- Acceptable Ethnic Targets: Mexican and Arab bandits. Blacks and East Asians too, to some degree, but then that's part of the joke. References this attitude toward the Irish, which was actually a real ideology. Prejudice against the Irish in the 19th century was severe in the United States, and the reference was included to show Society Marches On.
- Acceptable Political Targets: Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan.
- Acceptable Targets: Racists. The movie depicts any white character who unironically uses slurs or makes racist remarks as evil, incompetent, or both. Some people missed this point.
- And You Thought It Would Fail: Warner Bros. almost didn't release the film at all because they figured it just wouldn't sell. But it did.
- Award Snub: Lampshaded. Hedley did risk that Academy Award nomination after all…
- Seriously, the movie did get Oscar nominations for Madeline Kahn for Supporting Actress, Best Song, and Best Editing. But that it missed out on Supporting Actor for Harvey Korman, or Best Director, or Best Screenplay, or Best Picture shows how hard it is for a comedy movie to get its due in Hollywood.
- Awesome Music: The title theme. Frankie Laine was unaware that the film was a comedy, so he sang it as if it was for a genuine western. After hearing how much effort Frankie Laine was putting into his singing, Mel Brooks simply didn't have the heart to tell him the truth.
- Mel wanted someone "like Frankie Laine." At the audition, Frankie Laine showed up.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
- Bart’s flashback about migrating west serves no purpose other than to give Mel Brooks another cameo. Keep in mind that this scene was kept, while all the funny things Bart does to capture Mongo were cut out.
- For some reason, there's cattle in the movie theater and the saloon.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Let's just say it crosses the line so often it might as well be a game of table tennis.
- Ear Worm: The Theme Tune, Lily Von Shtupp's "I'm Tired" and the musical number "The French Mistake".
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
- From the song "I'm Tired", the line "Let's face it. Everything below the waist is kaput!" is not as amusing considering Madeline Kahn later passed away from ovarian cancer.
- Alex Karras, who played Mongo, suffered from dementia in his last few years. Puts a rather different spin on his act as The Ditz.
- Gabby Johnson being the town drunkard is less funny as Gabby's actor Jack Starrett was a real life alcoholic in which his drinking would eventually claim his life in a form of kidney failure in 1989.
- Funny Moments: It would take less time to list the scenes that don't qualify. There's about 10 seconds of the movie about 9 minutes in. That's about it.
- Genius Bonus:
Taggart: I got it! I know how we can run everyone out of Rock Ridge.
Hedley Lamarr: How?
Taggart: We'll kill the first born male child in every household!
Hedley Lamarr: [after some consideration] Too Jewish.
Olson Johnson: Our fathers came across the prairie! 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!" Mongo Santamaria was a famous jazz musician.
- Governor LePetomane: "Le Petomane" was the stage name of a French entertainer who was famous for being able to fart at will. It's not a coincidence that one of the most famous scenes in this movie is "cowboys farting after eating beans".
- One would have to be a fan of old American movies to get the following:
Bart: You'd do it for Randolph Scott.
Townsfolk: Randolph Scott!
Chorus: ♪ RANDOLPH SCOOOOTT! ♫
- (Scott was the Western hero for decades, but by the time this movie came out, he'd been retired and out of the public eye for ten years.)
- "Ah, yes, the Doctor Gillespie Killings. Well, do your best." This is a reference to a 1940s movie serial series, and is basically the equivalent of joking Jessica Fletcher was the real killer in Murder, She Wrote. Considering by the time this movie came out those movies hadn't been in cinemas for thirty years, it's a hell of an obscure joke.
- Bart's "stampeding cattle through the Vatican" line while dressed as a Klansman works doubly well since the KKK are notoriously anti-Catholic.
- Hedley's inclusion of "Methodists" at the end of his Long List of bad guys makes sense when you realize that the Methodist Church was officially opposed to slavery and was also much more inclusive of black people than other denominations of the time. Therefore, to a racist, Methodists would be bad guys.
- The Ku Klux Klan's inclusion in the movie is even funnier if you know that the Klansmen in Hedley's army are wearing the uniforms of the second Ku Klux Klan, which didn't form until after World War I—making them almost as anachronistic as the Nazis fighting alongside them.
- The racist attitude toward the Irish might seem like a random joke to a modern viewer, but the Irish really were discriminated against at the time the film is set. There were even cartoons depicting them as subhumans on the same level as Africans.
- Hilarious in Hindsight ("Funny Aneurysm" Moment?): This film got a lot of quoting online after the election of President Barack Obama, particularly the "Sheriff is near" scene.
- Idiot Plot: So many of the key scenes and points in the film rely on the characters being idiots, but the idiocy of racists is part of the comedy's Central Theme.
- Love to Hate: Lyle, the red-shirted cowboy played by Burton Gilliam. Not only is he an extremely Politically Incorrect Villain, but he spends his entire screen time doing and saying completely despicable things with a huge, pearly-white smile just to make him that much more entertainingly loathsome.
- Memetic Mutation:
- Mongo only pawn in game of life.
- Never mind that shit! Here comes MONGO!
- "Candygram for Mongo!"
- "You said rape twice." "I like rape."
- "He hit Buddy! Get him, girls!"
- After Gene Wilder's death, many fans said he'd gone "nowhere special."
- "Where da white women at?" to the point it became a Trope Namer.
- "Howard Johnson is right," in response to any The Unintelligible.
- Misaimed Fandom: The movie's existence has become a popular catch-all excuse for white apologists of racial insult humor ("Mel Brooks used the n-word, why can't I??") who detest political correctness and excuse racist jokes as "transgression." This ignores the fact that every white person in the movie who makes racist jokes or uses derogatory words is depicted as evil or a moron. Or both.
- Misblamed: This film has, as of The New '10s, suddenly taken a lot of flak from audiences who believed that the constant uses of the word "nigger" were racist, when in actuality, every white character in the film who uses the word non-ironically is portrayed as a complete idiot to show just how stupid racism is. Not to mention that it was Richard Pryor, not Mel Brooks, who added all of the n-bombs to the script.
- More ridiculously, Pryor and Little repeatedly had to reassure everyone behind the scenes they weren't offended.
- In 2015, this movie was trotted out by a commenter on Gawker during the Ridiculous 6 controversy, trying to compare the two as equally racist. Evidently the commenter did not understand the concept of satire.
- Music to Invade Poland To:
- The church choir singing about Rock Ridge becomes much faster and more menacing when Hedley Lamarr's men ride into town to scare the townsfolk away.
- In a cut scene, Lili von Shtupp refers to "I'm Tired" as "the song that closed Poland."
- Once Acceptable Targets: Gays (and this is hardly the only Mel Brooks movie for which this is true!). Oddly enough, the Camp Gay dancers get this treatment, but the apparently Straight Gay cowboy who hooks up with one does not.note
- One-Scene Wonder:
- "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The fart scene is supposed to be the first mainstream film fart joke but it comes off as trying too hard when it was actually pretty innovative.
- Tear Jerker: The Waco Kid's story and depression is played absolutely straight at the start of the film. His Character Development in the film is also played straight as well.
- Took the Bad Film Seriously: According to Mel Brooks's commentary, this occurred with Frankie Laine when he recorded the title song. He simply didn't realize the film he was singing for was a parody, and Mel didn't have the heart to tell him after he recorded it.
- Values Dissonance:
- Brooks himself has stated that this film could have been made only in The '70s, since the overuse of the word "nigger" along with numerous jokes about gay people would make it extremely controversial in The New '10s. Of course for many people, this just makes the film funnier.
- Another particular example is the fact that one scene involves a horse getting punched in the face hard enough that it falls on the ground. To some people, this isn't as funny nowadays as animals have since become Unacceptable Targets. Alex Karras pulled his punch; the horse had been trained to fall over on cue.
- Vindicated by History:
- A variant, as Blazing Saddles was extremely financially successful from the start, but it was derided by critics of the era as crude and dumb, while today it is considered one of the greatest comedies ever made… and one of the better westerns.
- It was ranked #6 on the AFI's "100 Years…" list of the best comedy films in the last 100 years.
- Sadly, increasingly inverted. Mel Brooks has claimed that if he tried to make a movie like this today instead of in the mid-70's, they'd string him up, citing Political Correctness Gone Mad.
- "Weird Al" Effect: Western movies.
- Hedley Lamarr is always correcting people who call him "Hedy." There are fewer people today who know Hedy Lamarr (Who starred in 19 films, had six husbands, and whose work in radar technology in WWII served as a key precursor to the development of cell phones, wi-fi and GPS, making her the Mother of the Cellular Age) than who know Blazing Saddles — or who know Hedy LaRue in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, a more direct takeoff on Lamarr.
- Ditto jazz musician Mongo Santamaria, who is perhaps best known today as the punchline of a throwaway joke involving Mongo.
- Almost nobody in the movie's target audience would have known that, by Hollywood cliché, Native Americans were played by Jewish actors. Hence the movie's Yiddish-speaking Indians.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: Well, if you can not laugh long enough to analyze it…