[[quoteright:241:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/HaroldandMaudePoster_2107.JPG]]

->"A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They're just backing away from life. ''Reach'' out. Take a ''chance''. Get ''hurt'' even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.''
->-- '''Maude'''

'''''Harold and Maude''''' is a 1971 film by Hal Ashby which follows the exploits of Harold, a teenager whose primary interests include attending random funerals, driving around in a hearse and staging gory and over-the-top suicides for his domineering mother. He meets a sparky 79 year-old woman named Maude who shares his interest in attending funerals, and though apparently his diametric opposite, finds a kindred spirit in her.

The film is now predominantly remembered for its MayDecemberRomance as well as a memorable soundtrack by Cat Stevens, who worked closely with director Ashby. However, it has gone on to secure itself a place as a classic RomanticComedy, and has gone on to influence people such as Creator/WesAnderson, the Farrelly Brothers and other purveyors of cinematic quirk.

Not to be confused with just ''Series/{{Maude}}'', and unrelated to ''Film/HaroldAndKumarGoToWhiteCastle''.

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!!This Film Contains Examples of:
* AllPsychologyIsFreudian: Harold's psychologist seems to think that Harold's MayDecemberRomance is a variation on the Oedipus complex. Just to drive the point home, he has a picture of Freud hanging behind him.
* BadBadActing: Sunshine's attempt at ''Theater/RomeoAndJuliet.''
* BigWhat: [[spoiler:Harold's reaction to the fact that Maude just poisoned herself and will die shortly.]]
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Maude kills herself, but Harold learns a lesson about living.]]
* BlackComedy: The biggest laughs come from a series of staged suicides.
* BungledSuicide: Inverted: Harold's staged suicide attempts throughout the film are ''very'' well executed.
* ChaseScene: Maude and the motorcycle cop.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: Sunshine's reaction to Harold's hara kiri performance in two ways. One, she doesn't believe Harold really killed himself and successfully guesses he's acting. And two, she isn't freaked out that her date staged a random suicide in front of her.
* CoolCar: Harold's hearse. Both the Superior-bodied '59 Cadillac and the home-converted Jaguar E-Type.
* CoolLoser: Harold.
* CoolOldLady: Good old car-stealing, hookah-smoking, murder-staging Maude.
* CreatorCameo: The conspicuous, lanky bearded man at the amusement park is none other than Hal Ashby.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: Maude is implied to have lived through a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: At one point, Maude essentially hands Harold a giant wood carving of her vagina and tells him to feel around. (Harold tries performing cunnilingus on it.)
* DramaticDrop: Harold's mom, after discovering that he he has ruined his third and final date.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: Maude could show [[TheDukesOfHazzard the ol' Duke boys]] a thing or two about reckless driving.
* EmoTeen: Harold is notable for being an emo teenager [[UnbuiltTrope back before emo was even a thing]].
* FlippingTheBird: Harold does this at one point behind his mother's back, both figuratively when he [[spoiler:reassembles the Jaguar she replaces his hearse with into another hearse]], then literally immediately after showing her.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Various lines by Maude imply that she will [[spoiler:commit suicide on her 80th birthday]].
* FreakyIsCool: When Harold Met Maude.
* [[spoiler:TheHeroDies: Maude herself at the end.]]
* LonersAreFreaks: Harold likes staging his own suicides. That doesn't necessarily make him a freak, though.
* [[ManicPixieDreamGirl Manic Pixie Dream Woman]]: Maude, right down to the casual attitude towards theft. [[Creator/WilliamShakespeare Age shall not wither her nor custom stale her infinite variety.]]
* MayDecemberRomance: The big one, and an extremely rare gender-flipped variant.
* MyBelovedSmother: To his credit, Harold fights his mother every step of the way.
* MysteriousPast: Maude. It's implied that she's a holocaust survivor from Austria, but other than that details are scant.
* NameAndName
* NightmareFetishist: Harold is on the milder end of the "fetishism" scale, and somewhere in the middle with the nightmares.
* NothingLeftToDoButDie: [[spoiler:Maude attempts suicide on her 80th birthday since, in her own words, "75 is too early but by 85 you're just marking time"]].
* ObfuscatingInsanity: Maude uses this as her first defense against the police.
* OppositesAttract: He's a death-obsessed loner EmoTeen from a smothering, meaningless upper-class existence. She's a life-obsessed octogenarian from a poor background. [[TheyFightCrime They perpetuate crime.]]
* PopStarComposer: Cat Stevens.
* TheReveal:
** Maude telling Harold that [[spoiler:she'll be dead by midnight.]]
** Maude's reason for hatred of authority: [[spoiler:she's a Holocaust survivor.]]
* RomanticComedy
* RunningGag: Harold's suicide "attempts" and that he seems to always be wearing the same outfit as his psychologist.
* {{Seppuku}}: One of Herold's staged suicides uses this theme. "Do you... ''enjoy'' knives?"
* SkeletonKey: Maude carries a keyring of them that she uses to drive off in whatever vehicle she chooses. (At one point they ride off on a cop's motorcycle.)
* SomethingElseAlsoRises: Harold and Maude at the carnival -> fireworks -> [[spoiler:Harold and Maude in bed the next morning]].
* SpringtimeForHitler: Harold continues [[spoiler: doing his wacky suicide attempts]] every time his mother sets him up on a blind date in order to drive them off. This doesn't work at all with Sunshine the actress, who not only admires his performance, she joins in and starts doing ''[[Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet Romeo and Juliet]]'' in a [[BadBadActing hamtastic, terrible way]].
* StartsWithASuicide
* SuicideAsComedy: It plays Harold's regular apparent suicides for dark humour.
* SuicideIsPainless:
** Harold's suicide stagings. Subverted again and again and again and again... [[spoiler:and again.]]
** [[spoiler:Maude thinks that dying before eighty would be too early, but dying after eighty would be overstaying. She poisons herself.]]
* SunnySunflowerDisposition: Maude.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: What happened with Sunshine? She and Harold had a lot in common, maybe they hit it off?
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