Comedy and drama always seem to share the same screen time. Laughter can give a break from all the heavy drama, or a bit of drama can give a break to all the tummy-aching belly laughs of comedy.
It’s practically the way life is—there will always be a beacon of light after all the heavy storms. The best comedy dramas are not easy to rank, especially because there are so many of them to choose from. In the end, it all boils down to the viewer’s choice of films.
However, here are some of the best dramedies that you should check out, not only for the quality of the storytelling, but for the impact on audiences as well.
The General (1926)
Buster Keaton’s The General is one of the most important silent films ever, this story is inspired by a real-life raid that took place early in the Civil War. However, it does not refer to any actual persons, nor does it recreate historical occurrences.
However, the story of the train engineer’s endeavor to enlist in the Confederate Army to satisfy his fiancée’s request sets into motion more events to come, and eventually, he has to strive to save the two biggest loves of his life—Annabelle, his fiancée, and his train, “The General.”
City Lights (1931)
Charlie Chaplin is still one of cinema’s greatest. Often regarded as one of Chaplin’s movies, City Lights follows the story of the Tramp, who becomes an important companion to two people in need of him despite their inability to memorize his figure—one a wealthy drunkard who wants friendship, the other a blind girl that he falls in love with.
The Tramp tries to earn some money to help his beloved regain her eyesight, no matter the cost and ends up showing the sweetest type of heroism—as it often is with love on the line.
The Apartment (1960)
One of the most celebrated films by Billy Wilder, thanks mainly to its superb writing and performances by a stellar cast. Wilder’s contrast between two stereotypical personas in New York City is extraordinary in the way his main characters are portrayed as cynics who were able to connive to defend their best interests.
More importantly, however, the film is actually a satire on capitalism.
Jean Luc-Godard’s work portrays the most surreal weekend imaginable, making it one of the most anarchic works ever in cinema.
Taking place in dystopian France in the late 1960s, an unfaithful bourgeois couple starts their expedition in the wife’s parental house to ensure that she will inherit everything when her father passes away. The entire journey is how it will look like with a life in hell, considering the discrimination of social classes shown in a series of fights and violent car accidents—and in the end is a show of macabre and sadism.
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
Woody Allen dives in a Dostoevskian type of story without breaking off from his trademark intellectual and entertaining comedy mix. The action in the film shifts in two story lines between two men—a respectable doctor and family man named Judah who has been cheating on his wife with an air hostess, and a documentary filmmaker named Cliff, who takes up a job to shoot a documentary about his former wife’s famous TV-producer brother.
Judah tries to end his affair, and on the other side of the spectrum, Cliff tries to start one from scratch with his brother-in-law’s associate producer.
Both men have to deal with similar things, including panic, anger, guilt, and pain; and as their paths cross, they become evaluators of their own progress.
Three Colors: White (1994)
The second in a trilogy, this refers to the French Revolution’s ideal of equality. The only one to contain funny characters and comedic moments, it is dramatic and virtuosic in its style.
White is about the romance between a newly-wedded couple that went terribly wrong due to the man’s inability to satisfy the sexual needs of his wife. They ultimately divorce, which brings a drastic change in his life, while he is forced to lose everything—his job, his legal residency, money, and even personal belongings—on top of losing the woman he loves.
He is, however, given hope when he meets a compatriot who offers him the opportunity to go back to his home country—but with a cost.