Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) Poster

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One of the most intelligent comedies ever made
gogoschka-116 December 2013
Personally, I believe this to be one of the most intelligent comedies ever made. It might not appear that way at first because the film does have its share of simple slapstick and "naughty" moments, but generally, the topics the Pythons tackle here are very serious - albeit dealt with in a way that makes this a true contender for the funniest film of all time.

A firework of hilarious sketches, timeless quotes and clever comments on the human condition, this film was deemed too dangerous for the masses and therefore, until recently, banned in several countries (normally, this only used to happen to the so called "Video Nasties").

This film never once makes fun of Jesus (Christ) - but it DOES take the mickey out of blind, fanatic followers of any political movement or religion.

An outstanding achievement and endlessly re-watchable.

My vote: 10 out of 10

Favorite films:

Lesser-known Masterpieces:

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I Think God Has A Sense Of Humor, Don't You?
Gazzer-21 April 2002
And in the 1979th year of Our Lord, God took in a screening of Monty Python's "Life Of Brian," and thought it was funny.

He did NOT think the film was blasphemous or offensive in any way. Yea, God did admire it's incredibly clever pokes at religion and at religious fanatics, for God Himself knew the virtue of being able to laugh at one's self. He also knew before He even walked into the theater that the title character, Brian, was NOT Jesus Christ, but merely a man who was born at the same time as Christ---right next door, in fact---and became mistaken for a messiah. God settled into His seat, with popcorn in one hand and diet soda in another, and had a rollicking good time.

He recommended "Life Of Brian" to His Son, Jesus, who went to see it the following week. He, too, thought it was a hilarious film, and immediately sang the praises of the Monty Python troupe---John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam & Michael Palin---for creating such a wonderful spoof. And He recommended the film to His friends. Have an open mind, He told them, and have fun.

But God and His Son were quite puzzled why so many people in the Bible Belt community were so upset by "Life Of Brian"---especially the ones who hadn't even bothered to SEE the frigging film for fear of being damned for all time. And They both shook their heads in dismay. It's only a movie, They thought, and a very funny, harmless one at that. Get a life!

But God gave Monty Python's "Life Of Brian" the power to overcome such ridiculous adversity, and today, well over two decades later, the film is rightfully regarded as a comedy classic, and one of the Python's finest works. It's *still* not a film for everybody, but does it have to be? If you're in tune with the Python's style of zany comedy, you'll enjoy "Life Of Brian."

And praise be to Saint George Harrison, late of The Beatles, for lending the Pythons a hand in making this wonderful movie. :-)
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Stunningly funny
ptpenry11 February 2002
One of my fave films of all time, this film has so many laugh-out-loud jokes and ridiculous thought processes that it would probably be unfair to pick out just a few. Tough - I'm going to: John Cleese as the legionnary Latin teacher rebuking Brian not for daring to use graffiti on the Roman fort but for using the wrong tense, Michael Palin trying to find his place in life as an ex-leper, Terry Jones as Brian's mother trying to protect him from myrrh - let's face it, we've all wondered what myrrh is ! The bit that always makes me laugh without fail is something that isn't always noticed - when Michael Palin is having a go at the guards; "Do you find it risible when I say the name of my friend Biggus Diccus ?" if you look carefully you'll see that Palin is trying really hard not to laugh.

Puerile, silly but also very very clever. This film doesn't criticise religion or Jesus in any way ( what was wrong with the people who tried to ban it ? ) - it's just asking what it could have been like in a society that was expecting the Messiah to show up at any moment, and covering it in a massive coating of comedy.

This film is an absolute classic - 10 out of 10.
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A Masterwork of British Comedy
j30bell20 December 2004
In Life of Brian, Python created what John Cleese called simply "our masterpiece". As a piece of writing, it is the most impressive of the three feature length Python movies. The scenes remain episodic, but there is a much more coherent narrative than in the earlier Holy Grail – I loved HG too, but for different reasons. The characters (well about one or two of the characters) have acquired some subtle shading, which is rare in comedy and, alas, rare in British comedy in particular. The plight of Chapman's Brian is one that I really cared about (although his death is also extremely funny, upbeat and one of the truly iconic moments in British cinema).

The story must be fairly well known. Brian is born at the same time as Jesus with whom he leads a kind of parallel life, thus allowing the team to lampoon and satirise everything from religious zealotry and mob hysteria to 1950s biblical/sword & sandals epic cinema. It does this by marrying historic situations with more modern attitudes; thus we have revolutionary Stan who wants to be Loretta and have the right to have babies, the old man who can't understand why he's being stoned for saying simply "that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!" the gruff centurion correcting Brian's Latin grammar while he's trying to daub anti-Roman slogans on a wall and the gentle centurion asking each of a line of the condemned "crucifixion? Good" while ticking them off on his clipboard. Interspersed with this is slapstick, pantomime women (I'm not sure there are any real women in Python, which is probably its greatest failing) and a small amount of the trademark Python surrealism (the spaceship, the "prophet" talking about the sons misplacing the things owned by their fathers who had placed them down only just a moment ago… etc). In short, something for everyone – except, perhaps, committed Christians.

A lot of attention has been paid to whether LoB is blasphemous. The Pythons claim not and I'm not sufficiently religious to care very much. On the surface, I disagree. There are also occasional sideswipes at ancient Jewish custom – although, to be fair, only stoning which, if you'll pardon the pun, might be considered a fair target. Jesus is not criticised, but the film's central message seems to be; be in the right place at the right time and even a man called Brian can become God. Almost the last line is from Eric Idle saying; "you come from nothing and go back to nothing" which doesn't suggest that the man on the mount at the beginning is a divinity, no matter whether he's talking sense or not.

Most importantly though, LoB is refreshingly satirical. There always was an element of this in Python (mediaeval Christian philosophy lampooned in the Holy Grail for example "this new learning amazes me Sir Bedevere, explain again how sheeps' bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes… so, if she weighs the same as a duck, she must be made of wood, and therefore - a witch". I guess LoB attracted attention because the satire had never been so bold or obvious before. This is also what makes LoB such an incredibly funny film to watch; but put it this way – despite what Rowan Atkinson may have once said – I'd be very surprised if the Python's weren't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

That shouldn't put you off, though. Unless your faith is too weak to survive Python's gentle humanism, watch this movie – you'll probably love it.
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Still one of the funniest films of all time.
alice liddell13 October 1999
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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Best comedy ever
Krupsky14 April 2019
Love this Gem!

This story in different variations was told for almost two thousand years, but it always had inconsistencies and white spots, and its true essence, it seems, was always well hidden by someone. Much has changed when a group of researchers from England took up the ancient tradition, many of whom were attributed to excessive alcohol addiction, as well as the American avant-garde artist who joined them.

The film was shot in the scenery, built for the film Franco Zeffirelli "Jesus of Nazareth."
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Classic seamless comedy.
pstancer14 January 2005
This film is by far the best of the Python outings. It ranks as one of my favorite films of all time, which unlike 'The Holy Grail', hasn't dated with time but improves with repeated viewing.

The Pythons supposed take on Christianity, which caused outrage when it was first released (mostly by people who hadn't seen it), is actually a take on cults, both religious and political, and the people who follow them.

Brian, our hapless hero, is confused, horny, and constantly mistaken for the Messiah; who just happened to be born in the manger next to him. Brian just wants to be left alone, and to pursue his love for Judith, a member of the People's Front of Judea. Judith just wants the Romans to go home; but only after they've left the sanitation, the medicine, education, irrigation, roads, public order, etc., etc. ... oh and don't forget the wine!

Will Brian's love for Judith go unrequited? Will only the cheese makers be blessed, or does this refer to all manufacturers of dairy products? And just what have the Romans ever done for us?

It's subtle; it's anarchic; and it's possibly still banned in Norway. This is classic seamless comedy at its best. 10/10.
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Ave Monty Python!
lee_eisenberg10 October 2005
This is, in my opinion, the best religious movie ever made. Monty Python's Flying Circus knows how to do everything hilariously. Focusing on Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman), who gets mistaken for the messiah in Judea in 33 AD, the movie pokes fun at everything: Romans, Jews, imperialism, even extraterrestrials. With sardonic lines almost every minute, they play religious fundamentalism for what it is: silly. I don't even know which scene was my favorite; every part was so funny. You'll never forget the song at the end. This is comedy in its greatest form, and it makes sense that it would come from the guys who brought us the "parrot sketch". Absolutely a hoot.
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Life of Brian is Monty Python's greatest work
waltersjon19 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Life of Brian was radical at the time and it's still a great anti establishment and anti authority film. Which pokes fun at politics and religion and status. It's so funny and some of the scenes are so sharp with lots of historical in jokes. As someone involved in politics I particularly love the idea that Reg 'our glorious leader' can't go on the raid as 'he has a bad back' yet he's happy to martyr the rest of the team. And when they call for a meeting and pass motions it is as Judith says 'perfectly simple Reg' that they should just go and try and stop the Romans' 'nailing him up.' And Brian's success is greeted with shocked surprise and the announcement that 'we need doers in our movement' (unlike Reg). Another highlight has to be Reg asking 'what have the Romans ever done for us.' And as the film ends tunefully there's a message for us all 'Always look on the bright side of life.'
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One of the top 10 of all time
JerBear-230 May 1999
True, my tastes are eclectic. This movie is so incredibly clever and thought provoking that it's not surprising that it raised so many hackles. Plus, it's as fast paced and funny as a Marx Brothers movie without the musical breaks. You can watch it 20 times and you'll still sing at the end. Undoubtedly one of the top 10!!
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Still funny, after 25 years
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews29 June 2004
When a film is still funny 25 years after it's made, and doesn't feel particularly aged, even a quarter of a century later, then you know that you've struck gold. The famous Monty Python crew once again take a well-known subject and make a lot of fun of it. This time, the subject is religion, or, more specifically, Christianity. Everyone who knows at least a little about Christianity, which is pretty much anyone from the western world, will probably be able to laugh at something in this movie. Unless, of course, you are very Christian yourself, in that case you will probably feel that the film is blasphemous(I don't personally think so, since it makes fun of the followers and the general stupidity of people and organizations back in 30-something A.D., rather than Jesus and his teachings). The plot is about as incoherent as the usual Monty Python team film, though it should be noted that, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it is an actual film, and not a series of sketches, like, for example, the Meaning of Life. It's about as paced as they usually are, most of the scenes contain a lot of jokes, and then they move on to the next scene, after about five minutes of jokes and sight gags. This is, unfortunately, the problem with their films; if you don't like the jokes, the film might seem extremely slow to you; of course, one could argue that Monty Python mainly make movies for the jokes sake, but they could do better on the pacing, for the sake of viewers who don't like all those repeated jokes. That's not to say that I don't like them, I laugh at them most of the time, heck, I laughed so hard that I almost got stomach ache from it at one particular instant. But, I guess that a lot of people won't like them for this way of making movies. Oh well. You can't please everyone. The humor is great, it's standard Python wacky, crazy humor, so every Python fan should enjoy it. People who don't like Monty Python should give this a chance too, if they have at least a little humor, and they aren't Christian extremists. Christian "believers" can probably laugh at it too, like I said, it's not the religion itself, it's more the brainwashed followers that the film makes fun of. All in all, a great film for fans of the Python crew, and people who have a sense of humor about religion(a dark sense of humor, that is). I recommend it to fans of Monty Python, people who enjoy dark humor and people who can laugh a little at the less intelligent parts of Christianity. I fall into all three categories, and I loved it. 8/10
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Not necessarily laugh-out-loud every minute, but it's satirical edge and wit is as clever as the technical side of the film
Quinoa198421 June 2004
Monty Python's follow-up to their cult smash Holy Grail was Life of Brian, a film that takes on (if not always with the utmost seriousness, then usually with a mix of silliness and slight intellectualism) the believers in religions, the zealous nature that belief brings out in people. I first saw the film in the theater upon its re-release last month, and I found it very funny, though not with the kind of belly laughs that I had on my first reaction to Holy Grail. It's not without it's scenes that stick out as some of Python's finest (the Stoning, Pilate's scenes, the Spaceship sequence), even as sometimes it goes a little too broad for comfort (part of the colisseum).

Yet, the great strengths that lie in Life of Brian are that 1) the writers and performers (Chapman, Cleese, Gilliam, Jones, Idle, Palin) bring their irreverent strengths to a fine point with the script and multiple roles. Even when a scene doesn't get the laughs it could've or should've, it turns out to be a scene brimming with a cleverness that could only exist in the "Python-esque" universe. 2) the director (Jones) and designer/animator (Gilliam) lay the groundwork for this realistic atmosphere of 33 A.D. and bring out what is the best in the acting, Pythons or otherwise (famous British comedian Spike Milligan has a role of note). Held over from the sets of Franco Zeferelli's Christ film, the Pythons use all these locations and settings and little details to spring out their wild, brilliant gags. The look of the film enriches the comedic elements, and the result is (arguably, of course) the troupe's best film. Not for all tastes by the way (Monty Python in general for me took some while to warm up to, but paid off once it worked). Grade: A
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'Do you find it wisible...when I say the name...Biggus...Dickus?'
the_barnacle21 March 2019
Famous lines from Michael Palin as Pontius Pilate...and also my favourite lines from this wondrous film. This is not a piece of criticism, just an exhibition of love. For those of you who believe that Holy Grail is better - I'm sorry to inform you that you're wrong. Life of Brian has such good consistent humour that really can't be beaten. The variety and range of characters the Pythons play is sublime. The chemistry they have with each of other is what makes the film work so well. I won't ramble on anymore because most of what I want to say has already been said!

Afterthought: Well, what is myrrh anyway?
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Disgraceful depiction of the Popular Front.
O'Hanrahanrahan11 August 2000
For many years I have worked tirelessly to promote the aims of the Popular Front of Judea, and quite frankly I'm disgusted at its treatment of us. To depict us as a lonely old man is one of the most grotesque distortions ever commited to celluloid. We are at least three times that number, and furthermore we don't have a single repressed transexual among us. An absolute disgrace. I shall never watch this film again, unless I rent it out on video or see it on the TV in the near future. Vive la PFJ.
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One of my all-time favourites
MrVibrating27 December 2005
While Quest for the Holy Grail was funny because it was so low-budgetty and silly, Life of Brian is more advanced and with a greater variation of humour. It also has a bigger budget, which is great to see. Every scene looks realistic, and the sets (someone said they were formerly used by "The Last Temptation of Christ?) are great.

Almost every line in this movie is a classic, and all of them very quotable. The characters are hilarious, and out-of-this world zany.The plot is good, and contrary to the Holy Grail, it actually comes to a satisfying conclusion.

The movie also dares to joke about religion. No, they don't joke about Jesus or God, but about the believers in them. The line "I say you are Messiah, and I should know. I've followed a few" is so spot-on it hurts(when I laugh).

All in all, watch this. This is possibly the funniest movie ever created. You can't afford to miss it.
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red sea pedestrians
supers10022 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
i am a huge Monty python fan, but have never laughed so hard at any movie or sketch i have ever seen written by them the scene where Michael palin is talking about biggus dickus and ordering the guards NOT TO LAUGH made me shake with laughter till tears ran down my cheeks, and not until dinner the next day did i stop giggling to myself all in all, this mite be the troupe's best film, although the holy grail is equally as good, i think that life of Brian is better written in every scene, and it is great to not find any offense in some of the Jewish jokes personally, i think Michael palin owned this movie, although graham Chapman was probably the better actor, each one of palin's roles were different and memorable, the jail guard leading the prisoners to crucification is so funny, because hes just so sweet sounding of course, there was the irrelevant bit, strange but funny in the Monty python way, that they can get away with almost everything this is my favorite of all the Monty python films, and i recommend it to anyone who is willing to laugh extremely hard at womans (romans)
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A Massive Achievement in Satire
TheAll-SeeingI11 December 2019
Because it so loudly cuts against the trappings of today's "cancel culture," 1979's "Monty Python's Life of Brian" arguably now stands as the comedy troupe's most distinguished masterpiece. Filmed in Tunisia while repurposing sets from "Jesus of Nazareth (1977)," this film is perched among the top branches of our very greatest satires. There's no doubt its brilliant fingerprints are all over more modern day parodies and spoofs, from the culturally eviscerating "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)," to fellow religious farce "Sausage Party (2016)," to recent and raunch-heavy music industry satire "Stadium Anthems (2018)."

And the film almost didn't happen. Beatle George Harrison had to dole out millions to save it after the studio pulled out over fears of backlash. Good on ya, George, because what resulted is nothing short of a landmark achievement in comedy. While "Life of Brian" has all the elite DNA of typical Python, it elevates beyond its siblings with an ending for the ages, as the crucifixion itself is repurposed as musical comedy of gleefully poor taste. A choir of convicts nailed into wooden slabs breaks out in song with "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life," cementing the scene as a culturally understood reference point throughout Britain, and in much the same way that "this goes to eleven" from "This Is Spinal Tap (1984)" is established nomenclature in the States.

Sadly, this movie couldn't be made today, as the use of superficially insensitive comedic material to lambaste ignorance has somehow become verboten. What a shame, that. Fortunately, "Monty Python's Life of Brian" wasn't a stage production, and instead remains immortalized on film for the weathering of all shifts in the cultural winds. - (Was this review of use to you? If so, let me know by clicking "Helpful." Cheers!) - WATCHED IT? THEN WATCHLIST: "Sausage Party (2016)," "Stadium Anthems (2018)," "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)"
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Repetitive, no.
axlefoley6429 July 2018
Watched this film quite a few times now and is still as funny as the first time I watched i.
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A Comment on Our Gullibility
Hitchcoc21 December 2016
This is such a fine movie. It involves a guy who was born just down the street in Bethlehem. The Magi go to him first and then realize they are confused and leave. He tries to lead a normal life, but word gets out that he is the Messiah. He does everything he can to get this off his back, but a group of followers begin interpreting his words as great wisdom and godliness. It gets so bad that when they are sent to check out "the other Guy" they ultimately find his pronouncement (actually non-pronouncements) to be much more impressive. There is a hilarious scene where he tries to make a statement about the Romans, but his Latin is so bad he is force to write it over and over on the walls, like an American schoolboy. The final scene is incredible. If you've never heard the song or seen the images, check it out. I would imaging there are some people who find this movie blasphemous. I consider it one of the greatest parodies ever produced.
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Satirical and cunning farce: you either love it or hate it
Teyss5 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"God created man in His own image" (Genesis, 1:27). He gave him humour, and saw it was good. Later, God created cinema, and saw it was good. Still later, God created the Monty Python, but was not sure it was good. It got out of hand, because this disrespectful bunch used God's creations, man, humour and cinema, to turn them against religion.

So the story goes: some believers think "Life of Brian" is blasphemous. It was banned on its initial release by several UK councils, Ireland and Norway. However, non-believers think this aspect is trivial. Let's try to neutrally assess how provocative the movie is.

In any case, the religious satire needs to be tempered by two caveats: the movie not only mocks religion, but almost everything MP can lay their hands upon; the blasphemous parts are not hostile nor gratuitous. Let's explore both elements. I won't discuss humour, because it is subjective (for me the movie is hilarious).

1. What do MP target apart from religion?

  • People. Except Brian, humans are stupid and/or ridiculous morons. Brian's mother is greedy, vulgar and simple-minded. Persons quarrel foolishly precisely when Jesus voices his Sermon on the Mount, a message of love. Even Brian's girlfriend, brainwashed by ideology, abandons Brian on the cross when he asks to be freed.

  • Crowds. If individually people are pathetic, when they gather, they also are ugly. Women cruelly regroup at the beginning to lapidate a poor lad whose crime is trifle. An insensitive mob plays with prisoners' lives by asking for irrelevant pardons to make fun of Pilate's pronunciation. Crowds blindly worship Brian: "We've got to work it out for ourselves", they repeat like brainless zombies. The suicide squad, well, commits suicide without freeing Brian.

  • Oppressive power. Romans imprison, crucify and execute. Yet the powerful are laughable. The mighty Pilate and Biggus Dikus are grotesque. A Roman patrol, instead of arresting Brian for a graffiti, makes him copy a hundred times "Romans go home" in Latin (a reference to the slogan "US go home" during the Vietnam War, which ended four years before the movie was released).

  • Vain ideology that delivers no results (a possible reference to left-wing politics). To resist oppression, the rebel group displays an impressive incompetence. They spend more time fighting each other than against Romans (People's Front of Judea, Judean People's Front, Judean Popular People's Front). They just talk pompously and don't manage to perform one single effective action during the entire movie: only does Brian graffiti the fortress. The rebel leader is cynical, cowardly and short-sighted.

  • Themselves. Like a schoolboy bunch, MP make fun of everything including their own movie. Each of them plays different roles, some completely silly. Graham Chapman appears in frontal nudity, very rare in cinema at the time. They introduce an absurd and useless scene parodying Star Wars (WTF?), whereby a spaceship captures Brian (FWTF?) and crashes after a battle (FWTFF?).

2. The movie iconoclastically tackles various religious fundamentals. MP argued their movie is heretical, not blasphemous, because it mocks dogma but not God: granted, even though the representation of Jesus is ambiguous (see below). Also, it sometimes feels as if it does not criticise religion as much as the usage people make of it, since they are dumb as noted above.

  • The Nativity. The three Wise Men mistake Brian for Jesus, implying the Latter was a man like any other.

  • The Crucifixion. Brian ends on the cross like Jesus: the loop with the initial confusion is looped. Crucifixion, which was actually widespread, is not shown as horrible but as a relatively minor punishment. The final scene is not tragic but comical: the crucified sing "Always look on the bright side of life", one of MP's best songs. Understandably, this sequence was highly controversial.

  • The Messiah. It is easy to become one like Brian: a few words, some mystery and crowds will follow senselessly. Faith, as love, is blind.

  • The Sayings. Jesus's Sermon is misunderstood ("Blessed are the cheese-makers", "Blessed are the Greek"). Yet it is unclear who is being made fun of: people who miss the point, or Jesus who accumulates the "Blessed are". Jesus is surrounded by a halo, but this positive view could be first or second degree.

  • Relics. When Brian drops a gourd and a shoe, his followers absurdly split into two groups, each worshipping a different relic. And that is how sects are born...

  • Fear. Religion is based on fear (Hell, Judgement Day, the deadly sins, the ten commandments, crucifixion representations, prohibitions). In the movie, would-be prophets distil fear with dreadful predictions... until a lunatic turns this rhetoric upside-down ("A friend shall lose his friend's hammer"). Again it is not clear if the target is religion, or people who need to be frightened in order to orientate their deeds.

  • Wows. A hermit breaks his silence wow... because Brian stepped on his foot. Wows appear as a useless and easily reversible commitment.


In summary, "Life of Brian" is farcical yet meaningful, richer than its simple blasphemous reputation: it blends MP's unique style into a consistent and funny satire. Historically well documented, it arguably is the best of the three movies they directed, less gratuitous and nonsensical than "Holy Grail" and "The Meaning of Life".

Behind the farce, the movie delivers a hedonistic message: even if life is bleak, let's have fun. People are idiotic and cruel, but also laughable. Oppressive powers can be ridiculed. Humans are condemned, but show resilience by singing. Ideology can be a risible delusion. We don't know if religion is right or wrong, but it can be caricatured.

You will not like this movie if you are hermetic to MP's humour or if your religious beliefs are hurt, both being understandable reactions. But then, isn't comedy always irreverent?
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The greatest comedic moments in film
Publiusah178821 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have been reading the reviews, and I'm just happy to see that there still are some people out there who appreciate real comedy. For anyone who is willing to actually watch the movie, and not expect a zoolander-ish barrage of fleetingly funny moments, this is definitely one of the funniest movies in the history of film. One may watch this movie a hundred times, and still find parts of it he never noticed before. The scene with Michael Palin chained up to the wall in the dungeon is possibly the most perfect absurd comedy sketch in existence. (Oh, what I wouldn't GIVE to be SPAT at in the face!) Even better than the Dead Parrot! And the movie has a wonderful unity as well, as a massive (semi-serious) satire of not just religion, but humanity in general. Two of them went to Oxford, three to Cambridge--these guys are well educated, and their work is absolutely brilliant, simply funny on the surface and hilariously complex beneath. This movie IS better than Holy Grail, and is the python's finest work.
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Accidentally, it happens to be one of the best critiques of the modern middle east...
s2ao9 February 2006
Accidentally, it happens to be one of the best critiques of the modern middle east...and I should know-I'm from there! I say accidentally because Monty python so effortlessly describe things about the middle east that are so true and accurate, but so diifcult to describe, and I don't think they really intended to-they're just so brilliant! There is a small cinema in Prague that shows the Life of Brian for free every Xmas eve. I took my brother there to see it when we were visiting family a couple of years ago, and he laughed so much he almost went to hospital. This film contains some of the best gags in history, and it's also clever and subversive, would give it 11/10 if I could. I've been watching LoB once a year on average for about 5 years now, and I always discover new gags-I will probably go on watching it forever.
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Biggus Dickus
NicolasTheWolf19 July 2020
I finally know what I will name my son, Biggus Dickus, first of his name.
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The first time I watched Life of Brian I hardly laughed at all
Hokusai5 May 2005
The first time I watched Life of Brian I hardly laughed at all. Why? Certainly not because it wasn't funny. The problem was that the most absurd and hilarious moments in the movie are actually painfully real, only exaggerated a little bit. If the messenger hadn't been so funny the message would have really depressed me. Which is why it's such a great movie, I suppose. It's hilarious, and at the same time it's actually about something that matters, and is really depressing at that.

Personally I don't think it's blasphemous in any way. It conveys its message in a way that's probably offensive to some people, but it doesn't mock God or Jesus, it doesn't even lash out against religion as a whole. It merely points out the absurdity of people who are too lazy or too stupid to think for themselves, and desperately cling to anybody willing to lead them. Or even unwilling to lead them. You can almost feel the anger and frustration of the writers in some scenes, as if they want to scream "God/Evolution/Whatever you believe in gave you a mind to think with on your own. USE IT!" to the viewer.

All in all, I'd say this is the best of the Python movies and in general one of the greatest movies of all time.
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Delightful as well as hilarious film about a false and unwilling Messiah who wants to free his land from the oppression of Rome
ma-cortes15 August 2014
Religious parable about intolerance focuses on Brian , a Jew in Roman-occupied Judea. After joining up with an anti-Roman political organization, Brian , a reluctant savior is mistaken for a prophet , and becomes a peculiar Messiah . Then a group decides Brian is the Messiah and he cannot convince them he is not . Brian joins the Peoples' Front of Judea, one of several dozen separatist groups who actually do nothing .

Irreverent and often sidesplitting satire of Jesus Christ movies that will probably offend some catholics , including many Political and Social comments . Graham Chapman plays the title role born in a manger just down the street from Jesus Christ's and spends his life being mistaken for a messiah . This is the tale of of a man whose life parallels Jesus ; it results to be the most sustained and funniest film from Britain's bad boys . Six cast members played 40 various characters such as Graham Chapman , John Cleese , Terry Gilliam , Eric Idle , Terry Jones and Michael Palin . Well produced by George Harrison, a huge fan of Monty Python, he felt so strongly about the movie he "pawned" his home in London and his office building, to raise the 4 million $ . According to the diaries of Michael Palin a possible title was "Brian of Nazareth", which was strongly favored by Palin, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle . In the end this was never used, perhaps to avoid title comparisons with Jesus of Nazareth (1977), whose leftover sets were used for filming parts of this film . However, when the film was released in Italy in the early 1990s, it was titled "Brian di Nazareth¨ . Originally financed by EMI, but they backed out when they believed the script to be blasphemous . EMI was sued by the Pythons and settled out of court. Finance was then arranged through George Harrison, who thought it was the last chance to have another Python film, creating Handmade Films for this purpose . Though the movie has been directed by Terry Jones only, to avoid the frictions and conflicts there were in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Terry Gilliam directed at least two scenes: the very first one, with the arrival of the Wise Men and the Nativity, and the abduction of Brian by the aliens, as explained in the commentary.

Lively Original Music by Geoffrey Burgon , including jolly final song sung by Eric Idle . Colorful as well as evocative Cinematography by Peter Biziou . The motion picture was well directed by Terry Jones . In 1965, with his friend Michael Palin, he made The Late Show (1966) for television, which was his first success and he wrote for many other TV shows . But Jones' greatest success was the zany Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-74) (with Palin, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle) and other hits such as Jabberwocky , The meaning of life , Monty Python and the Holy Grail and this Life of Brian , among others .
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