"What is myrrh' It sounds like some kind of animal to me. Something with horns..."
- Mandy (Terry Jones), Brian's mum
"What was that'--Gregory (Terence Bayler) "I don't know. I was too busy talking to Bignose."--Cheeky (Eric Idle) "I think it was 'Blessed are the cheesemakers.'"--crowd member "Ah, what's so special about the cheesemakers'"--Mrs. Gregory (Carol Cleveland) "Well, obviously, it's not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products."
"Hear that' 'Blessed are the Greek.'"--Spork "The Greek'"
"If you want to join the People's Front of Judea, you have to really hate the Romans."--Reg (John Cleese) to Brian (Graham Chapman) "I do!"--Brian "Oh yeah, how much'"--Reg "A lot!"--Brian "Right...you're in."
- Brian (of course, you silly person)
"He's not the Messiah! He's a very naughty boy!"
- Mandy speaking to a crowd about Brian
"You are all individuals!"--Brian to a huge crowd of his followers "We are all individuals!"
- the crowd
"Apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system, and public health...what have the Romans ever done for us'"
- Reg (John Cleese) to others in the People's Front of Judea (not to be confused with the Judean People's Front)
New York Times - 08/17/1979
"...Just when you thought that the uproarious English comedy troupe had taken bad taste as far as it could go....Bad taste of this order is rare but not yet dead..."
Total Film - 07/01/2003
Los Angeles Times - 04/30/2004
"[I]ts free-form humor and fearless blasphemy still intact and as potent as ever."
Empire - 12/01/2007 5 stars out of 5 -- "[It] might bear similarities to the greatest story ever told, but you'll be laughing too hard to take offense."
Total Film - 01/01/2008 5 stars out of 5 -- "[With] a consistently high strike rate that puts this on a par with HOLY GRAIL as the team's best big-screen foray."
Ultimate DVD - 04/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his saucy, provocative satire on the sometimes ridiculous nature of religion is absolutely brilliant...the effervescent gags never grow tired."
Description by OLDIES.com:
After slaying the Arthurian legend in their now classic Holy Grail, the Pythons set their sights on the Greatest Story Ever Told. Blind faith, virgin birth, crucifixion - nothing is sacred in this epic send-up of ancient times, which draws on the cornball biblical blockbusters of the 1950s to lampoon celebrity culture in any era. Criterion has gathered the guilty parties - including John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin - for two commentary tracks as provocative and hilarious as the film itself. Available for the first time in a 16:9 enhanced transfer, Monty Python's Life of Brian can finally be viewed in all its - ahem - glory.
Monty Python delivers a scathing, anarchic satire of both religion and Hollywood's depiction of all things biblical with their second--and tightest--full-length film. The setting is the Holy Land in 33 A.D., a time of poverty and chaos, with no shortage of messiahs, followers willing to believe in them, and exasperated Romans trying to impose some order. At the center of it all is Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman), a reluctant would-be messiah who rises to prominence as a result of a series of absurd and truly hilarious circumstances that parallel the life of Christ--providing ample opportunity for the entire ensemble (John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Chapman) to shine in multiple roles as they blaspheme and mock everyone and everything from ex-lepers, Pontius Pilate, and the art of haggling to crazy prophets, Roman centurions, and crucifixion.
Directed by Python Terry Jones, MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN is an uproarious biblical parody that does to ancient Rome what THE HOLY GRAIL did to the Middle Ages. Rome is run by pathetic wimps, liberation fronts fight with each other over acronyms, and gladiators put on bloody children's matinees as the people search desperately for someone to lead them out of their life of misery and poverty. And Brian is that man. Sort of. Well, not really. Chapman excels as Brian, a simple, quiet man suddenly thrust in the role of leading the revolution--while constantly being yelled at by his shrew of a mother.
Monty Python's comic take on the New Testament tells the tale of Brian Cohen, a highly unlikely candidate for messiah-hood who has the miserable luck of always being in the wrong place at the right time. Born in Nazareth, baby Brian is mistakenly visited by the Three Wise Men, who were actually looking for a different infant--the one born down the street in the glowing manger. Brian leads a fairly normal life while growing up: He works as a vendor at the local coliseum, gets involved in terrorist activities, and paints anti-Roman slogans around town, but he soon finds his life changed forever when he is abducted by aliens and taken on an excursion through the cosmos. Upon his return, a group of locals decide that he's the messiah and begin worshiping him--but he wants them to start the revolution without him.
Ancient World |
Black Comedy |
Theatrical Release: August 17, 1979.
Filmed on location in Tunisia, Africa.
The film includes the opening-credits song "Brian" (sung by Sonia Jones) and the grand finale "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" (written and sung by Eric Idle).
Executive producer George Harrison makes a cameo as Mr. Papadopolous.
Costume designer Charles Knode makes a cameo as a passerby.
Maggie Weston, who did the hair and makeup, and Terry Gilliam were married in 1973.
On the video box cover, some people in the crowd are holding up signs; one of the signs calls out for the Rutles, referring to the legendary group that appeared in the 1978 mockumentary ALL YOU NEED IS CASH.
The closing credits end with the following line: "If you have enjoyed this film, why not go and see 'La Notte''"--referring to Michelangelo Antonioni's Italian classic.
Total Film called THE LIFE OF BRIAN the funniest film ever made.
The film includes only one animated sequence; instead, animator Terry Gilliam spends more time than ever actually onscreen, playing various crazy roles.