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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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Wise Man #2 / Brian Cohen / Biggus Dickus
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Mr. Cheeky / Stan aka Loretta / Harry the Haggler / Culprit Woman / Warris / Intensely Dull Youth / Jailer's Assistant / Otto / Lead Singer Crucifee
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Neil Innes ...
Charles McKeown ...
John Young ...
Matthias, Son of Deuteronomy of Gath
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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:

See the movie that's controversial, sacrilegious, and blasphemous. But if that's not playing, see The Life of Brian. 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  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$26,376 (USA) (30 April 2004)

Gross:

$646,124 (USA) (22 October 2004)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One original concept for the film was having Brian be the 13th Apostle, and miss all the critical moments of Jesus' life, like the Last Supper. See more »

Goofs

When the crowd of people following Brian claim he is performing miracles, a blind man says he is healed. A stunt mat is visible when he falls into the hole. 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

The opening credits are presented as an elaborate Terry Gilliam animated sequence of Roman temples being destroyed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Monty Python's Flying Circus: Live at Aspen (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Masterwork of British Comedy
20 December 2004 | by (London, England) – 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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