WAYS TO
WATCH:

See all
The comedy team takes a look at life in all its stages in their own uniquely silly way.
Reviews
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 8.1/10 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 8.3/10 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 7.7/10 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 8.9/10 X  

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

Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
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
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
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
Airplane! (1980)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A man afraid to fly must ensure that a plane lands safely after the pilots become sick.

Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen
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 | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Incompetent cop Frank Drebin has to foil an attempt to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II.

Director: David Zucker
Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, O.J. Simpson
Comedy | Sci-Fi | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Enjoying a peaceable existence in 1885, Doctor Emmet Brown is about to be killed by Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen. Marty McFly travels back in time to save his friend.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen
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:

It took God six days to create the earth, and Monty Python just 90 minutes to screw it up. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 April 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

The names of companies owned by the Very Big Corporation of America (listed on the wall in the board room and being added to by the sign painter) are a repeating list, some of which are puns or in-jokes having to do with events in the rest of the movie. They are:
  • Acme Construction Company


  • Payne, Bickers and Dogood Ltd.


  • Stn. Pendons Ltd.


  • V. Rich and Son


  • Doneys (Florence)


  • Mirage Land Co.


  • Arctic Geo. Lab. Co.


  • Liver Donors Inc.


  • World Wide Wine Corp.


  • Universal Amalgamations Ltd.


  • Consolidated Steel Co.


  • Micro Computer Inc.


  • Moonscape Products Ltd.


  • Rubber Goods Incorporated


  • D.Odgey Enterprises Ltd.


  • Money Factor Printers Ltd.


  • Better Plastics Corps.


  • D. Crepid Holdings


  • Super Big Ltd.


  • Space Propulsion Lab


  • Interstellar Travel Corp.


  • Dawking's Mining Co.


  • Lange and Sons (International)


  • Cooper's (Purveyors)


  • Dickinson Kincain Association


  • The All Enveloping Co. Ltd.


  • O. Verpaid Associates Ltd.


  • E. Normons and Sons


  • A. Maze and Lee


  • Huge Horace Mann and Yure Ltd.


  • R. Devious Inc.


  • Wakefeld and Daughter


  • Vast Holdings (Europe) Ltd.


  • Phil Thevich Consortium


  • Fastness and Vast Co. Ltd


  • Star Bright Merchandise Org.


  • X. Tortion World Wide Ltd.


  • Cartwright Tutorials


  • Black and White Picture Co. Ltd.


  • R. J. McArthur Parks Ltd.


  • Walker, Walker and Jones Bros.


  • Data Travel and Experiments


(list repeats) See more »

Goofs

When The Grim Reaper talks to the couple and their dinner guests, the boom mic moves along the fabric ceiling. See more »

Quotes

Maria the cleaning woman: I used to work in the Académie Française / but it didn't do me any good at all. / And I once worked in the library in the Prado in Madrid / But it didn't teach me nothing I recall. / And the Library of Congress you would have thought would hold some key / but it didn't and neither did the Bodlean Library. / In The British Museum I hoped to find some clue / I worked there from nine till six / Read every volume through / But it didn't teach me nothing about life's mystery. / I just kept getting ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Not the Production Accountant....................Steve Abbott See more »

Connections

Edited into John Cleese's the Meaning of Life (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Toccata und Fuge in d-Moll, BWV 565
by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Monty Python's final film adventure

The famous British comedy troupe, Monthy Python, crafted this bizarre collections of their special brand of humor as their last film together; loosely tied by the common theme of the everlasting search for the Meaning of Life, this series of sketches make a very good closure for their film adventures, as it seems as a return to their roots in the TV show "Flying Circus" and dedicated to long time fans. Nevertheless, this may also be a turn off for fans expecting something akin to "Holy Grial" or "Life of Brian".

Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones direct the segments that form "The Meaning of Life", divided in the diverse stages of human development (from birth to death), the action flows with ease; although due to the nature of the film, some sketches are definitely better than other. It's safe to say that this movie contains some of the best and the worst the troupe has done; however, their most mediocre work is still better than most modern comedy out there.

The movie also foresees the future careers of both Gilliam and Jones as directors; their film style (particularly Gilliam's) is now mature and almost fully developed. Gilliam's short "The Crimson Permanent Assurance" is an outstanding segment that could even stand alone on its own, and that presents Gilliam fully in form as a wild fantasy director.

While this was their last film, the group seems to be at its peak when talking about acting; from John Cleese's Dr. Spenser to Graham Chapman's near perfect impersonation of Tony Bennet, the acting never lets down, and even when some scripts are dull even for their time, the Pythons as actors never disappoint.

Something worth to notice are the great quality of the songs performed in the film. they are not only written with their high quality witty humor, musically they work very well and rank among the best the group has written in their history together.

Still, the movie may be overlong and at times tedious to people not used to the team's brand of humor. Specially considering that "The Meaning of Life" has more in common with their early roots than with what made them famous. Also, probably some of the jokes are definitely outdated now; however, "The Meaning of Life" is a very good display of the gang's different sides.

While maybe not as ingenious as "Holy Grail" and definitely nowhere near the masterpiece "Life of Brian", the Pythons last movie is still a very good comedy to watch. However, this certain brand of humor may be appealing only to fans of the Python's TV work, as it has more of those early roots than of their past film adventures. 8/10. An acquired taste indeed.


42 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?