These kinds of things are always hard to say definitively, due to rampant deterioration and poor documentation, but Harold Lloyd’s 1925 masterpiece The Freshman may well have been the cinema’s first sports comedy. It was certainly the first sports comedy to prove a monster hit, setting up nearly 90 years of athletics-related laughs at the movies. In celebration of The Freshman’s Blu-ray and DVD release today (thanks to our good friends over at the Criterion Collection), here’s a look at some of the finest and funniest sports comedies ever made.
George Clooney’s 2008 football comedy was widely dismissed by critics, who seemed disappointed he didn’t deliver another serious message movie like its predecessor, Good Night and Good Luck. But viewed with an open mind, it’s a likeable and frequently hilarious screwball comedy throwback, as well as a rather eye-opening look at the rough-and-tumble nature of pro football, circa 1925 (coincidentally enough, the year of The Freshman’s release).