30 Best 'Blazing Saddles' Quotes: Stinking Badges To Schnitzengruben
Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, Blazing Saddles is one of two groundbreaking films that Mel Brooks released in 1974 (the other was Young Frankenstein) -- the comedic auteur was operating at his peak that year. Not only is the film jam-packed with jokes, but each of them holds a mirror up to society in a way that few comedies ever do. It’s funny, and it was biting, but there was one joke that Brooks thought was so dirty that he had to cut it.
If you’ve seen Blazing Saddles you know that this is a take-no-prisoners film that makes fun of everyone and everything in the name of showing the worst and best in the human race. So what was so over the top that even Mel Brooks didn’t want to use it? Let’s find out.
The One Joke That Didn’t Make It Into The Film
Pretty much every joke in Blazing Saddles pushes the envelope. Everything Mel Brooks creates is, at the very least, on the edge of bad taste which is what makes his work so fun. But in 2012 he admitted that there was one joke that even he wasn’t comfortable putting in the film. In an appearance on Conan, he explained that the cut joke occurred when Sheriff Bart, played by Cleavon Little, goes to visit Lili von Shtupp, played by Madeline Kahn.
When Von Shtupp flirts with Bart she blows out some candles. Then Brooks explained:
And she says in her German accent, 'Is it true what they say about you people?' And Cleavon says, 'I hate to disillusion you, ma'am, but you're sucking on my arm.'
'Where The White Women At?'
This is one of the most well known and oft-quoted line from Blazing Saddles. In the film, Jim (Gene Wilder) pretends to capture Bart in front of a pair of the Klansman. That’s when Bart utters this immortal line. Obviously, the line doesn’t sit well with the Klansmen and they fall for the trick. It’s obvious that Richard Pryor, one of the film's writers, was the main voice in many lines like this.
Supposedly Pryor was obsessed with writing lines for Mongo, but this quote is so obviously in Pryor’s voice that it’s clear he was at the typewriter for this moment. Regardless of who wrote the line, it’s genius.
'Excuse Me While I Whip This Out'
When Bart finally arrives in Rock Ridge to take over as the new sheriff he’s met with both intense racism and complete shock. The people of the town don’t want him there, but they’re also intrigued by his very existence. Much of the film plays with the idea of Bart’s large… talents and Brooks and company get a lot of mileage out of everyone’s obsession with the Sheriff.
When Bart tries to read the governor’s decree naming him the new sheriff of Rock Ridge he exclaims, “Excuse me while I whip this out,” and reaches into his trousers. Everyone freaks out but relaxes when he pulls out the letter.
'These Are People Of The Land. The Common Clay Of The New West. You Know… Morons'
After Bart finds himself on the receiving end of Rock Ridge’s racism, he returns to his office where Jim tries to make him feel a little better about the horrible garbage he’s just run into. Although Jim’s advice isn’t exactly what Bart wants to hear. The full quote goes like this:
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.
Not only is Gene Wilder amazing in this scene. His dry wit is fully on display here. But the best part about this scene is that even the white characters know how dumb some of these white people are.
'Are We… Black?'
This line occurs when the audience first meets Gene Wilder’s Jim, a.k.a. the Waco Kid. At the onset of the film, Jim has completely lost his nerve after losing a shootout with a young boy. He’s turned to drinking and spends his nights in the sheriff’s drunk tank. When he comes to, he wakes up in a new world where Bart is the first black sheriff of Rock Ridge.
This line, when Jim asks Bart “Are we… black?” shows that Jim isn’t a racist like the rest of Rock Ridge and that he’s more concerned with where he’s going to get his next drink than the color of anyone’s skin.
'I’d Say You’ve Had Enough…'
How do you talk about Blazing Saddles without mentioning the campfire scene? In this section of the film, bad-boy cowboy Taggart is out on the range with the rest of his cowpokes who are enjoying a nice dinner of beans. The entire scene is mostly guys farting and reacting to said farts, but when an extra gassy cowboy asks for more beans, Taggart says, “I’d say you’ve had enough.”
Brooks has said that he thought of this scene after watching a bunch of westerns and noticing that they were full of gross old cowboys who sat around eating beans. He figured that it would make sense for them to need to expel a little gas.
'My Name Is Jim. But Most People Call Me… Jim.'
After Bart and Jim meet for the first time in the sheriff’s drunk tank, the two gentlemen get to know each other, and Jim introduces himself in this fairly ridiculous fashion. It’s a play on western movie tropes, and it’s all the more ridiculous when Jim says that people refer to him by his actual name rather than by his nickname “The Waco Kid.”
There’s really no one other than Gene Wilder who could pull this kind of deadpan line off, and it’s one of the many times in Blazing Saddles that he hits the audience with a hangdog expression and a ridiculous line.
'Hello, Handsome. Is That A 10-Gallon Hat, Or Are You Just Enjoying The Show?'
There’s no doubt that Blazing Saddles is a hilarious film, but Madeline Kahn as Lili Von Shtupp is the element that takes this movie over the top. Von Shtupp is a saucy bar performer who sings about how much sex she has and how exhausting it is, but she also delivers some fantastic zingers to the cowboys in her audience.
The entire song and dance number is fantastic, but this line is one of those classic Mel Brooks lines that you can’t ignore. Kahn has some fantastic line reads throughout the film, but none of them hit as hard as this one. It’s one of those lines that would work perfectly with a rimshot.
'Men, You Are About To Embark On A Great Crusade To Stamp Out Runaway Decency In The West. Now, You Will Only Be Risking Your Lives, Whilst I Will Be Risking An Almost Certain Academy Award Nomination For Best Supporting Actor'
In a film full of the amazing deadpan line reads, Harvey Korman as Headley Lamarr is tasked with delivering some of the craziest quotes in this movie while keeping a straight face. This line, spoken in a rallying speech to a group of outlaws before they take over Rock Ridge is one of the many fourth-wall breaking moments that occur in Blazing Saddles, but this one goes by so fast that you might not even notice.
The entire film is essentially a crash course in meta-comedy for audiences who hadn’t seen this kind of thing before, and unfortunately, Korman wasn’t nominated for his role as Lamarr. The man was robbed.
'Yeah, But I Shoot With THIS Hand.'
It’s hard to pick a favorite line from Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles, but this has to be up there. After showing Bart how smooth his left hand is, the sheriff notes that alcohol hasn’t completely wrecked Jim’s nervous system. But then Jim shows off his shooting hand which is absolutely destroyed by the shakes. It’s such a silly moment but Wilder delivers it with a straight face, and this combo is genius.
This scene shows off what Wilder does best, shooting off ridiculous lines with his laconic voice. Wilder would go on to star in more films, but this was Wilder at his best.
'P*ss On You. I’m Working For Mel Brooks!'
Yet another moment of meta-comedy from the master of breaking the fourth wall, this moment occurs after Bart leads the cowboys in a fight across the Warner Bros. lot and into a soundstage where the big dance number for a musical is being filmed. The director of the musical tells Taggert to get off his set, which prompts the outlaw to shout that he’s working for Mel Brooks.
Following the rallying cry, Taggert goes to punch the director, who asks him to not punch him in the face. Taggert obliges and punches the director in the stomach. This is one of the scenes in the film that ratchets it up from simply being funny to absolutely over the top.
'In Another 25 Years, You’ll Be Able To Shake Their Hands In Broad Daylight'
After Rock Ridge’s old woman walks up to Bart on the street and says “up yours” (along with a racial slur) she stops by his office in the middle of the night to apologize and bring him a pie. She also asks him to not mention that she spoke to him. Once the Sheriff says that he’s “rapidly becoming a big success in this town,” Jim says that in 25 years he’ll be able to shake their hands in broad daylight.
The line is funny, but it’s a devastating commentary on how little race relations had changed since the days of the Wild West. Brooks and his team of edgy comics were quickly becoming the masters of holding up a mirror to society.
'Stampeding Cattle… Through The Vatican'
When Headley Lamarr is accepting applications for his gang, he asks every outlaw and scoundrel in the west for the qualifications. Jim and Bart, disguised as members of the KKK say that they’re wanted for stampeding cattle through the Vatican. It’s such a fun twist on the joke that audiences never see coming.
To make the whole thing even more ridiculous, Lamarr says, “kinky” and almost lets the two good guys in disguise into his gang. The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous and if you’d like you can add “through the Vatican” to anything you say and make it 10% funnier.
'Mugs, Thugs, Pugs, Nitwits, Half Wits, Dim Wits…'
So the full quote is a little longer. When Headley Lamarr tells Taggart who he wants to join his gang he says”
I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull d*kes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, sh*t-kickers and Methodists!
This line shows how intense Korman can be even when delivering some of the goofiest dialogue in the west. And to top it all off Taggert drops his notebook so Lamar has to repeat what he just said.
'Boy Is He Strict…'
This line comes after an amazing bit of juxtaposition. In the scene where Headley Lamarr is putting together his gang, he chastises a cowboy for chewing gum. He then shoots the cowboy when he mentions that he didn’t bring enough for everyone in line. Taggart says, “boy is he strict” after the fatal gunshot and it’s an absolute gut-buster of a line.
Not only is the scene made up of joke after joke after joke, but the fact that a rough desperado is worried about his boss being strict is so silly for some reason. Leave it Mel Brooks to come up with an off the wall scene like this.
'Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges'
Even if you haven’t seen Blazing Saddles you’ve probably said some form of this line at one point in time. Or you’ve heard someone say it. It’s one of those lines that permeate the culture so much that it’s more like it belongs to everyone rather than a movie.
In the scene where Headley Lamarr is interviewing bandits, he interviews a group of banditos and says that he likes the cut of their jib. He hands over a set of badges to deputize them, giving them a chance to speak this iconic line. It’s truly a moment when everyone in the world can quote along.
While the line is most often identified with Blazing Saddles, it is adapted from another pretty famous movie, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948). In that film, it goes:
Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!
The line also appeared in an episode of The Monkees in 1967 -- seven years before Blazing Saddles.
'How Many Times Have I Told You To Wash Up After A Weekly Cross Burning?'
In yet another moment from the scene where Headley Lamarr is interviewing outlaws, there’s a joke that’s absolutely ridiculous. How were there so many quotable moments in one scene? It must have been a good day in the writing room.
When the guys are dressed up as members of the KKK to sneak into Headley’s group, the sheriff extends his hands, revealing his dark skin. Quick-thinking Jim pretends Bart's skin tone is actually ash and pretends to rub them clean. Of course, they get caught and the sheriff says, “and now for my next impression, Jesse Owens,” before running off.
'The B*tch Was Inventing The Candy Gram And They Probably Won't Even Give Me Credit For It.'
Sheriff Bart’s first major task when saving Rock Ridge comes in the form of taking down Mongo, Taggert’s muscle, who’s about the size of a truck. Bart stops by the bar to deal with the muscle-bound baddie and discovers that he can’t be taken down by conventional means. In order to bring him down, Bart has to consult his inner Bugs Bunny.
Bart dresses up like a delivery man and tells Mongo that he has a Candy Gram, but it’s actually made of dynamite. The scene is Blazing Saddles at its most Looney Tunes and it’s absolutely brilliant in its mixture of high and low comedy.
'My Mind Is A Raging Torrent Flooded With Rivulets Of Thought Cascading Into 'Waterfalls Of Creative Alternatives… '
Headley Lamarr is seriously high on his own supply. He loves the sound of his own voice and thinks that he’s the smartest guy in the west, but that’s hardly the case - he’s just read a thesaurus once or twice in his life. Still, it’s funny to hear Lamarr throw out such a ridiculous amount of words.
To top it all off, the guy he’s talking to is Taggert, a dum dum of the highest order. The outlaw has no idea what Lamarr is talking about and he responds:
God darnit Mr. Lamarr, you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore.
'De Camptown Ladies?'
When Bart and his buddies are building a railroad at the beginning of the movie, Lyle and his cowboys say that they want the men working in the sun to sing spirituals for them like they did when they were slaves. Rather than give in to the cowboys Bart and his friends sing “I Get A Kick Out Of You” by Cole Poter.
This doesn’t sit well with Lyle, who requests that they sing “De Camptown Ladies,” to which Bart replies “De Camptown Ladies?” There’s something so funny and condescending about responding with the same phrase as Lyle. It gets us every time.
'It's Not Hedy, It's Hedley. Hedley Lamarr.'
Hedley Lamarr just can’t catch a break. Throughout the film, he’s confronted by half-wits and nitwits who can’t seem to pronounce his name correctly. Even the governor, whom he works for, can’t pronounce his name correctly and continuously says it like the actress Hedy Lamarr. It’s a joke that should have stopped working once the actress faded out of existence, but there’s something even funnier about it now.
Much like the many breaks in the fourth wall, this is another filmmaking faux pas -- an anachronism. Blazing Saddles is a western set in 1874, but Hedy Lamarr wasn't even born until 1914. Everyone keeps confusing Korman's character with a celebrity who won't even exist (much less be famous) for another 40 years.
And then there's the acting -- Harvey Korman is so good at making a stink face whenever someone gets his name wrong. Whatever the case the line is always gold.
''Ditto?' 'Ditto,' You Provincial Putz!
Ugh, Harvey Korman can do no wrong in this movie. Not only does he just have that kind of snobbish face that you want to see get punched by the hero, but he has a way with haughty words that just makes him sound so infantile when something goes wrong. After Lamarr gives a masterful monologue brimming with lugubrious language, Taggert responds, “Ditto.”
There’s something so funny about saying “ditto” to someone giving a heartfelt speech, and the way Lamarr handles the offense (with more flowery dialogue) is absolutely iconic. We should all strive to be as valiantly verbose as Headley Lamarr.
'No, Thank You. Fifteen Is My Limit On Schnitzengruben'
After Bart and Lili Von Shtupp spend the night together, getting up to Brooks-only-knows what, she fills him full of German sausages called “schnitzengruben” until he’s about to explode. When she tries to pump him full of one more piece of sausage he demurs and says that 15 is his limit.
Obviously, the scene is meant to play to the audience’s basest instincts, and while it works on a juvenile level, there’s just something so funny and suave about the way says that he has a limit of schnitzengruben. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this scene is so funny, but it does the trick.
'Oh Baby, You Are So Talented, And They Are So Dumb'
When Bart first arrives in Rock Ridge and attempts to ingratiate himself as the new sheriff, everyone tries to murder him on sight. It’s a super intense (and funny!) scene that’s full of racial epithets. To get out of being caught on the business end of a bullet Bart takes himself hostage and drags himself to the sheriff’s office at his own gunpoint.
When he gets inside he says to himself “Oh baby, you are so talented, and they are so dumb.” It’s a fun little scene that lets you know how on-the-ball Bart is, and it’s just a funny line to use when you run into some true dummies.
'Mongo Only Pawn In Game Of Life'
Throughout Blazing Saddles, Mongo is a gag that pays off in weird, mostly narrative ways. He starts off as the enforcer for Lyle, and he’s obviously a man-child who can barely string two sentences together. Even though it's kind of a one note act, he has that great scene where he gets blown up by a “candy gram” and this scene where he breaks the fourth wall.
It’s incredibly funny to see a fool like Mongo question the existential nature of his place in the world, and it’s even funnier that he does it while taking part in a bit of meta-commentary.
'If You Shoot Him You’ll Just Make Him Mad'
There’s something so ridiculous about Mongo, the beefy man-child who beats up everyone and every horse in town, taking what he wants in the name of brute strength. Before Bart thinks of inventing the candy gram to take him down, he decides to simply arrest him the old fashion way, and with a gun if he has to.
But Jim keys Bart into Mongo’s super strength and notes that bullets won’t do anything against the musclebound monstrosity. The line on paper isn’t riotous, but it’s all in the way that Gene Wilder tells Bart about Mongo that’s really funny.
'Doggone Near Lost A Four Hundred Dollar Hand Cart'
At the beginning of the film, before Bart becomes the sheriff of Rock Ridge Bart and his friend are working for the railroad and are sent off on a hand cart for a simple errand. However, the soon find themselves stuck in quicksand and after calling for help Taggart finds them, but rather than help them out of their predicament he chooses to save the hand cart.
The line, “Doggone near lost a four hundred dollar hand cart” is both funny and devastating in that it’s clear he doesn’t care about the lives of the two men who are drowning in front of him. Life is cheap in the old west, and hand carts are expensive.
'Someone’s Gotta Go Back For A Sh*t Load Of Dimes'
When the rustlers are on their way to destroy Rock Ridge and all of its inhabitants they find themselves faced with a toll booth set up by Bart and his cohorts in the town. Rather than going around the toll booth the rustlers stop at the booth and check their pocket for dimes (that’s all the toll booth takes). When they realize that they’re dimeless, Taggert orders one of his men to go back to base camp and gather a “sh*t load” of dimes.”
It’s another big honking deliberate anachronism -- it's obviously ridiculous that anyone would even know what a toll booth is in the Wild West. But that’s what makes Blazing Saddles such a hilarious film, it’s both high concept and kind of dumb.
'They Lose Me Right After The Bunker Scene'
In this quick moment before a massive food fight breaks out in the Warner Bros. commissary, an actor playing Hitler is a film says to a friend, “They lose me right after the bunker scene.” As a Jewish man who fought in World War II, Brooks is obviously a fan of dunking on Hitler whenever the chance presents itself, thus this little nod to the Fuhrer’s suicide.
This is a great example of one of the ancillary jokes that Brooks uses to stuff his movies - especially Blazing Saddles - so he can get the maximum laughs per minute that he obviously loves to hit.
'We Don’t Want The Irish'
The night before saving Rock Ridge, Bart brings the townsfolk together to meet with his friends who are helping to build the railroad. It’s a major moment that brings to people of all color - white, black, Asian, and Hispanic. Bart says that in order to save the town they have to work together, and allow people of every race to live in Rock Ridge in peace.
The people of Rock Ridge agree, although they’re clear about the fact that they don’t want any Irish people to live there. While Blazing Saddles plays with a lot of racial humor, it's moments like these that there's more than racism afoot. People just hate other people out of plain old ignorant tribalism. Yes, most of the white people hate those of other races and feel superior. But given the chance, they will also hate each other.
It's human nature, in Mel Brooks' world: We are just self-defeatingly spiteful creatures, and even if it's clear we all need to cooperate, we'll find some superficial reason to draw battle lines and fight amongst ourselves.