Harold and Maude

Harold and Maude

4.6 28
Director: Hal Ashby

Cast: Hal Ashby, Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles

     
 

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A young man with a death wish and a 79-year-old high on life find love in Hal Ashby's cult black comedy. Deadpan rich boy Harold (Bud Cort) keeps staging elaborate suicide tableaux to get the attention of his mother (Vivian Pickles), but she keeps planning his brilliant future for him instead. Obsessed with the trappings of death, Harold freaks out his blind dates,…  See more details below

Overview

A young man with a death wish and a 79-year-old high on life find love in Hal Ashby's cult black comedy. Deadpan rich boy Harold (Bud Cort) keeps staging elaborate suicide tableaux to get the attention of his mother (Vivian Pickles), but she keeps planning his brilliant future for him instead. Obsessed with the trappings of death, Harold freaks out his blind dates, modifies his new sports car to look like a mini-hearse, and attends funerals, where he meets the spirited Maude (Ruth Gordon). An eccentric to the core, Maude lives exactly as she pleases, with avid collecting and nude modeling among her many pursuits. To the disgust of Harold's relatives and the befuddlement of Harold's shrink, Harold falls in love with her. As lilting Cat Stevens tunes play on the soundtrack, Maude teaches Harold a valuable lesson about making the most of his time on earth.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
"Harold and Maude has all the fun and gaiety of a burning orphanage" declared one critic in 1972 when this beloved cult favorite was first released. He and the other reviewers who dismissed the film didn't know what to make of a low-key black comedy about the oddball romance between a 20-year-old man (Bud Cort) and a 79-year-old woman (Ruth Gordon). Cort plays a self-absorbed rich kid obsessed with death; Gordon is an eccentric swinger exhilarated by life. She accompanies him to funerals; he becomes inspired by her joie de vivre. Director Hal Ashby (Being There) coaxed marvelous performances from goggle-eyed Cort, then a virtual unknown, and geriatric Gordon, a distinguished stage actress still basking in the afterglow of her Oscar win for a supporting role in 1968's Rosemary's Baby. Moviegoers fell in love with the film, which became a fixture on the midnight-movie circuit, then picked up new fans via TV syndication and video release. Harold and Maude continues to warm viewers' hearts and tickle their funny bones with its offbeat, life-affirming love story.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
In his second feature as a director after his Oscar-winning success as an editor, Hal Ashby complements Colin Higgins' script (adapted by Higgins from his own student short) with an affectionately non-judgmental view of quirky behavior and a distaste for institutions of authority. In their deft hands, Harold Chasen may be weird -- but his mother and army general uncle are plain nuts. Paramount appeared nonplussed as to how to market the film, and it opened to scathing reviews and died a rapid first-run death, as few viewers seemed to care for the idea of a youth lusting after a grandmother. But, caught up in a generational revolt of their own, college audiences responded passionately to the message of doing your own thing regardless of what church, state, and Mom say. Harold and Maude became the cult hit of the 1970s, reportedly playing in one Minneapolis theater for three straight years, with fans who claimed to have seen it 100 or more times. With Harold's humorously creative suicides and a screen romance that defines "unique," Harold and Maude was not only a cult sensation but also the kind of innovative, idiosyncratic early-'70s filmmaking briefly made possible in the wake of out-there hits like Easy Rider (1969) and MASH (1970).

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/12/2012
UPC:
0715515094511
Original Release:
1971
Rating:
PG
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:31:00
Sales rank:
18,984

Special Features

New audio commentary by Hal Ashby biographer Nick Dawson and producer Charles B. Mulvehill; Illustrated audio excerpts from seminars by Ashby and writer-producer Colin Higgins ; New interview with songwriter Yusuf/Cat Stevens

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ruth Gordon Maude
Bud Cort Harold Chasen
Vivian Pickles Mrs. Chasen
Cyril Cusack Sculptor
Charles Tyner Uncle Victor
Ellen Geer Sunshine
Ray K. Goman Actor
Bill Lucking Motorcycle Policeman
Susan Madigan Actor
Jerry Randall Actor
Gordon Devol Police Officer
Eric Christmas Priest
G. Wood Psychiatrist
Judy Engles Candy
Shari Summers Edith
M. Borman Motorcycle Cop

Technical Credits
Hal Ashby Director
John A. Alonzo Cinematographer
James Cane Set Decoration/Design
Michael Dmytryk Asst. Director
A.D. Flowers Special Effects
Michael Haller Production Designer
Colin Higgins Producer,Screenwriter
Mildred Lewis Executive Producer
Charles B. Mulvehill Producer
Richard Portman Sound/Sound Designer
William Randall Sound/Sound Designer
William A. Sawyer Editor
Lynn Stalmaster Casting
Bob Stein Makeup
William Theiss Costumes/Costume Designer
Frank Warner Sound Editor
Edward Warschilka Editor

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Harold and Maude 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know it sounds really odd to describe a movie as life-changing, but I mean it in all sincerity. My favorite character is Maude. I wish I knew someone like her. Also the music is outstanding. I have never known a person who didn't like this movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a classic! Everyone should see it once.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If I had to choose just one film to be my favorite, this would be it. The cast is perfect, the script is as intelligent as it is funny, and Cat Stevens's songs fit it wonderfully. Brilliant, perfect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film has continued to be my favorite ever since it came out. It is a perfect blend of dark comedy and life affirming advice. The sound track is great and appropriate and the film is visually beautiful as well. I love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Harold and Maude has been one of my favorites since the first time I saw it in 1995! I am never amazed at being surprised by what happens every time. Harold (Bud Cort)and Maude (Ruth Gordon) fit together so well in this movie it is captivating. I always tell my friends that they have to see this movie because it is entertaining. Every person I have suggesetd Harold and Maude to has loved it. Also, the soundtrack fits so well with all the scenes, Cat Stevens justs adds to it wonderfully.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Add this movie to the Great Classics list! It's very funny and endearing. It has stood up to the test of time...one of those movies that make you feel better after watching it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The clothes and cars are dated. The struggles, conflicts and messages are not. (Life is worth living) It is easy to identify with at least one person in this wonderful movie. This is my all-time favorite movie. Maude rules!! L-I-V-E
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have probably watched this film on at least 20 occasions. It is now a yearly requirement. On the last showing, I invited a psychiatrist and psychiatric nurse practitioner to watch it with me. What a scream! Viewers will be in either of two groups: you will love it or be in the camp that just doesn't get it. If you love life and have a mean streak of humor, you will love this film!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has got to be the best movie to employ macabre humor that I've ever seen. Yet, underneath the ghoulish whimsy is a deep, life-affirming message. May 'Harold and Maude' live forever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend of a friend recommended it and I was just so moved by it. Bud Cort did an amazing job of portraying a yound man who was truly OLD and the seasoned Ms. Gordon as an old woman who really is young at heart. There are many well thought out messages running throughout the movie, both in word and song, beautifully said and easy to digest. Enjoy!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I constantly wonder at the people who watch Harold & Maude and don't get it. It's not about young and old making love. It's about waking up to life, being here, for yourself and those around you. It's about embracing life not taking it for granted and not letting it take you for granted. It's about growth, adventure, love, responsibility, happiness, choice...and above all, freedom. Sleep walking is not advised. The details are amazing in what they teach. Watch each small moment and ask the right questions. The answers are important. Choose well. It's all right here. Know that what you choose, is ultimately what you want. Take responsibility. Have fun. Will you choose to be free? See you there.
nazareth62 More than 1 year ago
This film is a life-affirming absolute blast! For the reviewer who finds the characters off-kilter and creepy the moment you said that you admitted to having preconceived notions of what these people should be based I'm guessing here on their ages and behavior! I'm deeply sorry for you because it's obvious that not only do you not get this film but if you did you'd think the message was nonsense! How conventional and narrow-minded and small such a life must be! See this film-it's a wonderful experience and a teaching tool for how to live with your eyes wide open and how to love everything that happens!
MJinPA More than 1 year ago
Yes, I admit it. This movie is my all-time favorite. And the first time I saw it, it wasn't. On that occasion the auditorium was filled with students who'd seen it before and laughed *before* the funny parts. I was peeved and also somewhat horrified about the idea of such an age-discrepant couple. Fast forward some years, and I saw it again. In silence. Wow!!! The music (nearly all of it by Cat Stevens and available in pieces on "Tea for the Tillerman" and "Footsteps in the Dark: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2") is excellent. The casting is perfect. The acting is super. The dialogue is amazing. The timing is spot-on. The settings (Harold's mother's mansion, Maude's house, the church, the therapist's office, the graveyard, etc.) are perfect. And the message of hope springs eternal. (... although if you are religious and take the ending literally, you may be offended ...) This movie never gets old for me. I highly recommend it.
Cheryl59 More than 1 year ago
I watch this movie 12 times a year. One weekend out of every month I sit down and watch the wonderful chemistry between Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort. Anyone who hasn't seen this movie has missed a gem.
rangerlph More than 1 year ago
This film was filmed in 1971 in the SF bay aera.you see the san mateo county bulding in redwood city. The approach to the dunbrton bridge when it as a two lane. his house is the feollie eastate. and half moon by aera before it was built up
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite movie ever! Ruth Gordon is fabulous!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and sometimes it will make you want to throw up. But it is uplifting and powerful. A movie that proves that love has no boundries (I understood that and i am only 14 haha) Buy it. You wont regret it!!
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worldpeace More than 1 year ago
This is not a film for most folks. It has always impacted me. I cry. Ruth Gordon is uplifting. Bud Cort reminds me of myself. The musical score is awsome.