Gene Wilder - Rotten Tomatoes

Gene Wilder

Highest Rated:   94% Young Frankenstein (1974)
Lowest Rated:   0% Funny About Love (1990)
Birthplace:   Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
With his wild curly hair, large expressive blue eyes, slight lisp, and nervous mannerism, Gene Wilder seemed on the surface the epitome of the mild-mannered bookkeeper type, but a close look reveals a volatile energy lying beneath the milquetoast, a mad spark in the eye, and a tendency to explode into discombobulated manic hilarity, usually as a result of being unable to handle the chaos that surrounded his characters. In fact one might have labeled Wilder the consummate reactor rather than a traditional thespian. During the 1970s, Wilder starred in some of the decade's most popular comedies. Wilder was at his best when he was collaborating with Mel Brooks. Such films as The Producers, Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles became modern American classics. The son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Wilder was born Jerome "Jerry" Silberman in Milwaukee, WI. His father manufactured miniature beer and whiskey bottles. Wilder began studying drama and working in summer stock while studying at the University of Iowa. Following graduation, he furthered his dramatic studies at England's Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Wilder was an exceptional fencer and while there won the school's fencing championship. Upon his return to the U.S., Wilder supported himself by teaching fencing. At other times, he also drove a limo and sold toys. After gaining experience off-Broadway in the early '60s, Wilder joined the Actors Studio. This led to several successful Broadway appearances. Wilder made his feature film debut playing a small but memorable role as a timid undertaker who is kidnapped by the protagonists of Arthur Penn's violent Bonnie and Clyde (1967). The following year he worked with Mel Brooks for the first time, co-starring opposite Zero Mostel in the screamingly funny Producers (1968). His role as the neurotic accountant Leo Bloom, who is seduced into a mad scheme by a once powerful Broadway producer into a crazy money-making scheme. Wilder's performance earned him an Oscar nomination. In his next film, Start the Revolution Without Me (1970), Wilder demonstrated his fencing prowess while playing one of two pairs of twins separated at birth during the years of the French Revolution. He demonstrated a more dramatic side in the underrated romantic comedy/drama Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (aka Fun Loving) (1970). The following year, Wilder starred in what many fondly remember as one of his best roles, that of the mad chocolatier Willy Wonka in the darkly comic musical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Despite these and other efforts, Wilder did not become a major star until Young Frankenstein (1974), a loving and uproarious send-up of Universal horror movies for which he and Brooks wrote the script. Following the tremendous success of Brooks' Blazing Saddles (1974), Wilder struck out on his own, making his solo screenwriting and directorial debut with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975) which co-starred fellow Brooks alumni Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman. Like his subsequent directorial efforts the humor was fitful and the direction uneven. He did however have a minor hit as the director and star of The Woman in Red (1984). As an actor, Wilder fared better with the smash hit Silver Streak (1976). As much of a romantic action-adventure as it was a comedy, it would be the first of several successful pairings with comedian Richard Pryor. Their second movie together, Stir Crazy (1980), was also a hit while their third and fourth pairings in See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) and Another You (1990) were much weaker. While appearing in Hanky Panky, Wilder met and married comedienne Gilda Radner. When she passed away in 1989 from cancer, Wilder was reputedly devastated. He stopped making and appearing in films after 1991; he did, however, try his hand at situation comedy in the short-lived Something Wilder (1994-1995). In the 90s he wrote and starred in a couple of made for TV murder mysteries and in 2008 he was


Highest Rated Movies



88% Love, Gilda
  • Actor
No Score Yet Role Model: Gene Wilder
  • Actor
51% The Producers
  • Actor
$19.2M 2005
No Score Yet Expo: Magic of the White City
  • Narrator
33% Alice in Wonderland
  • Mock Turtle
No Score Yet The Lady in Question
  • Larry `Cash' Carter
  • Screenwriter
5% Another You
  • George/Abe Fielding
0% Funny About Love
  • Duffy Bergman
28% See No Evil, Hear No Evil
  • Screenwriter
  • Dave
18% Haunted Honeymoon
  • Screenwriter
  • Larry Abbot
  • Director
33% The Woman in Red
  • Screenwriter
  • Teddy Pierce
  • Director
40% Hanky Panky
  • Michael Jordon
67% Stir Crazy
  • Skip Donahue
50% The Frisco Kid
  • Avram
15% The World's Greatest Lover
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Rudy Valentine/Rudy HickmanRudy Valentine
  • Director
81% Silver Streak
  • George Caldwell
71% The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Sigerson Holmes
94% Young Frankenstein
  • Dr. Frederick Frankenstein
  • Screenwriter
No Score Yet The Little Prince
  • The Fox
No Score Yet Thursday's Game
  • Harry Evers
88% Blazing Saddles
  • Jim
No Score Yet Rhinoceros
  • Stanley
88% Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask
  • Dr. Ross
No Score Yet Scarecrow
  • Actor
91% Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  • Willy Wonka
$4M 1971
No Score Yet Best of the Best of The Electric Company
  • Actor
83% Start The Revolution Without Me
  • Claude/Philippe
No Score Yet Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx
  • Quackser Fortune
90% The Producers
  • Leo Bloom
88% Bonnie and Clyde
  • Eugene Grizzard
No Score Yet Death of a Salesman
  • Bernard
No Score Yet Sunday Lovers
  • Actor


No Score Yet Will & Grace
  • Mr. Stein
  • 2003
  • 2002

Quotes from Gene Wilder's Characters