Don Knotts will always be one of the funniest guys to grace our television sets. One of his most beloved roles was playing Sheriff Andy Taylor's hilarious sidekick, Deputy Barney Fife, on Return To Mayberry and The Andy Griffith Show, the classic sitcom that earned him five Emmy Awards. He also played John Ritter's hilarious landlord Ralph Furley on Three's Company among countless other memorable roles throughout his celebrated career including roles on Matlock, The Steve Allen Show and his own variety show The Don Knotts Show.
In addition to being a lead character on numerous TV shows, Knotts was the go-to funny man in Hollywood with an incredibly successful film career. Feature films like Gus, The Prize Fighter, No Time for Sergeants, Move Over, Darling, Wake Me When It's Over, and The Last Time I Saw Archie have become beloved classics. Knotts continued appearing in films like Pleasantville later in his career and frequently had voiceover roles in films including Air Buddies (his final role), Disney's Chicken Little, and Cats Don't Dance.
Though it's hard to narrow down, these are the 11 best Don Knotts movies.
1. Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo
The third installment in the Herbie The Love Bug series brings Knotts in as new character Wheely Applegate, race car driver Jim Douglas's eccentric mechanic. They prepare to take the beloved Beatle on a race from Paris to Monte Carlo.
In this live-action/animated comedy, Knotts plays the character Henry Limpet, a shy bookkeeper who loves fish so much he ends up turning into one. During the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, he helps the U.S. Navy from the ocean and gets other fish involved.
3. The Reluctant Astronaut
Roy Fleming is a spaceship ride operator in Missouri. He gets accepted as a janitor at NASA although his parents believe that he is going to be an astronaut. When the Russians decide to send a dentist into space, Roy is selected as the least likely to go to space and NASA sends him up. It's a sweet story of the underdog pulling through.
4. The Love God
This was one of Knotts's first roles in more of an adult film after starring in a slew of G-rated Disney movies. The comedian played the role of Abner Audubon Peacock IV who owns a bird watching magazine that is in financial trouble. When he brings in a new partner it gets turned into a "gentleman's magazine" and Abner is thrown into a new life as a playboy.
5. No Deposit, No Return
In this film, two children hold themselves ransom with help from criminal Duke and his eccentric sidekick Bert (played by Knotts). Knotts does what he does best, playing the loveable number two who will constantly keep you laughing.
6. The Private Eyes
Filmed at the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, Knotts plays Inspector Winship, a bumbling American detective working for Scotland Yard with his partner played by Tim Conway. The unlikely duo investigates a murder in the historic mansion, fumbling their way to the truth.
7. How To Frame a Figg
Hollis Alexander Figg is a bookkeeper's assistant who gets framed for embezzlement. Figg must escape the Assistant State Attorney General and find the evidence he needs to prove his innocence.
8. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
This comedy horror film follows Luther Heggs, a newspaper typesetter as he spends the night inside of a haunted house. Don Knotts paired with a haunted house? It's everything you think it will be and more.
9. Hot Lead and Cold Feet
Knotts plays the role of Sheriff Denver Kid who works to uncover a conspiracy in the town of Bloodshy. Jim Dale, Darren McGavin and Jack Elam co-star in this hilarious western.
10. The Shakiest Gun In The West
If that title doesn't just make you think of Knotts in the Old West, I don't know what would. The actor plays Jesse W. Heywood who moves out to the western frontier from Philadelphia to become a dentist. There are Native American attacks, gunfights and a whole lot of action that Heywood wasn't expecting on his new adventure.
11. The Apple Dumpling Gang and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again
The hilarious Apple Dumpling Gang was the first comedy film to bring Don Knotts and Tim Conway together as the ultimate comedic duo. Another film set in the old west, the two men star as former members of the Stillwell Gang who try to steal their gold and escape to Mexico. The sequel brings the two men back as they have "gone straight" and get falsely accused of a bank robbery.