Self-destructive and needy but wealthy teenager Harold is obsessed with death and spends his leisure time attending funerals, watching the demolition of buildings, visiting junkyards, simulating suicides trying to get the attention of his indifferent, snobbish and egocentric mother, and having sessions with his psychologist. When Harold meets the anarchic seventy-nine-year-old Maude at a funeral, they become friends and the old lady discloses other perspectives of the cycle of life for him. Meanwhile, his mother enlists him in a dating service and tries to force him to join the army. On the day of Maude's eightieth birthday, Harold proposes to her but he finds the truth about life at the end of hers. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
[June 2008] Ranked #9 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Romantic Comedy". See more »
About 50 minutes into the film, when Maude is doing donuts around the officer, the driver-side window of the truck is alternately up/down between shots. See more »
[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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Brilliantly executed quirky comedy that could be the most romantic film ever
HAROLD AND MAUDE is one of the quirkiest comedies ever made, both heartwarming and hilarious. Just recently, it made the AFI's Top 100 Funniest Movies of All Time (#45). Not that the list means anything, it didn't include DUMB & DUMBER the funniest damn movie ever made, but I agreed with this choice.
Bud Cort is Harold, a morbid teenage boy neglected by his rich mother (Vivian Pickles), who spends her time trying to match him up with blind dates. Harold delights in pretending to kill himself to get attention from his mother and pulls some gruesome tricks out of his sleeve to scare away his blind dates. He goes to funerals as a hobby and while there, he meets Maude (Ruth Gordon), a carefree elderly woman. Maude helps to teach Harold the beauty of life and the two slowly fall in love.
HAROLD AND MAUDE was ever nominated for any Oscars, but it should have been. Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon are both brilliant in their roles; unfortunately, this would be the last good film either of them made. Cort was recently reduced to a bit part in THEODORE REX and Gordon died in 1985. But both here are at shining moments in their careers. Vivian Pickles is right on-target as Harold's rich, prissy mother who tries to run Harold's life for him until he breaks free. Maude is certainly one of the most heartwarming characters in cinema history; her philosophies are so very true that I couldn't help but apply them to my life after the movie was over. Some viewers may be disgusted at the thought of a teenage boy and an elderly woman being a hot item, but the idea and execution of it is more an act of respect and love for one another as people than an act of lust and romance, making this in my opinion the most romantic film of all time. HAROLD AND MAUDE is also told very realistically, making the story unfold gracefully and the twist ending is both poignant and reassuring.
HAROLD AND MAUDE is certainly one of the funniest movies of all time, but is also one of the most important human stories as well.
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