Top 10 Hilarious Movie Running Gags



Top 10 Hilarious Movie Running Gags

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Elliot Baker.

Some jokes only get better and better as the runtime goes on. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 hilarious running gags in movies.For this list, we're considering running gags and jokes in movies as those that are referenced or used three or more times, either in an individual movie or across a film series - anything less is only a 'call back.' And as always, the funnier the better.

Special thanks to our users Daniel John, IrisFan FanIris, John St.Andre, Dominic Gomez, Andrew A. Dennison and governmentfree for submitting the idea on our Suggestion Tool at http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest

Top 10 Hilarious Movie Running Gags

Some jokes only get better and better as the runtime goes on. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 hilarious running gags in movies.

For this list, we’re considering running gags and jokes in movies as those that are referenced or used three or more times, either in an individual movie or across a film series - anything less is only a ‘call back.’ And as always, the funnier the better.

#10: The Ice Fishing Story
“American Hustle” (2013)

Louis C.K. is probably best recognized for his storied stand-ups, but this is one little story that is completely blown out of the water by Bradley Cooper’s character in this crime comedy-drama. Beginning as a simple pep talk, Cooper takes the reigns more than once to try to guess the obvious ending, but the twist is he’ll never find out. Throughout the film, his boredom about the story turns into mild interest that ultimately leads to raging obsession, but what is by far the cherry on top of this hilarious gag is the subtle annoyed look that Louis C.K. gets whenever he’s interrupted. Poor guy, he usually deals with hecklers better than this.

#9: Splitting the Money
“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963)

Greed is a powerful tool in the comedy genre, especially when it’s paired with miscommunication. After discovering $350,000 is up for grabs in the Santa Rosita State Park, a group of people makes a pact to hunt down the prize. If only they could just come to an agreement on which way they’re splitting the goods. The bickering and blindsiding are felt across all cuts of the film, including the 210-minute original cut. And while the epic comedy is filled with many gags, this one about splitting the money is the longest running across the film.

#8: They Look Too Old
“Jump Street” franchise (2012-14)

In a movie about police detectives going undercover as younger students, this is the joke that has the most ground to stand on. Across both “21” and “22 Jump Street,” Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are constantly at the mercy of their age, looking just a little older than they should for the assignments. Their actions are so ridiculous that they can’t be anything but immature, and yet nobody can get past the slight wrinkles on their faces or their amazingly outdated references. Needless to say, pointing out their aging failures never gets old.

#7: You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out
“A Christmas Story” (1983)

We’ve all been denied a toy at some point in our lives, but you wouldn’t expect everyone you meet to have the exact same reason why you shouldn’t have it. After locking eyes with the perfect Christmas gift, Ralphie makes it his holiday mission to find any way of making his wish come true. Yet his parents, his teacher and even Santa Claus refuse him the air rifle for the same reason. The hilarity of this running gag comes from the impossibility of so many people having the exact same-worded opinion, and we can’t help but love it too.

#6: TLC References
“The Other Guys” (2010)

Who remembers this nineties girl group? Well Michael Keaton certainly does, even if he doesn’t know it. In this action comedy, the police captain who ain’t too proud to beg is completely oblivious to the songs he’s referencing, much to the delight of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. No matter how many times it’s pointed out to Keaton, the truth of his fumbling never seems to creep up on him. Doesn’t even matter; each time, we find ourselves laughing out a waterfall’s worth of tears watching it all unfold.

#5: Vietnam
“The Big Lebowski” (1998)

The backstory of Walter Sobchak is varied and often spoken about by the man himself, but it’s his ventures in Vietnam that are the most referenced in this crime comedy. From interrogations to bowling, he manages to compare almost every event to his days in ‘Nam no matter how ridiculous it sounds - even going so far as to go completely off track in his eulogy for one of his teammates. Despite his talk of the vicious war, Walter also says that he once dabbled in pacifism, but just not in Vietnam.

#4: Cookie’s Conquests
“Best in Show” (2000)

It’s usually an unwritten rule in relationships to never mention how many partners have come before. Sadly for Gerry Fleck, his wife’s previous lovers all make themselves known. In this improvisational comedy, we follow a mismatched middle-class couple on the move from Florida, and on their journey, the stunningly attractive Cookie Fleck ends up reuniting with many, many, many ‘former conquests’ from her youth. Gerry’s dismay and polite rage is just as funny to watch as it is sorrowful, but at least he takes it all fairly well.

#3: Inconceivable!
“The Princess Bride” (1987)

According to, the definition of ‘inconceivable’ is something unimaginable or unthinkable, but if you ignore that, then the word can make for one heck of a running gag. And that’s exactly what happens in this romantic comedy fantasy. Despite having no frame of reference for what the word means, Vizzini has an insatiable habit for describing every situation as being ‘inconceivable’. Confusing its definition with ‘impossible’, it doesn’t matter what terrible endeavor our heroes are in, because, well, everything is ‘inconceivable’!

#2: It Was All a Dream
“Back to the Future” franchise (1985-90)

The teenage time traveller of this comic sci-fi series never had the best time with fourth dimensional thinking, or even distinguishing between dreams and reality. Every time Marty is knocked out, he awakens in a bed convinced the events leading up to this were nothing but his imagination running wild. Waking up next to your great, great grandmother isn’t as crazy as it sounds, especially considering that you’ve already changed history multiple times. Well, dreaming about getting stuck in 1955 is certainly better than constantly having manure poured on to you, right Biff?

Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:

- I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This
“Star Wars” franchise (1977-)

- Roy Munson’s Hand
“Kingpin” (1996)

- The Greater Good
“Hot Fuzz” (2007)

#1: Stan Lee Cameos
Various (1973-)

Cameos are nothing new to the world of filmmaking, but the creator of many beloved Marvel characters never fails to make an impression in every single film adaptation he’s appeared in. From “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk” TV movie in 1989 to “Big Hero 6” in 2014 and beyond, Stan Lee has made so many cameo appearances that WatchMojo’s even got a top 10 list of them! And, it’s a testament to the over-90-year-old creator of Marvel Comics that watching out for him has grown from being a sweet tribute to something that’s anticipated worldwide (at least by comic book fans!). And we reckon it’s all rightly deserved.

Do you agree with our list? Which funny movie running gags are your favorite? For more hilarious top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to
The swallow and the coconut from the Monty Python and the Holy Grail has on top there. One of the last joke of the movie with the wizard not able to answer is own question is so hilarious only because it is built on the movie running gag