The 12 Funniest On-Screen Punches

So I was watching the film The Descendants, and I couldn’t help but to laugh my ass off when the grandfather points to Nick Krause’s dumb-ass character and says “I’m going to hit you.” – Then, without any room for discussion he proves to be a man of his word.

It got me thinking about some of the other great comedic punches out there, and soon enough I was assigning my wonder into list form.

Violence and comedy together at last!

12. Independence Day – Welcome to Earth

Weirdly enough, while this hit is meant to be funny in the first place, I don’t think people find it funny in that way. It’s obviously a joke written in, but the real joke is that it exists in the film as a fairly big plot point.

Writer 1: So how are we going to get the alien to Area 51?

Writer 2: What if Will Smith captures it and brings it there?

Writer 1: How the hell is Will Smith going to capture a giant exoskeletoned alien?

Writer 2: Um… Well he can punch it and say something funny.

Writer 1: That’s brilliant! It can be funny, AND we don’t have to do our jobs! Hey is there any Sparks left in the cooler?

I know I know – Sparks didn’t exist when ID4 was written but if they didn’t have to write sense then neither do I.

Don’t get me wrong – I love this film, but not for its realism or plot consistency. And this moment is one of the best – it’s almost like the film is spoofing itself.

11. Groundhog Day – Bill Murray Does What We All Wanted To Do

This is probably the least surprising punch on this list, as we spend most of the time preceding it wondering just when it will happen. Obviously Bill Murray is the absolute best in the world, but I have to give much props to Stephen Tobolowsky for giving us a amazingly punch-worthy performance up until this part.

Seriously… every movement and word from this guy just stinks of irritant. You just want to punch his stupid face off his body and then kick it down the street into the slushy gutter like a soccer ball.

Fun fact about this scene is that the town they shot this movie in, Woodstock Illinois, has since set up two plaques not only marking the corner in which this scene was shot – “Ned’s Corner” as it is called – but also actually marking the very place where Bill Murray stepped in the puddle.

10. Slap Shot – The Hanson Brothers Make Their Debut

Okay, this is kind of a series of punches but whatever; this film is fantastic. It tells the tale of Paul Newman kicking the hell out of people on ice, how can it not be excellent? It’s probably my favorite of his films, and it’s certainly my favorite sports film of all time.

Throughout the first part of this film we get introduced to the Hanson Brothers, who appear to be complete children in every way – going so far as to bring model trains with them on away games. The one thing that is certain about them is that they are very eager to get started after spending so long on the bench, and when they do finally get their chance they prove to be surprisingly brutal to the point of completely throwing out any semblance of actual hockey playing. They go after everyone, including refs, fans, and even the friggin’ keyboard player. Soon enough the entire team models their playing style after this trio, making for some great hockey.

9. Tropic Thunder – Video Chat Punch

I never saw the MTV movie awards or anything Les Grossman-style besides this film – so I have to admit that the novelty never really wore off for me. I love this character so much because it makes me like Tom Cruise, and I want to like Tom Cruise. He may be a tad loony and is probably a real ass to meet but he knows how to entertain and he’s been doing it forever so more power to the crazy dude. Honestly I never knew such a foul-mouthed character was even in him, so I was very delighted to see this.

The punch is amazing for two reasons – the first is the obvious joke that he is so pissed at this director that he gets a key grip to punch him, and of course the key grip has no doubts about it. The second thing is just how painful the punch really looks – it’s a hell of a punch, you can actually feel it when it happens. Such a flinch-inducing act is extra hilarious when the actual attacker is doing it out of indifference, delivering it after a bland shrug and apology for just following orders.

8. The Way Of The Gun – Ryan Phillippe vs. Sarah Silverman

This is just… the best opening scene of a film. It’s totally independent from the rest of the story but it also establishes our two main characters so well without them even really saying or doing much of anything. Silverman clearly owns the scene with her amazing trash talk, that is, up until Phillippe delivers the winning blow… the only blow actually… and shuts her right up.

It’s funny because it’s the last thing we expect to come from this situation – especially when they get their asses handed to them by the crowd afterward. We expect something cool or badass to happen but instead we get something arguably better. It establishes these guys perfectly as both tough guys and jackasses. Also it’s not as if they aren’t being fair – after all if anyone deserves to be punched in that scene it’s clearly Silverman’s character.

7. Dumb And Dumber – “Get Off The Phone.”

Right through the glass! First off lets hear it for Mike Starr, the character actor who has no doubt played his fair share of Joes and Als. In fact, this guy has had almost 200 roles at this point, so yeah – congrats. The other guy, the punch receiver or as credited “Anxious Man at Phone” is Fred Stroller, another industry regular – mostly appearing on television.

Getting that out of the way, great punch. It’s the way he leads the guy into the hit that does me in. Great movie too… I could actually go on and on about it but I’d rather use this space of Internet to remind/inform people that there is actually going to be a sequel to this film. No, not a shitty prequel but an actual, Farrelly Brothers directed sequel in the works planned to star Jim Carry and Jeff Daniels. If this actually happens the world will officially become a way happier place.

David is a video editor, writer, and movie fanatic. After graduating from Full Sail University he now spends his days in Western Massachusetts working as a freelance article and sketch writer, as well as a comedy workshop moderator for Cracked.com. (Click Here to View David's work on Cracked.com) He enjoys over-analyzing movies, punk rock, and referring to himself in the third person.

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