7.6/10
97,507
207 user 62 critic

The Meaning of Life (1983)

Trailer
1:03 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
The comedy team takes a look at life in all its stages in their own uniquely silly way.
Reviews
Popularity
4,952 ( 1,390)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Life of Brian (1979)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

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
Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin
Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles.

Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An anthology of the best sketches from the first and second seasons of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969).

Director: Ian MacNaughton
Stars: John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The Monty Python troupe perform a combination of classic sketches and new material at the Hollywood Bowl.

Directors: Terry Hughes, Ian MacNaughton
Stars: John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

The original surreal sketch comedy showcase for the Monty Python troupe.

Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
Adventure | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A group of down-and-out accountants mutiny against their bosses and sail their office building onto the high seas in search of a pirate's life.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Sydney Arnold, Guy Bertrand, Andrew Bicknell
Time Bandits (1981)
Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, John Cleese
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Two parts Monty Python German television comedy specials.

Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle
Jabberwocky (1977)
Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young peasant, with no interest in adventure or fortune, is mistaken as the kingdom's only hope when a horrible monster threatens the countryside.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Michael Palin, Harry H. Corbett, John Le Mesurier
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to doublecross each other for the loot.

Directors: Charles Crichton, John Cleese
Stars: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline
Brazil (1985)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A bureaucrat, in a retro-future world, tries to correct an administrative error, and becomes an enemy of the state.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro
Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An account of Baron Munchausen's supposed travels and fantastical experiences with his band of misfits.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: John Neville, Eric Idle, Sarah Polley
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Chadwick / Jeremy Portland-Smythe
...
...
Andrew MacLachlan ...
Mark Holmes ...
Victim #2 / Troll Waiter / Guest #2
Valerie Whittington ...
Jennifer Franks ...
Imogen Bickford-Smith ...
Nurse #2 (as Imogen Bickford Smith)
Edit

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 film 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 arrival ... 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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 March 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,987,000, 3 April 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$14,929,552
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2003 restored director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Python refused to show Universal Studios a film 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 the film, 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 war sequence, the soldiers give their sergeant a clock, which is placed on the edge of the mound they are hiding behind, clearly visible. In the next shot, the clock is gone. See more »

Quotes

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.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Producers would like to thank all the fish who have taken part in this film. We hope that other fish will follow the example of those who have participated, so that, in future, fish all over the world will live together in harmony and understanding, and put aside their petty differences, cease pursuing and eating each other and live for a brighter, better future for all fish, and those who love them. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Flushed Away (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Christmas in Heaven
Lyrics by Terry Jones
Music by Eric Idle
Performed by Graham Chapman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Bloody good "Python"!
21 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

The moment you start watching "Monty Python's Meaning of Life", and you see the unexpected movie within the movie "The Crimson Permanent Assurance", in which an office building turns into a pirate ship, you know you're in for one hell of a surreal ride. "Meaning of Life" is the Pythons at the zenith of their lunacy, filled with shocking moments of violence, offensive behavior, repulsive bodily functions, and all sorts of jaw-dropping bric a brac. Whether or not the movie truly intends to make us ponder the meaning of life or not is debatable, but you have a great time watching it. With an aquarium full of fish as a sort of Greek chorus, we explore the 3 stages of life: birth, growth, and death. The faint of heart better beware: "Meaning of Life" has scenes that would, even today, barely fly in the land of the Puritans. Michael Palin, as a dirt-poor father of 100 children, leads an epic musical number against birth control. Eric Idle, while singing about the vastness of the universe, witnesses a constellation take form of a naked woman giving birth. John Cleese plays a headmaster who teaches sex ed by having intercourse with his wife in front of his class (it's easily the least erotic sex scene in cinema history). And, in "Meaning of Life"'s most famous scene, the revolting, gluttonous Mr. Creosote (Terry Jones) literally eats until he explodes. The film lampoons several touchy topics: Catholic dogma, basic human stupidity and selfishness, the foolishness of war (in a brilliant parody of "Zulu", with Michael Caine in a brief cameo), and even death itself (one man is able to choose his death, in which he is chased off a cliff by a mob of topless women). Yet it's not entirely gratuitous. In fact, the Pythons make several good points: birth control shouldn't be denied to anyone, especially those too poor to have children. Gluttony is wrong, and will in time punish you itself. We only live once, so we better enjoy the ride. It's no-holds-barred madness, and it's Monty Python at their best. "Meaning of Life" doesn't have the same cult following as "Holy Grail", but it's certainly one of their best. If you can't handle gore, sex, vomiting, or lunacy, steer clear. For those willing to take the chance, check out "Monty Python's Meaning of Life" and maybe we'll figure out, as the title song says, if "mankind's evolving, or is it too late?".


36 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 207 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page