Dedication, commitment, consistency, and passion for excellence are some of the traits that have distinguished Mel Brooks from other entertainers in the industry. Mel is one industry heavyweight that epitomizes greatness when it comes to performance, be it on the stage, filming set, behind the camera, and comedy stage. His talent and presence have been felt in every ramification in the entertainment industry and it appears the multi-hyphenate is not even ready to slow down his activities, take the back seat of his or even make a permanent exit from the limelight. Within and beyond the performance world, Mel Brooks is known for being a first-rate actor, composer, filmmaker, comedian, director, as well as a producer. Mel Brooks movies are generally interesting, captivating, and fantastic to watch and flow along with. As an embodiment of excellence, this veteran thespian has surpassed most of his mates both as a screen star and behind-the-scene operator.
Brooks served in the United States Army from 1944 to 1946 and later began working as a pianist and drummer in various nightclubs and resorts in Catskin Mountains, in Southeastern New York. Not long after, he abandoned the drum and piano and started making good use of his sense of humor by performing stand-up comic and switching to comic writing for media firms, including for the 1950s comedy sketch, Your Show of Shows.
With the needed assistance from his friends, Mel was able to boost his career and worked his way to stardom. From 1949 when he formally launched his career, this performer has taken part in countless projects in the industry. Whenever he stands behind the mic to perform comedy, he leaves the audience yearning for more. His comic prowess, in 2005, earned him the No. 50 spot in a poll that was conducted that year to pick out the top 50 comedy acts considered to be ‘The Comedian’s Comedian’.
In the entertainment industry, especially in Hollywood, there are only a few people whose talent has earned them a Grammy, an Oscar, a Tony, and an Emmy. Interestingly, Mel Brook is one of such few people, having won his Grammy awards in 1999 and 2002 (twice); his four Emmy awards in 1967, 1997, 1998, and 1999; his Academy Award in 1968; and his three Tony awards in 2001. His awards shelf also holds a Nebula Award, a Hugo Award, as well as a British Film Institute Fellowship award.
A recipient of the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors, Mel Brooks was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010. This veteran thespian was originally born Melvin Kaminsky, on June 28, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York. The son of Kate and Max Kaminsky, Mel was raised together with his three older brothers in Williamsburg. He studied at Abraham Lincoln High School, Eastern District High School, and Brooklyn College.
Like every other seasoned performer, Mel Brooks movies have won the attention of critics from several quarters. Be it the ones he starred in, wrote, produced, or directed, most of his projects are characterizes excellence. Here are 10 of his movies you need to see at least once.
10 Mel Brooks Movies Everyone Should See at Least Once
1. If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast (2017)
If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast is widely considered as the most successful movie Mel Brooks has ever starred in ever since he stormed the movie world. And for many reasons, this film project deserves all the positive reviews and appraisals it has received. Apart from the fact that it earned Hollywood heavyweight Carl Reiner a nomination at the 70th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Narrator category, it also handed another nomination to Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, and Dave Grusin (for “Just Getting Started”) in the Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics at the same occasion.
On Metacritic, this project had positive responses while the renowned review aggregation website, Rotten Tomatoes, gave it a 100% approval rating. Starring Kirk Douglas, Stan Lee, Betty White, Dick Van Dyke, and Tony Benett, If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast is a documentary film that runs for 86 minutes. It was released on HBO on May 19, 2017, and replicates Carl Reiner’s contact with many celebrated nonagenarians while posing the question, “What’s the secret to living into your 90s – and loving every minute of it?” The film no doubt merits being listed as one of the best Mel Brooks movies everyone must watch.
2. It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002)
Mel Brooks clinched his role in this film 53 years after he began his career. Featured alongside David Arquette as Daniel, Whoopi Goldberg as The Boss, and Matthew Lillard as Luc Fromage, Brooks voiced Joe Snow, a parody of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s Burl Ives in the Rankin/Bass Christmas special.
It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie was written by the duo of Jim Lewis and Tom Martin while Kirk Thatcher directed the film. The 2002 movie is widely adjudged as yet another fantastic film project Mel featured in. Rated 6.5/10 and 905% on the review websites IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes respectively, it was made on a budget of $20 million.
3. The Last Laugh (2016)
The Last Laugh is an 88 minutes long documentary film that featured Mel Brooks and the likes of Robert Clary, Gilbert Gottfried, Jeff Ross, David Cross, Sarah Silverman, Renee Firestone, Rob Reiner, and Carl Reiner as themselves. This project seeks to find out whether jokes about the Holocaust can ever be humourous and mainly revolves around Renee Firestone, an Auschwitz survivor.
Directed by Ferne Pearlstein and written by Robert Edwards and Ferne Pearlstein, The Last Laugh premiered in 2016 at the Tribeca Film Festival. It is considered a success, both critically and commercially.
4. The Twelve Chairs (1970)
On this, Mel Brooks poured his expertise not just on the filming set but also in directing it. He is also credited for this film’s screenplay. The Twelve Chairs is a comedy project that is based on the Russian novel of the same name. While Mel portrayed the fictional character Tikhon, Frank Langella was cast as Ostap Bender. Ron Moody, Will Stampe, and Dom DeLuise also had roles in the film project which was scored 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.
For their individual roles in this film, Brooks and Langella were duly recognized and appreciated for a wonderful outing. While Mel bagged a nomination for Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium from the Writers Guild of America, Frank received the National Board of Review award for Best Supporting Actor. With all these, there is no questioning on why this film deserves a mention in this list of the best Mel Brooks movies.
5. Harold And Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2017)
Harold And Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story is a beautiful, beguiling, and passionate documentary love movie that brings to the limelight the lives of Harold And Lillian, who are considered to be the unsung artisan heroes of Hollywood.
In addition to central figures Lillian Michelson and Harold Michelson, some other notable stars who starred in the film as themselves include Mel Brooks, Bill Krohn, Stuart Cornfeld, and Danny DeVito while Tish Hicks and Will Vought voiced Young Lillian and Young Harold respectively.
Although the exact figure Harold And Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story made at the box office is missing, this film has won the hearts of critics. For this reason, it would be ideal for you to see it at least once.
6. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017)
The list of Mel Brooks movies is made up of several documentary films and Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, a 2017 documentary film is one of them. Written and directed by Alexandra Dean, it recounts the life story of a beautiful lady called Hedy Lamarr. Hedy was an actress and inventor born on November 9, 1914, to assimilated Austrian Jews. The project also brings to light other aspects of her life, including her acting career, her rise to fame, her six marriages, her landmark invention, the Nazi onslaught, her relocation to the U.S, decline, and death in 2000 at age 85.
Mel starred as himself and shared the screen alongside Jan-Christopher Horak, Peter Bogdanovich, Anne Helen Petersen, Diane Kruger, Stephen Michael Shearer, and Robert Osborne. Although the film was well-received by critics and has won numerous awards since it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, it flopped at the box office, having grossed $1.2 million despite a budget of $1.5 million. Regardless of this, it stands out as one of the best Mel Brooks movies you must see.
7. Young Frankenstein (1974)
With stars like Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars, and Madeline Kahn, it took Brooke a satisfactory effort to direct and play a role in this incredible film. Young Frankenstein turned out to be a box office smash as well as a critics favorite following the injection of critical elements like the 1930s’ style opening credits, amazing screen transitions, and a period score which was performed by John Morris, a renowned composer.
The entire picture of this film was shot by Mel in black and white and he considers it his finest film as a director-writer, although not his funniest. With a decent budget of $2.78 million, Young Frankenstein grossed an impressive $86.2 million, featuring Brooks as a Werewolf cat that was hit by a dart, Victor Frankenstein (voice).
8. Blazing Saddles (1974)
Michael Hertzberg was able to produce this film with a decent budget of $2.6 million. Blazing Saddles is another beautiful piece of art that Brooks invested his showbiz expertise in; he was not only the director but also starred as Gov. William J. Le Petomane/ Indian Chief. This classic project has won the praises of the American Film Institute as well as other accolades.
This satirical comedy film grossed $119.6 million and is rated on several review websites, including Rotten Tomatoes which scored it 90 percent.
9. The Producers (1967)
The Producers is one project that is very dear to Mel Brooks. Apart from the fact that he did his first directorial stint in this movie, this project played influential roles towards the Academy Award he won for Best Original Screenplay. Adjudged one of his finest works, this masterpiece was picked for preservation in the National Film Registry and later as a stage musical by Thomas Meehan and Mel.
Some characters in The Producers were portrayed by Kenneth Mars, Zero Mostel, Dick Shawn, and Gene Wilder. It was produced with a budget of $941,000 and earned $1.6 million at the box office.
10. The Muppet Movie (1979)
The list of Mel Brooks Movies is made up of a handful of film projects from The Muppet franchise. In this particular one, he made a cameo appearance as Professor Krassman. Produced by Jim Henson, The Muppet Movie is a musical road comedy film that won positive reviews and appraisals from critics. Ranked 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.6/10 on IMDb, this film has won two awards (Best Fantasy Film at Saturn Awards held on July 26, 1980, and a Grammy Award) and five nominations.