My Favorite Gene Wilder Film

I was really sad to hear that Gene Wilder passed away yesterday. Even sadder to hear he’d been struggling with Alzheimer’s for the past while, which was why he’d been so reclusive. (Though I totally understand the reasons that wasn’t made public.) But I wanted to do more for the man than just a Facebook status update, because I flat out adore some of his movies. He had a style that was all his own, and it was utter bliss to watch. I’m not saying I loved every movie he was in, but when he was on, he was always a pleasure to watch.

The funny thing is, I think my list of favorite Gene Wilder movies are going to be the same as pretty much everyone’s. I ran through them one at a time, and there’s nothing really unique about them. He wasn’t in a slew of movies. He was in a few fantastic ones. That’s all you need to really make an impact on the world. My nominees for the top 5 Gene Wilder movies are as follows:

The Producers is pure genius. Wilder had been in some TV movies up until then, and he had a small part in Bonnie and Clyde, but his role as Leo Bloom is incredible. He’s so straitlaced and wound up, and so when he drifts into illegal territory, it makes him so panicked, you can’t help but laugh at the results. It’s one of my all time favorite movies, and everything about it is spot on. (Sadly, good Producers clips online are few and far between.)

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was a favorite growing up, and it remains so. To see how important and masterful Wilder was in it, all you have to do is watch Johnny Depp try to pull off Wonka and fail. Wilder was able to bring an insanity to the character without really being insane. (Of course, that crazy ride on the Wonka boat helped, but still.) We watched this movie as part of my 30th birthday celebration. I love it.

Blazing Saddles is another triumph, and Wilder is (again) a big part of that success. His turn as the Waco Kid is so funny whenever he shows up.

Young Frankenstein is all about Wilder. He makes that movie from start to finish, and I rewatch it about once a year. So much win. So many jokes on the screen.

Silver Streak is the weakest of the five, but I watched it when I was a kid, and I’ve rewatched it many times since. Really, the only reason it’s on this list is because I wanted a top 5, not a top 4.

With that said, how would I rank those movies? As follows:

5. Silver Streak (for reasons already outlined)

4. Willy Wonka

3. Blazing Saddles

2. The Producers

1. Young Frankenstein

Though honestly, making a decision between those top 4 was very difficult. They’re all wonderful for different reasons. But I think Young Frankenstein wins out in the end just because of the story behind it. How the sets from the original Frankenstein were found and used for the movie, so it’s a sequel to the Karloff classic from years before. It’s an adaptation to boot, and I’m a sucker for adaptations, if you know me.

How about you? What’s your favorite Wilder movie?

No Comments

No comments yet.

Got something to say, or want to subscribe to my blog? Do it. I dare you!

%d bloggers like this: