Earlier today we learned that longtime actor, director, producer, and writer Gene Wilder passed away. At 83 years old, Wilder left a legacy of smiles in the form of some of the funniest movies made during the 70s and 80s. If you’ve never watched a Wilder movie, or if it’s been a while, revisit these five classics:
Silver Streak (1976)
Comedy-thriller from Director Arthur Hiller, it was Wilder’s first team-up with an unlikely partner — Richard Pryor. A murder on a train from L.A. To Chicago sets up a fun mystery that earned Wilder a Best Actor nomination at the Golden Globes.
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Wilder’s second movie with Mel Brooks was (almost) as great as the first. Blazing Saddles is a western comedy as only Brooks can make. A horse is punched in the face. There are jokes that would probably cause an uprising in today’s more sensitive times.
Stir Crazy (1980)
Wilder reunites with Pryor for a buddy comedy like few others. Playing friends framed for a bank robbery, Wilder and Pryor are given a 125-year prison sentence and proceed to create comedy gold for the next 90 minutes.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Wilder’s Willy Wonka is easily his most definitive performance. Wilder embodies Wonka from head to toe, in every movement, and mannerism. Wilder is enduring, stern, and sometimes borderline creepy if you’re in the wrong state of mind.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Mel Brooks and Wilder team up for one of the funniest films of all time. Young Frankenstein is the story of the mad scientist’s grandson who takes on his grandfather’s work. All manner of hilarity ensues and Wilder is perfect throughout.
Rest in the infinite of the universe, Gene Wilder. Thanks for sharing your talents with the rest of us.