Carry On Films: Best to Worst

I have recently discovered that over the years, I have watched every single Carry On film. From watching my first as a child, I have now seen all 31, although not in order.

These low-budget British comedy films, all produced by Peter Rogers and directed by Gerald Thomas, had a regular cast and were a staple of British cinema for twenty years, from 1958 to 1978. The final film in the series, Carry on Columbus, was made in 1992.

This has led me to compile a list containing all 31 Carry On films, in my personal order of best to worst:

  1. Carry On Screaming! (1966)
  2. Carry On Camping (1969)
  3. Carry On Cleo (1964)
  4. Carry On Regardless (1961)
  5. Carry On Spying (1964)
  6. Carry On Doctor (1967)
  7. Carry On Cruising (1962)
  8. Carry On Cabby (1963)
  9. Carry On… Follow that Camel (1967)
  10. Carry On Henry (1971)
  11. Carry On… Up the Khyber (1968)
  12. Carry On Sergeant (1958)
  13. Carry On Nurse (1959)
  14. Carry On Up the Jungle (1970)
  15. Carry On Abroad (1972)
  16. Carry On Again Doctor (1969)
  17. Carry On Cowboy (1965)
  18. Carry On Jack (1963)
  19. Carry On… Don’t Lose Your Head (1966)
  20. Carry On Constable (1960)
  21. Carry On Teacher (1959)
  22. Carry On Loving (1970)
  23. Carry On Dick (1974)
  24. Carry On Behind (1975)
  25. Carry On Matron (1972)
  26. Carry On at Your Convenience (1971)
  27. Carry On Girls (1973)
  28. That’s Carry On! (1977)
  29. Carry On England (1976)
  30. Carry On Columbus (1992)
  31. Carry On Emmannuelle (1978)

Perhaps anyone who knows the Carry On film series will not be overly surprised by this list. The general public favourites are mostly at the top of this list, and the films regarded with less satisfaction are mostly at the bottom of this list.

I am not sure why my list is in this order, it is just judged on how I felt upon recently re-watching a film or looking back. The films I esteem higher are more likely to be those I would have watched as a child.

  • Numbers 1 to 4 (Screaming, Camping, Cleo & Regardless) are my absolute favourites.
  • Numbers 5 to 15 are very good.
  • Numbers 16 to 22 are good.
  • Numbers 23 to 28 are okay.
  • Numbers 29 to 31 are poor.

I would be very interested to hear other opinions of the Carry On films, so please let me know what you think of this list and the films in the comments below!

About writingsuzanne

Film Lover
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94 Responses to Carry On Films: Best to Worst

  1. I was never a great fan of the series, even though they contained actors I was or am very fond of. Having said that, there are certain scenes in some of them that always make me laugh!

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  2. The Craggus says:

    Ouch at Khyber being number 11 – it’s my personal favourite and I’d maybe put Abroad a bit higher but other than that, hard to argue with most of the placings. I quite fancy watching a few of them again now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment. I knew when I posted this, that I would almost certainly get a comment telling me that Khyber should be higher, so thank you for fulfilling that! I do rank it as ‘very good’, and I really love Roy Castle being in it. There is also the famous dinner scene at the end – one of the most memorable and funny Carry On scenes!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Having seen the list my top three would be Screaming at one, Cabby at two and Spying at three.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jamie says:

    Yes, as someone above wrote, these films had some very talented actors in them and maybe the scripts didn’t always reflect this. I agree with your top choices, they show off a side of British humour at its best. Innocently and knowingly naughty.

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  5. Reblogged this on Writing Suzanne and commented:

    I am very pleased to be featured on Carry On Blogging (http://carryonfan.blogspot.co.uk/) with this post as a ‘guest blog’. Please check it out here: http://carryonfan.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/guest-blog-carry-on-films-best-to-worst.html and you can follow Carry On Blogging on Twitter: @CarryOnJoan

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  6. Pingback: Carry On Blogging! | Writing Suzanne

  7. theswitz says:

    Looks like I’m going to have to keep with the Hallowe’en season and check out Carry On Screaming!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the Carry On flicks and keep thinking I need to feature one. Perhaps your feature will give me the nudge I needed. So many fun players in this series that worked there magic perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment – completely agree! Have you got a favourite Carry On film?

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      • It’s been a while since I’ve watched them. They kind of blur together. I recall the older black and whites like Cabby are fun but not as risqué. Screaming was fun because I like the monster films of the classical era. The raunchiness of Dick can be amusing. For me it’s more the vignettes with guys like Sid James, Kenneth Williams or Miss Windsor and Hattie Jacques that stand out.

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  9. First of all, thanks for the follow!
    Secondly, Cleo is a big favourite of mine, if only for the scene where Charles Hawtrey falls off a balcony whilst dressed as a giant vase and the crowd ask him “who are you?” and he replies with “Just call me Urn.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Martin says:

    Love this post. I’ve got a soft spot for Carry On Cowboy. When I was about six a carry on film on telly was the most exciting thing that could possibly happen (this was 1975) and I still can feel my distress when about twenty minutes into Carry On Cowboy there was a power cut (again – it was the 70s!) and I missed the rest. With only 3 channels, no videos,DVDs, Internet etc you had to wait about another three years until it came on again. I was inconsolable.

    Thanks for the follow.
    M

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  11. beetleypete says:

    I mostly love all the Carry On films. Something about them being so British, and having that cosy feel of the same regular cast. And because of my age, it might have had something to do with all those stocking tops, and Liz Fraser in a bullet bra or Balconette corset!
    My own favourite is ‘Cabby’, which only made number 8 on your list. I agree that the later ones started to get quite lame.
    Thanks for following my blog. It is greatly appreciated.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Paul says:

    Carry on at your convenience I think is a good one.it would be a lot higher on my list.
    I agree emmanuel one is the worst.even though I havent seen it all.
    Abroad I would put higher up along with cabby lower down spying and screaming.for me.

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    • Paul says:

      I also liked dont lose your head when I first saw it and is one of my favourites.when I met my girlfriend who later became my wife.she had them all on video.a few yrs later I bought her the whole dvd collection.she likes carry on screaming.it is hard to put them in order and as much of a fan I have been I havent seen them all.bad reviews on columbus put me of.like I mentioned before emmanuelle ive seen about half of it and its awful.of the later ones I would say carry on behind when windsor davies replaced sid james was ok.the older ones are better.camping.doctor.dick to would be up there for me.

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  13. Ken Hodges says:

    Interesting list Suzanne! I couldn’t agree more that ‘Screaming’ and ‘Camping’ should be right up there at the top of the list, but ‘Kyber’ and ‘Dont Lose your Head’ should also be there with them!. ‘Cleo’ I always thought was over-rated, and ‘Spying’ wasn’t that good either! ‘Doctor’ was the best of the medical romps and ‘Follow that Camel’ was let down by Phil Silvers who was totally out of place! ‘Behind’ was better than it was given credit for, despite that some of the regulars were missing! ‘Regardless’ was good, but patchy and ‘Jack’ was poor and should be further down the list. The bottom three on list deserved to be there!

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    • Thanks for the comment! So if you had to pick Screaming or Camping as no.1, what would you choose?

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      • Ken Hodges says:

        Thtat’s really a tough one, and I hate not being able to give you a precise answer at this stage, but if it’s anything to go by, I have probably seen ‘Camping’ more than ‘Screaming’
        I think it was Barry Norman though who once said that any ‘Carry On’ without Sid Jame suffered as a consequence, but he was so wrong because Harry H Corbett who replaced James in ‘Screaming’ was superb!

        Liked by 1 person

        • One of my reasons for picking Screaming as first is how much I enjoy Corbett in that role – I imagine it very differently with Sid James. But I love Sid James in Camping!

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          • Ken Hodges says:

            Fenella Fielding was also a great asset in ‘Screaming’ I don’t think she appeared in any other ‘Carry On’ apart from a brief appearance in one of the sketches in ‘Regardless’

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  14. Felicity says:

    Thank you for sharing your list. I remember watching these as a child on tv in the late 80s early 90s. They just popped into my head for some reason and I have a yearning to watch them. I can barely remember anything about the show itself but all the positive associations of that time in my life. My husband is American so I was telling him about them and we are going to watch a few together will be fun to see if he finds them funny! Your list will help us watch one that isn’t a dud!

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    • Thank you for your comment! Once you and your husband have watched a few, you’ll have to let me know if they’re as you remember, and if you agree with my list 🙂

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  15. vinnieh says:

    I believe I’ve only seen two of these, which is pretty shameless. Will have to watch the rest. Thank you for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: A Carry On Bonanza! | vinnieh

  17. Rob says:

    What a useful list! I have bought the DVD collection of all the films and was wandering which ones to watch first :-). Now I know 🙂 These films always bring a smile to my face. Priceless.

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  18. Ed says:

    Personally I think Carry on at your convenience is one of the better carry on films. Certainly of the later films. It has some great moments and full cast. The anti union political sentiment is pretty appalling in hindsight!

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    • I don’t know if this is true, but someone told me that it was the first Carry On film to lose money at the Box Office. Perhaps it wasn’t the best plot to have, for the ‘normal’ Carry On audience!

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  19. Colin R. says:

    Carry on Screaming definitely the best for playing the Hammer genre so well and also because the casting works (& because of Fenella Fielding). Up The Khyber & Cleo also up there and I have a soft spot for Sergeant.
    Carry on Camping is not a favourite. Sid James on his own is fine but him and Barbara Windsor really is a combination that didn’t work for me and that was the “chemistry” that the producers insisted on from about 1970 onwards.
    Typing while watching Regardless on Film4!

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  20. Gareth Lord says:

    Was a huge carry on film fan growing up and think your list is great although never considered that’s carry on a true film. For me my fav was carry on doctor. Closely followed by follow that camel, Khyber, Cleo, Cowboy, Henry and abroad. Screaming always left me with an eerie feel as a kid and not as overtly funny but would still feature in the mid range. Always had a soft spot for most of the black and white ones especially teacher and constible albeit never much a fan of nurse which was the most popular. Don’t lose your head had a lot of unique humour and like you most of the 70s ones aside from jungle, loving and convenience were the poor. England being by far my least fav (one of the worst movies ive dver seen) with Emmanuelle, behind and then Columbus. Dick was also quite seedy (no carry on pun intended)

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  21. Brickinnit says:

    Thanks for this review – really good! The reason I came across this is because I’m re-watching these after many years – forgotten how fun they are! I think you have a done a great job in ranking the films and I mostly agree. However, for some reason, I just don’t find Carry on Screaming that funny. I love the horror genre so this film should be right up my alley but I’d put this one mid-range at best. Follow that Camel, Cleo, Camping, Khyber, Cruising are my top 5 but I’m too much of a wimp to try and rank/separate them! 🙂

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  22. stepheng says:

    I was always a fan of the carry on movies, a staple of my childhood TV years.
    I always preferred the modern day themes of the movies more than the historical comedy.
    The best for me and I’m sure most is Carry on Camping, I think it is nigh on perfect with constant on going effective wit and comedy in every scene.
    The characters are some of the most memorable, I really enjoyed the Potter husband and wife with Mrs Potter mostly ignoring her husband throughout and laughing at his misfortunes.
    Personal other favourites are the hospital themed movies Doctor, Again Doctor and Matron.
    I enjoyed Loving and At your convenience also despite it being pretty low on the list here.
    Of the old school movies I am fond of Cruising.
    Overall the carry on team and movies was very unique and I will always view them as national treasures.

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  23. I would be very interested to hear too opinions

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  24. Wallace Trickett says:

    I,ve only just started watching the series after being sent ‘Carry on Teacher’. Really enjoyed it, Leslie Phillips at his best and Charles Hawtrey along with Kenneth Connor as the unfortunates to the students pranks. Joan Sims as the PT teacher was funny too. One actor who I don’t think got as much credit as he deserved was Bernard Bresslaw, his portrayal in ‘Carry on Doctor’ as the romantic and highwayman in ‘Carry on Dick’ was very funny.I hope to see most of the series and then decide which are my top favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Jas says:

    Good list, though I’d swap Spying for Camping.
    Always thought Screaming and Spying were 1 and 2 followed by Doctor, Cleo, Cowboy, Khyber etc.

    Pity that Barbara Windsor featured so heavily. Anita Harris, Fenella Fielding, and Amanda Barrie all made better impressions.

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  26. Ken Hodges says:

    I made my comments on some of the ‘Carry On’s’ way back in March 2017, but I just wanted to add an observation!. I watched ‘Carry on Girls’ last night and found it tiresome! I have never regarded this as either one of the best or one of the worst, but perhaps with the advent of time, some things begin to wear thin. I feel that this to be the case with this film, and it wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t see it again! I only played it as a tribute to the Late June Whitfield, but perhaps I should have watched ‘Carry On Abroad’ instead which I think is a notch up overall to ‘Girls’ Whether I will still think this, remains to be seen, but with shelf space here at a premium, perhaps I should start weeding things out when they lack appeal!

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    • Thanks for sharing! I have always thought of Carry On Girls as one of the worst in the series, unfortunately. I guess they ‘lost their mojo’ as they went into the 1970s.

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    • gareth lord says:

      I agree. Carry on Girls is in the top 5 worst. Carry on England being by far the worst for me. The other 5 maybe consisting of Emmanuelle, Behind, and Jack.

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  27. Ken Hodges says:

    Having made a recent observation about ‘Carry on Girls’ perhaps I can make a comment about a couple of other films!. I can’t help feeling that ‘That’s Carry On’ is out of place on this list because It is not a complete film in itself, it;’s merely a compilation, so therefore cannot be judged on the same level. I would also say that I agree with Gareth Lord’s 5 worst ‘Carry On’s’ with one exception. I would substitute ‘Columbus’ for ‘Behind’ ,simply because although most of the regulars were gone, I think Elke Sommer saved this film, and she and Kenneth Williams worked very well together!

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  28. Ken Hodges says:

    Had a bizarre thought today! With the mess the country is in right now, it’s become a right ‘Carry On’, and had the team been around now, the mind boggles as to what they would have done with ‘Carry On Brexit’ The only difficulty would have been that most of the ‘Carry On’ team were endearing characters whereas most of the politicians are anything but! Who for instance would you cast as the ‘Maybot’

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    • What an interesting thought! Who would you cast as all the current politicians?

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      • Ken Hodges says:

        I would have think more about that one, but for starters I think Kenneth Williams would make an excellent choice for Jacob Rees Bogg! He would have the voice for it!

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        • Joan Sims would have to be Theresa May I think!

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          • Ken Hodges says:

            Your mentioning Joan Sims, reminds me that when I listed some of the stars best ‘Carry On’ performances I should have included Joan Sims and specifically her performance in ‘Carry on Regardless! when she was half cut!

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  29. Ken Hodges says:

    I’ve been going through all my ‘Carry Ons’ to evaluate them and perhaps even discard some. At present, I have 22. Here are my findings!
    Top honours are divided between ‘Screaming’ ‘Camping’ and ‘Up the Khyber’ The nearest best after these are ‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ and ‘Doctor’.
    Some of the weakest ones include ‘Constable’ ‘Teacher’ ‘Girls’ ‘Loving ‘Dick’ and ‘Follow that Camel’. Casting Phil Silvers in a ‘Carry On’ was one big mistake!
    The flops were ‘Jack’ and ‘Convenience’ but it wasn’t until ‘England’ that the rot really set in! ‘Emmanuelle’ and ‘Columbus; were then the final nails in the coffin!
    The best Hattie Jacques performance was in ‘Cabby’ and Sid James was at his best in ‘Henry’. Peter Butterworth was excellent in ‘Camping’ whilst non regulars Fenella Fielding and Harry H Corbett were both superb in ‘Screaming’. Kenneth Williams of course, shone in most of them! My least favourite star was Jack Douglas!
    My favourite line in a ‘Carry On’ was in ‘Abroad’ Sid James says to June Whitfield – Drink? She replies ‘No, I tried it once and didn’t like it’. Sid then says – Smoke? She says ‘No, I tried it once and didn’t like it’ She then makes some reference to her daughter, to which Sid replies ‘Your only daughter I presume?
    The best finale in any ‘Carry On’ was in ‘Khyber’ and the worst endings were in ”Girls and ‘Loving’
    On balance then, I would say that only an addict would want every ‘Carry On’ but there were enough good ones to keep and treasure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
      I agree that Fenella Fielding & Harry H Corbett were both brilliant in Screaming (my #1 from the list), and Kenneth Williams was the star of the film series.

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  30. Katherine Shilova says:

    Carry on Henry, after Henry has rushed through a sham marriage to Bettina –
    Bettina: “But I don’t feel married!”
    Henry: “You will in half an hour.”
    Brilliant. Of course, it wouldn’t get made today, not without some sort of explanation, or redemptive possibilities for those involved, or at the very least a flogging for Henry for uttering such a hateful, misogynistic quip(!). I guess that’s the beauty of cinema and tv made in the distant past. It’s a glimpse into the way things were, and unlike that of today, it’s not a vehicle for identity politics, it’s just plain battle of the sexes comedy. And so long as we go down the quite absurd road of judging the past by the norms of the present, which a worrying large and very vocal segment of society seem to be doing, then we can continue to enjoy these beautifully simple and very funny films. What they portrayed was just as human as anything that is portrayed now.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Of the latter films Behind has been marked up in recent years by some reviewers. In my opinion if you move beyond the regulars who are missing it is actually quite good as a stand alone film. By contrast England is awful – for me the worst entry in the series although admittedly I’ve never seen Emanuelle..

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  32. RobC says:

    Of the latter day films Behind seems to have been marked up in recent years by some reviewers. Possibly because once you get over the fact a number of the familiar faces are missing it still works well as a standalone film comedy. By contrast the following year’s England is truly awful although admittedly I’ve never seen Emmanuelle.

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  33. Mandy Kershaw says:

    Shirley Eaton, one feels, struggled desperately to keep a straight face during her three “Carry On” appearances and only just succeeded. A magnificent actress nevertheless.

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