Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Posted by Notcot on May 14, 2010 in Cult Film |

Average Rating: 4.5 / 5 (84 Reviews)

Amazon.com
Could this be the funniest movie ever made? By any rational measure of comedy, this medieval romp from the Monty Python troupe certainly belongs on the short list of candidates. According to Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide, it’s “recommended for fans only,” but we say hogwash to that–you could be a complete newcomer to the Python phenomenon and still find this send-up of the Arthurian legend to be wet-your-pants hilarious. It’s basically a series of sketches woven together as King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail, with Graham Chapman as the King, Terry Gilliam as his simpleton sidekick Patsy, and the rest of the Python gang filling out a variety of outrageous roles. The comedy highlights are too numerous to mention, but once you’ve seen Arthur’s outrageously bloody encounter with the ominous Black Knight (John Cleese), you’ll know that nothing’s sacred in the Python school of comedy. From holy hand grenades to killer bunnies to the absurdity of the three-headed knights who say “Ni–!,” this is the kind of movie that will strike you as fantastically funny or just plain silly, but why stop there? It’s all over the map, and the pace lags a bit here and there, but for every throwaway gag the Pythons have invented, there’s a bit of subtle business or grand-scale insanity that’s utterly inspired. The sum of this madness is a movie that’s beloved by anyone with a pulse and an irreverent sense of humor. If this movie doesn’t make you laugh, you’re almost certainly dead. –Jeff Shannon

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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5 Comments

Anonymous
at 11:55 am

I’m not going to lie to you; you HAVE to be in a good mood the first time you watch this film. I have never come across another film that’s as entertaining, creative, nonsensical and just plain silly as this. There is never a dull moment, from the moose business in the credits at the beginning to the totally stupid, but perfect end.

The thing with this film is that everyone has seen it and it’s become part of our general culture. Bits of it just crop up everywhere, especially in computer games.

The first time I watched this there were some bits I really loved like the Trojan Rabbit, Robin’s minstrels, Sir-Not-Appearing-in-this-Film, the moose thing, the Camelot song, the burn the witch scene, and of course, Terry Gilliam’s animations. However, it all really grew on me and I love it now and can quote everything along with the best, and most annoying, of them!

Buy this! It is genius and the actors are brilliant. Long live Monty Python! This film is a national treasure and should be treated as such! Amen.
Rating: 5 / 5


 
Matt Hinnigan
at 1:29 pm

The accepted wisdom on this film is that it is the second-best of the Monty Python films, after “The Life of Brian”. That is in fact, not true. While “Brian” had many things that “Grail” lacks, such as a linear storyline, and it shows two fingers to the religious establishment; it also lacks the sheer madcap humour of this film.

The film basically consists of a series of sketches and set pieces arranged in a roughly chronological order. There are superb performances from all the actors, with John Cleese’s wonderful turn as Sir Lancelot and Michael Palin in the role of Sir Galahad being the outstanding ones.

The sheer number of hilarious scenes in this film simply beggars belief. Every scene is a masterpiece of comedy, even the much-maligned final scene. Not even “The Life of Brian” can make that claim, brilliant though it is.

The bottom line is that generations of people in Britain and around the world have enjoyed Monty Python for most of their lives. This is true because of the towering comic genius of the six men involved. This film is, quite simply, Monty Python at their best.
Rating: 5 / 5


 
Anonymous
at 3:14 pm

A top movie which even if you watch it now does not look dated. The monty python comedy was way ahead of its time and it shows in this film. In this film you see the usual team playing a variety of different roles (both male and female) which makes this stand out. No-one is a by-stander in the movie it is definately a team effort. If you have watched the TV series and thought it wasn’t for you, try this as I feel this film is for more of a main stream audience. If you enjoy The Python then you will love this.
Rating: 4 / 5


 
Kurt Messick
at 4:06 pm

There are so many things about this (and indeed any) Monty Python movie that one hardly knows where to begin. Nothing is left out of the mix–history, religion, politics, personal relationships, prejudices, intellectual prowess or the lack thereof. My title, of course, comes from an early scene in with Arthur approaches a castle, inexplicably occupied by French k-nigits, who claim to already have a grail.

The Monty Python troupe, led by the creative talents of Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, incorporated John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Graham Chapman as King Arthur, the dominant role in the film. No animals were harmed in the filming, not even an African Swallow, non-migratory as they are. A few coconuts bit the dust, however, as did more than a few comic images. Logic bits the dust, too, on more than one occasion. I did a paper once for symbolic logic which I was told ten years later was still being passed about because I had dared to use something so unconventional as this Monty Python movie in the references (I couldn’t see why that wouldn’t be much more common, and indeed, hope it is today–I use ‘Life of Brian’ in homilies, so why not this film in logic?).

The particular logical incident (or rather, illogical incident) involves the trial of a woman accused of being a witch. Through ‘logic’ it is demonstrated that she would be a witch if she weighed the same as a duck (which, surprisingly enough, it turns out that she does — ‘It’s a fair cop’ she concedes as the general rejoicing commences at the prospect of a bonfire). Those who have benefit of the ‘Executive Version of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ are also treated to an exposition of the logical problems which itself concludes that ‘sex is better than logic’. And who could argue with that reasoning?

However, my favourite scene would have to be the liturgical procession and reading of instructions for the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, with the leader’s instruction ‘skip a bit, brother’ — an instruction which I’ve searched in vain in the liturgical handbooks, but would vastly improve many readings on some mornings in church. This is a perfect parody of the sonorous but deadening readings that seem to drag on interminably.

A close second would be the scene in which Arthur tries to explain his kingship to members of an autonomous collective (read, peasants without a lord) who view him as just another oppressor, and inform him that watery tarts throwing swords at you is not an adequate basis for the exercise of supreme executive power.

Those who have visions of Great Britain as royal and cultural icons are often amazed-the likes of Monty Python and Benny Hill (among others) show the inhabitants of the UK as just as human (if not moreso) than the rest of the world. And we are all the richer for it. Alas, the Holy Grail is never actually attained by the seekers, who run into trouble with more French k-nigits and the local constabulary. But, the journey’s the thing, so they teach me in seminary, and thus, this journey is well worth following to the end.

The DVD comes with many extras, including the Camelot song being sung by Lego-land figures, and extensive commentary by actors and others involved in the production.

Prepare to be amazed! Prepare to be offended! Prepare the popcorn in advance.
Rating: 4 / 5


 
Anonymous
at 6:58 pm

I was a little doubtful about this film when I purchased it. The film is excellent but the last Monty Python film to be transferred to DVD(The equally good Life of Brian) was done so poorly, with few extras. However this DVD blew me away. The extras are hilarious and numerous, probably the best extras i’ve ever seen. The picture and sound quality is astounding, especially considering how old the film is(Nearly 30 years). All in all, it is the best DVD purchase i’ve ever made. BUY IT!
Rating: 5 / 5


 

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