BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Nothing funnier than a man in a dress
Some LIke It Hot poster
Some Like It Hot was voted best American comedy
There is nothing funnier than men dressing up as women - if a new list of the funniest American films is anything to go by.

The two top films in the American Film Institute's list of the 100 best comedies featured leading Hollywood actors dressed up as women - Some Like It Hot and Tootsie.

Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe
Tony Curtis (left) fooled Marilyn Monroe
The list of 100 best comedies was drawn up by a jury of 1,800 film industry people, included actors, directors, studio executives, critics and historians.

In Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder's 1959 classic, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play musicians who dress up as women to avoid being recognised by the mob.

The film also stars Marilyn Monroe, who is initially completely unaware of the real gender of the two men.

Dustin Hoffman  in Tootsie
Dustin Hoffman dressed as a woman to land a part
In Sydney Pollack's film Tootsie, Dustin Hoffman plays an unemployed actor who dresses up as a woman to get a role in a soap opera.

Two other transvestite tales also made the top 100 - Mrs Doubtfire at 67 and Victor/Victoria at 76.

"I can't figure it out. I guess with Americans in the year 2000, transgender is no longer transgressive," said Time magazine film critic Richard Schickel.

The runners up

The other top 10 films featured a variety of themes, from New York Jewish angst in Annie Hall to a black sheriff trying to maintain law and order in the Wild West in Mel Brook's Blazing Saddles.

Top 10 American comedies
Some Like It Hot, 1959
Tootsie, 1982
Dr Strangelove, 1964
Annie Hall, 1974
Duck Soup, 1933
Blazing Saddles, 1974
M*A*S*H*, 1970
It Happened One Night, 1934
The Graduate, 1967
Airplane! 1980
Third in the list was Stanley Kubrick's Cold War classic Dr Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb in which Peter Sellers plays an unlucky American president, among other roles.

The list - presented on television in a three-hour CBS special - was the third from the institute.

Last year, AFI ranked the top 50 screen legends, which was topped by Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.

Two years ago, Citizen Kane came top of a list of the best 100 American films.

Scene from Dr Strangelove
Dr Strangelove came in third in the list
Voters in the jury chose their funniest movies from a list of 500 nominees drawn up by AFI.

The poll suggests that Cary Grant was the most popular comedy actor. He appeared in 17 of the films balloted.

Myrna Loy, the star of such films as A Girl in Every Port (1928) and The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), led the comedy actresses, appearing in 10 of the AFI's best 500 chosen comedies.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

11 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Hunt on for Hollywood's funniest
31 May 99 | Tom Brook
Hollywood's controversial list
17 Mar 00 | Oscars 2000
Beauty leads Oscars field
17 Jun 98 | Entertainment
Citizen Kane tops movie lists
23 Jun 98 | Entertainment
List of top 100 films a "scandal"
03 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Royal approval for Sellers society
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories