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Harold and Maude (1971)

Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral.

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ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Vivian Pickles ...
...
Glaucus
...
...
...
Priest
G. Wood ...
Psychiatrist
Judy Engles ...
Candy Gulf
Shari Summers ...
Edith Phern
...
Motorcycle Officer (as M. Borman)
Susan Madigan ...
Girlfriend
Ray K. Goman ...
Police Officer (as Ray Goman)
Gordon De Vol ...
Police Officer (as Gordon DeVol)
Harvey Brumfield ...
Police Officer
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Storyline

Harold is a depressed, death-obsessed 20-year-old man/child who spends his free time attending funerals and pretending to commit suicide in front of his mother. At a funeral, Harold befriends Maude, a 79-year-old woman who has a zest for life. She and Harold spend much time together during which she exposes him to the wonders and possibilities of life. After rejecting his mother's three attempts to set him up with a potential wife, and committing fake suicide in front of all of them, Harold announces that he is to be married to Maude. However, Maude has a surprise for Harold that is to change his life forever. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is Harold. Fully equipped to deal with life. This is Maude. Harold's girlfriend. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ensina-me a Viver  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When Maude pulls the banjo out of a cabinet, you see the reflection of crew and lights. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mrs. Chasen: [after spotting Harold hanging from a noose in the living room] I suppose you think that's very funny, Harold... Oh, dinner at eight, Harold. And do try and be a little more vivacious.
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Soundtracks

Piano Concerto No. 1
(1874-5) (uncredited)
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
In the score after a psychiatrist session
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Interesting love tale
2 June 2003 | by (Northern N.Y.) – See all my reviews

If so irreverent a story were to be told today, how would one react? As was probably the case when the film was released, people would probably find the theme edgy, if not inappropriate.

Such is the case with the cult film `Harold and Maude.' It openly explores themes of suicide, love, death and life with a fresh perspective.

The interesting part is how this film will likely find you. In most societies, an older man will likely fall for a woman years his junior. However, Harold (Bud Cort)-a shy teenager with an affinity for death-meets his 80-year-old true love Maude (Ruth Gordon), not at a dance or social event, but at funerals. The meeting almost seems reminiscent of Edward Norton's character's support group addiction in `Fight Club.'

Harold loves the attention he gets from staging fake suicides to frighten his obtuse and superficial haute-culture mother. In a reaction, she enlists him in a computer dating service in a vain matchmaking attempt to fix him up with Beetle-driving yuppies-to-be. The beauty is he frightens off all his prospective mates with cleverly staged fake suicides. At the same time, he meets Maude, a free-spirited senior who teaches him to appreciate life. After spending more time with her, he finds himself in love with her. However, a barrage of authority-i.e. priests, army-loving uncles and a psychiatrist-urge him not to follow through with his relationship.

`Harold and Maude' plays on '60s-esque themes of anti-establishment and open minds. Harold's militaristic uncle comes across as comical in his war-mongering vices-right down to his armless right sleeve that salutes when he pulls the string. Harold seems unhappy though he's surrounded by extravagance that rivals anything on MTV's `Cribs.' Not only that but his mother's lack of sense and indifference to her son mirrors her addiction to affluence. In addition to the swarm of brides-to-be, she tries to pacify him with material possessions-including a spanking-new Jaguar convertible, which he converts into a hearse.

Cat Stevens' open-air, acoustic-driven rock 'n' roll provides the soundtrack for the film. It gives the film a decent organic sound indicative of its demeanor.

This is a film that chases happiness wherever it can be found with a Woodstock-sense of responsibility. Maude's vices of vehicular larceny and bong smoking match Harold's love of fake hara-kiris and hearses. In a way, this movie comes across as a bit dated in that time has indeed erased the '60s anticipation of The Age of Aquarius and replaced it with `Fight Club' desperation.

However what the film lacks in reality, it makes up for in heart. This movie is not meant to be taken seriously; it's only to break down paradigms of societal thought.


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