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Blazing Saddles is a 1974 American satirical black comedy-western film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg and Alan Uger, and was based on Bergman's story and draft. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and audiences, was nominated for three Academy Awards and is ranked No. 6 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Laughs list.
Brooks appears in three supporting roles, Governor William J. Le Petomane, a Yiddish-speaking Native American chief and "a director" in line to help invade Rock Ridge (a nod to Hitchcock); he also dubs lines for one of Lili von Shtupp's backing troupe. The supporting cast includes Slim Pickens, Alex Karras and David Huddleston, as well as Brooks regulars Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn and Harvey Korman. Bandleader Count Basie has a cameo as himself, appearing with his orchestra.
The film satirizes the racism obscured by myth-making Hollywood accounts of the American West, with the hero being a black sheriff in an all-white town. The film is full of deliberate anachronisms, from the Count Basie Orchestra playing "April in Paris" in the Wild West, to Slim Pickens referring to the Wide World of Sports.
In 2006, Blazing Saddles was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
On the American frontier of 1874, a new railroad under construction will have to be rerouted through Rock Ridge in order to avoid quicksand. Realizing this will make Rock Ridge worth millions, the conniving attorney general Hedley Lamarr (a play on Hedy Lamarr) wants to force Rock Ridge's residents to abandon their town, and sends a gang of thugs, led by his flunky Taggart, to shoot the sheriff and trash the town. The townspeople demand that Governor William J. Le Petomane (named after Le Petomane) appoint a new sheriff to protect them. Lamarr persuades the dim-witted Le Petomane to appoint Bart, a black railroad worker, who was about to be executed for assaulting Taggart. A black sheriff, he reasons, will offend the townspeople, create chaos, and leave the town at his mercy.
After an initial hostile reception (Bart has to take himself "hostage" to escape), he relies on his quick wits and the assistance of Jim, an alcoholic gunslinger known as the "Waco Kid," to overcome the townspeople's hostility. He subdues Mongo, an immensely strong, dim-witted, yet philosophical henchman sent to kill him, then he beats German seductress-for-hire Lili von Shtüpp at her own game, with Lili falling in love with him. Upon Mongo's release, he vaguely informs Bart of Lamarr's connection to the railroad, so Bart and Jim visit the railroad work site and discover from Charlie, Bart's best friend, that the railway is planned to go through Rock Ridge. Just as Taggart and his men arrive to kill Bart, Jim outshoots the thugs, forcing Taggart to retreat. Lamarr, furious that his schemes have backfired, recruits an army of thugs, including common criminals, Ku Klux Klansmen, Nazis, and Methodists.
East of Rock Ridge, Bart introduces the white townspeople to the black, Chinese, and Irish railroad workers, who have agreed to help in exchange for acceptance by the community, and explains his plan to defeat Lamarr's army. They labor all night to build a perfect replica of their town, as a diversion. When Bart realizes it will not fool the villains, the townsfolk construct replicas of themselves. Bart, Jim, and Mongo buy time by constructing the "Gov. William J. Le Petomane Thruway", forcing the raiding party to send for change to pay the toll. Once through the tollbooth, the raiders attack the fake town populated with dummies, which are booby-trapped with dynamite bombs. After Jim detonates the bombs with his sharpshooting, launching bad guys and horses skyward, the Rock Ridgers attack the villains.
The resulting brawl between townsfolk, railroad workers, and Lamarr's thugs literally breaks the fourth wall, with the fight spilling over onto a neighboring set, where director Buddy Bizarre is directing a Busby Berkeley-style top-hat-and-tails musical number; into the studio commissary for a food fight; and out of the Warner Bros. film lot onto the streets of Burbank. Lamarr, realizing he has been beaten, hails a taxi and orders the driver to "drive me off this picture". He ducks into Grauman's Chinese Theatre, which is playing the premiere of Blazing Saddles. As he settles into his seat, he sees onscreen Bart arriving on horseback outside the theatre. Bart blocks Lamarr's escape, and then shoots him in the groin. Bart and Jim then go into Grauman's to watch the end of the film, in which Bart announces to the townspeople that he is moving on because his work is done (and he is bored). Riding out of town, he finds Jim, still eating his popcorn, and invites him along to "nowhere special". The two friends briefly ride off into the sunset, before dismounting and getting into a limousine.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Blazing Saddles. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.