The undisputed king of western comedy movies is celebrating a special milestone today. Mel Brooks’ classic film Blazing Saddles was first released 40 years ago. The movie unleashed a ton of hilarious and memorable moments–but its main target wasn’t westerns or even movies. Some of its best jokes and gags took some not-so-subtle jabs as racism. Which was good, since the movie also has plenty of wild humor that wouldn’t be allowed today.
The spoof of Western movies has an actual plot, too. The unguarded town of Rock Ridge stands in the way of the plans of an evil developer who wants to run a railroad track right through the middle of the town . The bad guy assigns a black railroad worker (played by Cleavon Little) as its sheriff in the hopes they will flee their homes and businesses. Eventually, the town learns to accept and embrace the sheriff–along with his quick-handed deputy played by Gene Wilder.
Brooks’ movie was co-written by Richard Pryor, and turned the townspeople’s ignorance into a running punchline. Actually, Brooks says that even that kind of attitude would be declared too politically incorrect to get the movie made today. He’s probably right. Brooks still put together a film filled with too many hilarious bits and parodies of westerns to count. Perhaps the most famous is the “campfire” scene, which featured bodily functions never heard in a movie before. Cinema hasn’t looked, sounded or smelled the same since then.
A lot of people know Blazing Saddles by heart. Maybe you’re a longtime fan, or just curious about a comedy classic. In any case, here are plenty of brilliant Blazing moments ready for you to start reliving in GIF form. Saddle up…