We all watch movies, and which is the “best” is a matter of opinion really. Here are the top 10 funniest movies released from 1980-1990. Don’t forget to check out other lists throughout Thought for Your Penny.
10. Coming to America (1988) 68% at Rotten Tomatoes
Prince Akeem wants to find a wife, so he decides Queens, NY in America is the best place to do it. He brings his manservant on a trip from Zamunda and decides to live as a poor man. Here, he meets Lisa, who he decides is much more suited to be his wife than the woman selected by his parents for an arranged marriage.
Director: John Landis
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Paul Bates, Arsenio Hall
9. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) 88% at Rotten Tomatoes
Beaumont-sur-Mer is a beautiful town on the French Riviera, and Lawrence Jamieson has cornered the con market until American Freddy Benson shows up. They both make a living conning women, and Jamieson takes Benson under his wing, believing him to be the fabled Jackal. They attempt to one-up each other with increasingly hilarious results to con young Janet Colgate out of her money.
Director: Frank Oz
Starring: Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly
8. The Naked Gun (1988) 87% at Rotten Tomatoes
Incompetent police lieutenant Frank Drebin always gets his man. So when Queen Elizabeth II comes to town, he has to foil an assassination attempt by Vincent Ludwig. He also has a personal score to settle with the would-be assassin, as he hospitalized a fellow officer. It’s worth watching just to see Simpson in his pre-trial days.
Director: David Zucker
Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, O.J. Simpson
7. Spaceballs (1987) 57% at Rotten Tomatoes
President Skroob and his evil henchman Dark Helmet decide to kidnap the princess of Druidia to strong-arm her father into submitting to their power. She’s saved by mercenary Lone Star and his sidekick Barf. It’s a parody of Star Wars that’s better than any of the actual movies.
Director: Mel Brooks
Starring: John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman
6. Stripes (1981) 86% at Rotten Tomatoes
Two friends decide to join the Army when they realize they’re going nowhere in life. They end up in a platoon full of misfits that barely pass through basic training. Afterward, they’re assigned to an overseas mission in Italy, where they continue making mistakes and end up deep inside enemy lines.
Director: Ivan Reitman
Starring: Bill Murray, John Candy, Harold Ramis
5. Seems Like Old Times (1980) 71% at Rotten Tomatoes
Two men kidnap a reclusive writer and force him to rob a bank. With the police hot on his tail, he hides out with his ex-wife, who happens to be a public defender married to the city prosecutor. She’s now torn between helping him clear his name while remaining true to her current husband.
Director: Jay Sandrich
Starring: Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, Charles Grodin
4. A Fish Called Wanda (1988) 93% at Rotten Tomatoes
Two men and a woman named Wanda are planning a heist of diamonds worth $13 million. With that many people involved, everyone starts double crossing each other, and it’s hard to know who to trust. Who will end up with the jewels and the money is up in the air until the very end.
Director: Charles Crichton, John Cleese
Starring: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline
3. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987) 92% at Rotten Tomatoes
All Neal Page wants is to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving, but fate has other plans for him. When the flight is diverted to Kansas, he ends up traveling with an obnoxious curtain rod salesman. Although initially annoyed, he eventually learns to love and respect the man after they overcome adversity to get home by any means necessary.
Director: John Hughes
Starring: Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins
2. Caddyshack II (1988) 4% at Rotten Tomatoes
Jack Hartounian is a self-made, blue-collar millionaire looking into joining the Bushwood Country Club. He’s only doing it for his daughter, who’s desperate to fit in with the upper class. However, the club’s admission committee doesn’t appreciate that he’s building low-income housing and blocks him out. So he buys a majority ownership in the club and shows the snooty upper class they don’t own everything.
Director: Allan Arkush
Starring: Jackie Mason, Robert Stack, Dyan Cannon
1. National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985) 39% at Rotten Tomatoes
The Griswolds win a European vacation on a game show and are excited to learn all about the new cultures. Of course, being lowbrow and lower-middle class, they manage to mess everything up. Hijinx ensue as cultures clash and they learn how different countries react to American tourists.
Director: Amy Heckerling
Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Dana Hill