Harold (Bud Cort) is a young man from a wealthy family who is so bored with life that he stages realistic mock-suicides. His domineering mother takes no notice unless Harold makes a mess with blood. For amusement, Harold attends funerals of people he doesn't know. Over time, he repeatedly sees Maude (Ruth Gordon), an 80 year-old woman who befriends him. Maude is Harold's exact opposite; a senior citizen, energetic, and spirited. As their friendship grows, Harold becomes much more open -- learning to play the banjo and opening up to Maude about his depressive family situation. Maude consoles him, but tells Harold that life should be lived to the fullest. Meanwhile in his home, Harold is set up on dates by his mother, all of which Harold sabotages with his faked deaths for each of the girls. Harold and Maude become very close and fall in love. Harold decided that he wants to marry Maude despite family objections. Tragedy ensues, when Maude swallows a fatal dose of unidentified tablets. A grief-stricken Harold must then apply Maude’s joy of life to living the rest of his life in happiness.