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Blazing Saddles (1974)

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In order to ruin a western town, a corrupt politician appoints a black Sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.

Director:

Mel Brooks

Writers:

Mel Brooks (screenplay), Norman Steinberg (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
646 ( 1,372)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cleavon Little ... Bart
Gene Wilder ... Jim
Slim Pickens ... Taggart
Harvey Korman ... Hedley Lamarr
Madeline Kahn ... Lili Von Shtupp
Mel Brooks ... Governor Lepetomane / Indian Chief
Burton Gilliam ... Lyle
Alex Karras ... Mongo
David Huddleston ... Olson Johnson
Liam Dunn ... Rev. Johnson
John Hillerman ... Howard Johnson
George Furth ... Van Johnson
Jack Starrett ... Gabby Johnson (as Claude Ennis Starrett Jr.)
Carol Arthur ... Harriett Johnson
Richard Collier Richard Collier ... Dr. Sam Johnson
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Storyline

The Ultimate Western Spoof. A town where everyone seems to be named Johnson is in the way of the railroad. In order to grab their land, Hedley Lemar (Harvey Korman), a politically connected nasty person, sends in his henchmen to make the town unlivable. After the sheriff is killed, the town demands a new sheriff from the Governor (Mel Brooks). Hedley convinces him to send the town the first Black sheriff (Cleavon Little) in the west. Bart is a sophisticated urbanite who will have some difficulty winning over the townspeople. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Mel Brooks and the West! Together for the last time! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Yiddish | German

Release Date:

7 February 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Bart See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$119,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Bart was intended for Richard Pryor, but due to the controversial nature of Pryor's stand-up routines of the day, and his reputation, Mel Brooks couldn't secure financing for the project with Pryor in that role. So he was made a co-writer of the script, and Cleavon Little played Bart. Pryor later got to star in a different western comedy, Adiós Amigo (1975). However, according to a 2013 interview with Gene Wilder, the casting change was a result of Pryor contacting Brooks via telephone during production and informing Brooks that he was in Cleveland, and "didn't know why." See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 10 mins) When the camera is panning past the bikers who are waiting to apply for the army to take down Rock Ridge, the one on the left moves the handlebars a little too high and you can see that they aren't actually connected to anything. This is not a revealing mistake, but a deliberate sight gag which showed the two "biker cowboys" who have chopper handlebars connected to not to a motorcycle, but to their holster belts, which was obviously shown on purpose as part of the gag, and which was just one of many sight gags seen while the camera pans down the line. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lyle: Come on, boys! The way you're lollygaggin' around here with them picks and them shovels, you'd think it was a hundert an' twenty degree. Can't be more than a hundert an' fourteen.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Karl Lukas is credited (as Karl Lucas) in opening credits only. See more »

Alternate Versions

Previous versions shown on TV in the UK show Mongo's blackened face after the Candy Gram explodes. In all release versions, the scene fades out before we see Mongo's blackened face. See more »

Connections

Spoofs Rawhide (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Tired
Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks
Performed by Madeline Kahn
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A classic!...
3 June 2011 | by ajs-10See all my reviews

I have seen this film many times before and it has always amused me. It's not a great piece of filmmaking by any stretch of the imagination, but I have always got a lot of pleasure out of it. I guess I have to admit to being a bit of a fan of the work of Mel Brooks, he has a pretty unique way of looking at things. His take on the Western is a prime example… lots of jokes about race and class but never in bad taste.

When politically connected bad man Hedley Lemar hears the railroad is to go through the small town of Red Rock he decides he wants the land for himself. In his words, "It will be worth millions!". When the townsfolk petition the governor to give them a new Sheriff, Hedley forges a plot to make the townsfolk leave by giving them a new Sheriff of his choosing, a new black Sheriff. He has chosen a troublemaker called Bart to fill the post and he is keen to impress the townsfolk. Things don't go according to plan and Bart is left in the Sheriff's office with his deputy, a drunk called Jim. Now Jim is a former gunfighter called the Wako Kid, but those days are behind him now. Can Bart get the townsfolk on his side? Will Jim stop drinking and take up his guns again? Why does everyone in town seem to have the surname Johnson? All these and many more questions are answered in the film 'Blazing Saddles'.

What I like about this film is the fact that Brooks doesn't restrict himself to spoofing Westerns. No genre is safe, there are lots of references to the Nazi's for instance. Good performances all round; Cleavon Little as Bart, Gene Wilder as Jim, Slim Pickens as Taggart, Harvey Korman as Hedley Lemar, Madeline Kahn as Lili Von Shtupp and, of course, Mel Brooks as Governor William J. Lepetomane / Indian Chief.

The ending of the film is a bit of a mess with a fight in the town spilling over into other sets on the film studio. I can forgive that though because this film has given me and my friends so many quotes over the years. It's not only the spoken gags though, it's the visual ones as well. The scene where a man and his horse are about to be hung I find hilarious. As a piece of filmmaking, it's a bit of a mess, it all seems to have been a bit rushed, but I love it!… Recommended.

My Score: 7.8/10


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