Life of Brian (1979) / Monty Python’s Life of Brian
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“Only the true Messiah denies his divinity!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Yes, there is much to be offended by in Life of Brian: it’s a satire which truly leaves nothing sacred, and that’s the point. Its sharpest attacks are made on the mobs of worshipers who insist Brian is their messiah, and who turn his every word and action into a literal sign from God; and on left-leaning revolutionary groups which end up competing against each other for the ability to break free from Rome, while conceding that Roman imperialism actually brought quite a few positive elements to their lives. (“All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”) Not all the humor here will work for all viewers, naturally; I’m not a fan of the running gag about Pilate’s lisping, for instance, or amused by the Roman names such as “Biggus Dickus” and “Incontinentia Buttocks”. However, there’s plenty here to enjoy on repeat viewings — including but not limited to the classic closing ditty (“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”).
Note: Be sure to check out IMDb’s Trivia page for plenty of interesting facts about the making of this film, as well as Wikipedia’s in-depth overview and analysis; I’m sure the DVD commentary is worthy, too (though I haven’t listened to it yet myself).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)
One thought on “Life of Brian (1979) / Monty Python’s Life of Brian”
A no-brainer must-see, one which rewards on multiple viewings.
Personally, I love this film from start to finish and can’t fault a single sequence (nor would I be able to choose a favorite scene, since I’m too fond of all of them). It’s a pure comic gem!
~even if some of it is crude. And I don’t feel any of it is intended with disrespect. I find it amusing that the film ignited such rancor and backlash among certain church groups. (…Sigh. Church groups.)