Harold and Maude is a 1971 American romantic black comedy drama directed by Hal Ashby and released by Paramount Pictures. It incorporates elements of dark humor and existentialist drama. The plot revolves around the exploits of a young man named Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) who is intrigued with death. Harold drifts away from the life that his detached mother (Vivian Pickles) prescribes for him, and slowly develops a strong friendship, and eventually a romantic relationship, with a 79-year-old woman named Maude (Ruth Gordon) who teaches Harold about living life to its fullest and that life is the most precious gift of all.
The film was based on a screenplay written by Colin Higgins and published as a novel in 1971. Filming locations in the San Francisco Bay Area included both Holy Cross Cemetery and Golden Gate National Cemetery, and the ruins of the Sutro Baths.
Critically and commercially unsuccessful when originally released, the film developed a cult following and in 1983 began making a profit. The film is ranked number 45 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Funniest Movies of all Time and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1997, for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant". The Criterion Collection special-edition Blu-ray and DVD were released June 12, 2012.