7.8/10
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389 user 108 critic

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 »
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Popularity
1,438 ( 442)
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:

Never give a saga an even break! 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:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Howard Johnson's Ice Cream Parlor, 1 Flavor, in the town of Rock Ridge was a reference to the Howard Johnson's restaurant and hotel chain, famous for its twenty-eight flavors of ice cream. At its peak in the 1970s, when the movie was made, the chain had over one thousand outlets. By 2017, there was only one store left. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 2 mins) Mongo is chained to the jail cell, and when Sheriff Bart throws a bucket of water to wake him up, Mongo starts to yawn and innocently breaks free of the chains. The moment immediately before and after the chains break apart, one can clearly detect where the reel has been spliced (probably so the crew could manage the effect of the breakaway chains) 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

The TV release has five extra scenes that weren't in the theatrical release:
  • When Sheriff Bart is trying to capture Mongo, after he delivers the "CandyGram for Mongo", it then shows a "draw on the dummy sheriff" game that fires a cannon at Mongo, and then a scene Bart convinces Mongo to go diving down a well for Spanish Doubloons and Bart stops pumping air to the diving suit because it's time for his lunch break.
  • Bart and Jim run away from Hedley Lamarr and his gang whilst wearing the KKK outfits. They run into some Born-again Christians having a baptism/picnic and join in.
  • Lily Von Shtupp (Madeline Kahn) gives a brief spoken introduction to the saloon crowd before beginning her song.
  • Governor Le Petomaine (Mel Brooks) arrives in the fake Rock Ridge a few moments before the final showdown, in a stagecoach with a flashing red light on the back, makes a joke about losing the "blue collar vote" and does a skit in the town where he impersonates Harpo Marx.
  • When the dynamite fails to explode, Lily Von Schtuup says with some German rambling that it didn't work. When nobody knows what she said the guy that speaks frontier gibberish tries to translate. Those around him hit him with their hats.
See more »


Soundtracks

Hail to the Chief
(uncredited)
Music by James Sanderson
Performed by Harvey Korman and Mel Brooks
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Where the white women at?"
6 August 2005 | by the-jerkSee all my reviews

1974 was a very good year for the team of Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder; their "Young Frankenstein" (which came out in 1974) is one of the funniest movies ever made, and "Blazing Saddles" (same year) is almost just behind it. It's a bit overrated (but just a bit); I know a lot of people look on this as the funniest movie of all time, but I can't go THAT far. But it is ONE of the funniest movies of all time, and for two such movies by the same director, with the same star, to come out the same year, to be on that list is quite an achievement.

The residents of Rock Ridge (all named Johnson) need a new sheriff. They get one... Bart, played by Cleavon Little, who happens to be black. It's all planned out by Hedley Lamarr (don't call him Heddy!), an employee of the governor (Mel Brooks), in a plot to run the residents out of town so he can have a railroad run through it. At first, the townsfolk aren't happy about this development, but when Bart endeavors to save them from the evil Lamarr, who's played to slimy perfection by Harvey Korman, they warm up to him. Also thrown into the mix is Wilder as "The Waco Kid", a gunslinger who's lost his knack for shooting, Alex Karras as a huge idiot named Mongo , and Madeline Khan as Lily von Schtupp, a parody of Marlene Dietrich, complete with ridiculous German accent. She stands out heads and shoulders above everybody else in this movie, I think, and her song "I'm Tired" ("I'm not a wabbit! I need some west!") is possibly the funniest song ever to appear in a film. This is no doubt the funniest part Madeline Khan has ever had (and she ALSO appeared in "Young Frankenstein"!). It's also a kick to see a pre-"Magnum PI" John Hillerman as Howard Johnson, with an ice cream shop with a sign that screams "1 Flavor"; and Slim Pickens (Taggart, another bad guy) is always a hoot.

The plot is just an excuse to make fun of westerns, racism, and movie-making in general, as demonstrated in the extremely wacky, fourth-wall breaking finale (Watch for Dom DeLuise in these scenes). None of this is really supposed to make sense or be realistic, it's just supposed to be funny, and for the most part it is. It's one of the crassest and crudest mainstream movies in history, and that's it's strength; it often plays just like a Mad movie parody. One example of this that really sticks out is the famous farting scene, which somehow manages to be one of the funniest scenes in the movie, and probably the funniest fart scene ever. But the focus is on the way blacks were treated in the post-Civil War old west, and the movie is merciless in the way it has its ignorant white characters treat the black characters, throwing the n-word around without abandon and giving them the dirty work (at one point, a character says "We can't afford to lose any horses! Send a couple of n****rs!"). The movie finds its heart in the way the initially racist townspeople of Rock Ridge become fond of their black sheriff.

Its spirit, however, is in the hilarious and crude jokes that are thrown all through. This is one funny movie, and with Mel Brooks, that's what's really important.


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