Mel Brooks scored his first commercial hit with this raucous Western spoof starring the late Cleavon Little as the newly hired (and conspicuously black) sheriff of Rock Ridge. Sheriff Bart teams up with deputy Jim (Gene Wi... more »lder) to foil the railroad-building scheme of the nefarious Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman). The simple plot is just an excuse for a steady stream of gags, many of them unabashedly tasteless, that Brooks and his wacky cast pull off with side-splitting success. The humor is so juvenile and crude that you just have to surrender to it; highlights abound, from the lunkheaded Alex Karras as the ox-riding Mongo to Madeline Kahn's uproarious send-up of Marlene Dietrich as saloon songstress Lili Von Shtupp. Adding to the comedic excess is the infamous campfire scene involving a bunch of hungry cowboys, heaping servings of baked beans and, well, you get the idea. --Jeff Shannon« less
Michael K. Beusch | San Mateo, California United States | 03/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Blazing Saddles is one of the great comedies of all time. Unfortunately, it's likely that no major studio today would release it. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, Something About Mary and American Pie (all hilarious movies which I would highly recommend, by the way) contain toilet humor that makes Mel Brooks at his most graphic seem like a Disney movie in comparison. However, today's politically correct Hollywood would be horrified with a comedy that uses racial epithets left and right, worrying about the backlash that subject matter would cause.This is too bad because Blazing Saddles shows that such language, given the right context, can actually combat bigotry by showing how stupid it really is. Cleavon Little, as Sheriff Bart, and Gene Wilder, as The Waco Kid, are presented as islands of sanity in a sea of ignorant, racist townspeople. The 'n' word is thrown out repeatedly, but is intended as an insult to the people who say it rather than a slur against blacks. Mel Brooks, a very liberal Democrat, recognized that racism is offensive and nasty in nature and showed it in its true light in Blazing Saddles. As a result, the film does more to ridicule racism and bigotry than most serious "message films" on the same subject ever could.Unfortunately, the corporate suits who now run the big studios are more worried about image and profits than producing quality movies. As long as a film offends as few people as possible and appeals to as many members of the general public as possible (preferably between the ages of 18 and 35), the executives like it -- even if the film has no originality or artistic merit at all. As a result, films like Blazing Saddles and TV shows like All in the Family are taboo these days. Hollywood has lost a lot of daring and courage since 1974. See Blazing Saddles and you will realize just how much."
"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets..."
M. Hart | USA | 06/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""...of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." Thus spoke Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman), the State Procurer, Attorney General and Assistant to the Governor as he plotted against the residents of Rock Ridge in Mel Brooks' hilarious western spoof "Blazing Saddles", which was first released to theaters in 1974. With the meager budget of only $2.6-million, the film grossed over $119.5-million, making it the highest grossing western of all time until the release of "Dances with Wolves" in 1990, which grossed over $184-million. The success of "Blazing Saddles" is attributable in large part to the superb direction and writing (in conjunction with several other writers) of Mel Brooks, who (of course) also acted in the film in three separate roles: as Gov. William J. LePetomaine, an Indian chief and a World War I aviator. Equally important are the many very talented comedic actors who brought the film to life.The plot of "Blazing Saddles", as I eluded to in my review opening, takes place primarily in the fictional old-west town of Rock Ridge, whose residents seemingly all have the same last name and who have been mercilessly besieged by a group of thugs who are lead by a man named Taggart (Slim Pickens, 1919-1983). After the thugs kill the sheriff of Rock Ridge, the residents send an urgent plea to Gov. LePetomaine to immediately appoint a new sheriff. Gov. LePetomaine delegates the appointment to his assistant Hedley Lamarr, whose nefarious secret agenda is the destruction of Rock Ridge to make way for a new railroad line. Lamarr devises what he believes will be the final, unconscionable inducement to the residents of Rock Ridge for them to vacate: the appointment of a black sheriff, Black Bart (Cleavon Little, 1939-1992). Most of the residents of Rock Ridge are aghast when Sheriff Bart rides into town. However, he quickly acquires a sidekick in Jim 'The Waco Kid' (Gene Wilder) and some unsolicited attentions from the heavily accented visiting stage performer Lili Von Shtupp (Madeline Kahn, 1942-1999), whose passions include the consumption of schnitzengruben. The story continues to entertain as it builds to a climax that only the twisted comedic genius of Mel Brooks could devise. Also, in classic Mel Brooks fashion, the film includes several musical interludes that include the film's title song (sung by Frankie Laine), "The Ballad of Rock Ridge", "I'm Tired" (sung by Madeline Kahn), "The French Mistake" and "April in Paris". Other memorable characters include Olson Johnson (David Huddleston), Rev. Johnson (Liam Dunn, 1916-1976), Mongo (Alex Karras in his first big-screen role), Howard Johnson (John Hillerman), Van Johnson (George Furth), Gabby Johnson (Jack Starrett, 1936-1989), Harriett Johnson (Carol DeLuise, a.k.a. Carol Arthur), Dr. Sam Johnson (Richard Collier, 1919-2000), Buddy Bizarre (Dom DeLuise) and a cameo by Count Basie (1904-1984). There were also several brief uncredited appearances by Anne Bancroft, Gilda Radner (1946-1989) and Rodney Allen Rippy who played Bart at age 5.Overall, I rate "Blazing Saddles" with a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. It is a hysterically funny film that I can highly recommend to everyone. Though none of Mel Brooks' other films were as financially successful as "Blazing Saddles", many are noteworthy of mention, including "The Producers" (1968), "Young Frankenstein" (1974), "High Anxiety" (1978), "The History of the World, Part 1" (1981) and "Spaceballs" (1987)."
Great Movie, Just not up to DVD
Bruce A. | San Jose, CA United States | 08/17/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I have to start this by saying that this is one of the funniest movies of all time. The problem is with the packaging of the DVD. First, the box is cheap. Not a hard plastic case, but one made out of cardboard. Secondly, where are the Mongo scenes? Those who seen this on network TV remember scenes where Mongo has an anvil dropped on his head, is dropped down a well, and all other sorts of Warner Brother foolery a la Bugs Bunny. The only bit you get is the "Candygram for Mongo." (Track 12). The other missing scene (at least the only other I can remember) is where Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder are being chased by Harvey Korman's gang after the "Sign In" scene (Track 18). They elude their persuers by blending in with a group of baptists. I'm not saying that the movie is lacking because of these scenes, but I was dissapointed that they weren't included. To me, DVD is about having some of those extras. I looked between the boxed set and the single-sale disk and I can't see a difference in the features. The disk you get is double sided with widescreen on one side and regular viewing on the other. The quality of the print could be better; it seems a bit grainy. I have the feeling that this was something that somebody at Warner Brothers slapped together just to increase the DVD library. If you can find it cheap, go ahead and get it. I have it and I'll buy it again IF it comes out with the extra scenes and a couple more features like out-takes and the such. This movie is nearly 30 years old (EEK! I was 7 when it came out.), there should be a Special Edition issued."
This HD-DVD is a winner on picture quality
Elwood Conway | Frankfort, KY United States | 11/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, I am an early adopter and this was the second HD-DVD I purchased. I show this to my friends, including those with HDTV from either cable or a dish, and they are VERY impressed. This movie looks fantastic. The colors are spot on and the level of sharpness is top notch. This release showcases an excellent video transfer of this movie. Regardless of whether or not Mel's humor is to your liking, this is one of the finest HD DVDs currently on the market"
D. Knox | Beach Park, Il United States | 06/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is one of those comedies that you either like or hate. I liked it, I think that too many people take themselves so seriously. Blazing saddles gives a relief to that narrow type of outlook. I think that if you just accept it as a comedy, and don't try to make it more than it is. It's a comedy, and plain and simple a very good one. It a parody on everything that people look for to take an issue on. Lighten up ,and just enjoy."