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20 December 2011

Life of Brian (1979) [70's Marathon] 12#

Directed by: Terry Jones
Genre: Comedy
Country: United Kingdom
Runtime: 93 Minutes
This film is golden comedy, and there is nothing more to it. The collaboration of comics in the Monty Python team are masters of bringing laughs to the screen. With such wit and intelligence, their films are all hilarious. “Life of Brian” may very well be the funniest out of the few this great team made. As one of the 70’s controversial films, it stands firmly as one of the all-time greatest comedies. A Solid script, hilarious acting, excellent timing and a magnificent energy, this ‘sacrilegious’ satire is a poignant and timeless comedy classic filled with some of the most memorable quotes in cinema. 

Many religious people of the time called this film an atrocity and that it was ‘sacrilegious’. The first thing I can to them is that they have no sense of humour and are probably boring human beings. I am not saying religion is stupid, but this film is so hilarious, calling it morally wrong is just silly. They completely misunderstood thing about this films, it is no called “Life of Jesus”, it’s Life of “Brian”. The Monty Python crew stuck by this fact and it is unquestionable that the film is not associated with Jesus. The clear distinction is rather made at the beginning of the film when the three wise men arrive to the wrong stable, and turn back and go to the right one-, which suggest that one is where Jesus is staying.

It is so obvious it is unbelievable. The film may be put in the time period of Jesus’ arrival on earth, but I think it spoofs more of the ways of life in this era. Of course, it does poke fun at the bible and it is hilarious. All those little jokes and characters are what make this film so special. It captures the essence of a bible epic and completely turns it into a British comedy. 

Not to mention the fact that the Monty Python crew play about five characters each in the film, especially Eric Idle and John Cleese. Little jokes such as the women going to the stoning (and there being certain kinds of stones that you can buy) and the man who we meet in the cell when Brian is thrown into it as he claims “you lucky bastard! Oh how I have dreamed of being spat in the face” make this film genuinely funny.

Another reason this film is so known and loved is how quotable it is. Here are a few off the top of my head:
“Well he did say Jehovah”
“I’m Brian and so is my wife”
“Biggus Dickus”
“Are you a virgin?”
“He is not the Messiah; he is a very naughty boy”
"What is your name Jew?" 

It is one of the funniest films ever made and quite easily too. The characterisations, the little characters, the jokes, the dialogue, everything is hilarious. Brian bumps into so many hilarious characters and their quotable lines are just golden.  The thing that makes the film extra special is that it is quite daring. Even John Cleese said during the time of writing the script that it was quite risky. They went ahead and done it, but the result was great.

The Monty Python style of humour is very outrageous and very silly, which for me, is why they are so genius. Their films are on the level of my love for some of Mel Brooks’ films, such as “The Producers” and “Young Frankenstein”. “Life of Brian” is among my all-time cherished comedies and one of my favourite films.  The performances as I said were excellent and I think Michael Palin who played Pilate, was outrageous. Hearing him pronounce his R's and saying "biggus dickus" is one of the film's finest scenes.

“Life of Brian” is a best film contender, on comedy lists such as AFI’s 100 years 100 laughs and is still being discovered to great response. The film is very recognised by film lovers and people alike with quotes like “I’m Brian and so is my wife” and has become a much-cherished film. Not to mention the films comically musical ending that has Eric Idle on the cross breaking in to song singing, “Always look on the bright side of life”, another thing from the film that became widely recognised. As he sings during his crucifixion, the others who are on the crosses join in, with a strangely happy conclusion to the film.

This comedy makes me proud to say it is a British Comedy film. American audiences might think differently of this film, and that goes for religious people too. For me it is a comedy classic. It is not artsy; it does not make me think differently of anything, it just makes me laugh until my sides hurt regardless if I am accompanied by someone during the viewing. Not to mention that the film is timeless comedy that will be funny today, tomorrow and years onwards. This is definitely a comedy to see before you die.

My Rating: 9/10  


  1. Of what I've seen, I have to admit. It looks funny. Compared to most 'offensive' things nowadays, I'm sure this is a doddle. haha...

    Being a Christian myself, I've always been advised away from this film. I think I have to check it out myself before I make any judgements.

  2. I felt this was a funnier movie than The Holy Grail (sacriligeous, I know.) I laughed quite a bit at the song on the cross scene. The movie was very much a product of its times, though, with the jokes about all the various revolutionary groups and the UFOs. Add in an appearance by Bigfoot and it would have been a 70s trifecta.

  3. terrific review, but *ahem* I haven't seen this one *ducks from stones*



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