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Harold and Maude (1971)

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

Director:

Hal Ashby

Writer:

Colin Higgins
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Popularity
4,832 ( 490)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruth Gordon ... Maude
Bud Cort ... Harold
Vivian Pickles ... Mrs. Chasen
Cyril Cusack ... Glaucus
Charles Tyner ... Uncle Victor
Ellen Geer ... Sunshine Doré
Eric Christmas ... Priest
G. Wood ... Psychiatrist
Judy Engles Judy Engles ... Candy Gulf
Shari Summers ... Edith Phern
Tom Skerritt ... Motorcycle Officer (as M. Borman)
Susan Madigan Susan Madigan ... Girlfriend
Ray K. Goman ... Police Officer (as Ray Goman)
Gordon De Vol Gordon De Vol ... Police Officer (as Gordon DeVol)
Harvey Brumfield Harvey Brumfield ... Police Officer
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Storyline

Young adult Harold Chasen, solitary and friendless by choice, is obsessed with death, this fascination manifesting itself in he staging his own fake suicides, driving a hearse and attending funerals, even of people he doesn't know, all to the chagrin of his exasperated wealthy mother with who he lives. Mrs. Chasen is determined for Harold to be "normal", including she sending him into therapy to deal with his issues and finding him a girlfriend through a computer dating service. It is at a series of funerals that Harold meets Maude, on the cusp of her eightieth birthday, she who too attends funerals of strangers. Unlike Harold, Maude is obsessed with life - her own life to be more precise - she doing whatever she wants to please herself, damned what others may think or how they may be affected. Since she can't take material possessions with her, she is more interested in experiences, with whatever material possessions she has - often "borrowed" without asking - only to further those ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They met at the funeral of a perfect stranger. From then on, things got perfectly stranger and stranger. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 December 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ensina-me a Viver See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Mulvehill and Shari Summers married immediately following the completion of Harold and Maude (1971) in director Hal Ashby's home. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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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Connections

Spoofed in Better Off Dead... (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Honorable Death
(uncredited)
Music by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Brilliantly executed quirky comedy that could be the most romantic film ever
15 August 2000 | by Casey-52See all my reviews

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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