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The Producers (1968)

tomatometer

90

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 63
Fresh: 57 | Rotten: 6

A hilarious satire of the business side of Hollywood, The Producers is one of Mel Brooks' finest, as well as funniest films, featuring standout performances by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.

91

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 1

A hilarious satire of the business side of Hollywood, The Producers is one of Mel Brooks' finest, as well as funniest films, featuring standout performances by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 55,276

My Rating

Movie Info

Theatrical producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) was once the toast of Broadway. Now he lives in his seedy office, cadging cash contributions from wealthy old ladies in exchange for sexual favors. Even worse, he's reduced to wearing a cardboard belt. Max's new accountant, Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder), the soul of honesty, suggests that Max produce a hit to try to recoup his losses, but Max knows that it's too late for that. Offhandedly, Leo muses that, if Max found investors for a flop, he could

PG,

Classics, Comedy

Dec 3, 2002

AVCO Embassy Pictures

Watch It Now

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All Critics (66) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (6) | DVD (36)

The Producers has many things going for it -- notably a wild, ad-lib energy that explodes in a series of sight gags and punch lines.

August 12, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mel Brooks has turned a funny idea into a slapstick film, thanks to the performers, particularly Zero Mostel.

August 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everything that can go wrong in an amateur film does go wrong, from the timing to the structure to the pitch of the performances.

August 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Brooks' first feature, an absolutely hilarious and tasteless New York Jewish comedy about Broadway.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some of it is shoddy and gross and cruel; the rest is funny in an entirely unexpected way.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The one aspect of the original Producers that still stuns is the roaring, over-the-top, in-your-face thereness of its two lead performances.

December 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...suffers from a pervasive lack of laughs that's compounded by writer/director Mel Brooks' relentlessly (and exhaustingly) over-the-top sensibilities.

November 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

But despite the too-wacky-for-their-own-good jokes and slow pacing, there's no denying the genius of Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.

July 2, 2013 Full Review Source: COED.com
COED.com

Slapstick comedy-musical -- not meant for kids.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Like The Producers itself, Springtime for Hitler, with its Busby Berkeley-meets-Leni Riefenstahl choreography and creatively crude lyrics, ends up proving that bad taste can be irresistible.

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Quite possibly Brooks's finest hour.

August 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The original, and by far the best.

August 12, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

An anarchic reminder that laughter can be mightier than the sword.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

You don't need to be a WWII vet to feel the glee as the movie invites us to dance on Hitler's grave.

April 6, 2006 Full Review Source: DVDJournal.com
DVDJournal.com

If you love and understand live theatre, or the old-school movie musicals of the 1940s, you will enjoy this much more than people who cannot transfer their minds to that world.

January 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinerina

Wilder's like a baby monkey--you get the feeling he'd cling to your leg if you let him.

January 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Scathingly hysterical.

December 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

If Mel Brooks is remembered for only three films, then he can rest easy knowing that they're three of the funniest ones ever made. And The Producers was the first.

December 5, 2005 Full Review Source: DVDTalk.com
DVDTalk.com

Nobody does it like Brooks! The best interpretation of the tale to date.

October 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A great introduction to Mel Brooks' humor.

September 7, 2005
7M Pictures

It's the ultimate punchline, the killer gag, that a proto-novel that turned into a proto-play that ended up as a movie about the worst musical in history, is now the most popular musical in town.

October 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

I suppose you could call it a time capsule. Then again, Brooks' Broadway blockbuster may prove that blustery bad taste is timeless ... Ferrell is so ferociously over the top, I hope the other cast members all got rabies shots.

August 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly | Comments (3)

Audience Reviews for The Producers

Its a shame Mostel didn't have the chance to make more films with Wilder as they are such a fantastic pair more so than Wilder n Pryor even. Mostel was such a brilliant comedian with his facial expressions, heavy set movement and brilliant verbal skills, this Mel Brooks classic shows us this in every way.

The plot is actually very clever, simple but clever, but the way each and every character is formed and played out by the terrific cast is the key to the films genius. The whole film is basically quite insane, loony even, Mostel is like a cartoon character as he transforms from cunning to charming on a dime, then U-turns with in your face rants. Wilder's meek, clever and paranoid performance compliments the odd couple duo, very much the new Laurel n Hardy of the time if you will.

Brooks favourite choice Kenneth Mars is again in a role that is quite memorable as the shell shocked loyal Nazi whose love letter to Hitler becomes a surprise hit. His performance like everyone else is quite loony and in my opinion better than his character from 'Young Frankenstein', yet not as amusing as the two star leads.

The film is off the wall and almost comes across as a feature length 'Monty Python' sketch with some of the best crazy characters ever created. What also works so well are the sets and costumes used, everything is really quite down to earth and of its time. There doesn't appear to be anything fancy used or any large amounts of money spend. Its simply a great example of a character/plot driven film which is purely relying on the genuine skills of its cast, possibly a touch of improvisation.

Unlike other Brooks films as its actually kinda sensible, totally over the top and in your face with outrageous acting, but its not an out right spoof. It also still holds up perfectly well to this day and doesn't seem dated in a comedy sense, obviously the costumes and Nazi aspect are getting on a bit these days.

Easily some of the wildest and most unconventional comedy (and hair!) you will have seen for a long time, and its genius.
April 19, 2014
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Mel Brooks' The Producers is an accomplished comedy classic that is superbly acted and directed. This is a funny and entertaining film that is pure comedy when comedy mattered and is a smart film in terms of it not relying on vulgar or obscene comedy bits that so many films of today rely on to try and make you laugh. Mel brooks has crafted a fine movie here, one that is highly entertaining from start to finish and its ridiculous plot make a film to treasure from film lovers that enjoy something truly entertaining humorous throughout. Brooks' work would be more elaborate as he would sharpen his skills as a director, but with The Producers is a work that showcases his talents and you can clearly see his talent in this impressive classic. I do believe that Brooks made better films, but with this one he splashed onto the movie making scene and just delivered something truly refreshing in terms of comedy. The cast here do a fine work and Gene Wilder is very funny and so is the rest of the cast. The idea behind the film is immaculate and very original. Mel Brooks has achieved something unique here, and this is a film that when first released had some unfair flack due to its content. But this is comedy that is effective and tasteful, and it deserves all the praise it has gotten since its initial release. With a great cast, fine direction and a highly thought out and hilarious script, Brooks has made a defining movie that reshaped comedy for years afterwards. If you enjoy smart comic relief and are tired of some bland comedies of today that often miss the mark, well this is a film guaranteed to entertain you. The Producers isn't perfect, but it is a film that is entertaining, fun and ridiculous and should be seen by cinema fans that enjoy these types of comedies.
July 10, 2013
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

I think we can all agree that Mel Brooks is one of the great greatest directors of comedy that has ever lived on this planet (I'm not ruling out life on other planets). Everyone knows of how good at making paradys he is. He has a great way at looking at the funny little things that entertain society so much. Most of the planet has probably seen "Spaceballs". But have those people seen "The Producers"? Well, maybe the musical, but what about the original? Before it became one of the broadway musicals that it originaly was mocking?

To those who haven't seen "The Producers", it is the tale of an unstabble accountant and a greedy broadway producer who discover that they can make more money with a broadway flop than with a broadway success. They go out to see if they can pull this skeem off, but they end up releasing one of the biggest broadway hits in history. A fantastic story, very creative and filled with opportunities to laugh. And you know what? Not only does it take advantage of all the opportunities to laugh, it gets ones you wouldn't even think of as an audience.

Another thing we have to consider is that this was Mel Brooks first movie. No director makes a hit so successful as this on his first go. Anyone who saw this when it was first released had to have known that this man was destined for greatness in film. He didn`t go cheap on this movie either. He got a fantastic cast including Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel. And he didn`t just get a great cast for the leads, but the smaller characters in it really were what made the film. Especially the characters of the man who wrought the play and the lead actor in the play, L.S.B. I couldn`t stop laughing when those guys where on screen. And who could forget Mel Brooks first cameo in one of his own films; a single line he sings, `Don`t be stupid, be a smarty! Come and join the Nazi Party!`. Good times, good times!

As for Wilder and Mostel, they were at they`re very best. They were living charactures of things hat were already hilarious. From the first time these characters meet each other, the audience knows they are going to have a real treat by watching these guys. But with these characters, it wasn`t just how funny they were, you really loved them. You felt lucky to be able to spend 2 hours with such interesting people. They were the kind of characters that revolutionized comedy film making for the world! They werent afraid to go over the top with the way they acted. They really just wanted to give everyone some of the greatest laughs of their lives! They didnt use some of the cliches that we see in comedy today, they invented their own!

Sometimes, we watch a film and we we finish we realize silently that this film is going to change everything for this film industry, and then you immediatly watch the film over again. If you have not watched this film yet, then what the hell are you doing! GO SEE IT, YOU IDIOT!!!!
May 18, 2012
Simply Cinema
Anders Gatten

Super Reviewer

I watched THE PRODUCERS because it marked the directorial debut of Mel Brooks (up there with Woody Allen when it comes to great comedic directing), and what I got was so plentifully more. Brooks not only directed this film; he wrote both the Oscar-winning screenplay and the songs for it. The best scenes occur when both script and sound come together. We see the entire opening number for the character duo's "Springtime for Hitler", in which we get to witness possibly the most morbidly hysterical concepts put into Brooks's career: women in military uniforms, a disco Hitler, white poles that somehow become firearms, etc. Not to mention the lyrics this scene is set against. Everything will be prancing around in your mind long after you finish watching.
February 26, 2012
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

    1. Max Bialystock: Don't you see Bloom, darling Bloom, glorious Bloom? It's so simple. Step one: We find the worst play world, a surefire flop. Step two: I raise a million bucks. Lots of little old ladies out there. Step three: You go back to work on the books, phony list of backers - one for the government, one for us. You can do it, Bloom; you're a wizard! Step four: We open on Broadway. And before you can say Step five, we *close* on Broadway!
    – Submitted by Benjamin G (2 years ago)
    1. Franz Liebkind: Not many people know it, but the Führer was a terrific dancer.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
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