Steven Spielberg is currently on the receiving end of Oscar buzz and some of his best reviews of all time for his deeply personal coming-of-age dramedy The Fabelmans. Ever since his World War II farce 1941 became the first critical and commercial bomb of his career, Spielberg has tended to avoid directing straightforward comedies. But that doesn’t mean his movies aren’t funny.
From the cat-and-mouse caper of Catch Me If You Can to the quippy one-liners of the Indiana Jones films to the dry Coen brothers humor of Bridge of Spies, Spielberg has helmed many hilarious movies throughout his career.
10/10 The Adventures Of Tintin (2011)
Spielberg tried his hand at cutting-edge motion-capture animation to bring Hergé’s classic stories to life in The Adventures of Tintin. The movie draws on the “odd couple” dynamic of Tintin and Captain Haddock to punctuate its dazzling action sequences with humor.
The movie also has a lot of fun with the bumbling detective duo of Thomson and Thompson, played by the perfect pairing of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg.
9/10 The BFG (2016)
Spielberg’s big-budget adaptation of The BFG might not have been a huge hit on its initial release, but it’s destined to become a family favorite. It focuses on a giant who is cast out by the other giants and befriends a fellow outsider: a young orphan.
As with any Roald Dahl story, this lighthearted fantasy tale is told with a hefty dose of humor. Thanks to Mark Rylance’s warm portrayal, the titular giant is appropriately lovable.
8/10 Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
The masterpiece that introduced the world to Indiana Jones is revered as one of the finest entries in the action-adventure genre. Raiders of the Lost Ark has plenty of breathtaking stunts and meticulously edited chase sequences, but it also has plenty of laughs.
From shooting the show-off swordsman to landing in a pit of snakes, Indy has a ton of hilarious moments in between the old-school action set-pieces of Raiders.
7/10 The Terminal (2004)
At a time of uncertainty and paranoia, Spielberg made his heartwarming dramedy The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks as a tourist who has to live in John F. Kennedy Airport when a civil war breaks out in his own country and he’s denied entry to the United States.
The movie’s primary tone is dramatic, but it also takes the time to wring some humor from its quirky fish-out-of-water premise.
6/10 1941 (1979)
The one and only straightforward comedy of Spielberg’s career, 1941, is nowhere near as bad as its reputation as the director’s first bomb would suggest. This darkly comedic farce focuses on Los Angelenos’ panicked reactions to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The ensemble cast features the comic stylings of some of the funniest actors of all time: Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, John Candy, Slim Pickens.
5/10 Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984)
With its cultist villains and gruesome ritualistic sacrifices, the 1984 prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is notorious for being Indy’s darkest, grisliest adventure. But it still has plenty of the series’ signature humor, courtesy of Spielberg’s wacky comedic sensibility.
There’s a dinner buffet serving monkey brains, wild set-pieces like escaping a plane crash in an inflatable raft, and a wisecracking young sidekick who accidentally sets off booby traps by harmlessly leaning against the wall.
4/10 Bridge Of Spies (2015)
Spielberg’s Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies tells the true story of an American lawyer defending an undercover Soviet spy and brokering a prisoner exchange. The movie is full of tension, but it also uses comedy to make the characters and their relationships more believable.
Screenwriter Matt Charman handled a lot of the historical plotting, but the Coen brothers injected the Oscar-nominated script with a hefty dose of their usual dry, deadpan humor.
3/10 Jurassic Park (1993)
Spielberg broke the record for the highest-grossing movie ever made for the third time with his dinosaur-infested hit Jurassic Park. The movie is aware that its premise of a theme park full of live dinosaurs is pretty ludicrous.
For the most part, Jurassic Park is an intense monster movie. But it has plenty of comedic moments, like “Dodgson! We got Dodgson here!” or the introduction of Mr. DNA or any of Jeff Goldblum’s one-liners in the role of Dr. Ian Malcolm.
2/10 Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989)
The third Indiana Jones adventure is arguably the funniest in the whole series. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade sees Harrison Ford’s Indy paired up with his dad, a fellow adventurer played by Sean Connery. Ford and Connery’s authentic father-son chemistry sells the dynamic.
Spielberg creates a hysterical juxtaposition between life-threatening danger at the hands of the Nazis and constant bickering between an estranged father and son trying to get along on a road trip.
1/10 Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Based on the life of Frank Abagnale, Jr., Catch Me If You Can is a hilarious cat-and-mouse caper starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the young con man and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent on his tail. After the box office failure of 1941, Catch Me If You Can is the closest that Spielberg came to making another full-blown comedy.
With the character-driven comedy of Hanks playing the stuffed-shirt federal agent with egg on his face and DiCaprio playing the con artist who’s always one step ahead of him, Catch Me If You Can is easily Spielberg’s funniest movie.