What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film contains some baudy language, sexual innuendo, and a send up of racism that younger viewers may not be able to understand and therefore misinterpret. Drinking and prostitution are also lampooned. There are some laughs at the expense of flamboyant characters that are meant to be thought of as gay.
What's the story?
Mel Brooks' BLAZING SADDLES lampoons the Westerns of the 40's and 50's, mocking the conventions of the genre as well as its racist undertones. Greedy magnate Headley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) is planning to steal a plot of land away from the kindly townsfolk of Rockridge. He appoints a black sheriff named Bart (Cleavon Little), relying on the intolerance of the community to spark a mass exodus out of town. Things don't go quite as planned, as Bart teams up a washed-up gunslinger (Gene Wilder), wins the citizens' respect, and enlists his old co-workers from the railroad line to help foil Lamarr's scheme.
Is it any good?
Frenzied and eager to please as any Mel Brooks comedy, Blazing Saddles' defining characteristic is its willingness to poke fun at the normally taboo subject of racism. The film hasn't aged all that well, as the gags that amused by virtue of their sheer outrageousness may just seem like bad taste now.
The action possesses the unmistakably silly tone of Mel Brooks' comedies, including frenetic pacing and a few snappy song numbers. A post-modern climax breaks the tedium of the last half of the movie, but at that point, the film feels a bit too much like a desperate non sequitur. Co-written by Richard Pryor in the prime of his career, this movie has enough funny moments to outweigh the gags that fall flat.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about what makes something a satire. What or who in particular does the movie intend to mock? How does the film's humor address racial stereotypes present in society as well as in movies about the Old West?