10 Best Parody Movies of All Time
Sometimes, you just need a really good laugh.
We love movies but sometimes we need a reminder that movies, especially genre movies, can be a little ridiculous. So here are 10 of the best parody movies of all time.
I’ll be defining ‘parody’ as a movie that prioritizes comedy over most other genres it encompasses. Movies like Scream or Watchmen are more Satire than parody as they take the genres seriously while also dissecting their flaws.
Warning: comedy is always changing and as such some of these movies will be products of their times and feature comedic racism/sexism/antisemitism/etc. I have chosen to include them regardless either due to influence or relevance.
Best Biopic Parody – Weird: The Al Yankovic story
This movie has everything you come to expect from biopics, from disapproving parents to the antagonistic love interest to the spiral due to addiction, but all taken to the most ridiculous and extreme of ends. The fact that this started out as a Funny or Die skit is just the cherry on top. I will give an honorable mention to Walk Hard, the fake biopic that parodied the Johnny Cash dramafest Walk the Line.
Best Western Parody – Blazing Saddles
This manages to be a fun Western that thumbs its nose at the wholesome western that dominated TV and movies in the 50s and 60s while also pointing out the rampant corruption and whitewashed racism of both the time period and the genre. Some people say Blazing Saddles couldn’t be made today, but if it had been, it would probably get called ‘woke trash’ by ‘comedians’ who don’t get the joke.
Best Fantasy / King Arthur Parody – Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Honestly, the fact that you could apply many scenes from this movie to scenes from everything to Excalibur to Rings of Power to House of the Dragon shows how succinct its jokes are. The Manifest Destiny not equaling an actual system of government, Tim the Enchanter and the ravenous bunny, and of course, the incredible French guard’s taunting. It’s a classic for a reason.
Best Swashbuckler Parody – Robin Hood: Men in Tights
An affectionate parody of Robin Hood and many other swashbuckler films, it may not be Mel Brooks’ strongest film, but it’s still a solid parody and a fun romp that pokes fun at a fun genre.
Best Fairytale Parody – Shrek 2
The first Shrek is a classic, but I think the idea of having the Fairy Godmother be a Mob Boss, using her magic to threaten royals into fitting into her ‘perfect’ world is much more interesting than Farquad’s ‘Napoleon complex.’ It helps that the movie is a parody of Hollywood as much as it is of fairytales. Also, the ‘I Need a Hero’ scene is one of the best climax fights in all of CGI animation.
Best Star Wars Parody – Spaceballs
Obviously, some of these jokes are a little more dated than others. But I give this movie points, not just for the massive number of memes that have come out of it but also for the commentary on the commercialization of this franchise that is even more relevant in the 2020s than it was in the 1980s.
Best Star Trek Parody – Galaxy Quest
Often called ‘the best Star Trek film,’ Galaxy Quest is wonderful not just for how it parodies Star Trek but also for how it works as a love letter to its fandom: The actors who are only there for a paycheck, the fans who have spent years learning every detail and fact about their favorite series, and the climax where all parties come together.
Best Slasher Parody – The Final Girls
There’s a lot of competition for this category, but I chose The Final Girls because 1) it’s more of a comedy than a straight-up horror movie and 2) for all the comedy, there’s a truly wonderful mother-daughter relationship at the heart of it. It also acknowledges the main problem with the Final Girl trope; by definition she is the only female survivor, meaning she rarely gets to have valuable female friendships. Still, honorable mentions to Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and Tucker and Dale vs Evil.
Best Zombie Movie Parody – Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead is a masterpiece of both comedic and zombie cinema, succeeding to both make you laugh and make you afraid/existential. I also want to give an honorable mention to Juan of the Dead, another hilarious and much more underrated zombie comedy.
Best Murder Mystery Parody – Clue
Clue (1985) manages to parody both the murder mystery and the game from which it derives its name wonderfully. All of this is made even better by the literal multiple endings, meaning the mystery both is and isn’t solvable as there isn’t just one answer. Also, it features Tim Curry at some of his hammiest.
Best Spy Movie Parody – Austin Powers
What happens when you cryogenically freeze a swinging 60s spy and wake him up in the 90s? Screwball comedy and a loving but also spot-on parody of James Bond and all the other spies who enjoy a drink and a ‘shag.’ And of course, Dr. Evil who remains a villainous icon even today.
Note: Honestly, I tried to find a good superhero parody, but I think we’re too steeped in the height of the superhero genre. We’ve got some good satires on TV (Invincible, The Boys), but there hasn’t been a movie that’s really shown how ridiculous superheroes are. The closest I could come is Sky High, but that’s a teen comedy as much as a Superhero comedy.
What’s your favorite parody movie?
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