With April Fool’s Day in the recent past, now is the perfect time to examine the best movie pranks. Comedies have relied on shock value and slapstick showmanship for decades now – but some of the best moments of comedic genius lie in elaborate (or sometimes NOT-so-elaborate) pranks.
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Whether they’re played on a fellow character, on unwitting bystanders, or even on the audience, pranks are a good, old-fashioned form of fun. Pranks can come in all different shapes and sizes – but which ones truly carry the most shock value?
The Long Game In April Fool’s Day (1986)
This 1986 comedy slasher film has several small pranks scattered throughout but is best-known for the prank that stretches over the course of the movie. April Fool’s Day culminates with the big reveal that all of the movie’s horror has, in fact, been staged and that no one has been harmed.
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Redditor garrisontweed cites this movie as their favorite, and for good reason: the entire film itself is an exceptionally elaborate prank that is designed even to catch the audience by surprise.
A Cruel Prank In Happy Death Day (2017)
Happy Death Day is a comedic slasher film that mixed genres excellently and was released in 2017 to multiple accolades and massive success. The film follows the main character as she is caught in a horrific time loop, at the end of which her friend makes her think she is still trapped in the loop.
This prank is not incredibly elaborate, but Redditor TheUndeadMonkey claims it as their favorite movie prank. This prank’s appeal lies in the shock factor it has to new viewers of the film who may also be tricked into thinking the loop has not ended.
Prank-Ception In Jackass Number Two (2006)
Jackass Number Two is a prank-filled spectacle that debuted in 2006. In the film, the cast and crew decide to prank Ehren McGhehey by interfering with one of his planned pranks. The end result is a masterpiece of a trick that is the crown jewel of the entire film.
A now-deleted Reddit user cites this prank as their favorite movie prank ever. The timeless appeal of this trick is likely caused by the fact that it is a prank within a prank and occurs at the expense of the character who normally initiates the pranks.
Wedding Fiasco In Dirty Grandpa (2016)
Dirty Grandpa was released in 2016 and follows the story of a grandfather and grandson duo as they get to know each other. It also features Robert De Niro in arguably one of his funniest roles.
A now-deleted Reddit user states that the entire film is their favorite for all the ways that the two prank each other. Although there are many pranks in this film, the one that stands out is the prank that ultimately results in chaos at the wedding. This prank is the best in the film because it has a wholesome intent and also because it is the culmination of all the prior pranks.
Borat (2006): The Entire Film
Borat is a comedic mockumentary that debuted in 2006. The entirety of the film is such a closely strung-together series of pranks that the whole film can rightfully be considered a massive prank, with Reddit user TrentAA66 saying that the entire film is their favorite prank.
The pranks that Borat features are largely unscripted and operate at the expense of the surrounding bystanders. Borat’s pranks are the best because they are over the top and feature genuine reactions from those who are unwittingly involved.
Revenge Prank In Real Genius (1985)
Real Genius hit theaters in 1985 and received positive approval from crowds and critics alike. This movie has a collection of quality pranks, but a now-deleted Reddit user says that the popcorn prank at the end was their absolute favorite in the film.
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The popcorn prank that finishes the film is quite clever, but it’s the mix of motivations that makes it so interesting. The prank is not performed out of friendly nature but is rather fueled by revenge and a sense of justice as the prank’s subject gets what he deserves.
Prank Extravaganza In Dirty Work (1998)
This film premiered in 1998 and features an interestingly diverse but time-tested cast. Dirty Work is essentially a compilation of different pranks, and Reddit user devastashawn says that the whole movie is their favorite set of pranks.
Although there are certainly a few winners in the film, the elaborate extravaganza of a prank at the end truly deserves the crown. The trick is wild and has so many moving parts that just the ability to pull it off is admirable, which is what makes this one of the best pranks.
Spinning Car In Out Cold (2001)
Out Cold is a comedy parody that was released in 2001. The film is meant to parody the ski-lodge movie trope, which makes it ripe for good practical jokes. In particular, Redditor NiceHandsLarry11 says that the spinning car prank is their favorite.
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This one was hilarious because it was based in goodwill between friends and because everyone involved came together to make it more believable. The group of friends had to work together to pull off the spinning car prank – and group pranks are the best kind.
Atomic Peppers In Dumb And Dumber (1994)
Dumb and Dumber is a buddy comedy that debuted in 1994 with a star-studded cast. The film has its fair share of comedic moments, but Reddit user ZorroMeansFox says that their favorite scene is the atomic pepper prank, where a character is coaxed into eating a chili pepper and ultimately dies due to it.
Although the prank turns sour, the innocent goofiness surrounding the prank almost makes it wholesome. The dichotomy between the innocence and the dark result is what makes this prank in the classic buddy comedy one of the best.
‘Just Married’ In Lady Bird (2017)
Lady Bird is an artistic coming-of-age film that recently debuted in 2017 and is one of Saoirse Ronan’s best films. The film’s main character is an adolescent girl who attends a Catholic school and rebels against its strict teachings. In one act of rebellion, the titular Lady Bird pokes fun at the nuns for being ‘married to Jesus.’ Reddit user MissBonny thought this prank was truly funny.
This prank is one of the best because it is a harmless act of rebellion that is designed to reflect a nature of good fun, which is how pranks are supposed to be.
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About The Author
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Grace is an avid reader and entertainment critic who enjoys keeping up to date on the latest entertainment trends. She has a bachelor’s degree in creative arts and has used her writing abilities to write articles, blog posts, songs, and poetry. She is currently a freelance list writer with Screenrant and also a freelance ghostwriter with Gr0 Marketing, where she writes blog posts for top industry professionals. In her free time, Grace enjoys reading a good book, baking sweet treats, drinking coffee, and going on walks with her husband.
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