‘Annie Hall’ Named Funniest Screenplay by WGA Members

Annie Hall
Courtesy of United Artists

Annie Hall” has been named the funniest screenplay in voting by the members of the Writers Guild of America.

The script by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman topped “Some Like it Hot,” “Groundhog Day,” “Airplane!” and “Tootsie,” which make up the rest of the top five. “Young Frankenstein,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House” rounded out the top 10.

The awards for the 101 funniest screenplays were announced Wednesday at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood at the conclusion of two hours of panel discussions and clips, hosted by Rob Reiner. He noted that his “This Is Spinal Tap” script had finished at the No. 11 spot — a coincidence that recalled the “go to 11” amplifier joke in the film.

The “Annie Hall” screenplay won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1977. Allen had six other scripts on the list — “Sleeper,” “Bananas,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Broadway Danny Rose,” Love and Death” and “Manhattan.”

The late Harold Ramis had two scripts in the top 10 with “Groundhog Day” and “Animal House,” along with  “Ghostbusters” at No. 14 and  “Caddyshack” at No. 25. Preston Sturgess had four scripts on the list with “The Lady Eve,” “Sullivan’s Travels,” “The Palm Beach Story” and “The Miracle of Morgan Creek.”

Mel Brooks had three scripts in the top dozen — “Young  Frankenstein,” “Blazing Saddles” and “The Producers.”

The list included Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 silent “The Gold Rush,” which came in at No. 94 and was the oldest title on the list. One other silent, 1926’s “The General,” was on the list at No. 56 for the script written by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman and adapted by Al Boasberg and Charles Smith.

The most recent title was 2011’s “Bridesmaids” by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig, which was voted No. 16. The second most recent film script was  2009’s “The Hangover” by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, which finished No. 30; the third most recent was 2007’s “Superbad” by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, which came in 68th.

“Airplane!” writers Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker received plenty of affection during the panel discussions. “‘Airplane’ is a towering masterpiece, as important to comedy as ‘Psycho’ is to thrillers” said Alexander Payne, whose scripts for “Sideways” and “Election” made the list.

Carl Gottlieb, Robert Townsend, Michael Elias and Buck Henry (seated) at the WGA West’s tribute event for the 101 Funniest Screenplays

Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Rex Shutterstock

Buck Henry, whose scripts for “The Graduate” and “What’s Up Doc?” were on the list, received the evening’s only standing ovation. “Buck Henry and ‘The Graduate’ is why I became a writer,” said Randi Mayem Singer, whose “Mrs. Doubtfire” was 99th on the list.

Don Roos received one of the biggest laughs of the night when Reiner asked him about his screenplay: “What is ‘The Opposite of Sex’?” “I’m living it,” Roos responded.

Roos then correctly predicted that “Annie Hall” would top the list.

The WGA East announced the winners in New York at the New School Auditorium in Greenwich Village.

The complete list follows:

1. “Annie Hall”
Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman
1977, UA

2. “Some Like It Hot”
Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A. L. Diamond, Based on the German film “Fanfare of Love” by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan
1959, UA

3. “Groundhog Day”
Screenplay by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis, Story by Danny Rubin
1993, Columbia

4. “Airplane!”
Written by James Abrahams & David Zucker & Jerry Zucker
1980, Paramount

5. “Tootsie”
Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal, Story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart
1982, Columbia

6. “Young Frankenstein”
Screenplay by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, Screen Story by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, Based on Characters in the Novel Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
1974, 20th Century Fox

7. “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern
1964, Columbia

8. “Blazing Saddles”
Screenplay by Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Alan Uger, Story by Andrew Bergman
1974, Warner Bros.

9. “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
1975, Cinema 5

10. “National Lampoon’s Animal House”
Written by Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney & Chris Miller
1978, Universal

11. “This Is Spinal Tap”
Written by Christopher Guest & Michael McKean & Rob Reiner & Harry Shearer
1984, Embassy

12. “The Producers”
Written by Mel Brooks
1967, AVCO Embassy

13. “The Big Lebowski”
Written by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
1998, Gramercy

14. “Ghostbusters”
Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
1984, Columbia

15. “When Harry Met Sally…”
Written by Nora Ephron
1989, Columbia

16. “Bridesmaids”
Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
2011, Universal

17. “Duck Soup”
Story by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, Additional Dialogue by Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin
1933, Paramount

18. “There’s Something About Mary”
Screenplay by John J. Strauss & Ed Decter and Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly, Story by Ed Decter & John J. Strauss
1998, 20th Century Fox

19. “The Jerk”
Screenplay by Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb, Michael Elias, Story by Steve Martin & Carl Gottlieb
1979, Universal

20. “A Fish Called Wanda”
Screenplay by John Cleese, Story by John Cleese & Charles Crichton
1988, MGM

21. “His Girl Friday”
Screenplay by Charles Lederer, Based on the Play “The Front Page” by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur
1940, Columbia

22. “The Princess Bride”
Screenplay by William Goldman, Based on Goldman’s Novel of the Same Name
1987, 20th Century Fox

23. “Raising Arizona”
Written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
1987, 20th Century Fox

24. “Bringing Up Baby”
Screenplay by Hagar Wilde and Dudley Nichols, Story by Hagar Wilde
1938, RKO

25. “Caddyshack”
Written by Brian Doyle-Murray & Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney
1980, Orion

26. “Monty Python’s Life Of Brian”
Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
1979, Orion

27. “The Graduate”
Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, Based on the Novel by Charles Webb
1967, Embassy

28. “The Apartment”
Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond
1960, UA

29. “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”
Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Peter Baynham & Dan Mazer, Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Peter Baynham & Anthony Hines & Todd Phillips, Based on a Character Created by Sacha Baron Cohen
2006, 20th Century Fox

30. “The Hangover”
Written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
2009, Warner Bros.

31. “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”
Written by Judd Apatow & Steve Carell
2005, Universal

32. “The Lady Eve”
Screenplay by Preston Sturges, Story by Monckton Hoffe
1941, Paramount

33. *Tie*
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
Written by John Hughes
1986, Paramount


“Trading Places”
Written by Timothy Harris & Herschel Weingrod
1983, Paramount

35. “Sullivan’s Travels”
Written by Preston Sturges
1941, Paramount

36. “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”
Written by John Hughes
1987, Paramount

37. “The Philadelphia Story”
Screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart, Based on the Play by Philip Barry
1940, MGM

38. “A Night at the Opera”
Screen Play by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, From a Story by James Kevin McGuinness
1935, MGM

39. “Rushmore”
Written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson
1998, Touchstone/BV

40. “Waiting for Guffman”
Written by Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy
1996, Sony Pics Classics

41. “The Odd Couple”
Screenplay by Neil Simon, From the Play by Neil Simon as Produced on the Stage by Saint-Subber
1968, Paramount

42. “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!”
Written by Jerry Zucker & Jim Abrahams & David Zucker & Pat Proft, Based on the Television Series Police Squad! Created by Jim Abrahams & David Zucker & Jerry Zucker
1988, Paramount

43. “Office Space”
Written for the Screen by Mike Judge, Based on the “Milton” Animated Shorts by Mike Judge
1999, 20th Century Fox

44. “Big”
Written by Anne Spielberg & Gary Ross
1988, 20th Century Fox

45. “National Lampoon’s Vacation”
Screenplay by John Hughes
1983, Warner Bros.

46. “Midnight Run”
Written by George Gallo
1988, Universal

47. “It Happened One Night”
Screenplay by Robert Riskin, Based on the Short Story by Samuel Hopkins Adams
1934, Columbia

48. “M*A*S*H”
Screenplay by Ring Lardner, Jr., From the Novel by Richard Hooker
1970, 20th Century Fox

49. “Harold and Maude”
Written by Colin Higgins
1971, Paramount

50. “Shaun of the Dead”
Written by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright
2004, Focus (Universal)

51. “Broadcast News”
Written by James L. Brooks
1987, 20th Century Fox

52. “Arthur”
Written by Steven Gordon
1981, Orion

53. “Four Weddings and a Funeral”
Written by Richard Curtis
1994, Gramercy

54. *Tie*

“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”
Written by Will Ferrell & Adam McKay
2004, Dreamworks


“Dumb and Dumber”
Written by Peter Farrelly & Bennett Yellin & Bob Farrelly
1994, New Line

56. “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery”
Written by Mike Myers
1997, New Line

57. “The General”
Written by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman, Adapted by Al Boasberg and Charles Smith
1926, United Artists

58. “What’s Up, Doc?”
Screenplay by Buck Henry and David Newman & Robert Benton, Story by Peter Bogdanovich
1972, Warner Bros.

59. “Wedding Crashers”
Written by Steve Faber & Bob Fisher
2005, New Line

60. “Sleeper”
Written by Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman
1973, United Artists

61. “Galaxy Quest”
Screenplay by David Howard and Robert Gordon, Story by David Howard
1999, Dreamworks

62. “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”
Screenplay by William and Tania Rose, Story by William and Tania Rose
1963, United Artists

63. “Best in Show”
Written by Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy
2000, Warner Bros.

64. “Little Miss Sunshine”
Written by Michael D. Arndt
2006, Fox Searchlight

65. “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut”
Written by Trey Parker & Matt Stone & Pam Brady
1999, Paramount

66. “Being There”
Screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski, Inspired by the Novel by Jerzy Kosinski
1979, United Artists

67. “Back to the Future”
Written by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale
1985, Universal

68. “Superbad”
Written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
2007, Columbia

69. “Bananas”
Written by Woody Allen, Mickey Rose
1971, United Artists

70. “Moonstruck”
Written by John Patrick Shanley
1987, MGM

71. “Clueless”
Written by Amy Heckerling
1995, Paramount

72. “The Palm Beach Story”
Written by Preston Sturges
1942, Paramount

73. “The Pink Panther”
Written by Maurice Richlin & Blake Edwards
1963, United Artists

74. “The Blues Brothers”
Written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis
1980, Universal

75. “Coming to America”
Screenplay by David Sheffield & Barry W. Blaustein, Story by Eddie Murphy
1988, Paramount

76. “Take the Money and Run”
Screenplay by Woody Allen and Mickey Rose, Story by Jackson Beck
1969, Cinerama

77. “Election”
Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Based on the Novel by Tom Perrotta
1999, Paramount

78. “Love and Death”
Written by Woody Allen
1975, United Artists

79. *Tie*

“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”
Written by Dale Launer and Stanley Shapiro & Paul Henning
1988, Orion


“Lost in America”
Written by Albert Brooks & Monica Johnson
1985, Warner Bros.

81. “Manhattan”
Written by Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman
1979, United Artists

82. “Modern Times”
Written by Charles Chaplin
1936, United Artists

83. “My Cousin Vinny”
Written by Dale Launer
1992, 20th Century Fox

84. “Mean Girls”
Screenplay by Tina Fey, Based on the Book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
2004, Paramount

85. “Meet the Parents”
Screenplay by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg, Story by Greg Glienna & Mary Ruth Clarke
2000, Universal

86. “Fargo”
Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
1996, Gramercy

87. “My Favorite Year”
Screenplay by Dennis Palumbo and Norman Steinberg, Story by Dennis Palumbo
1982, MGM

88. “Stripes”
Written by Len Blum & Dan Goldberg and Harold Ramis
1981, Columbia

89. “Beverly Hills Cop”
Screenplay by Daniel Petrie, Jr., Story by Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie, Jr.
1984, Paramount

90. “City Lights”
Written by Charles Chaplin
1931, United Artists

91. “Sideways”
Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Based on the Novel by Rex Pickett
2004, Fox Searchlight

92. “Broadway Danny Rose”
Written by Woody Allen
1984, Orion

93. “Swingers”
Written by Jon Favreau
1996, Miramax

94. “The Gold Rush”
Written by Charles Chaplin
1925, United Artists

95. “The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek”
Written by Preston Sturges
1944, Paramount

96. “All About Eve”
Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Based on the Short Story and Radio Program “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr
1950, 20th Century Fox

97. “Arsenic and Old Lace”
Screenplay by Julius Epstein & Philip G. Epstein, Based on the Play by Joseph Kesselring
1944, Warner Bros.

98. “The Royal Tenenbaums”
Written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson
2001, Touchstone/BV

99. “Mrs. Doubtfire”
Screenplay by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon, Based on Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine
1993, 20th Century Fox

100. “Flirting with Disaster”
Written by David O. Russell
1996, Miramax

101. “Shakespeare in Love”
Written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
1998, Miramax


“Mrs. Doubtfire” writer Randi Mayem Singer, Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah at the WGA West’s Tribute Event for the 101 Funniest Screenplays
Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Rex Shutterstock

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  1. Susan A. Grilk says:

    This movie would be something totally different, without its editor, Ralph Rosenblum. The first credit says, EDITED BY . .. RALPH ROSENBLUM. It is the only thing on the screen. Why would Woody Allen give his editor that much credit? Because it would be titled “Anhedonia,” and Annie Hall would have been one of the many women who dated Alvy Singer. Anhedonia means the inability to feel pleasure.
    Alvy believes that he suffers from that condition, because he dated so many women and felt no pleasant with any of them.

    During the editing process, Woody and Ralph saw something in Diane Keaton’a performance, and they decided to see if something was there. Ralph Rosenblum went through every frame of film to see what they had. Ralph has an enormous role to play in putting that film together. Today, “Annie Hall” is at the top of your list of the funniest films of “all time.”

    And guess who edited most of Woody Allen’s that preceded “Annie Hall.”

    Ralph was a friend. I met him at what was then called The Maine Film and Photography Workshops. I spent a lot of money taking film workshops at that place, and a whole lot of it went to workshops conducted by Ralph. (I was a teacher . . . summer vacations.) When I was there for different workshops, I shared many meals with Ralph. He was one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. To this day, I miss that man.

  2. Sanman$ says:

    I went to the Neighborhood Playhouse with Diane Keaton for 2 years and we were in summer stock together and I used to take her to the movies before Woody Allen made her a big movie stars. In 2008 I gave Diane a Video of The Sanitation Chronicles, a play I wrote about my working for the NYC Dept. of Sanitation with morons and crazy people. But I never gave up my dream of starring in a movie. I’m retired now and I’m at the Manhattan Neighborhood Network on west 59th street and I’m learning how to make a movie called The Sanitation Chronicles. Because it’s never too late to become what you might have been.

    • Sanman$ says:

      I’m Paul Brno and I just filmed a scene from “The Sanitation Chronicles” at MNN (TheManhattan Neighborhood Network) and a documentary about my life called “It’s Never Too Late To Become What You Might Have Been”. All the while that I worked picking up garbage for 24 years, I still found time to keep studying acting at HB Studio and work off-off Broadway and as a background player and stand-in on “The Sopranos” and in movies like “Analyze That”.

  3. Glenn says:

    I find this list funnier that 90% of the films chosen.

  4. Copesetic says:

    They need a bigger list! Generally agree with the selections, can always quibble about the order (like for starters I’d reverse 1 &2, I’d give edge to “Some Like I t Hot” for greatest last line ever.) Gratified but surprised to see “Galaxy Quest” on there, I thought I was the only one who liked that movie. But, missing a lot of great films, like another personal favorite, which another commenter already noted, “A New Leaf” – Elaine May, Walter Matthau (and Raymond’s mom!). And,, what, no WC Fields? I’d add “International House” just for his scene with Gracie Allen, and his hilarious retort “Don’t let the posey fool ya” .

  5. Peter says:

    The most underrated movie of all time : Blake Edwards’ the party with Peter Sellers !
    Ladies & Gentlemen see this movie !

  6. techno says:

    What? No Slap Shot?

  7. Dale Leopold says:

    What–no Battlefield Earth? Bogus.

  8. cadavra says:

    The vast majority of these titles are post-STAR WARS, indicating how little these people care about the genuine classics of Hollywood. No Ben Hecht, Frank Tashlin, Peter Stone or Herman Mankiewicz? (And only one for brother Joe?) No DALTON FRICKIN’ TRUMBO? What a pathetic waste of time.

  9. Lisa says:

    Okay geeks, here’s how it work. The WGA held online voting. Each writer got to submit 15 titles with absolutely no restrictions or parameters – you could’ve voted on a documentary. There was no weighting – each title submitted equaled 1 point and there was no second round of voting. The list is ranked from the #1 most nominated film to the #100th most nominated. No need to criticize the list – it’s about as valuable as political polling.

  10. Greg Marotta says:

    M.A.S.H., Midnight Run, Arthur, Moonstruck that low? Really?

  11. ruthinoski says:

    Napoleon Dynamite?

  12. davidoperson says:

    ‘Serious’ omissions:

    The Awful Truth (Viña Delmar, 1937)
    Stage Door (Morrie Ryskind, Anthony Veiller, 1937)
    Midnight (Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder etc, 1939)
    The Women (Anita Loos, Jane Murfin, 1939)
    The Man Who Came To Dinner (Julius J.Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, 1941)
    Blithe Sprit (David Lean, Ronald Neame, Anthony Havelock-Allan, 1945)
    Hot Millions (Ira Wallach, Peter Ustinov, 1968)
    A New Leaf (Elaine May, Jack Ritchie, 1971)
    Female Trouble (John Waters, 1974)
    The Cheap Detective (Neil Simon, 1978)
    Death Becomes Her (Martin Donovan, David Koepp, 1992)
    My Best Friend’s Wedding (Ronald Bass, 1997)
    Adaptation. (Charlie Kaufman, Donald Kaufman, 2002)

  13. Jake says:

    Knocked up should be here. A fish called Wanda should be higher

  14. Bill B. says:

    One could pick this list a part for days, so I’ll just say that Some Like It Hot should be #1 and while it has humor, when did All About Eve become a comedy and if it is, why isn’t one of the most acclaimed scripts of all time not at or near the top?!

    • BobC. says:

      I completely agree with you that SOME LIKE IT HOT should be #1.
      I also thing PILLOW TALK should be on the list somewhere.

  15. mizzkateinsf says:

    What’s up with the photo shop of Diane Keaton’s outfit in the Annie Hall pic?

  16. Rumer Willis says:

    So they included Mean Girls but not HEATHERS? What’s their damage? And Roos’ script for The Opposite of Sex is funnier than many titles on this list.

  17. Somebody says:

    Annie Hall is one of the most overated films of all time. I have never found it funny, it’s a bunch of whiny privileged people complaining about their “tough” lives and how relationships are “so difficult”. I would never even put it on a comedy list.

    While other eras are represented, clearly the top results were skewed by the demo of the voters.who all think the 70s were the glory days of comedy. Nope guys, while there are some great comedies there, not everything from that era was gold and a lot of what you listed isn’t even a comedy.

  18. Jeff Freeman says:

    I appreciate everyone’s input for this list, but just the fact that the list is being created on this date dates the list. For example, Bridesmaids over Duck Soup? Really? Or A Fish Called Wanda over His Girl Friday? It is very hard to accept someone’s current taste over films that have been revered for 50 years. Also, what comprises a comedy? Is Rushmore a comedy? The Apartment? Broadcast News? Being There? Election? All contain vast amounts of pathos..This is Spinal Tap over The Producers? Really?

  19. Iván el Terrible says:

    Comedy is dead.

  20. MovieBill says:

    oops. thanks Paul. but that was the rare adapted screenplay (also PHILADELPHIA STORY) and i adore START THE REVOLUTION W/O ME. i’d add Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna’s MADE FOR EACH OTHER, others by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama (THE COURT JESTER), THE AWFUL TRUTH, BORN YESTERDAY, and the script for one of the only comedies to win Best Picture–TOM JONES.

  21. Paul J. Coyne, A.C.E. says:

    THE ODD COUPLE is actually on the list, MovieBill. The list is good, though I could certainly debate the order. These are all popular and known films, and I wish there were more lesser known titles tht have disappeared from the radar but always make me laugh. (Real Life, Used Cars, Ghost World, Champagne For Caesar, Buck Privates, The Last Detail, Start the Revolution Without Me, Cold Turkey, Vernon Florida). I also don’t see A Hard Day’s Night or any Ealing or comedies but perhaps it is only American films (despite the Python films). And there were apparently no animated films allowed on the list?

  22. MovieBill says:

    i assume adapted comedy scripts aren’t eligible? anyone hear of AUNTIE MAME? THE ODD COUPLE? or is Jerry Lewis not on anyone’s radar? or the scripts to any of the Hope/Crosby ROAD pictures?

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