Blazing Saddles

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

He rode a blazing saddle,
He wore a shining star,
His job, to offer battle
To bad men near and far!
He conquered fear, and he conquered hate,
He turned dark night into day...
He made his blazing saddle,
A torch to light the way!

"The sheriff is a N-" *DONG*
"What was that?!"
"He said 'The sheriff is near!'"

Blazing Saddles is another comedy masterpiece from Mel Brooks (with writing help from none other than Richard Pryor) which mercilessly spoofs The Western.

Railroad construction runs into quicksand, and the path needs re-routing -- but the tiny town of Rock Ridge stands in the way of progress. State Attorney General Hedy Hedley Lamarr schemes to get his hands on the now-priceless real estate by hiring thugs to kill the sheriff and terrify the locals into leaving. When they don't leave, Lamarr appoints a black man named Bart -- awaiting a death sentence for striking a white man -- as the new sheriff, a move calculated to result in Bart being killed by the racist townspeople and said townspeople leaving in disgust (which would give Lamarr free reign over the land). Once Bart arrives in Rock Ridge, Hilarity Ensues.

Blazing Saddles is completely, offensively, and unapologetically politically incorrect -- and it also skewers damn near every western trope listed on this site (and likely a few we haven't thought of yet).

Blazing Saddles was added to the National Film Registry in 2006.

Blazing Saddles is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in Blazing Saddles include:

Hedley: RIGHT hands!

Bart: As I am your host and you are my guest, what do you like to do?
Jim: Oh, I dunno... Play chess... Screw...
Bart: Let's play chess!

    • Hedley. Sure, he fawns over Lili but acts very homoerotically toward Le Petomane, doesn't mind getting accidentally groped in the bath and in one scene appears to sodomize a figurine of Justice. Plus he's camp as hell.
      • Seems more like just groping.
        • And, y'know, the statue's of a female.
    • One of the cowboys, after fighting one of the male dancers into the tunnel under the stairs in the "French Mistake" set, comes out the other side of the tunnel with his arm around him.

"I'm parked over by the commissary..."

Taggart: Could you repeat that?

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Hedley Lamarr's list of bad guys ends with "Methodists".
    • Which is also a bit of a Mythology Gag considering the side Methodists took over the Slavery issue.
      • Also possibly Shown Their Work, as not many people know that Methodist ministers were among the few Old West clergy who would provide religious counseling to criminals, however disreputable.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Parodied with the Indian chief, played by Mel Brooks, speaking Yiddish. Averted when Lili Von Shtupp and Bart are speaking German to each other.
    • This is also a nod to 1.) the tendency of dirty white (e.g. Greek, Jewish, Armenian) actors playing Indians to use their native languages, as did many actual Indians (usually of the wrong tribe), and 2.) the Mormon idea that the American Indians were descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: "We will now read from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and... Duck!"
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: "We're gonna whip up a Number 6 on 'em!", which basically boils down to "Ride into town, whomping and woomping every living thing, except the women folk." They rape the shit out of them at the subsequent Number 6 dance.
    • We later learn that things didn't go exactly according to plan:

Reverend: I don't have to tell you people what has been happening to our beloved town: Sheriff murdered, crops burned, stores looted, women stampeded, and cattle raped.

  • Bait and Switch: "Excuse me while I whip this out." (Bart proceeds to reach for a speech letter in his pocket, while the townsfolk gasp and cower in fear, thinking he's going to whip something else out instead.)
  • Bar Brawl/Bar Slide: During the battle in the Warner Bros. commissary, Taggart slides down the buffet counter.
  • Batman Gambit: Hedley tries to exploit the fear and racism of the townsfolk of Rock Ridge by sending them a black sheriff, and it almost works (the only reason why it doesn't work is that "They are so dumb!").
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty: "We don't need no stinking badges!" was actually in this movie. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre had the longer "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges!"
  • Biggus Dickus: It's twue! Oh, it's twue, it's twue!
    • Subverted in the full version of that scene, which was considered too raunchy and cut. Bart was going to reply "Pardon me, but you're sucking on my elbow."
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Indians speaking Yiddish.
    • On the movie poster (pictured above), the Indian chief played by Mel Brooks has "Posher for Kassover" written in Hebrew on his headdress.
    • "Schtupp" is Yiddish for "fuck".
      • Some TV broadcasters were apparently aware of this, resulting in them blanking out Lily's last name... and making it sound much dirtier than it originally did as a result.
    • "Lepetomane" is French for "the farter", and was actually the stage name of an internationally famous performer of the late 19th and early 20th Century (whose act was, yes, all about farts).
  • Black Comedy Rape: The rape jokes.

"You said 'rape' twice."
"I like rape."

  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: The Waco Kid.
  • Booby Trap: The fake town of Rock Ridge filled with explosives as a trap for Hedley Lamarr's army.
  • Bowdlerise: Racial slurs + profanity + fart jokes = a lot of changes when it's shown on TV.
    • This nearly happened to the theatrical release, see Executive Meddling in the Trivia section.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At least 8 examples (9 if you count the end fight scene, where they break through the wall of the studio and continue the fight across several sets, culminating in Hedley Lamarr fleeing to Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and dying next to Douglas Fairbanks's footprints).
    • It's pretty fair to say that in this movie, the fourth wall is near non-existent.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Hedley could be considered this as he has a fixation on always bathing with his froggy and freaks out when he doesn't.

Hedley: Daddy love Froggy. Froggy love Daddy?
Froggy: *Squeek Squeek*

  • Busby Berkeley Number: "The French Mistake" rehearsal.
  • But Not Too Black: Parodied. "They darker than us! Woof!"
  • But Now I Must Go: Provides the title quote.
  • But You Screw One Goat!: Among the long list of charges against the outlaws is "cattle raped".
  • Cameo: Mel Brooks, in the line of outlaws waiting to join Hedley Lamarr's army. He's either a biker or a WWI airplane pilot. He also appears as the Yiddish-speaking Indian chief, and Governor William J. LePetomane.
    • Count Basie's Orchestra shows up in one scene.
  • Camp Gay: The dancers in "The French Mistake" rehearsal.
  • Cecil B. DeMille: The Waco Kid says, "I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille."
  • Celebrity Paradox/Post Modernism: Several examples in Breaking the Fourth Wall are also this:
    • Taggart saying "I'm working for Mel Brooks!" (writer/director), who also appears in the movie.
    • Hedley Lamarr, Sheriff Bart and the Waco Kid attending a premiere of the movie Blazing Saddles.
    • The famous Running Gag regarding Hedley Lamarr's name is lampshaded by the governor when he points out that it's 1874, meaning that "You'll be able to sue her!"
      • Made even funnier by the fact that she did in fact sue Brooks.
      • They paid her off, too.
    • In Hedley's speech to the mob he hired.

"Now you men will only be risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor."

The Waco Kid:What did you expect? "Welcome, sonny"? "Make yourself at home"? "Marry my daughter"? You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.

Hedley: Qualifications?
Hired Goon: Rape, murder, arson, and rape.
Hedley: You said rape twice.
Hired Goon: I like rape.

  • Did Not Do the Research
    • In nature, quicksand is only found in areas with a great deal of water, not extremely dry desert-like conditions as in the movie. Of course, the Rule of Funny supersedes this. It is, however, a surprisingly accurate depiction of the effects of quicksand.
  • Double Entendre: "They said you was hung!" "And they was right!"
  • The Dragon: Taggart is this to Hedly Lamarr.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Sheriff Bart and the Waco Kid, after they mug two Ku Klux Klan members.
  • Dumb Is Good/Dumb Muscle: Mongo.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Lili Von Shtupp. "I'm not a wabbit! I need some west!"
    • And on the note delivered to Bart, she asks to meet him in her "dwessing woom". As Bart reads it aloud as this, it's entirely possible she spelled it this way.
  • Equal Opportunity Evil: Hedley Lamarr's "Thugs Wanted" ad.
  • Eureka Moment: Almost all of Hedley's plots to drive the citizens out of Rock Ridge are a result of these.
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Lili Von Schtupp is an example of this.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Hedley may be an evil, corrupt, heartless man who hires scum of the earth. But he has no tolerance when a robber comes to sign up, whilst chewing gum, and did not bring enough for everybody.

The Waco Kid: Boy, is he strict!

Bart: Oh, baby. You are so talented! *Beat* And they are so dumb!

Bart starts putting on his gun belt.
The Waco Kid: No no, don't do that. Don't do that, if you shoot him you'll just make him mad.

  • Inherently Funny Words: Hedy/Hedley Lamarr.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The villagers of Rock Ridge hold off Hedley's men... by installing a tollbooth. "Somebody's gotta go back and get a shitload of dimes!" Yes, absurd, as the booth is set up in the middle of a stretch of desert, but since Taggart thinks that his boss installed the thing, it actually almost makes sense that he doesn't go around.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Hedley Lamarr during his confrontation with Sheriff Bart.
  • Kick the Dog: Mongo prefers punching horses in the face.
  • Kirk's Rock
  • Large Ham: Mel Brooks, of course, with a serious contender in Harvey Korman as Hedy (Hedley!).
    • He's only risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, after all.
    • And then there's Madeline Kahn as Lili Von Schtupp... hammy enough to actually have been nominated as Best Supporting Actress.
  • Left the Background Music On: The church congregation was revealed to have been singing "The Ballad of Rock Ridge".
    • And then there's Count Basie and his orchestra.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: After getting burned out on quick draw duels, this is what drives The Waco Kid to be an alcoholic after a run-in with an over enthusiastic little kid:

The Waco Kid: "...the little bastard shot me in the ass!"

  • Lucky Translation: In Norwegian, and to some extent Swedish, "mongo" is a common slang expression which basically means the same thing as "retard". Not only does that sort of fit with Mongo's mental level, but it also fits with the politically incorrect tone of this movie.
    • Definitely a cross-language deal. Mongo's nickname surely comes from "Mongoloid," which is an outdated medical term for the developmentally disabled.
  • Magnetic Hero: Bart manages to get Mongo and Lily on his side through friendship and sex, respectively.
  • Meaningful Name: Lili Von Schtupp.
    • Also Governor William J. Le Petomane. "Le Pétomane" was a performer from the 1890s famous for being able to fart at will.
  • Mel Brooks: The man, the myth, the legend.
    • The Indian chief. Woof.
  • Mistaken for Gay: "Aw, Mongo straight!"
  • Mugged for Disguise: Bart gets the attention of two Klansmen by asking Where Da White Women At?, then he and Jim ambush them and steal their outfits.
  • My Name is Not Hedy: "That's Hedley!"
    • Often misuse of the name supposedly got the real Hedy Lamarr to sue, because it infringed her right to publicity.
    • They preemptively mocked that with this exchange:

Hedy Hedley: No, that's Hedley. Hedley Lamarr.
Governor William J Lepetomane: What are you worried about, this is 1874! You'll be able to sue her!

Oh, it's twue! it's twue!

Bart (to Lyle): Sir, ah, he specifically requested two 'nig-gers'... well, to tell a family secret, my grandmother was Dutch!


Hedley Lamarr: I want rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers, and Methodists!
Taggart: [finding pen and paper] Could you repeat that, sir?

  • Riding Into the Sunset: The two leads, first on horses and then in a chauffeured car.
  • Road Sign Reversal: The re-edited-for-TV version includes a originally-cut scene like this, when Bart and the Waco Kid are being chased by the villains; the duo come to an arrow-sign mounted on a post, smack it so that it starts spinning in circles, and run on. The villains ride up, wait for the sign to finish spinning, and charge off in the indicated direction.
  • Rule of Funny: The whole movie runs on this.
  • Running Gag: "That's Hedley!"
    • Also the cattle.
    • The fact that nearly everybody in Rock Ridge has the last name "Johnson" is also played for laughs throughout the film.
    • Hedley hitting his head on the window.
  • Salt and Pepper: Sheriff Bart and the Waco Kid.
  • Schmuck Bait: Mongo like candy.
  • Security Blanket: Hedley Lamarr's "Froggy".
  • Security Cling: Taggart does a "single glomp" version on Hedley Lamarr when a scaffold trap door releases outside.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Hedley Lamarr, as in this lampshaded example:

Hedley Lamarr: My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.
Taggart: God darnit, Mr. Lamarr, you use your tongue prettier than a twenty-dollar whore.
Lamarr: *sighs* Shitkicker...

Bart: What's your name?
Jim: Well, my name is Jim, but most people call me... Jim.

"Hey! The sheriff is a N-*DONG!*
"What was that?"
"He said the sheriff is near! *cheers*

    • Done more often in televised versions. For example, censoring out the word 'shit' from the final line of the Ballad of Rock Ridge by having the organist mangle a chord. Since it's pretty obvious what they were going to say, this actually makes the movie funnier.
  • Spit Take: The Waco Kid, after Sheriff Bart reads the note from Lili Von Shtupp.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Lamarr convinces the governor to appoint a random black man as Rock Ridge's new sheriff, in the hopes that the racist townspeople will be so demoralized that they give up and run off. He certainly wasn't counting on the sheriff actually helping them and winning them over.
  • Stealth Pun: One of the many Johnsons of Rock Ridge has the unfortunate first name of Anal.

Olson Johnson: What are we made of? Our fathers came across the prairies, fought Indians, fought drought, fought locusts, fought Dix. Remember when Richard Dix came in here and tried to take over this town?

    • " is my pleasure to present a laurel, and a hearty handshake.."
    • The main character is a black man named Bart.
      • The awful spin-off TV pilot Black Bart ran with that one, naturally.
  • Stop Helping Me!: At the film's climax, when the Waco Kid is trying to pull off an impossible shot, the priest starts (loudly) praying for God to guide him. Thankfully, the other residents of Rock Ridge shut him up by beating him with their hats.
  • Stop or I Shoot Myself: The aforementioned Hostage Situation. Especially funny because they were about to lynch him.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: Hedley Lamarr during the Great Pie Fight.
  • Surprise Checkmate: During Sheriff Bart's game with the Waco Kid.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Everyone but Bart himself in the failed TV Pilot.
  • Take That: Howard Johnson and his orange-roofed outhouse.
  • Tap on the Head: Bart to Taggart with a shovel after being left to die in quicksand.
Taggart: I want you to send a wire to the main office, and tell them I said-" *CLANG!* Owwww!
—"Send wire, head office, tell them I said 'OW!' Gotcha!"
  • Those Wacky Nazis
  • Title Theme Tune: Frankie Laine, who sings the film's opening song, was told the film was "a Western dealing with racism"; nobody told him the film was a comedy. After he gave an amazing performance, Mel Brooks couldn't bring himself to tell the truth.
    • Brooks had set out to get the theme performed by "a Frankie Laine type", thinking he couldn't afford the real thing. Thank goodness he was mistaken!
  • Trash the Set: At the very end of the movie, the cast trashes the fake Rock Ridge, the set of a musical, and the Warner Bros commissary. And a tour group.
  • The Trope Kid: The Waco Kid.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Inverted, as the black Sheriff Bart has a white sidekick, the Waco Kid.
  • The Unintelligible: Gabby Johnson and his "authentic frontier gibberish."

Olson Johnson: Now who can argue with that?

  • What a Drag: An unfortunate man during the first attack on the town.

Man: Well, that's the end of this suit...

"That's Hedley!"