By Troy Patterson
Updated May 20, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Harold and Maude
Credit: Harold and Maude: Kobal Collection

Why ”Harold and Maude” is one of the top 10 cult movies

”’Harold and Maude’ has all the fun and gaiety of a burning orphanage,” began Variety’s review. So let’s say that this chocolaty comedy (made of sweet dark humor, confected with an eccentric center) is an acquired taste, but connoisseurs will discover a supremely endearing love story. Bud Cort, his sad eyes as round as his head, is Harold, a lad given to crashing funerals, tooling around in a hearse, and staging elaborate faux suicides. Ruth Gordon plays Maude, a coquettish and bubbly 79-year-old celebrant of everyday pleasures — birds, trees, grand theft auto. To the wistful tune of Cat Stevens’ soundtrack, she gets under the armor of his cultivated morbidity with her daffy joie de vivre, and the two make an evenly matched odd couple.
SIGNATURE LINE Harold: ”You sure have a way with people.” Maude: ”Well, they’re my species!”
WHO’S IN THE CULT Wes Anderson and everyone else with an affection for misfits.