Gene Wilder’s Seven Best Movie Roles

It’s hard to believe that Gene Wilder is nearly 80.  Seriously I can’t fathom that.  But having watched one of his best movies yesterday made me realize that actors like him are very hard to come by.   I mean in today’s day you find many actors that come from the same mold.  What I mean is you can sort of find actor equivalents these days.

But Wilder?  Wilder is one of a kind.  Can you honestly say that you know of actors like Gene Wilder?  I didn’t think so.  So I’ve decided to list what I believe to be his seven best film roles.


Honestly I can’t rank these, it’s too hard.

Young Frankenstein – Dr. Frankenstein

Classic Mel Brooks right here.  First of all his little mustache kicks ass in this film.  Second of all, it’s Gene Wilder yelling and stuff.  His hair alone makes him perfect for this movie.  Couldn’t have been casted better if Mel Brooks tried.

Blazing Saddles – Jim

This has got to be one of the funniest if not the funniest Mel Brooks films in existence.  Do you realize how racist this film is?  Wow.  And talk about a great role for wilder.  A has been drunk with a dead aim gun shot?  Plus the bear stubble?  I just love how Wilder was always in character.  Never showed an ounce of emotion.  Awesome.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – Willy Wonka

If I did have to rank this list Willy Wonka would clearly be my number one.  When you talk unique character, there will NEVER be another Willy Wonka out there.  Don’t even get me started on Tim Burton’s version.  Like I said, there will never be another Willy Wonka.

Silver Streak – George Caldwell

While it wasn’t my favorite of the Richard Pryor/Gene Wilder team ups, it was still a great movie and Wilder nailed it in this one.

The Frisco Kid – Avram

Lots of people I know have never seen this movie.  And that’s a shame.  The chemistry between Wilder and Harrison Ford is awesome.  It’s a great Western Parody and the Orthodox Jew accent is spot on for Wilder.  This movie was enjoyable from start to finish.

Stir Crazy – Skip Donahue

If I had to go number 2 I might have to do this movie.  This is far and away the best of the Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder team up movies.  I don’t think it’s even close.  Watching Wilder on the fake bull scene makes me spit up my drink every time.

See No Evil Hear No Evil Dave Lyons

I had to mention this one.

  • keif

    the beginning of the sentence on the ‘stir crazy’ section had me worried about where it was gonna go…

    • Nattyb

      Haha. Sorry about that.

  • Josh

    See No Evil Hear No Evil may be the best comedy ever made. That or Young Frankenstein.

    Either way, it involved Gene Wilder.

  • Carax

    I love the man. He can do no wrong in my eyes but he came close when he cameo’d in will and grace. But still a brilliant actor and so f***ing funny. Surprised you didn’t mention the producers will need to see the frisco kid. Nice article. Will watch young Frankenstein again asap. Broomhilde and eyegor are brilliant as well

  • Carax

    I love the man. He can do no wrong in my eyes but he came close when he cameo’d in will and grace. But still a brilliant actor and so f***ing funny. Surprised you didn’t mention the producers will need to see the frisco kid. Nice article. Will watch young Frankenstein again asap

  • Carax

    Sorry for the double post.

  • BobaFett

    Entering Prison: “That’s right, we bad, yeah we bad, uh huh, we bad.”

  • FrankenPC

    Actors like Gene Wilder: Danny Kaye

  • See no Evil Hear no Evil is a great comedy, one of the best of the 80s for sure. Willy Wonka and Dr Frankenstein pure genious.

  • Mike in PA

    Blazing Saddles is NOT racist, you fool. If you think it is, then you missed the whole point of the film, and you probably think the old “All in the Family” television series is racist, too.

    • Nattyb

      Are you serious? By today’s standards and everyone’s they are 100% racist. It doesn’t mean the creators were racist but come on dude. I know it’s humor. Do you take all people as being this dumb? Obviously it’s racist. Just because it’s humor and is making fun doesn’t make it NOT racist. All in the Family? Hahaha. It’s the most racist sitcom in TV history and you’re saying it’s not racist. Amazing.

  • BNC

    Blazing Saddles was sort of lampooning racism… but in the most racist way imaginable, so yeah. Like you said, the creators weren’t racist, but the content of the film is specifically designed to be so offensive it crosses over into being goofy. You couldn’t do a movie like that today because the filmmaker would mishandle it and try to make it “edgy” humor… who the hell other than Mel Brooks would think, “How about making a silly, racist Western spoof?”

  • Mike in PA

    It has to be done in a hateful or mean-spirited way for it to be racist. The scenes in Blazing Saddles were so zany and blatantly over the top that everybody could see that it was being done for humor. Well, nearly everybody, I guess. It probably helps if you spent your early school years like me — reading things like MAD Magazine instead of studying…

  • Mary

    The best of his movies? It’d be a close tie between Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. The rest weren’t too bad, either.
    As for being supposedly “racist”, you should remember Mel Brooks is Jewish, and has never tolerated or condoned racism of any kind-it’s pretty obvious that the movie was a lampoon of all the westerns that did feature such stuff.
    You should watch other Mel Brooks’ films to see what I mean. It was his style to go “over the top” in depicting the worst of human behavior.

  • Madison

    Blazing Saddles isn’t racist.

  • Glen

    This wasn’t mentioned and it’s not that well known, but my brother and I love Gene Wilder & Donald Sutherland in “Start The Revolution Without Me.” It was from the late 60s and Gene is as crazed and funny as any of his other roles. Do yourself a favor and watch it.

  • Tim

    Another vote for “Start the Revolution Without Me”. Wilder is excellently funny in this movie.

  • Bob

    It’s called satire.

  • Travis

    Wilder had a small role, yet great performance in Bonnie and Clyde.

  • Bob

    I love love love Gene Wilder….the man is a genius….I mean come on! Willy Wonka, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstien.

  • Young Frankenstein is my favorite and blazing saddles number 2. His Willy Wonka is the only Willy Wonka in my book.

  • I was never a fan of Gene Wilder except for Willy Wonka of course. However, he did creep me out when I was little kid when they go into that crazy tunnel

  • farmer448

    One of his first roles in “The Producers” where he comes under Zero Mostels spell.

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  • Awesome list…couldn’t have put it better myself.

    Two tidbits, just so I can sound pompous and know-it-all…
    Mel Brooks didn’t think Gene Wilder was right for Blazing Saddles at all, I mean AT ALL. I can’t imagine it without him. I also love that he’s so calm and emotionless all the time. Expect for when he shoots he’s the slowest person in the world. I wouldn’t the movie’s racist, I more think they were poking fun at racists…and pushing as many boundaries as they could. Can you imagine if they tried to make that movie today?

    Also, Gene Wilder helped write Young Frankenstien. The man is way too talented.

    Sadly, Avram isn’t even available in my area. I’m saving up to have it shipped here. By the looks of your blurb I won’t be wasting my money.

  • illflux

    One that I love that is not often mentioned and is highly under-rated in my opinion is “The World’s Greatest Lover,” written and directed by Wilder. It’s hilarious!

  • See No Evil Hear No Evil was likely the best one I’ve seen, and I’ve admittedly only seen a few. Damn funny that movie!

  • Tonebone

    “I mean in today’s day you find many actors that come from the same mold. What I mean is you can sort of find actor equivalents these days.”
    “If I had to go number 2 I might have to do this movie.”
    “I had to mention this one.”

    This is the worst written article I have ever read. I feel I am 10 I.Q. points dumber after reading it. It is the written equivilent of Chris Farley’s SNL schtick where he would ask the actor “Remember when you ________?… That was awesome!”

    As for Blazing Saddles being a racist movie: You clearly missed the point. It was a satire of the subtle racism inherent in the Hollywood system, most notably in the western genre. At this point, directors were just emerging from that closed-in system, and black actors were coming into their own as respected members of the profession. “What if you had a black cowboy star, in the old-school Hollywood western vein?” was the basic premise. Never once had to explain that to anyone, tho.

  • LMS

    Obviously, you are too young to remember “The Producers”.

  • llv

    If people think Blazing Saddles is racist, then all hope is lost.

  • Lynn Landry

    I think you MUST ABSOLUTELY see the original non musical version of THE PRODUCERS. Gene Wilder spends the first 10 minutes turning screaming and whimpering into comedic art like nothing I’ve ever seen. I love that movie and am really sad that Mel Brooks turned it into an awful musical.

  • Sponge bob

    Mel brooks didn’t turn the producers into a musical! He was the writer and Im pretty Shure the director of the original producers. Mel brooks and gene wilder have never disappointed me…. Plus with blazing saddles, this isn’t the first time Mel has done something like that like in To Be Or Not To Be, only then he was making a lot of Jewish jokes and nazi humor. (I would recommend this one to is was very funny)