Harold and Maude (1971)
Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort
Budget: $1.2 million
Domestic Box Office Gross: Not available
Love stories, successful Hollywood ones at least, all have something in common: They feature beautiful people who face difficult odds but find happiness, however brief, in the end. So, why did Harold and Maude flop? It's nothing but a sweet love story between a young man and an older womanâ€”why the initial failure?
The devil is in the details: Harold, in addition to being a young man, drives a hearse and frequently fakes his own death as a way to communicate to the rest of the world that the world is really fucked up. Only no one pays attention. And Maude is just a nice woman with a great, open outlook on life. She's also pretty old. How old? Seventy-nine. Yes, they have sex.
Now it's clear why this movie took a minute to find its audience. Even the Cat Stevens score couldn't pack 'em in during the opening run. In the years since, it's become the quintessential cult romance.