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The Meaning of Life (1983)

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The comedy team takes a look at life in all 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 / 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 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:

It took God six days to create the earth, and Monty Python just 90 minutes to screw it up. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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:

$1,987,000, 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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During an interview to promote the film when it was first released, one Python said the meaning of life concept was the only way they could think of to tie together a lot of unrelated sketch material. 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

Fish # 5: [swimming away] Oh, shit, it's Mr. Creosote!
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 »

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 Memories of 1970-1991: 1983 See more »

Soundtracks

Galaxy Song
Lyrics Eric Idle
Music by Eric Idle & John Du Prez
Performed by Eric Idle
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
More hilarity on film from the Monty Python team; this time, in sketch-comedy form

The third and last real film by the Monty Python crew. First, they made fun of the medieval times and its beliefs. Then, they gave the earliest followers of Jesus a whooping'. Now, they... well, they pretty much cover every stage of life in the search for the 'meaning of life'. The film, unlike the two other ones(Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian) is basically a series of sketches(whereas the two aforementioned films had progressive plots), much like the series(Monty Python's Flying Circus). As such, it's pretty much like watching an episode of said series, if the episodes were nearly two hours long. Of course, this means that if you like the series, you'll like the film. To this date, I have yet to meet anyone who likes the group and doesn't like the series, so I guess it was a good idea. Despite the title, it has reasonably little actual philosophy and such, but I doubt any Python-fans will be completely devastated by this. As another new thing for a Python-film, it's also a musical. There have been one or two musical numbers during the previous films and the series, but nothing this major. There are about 8-9 musical scenes in the film, complete with choreographed dancing, lead singers and backup vocals. Of course, it's all done in typical Python-style, so not a single one of them is what you'd normally expect from a musical. The comedy is pretty much the same as usual from the Python troupe, with some misses, but mostly hits. Plot is pretty much nonexistent, but what there is, is good. The pacing is good, but because of the film's all-sketch content, it gets somewhat dull around the middle(as Cleese also points out in the 'making of' featured on the DVD). The acting is all pretty good. The special effects are nice. Not much else to say, since you already pretty much know the Pythons' style of humor from the series and the two earlier films. And if you don't, you should probably check out either of the films first, or, even better, one of the more sober episodes of the series. I recommend this to any fan of the Monty Python group, particularly those who prefer the Flying Circus over the two other films, since it's more sketch-comedy than the others. 8/10


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