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The Meaning of Life (1983)

Trailer
1:04 | Trailer
The comedy team takes a look at life in all of its stages in their own uniquely silly way.
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Graham Chapman ... Chairman / Fish #1 / Doctor / Harry Blackitt / Wymer / Hordern / General / Coles / Narrator #2 / Dr. Livingstone / Transvestite / Eric / Guest #1 / Arthur Jarrett / Geoffrey / Tony Bennett
John Cleese ... Fish #2 / Dr. Spencer / Humphrey Williams / Sturridge / Ainsworth / Waiter / Eric's Assistant / Maître D' / Grim Reaper
Terry Gilliam ... Window Washer / Fish #4 / Walters / Middle of the Film Announcer / M'Lady Joeline / Mr. Brown / Howard Katzenberg
Eric Idle ... 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
Terry Jones ... Bert / Fish #6 / Mum / Priest / Biggs / Sergeant / Man with Bendy Arms / Mrs. Brown / Mr. Creosote / Maria / Leaf Father / Fiona Portland-Smythe
Michael Palin ... 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
Carol Cleveland ... Beefeater Waitress / Wife of Guest #1 / Leaf Mother / Leaf Daughter / Heaven Receptionist
Simon Jones ... Chadwick / Jeremy Portland-Smythe
Patricia Quinn ... Mrs. Williams
Judy Loe ... Nurse #1
Andrew MacLachlan Andrew MacLachlan ... Groom / Wycliff / Victim #1 / Guest #3
Mark Holmes Mark Holmes ... Victim #2 (Cheerful Severed Head) / Troll Waiter / Guest #2
Valerie Whittington Valerie Whittington ... Mrs. Moore
Jennie Franks Jennie Franks ... Bride (as Jennifer Franks)
Imogen Bickford-Smith Imogen Bickford-Smith ... Nurse #2 (as Imogen Bickford Smith)
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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 movie 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 ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Monty Python refused to show Universal Studios a movie script, figuring, as Eric Idle said, "If we couldn't work out how to make a Monty Python film, they couldn't tell us." Instead they showed them a poem, which was a summary of this movie, and a budget projection. "And to their credit," says Idle, "they paid for the film on that." Idle recites the poem on the DVD version of the movie. See more »

Goofs

In the classroom scene, the young student seated in the rear right corner appears and disappears three times. See more »

Quotes

Governor: Arthur Charles Herbert Runcie MacAdam Jarrett, you have been convicted by twelve good persons and true - of the crime of first degree making of gratuitous, sexist jokes in a moving picture.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The Director's Cut has three more scenes. The first is after the scene with the Protestant couple talking about condoms. It is the Adventures of Martin Luther. The second scene comes between the marching around the square scene and the Zulu army scene. It is a promotional video about the British army. The third and last is an extension of the the American characters that Eric Idle and Michael Palin do. They are shown their room and talk about tampons. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Monty Python Movie Moments (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Galaxy Song
Lyrics Eric Idle
Music by Eric Idle & John Du Prez
Performed by Eric Idle
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User Reviews

 
Michael Palin sums it up best.
13 July 1999 | by bat-5See all my reviews

The Meaning of Life finds the Monty Python boys going back to their Flying Circus roots in a film that examines the many stages of life, and reduces them all to the absurdity that one would expect from these six loons. A very neat short film from Terry Gilliam starts off this search for the meaning of life and we go from birth, to examining the benefits of being a Prostestant. From there we are treated to war, live organ transplants, a very bizarre middle section of the film, sex education, Terry Jones puking and exploding in what has to be one of the most disgusting but extremely funny scenes ever committed to film. It all leads up to death, and I personally like Grahm Chapman's way of execution. It all winds up in Heaven, where every day is Christmas and it's all set up like a Las Vegas lounge show. At the end, Michael Palin gives us the meaning of life. I think he's right.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 March 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,987,853, 3 April 1983

Gross USA:

$14,929,552

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,949,697
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2003 restored director's cut) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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