Blazing Saddles (1974)
Critic Consensus: Daring, provocative, and laugh-out-loud funny, Blazing Saddles is a gleefully vulgar spoof of Westerns that marks a high point in Mel Brooks' storied career.
Vulgar, crude, and occasionally scandalous in its racial humor, this hilarious bad-taste spoof of Westerns, co-written by Richard Pryor, features Cleavon Little as the first black sheriff of a stunned town scheduled for demolition by an encroaching railroad. Little and co-star Gene Wilder have great chemistry, and the delightful supporting cast includes Harvey Korman, Slim Pickens, and Madeline Kahn as a chanteuse modelled on Marlene Dietrich. As in Young Frankenstein (1974), Silent Movie (1976), and High Anxiety (1977), director/writer Mel Brooks gives a burlesque spin to a classic Hollywood movie genre; in his own manic, Borscht Belt way, Brooks was a central player in revising classic genres in light of Seventies values and attitudes, an effort most often associated with such directors as Robert Altman and Peter Bogdanovich . Some of this film's sequences, notably a gaseous bean dinner around a campfire, have become comedy classics. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi … More
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as Hedley Lamarr
as Lili Von Shtupp
as Olson Johnson
as Indian Chief
as Reverend Johnson
as Howard Johnson
as Van Johnson
as Harriett Johnson
as Dr. Sam Johnson
as Miss Stein
as Buddy Bizarre
as Gabby Johnson
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Critic Reviews for Blazing Saddles
Goldarned if the whole fool enterprise is not worth the attention of any moviegoer with a penchant for what one actor, commenting on another's Gabby Hayes imitation, calls 'authentic western gibberish.'
Although Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder head a uniformly competent cast, pic is handily stolen by Harvey Korman and Madeline Kahn. Kahn is simply terrific doing a Marlene Dietrich lampoon.
The screenplay is credited to five writers, and it shows in the confused melange of styles.
It's a crazed grabbag of a movie that does everything to keep us laughing except hit us over the head with a rubber chicken.
A movie that neither blazes or misfires, falling somewhere between the horrors of Spaceballs and the genius of Young Frankenstein.
Audience Reviews for Blazing Saddles
An African-American sheriff protects a Western town threatened by a railroad expansion.
Let's take a look at some of the bits in this film. First, the bad guys want to discredit the sheriff, so they employ a prostitute to seduce him. She does, but because black men have large penises, she is grateful for their night of love-making and doesn't threaten his honor. Second, the sheriff outwits the bad guys by dressing up as a bellboy, who goes unnoticed because black people are meant to be in servile roles.
There's no doubt that there's a lot of satire here, but the film nonetheless commerces in racial stereotypes in ways that I find uncomfortable. Rather than finding the film funny, I found its social critique pedestrian, and while making fun of racism is good, repeating racial stereotypes can be dangerous even under the glass of satire. Perhaps if I had seen this film when it was first released, I would have found it valuable, but now I find it difficult to recommend.
Overall, with uncomfortable racial politics, i don't think this film hits the mark.
Though it may not have the cinematic output of his 1968 hit "The Producers",writer-producer-director Mel Brooks scored one of the biggest hits of the era. "Blazing Saddles" not only put Mel Brooks on the Hollywood map,but cemented his status as one of the great comedy directors of all time. Mel Brooks in 1974 was on a box-office rollercoaster scoring two of the biggest hits of that year. "Blazing Saddles" was a hilarious take on the Hollywood Western while his other smash "Young Frankenstein" was a hilarious take on the monster movies of the 1930's. "Blazing Saddles" at the time of its release was shocking and pointed-with its mixture of surrealism,slapstick,and groundbreaking vulgarity throughout,this was Mel Brooks' finest influential film that went on to become one of the top ten highest grossing films of 1974. Despite its hackeyned setting-the Old West-and it's 1970's veneer-hip gags about race and sex-it stands proud as one of his most brilliant works of his career (Mel Brooks was not only the 1950's comedy writer for "The Milton Berle Show",but Mel Brooks was one of the creative writers behind the 1960's television series "Get Smart")
"Blazing Saddles" nods to the zany comedy of the Marx Brothers and the slapstick parody of The Three Stooges,but owes a great deal to the deranged, parodic, reference-obsessed humor of MAD magazine,Brooks's film takes on that tradition-sight gags where Klansmen and Nazis wait in line to join an 1870's lynch mob, oxen with YES or NO painted on them, verbal references to other movies ("You'd do it for Randolph Scott!")-and puts it into the cinema for the first time. In doing so, not only it did spoof on Randolph Scott,but it spoof other Western greats like Gary Cooper and John Wayne,not to even mention it spoof Clint Eastwood and James Stewart. "Blazing Saddles" influnced the Zucker Brothers, the Wayans ,and other imitators,and hence invented a genre that still holds up today. The film was an extended riff of Gary Cooper's "High Noon",but its genius lies in being more than just a parody,"Blazing Saddles" adds additional layers to the comedic plot,most notable of which is the twist that the new sheriff is black played by Cleavon Little(whose career peaked with this film)who beat out Richard Pryor for the role of Sheriff Bart,and who is supported by an almost restrained Gene Wilder(whose career took off after this movie,and won the starring role in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein"). "Blazing Saddles" had a hilarious cast ensemble that included comedy greats Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, and Dom DeLuise, and former NFL-great Alex Karras not to mention putting in actors that were known for starring in various Westerns like Slim Pickens, Dub Taylor,David Huddleston, Claude Starr Ennis, Jr., and Jack Elam. And has a cameo appearance by Count Basie. The movie upon its general release is laced with the usuge of racial words,not to mention vulgar sexual references throughout(the scene where Cleavon Little's sheriff Bart tells Madeline Kahn, "Excuse me while I pull this out!" is hilarious as it gets)not to mention the film's scene of cowboys eating beans around the campfire is the funniest ever. The phenomenal success of "Blazing Saddles" started a revolution in what was to be comedy,and set the tone for what was to come. That success almost produced a sequel which Warner Brothers was set to do two years after its release,but it did not come true. However, Mel Brooks went on to do "High Anxiety", "Silent Movie", the hilariously funny as hell "History of the World: Part 1",and his spoof on Star Wars "Spaceballs"........
After its general release, "Blazing Saddles" became a HUGE cult following as it became part of special midnight showings throughout the country for late show viewing,and to this day it still continues to be seen in theatres as part of that(it is second to 1975's "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" as the longest running theatrical showing of a film in existence).
From the local ad: "The movie Clint Eastwood and John Wayne REFUSED to make!"
Mel Brooks is at his best in this dated but hilarious film.
Blazing Saddles Quotes
|Reverend Johnson:||Oh Lord! Do we have the strength to pull off this mighty task in one night...or are we just jerking off?|
|Mongo:||Mongo only pawn in the game of life.|
|Bart:||Are we awake?|
|Jim the Waco Kid:||We're not sure. Are we... black?|
|Bart:||Yes we are.|
|Jim the Waco Kid:||Then we're awake. But we're very puzzled.|
|Hedley Lamarr:||If I could find a sheriff who so offends the citizens of Rock Ridge, that his very appearance would drive them out of town. [looks out to audience] Well, where would I find such a man? Why am I asking YOU?|
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