Ranking the top 5 Don Knotts movies

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of 'The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,' we count down a handful of Knotts comedies.

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Don Knotts' follow-up to The Incredible Mr. Limpet and the second film to headline the comedian in the mid-1960s. By that time, Knotts had left the main reoccurring cast of The Andy Griffith Show, as Barney Fife made his last appearance as a regular character in the spring of 1965, at the end of the series' black & white run.

Though Knotts had appeared in a few movies prior, Andy established the actor a comedy superstar. In his two decades following the sitcom, Knotts churned out dozens of comedies, primarily for Disney and Universal, which ranged from the silly to the surreal to spoofs. Long before Air Bud came around, Knotts was starring alongside a football-playing mule in Gus.

Nobody will mistake this lighthearted matinee fare for cinematic masterpieces, but the movies hold a special place in our heart. We watched some of these over and over as kids, especially when they aired on TV as part of The Wonderful World of Disney.

Which was your favorite?

5. The Reluctant Astronaut (1967)

"Me, an astronaut? I can't even get up on the chair to get the marmalade!" Knotts is a NASA janitor who gets his chance in outer space. Were suckers for anything set in space, and there are some nifty low-tech effects for zero gravity. It also costars Leslie Nielsen, proving early on that he had the comedy chops for flicks like The Naked Gun.

4. The Private Eyes (1980)

Conway and Knotts made several films together (including No. 1 on our list), few funnier than this spoof of Sherlock Holmes. Props include a handgun set to go off at the top of ever hour and a fake pigeon thrown through a window.

3. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)

A trembling coward must investigate a haunted house. Not to be confused with The Shakiest Gun in the West. Nobody did cowardice better.

2. The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964)

The Roger Rabbit of its time, Limpet brilliantly blended Disney animation and live action. The trailer kept its promise: "Sure to be the most incredibly delightful movie about a man who turns into a fish that you'll see this year." Please don't remake this with CGI.

1. The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975) 

This western comedy classic featured the strongest plot and setting, with Knotts and Conway playing outlaws performing a heist. Harry Morgan saying, "Your rear end's on fire, Theodore" gets us every time. 

 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

4 Comments

Post a comment
Nana10 10 months ago
My favorite Don Knotts movie is "The Love God?". It had a fantastic cast, and something missing today, good acting. Everyone should see this film at least once. I first saw this film when I was a child, and even then, I knew it was destined to be a collector's item.
JoeSHill 11 months ago
Don Knotts' movies were highly unique, but given his success from CBS's "THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW", his motion picture career was highly impressive, beginning with Warner Bros. Pictures' "THE INCREDIBLE MR LIMPET" (1964) that was directed by "MISTER ED"s Arthur Lubin, and animated by Warner animators under animator-director Robert McKimson, along with Hawley Pratt, Gerry Chiniquy, and Maurice Noble, this animated and live-action movie had a very "Walt Disney" touch to it, but in general, it was an impressive family-friendly motion picture that was worth its weight in gold! shortly after the impact of his 1964 movie, Universal Pictures expanded Don Knotts movie career with classics like "THE SHAKIEST GUN IN THE WEST" (1965) "THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN" (1966) "THE RELUCTANT ASTRONAUT" (1967) "THE LOVE GOD" (1969) and "HOW TO FRAME A FIGG" (1971) and all these Universal releases used the familiar and whimsical music of Vic Mizzy ("THE ADDAMS FAMILY" & "GREEN ACRES") that went hand in hand with Don Knotts! all true classics and superiors in their own right!
TexasGreek JoeSHill 6 months ago
Own'em all and lov'em all!
Dario 18 months ago
The Apple Dumpling Gang was one of the highest money-making films in the USA in 1975. 💲💰💵📽️😁
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?