal helps showcase his comedic talents.
James Caan reportedly had trouble channeling his dramatic chops on the set of this beloved Christmas comedy. Director Jon Favreau had to remind Caan that he's Sonny Corleone.
The Big Lebowski (1999)
Jeff Bridges may be best known as The Dude, but many people view him as a dramatic actor first and foremost.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Edward Norton has played some serious roles, such as in American History X. Still. He's more than capable of delivering an excellent comedic performance when required.
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