Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

R   |    |  Comedy


Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) Poster

Born on the original Christmas in the stable next door to Jesus, Brian of Nazareth spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.


8.1/10
343,762

Videos


Photos

  • John Cleese and Michael Palin in Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
  • Graham Chapman and Terence Bayler in Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
  • Graham Chapman and Michael Palin in Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
  • Graham Chapman in Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
  • Terry Jones in Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
  • Graham Chapman and Terry Jones in Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


20 December 2004 | j30bell
9
| A Masterwork of British Comedy
In Life of Brian, Python created what John Cleese called simply "our masterpiece". As a piece of writing, it is the most impressive of the three feature length Python movies. The scenes remain episodic, but there is a much more coherent narrative than in the earlier Holy Grail – I loved HG too, but for different reasons. The characters (well about one or two of the characters) have acquired some subtle shading, which is rare in comedy and, alas, rare in British comedy in particular. The plight of Chapman's Brian is one that I really cared about (although his death is also extremely funny, upbeat and one of the truly iconic moments in British cinema).

The story must be fairly well known. Brian is born at the same time as Jesus with whom he leads a kind of parallel life, thus allowing the team to lampoon and satirise everything from religious zealotry and mob hysteria to 1950s biblical/sword & sandals epic cinema. It does this by marrying historic situations with more modern attitudes; thus we have revolutionary Stan who wants to be Loretta and have the right to have babies, the old man who can't understand why he's being stoned for saying simply "that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!" the gruff centurion correcting Brian's Latin grammar while he's trying to daub anti-Roman slogans on a wall and the gentle centurion asking each of a line of the condemned "crucifixion? Good" while ticking them off on his clipboard. Interspersed with this is slapstick, pantomime women (I'm not sure there are any real women in Python, which is probably its greatest failing) and a small amount of the trademark Python surrealism (the spaceship, the "prophet" talking about the sons misplacing the things owned by their fathers who had placed them down only just a moment ago… etc). In short, something for everyone – except, perhaps, committed Christians.

A lot of attention has been paid to whether LoB is blasphemous. The Pythons claim not and I'm not sufficiently religious to care very much. On the surface, I disagree. There are also occasional sideswipes at ancient Jewish custom – although, to be fair, only stoning which, if you'll pardon the pun, might be considered a fair target. Jesus is not criticised, but the film's central message seems to be; be in the right place at the right time and even a man called Brian can become God. Almost the last line is from Eric Idle saying; "you come from nothing and go back to nothing" which doesn't suggest that the man on the mount at the beginning is a divinity, no matter whether he's talking sense or not.

Most importantly though, LoB is refreshingly satirical. There always was an element of this in Python (mediaeval Christian philosophy lampooned in the Holy Grail for example "this new learning amazes me Sir Bedevere, explain again how sheeps' bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes… so, if she weighs the same as a duck, she must be made of wood, and therefore - a witch". I guess LoB attracted attention because the satire had never been so bold or obvious before. This is also what makes LoB such an incredibly funny film to watch; but put it this way – despite what Rowan Atkinson may have once said – I'd be very surprised if the Python's weren't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

That shouldn't put you off, though. Unless your faith is too weak to survive Python's gentle humanism, watch this movie – you'll probably love it.

Metacritic Reviews


Critic Reviews



More Like This

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

Monty Python's Flying Circus

Monty Python's Flying Circus

The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Rocky

Rocky

Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society

Platoon

Platoon

Die Hard

Die Hard

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

Stand by Me

Stand by Me

Did You Know?

Trivia

The script was written in the Caribbean, where the Pythons hobnobbed with, among others, Keith Moon, drummer from The Who. Moon was slated to play a street prophet in the scene where Brian hides among them. Eric Idle saw Moon the night of his death, and remembers him expressing excitement about the role, which eventually went to Terry Gilliam. The published version of the script is dedicated to Keith Moon.


Quotes

Wise Man #1: Ahem!
Brian's mother: Oh!
Brian's mother: Who are you?
Wise Man #2: We are three wise men.
Brian's mother: What?
Wise Man #1: We are three wise men.
Brian's mother: Well, what are you doing creeping around a cow shed at two o'clock in the morning? That doesn't sound very wise to me.


Goofs

When Brian falls off the balcony and knocks the prophet into a large jar, he is clearly hanging on a bar with his hands.


Crazy Credits

Moose Choreography


Alternate Versions

The Criterion LD/DVD features the following deleted scenes:

  • A scene with three shepherds in the beginning of the film.
  • A scene featuring the Peoples Front of Judea breaking into Pilate's wife's bedroom, only to be defeated by her strength.
  • A scene introducing us and Brian to the suicide squad, led by King Otto (Idle).
  • A scene showing Judith releasing doves that fly out over Nazareth, and that are spotted by Otto and interpreted as "the sign that is the sign". He sends his troops into town.
  • A very brief scene showing Judith watching Brian carrying his cross through the streets; she is attacked by a salesman who wants her to haggle, resulting in her leaving.


Soundtracks

Bright Side Of Life
Music by
Eric Idle
Arranged by John Altman
Sung by Eric Idle and chorus (uncredited)

The Worst Gifts in Our Favorite Holiday Films

On this IMDbrief, we break down the worst gifts ever given in our favorite holiday movies. For some great gift ideas, check out IMDb's Holiday Gift Guide, curated with the entertainment lover in mind!

Watch now

Featured on IMDb

Check out what IMDb editors are excited to watch this month and get gifting with IMDb's Holiday Gift Guide, curated with the entertainment lover in mind!

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com