July 26th, 2019 | Updated on June 14th, 2023
Dark comedy movies are a type of movie that some people love to watch. These movies are often about uncomfortable or serious subjects, but they make light of them using humor.
This type of movie is sometimes called a black comedy. Dark comedies can be morbid, but they don’t have to be. They are often about death, which is something that comes for us all.
Dark comedy is a type of comedy film that is often unexpected and leaves audiences feeling flabbergasted. Unlike other comedy genres, dark comedies use uncomfortable and vulgar situations to entertain viewers. This type of comedy has been popular for many years and continues to be one of the most watched genres.
Dark comedy is a genre of film that has evolved significantly over the years. This type of cinema takes a humorous look at serious topics, such as crisis, mortality, crime, and anything else that is generally not considered funny.
Dark comedy is a genre that can be difficult to understand and appreciate. It often contains offensive or sensitive material, so you’ll need to be thick-skinned to enjoy it.
The dark comedy genre is brilliant because it allows us to laugh at the ridiculousness of unacceptable behavior. When we realize that the people presenting jokes to us are in on the joke, we can recognize the absurdity of the behaviors, actions or happenings. This makes the dark comedy genre a powerful tool for social commentary.
Many critically successful and well-received filmmakers have nailed the dark comedy genre. These include The Coen Brothers, Martin McDonagh, and Quentin Tarantino.
Dark comedies are often characterized by their sardonic humor and the way they challenge norms. They can be a great way to explore taboo topics in a safe and entertaining way.
The dark comedy movie genre emerged in the 1940s when filmmakers started to interpret real-world horrors with humor. This genre includes movies such as To Be or Not to Be and Arsenic and Old Lace. The black comedy movie genre became more popular in the 1980s with movies like Delicatessen and Eating Raoul.
These movies explored the dark side of human nature with humor. The black comedy movie genre is still popular today with movies like Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?, Carnage, and Withnail and I.
1. In Bruges
London based hit men Ray and Ken are told by their boss Harry Waters to lie low in Bruges, Belgium for up to two weeks following their latest hit, which resulted in the death of an innocent bystander. Harry will be in touch with further instructions. While they wait for Harry’s call, Ken, following Harry’s advice, takes in the sights of the medieval city with great appreciation.
But the charms of Bruges are lost on the simpler Ray, who is already despondent over the innocent death, especially as it was his first job. Things change for Ray when he meets Chloe, part of a film crew shooting a movie starring an American dwarf named Jimmy. When Harry’s instructions arrive, Ken, for whom the job is directed, isn’t sure if he can carry out the new job, especially as he has gained a new appreciation of life from his stay in the fairytale Bruges.
2. Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Paranoid Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper of Burpelson Air Force Base, believing that fluoridation of the American water supply is a Soviet plot to poison the U.S. populace, is able to deploy through a back door mechanism a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union without the knowledge of his superiors, including the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Buck Turgidson, and President Merkin Muffley.
Only Ripper knows the code to recall the B-52 bombers and he has shut down communication in and out of Burpelson as a measure to protect this attack. Ripper’s executive officer, RAF Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (on exchange from Britain), who is being held at Burpelson by Ripper, believes he knows the recall codes if he can only get a message to the outside world.
A woman breaks up with her boyfriend, he thinks it’s because he’s fat. A man is unable to tell her next door neighbor he finds her sexually attractive. An old couple wants to split up, but they don’t want to get a divorce. A therapist masturbates to teen magazines.
An 11-year-old kid is insecure about the fact that he hasn’t cum yet. Office workers try to recall the face of a coworker who recently died. A woman is sure she has everything she could ever want. The lives of these individuals intertwine as they go about their lives in their own unique ways, engaging in acts society as a whole might find disturbing in a desperate search for human connection.
4. American Beauty
After his death sometime in his forty-third year, suburbanite Lester Burnham tells of the last few weeks of his life, during which he had no idea of his imminent passing. He is a husband to real estate agent Carolyn Burnham and father to high school student Janie Burnham. Although Lester and Carolyn once loved each other, they now merely tolerate each other. Typical wallflower Janie too hates both her parents, the three who suffer individually in silence in their home life. Janie tries to steer clear of both her parents.
You May Also Like This: 15 Movies They Went To Watch With No Expectations
Carolyn, relatively new to the real estate business, wants to create the persona of success to further her career, she aspiring to the professional life of Buddy Kane, the king of the real estate business in their neighbourhood. Lester merely walks mindlessly through life, including at his job in advertising. His company is downsizing, and he, like all the other employees, has to justify his position to the newly hired efficiency expert to keep his job.
5. Fargo (1996)
The film Fargo follows the story of a man who hires two criminals to kidnap his wife in order to get a ransom from her father. When things go wrong, the criminals start killing people in order to cover their tracks.
The film is set in the fictional town of Fargo, North Dakota and was directed by Joel Coen.
In this dark comedy-crime thriller film, Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) is in over his head with debt. He hatches a plan to kidnap his wife and ransom her for money from her wealthy father. Things go awry when the kidnappers cross paths with a pregnant police chief investigating Jerry’s shady business deals.
Fargo won two Oscars, for Best Actress (for McDormand) and Best Original Screenplay. The film also spawned a successful television series in 2014. The American Film Institute named Fargo as one of the 100 greatest films in history.
6. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It tells the story of two mob hitmen, Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, who must retrieve a suitcase stolen from their employer, Marsellus Wallace.
The film stars John Travolta as Vincent, Samuel L. Jackson as Jules, Bruce Willis as Butch Coolidge, Ving Rhames as Marsellus Wallace, Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace, and Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolfe.
Tarantino wrote Pulp Fiction in 1992 and 1993, incorporating scenes that had been written but not filmed for his directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs (1992).
7. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds follows a group of Jewish American soldiers during World War II who are ordered to go behind enemy lines to destroy the Nazi leadership.
Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, Inglourious Basterds, follows two different plans to assassinate Adolf Hitler. A group of Jewish soldiers is on an undercover mission to bring down Hitler and the Nazi regime and end the war.
While this plan is underway, a second plan is put into place by a group of renegade German soldiers who want to kill Hitler and take down the Nazi regime. Both plans are filled with tension and action, making it a film that is not to be missed.
You May Also Like:
Sam Lowry is a harried technocrat in a futuristic society that is needlessly convoluted and inefficient. He dreams of a life where he can fly away from technology and overpowering bureaucracy, and spend eternity with the woman of his dreams. While trying to rectify the wrongful arrest of one Harry Tuttle, Lowry meets the woman he is always chasing in his dreams, Jill Layton. Meanwhile, the bureaucracy has fingered him responsible for a rash of terrorist bombings, and both Sam and Jill’s lives are put in danger.
09. Shaun Of The Dead
Shaun doesn’t have a very good day, so he decides to turn his life around by getting his ex to take him back, but he times it for right in the middle of what may be a zombie apocalypse… But for him, it’s an opportunity to show everyone he knows how useful he is by saving them all. All he has to do is survive… And get his ex back.
10. Monty Python’s Life Of Brian
The story of Brian of Nazareth, born on the same day as Jesus of Nazareth, who takes a different path in life that leads to the same conclusion. Brian joins a political resistance movement aiming to get the Romans out of Judea. Brian scores a victory of sorts when he manages to paint political slogans on an entire wall in the city of Jerusalem. The movement is not very effective but somehow Brian becomes a prophet and gathers his own following. His fate is sealed however and he lives a very short life.
11. A Clockwork Orange
Protagonist Alex DeLarge is an “ultraviolent” youth in futuristic Britain. As with all luck, his eventually runs out and he’s arrested and convicted of murder and rape. While in prison, Alex learns of an experimental program in which convicts are programmed to detest violence. If he goes through the program, his sentence will be reduced and he will be back on the streets sooner than expected. But Alex’s ordeals are far from over once he hits the mean streets of Britain that he had a hand in creating.
Turkish and his close friend/accomplice Tommy get pulled into the world of match fixing by the notorious Brick Top. Things get complicated when the boxer they had lined up gets badly beaten by Mickey, a ‘pikey’ ( slang for an Irish Gypsy)- who comes into the equation after Turkish, an unlicensed boxing promoter wants to buy a caravan off the Irish Gypsies. They then try to convince Mickey not only to fight for them, but to lose for them too.
Whilst all this is going on, a huge diamond heist takes place, and a fistful of motley characters enter the story, including ‘Cousin Avi’, ‘Boris The Blade’, ‘Franky Four Fingers’ and ‘Bullet Tooth Tony’. Things go from bad to worse as it all becomes about the money, the guns, and the damned dog.
13. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
In the Victorian London, the barber Benjamin Barker is married to the gorgeous Lucy and they have a lovely child, Johanna. The beauty of Lucy attracts the attention of the corrupt Judge Turpin, who falsely accuses the barber of a crime that he did not commit and abuses Lucy later after gaining custody of her. After fifteen years in exile, Benjamin returns to London under the new identity of Sweeney Todd, seeking revenge against Turpin.
He meets the widow Mrs. Lovett who is the owner of a meat pie shop who tells him that Lucy swallowed arsenic many years ago, and Turpin assigned himself tutor of Johanna. He opens a barber shop above her store, initiating a crime rampage against those who made him suffer and lose his beloved family.
14. Lost In Translation
Middle-aged American movie star Bob Harris is in Tokyo to film a personal endorsement Suntory whiskey ad solely for the Japanese market. He is past his movie star prime, but his name and image still have enough cachet for him to have gotten this lucrative $2 million job. He has an unsatisfying home life where his wife Lydia follows him wherever he goes – in the form of messages and faxes – for him to deal with the minutiae of their everyday lives, while she stays at home to look after their kids.
Staying at the same upscale hotel is fellow American, twenty-something recent Yale Philosophy graduate Charlotte, her husband John, an entertainment still photographer, who is on assignment in Japan. As such, she is largely left to her own devices in the city, especially when his job takes him out of Tokyo.
15. Beetlejuice (1988)
Beetlejuice is a 1988 American dark comedy fantasy film directed by Tim Burton, produced by The Geffen Film Company and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It stars Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Winona Ryder. Beetlejuice tells the story of a recently deceased young couple who become ghosts haunting their former home and trying to scare away the new family, living there with some success but also angering the ghost of the previous owner. When Beetlejuice is summoned by name, he arrives to put on a show for the ghosts in order to expel them from the house.
16. Jojo Rabbit (2019)
The second feature-length animated film from the studio behind Anomalisa, Jojo Rabbit tells a story of an imaginative young boy living in Nazi Germany during World War II.
Following his father’s death at the hands of a bomb planted by Nazis, 10-year-old Jojo has been taken in and raised by his kindhearted mother. He also tries to comfort himself with a magical imaginary rabbit friend named Hitler–a character that is not quite what he seems.
17. Blazing Saddles (1974)
A black man named Bart, desperate to save his friend from being killed by a racist sheriff, disguises himself as a white man and takes a job on the railroad. The town’s sheriff is the only man who can stop his plan.
18. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Jeff ‘The Dude’ Leboswki is mistaken for Jeffrey Lebowski, who is then roughed up and has his precious rug peed on. In search of recompense, The Dude tracks down his namesake, who offers him a job to deliver the ransom from a kidnapping. Meanwhile, The Dude’s loose living acquaintances enter into their own ambiguous dealings.
19. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
Crimes and Misdemeanors is a 1989 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. The film tells two stories, one about a successful doctor who turns to crime to solve his personal problems, and the other about a man who is hired to kill his brother-in-law to prevent him from marrying the woman he loves.
The film follows the stories of two very different men: Judah Rosenthal, a successful and highly respected ophthalmologist, and Clifford Stern, a small-time documentary filmmaker. While their lives appear to be very different on the surface, both men are hiding secrets that could ruin their reputations. As the film progresses, these secrets slowly start to unravel, and the two men are forced to face the consequences of their actions.
20. The Big Lebowski
21. The Seventh Seal
A Knight and his squire are home from the crusades. Black Death is sweeping their country. As they approach home, Death appears to the knight and tells him it is his time. The knight challenges Death to a chess game for his life. The Knight and Death play as the cultural turmoil envelopes the people around them as they try, in different ways, to deal with the upheaval the plague has caused.
22. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas
The big-screen version of Hunter S. Thompson’s seminal psychedelic classic about his road trip across Western America as he and his large Samoan lawyer searched desperately for the “American dream”… they were helped in large part by the huge amount of drugs and alcohol kept in their convertible, The Red Shark.
23. The Truman Show
In this movie, Truman is a man whose life is a fake one… The place he lives is in fact a big studio with hidden cameras everywhere, and all his friends and people around him, are actors who play their roles in the most popular TV-series in the world: The Truman Show. Truman thinks that he is an ordinary man with an ordinary life and has no idea about how he is exploited. Until one day… he finds out everything. Will he react?
24. Barton Fink
In 1941, New York intellectual playwright Barton Fink comes to Hollywood to write a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. Staying in the eerie Hotel Earle, Barton develops severe writer’s block. His neighbor, jovial insurance salesman Charlie Meadows, tries to help, but Barton continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him even further from his task.
25. Full Metal Jacket
A two-segment look at the effect of the military mindset and war itself on Vietnam era Marines. The first half follows a group of recruits in boot camp under the command of the punishing Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.
The second half shows one of those recruits, Joker, covering the war as a correspondent for Stars and Stripes, focusing on the Tet offensive.
26. Mary And Max
In the mid-1970’s, a homely, friendless Australian girl of 8 picks a name out of a Manhattan phone book and writes to him; she includes a chocolate bar.
She’s Mary Dinkle, the only child of an alcoholic mother and a distracted father. He’s Max Horowitz, an overweight man with Asperger’s, living alone in New York. He writes back, with chocolate.
Thus begins a 20-year correspondence, interrupted by a stay in an asylum and a few misunderstandings. Mary falls in love with a neighbor, saves money to have a birthmark removed and deals with loss.
Max has a friendship with a neighbor, tries to control his weight, and finally gets the dream job. Will the two ever meet face to face?
27. Six Shooter
At the hospital, a doctor gives Donnelly the bad news: his wife of many years has died. He visits her body, placing a photograph of their pet rabbit on her hands.
Then, in the early morning light, he leaves and catches a train back home toward Dublin.
He sits across from a young talkative man who seems to have a loose screw, making coarse observations, starting an argument with a couple in the next seats who are clearly tense with each other.
Over the next few miles, Donnelly learns that all four have lost someone that night, and, in a strange turn of events, the kid bequeaths to Donnelly a gift that may ease his pain. There’s a strange bond in grief.
28. Being John Malkovich
Puppeteer Craig Schwartz and animal lover and pet store clerk Lotte Schwartz are just going through the motions of their marriage.
Despite not being able to earn a living solely through puppeteering, Craig loves his profession as it allows him to inhabit the skin of others.
He begins to take the ability to inhabit the skin of others to the next level when he is forced to take a job as a file clerk for the off-kilter LesterCorp, located on the five-foot tall 7½ floor of a Manhattan office building.
Behind one of the filing cabinets in his work area, Craig finds a hidden door which he learns is a portal into the mind of John Malkovich, the visit through the portal which lasts fifteen minutes after which the person is spit into a ditch next to the New Jersey Turnpike.
29. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Loosely based on Homer’s “Odyssey,” the movie deals with the picaresque adventures of Ulysses Everett McGill and his companions Delmar and Pete in 1930s Mississipi.
Sprung from a chain gang and trying to reach Everett’s home to recover the buried loot of a bank heist they are confronted by a series of strange characters–among them sirens, a cyclops, bank robber George “Baby Face” Nelson (very annoyed by that nickname), a campaigning governor and his opponent, a KKK lynch mob, and a blind prophet who warns the trio that “the treasure you seek shall not be the treasure you find.”
30. Little Miss Sunshine
In Albuquerque, Sheryl Hoover brings her suicidal brother Frank to the breast of her dysfunctional and emotionally bankrupted family.
Frank is homosexual, an expert in Proust. He tried to commit suicide when he was rejected by his boyfriend and his great competitor became renowned and recognized as number one in the field of Proust.
Sheryl’s husband Richard is unsuccessfully trying to sell his self-help and self-improvement technique using nine steps to reach success, but he is actually a complete loser.
Her son Dwayne has taken a vow of silence as a follower of Nietzsche and aims to be a jet pilot. Dwayne’s grandfather Edwin was sent away from the institution for elders (Sunset Manor) and is addicted in heroin.
When her seven-year-old daughter Olive has a chance to dispute the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, the whole family travels together in their old Volkswagen Type 2 (Kombi) in a funny journey of hope of winning the talent contest and to make a dream.
31. American Psycho
Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated and intelligent. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream.
He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. At night he descends into madness, as he experiments with fear and violence.
While his latest movie Being John Malkovich (1999) is in production, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is hired by Valerie Thomas to adapt Susan Orlean’s non-fiction book “The Orchid Thief” for the screen.
Thomas bought the movie rights before Orlean wrote the book, when it was only an article in The New Yorker.
The book details the story of rare orchid hunter John Laroche, whose passion for orchids and horticulture made Orlean discover passion and beauty for the first time in her life.
Charlie wants to be faithful to the book in his adaptation, but despite Laroche himself being an interesting character in his own right, Charlie is having difficulty finding enough material in Laroche to fill a movie, while equally not having enough to say cinematically about the beauty of orchids.
At the same time, Charlie is going through other issues in his life. His insecurity as a person doesn’t allow him to act upon his feelings for Amelia Kavan, who is interested in him as a man.
33. True Romance
In Detroit, Clarence Worley goes to the movie theater alone on the day of his birthday to watch some movies.
The gorgeous Alabama Whitman accidentally drops her popcorn on Clarence and they watch the movie together.
Later they go to a diner for pie, and end up having a one night stand. In the morning, Alabama confesses that she is a call-girl hired to spend the night with him, but she has fallen in love with him. In the morning they get married and Clarence goes to the club where she worked to bring her some clothes.
However, her pimp Drexl Spivey and his partner beat up Clarence and he reacts by killing them both. Clarence asks for Alabama’s suitcase with her clothes and the other girls mistakenly give another one with cocaine.
When Clarence discovers the mistake, he decides to travel with Alabama to the house of his friend, the aspiring actor Dick Ritchie, to sell the drug and travel to Mexico. He visits his father Clifford Worley and gives his address to him.
34. Hot Fuzz
Top London cop, PC Nicholas Angel is good. Too good. And to stop the rest of his team looking bad, he is reassigned to the quiet town of Sandford.
He is paired with Danny Butterman, who endlessly questions him on the action lifestyle. Everything seems quiet for Angel, until two actors are found decapitated.
It is called an accident, but Angel isn’t going to accept that, especially when more and more people turn up dead. Angel and Danny clash with everyone, whilst trying to uncover the truth behind the mystery of the apparent “accidents”.
35. Thank You For Smoking
The chief spokesperson and lobbyist Nick Naylor is the Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies.
He is talented in speaking and spins arguments to defend the cigarette industry in the most difficult situations.
His best friends are Polly Bailey that works in the Moderation Council in alcohol business, and Bobby Jay Bliss of the gun business own advisory group SAFETY.
They frequently meet each other in a bar and they self-title the M.O.D. Squad, a.k.a. Merchants of Death, disputing which industry has killed more people.
Nick’s greatest enemy is Vermont’s Senator Ortolan Finistirre, who defends in the Senate the use of a skull and crossbones on cigarette packs.
Nick’s son Joey Naylor lives with his mother, and has the chance to know his father in a business trip.
When the ambitious reporter Heather Holloway betrays Nick disclosing confidences he had in bed with her, his life turns upside-down. But Nick is good in what he does for the mortgage.
36. Seven Psychopaths (2012)
The film is about a man named Marty (Colin Farrell) who is trying to write a screenplay. His friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) tells him about a story he heard of a man who was abducted by psychopaths.
This gives Marty the idea for his screenplay. Meanwhile, Marty’s neighbor, Hans (Christopher Walken), is a serial killer who murders people and then skins them. Billy is kidnapped by Hans and Marty goes to save him.
37. Network (1976)
Network is a 1976 American satirical drama film that depicts the breakdown of the relationship between a network news anchorman, Howard Beale (Peter Finch), and his boss, Max Schumacher (William Holden).
When Beale is fired, he begins to rant on television about the state of society and how corporations control the world.
This increases ratings for the network, and Beale becomes a national icon. However, his increasing mental instability causes him to spiral out of control.
38. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street is a biographical film about Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a stockbroker who became notorious for his greed and corruption on Wall Street. The film follows Belfort’s rise to power and his subsequent fall from grace.
In the early 1990s, young Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort is struggling to find a job as the market starts to decline.
Taking a position at a small brokerage firm, he meets his co-worker and mentor Mark Hanna who teaches Belfort about the lack of morality on Wall Street.
At first skeptical of Hanna’s claims, Belfort soon discovers at his new firm that there is much money to be made by breaking the law.
He quickly starts making large amounts of cash thanks to his aggressive business tactics, but after being caught in a drug use charge he is fired from the firm.
39. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover is a 1989 British erotic thriller film directed by Peter Greenaway. It was adapted from the novel of the same name written by Robin Maugham.
The story tells of Albert Spica (Michael Gambon), an Italian restaurant owner in London who learns that he has terminal cancer and decides to plan his own death by inviting three people for dinner whom he imagines will each want him dead: a thief (Alan Howard) who wants his money; his wife’s lover (Jeremy Irons); and her lover’s wife (Helen Mirren). He serves them lobster bisque with mushrooms but it turns out they all had other plans for him–to be alive at least until after the November 5th elections.
The three guests are almost as dangerous as Spica believes them to be; all have criminal connections, but only the lover, Richard (Richard Bohringer) is directly involved in crime himself.
The Thief’s Lover (Leslie Caron), a fine pastry chef, makes an intriguing story of her own, being a woman so enamored of Richard that she left a successful career to move to a new country for him.
The film opened at the Venice Film Festival in August 1989 and received positive reviews from critics, who cited the colours, costumes and food as being visually stunning.
40. Trainspotting (1996)
Trainspotting is a dark and gritty British film about the lives of several heroin addicts in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh and was directed by Danny Boyle. It stars Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, and Ewen Bremner.
The protagonist of the film is Mark Renton, played by Ewan McGregor. However, Mark was neither interested or involved in heroin until he met his friends who were all addicts.
41. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 American comedy-drama film, written and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. It follows the journey of a family from Albuquerque, New Mexico on their cross-country trip to California in the hopes of winning a beauty pageant.
This film stars Greg Kinnear as Richard Hoover, Steve Carell as Frank Ginsberg, Toni Collette as Sheryl Hoover, Alan Arkin as Edwin Hoover and Abigail Breslin as Olive Hoover.