The Ten Best Scenes from Mel Brooks Movies


Mel Brooks has been getting a lot of love lately. Recently, the AFI gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award. PBS aired an American Masters episode about him. Last December, HBO aired a lengthy interview with him. This type of attention is well-deserved for a man who contributed so much to the world of comedy in his lifetime. He was the right man at the right time- a brilliant mind, unafraid to cross the line, and he dabbled in rich parodies of pop culture in an age that embraced that type of humor. Here are the ten best Mel Brooks scenes.

And if you don’t think these are the best, please add more in the comments. Culling ten scenes from Brooks’ career is an almost impossible task.

Springtime for Hitler, The Producers (1968)
Not many scenes combine all of Brooks’ talents as well as this one. Creating a whole song about Hitler and placing it in the middle of his film showcases a lot of talent, while simultaneously showing off Brooks’ irreverence.

For the Birds, High Anxiety (1977)
Alfred Hitchcock is famously known as the master of suspense. Brooks deflated that balloon in his Hitchcock spoof, High Anxiety, wherein one of Hitchcock’s most famous sequences became littered with bird poop. Brooks loves to tell the story of Hitchcock screening the movie and loving it. Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

Putting on the Ritz, Young Frankenstein (1974)
I can’t even watch this without laughing myself to tears. It starts the second that Peter Boyle’s monster wails out the song title, and doesn’t stop until well after the clip is done. SUUUPER DUUUPER!

The Inquisition, The History of the World: Part I (1981)
This classic Brooks scene firmly established his flair for irreverence by turning a massive historical, homicidal witch hunt into a song and dance number.

A Bloody Mess, Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)
Admittedly, Brooks’ take on the Dracula franchise wasn’t his best work. But this scene was classic Brooks, and it ranks as one of Brooks’ personal favorites.

It’s Twue! It’s Twue!, Blazing Saddles (1974)
This list would be incomplete without Madeline Kahn, and without Brooks’ use of race for humor in Blazing Saddles. Enter the schnitzengruben scene.

Mongo, Blazing Saddles (1974)
Alex Karras was the source of a lot of humor in Blazing Saddles as Mongo. One of the best examples comes during his very first scene- his arrival in town. That poor horse never stood a chance.

A Busted Spring, Silent Movie (1976)
I’m a firm believer that Silent Movie is Brooks’ most underrated work. Everyone knows Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and History of the World, but I’d put Silent Movie right there with any of them because of how hard Brooks had to work to make his film funny. And it is absolutely hilarious. The scene involving James Caan and a busted spring in his trailer is a perfect example of the visual humor, as well as his clever (and vulgar) use of inter titles. Unfortunately, embedding is disabled and the best version I can find of it comes from a German video site. You can see the clip here.

The Fifteen Commandments, The History of the World: Part I (1981)
It’s so simple, and so perfect. There’s nothing I need to say to set this up.

Check, Please, Spaceballs (1987)
If you’ll permit me one very personal choice, the tenth selection comes from the first Brooks film I ever saw- Spaceballs. I was 11 when I saw it and I had no idea who Mel Brooks was. All I knew was that his film was spoofing Alien (1979) in a parody of Star Wars, using a classic Looney Tunes gag. It’s the first really great belly laugh that I ever got from a Brooks film.


Filed under Movies

22 responses to “The Ten Best Scenes from Mel Brooks Movies

  1. Watching that horse getting punched makes me laugh every time. One of the greatest scenes ever. Awesome list!

  2. I love Mel Brooks! He’s totally a comedic genius.

    • He sure is. He’s the perfect mix of high and low brow humor.

      If you didn’t see the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, TCM is re-airing it in late July. I highly recommend it. It’s hilarious and full of great clips from Clint Eastwood, Amy Poehler, George Lucas, Conan O’Brien, Spielberg, Sarah Silverman, and more.

  3. Aleksalynn

    Thank you for including History of the World. It’s probably my favorite, but I think it gets unfairly overlooked.

    • I had a hard time choosing between the Inquisition scene, and the “It’s good to be King” scene. And if I hadn’t copped out on #10, “It’s good to be king” would’ve been #10 on the list without a doubt. That movie kicks ass.

  4. The guy who was babysat by the sister of the guy who played Nuclear Man in Superman IV

    I fully expect that you will get a dozen comments saying that you forgot to include this scene or that scene. I think these comments would be a testament to how many hilarious scenes Mel Brooks provided us. By the way, in Blazing Saddles, you completely forgot, “Let me whip this out” followed by the horrified gasps from the crowd.

  5. It’s not his funniest scene, but I would consider including the chess scene between Black Bart and the Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles. But how much can I really complain when Saddles is already on the list twice and you picked such good material already?

  6. OOOOOOOHHHHSweeeet Mystery of Life, I’m Glad I Found Youuuuuuu!!

  7. Eda

    Candygram for Mongo!!!!

  8. jackdeth72

    Hi, Droid:

    “Sire. The peasants are revolting!”
    “Yeah. They stink on ice!”

    It took me a few viewing of ‘Young Frankenstein’ to figure out that the Blind Man was Gene Hackman! The voice was familiar, but I couldn’t place the face. Until I paid attention to the final credits.

  9. That is THE best scene in “Dracula: Dead and Loving It”. We quote it SO MUCH and no one ever knows it because it was probably one of the weakest Brooks films…but the look on Weber’s face. I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion they didn’t tell him it wasn’t going to be *quite* that much blood.

  10. FilmFather

    Great picks, John.

    But it’s the “Camptown Ladies” scene at the beginning of Blazing Saddles that, after all these years, is still guaranteed to put me into hysterics every time.

  11. Chris curzin

    What was the scene where mel brookes was a psychiatrist talking to i think Gene wilder and he kept saying…Well what do you think ?

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