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 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. LePetomane (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 the 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 Jewish gunslinger The Waco Kid (Gene Wilder), sexy German chanteuse Lili Von Shtupp (Madeline Kahn), and Alex Karras as Mongo, 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 Nazis in his movies.
Excuse me while I whip these tropes out!
- The Ace: Bart is the only one to take down Mongo, beats Lili von Schtupp at her own game, and defeats Hedley Lamarr.
- Accidental Misnaming: One that was such a Running Gag the "target" even sued. See Celebrity Paradox.
- Addled Addict: Jim/the Waco Kid starts out with a bad case of the DT's, at least on one side, although he gets over it fairly quickly.
- Adolf Hitlarious: An actor dressed as Hitler (who is implied to be Jewish) mentions "the bunker scene" before the place explodes into a hilarious pie fight. As the brawl unfolds, he can be seen in the background, tossing out rapid-fire Nazi salutes for absolutely no reason at all.
- Advertised Extra: Mel Brooks' "Indian chief" appears on the poster above despite being only a cameo in the film itself.
- Affectionate Parody: Of westerns. So affectionate that the singer of the theme song, Frankie Laine, did not know it was a parody. They added the whip sounds into the music later.
- The Alcoholic: Jim, a.k.a. The Waco Kid, ever since his Literal Ass-Kicking described below.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Outlaw bikers are seen in the line signing up to be Hedley Lamarr's Mooks.
- Alter Kocker: The Indian Chief even speaks ''Yiddish''.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees:
- "Alright, we'll give some land to the niggers and the chinks, but we don't want the Irish!" What seems like a straightforward example of Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking is surprisingly accurate for a movie that plays so fast and loose with history, as any historian would tell you, the Irish really were considered to be a separate race and discriminated against in a similar way to the blacks and Chinese.
- Mel Brooks portraying the Yiddish speaking Native American chief is a parody of the fact it was once standard Hollywood practice for Western films to cast Jewish actors to play Native American characters.
- Always Camp: "The French Mistake" number combines acting, dancing, and musical theatre.
- Ambiguously Gay: Jim might be:Bart: As I am your host and you are my guest, what do you like to do?
Jim: Oh, I dunno... Play chess... Screw...
Bart: Well, let's play chess.
- Anachronism Stew:
- Nazis (and Arabs and bikers) in the Old West, for one thing. Also, the film is set in 1875, several years after the original version of the KKK had died out (it wouldn't revive until the 1910s).
- 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...
- When Bart and Jim's KKK impersonation is exposed, Bart says his next impression will be 1930s Olympic runner Jesse Owens before he runs away.
- Freeways and tollbooths didn't exist til The '40s.
- At the ending, where the cast brawl spills out of its set, flies right into a 20s-30s Fred Astaire-esque Busby Berkeley Number of a type that was no longer being made at the time this film was, then crashes into 1970s Hollywood, and back to the old west... where our heroes are chauffeured away in a fancy car.
- Angrish: Town drunk Gabby Johnson's native language.
- Antagonistic Governor: Gov. William J. LePetomane isn't exactly antagonistic, but he is incompetent and an easy mark for State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr, who acts as his Evil Chancellor. LePetomane'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.
- Anti-Love Song: Lili's song, which is about how bored she is of sex and romance.
- Apathetic Citizens: Exaggerated and Played for Laughs when the brawl between the townspeople of Rock Ridge and Hedley Lamarr's goons, after having swept up a Camp Gay musical production in its wake, literally crashes into the Warner Brothers studio commissary. Not only do the characters eating in the commissary not flee or try to break up the fight, but they escalate the conflict by snatching up cream pies and throwing them at random people in an enormous "pie fight." Even the unsuspecting tour group that enters the commissary and gets repeatedly pied doesn't seem to mind what's happening.
- 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 Lamarr gives out a long list of evil people that he wants to recruit as mooks, topping it off with a triumphant, "...and Methodists!". There's no given reason why Methodists are lumped in with such villains.
- Later in the film, the bigoted people of Rock Ridge face being completely overwhelmed by Lamarr's Evil Army unless they accept the help of a large group of railroad workers, and in return give some of the local land to these workers. (The workers are mostly black and Chinese.) After a bit of discussion, the people announce "Ok, we'll give some land to the niggers and the chinks, but we don't want the Irish!" This is a deliberate attempt to show how meaningless prejudice and racism is, and how what are now seemingly generic groups were once a major target of such prejudice. And, as historians will tell you, the Irish were indeed discrimated against in the 19th Century.
- 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?" while the thugs pause until she's finished.
- 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 the Good Book Says...: This wonderful exchange:Reverend Johnson: Gentlemen, gentlemen, allow not hatred to rule the day. [holds up his Bible] As your spiritual leader, I implore you to pay heed to this good book and what it has to say!
[Townspeople shoot the Bible, blowing it apart]
Reverend Johnson: [to Bart] Son, you're on your own.
- As You Know: Everyone in the town is gathered in the church to discuss what to do about the bandits ransacking the town — and the preacher begins by letting everyone know that bandits are ransacking the town. He even begins his speech by saying that he doesn't have to tell them any of this: sheriff murdered, crops burned, stores looted, women stampeded, and cattle raped."I don't have to tell you people what has been happening to our beloved town..."
- Attack Pattern Alpha: With regards 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).
- Audience Murmurs: Lampshaded about as hard as possible:Cabinet men: harrumphharrumphharrumphharrumphharrumphharrumphharrumph
Governor: I didn't get a "harrumph" outta that guy!
Hedley Lamarr: Give the governer a "harrumph!"
That Guy: Harrumph.
Governor: You watch your ass!
- Author Appeal: You didn't think that making an (ostensible) Western could keep Mel Brooks from including the Nazis, did you?
- "Awkward Silence" Entrance: The upbeat welcome celebration for the new sheriff falls silent when they realize Sheriff Bart is... not who they expected.
- Badass Bandolier: The bandito who gives the "Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!" speech wears one.
- Badass Bystander: Gabby Johnson, the resident drunkard of Rock Ridge, can take out bandits simply by grabbing them by the collar and breathing his "beer-breath" on them.
- 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. Subverted, as they quickly prove out of their league, as many of them are shown to be capable of little more than impotent sissy-slapping. Further subverted when one of the cowboys abandons the brawl to leave with one of the dancers instead.
- Badass Preacher: Reverend Johnson, who even stands up for Bart (briefly) and participates in the final battle by kneeing a bandit in the crotch.
- 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 "
- Ballroom Blitz: The Final Battle busts right out of the movie and into the studio next door, where a rehearsal for a dance number is taking place.
- 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...!"
- Bathos: "Waco Kid" Jim tells the woeful story of his career and how he reached a point where he nearly gunned down a six-year old who challenged him. He threw down his gun to end his career, at which point the "little bastard shot me in the ass!"
- 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!"
- Bestiality Is Depraved: Possibly. Rev. Johnson says that Taggart's outlaws (among many other crimes) raped the cattle of Rock Ridge, but considering the list also includes a mention of "women stampeded," he might've just gotten a few words mixed up.
- Big Bad: Hedly Lamarr, the Corrupt Politician planning to destroy Rock Ridge.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: Bart actually manages to convert Kahn's Lili Von Schtup to the good guys purely by impressing her with his penis. An extended cut of the scene reveals she was sucking on his elbow.
- 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.Hedley Lamarr: What are we going to do about Rock Ridge?
Taggart: I got it, I got it! We'll work up a Number 6 on 'em.
Hedley Lamarr: Number 6? I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that one.
Taggart: That's where we go a-ridin' into town, a-whampin' and whompin' every living thing that moves within an inch of its life! Except the women folks of course.
Hedley Lamarr: You spare the women?
Taggart: Nah, we rape the shit out of them at the Number 6 Dance later on!
- Later in the movie though, we learn it didn't quite go as planned:Pastor (addressing the town): Sheriff murdered, crops burnt, people stampeding, and cattle raped.
- And later still, as Hedley is assembling his army of villains to wipe out the town:Hedley: Qualifications?
Applicant: Rape, murder, arson, and rape.
Hedley: You said rape twice.
Applicant: I like rape.
- Later in the movie though, we learn it didn't quite go as planned:
- 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, "I hate to disappoint you ma'am, but you're sucking on my arm."
- 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 when 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 when 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.
- Boomerang Bigot: The Camp Gay musical director Buddy does not spare the homophobic slurs when chewing out his Camp Gay cast members.
- Born in the Theatre: Hedley Lamarr is pondering questions to himself while facing, then asks us "Why am I asking to you?"
- 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 (meaning you just see the cowboys rise and lower in their seat for no apparent reason. Several cinemas in 1974 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.
- A surprising (to 2010s audiences) aversion: In the 1970s and early 1980s the N-word was not forbidden on network television as it is today, so early TV broadcasts left it intact while censoring other words. Today, however, it's a prime reason why the film doesn't appear on network TV anymore.
- 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.
- The final scene in the movie escalates directly to No Fourth Wall, 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.
- Breath Weapon: During the big fight scene, Gabby Johnson the grizzled drunk mountain man grabs a bad guy by the collar and exhales in his face, knocking him out.
- 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.
- Camp Straight: Hedley Lamarr. A buffoonish Dragon with Ambiguously Gay characteristics, likes women. He's at least bi. Don't forget how he molests the statue of Justice.
- Cardboard Pal: Carried out on a grand scale when the citizens of Rock Ridge built a mock-up of the whole town, complete with cardboard versions of themselves, so that the bad guys would attack the wrong town.
- Cardboard Prison: Mongo could escape from Rock Ridge's jail cell anytime, but he decides he needs time to rest.
- 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; Brooks' view on the lawsuit was, "It's HEDY LAMARR! Just give her whatever she wants!").
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Lili von Schtupp pulls a curtain shut for an instant and re-emerges wearing something "more comfortable", which is an outfit just as elaborate as the one she was previously wearing.
- 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.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.
- Chinese Laborer: We see one working on the railroad who collapses from exhaustion.
- 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).
- Clean Up the Town: Bart has to clean up the town and resorts to unorthodox methods. Candy Gram, anyone?
- Clint Squint: Lyle. This is character actor Burton Gilliam's trademark look due to his narrow eyes.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Governor LePetomane is a complete and total moron who is only interested in having sex with his secretary and playing with toys.
- Cluster Bleep-Bomb: Cable showings can suffer from this. It's practically a silent movie.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Until Django Unchained was released, this may very well have been the record-holder for most uses of the "N" word in a mainstream movie.
- Companion Cube: Hedley Lamarr's froggy.Daddy loves Froggy. Froggy love Daddy? (squeak squeak) Aaaaaahhh.... ribbit... ribbit... ribbit...
- Corpsing: Little could barely restrain himself during the "common clay of the new West" speech.
- Corrupt Politician: Hedley Lamarr, a corrupt attorney general who is driving honest settlers off their land for the benefit of the railroad company he has an interest in.
- Couldn't Find a Lighter: Mongo lights a cigar by sticking it into a fire, while it's in his mouth.
- Covered in Gunge: The big fight scene at the end spills out of its set into another soundstage, then spreads into the studio commissary and escalates into a food fight. Hedley tries to evade it by ducking into a restroom, then emerges a second later with a faceful of soap in an attempt to escape the scene.
- Creator Cameo: The voices for the drunk who Lili Von Shtupp kicks off the stage and the German soldier who joins her later in the show are both provided by Mel Brooks.
- Crowd Panic: When Mongo first arrives in Rock Ridge, a crowd in the street sees him, panics, and runs away.
- Cry into Chest: Parodied when it's done with two guys, the crier being a Camp Gay."You brute, you brute, you vicious brute!""All right, all right.."
- Curb Stomp Cushion: The Camp Gay dancers recording "The French Mistake" actually put up a decent fight against Taggart and Hedley's outlaws, albeit briefly.
- 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.
- Dance Sensation: "The French Mistake".
- Deadpan Snarker: The Waco Kid.The 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 Kid. After nearly gunning down a kid, Jim gave up gun-fighting and tried to drink himself to death.Bart: A man drinks like that and he don't eat, he is going to die.
The Waco Kid: (appallingly hopeful) When?
- Deconstructive Parody: The film took everything from the American Western genre, a couple dozen more from every other genre of American film, and proceeded to nuke them (particularly the racist elements) in a way that only Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor could manage. It was almost two decades before anyone took the Western seriously again.
- Deconstructor Fleet: Western movie tropes. At one point, Hedley complains, "'Head them off at the pass?' I HATE THAT CLICHÉ!" The whole goal of the movie was to highlight how artificial and out-of-date the entire genre was, mostly by taking tropes about "the common clay of the new West" and showing what they'd actually be like. Finally, the movie ends by shattering its fourth wall to bits, the characters spending the entire final act either on a sound stage or in a movie theater.
- Defeat Means Friendship: After Sheriff Bart blows up Mongo and captures him:Mongo: Mongo stay with Sheriff Bart. Sheriff first man ever whip Mongo. Mongo impressed, have deep feelings for Sheriff Bart.Waco Kid: Uh oh, you better watch out, big fella. I think Mongo's taken a little fancy to you.Mongo: Aww, Mongo straight!
- 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 there was rampant racism 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.
- Determined Homesteader: The townsfolk of Rock Ridge, although this being a comedy, their determination wavers a bit.
- 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 cliché, along with shooting one of his prospective henchmen for chewing gum and "not bringing enough for everybody".Jim: Boy, is he strict!
- Dodge the Bullet: Hedley Lamarr ducks out of the pie fight unstained, after smearing soap on his face in the washroom, to make it look like he'd already been pied.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Don't shoot Mongo. It just makes him mad.
- Doomed New Clothes: Played with when bandits overrun the town of Rock Ridge early in the film. A well-dressed dude is lassoed and dragged behind a horse through the mud. He simply notes: "Well, that's the end of this suit!"
- Double Entendre: "They said you was hung!" "And they was right!"
- The Dragon: Taggart is this to Hedley Lamarr.
- Mongo starts out as Hedley Lamarr's top assistant, until he joins forces with Sheriff Bart and the Waco Kid.
- 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.
- Driven to Suicide: Jim. When Bart notes that not eating and over-drinking will kill him, Jim asks hopefully, "When?"
- 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.
- Either/Or Title: On the promotional posters, the film was advertised as Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles or Never Give a Saga an Even Break.
- 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" ads specify that he's "An Equal Opportunity Employer", and it includes several representatives from hate groups like The Klan and the Nazis.Lamarr: I want you to round up every vicious criminal and gunslinger in the west. Take this down.(Taggart looks for a pen and paper while Hedley talks)Lamarr: I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, 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!
- Ethnic Menial Labor: Bart starts out as a railroad worker. He later comes back for the other laborers so they can build a fake Rock Ridge to trick the bandits, in exchange for some land to grow crops. While Bart is black, Chinese and Irish workers also show up.Howard Johnson: All right. We'll take the niggers, and the chinks. But we don't want the Irish. [the assembled laborers turn and act as if they're about to go home] Oh, prairie shit. All right. Everyone!
- 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!
- Everybody Smokes: Many characters are seen smoking cigars or hand rolled cigarettes. Something of a running gag is that Bart and Waco are implied to be smoking weed.
- Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: After the "fake Rock Ridge" is blown up by the Waco Kid, Sheriff Bart leads every single one of the townspeople in a wild and confused attack on Hedley Lamarr's gang. Even the women throw punches, the preacher knees some guy in the groin (immediately asking God to forgive him for that), and the town drunk knocks a thug out simply by breathing on him. The free-for-all eventually literally Breaks The Fourth Wall — not that there was much of one to begin with — onto the Warner Brothers studio lot where Blazing Saddles is being filmed, with other productions being swept up in the turmoil and everyone eventually fighting their way into the studio cafeteria, where one of the cooks just happens to have a huge tray of custard pies handy so the entire cast can throw pies at each other.
- Everyone Is Armed: This was the reception Sheriff Bart received upon entering Rock Ridge for the first time. Even the school marm was packing!
- Everyone Is Related: All of the inhabitants of Rock Ridge have the last name Johnson.
- Everyone Join the Party: The brawl at the end is between all the bad guys and all the townsfolk and spills out into adjacent studios. A baker shows up in the studio commissary and hands out custard pies to the brawlers "for the big pie fight", even though he'd had no way of knowing there was going to be a fight of any kind.
- 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.
- Fastest Gun in the West: Jim the Waco Kid is a ludicrously extreme version. He can draw, fire six shots, and re-holster his gun before any of his six opponents can pull the trigger on pistols they have already cocked and aimed. He can even take a chess piece in front of him from between Bart's hands before Bart can clap them around the piece, then drop the piece in his empty holster, all without even seeming to move. His backstory also parodies the "unwanted attention from every two-bit thug with something to prove" aspect; Jim describes how he lost faith in everything when he was challenged by a six-year-old; disheartened, Jim dropped his guns and turned away... and "the little bastard shot me in the ass."
- 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-Man Band
- Flashback: Sheriff Bart's story about how his parents came out West in a covered wagon and dealt with hostile Indians.
- Food Fight: The final brawl turns into a pie fight.
- 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. Jim even still has the popcorn bucket in his hand at the end of the film (within the film) — the very bucket he took with him into the cinema when he and Bart decided to watch the ending.
- Friendly Address Privileges: Played with.Sheriff Bart: What's your name?
The Waco Kid: Well, my name is Jim, but most people call me... Jim.
- Friend or Foe: In the battle royale, The Waco Kid punches Bart before realizing who he is. He pats his cheek by way of apology and then throws himself back into the fray.
- Funetik Aksent: At one point, Sheriff Bart reads aloud a note from Lili Von Shtupp asking him to "meet [her] in [her] Dwessing Woom," suggesting the note is written like that.
- Funny Background Event:
- Gasshole: Farting cowboys.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- Despite the foul language, no one says "fuck", which apparently would not have gotten 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, "The fuck's all...?" In fact, if you watch with subtitles they even transcribe it.
- 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 term "the French mistake" is about gay sex, specifically an encounter that a straight man later regrets. In the film, a bunch of Camp Gay performers celebrate the concept in song and act it out in choreography.
- Gonna Need More X: "Somebody's gotta go back and get a shitload of dimes!"
- Go Seduce My Archnemesis: Hedley Lamarr sends Lili von Shtupp to seduce and abandon Bart. She does a HeelFace Turn too.
- 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."
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Taggart gives us this gem:What in the Wide World of Sports is a-going on here? I hired you people to get a little track laid, not to jump around like a bunch of Kansas City faggots!
- 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. Of particular note is the incident in which he escaped from an entire town of people with guns aimed at him by taking himself hostage and using himself as a human shield to get to safety.
- The Gunfighter Wannabe: Jim recalls encountering a lot of these types back when he was the Fastest Gun in the West and how "it got so that every piss-ass prairie punk who thought he could shoot a gun would ride into town to try out The Waco Kid", including the one that sent him into his Heroic BSoD: a six-year-old kid with a revolver. Who promptly shot Jim in the ass when he threw down his guns and walked away.
- Guns Are Worthless: At least they are against Mongo, as when Bart heads out to deal with him, he 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 fast gun turned alcoholic.
- Hard-to-Light Fire: The explosives in the fake Rock Ridge won't detonate so the Waco Kid has to set them off with a shot from his revolver.
- Have a Gay Old Time: The film's use of racist language (particularly 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.
- "Have a Nice Day" Smile: Hedley Lamarr's "army" of evildoers includes among its ranks a pair of Ku Klux Klansmen with smiley faces and the phrase "have a nice day!" written on the back of their robes. This is either hilarious or terrifying, depending on how you look at it (or both!).
- HeelFace Turn: Lili von Shtupp (Hedy ("That's Hedley!") Lamarr's henchwoman) and Mongo (Taggart's henchman).
- Heroic BSoD: Bart gets a minor one after his encounter with the Racist Grandma.
- He's Back: Jim was the fastest gun in the West, but the stress of having every gunslinger coming for him (culminating in getting shot in the behind by a little kid) left him with shattered confidence, a shaky hand, and a drinking problem. When he comes back better than ever, he sits tall in his saddle and confidently shoots the guns out of everybody's hands, so fast that you never see his gun leave its holster. 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.
- Hometown Nickname: Jim AKA The Waco Kid.
- Honor Is Fair Play: Sheriff Bart confronts Hedley Lamarr at the movie theater and tells him to go for his gun. Lamarr claims to be unarmed, so (following the Code of the West) Sheriff Bart throws away his gun and prepares to fight Lamarr with his fists. Lamarr smugly announces that he is armed and pulls out a derringer, whereupon Bart dives to grab his gun back and shoots him.
- 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 behavior. Amazingly, it works.Bart: Oh, baby. You are so talented! *beat* And they are so dumb!
- Hulk Speak: 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: To escape the bigoted mob of the town that he has just been appointed sheriff of, Bart takes himself hostage. The townspeople, of course, believe that he'll actually do it and stand down. "Ooh, baby, you are so talented! And they are so dumb!"
- Hurt Foot Hop: Hedley shoots Taggart in the foot for using a stupid cliche. Taggart grabs his foot and starts hopping.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Inverted when Jim, The Waco Kid, is explaining his backstory (and downfall) to Bart:Jim: See this hand? (holds out his right hand)Bart: Steady as a rock!Jim: Yeah, but I shoot with this hand. [holds out his left hand, which shakes violently]
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: After Sheriff Bart has defeated Mongo:Mongo stay with Sheriff Bart. Sheriff first man ever whip Mongo. Mongo impressed, have deep feelings for Sheriff Bart.
- 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.
- The Igor: Boris, the inexplicably out-of-place limping hunchbacked medieval hangman. What exactly a medieval hangman is doing in a Western can be attributed to Rule of Funny. He later shows up in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, where he fits the aesthetic somewhat better.
- Incest Is Relative: Implied. It sure is funny how everyone in the town of Rock Ridge has the last name "Johnson..."
- The Immodest Orgasm: Lili Von Schtupp breaks into one of these during her SexFace Turn with Sheriff Bart. A cut line reveals she was sucking his elbow. There's probably a good reason they cut that.
- Immune to Bullets: Mongo. So they say. And, considering that a candy box full of explosives going off inches from his face only knocks him out, they're probably right.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.
- Impossible Theft: Jim encourages Bart to clap his hands onto a chess piece starting with his hands about about a foot apart, and Jim halfway across the room. Bart claps his hands around the piece, and Jim apparently doesn't even move. When Bart opens his hands, he finds them empty, and Jim reveals that the chess piece is now in his previously empty holster.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Parodied with The Waco Kid.
- When he shoots the guns out of the hands about ten mooks in two seconds.
- At the end he manages to set off the dynamite by shooting it with a revolver, at a range that would be a challenge to a sniper with a scope-mounted rifle.
- 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.
- Mongo is definitely strong, but Bart takes him out just a little too easily. Two cut scenes show Bart having to work a bit harder at subduing Mongo, including blasting him with a small cannon, and tricking him into climbing into a pool of water in an old diving suit, then stopping the air pump.
- Inherently Funny Words: Hedy/Hedley Lamarr.
- Insistent Terminology: Hedley Lamarr is cursed with a name similar to a noted actress... in a joke that may by now have suffered from the "Weird Al" Effect.
- 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.
- Invisible Backup Band: Subverted. Just as you're wondering where the music is coming from, Bart rides past Count Basie and His Orchestra.
- I Shall Taunt You: "Hey, where da white women at?"
- I Surrender, Suckers: Hedley Lamarr refuses to duel Bart, claiming, "But I'm unarmed!" Then when Bart throws down his gun and puts up his fists, Hedley says "Sorry, I just remembered I am armed!" and goes for his Derringer.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Hedley Lamarr, not "Hedy."
- 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 in 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.
- The Klan: Among the many criminals recruited into the outlaw army of the bad guys are a number of Klansmen. Bart and Jim use their sheets to hide in the crowd, but Bart blows his identity when he reveals his black hands.
- 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.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Defied before the confrontation with Mongo: "If you shoot him, you'll only make him mad."
- 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.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: When confronted by Bart, Hedley Lamarr claims to be unarmed. Bart puts aside his gun for a fistfight. Hedley was lying. Hedley ends up getting shot anyway.
- Letting the Air Out of the Band: The townsfolk have a band playing when the new sheriff arrives in town, which peters out suddenly when they see it's a NI-DONG!
- 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!
- Live-Action Cartoon: The film has many antics and sight gags similar to a Looney Tunes cartoon, no fourth wall, the villain drives off-set at the end, and more.
- 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".
- Made of Explodium: "Mongo like candy." Mongo open box. Mongo not know what next.
- Magnetic Hero: Bart manages to get Mongo and Lili on his side through friendship and sex, respectively.
- Magnificent Moustaches of Mexico: The Mexican banditos signing up for Hedley Lamarr's army have mustaches.
- Mandatory Unretirement: The Waco Kid is a Retired Gunfighter who gives up his drunken ways and becomes a hero again to help Bart save Rock Ridge.
- Meaningful Name:
- Medium Awareness: Hedley goes to the opening of Blazing Saddles and finds out Bart and Jim have tracked him down when the movie screen shows them outside the theater... and they then go into the theatre to find out how things end...
- Meek Townsman: Just about everyone in Rock Ridge, though ironically they prove to be armed to the teeth when approached by a friendly black man who wants to help them.
- 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: Jim's 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 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, who speaks only "Authentic Frontier Gibberish".
- Ms. Fanservice: The Governor's secretary.Governor LePetomane: [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.
- Musicalis Interruptus: "The French Mistake" is interrupted twice: once when a dancer trips, and once when the fight comes crashing in from the Blazing Saddles set next door.
- 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).
- Nap-Inducing Speak: After Bart finishes telling Jim his life story, Jim snores because he's fallen asleep. Bart says "Always like to keep my audience riveted."
- Ninja Prop: The epic climax eventually spills off the set into the rest of the studio where the film was being shot, with the brawl entering the set of a musical, the cafeteria (where it turns into a pie fight), the studio tour, and eventually the streets of Burbank. It culminates in Hedley Lamarr trying to escape the film by taking a taxi to the premiere of Blazing Saddles at Grauman's Chinese Theatre... only to find, while watching the film, that Bart has followed him there.
- 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 (who played the mook who demands Bart and his friends sing "a good old-fashioned *** work song" early in the film), 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.
- One of a relative few productions of this nature (All in the Family being another) where the use of the N-word hasn't caused an uproar, likely due to its long and well-established history as a film that, despite being a comedy, is also a condemnation of racism. In one of the DVD featurettes it is stated outright that the film "walks up to racism an punches it in the face". Nonetheless, Brooks has admitted numerous times that he would not have gotten away with it if the film had been made in a later era.
- 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.
- One Drop Rule: A parodic inversion. When the foreman of the railroad gang says he wants "a couple of niggers" to check for quicksand, Bart points out that his grandmother was Dutch and therefore he wasn't entirely Black.
- One Steve Limit: Averted in that everyone's last name in Rock Ridge is Johnson.
- 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. He's the only one who even moderately accepts Bart at first (though begrudgingly).
- Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?:
- "Is that a ten-gallon hat, or are you just enjoying the show?"
- "Oh, it is twue!" This would have been a subversion, if the censors hadn't objected to the next line: "You're sucking on my elbow."
- Oscar Bait: Parodied when Hedley Lamarr announces to his gang of thugs near the climax:You will only be risking your lives, while I will almost certainly be risking an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
- Overly Long Gag: The notorious "baked beans" scene. Mel Brooks was asked to cut down the number of farts, but he realized the length of the gag would enable people to get over their initial shocked reaction and start laughing.
- 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.
- People Fall Off Chairs: As Bart is riding into Rock Ridge for the first time, receiving incredulous stares and awkward silence, one man leans back in a chair too far against a wall and it slips out from under him.
- The Perils of Being the Best: The Waco Kid is essentially this trope being Played for Laughs instead of drama.
- The Philosopher: Mongo of all characters is surprisingly philosophical. When asked what "where the choo-choo go?" has to do with Rock Ridge, he responds, "Don't know. Mongo only pawn in game of life."
- 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.
- Poke the Poodle: Bart has a hard time thinking up villainous acts while impersonating a thug.Hedley: Qualifications?
Bart: Stampeding cattle...
Hedley: That's not much of a crime.note
Bart: ...through the Vatican?
- Politically Correct History: Parodied. The movie is set in a very racist version of the Wild West. Bart is probably the smartest character in the film — he tricks his racist employers into dancing around while singing "Camptown Ladies", exploits the Angry Black Man stereotype to 'kidnap' himself from the middle of a lynch mob, and uses the 'servants are unnoticed' tendency to trick Mongo into accepting a delivery of explos... er...candy.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Oddly, Hedley Lamarr doesn't show as much blatant bigotry as his henchmen, Mr. Taggart and Lyle. He doesn't show as much racism as the Innocent Bystanders that the black sheriff is protecting! When hiring outlaws, the Big Bad advertises himself as an Equal Opportunity Employer and specifically mentions in his famous Long List that he wants criminals of many different races and backgrounds working for him. On the other hand, he doesn't hesitate to slap Lili around and insult her German ancestry when she does a High-HeelFace Turn. Hedley is also in charge of appropriating land in Colorado from the local Indians, justifying this by claiming "they're such children", and even that could be chalked up to playing to his audience, the governor and his cabinet. Lamarr is pretty much in it for the money and power.
- Poor Man's Substitute: In a meta-example, Mel Brooks wanted someone "like Frankie Laine" to record the title track. He got the man himself, and the movie's all the funnier for how totally unironic Laine's song ended up being.
- Popcultural Osmosis
- Postmodernism: 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.
- Powder Gag: "Mongo like candy." Mongo open box. Mongo get blast of powder in the face instead.
- Preacher Man: Parodied (of course) by Reverend Johnson. Among other things, he attempts to save Sheriff Bart from execution but desists when someone shoots a hole through his Bible.
- 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.
- Prima Donna Director: Buddy Bizarre, the director of "The French Mistake". (Though, given that a massive Western brawl had just burst through the wall into his musical number, he's hardly overreacting.)
- Product Placement: Played for Laughs, naturally.
- "Howard Johnson's right!"
- Bart's Gucci saddlebags.
- Promoted to Scapegoat: Hedley wants to run the inhabitants of Rock Ridge off their land and resell it to the railroad at a huge profit. To this end, he appoints Bart as the (extremely racist) town's new sheriff in an effort to sow confusion. To his frustration, Bart actually manages to do his job quite well.
- 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.
- Psycho for Hire: Hedley Lamarr holds auditions and recruits an army of them.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Subverted in the grand fight scene where an effeminate, tuxedo-clad dancer beats ineffectually on the chest of a large cowboy before bursting into tears and collapsing into the cowboy's arms. The cowboy comforts him. ("There, there.")
- Punny Name:
- 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.
- Quick Draw: The Waco Kid pulls off shots without visibly drawing his revolvers. Not only does he draw and fire before we see him even move, he gets his guns back into their holsters as well.
- 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: 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.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn:
Taggart: We'll work up a Number 6 on 'em.
- Hilariously subverted, as the townspeople build a fake town to lure out Hedley Lamarr's mooks.
- And spoofed in the beginning, where the mayor of Rock Ridge complains of "people stampeded, and cattle raped."
- And in the part where Taggart is describing his plan (Number 6) to Hedley:
Hedley Lamarr: [frowns] "Number 6"? I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that one.
Taggart: Well, that's where we go a-ridin' into town, a-whompin' and a-whumpin' every livin' thing that moves within an inch of its life. Except the women folks, of course.
Hedley Lamarr: You spare the women?
Taggart: Naw, we rape the shit out of them at the Number Six Dance later on!
Hedley Lamarr: Marvelous!
- Real Estate Scam: Hedley Lamarr's plan.
- Reality Ensues:
- No, quicksand is not an all-consuming demonic force of nature that swallows up everything in its path, and you won't even go in up to your neck, even if your waist does go under. The two men who sink in the quicksand pit are even able to get themselves out with just enough effort. That said, one thing quicksand is is a construction hazard, and the railroad company is forced to find a different path for the track as soon as the quicksand pit is discovered in its path.
- Bart spends part of the movie trying to earn acceptance by a bunch of racist rubes, which, to his frustration, doesn't happen overnight. His first day on patrol gets him called a "nigger" by an old lady. When Bart brings down an outlaw, the old lady does apologize, but still would prefer not be seen with him in public.
- 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.
- Recursive Reality: After the Fourth Wall is shattered and the fight spills out into present-day (well, 1970s) Los Angeles, Hedley Lamarr flees from Sheriff Bart to the Chinese Theatre, which is showing—Blazing Saddles. After defeating Hedley, Bart and the Waco Kid go into the movie theater to see how the story ends, and watch themselves in their own movie.
- 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, until he befriends Bart.
- 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...
- Schoolmarm:Schoolmarm: To the honorable William J. LePetomaine, Governor...Crowd: Louder! We can't hear you!Schoolmarm: I am sorry, I'm not used to public speaking. WE THE WHITE, GODFEARING CITIZENS OF ROCK RIDGE wish to express our extreme displeasure with your choice of sheriff. Please remove him immediately! The fact that you have sent him here just goes to prove that you are the leading asshole in the state!
- 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
- Settle It Without Weapons: A "make the fight fair" version is subverted. Sheriff Bart has tracked down Hedley Lamaar at the movie theater and is ready for the final gunfight.Sheriff Bart: Freeze it! Okay, Lamarr, go for your gun.
Lamarr: Wait, wait, I'm unarmed!
Sheriff Bart: All right, we'll settle it like men. With our fists. [Tosses away his gun]
Lamarr: [pulls out a Derringer] Sorry, I just remembered. I am armed.
Sheriff Bart: [Does a diving roll to grab his gun and shoot Lamaar]
- SexFace Turn: Lili von Shtupp pulls this after being surprised and overjoyed at how big Bart turns out to be. "It's twue, it's twue!"
- Sex God: Spoofed with a line that was deleted from the film.Bart: I hate to disappoint you, ma'am, but you're sucking on my arm.
- Shaming the Mob: Subverted when the Reverend interrupts an imminent lynching by loudly proclaiming the Word of God while brandishing the Bible high in the air. The townspeople respond by blasting the Bible out of his hands with a round of gunfire, at which point the Reverend turns to the mob's intended victim and tells him, "Son... you're on your own."
- The Sheriff: Parodied by Sheriff Bart. He was actually appointed by the state government, rather than elected by the town, mainly because the previous sheriff had been murdered and nobody in Rock Ridge wanted to be the replacement.
- She's Got Legs: Lili von Shtupp, pointed out by Hedley.
- Shot in the Ass: After being in a whole series of gunfights against a bunch of wannabe gunfighters, the Waco Kid hears a voice from behind him shout "Reach for it, mister!" and turns around with his guns drawn to see his challenger: a six-year-old with a set of revolvers. At this point, Waco goes to throw down his guns and walk away, but the "little bastard shot me in the ass."
- Shout-Out: The whole movie is basically a shout-out to old-time cinema. There are so many shout-outs that Blazing Saddles has its own Shout Out page.
- Shovel Strike: Bart to Taggart, after the latter leaves him to die in quicksand.
- Shown Their Work:
- This movie's depiction of quicksand - as an annoying but not deadly hazard which can be escaped from quite easily if you stay calm and know what you're doing - is far more accurate to real life than the usual Hollywood portrayal.
- The line "We want the niggers and the chinks, but we don't want the Irish!" Sounds like just another joke, but at this time in history, the Irish really were treated as an inferior "race" of people by the mostly-WASPy frontier settlers, and considered to be a "lesser class of white". Just ask anyone in the US with Irish ancestry (or, for that matter, anyone who's seen Gangs of New York.)
- "Shut Up!" Gunshot: Taggart shoots into the air twice to stop Lyle and the other white railroad workers when they got carried away singing "Camptown Ladies".
- Sissy Villain: Hedley Lamarr.
- Sleazy Politician: Governor LePetomane is an idiot who seems to care mostly about floozies. His attorney general Hedley Lamarr is even more corrupt.
- 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.
- Snark Ball: Mongo (having just been used to give Rock Ridge one heck of a load of exposition) looks right at the screen and intones solemnly, "Mongo only pawn, in game of life."
- 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.
- Someone's Touching My Butt: Inverted in a cut line in the bed scene; after Lili mutters, "Oh, it's twue, it's twue!", Sheriff Bart responds, "Ma'am, you're sucking on my elbow." Not to mention the 'froggy' incident.
- 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.
- Speak in Unison: "You bet your ass!"
- Spell My Name with an "S": It's HEDLEY!
- 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. Unfortunately for him, Bart turns out to be a very competent sheriff that manages to stop the crime and win 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.
- Sssssnaketalk:Buddy: Have you got it?!
"French Mistake" Dancers: Yessssssssss.
Buddy: Sounds like steam escaping....
- Stealth Parody: One so convincing it fooled Frankie Laine. Not that you could call anything in this movie subtle, but the racial humor tends to overshadow the fact that this film's greatest joke is highlighting how phony Hollywood's conception of the Old West is, from the defenseless townsfolk (until a black man shows up anyway) to the cliche ending of riding off into the sunset. Bart even literally passes by the orchestra for the soundtrack when riding to Rock Ridge, and during the climax they literally burst out of the studio to highlight this is all fake. If anything the racial humor enhances this, reminding us how prejudiced a lot of the Old West truly was in spite of being built on the backs of former slaves and immigrant workers.
- 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.
- Stop Trick: Lili Von Shtupp does this when she changes into something "more comfortable".
- 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
- Stylistic Suck: The final battle interrupts what looks to be an intensely stupid Busby Berkeley-style musical number."Throw out your hands, stick out your tush/hands on your hips, give 'em a push!/Don't be surprised, you're doing the French Mistake, VOILA!
- 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.
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Parodied when Hedley goes into a movie theater to escape Bart, sits down, and sees the hero coming into the theater on the screen.
- 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!
- Thinking Out Loud: Subverted when Hedley Lamar, alone in his office, talks through his evil plan to hire a repellant sheriff to drive away the Rock Ridge residents. Toward the end of the speech, he turns to the camera wondering, "Where would I find such a man?" After a pause, he says, "Why am I asking you?"
- Third-Person Person: Mondo like to play.
- Those Wacky Nazis: They first raise the wrong hands for the swear. Then they get drunk and start singing with Lili.
- 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: The Waco Kid warns Black Bart not to shoot Mongo. "It'll just make him mad." Played for Laughs.
- 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.
- Training the Peaceful Villagers: The villagers contribute by making a fake version of their town to lure the bandits into it and then blow it up. Then the heroes lead the whole town in a massive brawl with the remaining bandits.
- 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.
- When Jim gets his Some Call Me "Tim" moment, he hesitates before saying the second "Jim." It looks like he was hesitant to admit who he was at first.
- Trouser Space:Bart: Excuse me while I whip this out.(reaches into waistline as crowd gasps and screams; Bart pulls out paper, they sigh with relief)(Or was it disappointment?)
- 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.
- Un-Evil Laugh: Hedley Lamarr makes the mistake of starting an Evil Laugh while sucking on a candy, and almost chokes on it before spitting it out.
- Ungrateful Townsfolk: Bart arrives in Rock Ridge and is met which scorn and racist taunts. When Mongo arrives, they rush to him for help. He saves the day and is given a pie by an old lady, who thanks him but tells him to have the good taste not to tell anyone. (This, of course, is part of the satire of the movie.)
- 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*
- Unskilled, but Strong: Mongo is a bit slow, but can take out a horse in one punch.
- Unsound Effect: Lampshaded during a meeting with the governor. After it's announced that Rock Ridge had been bombed, the Governor shouts "We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!" Everyone else says Harumph along with him, with one notable exception. "I didn't get a 'harumph' out of that guy."
- 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.
- Victory Is Boring: The final scene:"My 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.""Bullshit!""All right, you caught me. To speak the plain truth, it's getting pretty darn dull around here."
- 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.
- Visual Innuendo: The Governor tries to put a pen back into its holder. Hedley Lamarr just tells him, "Think of your secretary," and he gets it right into the little... place it's designed to go.
- The Von Trope Family: Lili von Shtupp.
- Water Wake-up: Bart and Jim do this to wake up the now-securely bound-with-chains Mongo. Mongo casually breaks loose while yawning. (Fortunately, Mongo's in a good mood, considering.)
- 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!
- What He Said: Mongo has just ridden into town.Sheriff Bart: Who is this Mongo, anyway?
Waco Kid: Well, Mongo ain't exactly a "who". He's more of a "what".
Van Johnson: What he said.
- What Is Going On?: When Taggert arrives at the railroad worksite to find all his foremen singing "Camptown Ladies":Taggert: What in the wide, wide world o' sports is a-goin' on here?!
- 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.
- Where's the Kaboom?: The heroes plan to blow up the fake town of Rock Ridge with explosives, but the detonator fails. The Waco Kid has to set off the dynamite by shooting it with a revolver, at a range that would be a challenge to a sniper with a scope mounted rifle.
- 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.
- Working Class People Are Morons: "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!"
- Though the trope is also subverted since the ethnic railroad workers are clearly smarter than their WASP bosses.
- 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.
- Would Harm a Senior: Lampshaded. As Hedley's henchmen punch an old lady, she turns to the camera and comments "Have you ever seen such cruelty?"
- Yiddish as a Second Language: Mel Brooks as the Indian chief. His headdress actually reads "Posher l'Kesach": roughly, "Posher for Kassover." When he meets Bart's family, he says in Yiddish, "Blacks!" When one of the other Indians raises his tomahawk, Brooks says, "No, no, don't be crazy. Let them go!" After Bart's family has ridden away, Brooks mutters, "Have you ever seen in your life?" He finishes in very Yiddish-accented English, "Dey darkuh den us! Wuff!"
- You Got Murder: "Candygram for Mongo". Bart actually delivers the Candygram, has Mongo sign for it, then walks away as the Looney Tunes theme plays. The box doesn't actually explode until Mongo opens it. Imitators just yell it as they throw the bomb.
- You Have Failed Me: The bubble gum affair.
- You Need a Breath Mint: Gabby Johnson weaponizes his bad breath the big brawl in Rock Ridge.
- You No Take Candle: Mongo perfect example of trope.
- Young Gun: Parodied in the Waco Kid's backstory: The Gunfighter Wannabe that finally managed to defeat him (and humiliated him by shooting him in the ass, turning him into The Alcoholic), was a six-year-old kid with a gun (in his defense, the Waco Kid Wouldn't Hurt a Child — the other (literal) kid just happened to exploit that).
- You Wanna Get Sued?: Inverted:Governor: Thank you, Hedy, thank you.Hedley Lamarr: It's not Hedy; it's Hedley. Hedley Lamarr.Governor: What the hell are you worried about? This is 1874. You'll be able to sue her! note
- You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Don't pull a gun on Mongo, you'll just make him mad.
- Zerg Rush: After softening up Hedley's army with explosives, the townsfolk's plan is simply, "Let's wipe 'em out!"