BY KENDALL ERICKSON
Year Released: 1968
How It Fared Back Then: To put it bluntly, not great. The film received wildly mixed reviews from critics, and audiences’ reception to it was mixed as well. The consensus about this film at the time was that, while it was funny, it was vulgar and cruel. However, this didn’t stop writer and director Mel Brooks from winning the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Gene Wilder from being nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Why It’s Lasted: Two words. Mel. Brooks. This film was the first that he directed, and since it’s release, he has generated a reputation for himself as being one to create cult classics and comedies (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men In Tights). Additionally, the 2001 Broadway musical adaptation of this film and the 2005 musical revamp of the film starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick has turned this classic comedy into a cult classic.
- “MY BLUE BLANKET!”
- “I’m wet. I’m wet. I’m hysterical and I’m wet. I’m in pain and I’m wet… AND I’M STILL HYSTERICAL!”
- The Hitler auditions
Does It Still Hold Up? Coming from a girl who has always had a strange old man crush on Gene Wilder, yes. I like to think this film still holds up. Is it offensive? Yes. But really, what isn’t these days? It’s an intelligent comedy with a unique story that has some heart, some violence, and a whole lot of laughs.