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And then the station pulls away from the train!
September 16, 2012 7:06 PM   Subscribe

What are some films with hilarious sight gags?

I love movies with brilliant sight gags. My favorites are well-known films like TOP SECRET and AIRPLANE by the Zucker Brothers, Mel Brooks' films, Woody Allen's early movies, and a lot of the great silent comedians' work, most notably for me Buster Keaton.

What are some other films with brilliant sight gags I may have missed?
posted by meadowlark lime to Media & Arts (40 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
The M. Hulot movies by Jacques Tati. Mon Oncle, Play Time, M. Hulot's Vacation.

Here's a review of Play Time.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:12 PM on September 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Steve Martin's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid maybe?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 7:24 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm actually watching one right now.

The vastly underrated Clue.

I'd love to see this as a play, Noises Off style.
posted by Sphinx at 7:25 PM on September 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Came in to say Tati, glad to see that's covered. The Austin Powers films have some, too.
posted by trip and a half at 7:27 PM on September 16, 2012


How do you feel about cartoons? Obviously a bunch of the WB Looney Tunes. Some of the Bill Plympton movies if you need feature-length stuff.
posted by RobotHero at 7:28 PM on September 16, 2012


Not a movie, but if you're a fan of the Zuckers, I hope you've seen Police Squad! I think you can find them all on YouTube.

Jackie Chan is a master, although they are more "action" than comedy (although there are some films that are more comedic).

Pink Panther series, A Fish Called Wanda, and Duck Soup also fit.
posted by starman at 7:32 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Austin Powers
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:34 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin) is amazing.
posted by lewedswiver at 7:34 PM on September 16, 2012


A couple you might have missed as they are outside of mainstream for western audiences.

or Kung Fu Hustle.
posted by slavlin at 7:40 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


All of Me (Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin). (But I am not sure if I totally know what a sight gag is.)
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:42 PM on September 16, 2012


Sorry. Finger slipped there.

Shaolin Soccer or Kung Fu Hustle. Both of these are excellent Hong Kong comedies with some great over the top gags.
posted by slavlin at 7:43 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


If we're doing Duck Soup, maybe I'll add Brain Donors. Their modern Harpo facsimile does a lot of visual gags.

There's also The Villain, with Kirk Douglas, which tries to be a live-action cartoon. It doesn't fill its heroes' shoes as well as does Brain Donors, IMO, but it's certainly visual.
posted by RobotHero at 7:52 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Idiocracy is positively loaded with sight gags.
posted by scratch at 7:55 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll go ahead and recommend the Mr. Bean movies, but only because you asked for movies.

(The original TV series is far and away the better way to go, however.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:55 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hot Tub Time Machine is worth watching just for the ongoing Crispin Glover/When's He Gonna Lose His Arm? gag.
posted by mannequito at 7:57 PM on September 16, 2012


The Naked Gun series.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:05 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Noises Off- mentioned upthread but just such a perfect movie.

Airplane... "I have a drinking problem...." So classic and so good.
posted by kettleoffish at 8:21 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is right up there with the well-known films cited, so you are probably already familiar- but since you didn't mention it: films by the Farrelly brothers.
posted by war wrath of wraith at 8:23 PM on September 16, 2012


For the love of God, the Pink Panther series with Peter Sellers!

Inspector Clouseau plays billiards

Inspector Clouseau the telephone engineer

English "Wex"

"Ceud" Name
posted by magstheaxe at 8:26 PM on September 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Bellboy
posted by cazoo at 8:34 PM on September 16, 2012


What's Up, Doc.
posted by emyd at 8:36 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not a movie, but Weird Al's video Amish Paradise contains a small homage to Buster Keaton, and lots of other great stuff. The
Wikipedia article has a listing (thus it is something of a spoiler if you have never seen the video before).
posted by Michele in California at 8:38 PM on September 16, 2012


In "Ghostbusters" in the basement of their HQ, next to the place they store the ghosts, there's a sign on the wall that says "Danger 10,000 Ohms" (or some such number). The camera only shows it once and doesn't dwell on it, but if you're watching it in a theatre you can pick out the nerds because they all immediately die laughing, while everyone else wonders what the joke is.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:39 PM on September 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


UHF.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:58 PM on September 16, 2012


The Get Smart TV series.
posted by RobotHero at 10:04 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Big Lebowski.
posted by mazola at 11:12 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wallace and Gromit
posted by runincircles at 12:00 AM on September 17, 2012


The Pink Panther movies, as previously mentioned, though in my opinion Peter Sellers' crowning achievement, sightgagwise, is actually The Party.
posted by incandescentman at 12:22 AM on September 17, 2012


Will Ferrell did a movie in Spanish earlier this year called Casa de mi Padre that has exactly what you're looking for, and lots of it.
posted by dogwalker at 1:29 AM on September 17, 2012


Rumba! (even the French like Tati)
posted by ouke at 3:26 AM on September 17, 2012


Woody Allen's Bananas!
posted by shortyJBot at 4:03 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


How could I forget about "You, the living? You say a station pulling away from the train? How about a whole block of houses pulling in and out of a station? As can be seen here. I don't understand a word of this, but this scene left me all sobbing and uncynical for a moment or two. Whole movie (with subs) can be seen on Youtube, but this movie gets better when watched in a cinema.
posted by ouke at 4:10 AM on September 17, 2012


The Impostors with Stanley Tucci and Oliver Platt
posted by unknowncommand at 4:37 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The granddaddy of the Airplane, Top Gun and the Naked Gun series: Kentucky Fried Movie.
posted by jquinby at 5:45 AM on September 17, 2012


Buster Keaton! Seriously, Keaton IS sight gags. No words, no grins, or winks, or nudges -- just perfect sight gag after perfect sight gag. Do not attempt to eat or drink anything while watching.

Also: Laurel and Hardy short film Moving the Piano. Grinning just thinking of it.

And seconding "What's Up, Doc?" Particularly the scene with the two guys moving the sheet of glass. It has a classic condition of a sight gag: you can see it coming, and it still knocks you over when it happens.

But no words! If it needs words to be funny, it ain't a sight gag!
posted by kestralwing at 7:22 AM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know if it counts as a sight gag, but A Christmas Story has a quick, wordless joke that always makes me laugh.

It's a cut right after Ralphie translates "Drink Your Ovaltine" in the bathroom, then leaves. Randy runs in, lifts the toilet lid, then the camera cuts to Ralphie lifting a lid from a pot on the kitchen.
posted by Boxenmacher at 7:52 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Rat Race" is a basically stupid updating of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" but it does contain some good sight gags here and there, including one that survived a complicated setup and carried Jon Lovitz into an amazing gag that, erm, referenced a historical figure. There must've been others less memorable.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:59 AM on September 17, 2012


I know you already said Woody Allen, but I just feel the need to link to the banana peel thing from Sleeper. Thank you.
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 10:47 AM on September 17, 2012


Tapeheads.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:40 PM on September 17, 2012


Some of William Powell's movies had great gags. He's mostly known for the Thin Man movies, but My Man Godfrey, Double Wedding and especially Love Crazy show off his goofy comedic side.

I Was a Male War Bride with Cary Grant also has some hilarious visuals. Also see My Favorite Wife and Operation Petticoat.

If you liked the earlier mentioned The Imposters, you'll probably like all of these.
posted by monopas at 4:34 PM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


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