Monty Python and the Holy Grail has been a favorite of mine for years. It follows King Arthur (played by Graham Chapman) as he seeks out noble knights for his Round Table. Of course, being from Monty Python, the movie is hardly serious about anything (not sure there was even one serious part anywhere in it). So, during the Year of the Answer, I thought I’d review it.
As far as films go (even back then), this one was fairly low budget at about $400,000. They couldn’t even afford horses for the knights (hence, the coconut shell gag). All things considered, they had pretty decent production values for such a film, and they were able to make the film feel much bigger than it actually was.
All of the regular Python gang were in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and all of them played multiple characters. John Cleese played Sir Lancelot, but I liked him best as Tim the Enchanter and the Black Knight. The crazy (but in a sane way) Terry Gilliam played Arthur’s squire, Patsy. My favorite of his roles in this film was the crazy bridge keeper. He was perfect for the part of the crazy old coot.
Terry Jones played the accidentally-wise Sir Bedevere in one of my favorite sketches in the film. The logical (?) reasoning he used in the trial of the witch is wonderful to behold. Michael Palin plays Sir Galahad, but my favorite was the King of Swamp Castle. The routine about guarding the door of the Prince’s room ranks right up there with “Who’s on First?” for comedy gold.
The only place this film falls down is in the plot department. While Monty Python and the Holy Grail starts off with a regular plot, it is hijacked, rehijacked, and re-rehijacked too many times. That’s not to say the film is any less enjoyable, but it will confuse some people (especially those not familiar with Monty Python…who are very few in number, thankfully). The sheer randomness of some of the parts in the film make it simultaneously wonderful for those who love British humour, and confusing for those non-sequitur-challenged among us.
I really enjoy this film. It is not my favorite film (hence, the lower rating), but is still fun to break out and watch every so often. It is pure silliness, with a slice of insanity and a dollop of whackiness thrown in for good measure. If you need some truly mindless fun, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the film to watch. If you haven’t ever seen it, repent now!
Release Date: April 9, 1975 (UK)
MPAA Rating: PG
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (brief social drinking, brief smoking)
Language: 2 (occasional, brief stronger, deity)
Nudity: 1 (a few naked bottoms)
Sexuality: 1 (brief innuendo, reference to oral sex)
Violence: 2 (slapstick (but gory) violence, knight/monster attacks and deaths)