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YMMV / Blazing Saddles

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  • 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.
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  • 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: 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. Mel wanted someone "like Western film singer Frankie Laine." At the audition, the real Frankie Laine showed up, and 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 Laine was putting into his singing, Mel Brooks simply didn't have the heart to tell him the truth.
    • Frankie Laine reportedly loved the film when he saw it at the premier.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Bart. If there's a funnier or more ingenious way for a black man to escape hostile racists than by taking himself hostage, it has not yet been invented.
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    • The Waco Kid. Anyone who can shoot four guns out of as many hands in as many seconds without appearing to draw his own definitely qualifies.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Let's just say it crosses the line so often it might as well be a game of table tennis.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • "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 whose drinking would eventually claim his life in a form of kidney failure in 1989.
  • 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.
    • "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 the cowboys farting after eating beans.
    • One would have to be a fan of old American movies to get the following:
    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!?
    • The townsfolks' reverence for Randolph Scott, a famous actor in the golden age of westerns who had already been retired for years when the film came out.
    • "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.
      • There had been two failed TV shows based on Dr. Kildare, the most recent attempt at the time having been aired in 1972 and lasting for 24 episodes so this reference isn't *too* obscure for the time but nowadays the show is just as obscure and unknown as the serials that inspired them.
    • Bart's "stampeding cattle through the Vatican" line while dressed as a Klansman works doubly well since the KKK are notoriously anti-Catholic.
    • 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.
    • The headdress that Mel Brooks wears as the Sioux Chieftain has Kosher for Passover written in Hebrew across the brow. Except it's written Posher for Kassover
    • Jim's claim of "I must've killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille!" Cecil B DeMille was the director of such massive epics as The Ten Commandments, where hundreds of cast members would be "killed" on-screen. In an era before safety regulations were much of a thing, he was also notoriously lax with the safety of his cast and crew.
  • Genre-Killer: After this movie came out, it was very difficult to take The Western seriously.
  • 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.
    • Similarly, "MONGO STRAIGHT!" becomes (even more) hilarious when you see Alex Karras in Victor/Victoria, where he decidedly isn't.
    • Bart stealing a Klansman's robes to attempt to sneak into Hedley's recruitment line, while still hilariously absurd, becomes even funnier in light of BlacKkKlansman, which tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, a black Colorado Springs police officer, infiltrating the Colorado Ku Klux Klan.
      • Or, even before that, the "Black White Supremacist"note  from Chappelle's Show.
    • Bart's Gucci-brand saddle bags bring to mind the "cowboy hat from Gucci" lyric from Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road."
  • 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. According to Gilliam, both he and Slim Pickens were often uncomfortable with their unabashedly awful characters during production, and would sometimes apologize to the black cast members after filming a scene, and they had to keep reminding them that they are all just following the script.
  • 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," and/or "Who can argue with that?" 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. Even during filming, Pryor and Little repeatedly had to reassure everyone behind the scenes they weren't offended.
  • 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:
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Talk to anyone about this movie today and they'll tell you that it could never be made now because today's audience is "too sensitive" and think the movie is racist. What these people don't realize that even in 1974 this was considered politically incorrect and Mel Brooks was really trying to push people's buttons. The fact that there have been no attempts to "cancel" the film in the wake of the new anti-racist movement in 2020 is testament to how overblown this controversy is.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The fart scene is thought to be the first mainstream film fart joke and was quite transgressive for its time, but fart jokes have become so mainstream and tame now that it lacks its original punch.
  • 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 more modern times. Of course for many people, this just makes the film funnier.
    • Even though Mongo punching a horse is used as a Kick the Dog moment, it's still played for laughs. Nowadays, animal abuse is used as fodder for comedy much less often, and the scene has a harder edge. Don't worry about the horse, though. In reality, the punch didn't connect, and the horse was trained to fall over on cue (you can see the rider pull the reins sharply to signal the horse).
  • Values Resonance: After white nationalism and hate crimes became not only more commonplace but even socially acceptable in The New '10s, the film's Central Theme that racism, bigotry, and prejudice in general is stupid and asinine became more necessary to hear (and laugh at) than ever.
  • 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.
  • "Weird Al" Effect:
    • 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.
    • Similarly, a lot of the references to different people from film history, like Cecil B. DeMille and Randolph Scott, would go over the heads of anyone that doesn't have an encyclopedic knowledge of their works...or access to Wikipedia.
    • "Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!" No, not from Blazing Saddles, but The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.note  Then, "Weird Al" Yankovic himself co-opted the scene in UHF: "Badgers? Badgers!? We don't need no stinking badgers!" (And that same year, Troop Beverly Hills had "no stinking patches!")


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