Best Family Comedies

WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley ranks the best family comedies of all time in the gallery below.

Not seeing your favorite movie? It’s probably in a different genre! Check out the full list here.

30. ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ (2011) – Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

Before creating NBC’s “This Is Us,” screenwriter Dan Fogelman interwove this crazy tale of Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

29. ‘The Way Way Back’ (2013) – Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Steve Carell and Toni Colette take a family vacation to a water park, including future Oscar winners Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell.

28. ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ (2012) – David O. Russell

Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar in her pill-popping romance with Bradley Cooper, who moved back in with his Philly parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) amid family traditions of football Sundays.

27. ‘The Kids Are All Right’ (2010) – Lisa Cholodenko

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore raise artificially-inseminated children and introduce them to their biological father, Mark Ruffalo.

26. ‘Steel Magnolias’ (1989) – Herbert Ross

When it comes to giving us all the feels, it’s hard to top the deep cast of Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts.

25. ‘Terms of Endearment’ (1983) – James L. Brooks

Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson made us laugh, while Debra Winger made us cry in this Best Picture winner.

24. ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ (1991) – Jon Avnet

Kathy Bates plays a housewife who befriends an old lady in a nursing home who shares fascinating stories in this Golden Globe nominee for Best Comedy.

23. ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ (1989) – Bruce Beresford

An elderly Jewish widow (Jessica Tandy) is convinced by her son (Dan Aykroyd) to hire an African-American chauffeur (Morgan Freeman) in this charming Best Picture winner.

22. ‘Green Book’ (2018) – Peter Farrelly

This controversial Best Picture winner played like a reverse “Driving Miss Daisy,” but Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali were winning as they tried to get home for the holidays after a racist road trip through the Jim Crow South.

21. ‘Captain Fantastic’ (2016) – Matt Ross

Viggo Mortensen raised his six kids off the grid in the woods of the Pacific Northwest in a quirky family comedy that was both surprisingly hysterical and deceptively profound.

20. ‘The Big Sick’ (2017) – Michael Showalter

Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan yanked the genre right out of a coma by testing the patience of her parents (Holly Hunter & Ray Ramano) and the traditions of his parents (Bollywood’s Anupam Kher & Zenobia Shroff).

19. ‘The Farewell’ (2019) – Lulu Wang

After her hilarious support in “Crazy Rich Asians,” Awkwafina won the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Comedy/Musical) in this touching comedy-drama about a Chinese-American family hiding their grandma’s cancer diagnosis.


18. ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ (2002) – Joel Zwick

This sleeper hit, one of the most successful indie films of all time, followed a young woman who struggles to get her Greek family to accept her non-Greek fiancé.

17. ‘Moonstruck’ (1987) – Norman Jewison

“Snap out of it!” Cher fell for her fiancé’s brother (Nicolas Cage) under Cosmo’s moon and plenty of Italian-American family high jinks.

16. ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ (1986) – Woody Allen

Set over the course of several Thanksgivings, a husband (Michael Caine) falls for the sister (Barbara Hershey) of his wife (Mia Farrow), while her hypochondriac ex-husband (Woody Allen) rekindles a romance with her sister (Dianne Wiest).

15. ‘Father of the Bride’ (1950) – Vincente Minnelli

Spencer Tracy gave away daughter Elizabeth Taylor’s hand in marriage in the original that paved the way for Steve Martin and Diane Keaton.

14. ‘Home Alone’ (1990) – Chris Columbus

John Hughes penned a Christmas classic that turned cheek-slapping and trap-setting Macaulay Culkin into a child star overnight.

13. ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’ (1987) – John Hughes

Steve Martin just wants to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, but first he must endure countless traveling mishaps at the hands of shower-curtain-ring salesman John Candy.

12. ‘Force Majeure’ (2014) – Ruben Östlund

Forget the Hollywood remake, the Swedish original is a gem about a man who saves himself during an avalanche, creating an awkward family ski trip.

11. ‘The Descendants’ (2011) – Alexander Payne

George Clooney bonds with his daughters (including a breakout Shailene Woodley) as he confronts his comatose wife’s forbidden lover in this Oscar-winning screenplay.

10. ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ (2001) – Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson’s quirky definitive work explores Gene Hackman’s lonely patriarch, who pretends he’s dying of cancer in order to bond with his wife (Anjelica Huston) and three kids (Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson).

9. ‘Juno’ (2007) – Jason Reitman

Diablo Cody won an Oscar for her script about a sassy teen (Ellen Page) who surprises her boyfriend (Michael Cera) and parents (J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney) with an unplanned pregnancy and seeks adoptive parents (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner).

8. ‘Meet the Parents’ (2000) – Jay Roach

Ben Stiller’s accident-prone Greg Focker just couldn’t catch a break as his father-in-law hopeful Robert DeNiro watched him like an ex-CIA hawk in this hilarious family comedy that spawned the smash hit sequel “Meet the Fockers.”

7. ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’ (1967) – Stanley Kramer

The film’s tone is presented as a “Meet the Parents” comedy to the song “Glory of Love,” but the historic interracial themes give dramatic depth, as Sidney Poitier wins over his in-laws, played by real-life lovers Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, who died just after filming.

6. ‘The Birdcage’ (1996) – Mike Nichols

Robin Williams and Nathan Lane cracked us up as a gay cabaret owner and his drag queen partner who pretend to be straight to introduce their son to his fiancee’s conservative parents (Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest).

5. ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ (1993) – Chris Columbus

Robin Williams gave his most hilarious performance as a divorcee who dresses up as a hip granny nanny just to stay close with his kids under the custody of his ex-wife (Sally Field) and her new beau (Pierce Brosnan).

4. ‘Rain Man’ (1988) – Barry Levinson

This Best Picture tale of brotherly bonds had its share of drama, but we can’t help but smile thinking of Tom Cruise’s Charlie Babbitt and Dustin Hoffman’s Raymond counting cards, spilling toothpicks, watching Judge Wapner and flying only on Qantas.

3. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (2006) – Jon Dayton, Valerie Faris

Never has there been a better portrait of family dysfunction than this star-studded family racing to a beauty pageant on a cross-country trip in their yellow VW van, which requires them to get out and push it to start.

2. ‘Vacation’ (1983-1989) – Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis directed a John Hughes script as Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) took his family on an ill-fated cross-country drive to Wally World, before decorating with faulty Christmas lights and flammable Christmas trees in “Christmas Vacation.”

1. ‘A Christmas Story’ (1983) – Bob Clark

“I triple dog dare ya” to find a family comedy more immortal than this bizarrely nostalgic flick with Jean Shepherd narration that airs 24-7 on Christmas Day.

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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