What are some of the most hilarious comedy screenplays that screenwriters can learn from?
Reading how-to books and articles about screenwriting can only take you so far.
The best education you can receive to ready yourself for screenwriting greatness is to watch movies and — more importantly — read movie scripts. Our partners at The Script Lab understand the importance of this and you’ll find that many of the scripts available in this list are through them.
As you read more scripts, you’ll quickly see that there’s no single way to write a screenplay. Yes, there’s a general format and structure to follow for most, but the best thing that you can do is read as many screenplays as you can to see what works best for you and your stories.
Here we present eighty-five comedy screenplays that you can use as road-maps to creating your own hilarious cinematic stories.
Note: Many of the screenplays will differ from the final cut of the movies due to film editing, shooting draft changes, and the fact that some are earlier drafts. Also, some of the scripts don’t adhere to the general contemporary guidelines and expectations that novice screenwriters should abide by. When in doubt, always err on the side of following those guidelines and expectations. Some scripts follow a dated format while others are written by established professionals that have format leeway and are allowed to go beyond the general 90-120 page count guideline.
Read ScreenCraft’s The Differences Between Screenwriting Rules, Guidelines, and Expectations and Does Correct Screenplay Format REALLY Matter? to learn more about format guidelines and expectations!
*Click on each image to read the script!*
21 Jump Street
A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.
22 Jump Street
After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go deep undercover at a local college.
Goaded by his buddies, a nerdy guy who’s never “done the deed” finds the pressure mounting when he meets a single mother.
500 Days of Summer
An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn’t believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her.
The Addams Family
Con artists plan to fleece an eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long-lost uncle.
A man afraid to fly must ensure that a plane lands safely after the pilots become sick.
A comedy about a psychiatrist whose number-one patient is an insecure mob boss.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Ron Burgundy is San Diego’s top-rated newsman in the male-dominated broadcasting world of the 1970s, but that’s all about to change for Ron and his cronies when an ambitious woman is hired as a new anchor.
Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with free spirit Annie Hall.
When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence.
After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult.
The Big Lebowski
Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.
The Big Sick
Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings.
In order to inherit his fed-up father’s hotel empire, an immature and lazy man must repeat grades 1-12 all over again.
In order to ruin a western town, a corrupt politician appoints a black Sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.
The Breakfast Club
Five high school students meet in Saturday detention and discover they have a lot more in common than they thought.
Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid over who is the bride’s best friend threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef.
A guy who complains about God too often is given almighty powers to teach him how difficult it is to run the world.
An exclusive golf course has to deal with a brash new member and a destructive dancing gopher.
A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.
A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil’s popularity but doesn’t count on affairs of the heart getting in the way.
Crazy Rich Asians
This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family.
Dazed and Confused
The adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976.
A wisecracking mercenary gets experimented on and becomes immortal but ugly, and sets out to track down the man who ruined his looks.
The Devil Wears Prada
A smart but sensible new graduate lands a job as an assistant to the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.
Dumb and Dumber
After a woman leaves a briefcase at the airport terminal, a dumb limo driver and his dumber friend set out on a hilarious cross-country road trip to Aspen, to return the briefcase to its owner.
A clean-cut high school student relies on the school’s rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing.
The Edge of Seventeen
High-school life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother.
A high school teacher’s personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High
A group of Southern California high school students are enjoying their most important subjects: sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.
A Fish Called Wanda
In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to double-cross each other for the loot.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
A high school wise-guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite what the Principal thinks of that.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Devastated Peter takes a Hawaiian vacation in order to deal with the recent break-up with his TV star girlfriend, Sarah. Little does he know, Sarah’s traveling to the same resort – and she’s bringing along her new boyfriend.
When seasoned comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal, inoperable health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship causes him to take a relatively green performer under his wing as his opening act.
The alumni cast of a space opera television series has to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help defending both Earth and the alien race from a reptilian warlord.
Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.
The discovery of a massive river of ectoplasm and a resurgence of spectral activity allows the staff of Ghostbusters to revive the business.
When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.
A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.
Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding.
A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.
Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.
Horrible Bosses 2
Dale, Kurt, and Nick decide to start their own business but things don’t go as planned because of a slick investor prompting the trio to pull off a harebrained and misguided kidnapping scheme.
A skilled London police officer is transferred to a small town with a dark secret.
A hapless store clerk must foil criminals to save the life of the man who, miniaturized in a secret experiment, was accidentally injected into him.
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.
For fun-loving party animal Ben Stone, the last thing he ever expected was for his one-night stand to show up on his doorstep eight weeks later to tell him she’s pregnant with his child.
An artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.
Last Action Hero
With the help of a magic ticket, a young movie fan is transported into the fictional world of his favorite action movie character.
Elle Woods, a fashionable sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend. She decides to follow him to law school, and while she is there she figures out that there is more to her than just looks.
A fast-track lawyer can’t lie for 24 hours due to his son’s birthday wish after he disappoints his son for the last time.
Little Miss Sunshine
A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.
Former special operative MacGruber is called back into action to take down his arch-enemy, Dieter Von Cunth, who’s in possession of a nuclear warhead and bent on destroying Washington, D.C.
Cady Heron is a hit with The Plastics, the A-list girl clique at her new school, until she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George.
Wacky hijinks of counselors and campers at a less-than-average summer camp.
Men in Black
A police officer joins a secret organization that polices and monitors extraterrestrial interactions on Earth.
My Best Friend’s Wedding
When a woman’s long-time friend reveals he’s engaged, she realizes she loves him herself and sets out to get him, with only days before the wedding.
A group of inept amateur superheroes must try to save the day when a super-villain threatens to destroy a major superhero and the city.
A listless and alienated teenager decides to help his new friend win the class presidency in their small western high school, while dealing with his bizarre family life back home.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.
National Lampoon’s Vacation
The Griswold family’s cross-country drive to the Walley World theme park proves to be much more arduous than they ever anticipated.
Three company workers who hate their jobs decide to rebel against their greedy boss.
When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.
Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls acapella group. Injecting some much-needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.
A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.
School of Rock
After being kicked out of his rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher at an uptight elementary private school, only to try and turn them into a rock band.
Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment embark on a week-long road trip through California’s wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle.
Some Like It Hot
When two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.
Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.
A man whose childhood wish of bringing his teddy bear to life came true, must now decide between keeping the relationship with the bear or his girlfriend, Lori.
There’s Something About Mary
A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from high school, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.
This Is 40
Pete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they’re on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart.
Three Men and a Baby
Three bachelors find themselves forced to take care of a baby left by one of the guys’ girlfriends.
A washed-up golf pro working at a driving range tries to qualify for the US Open in order to win the heart of his successful rival’s girlfriend.
An unsuccessful actor disguises himself as a woman in order to get a role in a trashy hospital soap.
Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.
A physically perfect but innocent man goes in search of his long-lost twin brother, who is short, womanizing, small-time crook.
A pair of committed womanizers who sneak into weddings to take advantage of the romantic tinge in the air, find themselves at odds with one another when one of them meets and falls for a woman.
When Harry Met Sally
Harry and Sally have known each other for years, and are very good friends, but they fear sex will ruin the friendship.
Wild Wild West
The two best special agents in the Wild West must save President Grant from the clutches of a diabolical, wheelchair-bound, steampunk-savvy, Confederate scientist bent on revenge for losing the Civil War.
You’ve Got Mail
Two business rivals who despise each other in real life unwittingly fall in love over the Internet.
A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.
At the end of his career, a clueless fashion model is brainwashed to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures. He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies