The Meaning of Life (1983) Poster


New Mother: Is it a boy or a girl?

Obstretrician: I think it's a bit early to start imposing roles on it, don't you?

Man in Pink: [singing] Whenever life gets you down Mrs. Brown / and things seem hard or tough / and people are stupid, obnoxious or daft / and you feel that you've had quite enough! / just remember that your standing on a planet thats evolving / revolving at nine-hundred miles an hour / its orbiting at ninety miles a second / so its reckoned / a sun that is the source of all our power / the sun and you and me / and all the stars that we can see / are moving at a million miles a day / in an outer spiral arm at forty-thousand miles an hour / of the galaxy we call the Milky Way / Our galaxy itself / contains a hundred billion stars / its a hundred thousand lightyears side to side / it bulges in the middle / sixteen-thousand lightyears thick / but out by us its just three-thousand lightyears wide / were thirty-thousand lightyears from galatic central point / we go round every two-hundred-million years / and our galaxy is only one of millions of billions in this amazing and expanding universe.

[musical interlude]

Man in Pink: The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding / in all of the directions it can whiz / as fast as it can go / the speed of light you know / twelve million miles a minute and thats the fastest speed there is / so remember when your feeling very small and insecure / how amazingly unlikely is your birth / and pray that there intelligent life somewhere up in space / cause theres bugger all down here on Earth.

Noel Coward: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Here's a little number I tossed off recently in the Caribbean.


Noel Coward: Isn't it awfully nice to have a penis? / Isn't it frightfully good to have a dong? / It's swell to have a stiffy. / It's divine to own a dick, / From the tiniest little tadger / To the world's biggest prick. / So, three cheers for your Willy or John Thomas. / Hooray for your one-eyed trouser snake, / Your piece of pork, your wife's best friend, / Your Percy, or your cock. / You can wrap it up in ribbons. / You can slip it in your sock, / But don't take it out in public, / Or they will stick you in the dock, / And you won't come back.

[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 hopefully spark some sort of controversy, which, it seems, is the only way, these days, to get the jaded, video-sated public off their fucking arses and back in the sodding cinema. Family entertainment? Bollocks. What they want is filth: people doing things to each other with chainsaws during tupperware parties, babysitters being stabbed with knitting needles by gay presidential candidates, vigilante groups strangling chickens, armed bands of theatre critics exterminating mutant goats. Where's the fun in pictures? Oh, well, there we are. Here's the theme music. Goodnight.

[Large corporate boardroom filled with suited executives]

Exec #1: Item six on the agenda: "The Meaning of Life" Now uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this.

Exec #2: Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: People aren't wearing enough hats. Two: Matter is energy. In the universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this "soul" does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.

Exec #3: What was that about hats again?

Exec #2: Oh, Uh... people aren't wearing enough.

Exec #1: Is this true?

Exec #4: Certainly. Hat sales have increased but not pari passu, as our research...

Exec #3: [Interrupting] "Not wearing enough"? enough for what purpose?

Exec #5: Can I just ask, with reference to your second point, when you say souls don't develop because people become distracted...

[looking out window]

Exec #5: Has anyone noticed that building there before?

Strange Man: I wonder where that fish has gone!

Transvestite: You did love it so! You looked after it like a son!

Strange Man: [Bends perplexingly long arms]

Strange Man: And it went... where-ever I... did go!

Transvestite: Is it in the cupboard?

Audience: Yes! Yes!

Transvestite: Wouldn't you like to know? It was a lovely little fish!

Strange Man: And it went... where-ever I... did go!

Audience: It's behind the sofa!

Transvestite: Where can that fish be?

Audience: Have you searched the drawers in the bureau?

Transvestite: [a strange, half-elephant/half-man creature wanders up out of nowhere holding a drinks tray]

Audience: It was a most elusive fish.

Strange Man: [twists the brass handles on the transvestite's corset]

Strange Man: And it went... where-ever I... did go!

Transvestite: Ohhh! Fishy, fishy, fishy, fish!

Strange Man: A fish, a fish, a fish, a fishy, ohhh!

Transvestite: Ohhh, fishy, fishy, fishy, fish!

Strange Man: [Pulls the plug attached on the transvestite's corset]

Strange Man: That went... where-ever I... did go!

Audience: Look up his trunks! Yes, in his trousers!

Humphrey: All right, settle down. Settle down... Now, before I begin the lesson, will those of you who are playing in the match this afternoon move your clothes down onto the lower peg immediately after lunch, before you write your letter home, if you're not getting your hair cut, unless you've got a younger brother who is going out this weekend as the guest of another boy, in which case, collect his note before lunch, put it in your letter after you've had your hair cut, and make sure he moves your clothes down onto the lower peg for you. Now...

Wymer: Sir?

Humphrey: Yes, Wymer?

Wymer: My younger brother's going out with Dibble this weekend, sir, but I'm not having my hair cut today, sir.

Pupils: [chuckling]

Wymer: So, do I move my clothes down, or...

Humphrey: I do wish you'd listen, Wymer. It's perfectly simple. If you're not getting your hair cut, you don't have to move your brother's clothes down to the lower peg. You simply collect his note before lunch, after you've done your scripture prep, when you've written your letter home, before rest, move your own clothes onto the lower peg, greet the visitors, and report to Mr. Viney that you've had your chit signed.

Harry Blackitt: Look at them, bloody Catholics, filling the bloody world up with bloody people they can't afford to bloody feed.

Mrs. Blackitt: What are we dear?

Harry Blackitt: Protestant, and fiercely proud of it.

Mrs. Blackitt: Hmm. Well, why do they have so many children?

Harry Blackitt: Because... every time they have sexual intercourse, they have to have a baby.

Mrs. Blackitt: But it's the same with us, Harry.

Harry Blackitt: What do you mean?

Mrs. Blackitt: Well, I mean, we've got two children, and we've had sexual intercourse twice.

Harry Blackitt: That's not the point. We could have it any time we wanted.

Mrs. Blackitt: Really?

Harry Blackitt: Oh, yes, and, what's more, because we don't believe in all that Papist claptrap, we can take precautions.

Mrs. Blackitt: What, you mean... lock the door?

Harry Blackitt: No, no. I mean, because we are members of the Protestant Reformed Church, which successfully challenged the autocratic power of the Papacy in the mid-sixteenth century, we can wear little rubber devices to prevent issue.

Mrs. Blackitt: What d'you mean?

Harry Blackitt: I could, if I wanted, have sexual intercourse with you...

Mrs. Blackitt: Oh, yes, Harry.

Harry Blackitt: ...and, by wearing a rubber sheath over my old feller, I could insure... that, when I came off, you would not be impregnated.

Mrs. Blackitt: Ooh.

Harry Blackitt: That's what being a Protestant's all about. That's why it's the church for me. That's why it's the church for anyone who respects the individual and the individual's right to decide for him or herself. When Martin Luther nailed his protest up to the church door in fifteen-seventeen, he may not have realised the full significance of what he was doing, but four hundred years later, thanks to him, my dear, I can wear whatever I want on my John Thomas...


Harry Blackitt: ... and, Protestantism doesn't stop at the simple condom. Oh, no. I can wear French Ticklers if I want.

Mrs. Blackitt: You what?

Harry Blackitt: French Ticklers. Black Mambos. Crocodile Ribs. Sheaths that are designed not only to protect, but also to enhance the stimulation of sexual congress.

Mrs. Blackitt: Have you got one?

Harry Blackitt: Have I got one? Uh, well, no, but I can go down the road any time I want and walk into Harry's and hold my head up high and say in a loud, steady voice, 'Harry, I want you to sell me a condom. In fact, today, I think I'll have a French Tickler, for I am a Protestant.'

Mrs. Blackitt: Well, why don't you?

Harry Blackitt: But they - Well, they cannot, 'cause their church never made the great leap out of the Middle Ages and the domination of alien Episcopal supremacy.

Ainsworth: During the night, old Perkins got his leg bitten sort of... off.

Dr. Livingstone: Ah, been in the wars, have we?

Perkins: Yes.

Dr. Livingstone: Ah, any headache? Bowels all right? Hm. Well, let's have a look at this "one leg" of yours, then, eh? Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes, yes...

[Pokes the stump with his pipe]

Dr. Livingstone: Yes yes. Yes, well, this is nothing to worry about.

Perkins: Oh, good.

Dr. Livingstone: Yes, there's a lot of it around, probably a virus. Keep warm, plenty of rest, and if you're playing football or anything, try and favor the other leg.

Host: It's a Mr. Death, dear. He's here about the reaping.

Zulu War Soldier: Here is better than home, eh, sir? I mean, at home if you kill someone they arrest you, here they'll give you a gun and show you what to do, sir. I mean, I killed fifteen of those buggers. Now, at home they'd hang me, here they'll give me a fucking medal, sir."

Hospital Administrator: And what are you doing this morning?

Obstetrician: It's a birth.

Hospital Administrator: Ah. And what sort of thing is that?

Dr. Spenser: Well, that's where we take a new baby out of a lady's tummy.

Hospital Administrator: Wonderful what we can do nowdays.

Father: The mill's closed. There's no more work. We're destitute.

Children: Ohhhhh.

Father: I'm afraid I have no choice but to sell you all for scientific experiments.

Gaston: You see that house? That is where I was born. My mother said to me, "Garcon. The world is a beautiful place, and you must spread joy and contentment everywhere you go". And so I became a waiter... Well, I know it is not a great philosophy but...

[pauses, looks offended]

Gaston: Well, fuck you. I can live my life in my own way if I want to.

[begins to walk away in disgust]

Gaston: Fuck off. Don't come following me.

Chaplain: Let us praise God. O Lord...

Congregation: O Lord...

Chaplain: ...Ooh, You are so big...

Congregation: ...ooh, You are so big...

Chaplain: ...So absolutely huge.

Congregation: ...So absolutely huge.

Chaplain: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.

Congregation: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.

Chaplain: Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and...

Congregation: And barefaced flattery.

Chaplain: But You are so strong and, well, just so super.

Congregation: Fantastic.

Humphrey: Amen.

Congregation: Amen.

Maitre d': Good evening sir and how are we today?

Mr. Creosote: Better.

Maitre d': Better?

Mr. Creosote: Better get a bucket. I'm gonna throw up.

Paitent: What do I do?

Dr. Spenser: Nothing, dear! You're not qualified!

Grim Reaper: I AM DEATH!

Guest #4: Well, that's cast a gloom over the evening...

Mrs. Hendy: Do all philosophers have an S in them?

Mr. Hendy: Yeah I think most of them do.

Mrs. Hendy: Oh... Does that mean Selina Jones is a philosopher?

Mr. Hendy: Yeah... Right, she could be... she sings about the Meaning of Life.

Mrs. Hendy: Yeah, that's right, but I don't think she writes her own material.

Mr. Hendy: No. Maybe Schopenhauer writes her material?

Mrs. Hendy: No... Burt Bacharach writes it.

Mr. Hendy: There's no 'S' in Burt Bacharach...

Mrs. Hendy: ...Or in Hal David...

Mr. Hendy: Who's Hal David?

Mrs. Hendy: He writes the lyrics, Burt just writes the tunes... only now he's married to Carole Bayer Sager...

Mr. Hendy: Oh... Waiter... this conversation isn't very good.

Waiter: Oh, I'm sorry, sir... We *do* have one today that's not on the menu. It's a sort of... er... speciality of the house: Live Organ Transplants.

Sergeant Major: Is there something YOU'D all rather be doing than marching about the square? You'd all rather be at the pictures, I suppose.

[Everyone agrees]

Sergeant Major: Well, off you go.

Father: [singing] Every sperm is sacred/Every sperm is great/If a sperm is wasted/God gets quite irate.

Distraught Male Voice: I just can't go on. I'm not good any more, goodbye... goodbye... aaaargh... Aaaargh.

[a leaf falls to the ground]

Distraught Female Voice: Oh my God. What'll I do? I can't live without him... I... aaaargh.

[Another leaf falls]

Distraught Children's Voices: Mummy... Mummy... Mummy... Daddy...

[Two more leaves fall]

More Distraught Voices: Oh no. Aaaargh.

[the rest of the leaves fall at once]

Grim Reaper: You are all dead. I am Death.

Host: Well, that's cast rather a gloom over the evening, hasn't it?

Lady Presenter: [after she and the other dinner guests have supposedly died after eating the salmon mousse] Hey, I didn't eat the mousse!

Grim Reaper: Shut up, you American. You Americans, all you do is talk, and talk, and say "let me tell you something" and "I just wanna say." Well, you're dead now, so shut up.

Humphrey: Now two boys have been found rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant. Now some of you may feel that the cormorant does not play an important part in the life of the school, but I would remind you that it was presented to us by the corporation of the Town of Sudbury to commemorate Empire Day, when we try to remember the names of all those from the Sudbury area who so gallantly gave their lives to keep China British. So from now on, the cormorant is strictly OUT OF BOUNDS. Oh and Jenkins? Apparently your mother died this morning. Chaplain?

Grim Reaper: Englishmen, you're all so fucking pompous. None of you have got any balls.

Humphrey: So, just listen. Now, did I or did I not... do... vaginal... juices?

Pupils: Mmm. Mmm. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

Humphrey: Name two ways of getting them flowing, Watson.

Watson: R - rubbing the clitoris, sir?

Humphrey: What's wrong with a kiss, boy? Hmm? Why not start her off with a nice kiss? You don't have to go leaping straight for the clitoris like a bull at a gate. Give her a kiss, boy.

Wymer: Suck the nipple, sir?

Humphrey: Good. Good. Well done, Wymer.

Pupil: Uh, stroking the thighs, sir.

Humphrey: Yes. Yes, I suppose so. Hmm?

Pupil: Oh, sir. Biting the neck.

Humphrey: Yes. Good. Nibbling the earlobe, uhh, kneading the buttocks, and so on and so forth. So, we have all these possibilities before we stampede towards the clitoris, Watson.

Watson: Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.

[the Middle Of The Film]

Lady Presenter: Hello, and welcome to 'The Middle of the Film', the moment where we take a break to invite you, the audience, to join us, the film-makers, in 'Find the Fish'. We're going to show you a scene from another film and ask you to guess where the fish is, but, if you think you know, don't keep it to yourselves. Yell out so that all the cinema can hear you. So, here we are with... 'Find the Fish'.

Hospital Administrator: Ah, I see you have the machine that goes ping. This is my favorite. You see we lease it back from the company we sold it to and that way it comes under the monthly current budget and not the capital account.

[Everyone in the room applauds]

Hospital Administrator: Thank you, thank you.

Strange Man: And it went... wherever I... did go.

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 older, it got more difficult to see. / Till eventually me eyes went and me arthritis got bad. / So now I'm cleaning up in here but I can't be really sad. / Cause you see I feel that life's a game. / You sometimes win or lose. / And though I may be down right now at least I don't work for Jews.

General: But of course warfare isn't all fun. Right, stop that! It's all very well to laugh at the military, but when one considers the meaning of life, it is a struggle between alternative viewpoints of life itself. And without the ability to defend one's own viewpoint against other, perhaps more aggresive ideologies, then reasonableness and moderation could quite simply disappear. That is why we'll always need an Army, and may God strike me down were it to be otherwise.

Sergeant-Major: Don't stand there gawping! Like you've never seen the hand o' God before!

Chaplain: [singing] Oh Lord, please don't burn us/Don't grill or toast your flock/Don't put us on the barbecue/Or simmer us in stock/Don't braise or bake or boil us/Or stir-fry us in a wok/Oh please don't lightly poach us/Or baste us with hot fat/Don't fricassee or roast us/Or boil us in a vat/And please don't stick thy servants Lord/In a Rotiss-o-mat.

Humphrey: And spotteth twice they the camels before the third hour. And so the Midianites went forth to Ram Gilead in Kadesh Bilgemath by Shor Ethra Regalion, to the house of Gash-Bil-Betheul-Bazda, he who brought the butter dish to Balshazar and the tent peg to the house of Rashomon, and there slew they the goats, yea, and placed they the bits in little pots. Here endeth the lesson.

Maitre d': Et maintenant, would monsieur care for an aperitif, or would he prefer to order straightaway? Today, we have for appetizers - excuse me - uh, moules marinières, pâte de foie gras, beluga caviar, eggs Benedictine, tarte de poireaux - that's leek tart - frogs legs amandine or oeufs de caille Richard Shepherd - C'est à dire, little quails' eggs on a bed of pureed mushrooms. It's very delicate, very succulent.

Mr. Creosote: I'll have the lot.

Gaston: My mother told me, "Gaston, there are many people in the world, and in order to get along, you have to try and make everyone happy." That is why I became a waiter, so I can make people happy.

Gaston: [pause] Well, fuck you! I can live my life in my own way if I want to! Fuck off! Don't come a following me!

Ainsworth: I'm afraid we've got a bit of a problem... you see one of our officers has

[sotto voice]

Ainsworth: Lost a leg. We think it's a tiger...

Soldier: In Africa?

Pakenham: Sh, sh sh...

Headmaster: [Bible reading] Yay, and placed they the bits in little pots. Now two boys have been found rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant. Now some of you may feel that the cormorant does not play an important part in the life of the school, but I would remind you that it was presented to us by the corporation of the Town of Sudbury to commemorate Empire Day, when we try to remember the names of all those from the Sudbury area who so gallantly gave their lives to keep China British. So from now on, the cormorant is strictly OUT OF BOUNDS. Oh, and Jenkins? Apparently your mother died this morning. Chaplain.

Wife of Guest #4: We have to go - um - I'm having rather heavy period.

[awkward pause]

Guest #4: And... we... have a train to catch.

Wife: Yes... of course. We have a train to catch. And I don't want to start bleeding over the seats.

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Humphrey: Oh, no, do share your little joke with the rest of the class.

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Humphrey: Now, sex. Sex, sex, sex. Where were we?

[pupils can't remember]

Humphrey: Well, had I got as far as the penis entering the vagina?

Pupils: Uh, no, sir. No, sir.

Humphrey: Well, had I done foreplay?

Pupils: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

Humphrey: Ah. Well, as we all know all about foreplay, no doubt you can tell me what the purpose of foreplay is. Biggs.

Biggs: Um, don't know. Sorry, sir.

Humphrey: Carter?

Carter: Oh. Uh, was it taking your clothes off, sir?

Humphrey: Well, a-and after that?

Wymer: [Misunderstanding] Oh! Putting them on a lower peg, sir.

[Humphrey chucks an object at Wymer for his stupidity]

Humphrey: The purpose of foreplay is to cause the vagina to lubricate so that the penis can penetrate more easily.

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Headmaster: [while having sex with his wife, notices Carter is playing with something] Carter?

Carter: Yes sir?

Headmaster: What is it Carter?

Carter: An ocarina, sir...

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Maitre d': And finally, a wafer thin mint.

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