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Harold and Maude
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Product Description

An outrageous tale of two loopy lovers that will change your ideas about romance forever. Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 03/16/2004 Starring: Ruth Gordon Vivian Rickles Run time: 91 minutes Rating: Pg

Black comedies don't come much blacker than this cult favorite from 1972, and they don't come much funnier, either. It seemed that director Hal Ashby was the perfect choice to mine a mother lode of eccentricity from the original script by Colin Higgins, about the unlikely romance between a death-obsessed 19-year-old named Harold (Bud Cort) and a life-loving 79-year-old widow named Maude (Ruth Gordon). They meet at a funeral, and Maude finds something oddly appealing about Harold, urging him to "reach out" and grab life by the lapels as opposed to dwelling morbidly on mortality. Harold grows fond of the old gal--she's a lot more fun than the girls his mother desperately matches him up with--and together they make Harold & Maude one of the sweetest and most unconventional love stories ever made. Much of the earlier humor arises from Harold's outrageous suicide fantasies, played out as a kind of twisted parlor game to mortify his mother, who's grown immune to her strange son's antics. Gradually, however, the film's clever humor shifts to a brighter outlook and finally arrives at a point where Harold is truly happy to be alive. Featuring soundtrack songs by Cat Stevens, this comedy certainly won't appeal to all tastes (it was a box-office flop when first released), but if you're on its quirky wavelength, it might just strike you as one of the funniest movies you've ever seen. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • TOP 100 MOVIES OF ALL TIME
    THIS MOVIE IS HEART MOVING, AND TEACHES A VALUBLE LESSON ABOUT HUMANITY AND THE WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE! FOR ME, GROWING UP IN THE SEVENTIES WAS A TIME FOR FOR REFLECTION AND FINDING YOUR DIRECTION IN LIFE. WHAT'S MY PURPOSE? THE MESSAGE, THE MEANING FROM THIS MOVIE STILL TO THIS DAY SEEMS EVEN MORE RELEVANT. THE MOVIE IS ABOUT A VERY WEALTHY YOUNG MAN(BUD CORT) WHO FEELS HE HAS NO PURPOSE IN LIFE AND IS CONSUMED WITH THE THOUGHT OF DEATH, WHICH WE ALL MUST FACE SOONER OR LATER. HIS MOTHER IS VERY INSENSITIVE TO HIS FEELINGS, AND ONLY CARES ABOUT MATERIAL THINGS IN LIFE AND, MAKING SURE HER SON GETS TO THE ARISTOCRATIC LEVEL WHICH SHE BELONGS TOO. HE MEETS THIS ELDERLY WOMAN (RUTH GORDON)SEVERAL TIMES AT DIFFERENT FUNERALS(HE LIKES TO GO TO FUNERALS)AND THE MOVIE TAKES OFF FROM THEIR WITH A LOT OF COMEDY RELIEF, AND THE BEGINNING OF THE LEARNING PROCESS FOR THIS YOUNG MAN. THE VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE GAINED FROM THIS MOVIE FOR ME WHEN I WAS 17, IS A LESSON THAT SHOULD BE LEARNED BY ALL OF US SEARCHING FOR A PURPOSE IN LIFE. WE ALSO SHOULD NOT TAKE THINGS IN LIFE SO SERIOUSLY, AS WITH EVERYTHING IN LIFE, ALL WILL PASS AND WE WILL DIE. MAUDE(RUTH GORDON)TEACHES HIM THE VALUE OF LIFE, THE BEAUTY OF IT ALL DESPITE HER TERRIBLE SECRET. SHE WAS A SURVIVOR OF THE HOLOCAUST!
    SO, LIVE LIFE, BE GOOD, AND LOVE. THIS IS A MOVIE THAT SHOULD BE WATCHED BY ALL PEOPLE, YOUNG OR OLD WHO FEEL A LITTLE EMPTY ABOUT THEMSELVES AND NEED SOME INSIGHT. EVERYONE COULD LEARN SOMETHING FROM THIS INCREDIBLE HEART MOVING CLASSIC!...more info
  • Best movie ever.
    The more I watch this film the better it gets, so many subtleties. I bought a copy for my brother to show it to his teenage kids....more info
  • Excellent Film!
    "Harold and Maude" is one of the BEST films ever made. Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon give such brillant and believable performances. As you watch the film you entirely forget the age difference and find yourself believing that yes, "Harold loves Maude". The music of Cat Stevens adds an undercurrent that not only is this Romeo and Juliet of the early 1970's but also an extension of the counterculture movement of the 1960's. Maude, though old enough to be Harold's Grandmother, is a free spirit that decries the materialism and rigid social conventions of the day and personifies the counterculture movement. I only wish that a sequel could have been made; something like "Life After Maude" where we would find Harold making a profound and beneficial change in American culture....more info
  • Joyous
    This film has been well described by many other reviewers so I won't rehash the plot. However, despite the overwhelming theme of death and dying - real and faked - this is one of the most ultimately joyous films I have ever seen and loved. Just hearing a Cat Stevens song from the movie makes me smile and laugh out loud. We are all crazy sometimes and we are all wound too tightly sometimes. And sometimes a love that can go nowhere is exactly what we need. ...more info
  • Stands the test of time
    Wow, I first saw this movie in my on-campus theater for fifty cents back in 1973, and laughed my rear end off... my roommate and I never forgot certain scenes. Fast forward to 2007, when I discovered the paperback book by Colin Higgins in a used book sale. I bought it, brought it home, and both my teenage kids read it in an afternoon and LOVED it. I rented the movie this past fall & watched it with my daughter (my son is now at the same college where I first saw "Harold & Maude" 34 years ago, haha!)and we laughed our rear ends off once again, which led to my buying the DVD. It's a hilarious movie, perfectly cast and I do mean PERFECTLY cast, especially the fabulous actress who plays Harold's mother. Wow, they don't make movies like this anymore. Even with Cat Stevens' sometimes-goofy soundtrack, the movie stands up and is still fresh, unexpected, touching without being schmaltzy, and ultimately invigorating, and that's true for me, at 52, and for my daughter at 17. Highly recommended. By the way, I rated this five stars, but it only shows four, and I can't seem to change it. But it's five stars....more info
  • Love in a timewarp
    Love refuses to accept age and cultural differences as a deterrant. Freedom of thought and spirit can
    trancend time and space. H & M and the love they have for each other are timeless. It teaches ya!...more info
  • Harold and Maude
    funny movie. very individualistic (which is a good thing).
    Love knows no limits, life is all about choices, and it shouldn't matter what people think....more info
  • If you want to say yes, say yes...
    Upon its 1971 release, "Harold and Maude" died a quick commercial death & it didn't help its cause that most reviews were lousy at best; Variety wrote that it "has all the fun and gaiety of a burning orphanage." Variety (in 1971) couldn't find fun & gaiety even if it had a map.

    "Harold and Maude" is dark, funny, & great. I won't give anything away, but I will say that subject matter includes love, death, suicide & lives not lived. "You gotta go get it, it's yer life go live it" so....by all means, crash the hearse....more info
  • Great movie about LIFE
    I love this story about a guy who has spent most of his life thinking about death until he learns a powerful lesson about life. ...more info
  • old and for trolls
    yuck is all I have to say, this is stuff that NOBODY should be subjected to....more info
  • Best movie ever
    The first time I saw Harald and Maude was 20 years ago. It blew me away. At the time it was not possible to buy the film. Since then it has been released on DVD and VHS and I immediately bought it. Watching it again was just as fantastic. This is a beautiful love story and so very uplifting. So many topics are filmed over and over. Harald and Maude is one of a kind and the only movie of its kind. I highly recommend getting this movie. It is one of those films you can see again and again....more info
  • Great movie.
    I always loved this movie. I could never find it at stores, so I was glad to find it online. Funny and dark, but has a good message about living life and learning to love....more info
  • If you've got two synapses to rub together, you want to watch this film
    The screenplay (get it online) includes essential scenes which were unforgivably expunged from the film, which will salve the ire of the more critical viewer who will construe much of Maude's irresponsible, selfish, childish conduct as an affront to her age and situation, eg. if you've ever had anything stolen from you, you know that Maude's stealing people's cars is the epitome of anti-life for the ordinary citizen. However, the existential element required to make sense of this behaviour is provided by the Sisyphean character, Glaucus (only fleetingly seen in the film), who every day starts carving an ice statue of Venus, which melts when he falls asleep, and every day he starts anew with the same unbounded joy. In my view, Glaucus is the binding agent for the story. Watch the film, read the screenplay, and prepare to be dazzled....more info
  • Must see movie of all time
    I've been watching this movie for 20 years and it always delivers. I showed it to my 16 year old niece for the first time last month and she's still talking about it. If you haven't seen it, watch it, and if you have watch it again. ...more info
  • Learn to love life!
    The film, didn't make me have any expectations initially, but as I started watching it, I was amazed. The film has been made with such flamboyancy and so beautifuly, you just can't afford to take your eyes off the screen, its a pleasure to watch Ruth Gordon in the role of 'Maude'. She is just, just impossible, she just steals the whole show. The boy in the role of 'Harold' did a terrefic job as well. The chemistry between them shone all the way throughout the film. The film was not just a pleasure, it will also teach you certain things about life. You will definately love this sweet piece of cinema. Its a unique film, definately worth watching again and again. ...more info
  • "Harold and Maude, a Cerebral Love Affair"
    This is a terrific movie and has been one of my favorites since I first saw it on VHS late last century. Now it is available upon DVD which means it has a very good quality picture reproduction from the celluloid original upon which it was originally recorded and the audio is as good as it was in the theatre. I just need to acquire the audio components upon which to listen to this movie so I can visually and aurally go back in time, also I can watch it over & over and not have to worry about tape degradation. Amazon.com made acquiring this movie a very good and most cost effective endeavor for me; I will be a customer for the rest of my life and encourage friends of mine to shop @ Amazon.com....more info
  • Ultimate love story
    The music, the story, the acting just gets better every time I watch it. I notice something new as the special tatoo on Maude's arm. There are many stories within the story....more info
  • "You can't let the world judge you too much."
    Although it had its supporters, most critics viciously attacked the 1971 HAROLD AND MAUDE. Vincent Carnaby, influential critic for The New York Times, described it as "creepy and off-putting;" Variety was equally dire, saying it "has all the fun and gaiety of a burning orphanage." The public was vocally appalled by the marketing, which presented movie as a love story between an old woman and a teenage boy, and stayed away. It was one of the biggest crash-and-burn debacles of its decade. And more than twenty years later it was placed in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as artistically, culturally, and historically significant. It seems fairly safe to say that it was movie twenty-five years ahead of its time.

    The basic outline of the story is extremely well known. Harold (Bud Cort) is nineteen, and heir to a family fortune, and entirely under the thumb of his relentlessly proper mother (Vivian Pickles.) Disillusioned, disgruntled, and desperate for attention, he attempts to torture his mother by faking on suicide after another; he also buys a hearse and begins to attend the fuenrals of people he does not know. It is here that he meets Maude (Ruth Gordon), a seventy-nine year old woman who every bit as eccentric but in an entirely opposite way: instead of embracing death, she embraces life, determined to have a good time--even if it means throwing caution to the winds and flying in the face of all that is considered "appropriate behavior."

    The outline of the story doesn't do it justice. Although the humor of the film arises from relentless irreverence, its power arises from Maude's determination that Harold should at least try living before he so firmly embraces death--a choice that she herself has secretly made, electing to end her life before she becomes a victim of old age. Maude teaches Harold to take chances, to fight the good fight and not count the cost. Yes, HAROLD AND MAUDE really is as wild, wacky, far-out, and off-beat as you may have heard. But it is a great deal more than that. It is also a lesson in living without undue respect for the prisons of conventionality.

    It is impossible to imagine the film working without Ruth Gordon and But Court, who make the entire thing--all the way from faked suicides to stolen cars--seem entirely plausible, and who offer a depth of character that might have escaped other actors. Vivian Pickles also scores strongly as Harold's controlling mother; the entire supporting cast is equally fine. Harold Ashby, who also directed such later films as SHAMPOO, leads the material with a sure touch and quick pace; cinematographer John Alonzo films everything with an attractive touch. And any review that failed to mention the Cat Stevens score, which has the effect of tying the various episodes so firmly together, would be horrendously amiss.

    Although the film could stand a remaster, my only serious complaint about the DVD release is that this is indeed a film that deserves a release with all the bells and whistles--but there isn't a single bonus to be had. Not everyone will like HAROLD AND MAUDE. Many continue to agree that the film is indeed "creepy and off-putting"--and in a world where conformity is over-valued, they always will. But forget such small-minded hobgoblins: HAROLD AND MAUDE is both wickedly funny and deeply touching, and I strongly recommend it.

    GFT, Amazon Reviewer...more info
  • Harold and Maude timeless, naughty and quirky...
    Harold and Maude is a movie that brings to light an assortment of social and familial issues. Both actors do an outstanding job of portraying their characters in pure form. Love this movie!...more info
  • Superb movie! A classic!
    Yuck? Well, you've missed the whole point of great film. I feel sorry for you....more info
  • Loser From the 60's
    It's 1971 folks and the evil Richard Nixon is the President of the United States. A time capsule really, H & M tell us that our parent's aspirations: financial well being, a stable home life, love and security are all pathetic middle-class aspirations unworthy of modern children. An 80-year-old, concentration camp survivor on steroids, Maude, Ruth Gordon, must teach the lesson.

    The 60's makes less sense to me now than ever. Good riddance!

    By the way, the film is dull and pretentious.
    ...more info
  • Absurdity in its finest form...
    What a treasure this is. Ruth Gordon is fantastic. This movie deserves deluxe treatment. One of my all time favorite films....more info