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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
Jennifer Franks Jennifer Franks ... Bride
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

The names of companies owned by the Very Big Corporation of America (listed on the wall in the board room and being added to by the sign painter) are a repeating list, some of which are puns or in-jokes having to do with events in the rest of the movie. They are:
  • Acme Construction Company
  • Payne, Bickers and Dogood Ltd.
  • Stn. Pendons Ltd.
  • V. Rich and Son
  • Doneys (Florence)
  • Mirage Land Co.
  • Arctic Geo. Lab. Co.
  • Liver Donors Inc.
  • World Wide Wine Corp.
  • Universal Amalgamations Ltd.
  • Consolidated Steel Co.
  • Micro Computer Inc.
  • Moonscape Products Ltd.
  • Rubber Goods Incorporated
  • D.Odgey Enterprises Ltd.
  • Money Factor Printers Ltd.
  • Better Plastics Corps.
  • D. Crepid Holdings
  • Super Big Ltd.
  • Space Propulsion Lab
  • Interstellar Travel Corp.
  • Dawking's Mining Co.
  • Lange and Sons (International)
  • Cooper's (Purveyors)
  • Dickinson Kincain Association
  • The All Enveloping Co. Ltd.
  • O. Verpaid Associates Ltd.
  • E. Normons and Sons
  • A. Maze and Lee
  • Huge Horace Mann and Yure Ltd.
  • R. Devious Inc.
  • Wakefeld and Daughter
  • Vast Holdings (Europe) Ltd.
  • Phil Thevich Consortium
  • Fastness and Vast Co. Ltd
  • Star Bright Merchandise Org.
  • X. Tortion World Wide Ltd.
  • Cartwright Tutorials
  • Black and White Picture Co. Ltd.
  • R. J. McArthur Parks Ltd.
  • Walker, Walker and Jones Bros.
  • Data Travel and Experiments
(list repeats) See more »

Goofs

In the death sequence, the name at the top of the mausoleum is "nitruc" instead of "curtin", so the segment is reversed/flipped. See more »

Quotes

Lady Presenter: [after she and the other dinner guests have supposedly died after eating the salmon mousse] Hey, I didn't eat the mousse!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, the title is initially written as "MEANING OF LIFF", then a lightning strike corrects that to "LIFE". A book, "The Meaning of Liff", written by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd was published in 1983. 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

Referenced in What the Pythons Did Next... (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

The Meaning of Life
Lyrics by Eric Idle
Music by Eric Idle & John Du Prez
Performed by Eric Idle
See more »

User Reviews

 
Disgusting, Obscene, Disgraceful; and downright hilarious!
20 March 2008 | by NoIdeasLtdSee all my reviews

I was introduced to Monty Python a few weeks ago by a friend who let me borrow their movie collection on DVD. I have still got it with me, and have watched all the films at least twice. I have to admit, the humour and format is a bit out of date, but when you consider it's all over 20 years old and all still funny, you realise how ingenious it actually is. Anyhow, despite what other fans have said, this is almost certainly Monty Python's best film. Sure, it doesn't quite have the satirical cleverness of Life of Brian, sure it isn't as creative as Holy Grail, and despite the fact a lot of fans like this because it's quite similar to the flying circus show, it doesn't get as close to that as 'Now for something completely different' did (probably because that contained sketches directly from the show), and sure, John Cleese denied rewriting the script, which would of made the film even better, but it does have one thing that the show; or any of the other movies for that matter; doesn't have... Conplete and utter frequent obscenity. Seriously, from the beginning to the end it's got sexual, near blasphemous, and death based humour, but because I was watching it with my brother and not mother or any older generation, I hardly noticed. That was, until the live organ transplant scene. Seriously, that was the funniest, most shocking scene I have ever seen in Monty Python, or possibley ever. You have to watch it to get it, but damn. It's also got everything Monty Python's stuff other stuff has got, including an incredibly surreal 'middle of the film' Your'll love this film if you like Monty Pythons unique brand of humour, or if you enjoy fatalist, dark, sexual, toilet, violent, offencive or any other kind of shock value humour. Oh yeah, It's also got Boobies. I think it also contains the f-word a few times, but I don't think it was used more than in Life of Brian so from that side it was less obscene, but on the whole, this is the live-action, plot less, philosophical South Park movie.


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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

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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