Mel Brooks' 'Blazing Saddles' Went From Bomb To Cult Classic, Helping Rewrite The Rules Of Comedy

The satirical comedy film Blazing Saddles turns 50 this year, and while it went largely overlooked at the time of its release, it has since grown into one of the most beloved comedies of all time. The movie, directed and written by Mel Brooks, parodies classic Western films and openly mocks racial stereotypes and Hollywood conventions.

In the film, a scheming politician played by Harvey Korman decides to fake a murder to scare off the residents of the town Rock Ridge. He does this by hiring an African American sheriff, Bart, played by Cleavon Little. The town's residents are less than thrilled about the new sheriff, leading to numerous comedic situations. The film also stars Gene Wilder as a gunslinger and Madeline Kahn as a seductive performer.

Brooks, who was a veteran comedy writer at the time but had never directed a feature, was careful to hire a diverse crew and cast, including Richard Pryor as a co-writer. While the film was criticized for its use of racist language, Pryor defended its inclusion, stating that it was necessary to expose the issue.

When the film was released in 1974, it was met with a mixed reception from critics and largely ignored by mainstream audiences. However, it gained a strong cult following over the years. Its satirical approach to delicate subjects like racism has helped cement its place as a landmark comedy that broke new ground in its genre.

Blazing Saddles is a prime example of Brooks' comedic style, which blends silly humor with social commentary. The film's themes and approach to comedy have continued to influence popular culture and entertainment.

Though it took some time for Blazing Saddles to reach its current cult status, the film's comedic innovations and boundary-pushing tendencies have earned it a rightful place as a classic and influential staple of comedy cinema.

failed to save article

Please try again

Read more