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Harold and Maude (1971)

Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral.



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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Judy Engles ...
Motorcycle Officer (as M. Borman)
Susan Madigan ...
Ray K. Goman ...
Police Officer (as Ray Goman)
Gordon De Vol ...
Police Officer (as Gordon DeVol)
Harvey Brumfield ...
Police Officer


Young adult Harold Chasen, solitary and friendless by choice, is obsessed with death, this fascination manifesting itself in he staging his own fake suicides, driving a hearse and attending funerals, even of people he doesn't know, all to the chagrin of his exasperated wealthy mother with who he lives. Mrs. Chasen is determined for Harold to be "normal", including she sending him into therapy to deal with his issues and finding him a girlfriend through a computer dating service. It is at a series of funerals that Harold meets Maude, on the cusp of her eightieth birthday, she who too attends funerals of strangers. Unlike Harold, Maude is obsessed with life - her own life to be more precise - she doing whatever she wants to please herself, damned what others may think or how they may be affected. Since she can't take material possessions with her, she is more interested in experiences, with whatever material possessions she has - often "borrowed" without asking - only to further those ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


His Hangups Are Hilarious See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 December 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ensina-me a Viver  »


Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The budget was $1.2M. See more »


When Maude pulls the banjo out of a cabinet, you see the reflection of crew and lights. See more »


[first lines]
Mrs. Chasen: [after spotting Harold hanging from a noose in the living room] I suppose you think that's very funny, Harold... Oh, dinner at eight, Harold. And do try and be a little more vivacious.
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Referenced in Full Moon High (1981) See more »


On the Road to Find Out
(1970) (uncredited)
Written and Performed by Cat Stevens
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Possibly the most unusual, and best, comedy ever made
10 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

Here is possibly the most unusual, and in my opinion, the best comedy ever made. "Harold & Maude" begins with a heavy dose of black humor, with the death-obsessed Harold performing 'suicides' as a way of rebelling against his domineering mother. His vehicle of choice is a hearse, and when he's not explaining his pitch-black fantasies to his shrink, he's crashing funerals. The film takes an unexpected turn with the introduction of Maude, a vivacious octogenarian who shares Harold's penchant for attending the funerals of strangers, but instead of being obsessed with death, she is obsessed with life. Her unique outlook and interesting activities, which include grand theft auto, endear her to Harold, and the two kindred spirits form a close relationship, which eventually blossoms into romance.

This may seem quite unbelievable (and frankly, disgusting) for a twenty-something to fall for an eighty-year-old, but through Ashby's beautiful, skilled direction and Bud Cort's and Ruth Gordon's wonderful performances, the love story is entirely convincing and quite beautifully handled.

The humor, is as I said, to begin with, very black, but there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, particularly with Harold's methods of scaring of dates picked for him by his mother, and the reaction of Harold's family and friends to the news of his infatuation with Maude. Cat Stevens' beautiful soundtrack makes this film even more beautiful. While this may be not for everyone, those who can appreciate it will enjoy it immensely.

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