Although humor tends to become a bit dated over the years, the great comedy movies from the 1950s retain their power to entertain, even all these decades later. The ’50s were part of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and the comedies below all go to show why. And you’ll undoubtedly recognize some of the greatest actors and greatest actresses of the 1950s among their stars.
Many comedies during the decade were musicals, and—as remains true today—many were part of the romantic comedy sub-genre. So, take a look at these famous comedy movies from the 1950s, and be sure to watch any you haven’t seen before! As for those you have seen, isn’t it time to re-watch them? These are, after all, the sort of classics you can watch over and over again throughout the years.
Top ’50s Comedy Films
- Harvey – 1950; directed by Henry Koster; starring James Stewart, Wallace Ford, and William H. Lynn. A man is thought insane just because he claims his best friend is a human-sized invisible rabbit named Harvey.
- Singin’ in the Rain – 1952; directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly; starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. This classic musical comedy depicts the trials and tribulations of a silent film company transitioning to making movies with sound.
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – 1953; directed by Howard Hawks; starring Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, and Charles Coburn. This famous musical comedy tells the tale of two showgirls who go to Paris, tailed by a private detective hired by one of their fiance’s fathers.
- How to Marry a Millionaire – 1953; directed by Jean Negulesco; starring Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall. Three gold-digging women endeavor to find millionaires to wed, but end up finding true love.
- Roman Holiday – 1953; directed by William Wyler; starring Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, and Eddie Albert. An iconic romantic comedy about a bored princess who ditches her guards, starts exploring Rome on her own, and falls in love with an American.
- The Court Jester – 1955; directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama; starring Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, and Basil Rathbone. An ex-carnival worker masquerades as the court jester in medieval England to help reinstate the rightful king.
- Mister Roberts – 1955; directed by John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy; starring Henry Fonda, James Cagney, and William Powell. This film tells the comedic story of the crew of the US Navy cargo ship Reluctant in the Pacific near the end of World War II.
- Operation Petticoat – 1959; directed by Blake Edwards; starring Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, and Joan O’Brien. Flashbacks recount the misadventures of the USS Sea Tiger, a fictional US submarine, and its commander during World War II.
- Pillow Talk – 1959; directed by Michael Gordon; starring Rock Hudson, Doris Day, and Tony Randall. A man and woman feud over their shared party line telephone service in this classic romantic comedy.
- Some Like It Hot – 1959; directed by Billy Wilder; starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. Two male musicians dress up as women and flee as part of an all-female band after they witness a mob hit.