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Holy Flying Circus (2011)

Tells the story of the outraged, and sometimes violent, response to 'The Life of Brian' the Monty Python movie that satirized the life of Jesus.




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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Crispin ...
Steve Punt ...
Eric Idle / Disciple / Rabbi / Singing Protester / Bishop
Michael Palin / Michael Palin's Mother / Devil
Terry Jones / Jones the Wife / Bishop
Graham Chapman / Tramp
John Cleese / Devil
Phil Nichol ...
Terry Gilliam
Simon Greenall ...
Barry Atkins / Pub Landlord
Robin Sebastian ...
US News Reporter / BBFC Representative / Montage Man
Nun / Montage Woman
Black Panther / Montage Man
Harry Balls / News Vendor
Ian Bonar ...
Production Person 1 / Sam Lowry
Selina Griffiths ...
Production Person 2 / Personal Assistant to BBC Head of Rude Words
Alan Dick / Desmond Lovely


In 1979 the Monty Python comedy team return from making their film 'Monty Python's Life of Brian' in Tunisia. Premiered in America the film is pilloried by ultra-right religious groups for its depiction of Christ. In England the Popular Peoples' Church of St Sophia (whose members include a Tourette's sufferer who shouts out swear words) find a copy of the script in a dustbin and lobby the British censor for its suppression, leading to many local councils banning its screening. Death threats follow and Michael Palin - "the nicest man in Britain" - has his effigy burned on his front lawn. Finally crazed TV programmer Alan Dick persuades Palin and co-star John Cleese to defend the picture on a late night chat show against the Bishop of Southwark and religious commentator Malcolm Muggeridge. Thanks to Cleese's reasoning the Pythons are seen to triumph, winning over the Popular Peoples' Church. A later encounter with God will show how the film's controversy paved the way for other artistic... Written by don @ minifie-1

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Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

19 October 2011 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Holy Flying Circus - Voll verscherzt  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


All the dialogue of the four debaters on the TV show (excluding the obvious dream sequences) is lifted verbatim from the actual show. See more »

Crazy Credits

Bishop Wrangler - Ricardo Svelte See more »


References Brazil (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

Simply brilliant
20 June 2014 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

What if you wanted to recreate a small slice of cinematic history by depicting the real-life members of a troupe of performers — for example, Monty Python's John Cleese — as the most famous of their fictional selves (in his case, Basil Fawlty)? Or wanted to depict another member of that same troupe — say, Michael Palin — as the all-round nice guy, decent chap and jolly good bloke that the public has in decades since gotten to know through his travel programmes and chat show appearances? Or wanted to depict secondary real-life characters — say Michael Palin's wife — who are largely unknown to the general public, as common comic characters from Monty Python's Flying Circus (in her case, as Terry Jones's working class housewife)? Or if you wanted to make commentary on modern-day Britain by getting the characters in 1979 to (funnily enough) spectacularly accurately speculate about what a modern-day Britain some 32 years hence might look like? And then throw in for good measure what God Himself might have to say about "Life of Brian"?

Well, what you'd get is the wonderfully funny and delightful "Holy Flying Circus" — a film in the style of a Monty Python film about a particular chapter in the history of the Monty Python comedy group. Most of the actors are immediately recognisable as their Monty Python member and Darren Boyd should have won something for his portrayal/impression of John Cleese as Basil Fawlty. It was quite a phenomenal performance.

After I watched it, the whole show made me wonder if in fact 1979 wasn't the very height of civilisation and that since then we've been drawn back into the mud of barbarism. I'm still thinking about that...

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