Rubina Sanborn

Rubina Sanborn

Modified & Updated: 30 Jan 2024


Harold and Maude is a cult classic film that has captured the hearts of audiences since its release in 1971. Directed by Hal Ashby and written by Colin Higgins, this dark romantic comedy tells the unlikely love story between the young death-obsessed Harold Chasen, played by Bud Cort, and the vivacious 79-year-old Maude, portrayed by Ruth Gordon.

Set against the backdrop of late 1960s America, Harold and Maude tackles themes of mortality, freedom, and finding purpose in life. The film’s unique blend of dark humor, unconventional romance, and poignant storytelling has gained a dedicated following over the years, solidifying its status as a beloved cult classic.

In this article, we will explore 37 fascinating facts about the making of Harold and Maude that shed light on its unique production, memorable performances, and enduring legacy.

Table of Contents

The movie was written by Colin Higgins.

Colin Higgins wrote the screenplay for Harold and Maude while he was a film student at UCLA. This was his first major film project.

The film stars Bud Cort as Harold Chasen.

Bud Cort delivers a remarkable performance as the enigmatic and death-obsessed character Harold Chasen.

Ruth Gordon portrays the lovable character of Maude.

Ruth Gordon’s portrayal of the free-spirited and eccentric Maude is widely regarded as one of her finest performances.

The film explores themes of love, mortality, and societal conventions.

Harold and Maude delves into thought-provoking themes that challenge societal norms and the human perception of love and life.

The soundtrack is composed by Cat Stevens.

The beautiful and melancholic soundtrack of Harold and Maude features songs by the legendary singer-songwriter Cat Stevens.

The film initially received mixed reviews.

Upon its release, Harold and Maude received a range of reviews, with critics divided on its unconventional narrative and dark humor.

It gained a cult following over the years.

Despite its initial reception, Harold and Maude has since gained a dedicated fan base and is now considered a cult classic.

The film’s budget was relatively low.

Harold and Maude was made on a modest budget of around $1.2 million, which was considered low even during that time.

It explores the theme of existentialism.

The film delves into existentialism, examining the nature of existence, personal freedom, and the search for meaning in life.

Harold’s obsession with death is a recurring motif.

Throughout the movie, Harold’s fascination with death and his numerous fake suicides add a darkly humorous undertone to the narrative.

The film has a unique blend of comedy and drama.

Harold and Maude seamlessly combines comedic moments with more profound and emotionally resonant scenes, creating a distinctive tone.

Harold drives a hearse.

Harold’s choice of vehicle, a hearse, is a symbol of his fascination with mortality and his unconventional outlook on life.

The film tackles social taboos.

Harold and Maude fearlessly addresses controversial topics such as May-December romances, the generation gap, and nonconformity.

It was not a commercial success upon release.

Despite its critical acclaim, Harold and Maude did not fare well at the box office when it first hit theaters.

It has since become a cult classic.

Over the years, the film’s popularity has grown, achieving a cult status and paving the way for a new generation of fans.

The movie embraces nonconformity.

Harold and Maude celebrates individuality and encourages viewers to break free from societal norms and expectations.

It was inspired by Colin Higgins’ own experiences.

The characters and themes in Harold and Maude were influenced by Colin Higgins’ observations and personal experiences.

The film has a unique visual style.

Cinematographer John A. Alonzo created visually striking scenes that complement the offbeat nature of the story.

It has a memorable opening sequence.

The movie starts with a series of darkly humorous and puzzling scenes that immediately grab the audience’s attention.

The film explores the generational divide.

Harold’s unconventional relationship with Maude challenges societal norms, highlighting the clash between generations.

It showcases authentic and memorable performances.

The chemistry between Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon is electrifying, bringing depth and authenticity to their characters.

Harold’s elaborate fake suicides are a source of comedic relief.

The dark humor of the film is often punctuated by Harold’s theatrical attempts at faking his own death.

The movie has a timeless quality.

Despite being released in 1971, Harold and Maude remains relevant and resonates with audiences of all ages.

The film has a dedicated fan base.

Harold and Maude has garnered a devoted following who appreciate its unconventional storytelling and emotional depth.

It addresses the themes of love and companionship.

Through the unlikely bond between Harold and Maude, the film explores the transformative power of love and the importance of human connection.

Harold’s relationship with his mother is strained.

Harold’s tumultuous connection with his overbearing and materialistic mother adds complexity to his character.

The movie has a bittersweet ending.

Harold and Maude concludes with a poignant and emotionally charged climax that leaves a lasting impression on viewers.

It has a distinct and memorable sense of humor.

The dark and quirky humor of Harold and Maude sets it apart from conventional comedies.

The film utilizes symbolism.

Various symbolic elements are incorporated throughout the movie, enriching the narrative and deepening its themes.

Harold’s fascination with funerals is explored.

Harold’s unconventional hobby of attending funerals plays a significant role in shaping his character and perspective on life.

The movie encourages authenticity.

Harold and Maude emphasizes the importance of embracing one’s authenticity and forging one’s own path in life.

It portrays an unconventional love story.

The romance between Harold and Maude challenges societal norms and demonstrates that love knows no age or boundaries.

The film has a dedicated following in the LGBTQ+ community.

Harold and Maude’s themes of nonconformity and love have resonated with LGBTQ+ audiences, making it a beloved film within the community.

It explores the concept of mortality.

Through its dark undertones and thought-provoking moments, Harold and Maude forces viewers to confront their own mortality and ponder the meaning of life.

The movie’s screenplay was considered ahead of its time.

Colin Higgins’ script broke conventions and pushed boundaries, presenting a narrative that was refreshingly unconventional.

It has left a lasting legacy.

Harold and Maude continues to inspire filmmakers and artists, showcasing the power of independent and thought-provoking cinema.

It is a must-watch for any film lover.

With its unique blend of humor, emotion, and social commentary, Harold and Maude remains a timeless masterpiece that deserves a spot on every cinephile’s must-watch list.

These 37 facts about the movie Harold and Maude shed light on the captivating aspects of this cult classic. From its unconventional storyline to its memorable performances, this film continues to captivate audiences today. Whether you’re a fan of dark comedies or simply appreciate thought-provoking cinema, Harold and Maude is definitely worth adding to your watchlist. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this timeless gem!


In conclusion, “Harold and Maude” is a captivating and thought-provoking film that continues to captivate audiences decades after its release. With its unconventional love story, dark humor, and powerful performances, it has solidified its place as a cult classic in the world of cinema. The film’s exploration of life, death, and the search for meaning resonates with viewers on a deep and emotional level.The unique dynamic between Harold and Maude challenges societal norms and reminds us that true love knows no age or boundaries. Their unlikely bond not only transcends generations but also teaches us to embrace life and find beauty in the unexpected.From its hauntingly beautiful soundtrack to its visually stunning cinematography, “Harold and Maude” is a cinematic masterpiece that deserves recognition for its artistic merit and profound storytelling.If you haven’t seen “Harold and Maude” yet, it’s definitely a film worth watching. It will make you laugh, cry, and ponder the complexities of life. It’s a movie that will leave a lasting impression, reminding us that love and connection can be found in the most unlikely places.


1. Who directed “Harold and Maude”?

Hal Ashby directed “Harold and Maude.” He is known for his unique approach to storytelling and his ability to tackle complex themes with sensitivity.

2. When was “Harold and Maude” released?

The film was released in 1971 and has since gained a significant following and critical acclaim.

3. What is the storyline of “Harold and Maude”?

“Harold and Maude” follows the story of a young man named Harold, who is obsessed with death and attends funerals for a hobby. His life takes a turn when he meets Maude, a vibrant and eccentric 79-year-old woman. As their relationship develops, they both learn valuable life lessons and discover the true meaning of living.

4. Is “Harold and Maude” a comedy or a drama?

The film blends elements of comedy and drama, creating a unique tone that is both funny and poignant. It uses humor to explore deeper themes and emotions.

5. Why is “Harold and Maude” considered a cult classic?

“Harold and Maude” was initially not a commercial success but gained a cult following over time due to its unconventional storyline, dark humor, and powerful performances. Its themes of individuality, love, and embracing life resonate with viewers and have made it a beloved film among cinephiles.