Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
September 28, 2022 11:21 AM - Subscribe

Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman) is an average young Jewish man, but through a series of ridiculous events, he gains a reputation as the Messiah. When he's not dodging his followers or being scolded by his shrill mother (Terry Jones), the hapless Brian has to contend with the pompous Pontius Pilate (Michael Palin) and acronym-obsessed members of a separatist movement. Rife with Monty Python's signature absurdity, the tale finds Brian's life paralleling Biblical lore, albeit with many more laughs.

Also starring: John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terence Bayler, Carol Cleveland, Kenneth Colley, Neil Innes, Charles McKeown, John Young, Gwen Taylor, Sue Jones-Davies, Peter Brett, John Case, Chris Langham, Andrew MacLachlan, Bernard McKenna, Spike Milligan, Charles Knode and George Harrison.

Directed by Terry Jones. Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.

96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Netflix. Also available for digital rental on multiple outlets. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (8 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I heard a story that in the scene in which Michael Palin's Pontius Pilate is outraged over his guards' amusement at his friend Biggus Dickus' name, the actors playing the guards were told they must not laugh and wouldn't be paid if they did, so their desperation to avoid corpsing* is real -- and exactly what troupe wanted.

*Obligatory productivity warning: TVTropes link
posted by Gelatin at 11:34 AM on September 28, 2022 [4 favorites]

I laughed so hard at the spaceship scene that the people around me in the theater were worried.
posted by whuppy at 12:01 PM on September 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

"Fuck off! 'Judean People's Front?' We're the People's Front of Judea!"

Incredible film, infinitely quotable and not nearly as blasphemous as one might think. Always Look in the Bright Side of Life continues to be the most popular funeral song in the UK for a reason.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:04 PM on September 28, 2022 [5 favorites]

My favorite behind-the-scenes story about this film is that when they were filming the prophets scene, Michael Palin would endlessly improv his Boring Prophet in between takes and the crew were just dying.

They didn't film it, of course, but I would pay serious cash money for it if they had.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 2:18 PM on September 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

Absolutely brilliant satire (of people and human nature, not the bible, which is why it's not blasphemous), with maybe my all-time favorite joke in any movie: I'm not.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:47 PM on September 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

The Latin Graffiti scene was infinitely funnier to me after I'd studied Latin. Classic stuff.

While Holy Grail was my first Monty Python film and so has a special, un-usurpable place in my heart, I think Life of Brian is maybe the better film.

Maybe. Maybe not. It's close.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:30 PM on September 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

I've mentioned it in passing before, but this movie is formative for my girl friends and I, being born in the 80s, who's watched Fish Called Wanda (well I didn't, not really, but one of us definitely did) and because we were in London and Virgin has those 3 for £10 deals etc and when we got to the leper scene, we turned to each other and was like, MICHAEL PALIN IS HOT?????

1. Ah weren't we all young once and shocked to discover Famous Old Person was attractive
2. Definitely their strongest movie-as-movie even if i think The Meaning Of Life had stronger sketches just on the weird scale.

Makes me think how modern comedies kinda lost the touch in balancing improv and scripted beats - right now the best comedy are in other genres imo, and the shaggiest non-comedy stuff (eg action movies/MCU) comes from 'comedic' talents. Maybe we need an editorial renaissance.
posted by cendawanita at 8:47 PM on September 28, 2022

And one, two posts from the blue about Life of Brian.
posted by ShooBoo at 10:01 PM on September 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

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