"He rode a blazing saddle,Blazing Saddles, released in 1974, is another comedy masterpiece from Mel Brooks (with writing help from none other than Richard Pryor) which mercilessly spoofs The Western.The year is 1874. Railroad construction runs into quicksand and the path needs re-routing, but the tiny town of Rock Ridge stands in the way of progress. Territorial Attorney General Hedley (not Hedy) Lamarr (Harvey Korman) schemes to get his hands on the now-priceless real estate by hiring thugs to kill the sheriff and terrify the locals into leaving. When they don't leave, Lamarr convinces bumbling Governor William J. Le Petomane (Brooks) to appoint a black man named Bart (Cleavon Little) – awaiting a death sentence for striking a white man – as the new sheriff, a move calculated to result in Bart being killed by the racist townspeople and/or said townspeople leaving in disgust (which would give Lamarr free rein over the land). Once Bart arrives in Rock Ridge, Hilarity Ensues. Adding to the fun are alcoholic gunslinger The Waco Kid (Gene Wilder) and sexy German chanteuse Lili Von Shtupp (Madeline Kahn), among others.Blazing Saddles is completely, offensively, and unapologetically politically incorrect – and it also skewers nearly every western trope listed on this site (and likely a few we haven't thought of yet). Instead of making a serious movie saying "racism is bad", Brooks decided to make a movie where all the racists are idiots – a similar philosophy he used when dealing with the Nazis in his movies.
He wore a shining star,
His job, to offer battle
To bad men near and far!
He conquered fear, and he conquered hate,
He turned dark night into day...
He made his blazing saddle,
A torch to light the way!"
He wore a shining star,
His job, to offer battle
To bad men near and far!
He conquered fear, and he conquered hate,
He turned dark night into day...
He made his blazing saddle,
A torch to light the way!"
The town of Rock Ridge provides examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: One that was such a Running Gag the "target" even sued. See Celebrity Paradox.
- Adolf Hitlarious: Mel Brooks did have to mock the Führer…
Hedley: RIGHT hands!
- A (heavily implied) Jewish actor playing the dictator appears briefly. They lose him after the bunker scene. He's also visible repeatedly giving Nazi salutes in the background of the Great Pie Fight, as well as being obliquely referenced during the swearing in scene:
- Antagonistic Governor: Gov. William J. Le Petomane isn't exactly antagonistic, but he is incompetent and an easy mark for State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr, who acts as his Evil Chancellor. Le Petomane's assigning of a black man as sheriff (under Hedley's suggestion, as part of his plan to clear the residents of Rock Ridge) is what sets the plot in motion.
- Affectionate Parody: Westerns.
- Agony of de Feet: Hedley shoots Taggart in the foot for using a stupid cliché.
- The Alcoholic: Jim, a.k.a. The Waco Kid, ever since his Literal Ass Kicking described below.
- Anachronism Stew:
- Nazis (and Arabs and bikers) in the Old West for one thing.
- Bart having to invent the Candygram to deal with Mongo. Bonus points for the movie soundtrack sampling the Looney Tunes theme right before it blows...
- At the ending, where the cast brawl spills out of its set, flies right into a 20s-30s Fred Astaire-esque Busby Berkeley Number, then crashes into 1970s Hollywood, and back to the old west... where our heroes are chauffeured away in a fancy car.
- Anti-Love Song: Lili's song, which is about how bored she is of sex and romance.
- Apologetic Attacker: Reverend Johnson, after kneeing a bandit in the groin, prays "Forgive me, Lord!"
- Arch-Enemy: Bart and the Waco Kid have Hedley Lamarr, who is trying to take over their town.
- Army of Thieves and Whores: The villain invokes this trope when dictating a "help wanted" ad. See Rhyming List.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Hedley's list of bad guys to recruit, culminating with Methodists as apparently the worst of the bunch.
- Aside Comment: Several examples of Breaking the Fourth Wall don't explicitly acknowledge the audience.
- After Sheriff Bart takes himself hostage, he retreats to his new office and says, "Oh, baby you are so talented...(looks into the camera) and they are so dumb."
- When Bart hears the Waco Kid moaning in his bunk, he turns to the camera and says "The drunk in number two must be awake."
- After boring the Waco Kid to sleep, Sheriff Bart looks at the camera and says, "I like to keep my audience riveted."
- While Mongo is talking with Sheriff Bart and the Waco Kid he turns to face the audience and says "Mongo only pawn in game of life".
- As two thugs assault a little old lady, she turns to the audience and asks, "Have you ever seen such cruelty?"
- Harvey Korman as the villain, is pondering his next move out loud and looks to the camera and says "Why am I asking you?"
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Parodied with the Indian chief, played by Mel Brooks, speaking Yiddish. His headdress also has Yiddish written on it as a Bilingual Bonus
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption:
"We will now read from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and… [bundle of dynamite is thrown through the window] …Duck!"
- First, when the preacher is commencing his sermon:
"As chairman of the welcoming committee, it is my privilege to extend this laurel, and hearty handshake to our new... [sees Bart] nigger."
"Gather round here, folks, and– [Mongo approaches] –HOLY SHIT!"
- And of course, with the salesman…
- As You Know: "I don't have to tell you people what has been happening to our beloved town..."
- Attack Pattern Alpha: With regards at to what to do to Rock Ridge, Taggart gets a Eureka Moment and decides they'll whip up a Number 6 on them – which is that the men go riding into town, a-whomping and woomping every living thing to within an inch of its life, except the women folk (whom they will later rape the shit out of at the subsequent Number 6 dance).
- Badass Gay: Buddy Bizarre's dancers may be as camp as twelve rows of tents, but damn if they don't step up when Taggart punches him in the stomach.
- Bait and Switch: "Excuse me while I whip this out." (Bart proceeds to reach for a speech letter in his pocket, while the townsfolk gasp and cower in fear, thinking he's going to whip something else out instead). Then they all go "Awwww…"
- Bar Slide: During the battle in the Warner Bros. commissary, Taggart is knocked out and slides down the buffet counter, where the cashier rings him up for the food splattered all over him."Yankee bean soup, coleslaw and tuna surprise...!"
- Batman Gambit: Hedley tries to exploit the fear and racism of the townsfolk of Rock Ridge by sending them a black sheriff, and it almost works. (The only reason why it doesn't work is that "They are so dumb!")
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: "We don't need no stinking badges!" is actually from this movie. The original quote from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre went like this…"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges!"
- Big Bad: Hedly Lamarr, the Corrupt Politician planning to destroy Rock Ridge.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- The Indian chief played by Mel Brooks has "Kosher for Passover" written in Hebrew on his headdress… but with the letters arranged in such a way as to translate as "Posher for Kassover".
- Most of the Indian Chief's dialogue is in Yiddish.
- Lili's last name "Shtupp" is Yiddish slang for having sex.
- Black Comedy Rape: The rape jokes."You said 'rape' twice."
"I like rape."
- Black Is Bigger in Bed
- Lili is seducing the new, black, sheriff. We hear this in the dark:Lili von Shtupp: Tell me, schatze, is it twue what they say about the way you people are... gifted?
[sound of zipper opening]
Lili von Shtupp: Oh, it's twue. It's twue. It's twue! it's twue!!
- In the original script, this was followed by Sheriff Bart saying, "You're sucking my elbow."
- In another scene:Charlie: They said you was hung!•
Bart: And they was right!•
- Lili is seducing the new, black, sheriff. We hear this in the dark:
- Blasting It out of Their Hands:
- Spoofed with the Waco Kid, who is sitting on his horse with his arms crossed, shoots the guns out of the hands of seven men like an impossibly accurate machine gun the instant the camera cuts away from him. When the camera cuts back to him afterwards he's still just sitting there with his arms crossed; only this time his guns are smoking in their holsters.Sheriff Bart: Well, don't just stand there looking stupid and holding your hands in pain. How 'bout a little (Dramatic Gun Cock) applause for the Waco Kid?
- Someone blasts Reverend Johnson's bible out of his hands when he attempts to make peace between the mob and Bart.
- Spoofed with the Waco Kid, who is sitting on his horse with his arms crossed, shoots the guns out of the hands of seven men like an impossibly accurate machine gun the instant the camera cuts away from him. When the camera cuts back to him afterwards he's still just sitting there with his arms crossed; only this time his guns are smoking in their holsters.
- Booby Trap: The fake town of Rock Ridge filled with explosives as a trap for Hedley Lamarr's army.
- Bowdlerise: Racial slurs + profanity = a lot of changes when it's shown on TV.
- The infamous fart scene is, depending on what channel you're watching it on, edited. You'll either get the fart noises intact, or the farts replaced by belches, or no noise at all. Several cinemas in 1971 also cut that scene out.
- In addition to the standard edits for television, stations such as The Family Channel and its ABC Family followup changed Taggert's "Kansas City faggots" line to "Kansas City horses". Makes one wonder why they bothered showing it in the first place.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The movie has a pretty flimsy fourth wall to begin with, but by the end of the movie it completely collapses.
- During a speech, Hedley Lamaar says "You will only be risking your lives, while I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor."
- The big fight towards the end of the movie breaks out of the set and ruins a neighboring Busby Berkeley Number. This would be breaking the third wall.
- Taggart: "I'm working for Mel Brooks!" (writer/director).
- The end fight scene, where they break through the wall of the studio and continue the fight across several sets, culminating in Hedley Lamarr fleeing to Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and dying next to Douglas Fairbanks's footprints.
- Brick Joke: At the Chinese Theater, a couple is looking at the actor and actresses' signatures in front of it. Hedley corrects them, as he always does. Later, after Hedley is killed, we see that he's signed his face impression in the cement and underlined the DL in his name.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer
- Hedley could be considered this as he has a fixation on always bathing with his toy frog and freaks out when he can't find it.Hedley: "Daddy love Froggy. Froggy love Daddy?"Froggy: *Squeek Squeek*
- Bart was originally handed the job of Sheriff in order to disgust and offend the residents of Rock Ridge. Unfortunately for Hedley, Bart's far better at the job than he was expecting.
- Hedley could be considered this as he has a fixation on always bathing with his toy frog and freaks out when he can't find it.
- Busby Berkeley Number: "The French Mistake" rehearsal that the cast of Blazing Saddles wind up crashing into.
- But Not Too Black: Parodied. "They're darker than us! Woof!"
- But Now I Must Go: Lampshaded by the town with a mass Precision F-Strike.Bart: Work here is done. I'm needed elsewhere now. I'm needed wherever outlaws rule the West, wherever innocent women and children are afraid to walk the streets, wherever a man cannot live in simple dignity, wherever a people cry out for justice.
Entire town: (in unison) BULLSHIT!
Bart: (shrugging) All right, you caught me. Tellin' the plain truth, it's getting pretty damn dull around here.
- Butt Monkey: Several. Lamarr, Taggart, Buddy Bizarre, most of Rock Ridge's townsfolk… the list just keeps going on.
- Cameo: Several.
Dom: Not in the face! not in the face!! (receives punch to the gut) Thank you!
- Mel Brooks, in the line of outlaws waiting to join Hedley Lamarr's army. He's a World War I airplane pilot. He also appears as the Yiddish-speaking Indian chief AND Governor William J. LePetomane.
- Count Basie's Orchestra shows up in one scene.
- It seems the musical being filmed one sound-stage over from the set for Rock Ridge is being directed by Dom Deluise.
- Camp Gay: The dancers in "The French Mistake" rehearsal. Also its director.
- Carnival of Killers: Invoked for laughs:Hedley Lamarr: "I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and METHODISTS!
- Casual Danger Dialogue: From the opening sequence, as Bart and Charlie are trapped in quicksand:Charlie: (nonchalantly) Bart?
Charlie (as the cart starts to sink): Am I wrong, or is the world… (voice rises a few octaves) rising?
- Celebrity Paradox:
- Taggart saying "I'm working for Mel Brooks!" (writer/director), who also appears in the movie.
- Hedley Lamarr, Sheriff Bart and the Waco Kid attending a premiere of the movie Blazing Saddles.
- The famous Running Gag regarding Hedley Lamarr's name is lampshaded by the governor when he points out that it's 1874, meaning that "You'll be able to sue her!" Made even funnier by the fact that she did in fact sue Brooks (they settled out of court).
- The Chessmaster: Hedley Lamarr. Bart as well.
- Chess Motifs: "Mongo only pawn in game of life."
- Children Are Innocent: This belief was the undoing of the Waco Kid way back when.
- The Chosen Zero: The sheriff, a no-name black (in a time where being black was being seen as sub-human) railway worker deliberately pulled to sheriff duty to disgust the townsfolk into leaving. However, in a twist of fate, he's an extremely capable sheriff, much to the town's bewilderment (and then acceptance).
- Clint Squint: Lyle. This is character actor Burton Gilliam's trademark look due to his narrow eyes.
- Community-Threatening Construction: The plot gets started when the corrupt Hedley Lamarr learns that his planned railway course has to be detoured because of some quicksand, and conspires with an easily-bribed governor to hire a gang of baddies to rough up the remote town of Rock Ridge so that they can get the land on the cheap.
- Companion Cube: Hedley Lamarr's froggy.
- Corpsing: Little could barely restrain himself during the "common clay of the new West" speech.
- Couldn't Find a Lighter: Mongo lights a cigar by sticking it into a fire, while it's in his mouth.
- Crowd Panic: When Mongo first arrives in Rock Ridge.
- Curse Cut Short:
- Subverted. The governor thinks he's talking to Hedley and gets out, "Can't you see that man is a ni–" before realizing that he's talking to Bart. When he takes Hedley aside, he repeats the same statement… and it turns out he really was just saying, "Can't you see that man is a ni?"
- When Bart rides into Rock Ridge and their lookout is trying to tell the townsfolk that the sheriff is a n-*DONG!*, only to be drowned out by the church bells.
- This happens later with a prop when Hedley Lamarr comes out from the lavatories, and says to himself "What the fu-", only to be caught by the surprise of a pie landing near him.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Waco KidThe Waco Kid: What did you expect? "Welcome, sonny"? "Make yourself at home"? "Marry my daughter"? You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know, Morons.
- Death Seeker: The Waco KidBart: A man drinks like that and he don't eat, he is going to die.
The Waco Kid: (appallingly hopeful) When?
- Deconstructor Fleet: Western movie tropes. At one point Hedley complains, "'Head them off at the pass?' I HATE THAT CLICHÉ!"
- Defeat Means Friendship: The cause of Mongo's Heel–Face Turn.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: The constant and blatant racism from everyone but the two leads. Perhaps most dissonant is the sudden racism the townsfolk display toward the Irish, who are not seen as an abused minority in modern times (nor were they in the 1970s when the movie was first released).
- This is because it was perfectly acceptable to be racist towards the Irish during the time period the movie takes place in, i.e. the 1870s.
- Department of Redundancy Department: One hired goon's qualifications are rape, murder, arson, and rape. He likes rape.
- Diner Brawl: A brawl between the Western characters and Hollywood actors spills into a back lot cafeteria.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Hedley Lamarr shoots Taggart in the foot for using a stupid cliche, along with shooting one of his prospective henchmen for chewing gum and "not bringing enough for everybody".Jim: Boy, is he strict!
- Double Entendre: "They said you was hung!" "And they was right!"
- The Dragon: Taggart is this to Hedley Lamarr.
- The Dreaded: "Never mind that shit, here comes Mongo!"
- Dressing as the Enemy: Sheriff Bart and the Waco Kid, after they mug two Ku Klux Klan members.
- Dumb Is Good/Dumb Muscle: Mongo is generally a dumb brute, but he has flashes of insight.Mongo: Mongo don't know… Mongo only pawn in game of life.
- Dynamic Entry: Mongo breaking off the double doors on entering the saloon.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Lili von Shtupp.
- "I'm not a wabbit! I need some west!"
- On the note delivered to Bart, she asks to meet him in her "dwessing woom". As Bart reads it aloud as this, it's entirely possible she spelled it this way.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Hedley Lamarr's "Thugs Wanted" ad literally ends with "Equal Opportunity Employer".
- Eureka Moment: Almost all of Hedley's plots to drive the citizens out of Rock Ridge are a result of these.
- Europeans Are Kinky: Lili von Shtupp is an example of this.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Hedley may be an evil, corrupt, heartless man who hires scum of the earth. But he has no tolerance when a robber comes to sign up, whilst chewing gum, and did not bring enough for everybody.The Waco Kid: Boy, is he strict!
- Everyone Is Related: All of the inhabitants of Rock Ridge have the last name Johnson.
- Evil Chancellor: Hedley Lamarr to Governor LePetomane.
- Evil Laugh: Hedley Lamarr, when he comes up with the idea of sending a black sheriff to Rock Ridge. It becomes an Unevil Laugh when he chokes on the hard candy he's been sucking on.
- Exact Words:Taggart: Send a wire to the main office and tell them I said [Bart brains Taggart with a shovel] Ow!
Lyle: [writing] "Send wire.. main office.. tell them I said 'ow'." Gotcha!
- Expy: Madeline Kahn's Lili von Shtupp for Marlene Dietrich
- Femme Fatale: Lili von Shtupp.
- Fighting for a Homeland: All the railroad workers want in return for fighting is a piece of land to homestead.
- Five-Bad Band
- Flash Back: Sheriff Bart's story about how his parents came out West in a covered wagon and dealt with hostile Indians.
- Fourth-Wall Observer: At one point, the characters go to a movie theater and watch Blazing Saddles to find out what is happening to them. Yeah, this film pretty much demolishes the fourth wall.
- Funny Background Event: Hitler practicing his salute during the Diner Brawl.
- Gasshole: Farting cowboys.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- Despite the foul language, no one says "fuck", which apparently would not have stood past the censors even with the film's "R" rating. However, when Lamarr exits the men's room during the Diner Brawl, he clearly mouths, "What the fuck?"
- Lili von Shtupp's name. "Shtupp" is Yiddish for "fuck". Some TV broadcasts have blanked it out, amazingly.
- Although it's never openly identified as one, Bart and Waco Kid are clearly sharing a reefer in the midst of amiable chatter.
- "The French Mistake" song is about… er… let's just say "wrong hole" and leave it at that.
- Gonna Need More X: "Somebody's gotta go back and get a shitload of dimes!"
- Good Shepherd/Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Reverend Johnson can be a bit of a hassle but he's about the only member of the community who at least tries to defuse the racist townsfolk after Bart makes his entrance. He gives up the moment somebody puts a bullet through his upheld Bible, granted, but at least he tried."Son, you're on your own."
- Gratuitous Nazis: Among the people who apply for Hedley Lamarr's henchmen call are a bunch of Wehrmacht soldiers. Yes, in the Old West. (not that surprising given Mel Brooks is known for making a mockery out of the Third Reich.) It doesn't hurt there are some World War I German soldiers also in line.
- Groin Attack: Happens to a cowboy, a mook, a film Camp Gay director (just for laughs) and Hedley Lamarr (who's shot in the groin).
- Guile Hero: Bart.
- Guns Are Worthless: At least they are against Mongo, as when Bart heads out to deal with him is warned that shooting the brute will only make him mad. Which forces Bart to get… creative.
- The Gunslinger: The Waco Kid – a ludicrously over-the-top type D with shades of type A.
- Have a Gay Old Time: the film's use of racist language (particular the N-word) has made it a hot potato for many modern broadcasters, and with some modern viewers misunderstanding that the use of the word (in a film where Richard Pryor was one of the writers) was intended as an attack on racism, rather than an attempt to generate cheap laughs. As one of those behind the film's production states in the DVD featurette, Brooks intended the film to walk up to racism and punch it in the face. That said, the film is rarely broadcast unedited anymore.
- Heel–Face Turn: Lili von Shtupp (Hedy ("That's Hedley!") Lamarr's henchwoman) and Mongo (Taggart's henchman).
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Bart gets a minor one after his encounter with the Racist Grandma.
- He's Back: The Waco Kid.
- It is implied that he never really lost the shakes in his hand, though. He just learned to shoot with his other hand.
- Hidden Depths:Mongo: (sadly) Mongo only pawn in game of life.
- Hostage Situation: When the townspeople begin cocking guns in a threatening manner during Bart's inauguration speech as Sheriff, he defuses the situation by taking himself hostage, invoking both Uncle Tomfoolery and Scary Black Man behaviour. Amazingly, it works.Bart: Oh, baby. You are so talented! *beat* And they are so dumb!
- Hulkspeak: Mongo, with a few exceptions.
- Humanoid Abomination: Jim implies this when asked by Bart who Mongo is.Bart: Who's Mongo?
Jim: Well Mongo ain't exactly a who he's more of a what.
- Human Shield: See Hostage Situation above.
- I Lied: When Sheriff Bart confronts Lamarr at the climax and draws a gun on him, Hedley protests that he is unarmed, leading Bart to throw down his gun to settle things with Good Old Fisticuffs. Hedley then mentions that, wait, he is armed and reveals a Derringer in his coat, but Bart retrieves his gun and shoots Lamarr in the crotch.
- Immune to Bullets: Mongo. So they say.Bart starts putting on his gun belt.
The Waco Kid: No, no, don't do that. Don't do that, if you shoot him you'll just make him mad.
- Informed Ability: Lili von Shtupp, the Teutonic Titwillow, isn't all that good a singer. Then again, men aren't necessarily paying to listen to her.
- Inherently Funny Words: Hedy/Hedley Lamarr.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The villagers of Rock Ridge hold off Hedley's men… by installing a tollbooth. "Somebody's gotta go back and get a shitload of dimes!" Yes, absurd, as the booth is set up in the middle of a stretch of desert where they can easily go around it, but since Taggart thinks that his corrupt money-grubbing boss installed the thing, it actually makes sense that he doesn't go around.
- I Shall Taunt You: "Hey, where da white women at?"
- I Surrender, Suckers: Hedley Lamarr during his confrontation with Sheriff Bart.
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Hedley Lamarr, not "Heddy."
- Made all the more hilarious in that if you pay attention to the dialogue, the heroes (and at least one person from Rock Ridge) actually do say his name correctly, but always scenes in which Hedley Lamarr himself is not present.
- Kick the Dog: Mongo prefers punching horses in the face.
- Kirk's Rock: Yup, this movie was shot there too.
- Large Ham: Mel Brooks, of course, with a serious contender in Harvey Korman as Hedy (Hedley!).
- He's only risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, after all.
- And then there's Madeline Kahn as Lili von Shtupp… hammy enough to actually be nominated as Best Supporting Actress.
- Left the Background Music On: The church congregation was revealed to have been singing "The Ballad of Rock Ridge", and then there's Count Basie and his orchestra.
- Listing The Forms Of Degenerates: See Rhyming List.
- Literal Ass Kicking: After getting burned out on quick draw duels, this is what drives The Waco Kid to be an alcoholic after a confrontation with an armed six-year-old boy:The Waco Kid: I threw my guns down, and walked away. …The little bastard shot me in the ass!
- Logo Joke: The film opens with the WB shield burning away a la the map of the Ponderosa in Bonanza.
- Long List/Rhyming List:Hedley Lamarr: I want rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers, and Methodists!
Taggart: [finding pen and paper] Could you repeat that, sir?
- Lost in Transmission: As Bart approaches Rock Ridge, Gabby Johnson's shouts of "The sheriff is a n____r!" are obscured by the tolling of a bell, and misheard by Sam Johnson as "The sheriff is near".
- Magnetic Hero: Bart manages to get Mongo and Lili on his side through friendship and sex, respectively.
- Meaningful Name
- Lili von Shtupp. "Shtupp" is the Yiddish word for "fuck".
- Also Governor William J. Le Petomane. "Le Pétomane" was a performer from the 1890s famous for being able to fart at will.
- The Mel Brooks Number: A big song-and-dance routine full of Ho Yay lyrics performed by a chorus of Ambiguously Gay men.
- Mistaken for Gay: "Aw, Mongo straight!"
- Mood Whiplash: Jims story on how he quit being the Waco Kid. It seems to start out as a typical tragic gunslinger story, implying a dark ending even for a parody like Mel Brooks, but the punchline turned it into one of the most funniest scenes in the movie.Jim:Well, it got so that every piss-ant prairie punk who thought he could shoot a gun would ride into town to try out the Waco Kid. I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille. It got pretty gritty. I started to hear the word "draw" in my sleep. Then one day, I was just walking down the street when I heard a voice behind me say, "Reach for it, mister!" I spun around… and there I was, face to face with a six-year old kid. Well, I just threw my guns down and walked away. Little bastard shot me in the ass. So I limped to the nearest saloon, crawled inside a whiskey bottle, and I've been there ever since.
Jim: : What did you expect? "Welcome, sonny"? "Make yourself at home"? "Marry my daughter"? You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know, Morons.
- Happens again a little later after Bart tried and failed to win over the racist townsfolk, and is staring blankly at the wall in a depressed state. Cleavon Little didn't know what Gene Wilder was going to say at the end of the speech.
- Mountain Man/Prospector: Gabby Johnson
- Ms. Fanservice: The Governor's secretary.Governor Le Petomane: [looks at her breasts] Hello boys, I missed you…!
- Mugged for Disguise: Bart gets the attention of two Klansmen by asking Where Da White Women At?, then he and Jim ambush them and steal their outfits.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Given the Hurricane of Puns, a few: Sam(uel) Johnson, Howard Johnson, Governor LePetomane, and of course, Hedley Lamarr (which even inspired Hedy Lamarr to sue Warner Bros. and Mel Brooks for unauthorized use of her name).
- Ninja Prop: The ending. All of it.
- No Fourth Wall: The final scene in the movie, in which the two main characters watch the end of their own movie together at the Chinese Theatre.
- Waco Kid: Ooh. I hope there's a Happy Ending.
- Noodle Incident:
- Not in the Face!: Taggart punches him in the groin instead.
- N-Word Privileges:
- No way anyone but Mel Brooks could have gotten away with half of the jokes in this movie. It helped having Richard Pryor on board as co-writer. But Mel Brooks has confirmed that most of the n-word jokes came from himself, and Richard Pryor was largely responsible for the character of Mongo.
- Actor Burton Gilliam, in one of the DVD release featurettes, says he was very uncomfortable about having to use the word and sought out Cleavon Little's blessing. Little reassured Burton that it was just acting and he knew it didn't reflect Burton's own attitude.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Barkeeping: The bartender who "always kept things nice and clean" by spitting in them and shining them.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Lili is tied up in her room and interrogated by Lamarr. The next time we see her, she's with the rest of the Rock Ridge townspeople without any explanation.
- Only Sane Man
- Bart, to an extent.
- The Waco Kid as well, who's pretty level-headed once he's sober.
- And the Reverend, who combines this with Reasonable Authority Figure.
- Pass Fail: The "one-drop rule" is inverted for laughs near the beginning of the film:Bart (to Lyle): Sir, ah, he specifically requested two 'nig-gers'… Well, to tell a family secret, my grandmother was Dutch.
- The Perils of Being the Best: The Waco Kid is essentially this trope being Played for Laughs instead of drama.
- Pie in the Face: The "Great Pie Fight" near the end. No-one is spared. Hedley Lamarr tries to avoid it by ducking back into a restroom. Someone pies him in there.
- The Pigpen: Gabby Johnson; his breath is bad enough he can use it as a weapon.
- Or, it may be because right before, he takes a swig from a jug.
- Planet of Steves: All of the inhabitants of Rock Ridge have the last name Johnson.
- Plot-Based Voice Cancellation: When Hedley Lamarr comes out of the bathroom during the giant brawl, you can see his lips form the words "what the fuck?" before he quietly retreats back into the washroom.
- Plunger Detonator: Sheriff Bart tries to use one to detonate the explosives in the fake Rock Ridge and blow up the villains, but it doesn't work. The Waco Kid has to set them off with a shot from his revolver.
- Popcultural Osmosis
- Post Modernism: The climax of the film literally falls apart and spreads outside itself.
- Potty Dance: When Taggart gets an idea, he gets excited and jumps around. Hedley Lamarr thinks he's doing one of these.
- Premature Ejaculation: Alluded to in Lili's "I'm So Tired" number:Lili: They're always coming and going, and going and coming… and always too soon.
- Product Placement: Played for Laughs, naturally.
- "Howard Johnson's right!"
- Bart's Gucci saddlebags.
- Proscenium Reveal: Zig-Zagged in the climax, where the action is somehow "real" even though it's shown to be happening on a Hollywood soundstage — and eventually most of the backlot — during the climactic Final Battle.
- Punny Name: In addition to Hedley Lamarr, the Johnson clan in Rock Ridge includes Howard Johnson, Van Johnson, Dr. Samuel Johnson, and Olson N. Johnson.
- Purple Prose: Lamarr talks like this sometimes. For example, "My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."Taggart: Ditto!
- Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Sheriff Bart to the people of Rock Ridge, while taking himself hostage.
- Quicksand Sucks: "What is it that's not exactly water, and it ain't exactly earth?" Parodied in the accuracy of its depiction: the railroad workers who stumble into it don't go much farther than their waists, they're able to get themselves out by moving just enough to disturb the grains surrounding them, and the only thing this film got wrong is that the pit itself is in an arid desert.
- Racist Grandma: "UP YOURS, NIGGER!" Downplayed later when Bart helps save the town from Mongo, as she bakes him a pie and apologizes for slurring him, but doesn't want anyone to know about it.
- Railroad Plot: Blazing Saddles starts with this when the local railroad runs into quicksand, forcing the company to attempt to tear down a nearby town to make sure construction runs on schedule.
- Real Estate Scam: Hedley Lamarr's plan.
- Reality Ensues: Played for Laughs at the start with the quicksand pit Bart and a coworker stumble into. Suffice it to say, the one unrealistic detail of the pit is its very location.
- Reality Has No Subtitles: The Indian chief speaking Yiddish to Sheriff Bart's parents and Sheriff Bart and Lili von Shtupp speak German to each other.
- Refuge in Audacity
- Versus racism. (Notably, one of the co-writers was Richard Pryor).
- "All right! We'll take the niggers and the chinks, but we don't want the Irish!"
- See Hostage Situation above.
- "And Methodists!"
- The farting scene was this at the time. That's the first time farting was depicted on the big screen and it was a big hit. Mel Brooks stated in the DVD commentary that cowboys drinking coffee and eating beans all the time would make the place quickly unlivable.
- Repeat After Me: Hedley Lamarr to his army of criminals.
- Retired Badass: The Waco Kid
- Retired Gunfighter: The Waco Kid
- Riding into the Sunset: The two leads, first on horses and then in a chauffeured car.
- Road Sign Reversal: The re-edited-for-TV version includes a originally-cut scene like this, when Bart and the Waco Kid are being chased by the villains; the duo come to an arrow-sign mounted on a post, smack it so that it starts spinning in circles, and run on. The villains ride up, wait for the sign to finish spinning, and charge off in the indicated direction.
- Rousing Speech: Played with a couple of times. Gabby Johnson successfully does one despite being The Unintelligible, while Bart's later attempt falls flat until he invokes the name of western acting icon Randolph Scott.
- Rule of Funny: The whole movie runs on this.
- Running Gag
- Hedley Lamarr being addressed as "Hedy" and him snapping, "That's HEDLEY!"
- Rock Ridge being infested with cattle.
- The fact that nearly everybody in Rock Ridge has the last name "Johnson" is also played for laughs throughout the film.
- Hedley hitting his head on the window.
- Salt and Pepper: Sheriff Bart and the Waco Kid.
- Schmuck Bait: "Mongo like candy!" Mongo open box...
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Reverend Johnson does this twice:
Reverend: Son... you're on your own.
- After the first bandit attack on Rock Ridge, he was one of the quickest to argue for abandoning the town.
- When Bart becomes the new sheriff, the reverend tries to shame the mob into not lynching Bart. They shoot the Bible out of his hand.
- Towards the end of the film, Hedley flags down a Burbank taxi driver to "Drive me off this picture."
- Security Blanket: Hedley Lamarr's "Froggy"
- Security Cling: Taggart does a "single glomp" version on Hedley Lamarr when a scaffold trap door releases outside.
- Seize Them!: Sheriff Bart and the Waco Kid try to infiltrate Hedley Lamaar's army of thugs. When they're revealed they run away and Hedley Lamaar yells "Seize them!" to his minions.
- Self-Deprecation: In the Italian dub, instead of saying "We don't want the Irish" they said "We don't want Italians".
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Hedley Lamarr, as in this lampshaded example:Hedley Lamarr: My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.
Taggart: God darnit, Mr. Lamarr, you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore.
Lamarr: *sighs* Shitkicker…
- Sex–Face Turn: Lili von Shtupp, with Sheriff Bart.
- Sex God: Spoofed with a line that was deleted from the film.Bart: I hate to break this to you ma'am, but you are sucking on my elbow.
- Shaming the Mob: The Reverend tries, at least, but is quickly intimidated out of doing so.
- Shout-Out: Numerous.
- Shovel Strike: Bart to Taggart, after the latter leaves him to die in quicksand.
- Show Within a Show: The French Mistake and Blazing Saddles. Wait, what?
- Sissy Villain: Hedley Lamarr.
- Slip into Something More Comfortable: Parodied. Lili von Shtupp says this to Sheriff Bart, and slips out of her naughty showgirl outfit into… another naughty showgirl outfit.
- Smart People Play Chess: Played with when Bart and the Waco Kid play chess against each other. While neither man is particularly smart, they're geniuses compared to the other characters in the film.
- Sniper Pistol: The Waco Kid manages to set off dynamite from a few hundred yards away, using a single shot from his revolver.
- Some Call Me "Tim": Inverted, then subverted.Bart: What's your name?
Jim: Well, my name is Jim, but most people call me… Jim.
- Sophisticated as Hell: The final verse of "The Ballad of Rock Ridge":Now it's a time of great decision
Are we to stay or up and quit?
There's no avoiding this conclusion
Our town is turning into shit!
- Sound Effects Bleep: A church bell when Bart approaches the town.Gabby Johnson: Hey! The sheriff is a N-*DONG!*
Howard Johnson: What'd he say?
Olson Johnson: He said the sheriff is near! *cheers*
Gabby Johnson: NO, GODRUM DAGNABBIT! I SAID THE SHERIFF IS A N-*DONG!*
- Done more often in televised versions. For example, censoring out the word 'shit' from the final line of the Ballad of Rock Ridge by having the organist mangle a chord. Since it's pretty obvious what they were going to say, this actually makes the movie funnier. In particular, in the televised versions of the farting scene, the farting was replaced with the horses neighing. To repeat: they used a sound effects bleep on another sound effect.
- Spit Take: The Waco Kid, after Sheriff Bart reads the note from Lili von Shtupp.
- Spoonerism: "Sheriff murdered, crops burned, stores looted, people stampeded, and cattle raped." Although, considering the bandits in question…
- Springtime for Hitler:
- Lamarr convinces the governor to appoint a random black man as Rock Ridge's new sheriff, in the hopes that the racist townspeople will be so demoralized that they give up and run off. He certainly wasn't counting on the sheriff actually helping them and winning them over.
- The Trope Namer song is actually referenced slyly in the film, as a few bars of the song are played when we first see Lili von Shtupp's name.
- Stealth Pun
Olson Johnson: What are we made of? Our fathers came across the prairies, fought Indians, fought drought, fought locusts, fought Dix. Remember when Richard Dix came in here and tried to take over this town?
- "Mongo! Santa Maria!"
- One of the many Johnsons of Rock Ridge has the unfortunate first name of Anal. He always keeps things nice and clean.
- Most of the townspeople. Howard Johnson, Dr. Samuel Johnson. Van Johnson, Olson N. Johnson.
- Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: Bart puts himself into a Hostage Situation, causing the townsfolk who were about to lynch him to panic and plead for his safety.
- Straight Gay: During the massive climatic fistfight, one of the cowboys pairs up with a Camp Gay dancer and they leave together.
- Strolling Through the Chaos: Hedley Lamarr during the Great Pie Fight. At least at first…
- Sucks At Dancing: During the work song in which the "niggers" are in perfect harmony and perfectly coordinated in their choreography, they get rudely interrupted and shown a questionable routine by their slave-drivers.
- Suddenly Shouting: The school marm. "Forgive me. I'm not used to public speaking. Ahem... WE, the God-fearing citizens of Rock Ridge...!"
- Super Speed: The Waco Kid's superpower. To test his skills, Jim has Bart put his hands about 6 inches apart, on either side of a chess piece, to see if he can grab it before Jim (Who is five feet away, on the other side of the table). At the word 'draw!' Bart claps his hands together, while Jim makes no appreciable movement. Needless to say, the chess piece is not in Bart's hands, but rather found concealed in Jim's gun holster.
- Surprise Checkmate: During Sheriff Bart's game with the Waco Kid.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Everyone but Bart himself in the failed TV pilot.
- Take That!: "I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille." DeMille was known for his epic action films, and, in the early days of film before standards were put in place, for his total disregard for the safety of anyone on set. His original 1926 Ben-Hur is infamous for how many animals were killed and maimed during production and how many cast and crew avoided death by literally inches.
- Tap on the Head: Bart to Taggart with a shovel after being left to die in quicksand.Taggart: I want you to send a wire to the main office, and tell them I said— [Is hit hard on the head by a shovel] Owwww!
Lyle: Send wire, main office, tell them I said 'OW!' Gotcha!
- Those Wacky Nazis: They first raise the wrong hands for the swear. Then they get drunk and start singing with Lili.
- Title Theme Tune: Frankie Laine, who sings the film's opening song, was told it was "a Western dealing with racism" (technically true). Nobody told him the film was a comedy. After he gave an amazing performance, Mel Brooks couldn't bring himself to tell Frankie the truth. Brooks had set out to get the theme performed by "a Frankie Laine type", thinking he couldn't afford the real thing. Thank goodness he was mistaken!
- Toilet Humor: Most notoriously in the campfire scene.
- Trash the Set: At the very end of the movie, the cast trashes the fake Rock Ridge, the set of a musical, and the Warner Bros. commissary. And a tour group… which walks out of the cafeteria as if nothing had happened, despite the pie stains.
- The Trope Kid: The Waco Kid
- Unaccustomed as I Am to Public Speaking...: The school teacher who writes the telegram to Governor LePetomane starts off very quiet, then gets very loud.
- Uncertain Doom: Mongo punches Taggert so hard that he's sent flying headfirst into a cash register. It's unclear if he dies or merely loses consciousness, but it's the last we see of him.
- Uncle Tomfoolery: Inverted, as the black Sheriff Bart has a white sidekick, the Waco Kid.
- Undercrank: Parts of the pie fight.
- The Unintelligible: Gabby Johnson's "authentic frontier gibberish".Gabby Johnson: You get back hayurr, you payass, canely-ass sadewainder! Ain't no way that nobody's gonna leave this town! Hail, I was born harr, I was raised harr, and dad gum it, I'm gonna die harr! And no sadewindin', bushwhackin', hornswogglin cracker-crucker is gonna rull may bishencutter!Olson N. Johnson: Now who can argue with that?Gabby Johnson: Rerrit!
- Unreliable Narrator: "The town saloon was always lively/But never nasty or obscene/behind the bar stood Anal Johnson/He always kept things nice and clean". *SPIT* *BELCH*
- Untrusting Community: The town of Rock Ridge vs. Sheriff Bart.
- Unwanted Assistance: At the film's climax, when the Waco Kid is trying to pull off an impossible shot, the preacher starts (loudly) praying for God to guide him. Thankfully, the other residents of Rock Ridge shut him up by beating him with their hats.
- Visual Gag: Since Bart's family is ostracized by the rest of the wagon train, when the Indians attack, circling the wagons with only one wagon means they go in circles by themselves.
- The Von Trope Family: Lili von Shtupp.
- Waxing Lyrical
- Before firing the starting pistol for the attack on Rock Ridge, Hedley motivates his army thus:
- When people knock on Lili's door, she tends to bid them inside with a "Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome…"
- What a Drag: An unfortunate man during the first attack on the town.Man: [while being dragged through the mud by a horse] Well, that's the end of this suit!
- When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Sheriff Bart tells his friend to bring his fellow railway workers and a load of equipment to a specific spot at midnight.
- Where Da White Women At?: Trope Namer, but the scene that gives us the trope name doesn't use the trope itself. The line is used to distract some Klansmen. Bart's relationship with Lili von Shtupp, however, may be an example of this trope.
- White Male Lead: Part of what makes the very racially-charged comedy of the movie work is that it averts this trope. Bart is not only the hero, but has a White Best Friend as the sidekick.
- Who's on First?: "Meeting is adjourned." "It is?" "No, you say that, Governor." "What?" [repeat]
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: In a rare justification of this trope, the villains actually try this. They end up looking stupid, grasping their hands in pain.
- The Wild West: The movie parodies just about every known Western trope in one way or another.
- Worse with Context: While masquerading as a member of the Ku Klux Klan, Sheriff Bart tells Hedley Lamarr why he should be a part of Lamaar's criminal army.Lamaar: Qualifications?
Bart: Stampeding cattle.
Lamaar: That's not much of a crime.
Bart: Through the Vatican?
Lamaar: Kinky! Sign here.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: Mel Brooks as the Indian chief.
- You Have Failed Me: The bubble gum affair.
- You No Take Candle: Mongo perfect example of trope.
- Zerg Rush: After softening up Hedley's army with explosives, the townsfolk's plan is simply, "Let's wipe 'em out!"