Film Rankings

For the curious, to get a sense of exactly what you're dealing with, here are the three hosts' current rankings of the Marx Brothers' thirteen films, in order of decreasing preference. (We refer you to Episode 1 for an in-depth discussion.) We reserve the right to revise our rankings at any moment, and above all, don't worry.

Matthew's list

      1.    Animal Crackers
      2.    The Cocoanuts
      3-4. Monkey Business / Horse Feathers 
      5.    A Night at the Opera 
      6.    Duck Soup 
      7.    A Night in Casablanca 
      8.    A Day at the Races 
      9.    Room Service 
      10.   The Big Store 
      11.   At the Circus 
      12.   Love Happy 
      13.   Go West

Bob's list

  1. Animal Crackers
  2. Duck Soup
  3. Horse Feathers
  4. The Cocoanuts
  5. Monkey Business
  6. A Night at the Opera
  7. A Day at the Races
  8. A Night in Casablanca
  9. At The Circus
  10. The Big Store
  11. Go West
  12. Love Happy
  13. Room Service

Bob notes: "I really don't like having to include Room Service and Love Happy at all. They shouldn't be compared to the others..."

Noah's list

  1. Animal Crackers
  2. Horse Feathers
  3. The Cocoanuts
  4. Duck Soup
  5. Monkey Business
  6. A Night at the Opera
  7. A Day at the Races
  8. A Night in Casablanca
  9. The Big Store
  10. Room Service
  11. At the Circus
  12. Go West
  13. Love Happy

Note: For the purposes of these rankings, we're considering only the thirteen canonical Marx Brothers movies. If we were widening the scope, of course, the lists would look quite different, as we all consider The Story of Mankind to be the greatest film ever made, with the possible exception of Skidoo.


  1. Funny how "Animal Crackers" has gone up in popularity over the years; maybe I should give it another look.

    "Room Service" is dull -- a weird hybrid of Marx Bros. and straight stage-to-film adaptation, and neither being satisfying. "Go West" is my least favorite -- it almost seems like it was written for Abbott & Costello, then re-written to include Harpo. At least "The Big Store" feels like the Marx Brothers, even if it doesn't quite succeed.

    By the way, I met one of the dancers from "The Big Store" about 20 years ago. Her strongest memory was that Groucho was very funny between takes. As we talked, I realized I had watched her as part of a three-person dance team on the Ed Sullivan in the early '60s!

  2. Not that anyone should care but I think "Go West" is their worst movie. There are some decent gags but the spirit is all wrong. Their best movies express an ebullient contempt for the dishonest drudgery of it all. In GW, they're stupid tepid buffoons with edge almost completely gone. Even the train sequence can't save it.

  3. 1.Duck Soup 2.A Night at the opera 3.Animal crackers 4.Horse feathers 5.Monkey business 6.the coconanuts 7.A Day at the races 8.a night in Casablanca 9.Room service 10.the big store 11.At the circus 12.Go west 13Love Happy that's my list but I can switch a couple here and there depending on my mood maybe animal crackers number 2 it was Grouchos favorite so it's very close I sometimes dont like to put a night at the opera at 2 only because Zeppo is not there but it's hard not to

  4. Well, seven out of thirteen ain't bad. As a matter of fact, seven are pretty good. Well, five out of seven are actually as good as it gets - and it gets pretty good, in my opinion. Not that you asked. What this country needs is a seven cent nickel. Or at least seven excellent Marx Brothers movies, because we sure could use a laugh.

  5. I'm pretty sure may be the only remaining human* who actually thinks Go West isn't that bad. It's higher up on my ranking of the lower half of their careers.

    *Horses love it.

    1. Though the Native American scene is very, very cringworthy...

  6. My list is fairly different than most I've seen:
    1. Animal Crackers
    2. Duck Soup
    3. Monkey Business
    4. A Night at the Opera
    5. The Cocoanuts
    6. Horsefeathers
    7. Room Service
    8. Go West
    9. A Night in Casablanca
    10. A Day at the Races
    11. The Big Store
    12. At the Circus
    13. Love Happy

    (...but my order shifts regularly 🤷‍♀️)

  7. I love the Tutsi-Frutsi scene.

  8. Classic:
    S. Quentin Quale : You love your brother, don't you?

    Joseph Panello : No, but I'm used to him.

    1. I frequently see that cited as a great line; indeed an online review of my book claimed that it was significantly compromised by my failure to stop and note its magnificence. I don't think it ever even made me smile.

  9. I love this podcast having only just discovered it a couple of weeks ago. Having just listened to episode 21 I hope to be up to date by the time episode 31 drops.

    My Marx movie rankings, for the heck of it:

    1) Animal Crackers
    2) Duck Soup
    3) A Night at the Opera
    4) The Cocoanuts
    5) Horse Feathers
    6) Monkey Business
    7) Room Service
    8) A Day at the Races
    9) The Big Store
    10) A Night in Casablanca
    11) At The Circus
    12) Go West
    13) Love Happy

    For those wondering, I have Room Service higher than most purely for Harpo's facial expression when he's introduced as the brains of the organisation; just glorious.

  10. I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying the podcasts. (Brain Donors was especially fine ... and you were very gracious to the guests.)

    Just for the sake of putting it here, my list would be:

    1. Horse Feathers (I think this is they boiled down to their essence)
    2. Monkey Business
    3. Animal Crackers
    4. Duck Soup
    5. The Cocoanuts
    6. A Night at the Opera
    7. A Night in Casablanca
    8. A Day at the Races
    9. At the Circus
    10. The Big Store
    11. Room Service
    12. Go West
    13. Love Happy

  11. Love listening to the podcast, but a bit surprised how forgiving the hosts are of "Room Service" and how hard they are on "At the Circus." Both are definitely lower-tier, but I think there are quite a few laughs in "Circus," while "Room Service" mainly grates on me. I'm rewatching all the films in chronological order for my own pleasure and ranking. Still have 2 to go, but hard to imagine anything will displace "The Big Store" at the bottom. It is the one film I find really hard to even sit through. Keep up the good work.

  12. It's hard enough getting ppl to agree on the day of the week. I enjoyed seeing everyone's take on the Marx's incredible film career...
    Taste is a matter of Taste

  13. My fav list of the Marx's movies
    1.Duck Soup
    2.Monkey Business
    3.A Night at the Opera
    4.Animal Crackers
    5.Horse Feathers
    6.A Day at the Races
    7.The Coconuts
    8.The Big Store
    9.Room Service
    10.Love Happy
    11.Night in Casablanca
    12.Go West
    13.At the Circus

  14. I guess I am the only one with Monkey Business as their #1

  15. Most lists have Duck Soup in the top spot, but Animal Crackers has always been my favorite. Glad to see some others putting it at the top as well.

  16. Here is my list:

    Horse Feathers (I wish the entire Thelma Todd scene was intact, though.)
    Duck Soup (Wall to wall laughs)
    Monkey Business (Stepped off the stage and into the movies)
    Animal Crackers
    A Day at the Races (It ranks a little lower if I don't fast forward through Allen Jones and his singing.)
    A Night at the Opera
    Go West (I like it a lot better than a lot of you do)
    A Night in Casablanca
    Room Service (I like the story even if the Brothers aren't in full madcap mode.)
    At the Circus (The songs and the love story are atrocious. Most of the gags don't quite land. When Margaret Dumont arrives, it picks up considerably. Lydia the Tattooed lady is a brilliant song.)
    Love Happy
    The Big Store


Episode 48: Your Silent Partner

"I am the most fortunate self-taught harpist  and non-speaking actor who ever lived." Harpo Marx Official description: "With...