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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Blazing Saddles (1974) - Humor on Horseback: Navigating the Nuances

Updated: Feb 12

Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Released 02-07-1974

Watched 01-12-2024

Reviewed 01-17-2024

Watched on NetFlix



"Men, you are about to embark on a great crusade to stamp out runaway decency in the West. Now you men will only be risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor."


"Blazing Saddles" is a film that boldly strides into the comedy genre, bringing with it a whirlwind of laughter, audacious humor, and a satirical lens that scrutinizes and ultimately condemns racism. Directed by the legendary Mel Brooks, this film has cemented its place in cinematic history for its daring approach and its ability to turn serious societal issues into a subject of ridicule, thereby undermining their power. Fourth wall? What fourth wall? This Movie smashes it over and over again.


However, despite its iconic status, the film doesn't entirely escape the grasp of time. With a contemporary lens, certain jokes and comedic devices feel outdated, losing some of their initial punch and sometimes teetering on the edge of discomfort. The humor, revolutionary for its time, occasionally grates against modern sensibilities, making one acutely aware of the evolution of societal norms and the shifts in what is considered acceptable satire.


The film's approach to racism, while groundbreaking in its intention to mock and dismantle such prejudices, can be jarring from today's perspective. It's a delicate balance that the film attempts to navigate, and while it succeeds in many respects, there are moments that might make a modern audience pause. This dissonance is where "Blazing Saddles" sheds some of its brilliance, as the very boldness that defines it also dates it.


Watching "Blazing Saddles" with a teenage audience can offer a fresh take on its legacy. My 16-year-old daughter found humor in its audacity and appreciated its irreverence despite recognizing its flaws. This generational bridge highlights the film's enduring appeal, even if it's viewed through a more critical, contemporary lens.


In conclusion, "Blazing Saddles" remains a cornerstone of American comedy, a testament to Mel Brooks' genius, and a bold statement against the absurdity of racism. However, its reliance on humor that doesn't always translate well to the present day necessitates a viewing experience that is both appreciative and discerning. It's a film that deserves its accolades but also one that prompts reflection on how far we've come and the journey still ahead.

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