7.6/10
100,778
205 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
4,131 ( 337)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

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

Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
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
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
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
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
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 | 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
Edit

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 / 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)
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:

View content advisory »
Edit

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 »

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 IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2003 restored director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

During the opening sequence, the title is struck by lightning on the bottom of the final "e". The resulting words, "The Meaning Of Liff", is also the title of a book written by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, published in 1983. John Lloyd explained in a BBC Radio 4 documentary celebrating its 30th anniversary of publication, that Douglas Adams had called Terry Jones to ask if he could title their book to (almost) match the film's title. Adam's idea was that the potential confusion of titles would help sell the book. Notably, Adams was the only "Official Unofficial Member" of Monty Python. 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

Gaston: You see that house? That is where I was born. My mother said to me, "Garcon. The world is a beautiful place, and you must spread joy and contentment everywhere you go". And so I became a waiter... Well, I know it is not a great philosophy but...
[pauses, looks offended]
Gaston: Well, fuck you. I can live my life in my own way if I want to.
[begins to walk away in disgust]
Gaston: Fuck off. Don't come following me.
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

Spoofs Oliver! (1968) 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

 
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.


23 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 205 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed