MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,324 this week

The Meaning of Life (1983)

 -  Comedy | Musical  -  31 March 1983 (USA)
7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 65,665 users  
Reviews: 191 user | 55 critic

The comedy team takes a look at life in all its stages in their own uniquely silly way.

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available starting today. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 29 titles
created 13 Dec 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 05 Jun 2012
 
a list of 34 titles
created 01 Aug 2012
 
a list of 45 titles
created 31 Aug 2012
 
a list of 44 titles
created 21 Dec 2012
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Meaning of Life (1983)

The Meaning of Life (1983) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Meaning of Life.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Life of Brian (1979)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Brian is born on the original Christmas, in the stable next door. He spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.

Director: Terry Jones
Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin
Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

King Arthur and his knights embark on a low-budget search for the Grail, encountering many very silly obstacles.

Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An anthology of Monty Python's best sketches from their 1st & 2nd seasons of their original TV show.

Director: Ian MacNaughton
Stars: John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  

The original surreal sketch comedy showcase for the Monty Python troupe.

Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The Monty Python troupe perform a combination of classic sketches and new material at the Hollywood Bowl.

Directors: Terry Hughes, Ian MacNaughton
Stars: John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle
Jabberwocky (1977)
Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young peasant, with no interest in adventure or fortune, is mistaken as the kingdom's only hope when a horrible monster threatens the countryside.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Michael Palin, Harry H. Corbett, John Le Mesurier
Time Bandits (1981)
Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young boy accidentally joins a band of dwarves as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, John Cleese
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Director: Ian MacNaughton
Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to doublecross each other for the loot.

Directors: Charles Crichton, John Cleese
Stars: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline
Brazil (1985)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro
Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An account of Baron Munchausen's supposed travels and fantastical experiences with his band of misfits.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: John Neville, Eric Idle, Sarah Polley
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Chairman / Fish #1 / Doctor / Harry Blackitt / Wymer / Hordern / General / Coles / Narrator #2 / Dr. Livingstone / Transvestite / Eric / Guest #1 / Arthur Jarrett / Geoffrey / Tony Bennett
...
Fish #2 / Dr. Spencer / Humphrey Williams / Sturridge / Ainsworth / Waiter / Eric's Assistant / Maître D' / Grim Reaper
...
Window Washer / Fish #4 / Walters / Middle of the Film Announcer / M'Lady Joeline / Mr. Brown / Howard Katzenberg
...
Gunther / Fish #3 / 'Meaning of Life' Singer / Mr. Moore / Mrs. Blackitt / Watson / Blackitt / Atkinson / Perkins / Victim #3 / Front End / Mrs. Hendy / Man in Pink / Noël Coward / Gaston / Angela
...
Bert / Fish #6 / Mum / Priest / Biggs / Sergeant / Man with Bendy Arms / Mrs. Brown / Mr. Creosote / Maria / Leaf Father / Fiona Portland-Smythe
...
Window Washer / Harry / Fish #5 / Mr. Pycroft / Dad / Narrator #1 / Chaplain / Carter / Spadger / Regimental Sergeant Major / Pakenham-Walsh / Rear End / Female TV Presenter / Mr. Marvin Hendy / Governor / Leaf Son / Debbie Katzenberg
...
Beefeater Waitress / Wife of Guest #1 / Leaf Mother / Leaf Daughter / Heaven Receptionist
...
...
Mrs. Williams
...
Nurse #1
Andrew MacLachlan ...
Groom / Wycliff / Victim #1 / Guest #3
Mark Holmes ...
Victim #2 / Troll Waiter / Guest #2
Valerie Whittington ...
Jennifer Franks ...
Bride
Imogen Bickford-Smith ...
Nurse #2 (as Imogen Bickford Smith)
Edit

Storyline

Why are we here, what's it all about? The Monty Python-team is trying to sort out the most important question on Earth: what is the meaning of life? They do so by exploring the various stages of life, starting with birth. A doctor seems more interested in his equipment than in delivering the baby or caring for the mother, a Roman Catholic couple have quite a lot of children because 'every sperm is sacred'. In the growing and learning part of life, catholic schoolboys attend a rather strange church service and ditto sex education lesson. Onto war, where an officer's plan to attack is thwarted by his underlings wanting to celebrate his birthday and an officer's leg is bitten off by presumably an African tiger. At middle age a couple orders 'philosophy' at a restaurant, after which the film continues with live organ transplants. The autumn years are played in a restaurant, which, after being treated to the song 'Isn't It Awfully Nice to Have a Penis?' by an entertainer, sees the arrival ... Written by Arnoud Tiele (imdb@tiele.nl)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What it is, Where it is, and how to avoid treading in it [Video Australia] See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 March 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2003 restored director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Caine has a cameo as one of the British soldiers injured in the Zulu War scene. Michael Caine also starred in the 1963 production of Zulu. See more »

Goofs

In the "Live Liver Donation" scene, John Cleese is clearly chuckling at the performance of his two fellow Pythons. See more »

Quotes

[the End Of The Film]
Lady Presenter: Well, that's the end of the film. Now, here's the meaning of life.
[Receives an envelope]
Lady Presenter: Thank you, Brigitte.
[Opens envelope, reads what's inside]
Lady Presenter: M-hmm. Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. And, finally, here are some completely gratuitous pictures of penises to annoy the censors and to ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, the title is initially written as "MEANING OF LIFF", then a lightning strike corrects that to "LIFE". A book, "The Meaning of Liff", written by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd was published in 1983. See more »

Connections

Edited into The Meaning of Making 'The Meaning of Life' (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Accountancy Shanty
Music and Lyrics by Eric Idle & John Du Prez
Performed by Russell Kilmister and chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Pythons' Last Stand
27 July 2001 | by (Plymouth, England) – See all my reviews

"The Meaning of Life" as a whole is clearly not Monty Python's best work, yet some of the individual sketches - the film is really just a big-budget sketch show - provide some of their most inspired moments. But overall, this is not the sort of swansong that befits the Monty Python legend.

Part of the problem is that, when the film was made (1983), British comedy was in the grip of the "alternative" revolution, as a new generation of comic writer/performers (Ben Elton, Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson, etc) were beginning their rise to stardom and making the Python brand of humour look hopelessly out-of-date - alternative comedy was essentially comedy's "punk" to the "prog-rock" of Python.

The film opens with a beautifully-shot, but utterly pointless Terry Gilliam creation, "The Crimson Permanent Assurance", which serves little purpose other than to provide a set-up for a gag later in the film. When the film proper begins, though, the familiar Pythonesque humour kicks in, and normal business is resumed, albeit patchily.

The highlights for me are the "Live Organ Transplants" sketch, in which a man has his liver forcibly removed on his own kitchen table, and "Mr Creosote", the grossly fat diner who gorges and vomits his way to an explosive demise, both of which are the type of gross-out gags which have always found a place in British humour - even today, the "League of Gentlemen" team are proudly carrying on this tradition.

Also, some of the songs in the film are among Python's best, particularly "Every Sperm Is Sacred", a wonderfully over-the-top song-and-dance number, and the cheesey "Christmas In Heaven", in which Graham Chapman gives the greatest Tony Bennett impersonation ever committed to celluloid. Unfortunately, much of the remaining material is meandering and tedious, and just serves to pad the thing out to its already over-long 107 minutes.

Python fans will find a lot to amuse them in "The Meaning of Life", but don't expect it to be another "Holy Grail" or "Life of Brian" - it isn't.


46 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Monty Python vs. Americans ahw0510
Favorite bit? grantcatton
Meaning of the Fish wantapieceapizza
someone illuminate me (creepy side to this movie) Teven
Did anyone else think of Marilyn Manson........... djevolution-1
Not their best effort gavbrown01
Discuss The Meaning of Life (1983) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?