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Life of Brian (1979)

R | | Comedy | 17 August 1979 (USA)
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1:36 | Trailer

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Born on the original Christmas in the stable next door to Jesus, Brian of Nazareth spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.

Director:

Terry Jones
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1,698 ( 203)
Top Rated Movies #192 | See the Top Rated Movies as rated by our users.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Graham Chapman ... Wise Man #2 / Brian Cohen / Biggus Dickus
John Cleese ... Wise Man #1 / Reg / Jewish Official / First Centurion / Deadly Dirk / Arthur
Terry Gilliam ... Man Even Further Forward / Revolutionary / Jailer / Blood & Thunder Prophet / Frank / Audience Member / Crucifee
Eric Idle ... Mr. Cheeky / Stan aka Loretta / Harry the Haggler / Culprit Woman / Warris / Intensely Dull Youth / Jailer's Assistant / Otto / Lead Singer Crucifee
Terry Jones ... Mandy Cohen / Colin / Simon the Holy Man / Bob Hoskins / Saintly Passer-by / Alarmed Crucifixion Assistant
Michael Palin ... Wise Man #3 / Mr. Big Nose / Francis / Mrs. A / Ex-Leper / Announcer / Ben / Pontius Pilate / Boring Prophet / Eddie / Shoe Follower / Nisus Wettus
Terence Bayler ... Gregory
Carol Cleveland ... Mrs. Gregory
Kenneth Colley ... Jesus
Neil Innes Neil Innes ... A Weedy Samaritan
Charles McKeown ... False Prophet / Blind Man / Giggling Guard / Stig
John Young ... Matthias, Son of Deuteronomy of Gath
Gwen Taylor ... Mrs. Big Nose
Sue Jones-Davies Sue Jones-Davies ... Judith
Peter Brett Peter Brett
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Storyline

The story of Brian of Nazareth, born on the same day as Jesus of Nazareth, who takes a different path in life that leads to the same conclusion. Brian joins a political resistance movement aiming to get the Romans out of Judea. Brian scores a victory of sorts when he manages to paint political slogans on an entire wall in the city of Jerusalem. The movement is not very effective but somehow Brian becomes a prophet and gathers his own following. His fate is sealed however and he lives a very short life. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's Even Funnier The Second time You See It. But remember- you've got to see it once before you can see it twice. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

17 August 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Monty Python's Life of Brian See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$140,034, 19 August 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$20,045,115

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$36,045,115
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film pokes fun at revolutionary groups and 1970s British left-wing politics. The groups in the film all oppose the Roman occupation of Judea, but fall into the familiar pattern of intense competition among factions that appears, to an outsider, to be over ideological distinctions so small as to be invisible, thus portraying the phenomenon of the "narcissism of small differences". Michael Palin says that the various separatist movements were modeled on "modern resistance groups, all with obscure acronyms which they can never remember and their conflicting agendas". See more »

Goofs

Around the 43 minute mark you can briefly see one of the crew underneath the alien puppets (the one on the right) when both aliens jump up as the ship comes under attack. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Wise Man #1: Ahem!
Brian's mother: Oh!
[falls over in chair]
Brian's mother: Who are you?
Wise Man #2: We are three wise men.
Brian's mother: What?
Wise Man #1: We are three wise men.
Brian's mother: Well, what are you doing creeping around a cow shed at two o'clock in the morning? That doesn't sound very wise to me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are presented as an elaborate Terry Gilliam animated sequence of Roman temples being destroyed. See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was originally over two hours long, but was edited down after audience previews. Amongst the scenes that were cut were an opening sequence in which the three shepherds attend the birth of Brian, and more scenes featuring King Otto, some of which were restored for the DVD release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Barbie: The Pearl Princess (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Bright Side Of Life
Music by Eric Idle
Arranged by John Altman
Sung by Eric Idle and chorus (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Still one of the funniest films of all time.
13 October 1999 | by alice liddellSee all my reviews

It's impossible for me to be objective about this film. I know every scene and line by heart. Not because I'm one of those ghastly Python nerds, whose anal obsessiveness sucks the whole spirit out of everything they did, and actually misses the joke, which is on them; they are the perfect subjects for a Python lampoon. No. I only know LIFE OF BRIAN so intimately because I've seen it so often, it's still one of the funniest comedies I've ever seen, and persists in being hilarious despite familiarity, which, as in so much Python did, is the reverse of what comedy is 'supposed' to be made of (i.e. surprise).

Also, nostalgia value. MONTY PYTHON were my first heroes, before I even reached double figures. I gobbled up every programme, film and record in a space of a couple of short years, so they are bound up with a period of my life when I was very happy and hopeful, so I go all misty-eyed when I see it. Bizarrely, we were first encouraged to watch BRIAN by our Latin teacher, who felt it was very insightful about Roman society.

But no-one watches PYTHON anymore, except that dorkish clique. My brother, only a couple of years my junior, is as mystified now by my reaction to it as my parents were then. But surely BRIAN is a comic masterpiece in itself, accessible to anyone who found the very male, elitist, academic bias of the programme somewhat alienating?

How can I implore you to watch this? It's got a straight narrative, with some of the greatest set-pieces and dialogue of any film ever. It's not a great FILM comedy - Terry Jones is no Gilliam - but the style suits the humour perfectly, allowing it to breathe, and sometimes pulling off an extraordinarily evocative shot, such as when Brian and his mother are walking from Jesus' sermon, and squabbling about petty things like big noses, and the camera pulls back to a vast Judean wasteland, with a massive Roman statue being wheeled, and a set of crucifixes being planted: a marvellous encapsulation of a period in history.

This is the film's true triumph - it's a magnificent deconstruction of historical distortion. By paralleling the life of Christ with that of an ordinary little man, Python reclaim history from symbol and myth. It brings the body back into history. Its resolute rejection of divinity leads to a bleak, ironic conclusion (listen to 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life' carefully, and in context: it's NOT comforting) - the story of Jesus without redemption is ghastly.

The intelligence behind the juvenile gags is astonishing - the film is a learned commentary on power, totalitarianism, repression, language, gender, the writing of history, the politics of subversion, the complicity of the repressed. Myth is thrown to the wind - the film succeeds where Reg and his revolutionaries fail, by revealing a whole series of repressive apparatum (sic?). No-one is spared - the film is unashamedly destructive, but the film's satire is not arid or narrow; there are many rich parallels with our own time, as the extraordinary reaction from the religious on the film's release showed.

But BRIAN is not just an attack on religion, but on all who would seek to write selective histories for their own interests, suppressing others' voices. The silliest jokes are also the most profound - in one scene, the kidnappers enter Pilate's palace through a tiled floor. They emerge through a modesty-concealing leaf painted on this floor. This is snickering schoolboy humour, and very very funny, but is also a comment on the phallocentricity of imperialism. Jokes like these are why BRIAN will always remain vital - it turns you into a ludicrous, ill-informed amateur historian.

The acting is an astonishing feat of multiple performances, but Graham Chapman, always my favorite Python, holds the chaos together, ironically as the Kafkaesque hero who races towards the abyss, an anti-Jesus to love and identify with. If I've made the film sound like hard work, than I'm an idiot. The seriousness is only there if you want it. Like Alice in Wonderland, or Buster Keaton, PYTHON seem to be full of metaphors that encapsulate the pains of life, but are also damnably entertaining. It's strange that men as supposedly 'surreal' and 'out there' as the Pythons should speak such good sense. Only BRINGING UP BABY, THE PALM BEACH STORY, and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, are funnier than this. Treasure it.


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