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Life of Brian (1979)

R | | Comedy | 17 August 1979 (USA)
Brian is born on the original Christmas, in the stable next door. He spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jesus
Neil Innes ...
A Weedy Samaritan
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John Young ...
...
Sue Jones-Davies ...
Peter Brett
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Storyline

The story of Brian of Nazareth, born on the same day as Jesus of Nazareth, who takes a different path in life that leads to the same conclusion. Brian joins a political resistance movement aiming to get the Romans out of Judea. Brian scores a victory of sorts when he manages to paint political slogans on an entire wall in the city of Jerusalem. The movement is not very effective but somehow Brian becomes a prophet and gathers his own following. His fate is sealed however and he lives a very short life. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He wasn't the messiah. He was a very naughty boy. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Monty Python's Life of Brian  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$140,034, 19 August 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$20,045,115

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$36,045,115
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of Trey Parker's favorite movies. See more »

Goofs

A Roman centurion in full dress would be recognizable by 3 things: greaves covering his shins and knees, a vine in his hand and especially a helmet with the crest positioned from left to right. Cleese's centurion is wearing none of these badges of rank. His helmet is in fact more like that of a Roman general. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Wise Man #1: Ahem!
Brian's mother: Oh!
[falls over in chair]
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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Shot on location In Tunisia. The Producers would like to thank the Tunisian authorities for facilitating the shooting of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in It's Like, You Know...: The Life of Brian (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Requiem in D minor, K.626 - 3. Sequentia: Dies irae
(uncredited)
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Unknown
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Masterwork of British Comedy
20 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

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.


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