Best Black Comedies

dark humor movies list

This list of the best black comedies is those who love darkly funny movies. We aren’t always looking for lighthearted laughs, and it’s sometimes the darkest situations that crack us up the most. Laughing at the incredulity, the horrible randomness of life is sometimes the only way to deal with it. If you are looking for some bleak laughs, check out my list of the best black comedies. Each movie on my list has the run time, rating, main cast, a short review, who will enjoy the film, and a link to my full review.

I personally hate spoilers. I prefer to know barely anything about a movie until I go into it! I won’t even watch trailers for most films before I see them. I made my reviews to be as general as possible, giving you an idea of the “feel” of the film rather than the plot. If you want to watch the trailer and read about the plot more, then simply click on my full reviews or the movie poster to be taken to my full review.

You also have the JustComedies rating. Anything over 90% is a must watch for fans of the genre. The best black comedies are the ones that cover the darkest, bleakest topics and still force us to laugh. Sometimes we laugh in shock, sometimes in surprise, but these darkly amusing films are exactly the ticket for anyone who has a strong stomach and knows that you can either laugh or cry in life. The following black comedies are in alphabetical order.

burn-after-reading-r-rated-black-comedy-movie-poster-2008JustComedies Rating: 92%
Full Review: Burn After Reading
Runtime: 1h36m
R Rated Comedy
Comedy Movie From: 2008
Cast: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, France McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton

Regular people are strange. Some can hide it, some cannot. Burn After Reading is a dark comedy where the good get punished, the evil get punished, and insane events happen to people who, in general, had it coming. No one is safe. No matter how minor a roll you play, when the stakes are enormous even a tiny roll in the events can have drastic consequences. This is alphabetically near the top of my best black comedies, but it deserves a place at the top by quality as well. This is one roller coaster ride that you won’t be able to get off of once you start watching.

Who will enjoy this movie? Anyone who enjoys absurd, surreal dark comedies which throw regular people into situations way over their head. This is an R rated dark comedy. You need to be ready for some violence!

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JustComedies Rating: 95%
Full Review: Dr. Strangelove
Runtime: 1h35m
PG Comedy
Comedy Movie From: 1964
Cast: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden

This is an absolute classic comedy. Do realize it is in black and white! This isn’t a recent Hollywood Blockbuster action packed flick with actors you would recognize. It’s a critically acclaimed masterpiece. This is one that I do not reccomend if you are wanting a light night. Even though it is PG, it is very much a dark comedy for adults. Here’s the thing. No matter how good this comedy is (and it is good) there are people who simply don’t enjoy watching films from earlier eras. If you’re someone who purely enjoys recent comedies, then look to another option in this list! When you’re watching a comedy movie, you don’t always have to watch critically acclaimed masterpieces.

I have seen Dr. Strangelove only once, but I think of it often. It is an old black and white film, and yet it is not dated. It is dark and yet very funny… there are times when the only opportunities are to laugh until you cry, or cry until you laugh, gasping for breath hysterically. This is a beautiful film. Everything about it is amazing. 

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JustComedies Rating:  96%
Full Review:  Fargo
Runtime:  1h38m
R Rated Comedy
Comedy Movie From:  1996
Cast: William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Steeve Reevis

The Coen brothers are known for their dark fare, and Fargo is no exception. A sad film that caught me in the web of the story. I liked it because while I didn’t like all the characters as people, there was something so compelling about each. This is a mezmerizing film. One of the most incredible things about it is that it was so good, it spawned an amazing TV show by the same name.

Dark, purposeful, and driving, Fargo is absolutely one of the best black comedies in existance. I loved this film and for anyone who enjoys bleak comedies, this is an absolute must watch. As soon as you finish it? Go watch the TV series!

Who would I recommend this to? Anyone who likes black comedies. This is one of the best black comedies of all time. I would also recommend this to those who love crime and detective movies.

The Coen Brothers are the kings of dark comedies

The Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen, are some of the best filmmakers of all genres. But their additions to the world of black comedies have secured them the crown. Their reign includes incredibly done films that give you an uneasy feeling as you watch them. Steve Buscemi is one of the greatest actors in the world, and the Coen brothers have a way of casting him perfectly into their rolls. In fact, they have worked with him so many times that they create rolls around his acting style.

r-rated-comedy-fear-and-loathing-in-las-vegas-movie-poster

JustComedies Rating: 72%
Full Review: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Runtime: 1h59m
R Rated Comedy
Comedy Movie From: 1998
Cast: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Gary Busey, Tobey Maguire

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is as black a comedy as any on this list, but the darkness is shadowed and masked by a concoction of drugs that would make any sane man question the nature of reality. I suppose that’s how it is though, with those who see the darkness trying to hide by submerging themselves in drugs. High above, yet on the floor. This is an absolute wild ride of a movie. It’s trippy, sickening, and hypnotizing. 

Keep in mind that this is a long movie. It is just a hair under two hours. Make sure you have plenty of time to sit down and watch this, as it’s definitely one of those movies you want to watch without interuption.

Who will enjoy this movie? Anyone who is into really trippy films. Also, those who enjoy gonzo journalism will enjoy this one as it is a faux documentary style flick.

r-rated-horrible-bosses-movie-poster-2011

JustComedies Rating: 71%
Full Review: Horrible Bosses
Runtime: 1h38m
R Rated Comedy
Comedy Movie From: 2011
Cast: Jason Bateman, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Day (think It’s Always Sunny), Colin Farrel, Jennifer Aniston

Horrible Bosses is on my list of the best black comedies, but while the events are dark they are portrayed much lighter than the others on this list. This one is not as much of a life-changing, deeply dark comedy with the occasional bleak laugh. It’s more of a light, funny film about people who want to murder their bosses.

Who will like this movie? I’d recommend this to anyone who likes the actors, wants a black comedy that isn’t depressing, or is just plain bored and looking for something funny but not amazing to watch. I’m sure some people will love this movie. To most, it’s a good, funny flick with great actors that it absolutely worth a watch.

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JustComedies Rating: 96%
Full Review: In Bruges
Runtime: 1h46m
R Rated Comedy
Comedy Movie From: 2008
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson

Even though this list is alphabetical, I had a hard time stopping myself from putting In Bruges on the top of my list of black comedies. It has to be one of my favourite films I have ever watched. My god, this one has the most… ah, you have to watch it. It is dark. It is troubling. It is everything that a great black comedy film should be. As well, there is so much action, witty banter, and darkly hilarious scenes.

This film is a look into into the psyche of those employed in occupations where there is absolutely no company sponsored therapy. 

Who would enjoy this movie? I loved this black comedy so much that I would recommend it to everyone.

in-the-loop-good-2009-comedy-nr

JustComedies Rating: 79%
Full Review: In The Loop
Runtime: 1h45m
Unrated Comedy (NR)
Comedy Movie From: 2009
Cast: Tom Hollander, James Gandolfini, Peter Capaldi

Kind of a more political thriller than black comedy, but still quite dark. I liked it, but I enjoy watching the great show of politics. For those who aren’t glued to elections, this one might be a little less enthralling. This isn’t a movie that demands repeated viewing. I wouldn’t watch this one again, but I definitely reccomend it for anyone who is cynical about politics. Very funny, in that dark British sort of way. I feel as if actual British people might mock me for thinking this is a black comedy! My point of view on the English life is that it’s a constant stream of verbal jabs, sparring, and witty repartee. 

Who will like it?

Political junkies will love this one. It’s a bit of a less hard hitting House Of Cards in some ways, if the characters of HoC were hapless and in way over their heads. This is also a great one for those who love British comedies.

Black Comedy makes us confront brutal truths through humor

We do not live in a perfect world. Black comedies show us what is lying just under the surface. Imagine you are in the middle of the ocean without a single sign of human life anywhere around you. The sun is hot, the lightest lapping waves relaxing as you lie on a comfortable flotation device. When you stare at the ocean, still and wide, you see nothing but flat blue water. From the depths can erupt primal violence. Foam and blood mar the perfect silence.

When you drive your car, you are seconds away from steel and noise. Walking down the street, a mere glance at the wrong person could be the end. The chances are low, yes, but they are there, and we simply cannot thing about them in our daily lives. Black comedies rip off the veil and force us to see the awful truth of the true animal nature of society.

The making of a great dark comedy is one that does all of this while still forcing us to laugh. Still making us chuckle, gasp, and burst out in shocked laughter. Black comedies are some of the most difficult in the genre to do well. Kudos to all the movies that appear on this list as the cream of the crop in the genre.

mash-movie-poster-r-rated-war-comedy-1970JustComedies Rating:   84%
Full Review:   M*A*S*H
Runtime: 1h56m
R Rated Comedy
Comedy Movie From: 1970   
Cast: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould

Ah, M*A*S*H. This is one that you pretty much have to see, if you are serious about films at all. It’s a dark potrayal and satire of the Vietnam war. It’s a classic. Compared to the other movies in my list of the best black comedies, this is one of the smartest movies.

Who will like it?

Anyone who enjoyed the TV show for sure. This is a great war comedy, with quite a bit of drama. This is one of those really strong movies that shaped others.

black-comedy-the-matador-movie-poster-r-rated-2005

JustComedies Rating: 85%
Full Review: The Matador
Runtime: 1h36m
R Rated Comedy
Comedy Movie From: 2005
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear

I’ve watched and rewatched The Matador probably 4 or 5 times, and I enjoy it immensely each time. There is just something about Pierce Brosnan that is so captivating, like falling in to an oil spill and feeling the darkness stick in each tiny hair on your body, a darkness that a shower does little to stop. And yet, he is not without redemption, which is what makes this movie so great.

This is one of the best black comedies around that still manages to have a whole lot of laughs, even in the serious parts. There is a growing feeling of doom that permeates and it is a visceral watch.

Who will like it?

If the thought of a suave, merciless contract killer drawing a hapless average Joe into his web intrigues you, this one is worth a watch. Thoroughly entertaining.

sideways-movie-poster-r-rated-black-comedy-drama-2004

JustComedies Rating: 89%
Full Review: Sideways
Runtime: 2h6m
R Rated Comedy
Comedy Movie From: 2004
Cast:Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen,  Paul Giamatti

Sideways is a great movie, if you are not squeamish about depression, infidelity, heartache, and all the darkness of our day to day lives that we suppress coming to light. I love this movie. Make sure you double check the runtime. This is a long comedy movie. It isn’t the fastest paced movie either, so be prepared.

Who will like it?

Anyone who enjoys smart, witty, yet serious black comedy dramas should give Sideways a chance. It’s an intelligent film.

Thanks for reading my list of the best dark comedy movies

While my list of the best black comedies is a little shorter than most of my others, I do love the genre. There’s something so… real about black comedies. I guess it comes from the sense that life is not always sweet, and that there is a dark side of society that is forever lurking under the currents of every action we do. Good black comedies are able to rip the shreds of civilization from life and show us the primal undercurrents. Everyone in life sometimes seems to be out to get theirs, and in black comedies, they get theirs indeed.