Parody movies aim to purposely mock another film. In Ancient Greece, theater performers would showcase satire versions with the sole intention to make audiences laugh.
Over the years, the “mockbusters” industry has seen its share of hits and misses. With critics generally overlooking these movies, it is up to the filmmakers to make the movie entertaining enough for mainstream audiences. If successful, the parody version may end up becoming more noteworthy than the original.
Creating a great parody movie means assembling a talented group of writers and actors and seeing to it that the film elicits not only laughter but a few food for thought as well. The late Charlie Chaplin and Gene Wilder have each starred in their own movie parody, and both experienced praise for each project.
So with a long list of parody movies popping up here and there, read ExploreTalent’s top picks.
Top 5 Parody Movies
1. Scary Movie (2000)
Scary Movie was the first of many franchises, but apparently, it was the only one that experienced both box office and critical success. The rest of the parody movies under this banner that followed did not fare just as well, especially creators Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer‘s Disaster Movie, which is considered as one of the worst movies ever made. Luckily, they hit a gold mine for Scary Movie, which showcased a parody nineties pop culture, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scream, and I Know What You Did Last Summer. It may not feel a little outdated if you were to catch the film today, but during its initial release, no one could deny the impact this silly parody film could have in the face of modern cinema.
2. The Great Dictator (1940)
This political satire film is one of Charlie Chaplin‘s most famous movies to date. It parodies two of the most notorious dictators of all time—Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Chaplin actually plays two roles here, the ruthless dictator Adenoid Hynkel (a parody of Hitler) as well as a Jewish barber who attempts to open a barbershop without realizing how much the political laws have changed since he was discharged from a medical facility.
The Great Dictator actually began production after the Germans invaded Poland. Chaplin admitted in his 1964 biography that he would not have made the film, if he were aware of the true horrors of Nazi concentration camps. But even with controversy regarding the film’s theme, it still went on to garner several Academy Award nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Chaplin.
3. Young Frankenstein (1974)
When you place screen legend Gene Wilder in a film, then you are sure to get a great performance from the late actor. In this horror comedy, Wilder plays Frederick Frankenstein, a medical school lecturer who happens to be the grandson of Dr. Frankenstein himself. But despite his notable reputation, Frederick wants nothing of his grandfather’s fame.
This Mel Brooks movie opened to stellar reviews from both moviegoers and critics alike. It continues to be one of the most memorable parody movies ever created.
4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
If you happen to be a fan of British humor, then Shaun of the Dead is the perfect film for you. Simon Pegg stars as the titular character, a simple man who is working in an electronics shop and is in the middle of a failing relationship. Amid his suburban man problems, a zombie apocalypse breaks out. Now Shaun has to gather his wits and escape the city alive. In the process, he unwittingly becomes the hero of his once mundane life.
5. Airplane! (1980)
Airplane! is a 1980 American parody starring the late Leslie Nielsen. The movie is considered to be one of the greatest comedies ever made. It centers around the life of Ted Striker (Robert Hays), an ex-fighter pilot who is traumatized after war. He reluctantly finds himself once again in the pilot seat after both pilots of a plane contract food poisoning. In a bid to save everyone in the plane and win the heart of his ex-girlfriend back, Ted takes on the challenge. The cast of Airplane! really saved the movie, despite its rather simplistic plot. By just watching their silly antics is enough to make people realize why this film is on everyone’s favorite parody movies lists.