Starring Mel Brooks, Cleavon Little, Harvey Korman, Slim Pickens, Madeline Kahn and Gene Wilder.
Brooks went all-out when he made Blazing Saddles, the story of corrupt official Hedley LaMarr (Harvey Korman) who attempts to destroy a frontier town to make way for the railroad. He hires a band of roughnecks to run the people out, and appoints a black man (Cleavon Little) as sheriff to demoralize them from within. His plans backfire when the Sheriff Bart proves himself to the town, in spite of their race issues – and becomes LaMarr’s nemesis.
The flick is funny as hell, even though it touches (pounces?) on some very un-funny themes. It’s underpinned with a strong “racism is for morons” theme, and shows us how ridiculous racism is – by making fun of just about every race and culture possible. Native Americans speaking Yiddish, KKK robes with smiley faces and “have a nice day” printed on them, and 19th century characters singing “I Get a Kick Out Of You” are just some of the silly, twisted gags you’ll dig in this movie. And of course, for those old enough to remember the trailer…One of the most infamous scenes ever, where Alex Karras punches out a horse. (PETA don’t worry, the horse was fine.)
Add to all this a cameo by Count Basie and his Orchestra, a motorcycle gang with handlebars on horses, and Frankie Lane singing the theme song (that he thought was for a drama) and you’ve got one of the funniest movies of all time…really…it’s #6 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs.
One last note, taken from IMDB: During a speech awarding Mel Brooks as a Kennedy Center Honoree, President Barack Obama mentioned going to see Blazing Saddles (1974) at the age of 13. When Brooks asked how he got in with the ratings restriction, the president replied, “I think I had a fake ID,” before adding, “The statute of limitations has passed.”