Life of Brian (1979) Poster

(1979)

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10/10
One of the most intelligent comedies ever made
gogoschka-116 December 2013
Personally, I believe this to be one of the most intelligent comedies ever made. It might not appear that way at first because the film does have its share of simple slapstick and "naughty" moments, but generally, the topics the Pythons tackle here are very serious - albeit dealt with in a way that makes this a true contender for the funniest film of all time.

A firework of hilarious sketches, timeless quotes and clever comments on the human condition, this film was deemed too dangerous for the masses and therefore, until recently, banned in several countries (normally, this only used to happen to the so called "Video Nasties").

This film never once makes fun of Jesus (Christ) - but it DOES take the mickey out of blind, fanatic followers of any political movement or religion.

An outstanding achievement and endlessly re-watchable.

My vote: 10 out of 10

Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/
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8/10
I Think God Has A Sense Of Humor, Don't You?
Gazzer-21 April 2002
And in the 1979th year of Our Lord, God took in a screening of Monty Python's "Life Of Brian," and thought it was funny.

He did NOT think the film was blasphemous or offensive in any way. Yea, God did admire it's incredibly clever pokes at religion and at religious fanatics, for God Himself knew the virtue of being able to laugh at one's self. He also knew before He even walked into the theater that the title character, Brian, was NOT Jesus Christ, but merely a man who was born at the same time as Christ---right next door, in fact---and became mistaken for a messiah. God settled into His seat, with popcorn in one hand and diet soda in another, and had a rollicking good time.

He recommended "Life Of Brian" to His Son, Jesus, who went to see it the following week. He, too, thought it was a hilarious film, and immediately sang the praises of the Monty Python troupe---John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam & Michael Palin---for creating such a wonderful spoof. And He recommended the film to His friends. Have an open mind, He told them, and have fun.

But God and His Son were quite puzzled why so many people in the Bible Belt community were so upset by "Life Of Brian"---especially the ones who hadn't even bothered to SEE the frigging film for fear of being damned for all time. And They both shook their heads in dismay. It's only a movie, They thought, and a very funny, harmless one at that. Get a life!

But God gave Monty Python's "Life Of Brian" the power to overcome such ridiculous adversity, and today, well over two decades later, the film is rightfully regarded as a comedy classic, and one of the Python's finest works. It's *still* not a film for everybody, but does it have to be? If you're in tune with the Python's style of zany comedy, you'll enjoy "Life Of Brian."

And praise be to Saint George Harrison, late of The Beatles, for lending the Pythons a hand in making this wonderful movie. :-)
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9/10
A Masterwork of British Comedy
j30bell20 December 2004
In Life of Brian, Python created what John Cleese called simply "our masterpiece". As a piece of writing, it is the most impressive of the three feature length Python movies. The scenes remain episodic, but there is a much more coherent narrative than in the earlier Holy Grail – I loved HG too, but for different reasons. The characters (well about one or two of the characters) have acquired some subtle shading, which is rare in comedy and, alas, rare in British comedy in particular. The plight of Chapman's Brian is one that I really cared about (although his death is also extremely funny, upbeat and one of the truly iconic moments in British cinema).

The story must be fairly well known. Brian is born at the same time as Jesus with whom he leads a kind of parallel life, thus allowing the team to lampoon and satirise everything from religious zealotry and mob hysteria to 1950s biblical/sword & sandals epic cinema. It does this by marrying historic situations with more modern attitudes; thus we have revolutionary Stan who wants to be Loretta and have the right to have babies, the old man who can't understand why he's being stoned for saying simply "that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!" the gruff centurion correcting Brian's Latin grammar while he's trying to daub anti-Roman slogans on a wall and the gentle centurion asking each of a line of the condemned "crucifixion? Good" while ticking them off on his clipboard. Interspersed with this is slapstick, pantomime women (I'm not sure there are any real women in Python, which is probably its greatest failing) and a small amount of the trademark Python surrealism (the spaceship, the "prophet" talking about the sons misplacing the things owned by their fathers who had placed them down only just a moment ago… etc). In short, something for everyone – except, perhaps, committed Christians.

A lot of attention has been paid to whether LoB is blasphemous. The Pythons claim not and I'm not sufficiently religious to care very much. On the surface, I disagree. There are also occasional sideswipes at ancient Jewish custom – although, to be fair, only stoning which, if you'll pardon the pun, might be considered a fair target. Jesus is not criticised, but the film's central message seems to be; be in the right place at the right time and even a man called Brian can become God. Almost the last line is from Eric Idle saying; "you come from nothing and go back to nothing" which doesn't suggest that the man on the mount at the beginning is a divinity, no matter whether he's talking sense or not.

Most importantly though, LoB is refreshingly satirical. There always was an element of this in Python (mediaeval Christian philosophy lampooned in the Holy Grail for example "this new learning amazes me Sir Bedevere, explain again how sheeps' bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes… so, if she weighs the same as a duck, she must be made of wood, and therefore - a witch". I guess LoB attracted attention because the satire had never been so bold or obvious before. This is also what makes LoB such an incredibly funny film to watch; but put it this way – despite what Rowan Atkinson may have once said – I'd be very surprised if the Python's weren't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

That shouldn't put you off, though. Unless your faith is too weak to survive Python's gentle humanism, watch this movie – you'll probably love it.
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10/10
Stunningly funny
ptpenry11 February 2002
One of my fave films of all time, this film has so many laugh-out-loud jokes and ridiculous thought processes that it would probably be unfair to pick out just a few. Tough - I'm going to: John Cleese as the legionnary Latin teacher rebuking Brian not for daring to use graffiti on the Roman fort but for using the wrong tense, Michael Palin trying to find his place in life as an ex-leper, Terry Jones as Brian's mother trying to protect him from myrrh - let's face it, we've all wondered what myrrh is ! The bit that always makes me laugh without fail is something that isn't always noticed - when Michael Palin is having a go at the guards; "Do you find it risible when I say the name of my friend Biggus Diccus ?" if you look carefully you'll see that Palin is trying really hard not to laugh.

Puerile, silly but also very very clever. This film doesn't criticise religion or Jesus in any way ( what was wrong with the people who tried to ban it ? ) - it's just asking what it could have been like in a society that was expecting the Messiah to show up at any moment, and covering it in a massive coating of comedy.

This film is an absolute classic - 10 out of 10.
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10/10
Still one of the funniest films of all time.
alice liddell13 October 1999
It's impossible for me to be objective about this film. I know every scene and line by heart. Not because I'm one of those ghastly Python nerds, whose anal obsessiveness sucks the whole spirit out of everything they did, and actually misses the joke, which is on them; they are the perfect subjects for a Python lampoon. No. I only know LIFE OF BRIAN so intimately because I've seen it so often, it's still one of the funniest comedies I've ever seen, and persists in being hilarious despite familiarity, which, as in so much Python did, is the reverse of what comedy is 'supposed' to be made of (i.e. surprise).

Also, nostalgia value. MONTY PYTHON were my first heroes, before I even reached double figures. I gobbled up every programme, film and record in a space of a couple of short years, so they are bound up with a period of my life when I was very happy and hopeful, so I go all misty-eyed when I see it. Bizarrely, we were first encouraged to watch BRIAN by our Latin teacher, who felt it was very insightful about Roman society.

But no-one watches PYTHON anymore, except that dorkish clique. My brother, only a couple of years my junior, is as mystified now by my reaction to it as my parents were then. But surely BRIAN is a comic masterpiece in itself, accessible to anyone who found the very male, elitist, academic bias of the programme somewhat alienating?

How can I implore you to watch this? It's got a straight narrative, with some of the greatest set-pieces and dialogue of any film ever. It's not a great FILM comedy - Terry Jones is no Gilliam - but the style suits the humour perfectly, allowing it to breathe, and sometimes pulling off an extraordinarily evocative shot, such as when Brian and his mother are walking from Jesus' sermon, and squabbling about petty things like big noses, and the camera pulls back to a vast Judean wasteland, with a massive Roman statue being wheeled, and a set of crucifixes being planted: a marvellous encapsulation of a period in history.

This is the film's true triumph - it's a magnificent deconstruction of historical distortion. By paralleling the life of Christ with that of an ordinary little man, Python reclaim history from symbol and myth. It brings the body back into history. Its resolute rejection of divinity leads to a bleak, ironic conclusion (listen to 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life' carefully, and in context: it's NOT comforting) - the story of Jesus without redemption is ghastly.

The intelligence behind the juvenile gags is astonishing - the film is a learned commentary on power, totalitarianism, repression, language, gender, the writing of history, the politics of subversion, the complicity of the repressed. Myth is thrown to the wind - the film succeeds where Reg and his revolutionaries fail, by revealing a whole series of repressive apparatum (sic?). No-one is spared - the film is unashamedly destructive, but the film's satire is not arid or narrow; there are many rich parallels with our own time, as the extraordinary reaction from the religious on the film's release showed.

But BRIAN is not just an attack on religion, but on all who would seek to write selective histories for their own interests, suppressing others' voices. The silliest jokes are also the most profound - in one scene, the kidnappers enter Pilate's palace through a tiled floor. They emerge through a modesty-concealing leaf painted on this floor. This is snickering schoolboy humour, and very very funny, but is also a comment on the phallocentricity of imperialism. Jokes like these are why BRIAN will always remain vital - it turns you into a ludicrous, ill-informed amateur historian.

The acting is an astonishing feat of multiple performances, but Graham Chapman, always my favorite Python, holds the chaos together, ironically as the Kafkaesque hero who races towards the abyss, an anti-Jesus to love and identify with. If I've made the film sound like hard work, than I'm an idiot. The seriousness is only there if you want it. Like Alice in Wonderland, or Buster Keaton, PYTHON seem to be full of metaphors that encapsulate the pains of life, but are also damnably entertaining. It's strange that men as supposedly 'surreal' and 'out there' as the Pythons should speak such good sense. Only BRINGING UP BABY, THE PALM BEACH STORY, and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, are funnier than this. Treasure it.
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10/10
Classic seamless comedy.
pstancer14 January 2005
This film is by far the best of the Python outings. It ranks as one of my favorite films of all time, which unlike 'The Holy Grail', hasn't dated with time but improves with repeated viewing.

The Pythons supposed take on Christianity, which caused outrage when it was first released (mostly by people who hadn't seen it), is actually a take on cults, both religious and political, and the people who follow them.

Brian, our hapless hero, is confused, horny, and constantly mistaken for the Messiah; who just happened to be born in the manger next to him. Brian just wants to be left alone, and to pursue his love for Judith, a member of the People's Front of Judea. Judith just wants the Romans to go home; but only after they've left the sanitation, the medicine, education, irrigation, roads, public order, etc., etc. ... oh and don't forget the wine!

Will Brian's love for Judith go unrequited? Will only the cheese makers be blessed, or does this refer to all manufacturers of dairy products? And just what have the Romans ever done for us?

It's subtle; it's anarchic; and it's possibly still banned in Norway. This is classic seamless comedy at its best. 10/10.
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10/10
Ave Monty Python!
Lee Eisenberg10 October 2005
This is, in my opinion, the best religious movie ever made. Monty Python's Flying Circus knows how to do everything hilariously. Focusing on Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman), who gets mistaken for the messiah in Judea in 33 AD, the movie pokes fun at everything: Romans, Jews, imperialism, even extraterrestrials. With sardonic lines almost every minute, they play religious fundamentalism for what it is: silly. I don't even know which scene was my favorite; every part was so funny. You'll never forget the song at the end. This is comedy in its greatest form, and it makes sense that it would come from the guys who brought us the "parrot sketch". Absolutely a hoot.
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10/10
One of the top 10 of all time
JerBear-230 May 1999
True, my tastes are eclectic. This movie is so incredibly clever and thought provoking that it's not surprising that it raised so many hackles. Plus, it's as fast paced and funny as a Marx Brothers movie without the musical breaks. You can watch it 20 times and you'll still sing at the end. Undoubtedly one of the top 10!!
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10/10
Not necessarily laugh-out-loud every minute, but it's satirical edge and wit is as clever as the technical side of the film
MisterWhiplash21 June 2004
Monty Python's follow-up to their cult smash Holy Grail was Life of Brian, a film that takes on (if not always with the utmost seriousness, then usually with a mix of silliness and slight intellectualism) the believers in religions, the zealous nature that belief brings out in people. I first saw the film in the theater upon its re-release last month, and I found it very funny, though not with the kind of belly laughs that I had on my first reaction to Holy Grail. It's not without it's scenes that stick out as some of Python's finest (the Stoning, Pilate's scenes, the Spaceship sequence), even as sometimes it goes a little too broad for comfort (part of the colisseum).

Yet, the great strengths that lie in Life of Brian are that 1) the writers and performers (Chapman, Cleese, Gilliam, Jones, Idle, Palin) bring their irreverent strengths to a fine point with the script and multiple roles. Even when a scene doesn't get the laughs it could've or should've, it turns out to be a scene brimming with a cleverness that could only exist in the "Python-esque" universe. 2) the director (Jones) and designer/animator (Gilliam) lay the groundwork for this realistic atmosphere of 33 A.D. and bring out what is the best in the acting, Pythons or otherwise (famous British comedian Spike Milligan has a role of note). Held over from the sets of Franco Zeferelli's Christ film, the Pythons use all these locations and settings and little details to spring out their wild, brilliant gags. The look of the film enriches the comedic elements, and the result is (arguably, of course) the troupe's best film. Not for all tastes by the way (Monty Python in general for me took some while to warm up to, but paid off once it worked). Grade: A
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8/10
Still funny, after 25 years
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews29 June 2004
When a film is still funny 25 years after it's made, and doesn't feel particularly aged, even a quarter of a century later, then you know that you've struck gold. The famous Monty Python crew once again take a well-known subject and make a lot of fun of it. This time, the subject is religion, or, more specifically, Christianity. Everyone who knows at least a little about Christianity, which is pretty much anyone from the western world, will probably be able to laugh at something in this movie. Unless, of course, you are very Christian yourself, in that case you will probably feel that the film is blasphemous(I don't personally think so, since it makes fun of the followers and the general stupidity of people and organizations back in 30-something A.D., rather than Jesus and his teachings). The plot is about as incoherent as the usual Monty Python team film, though it should be noted that, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it is an actual film, and not a series of sketches, like, for example, the Meaning of Life. It's about as paced as they usually are, most of the scenes contain a lot of jokes, and then they move on to the next scene, after about five minutes of jokes and sight gags. This is, unfortunately, the problem with their films; if you don't like the jokes, the film might seem extremely slow to you; of course, one could argue that Monty Python mainly make movies for the jokes sake, but they could do better on the pacing, for the sake of viewers who don't like all those repeated jokes. That's not to say that I don't like them, I laugh at them most of the time, heck, I laughed so hard that I almost got stomach ache from it at one particular instant. But, I guess that a lot of people won't like them for this way of making movies. Oh well. You can't please everyone. The humor is great, it's standard Python wacky, crazy humor, so every Python fan should enjoy it. People who don't like Monty Python should give this a chance too, if they have at least a little humor, and they aren't Christian extremists. Christian "believers" can probably laugh at it too, like I said, it's not the religion itself, it's more the brainwashed followers that the film makes fun of. All in all, a great film for fans of the Python crew, and people who have a sense of humor about religion(a dark sense of humor, that is). I recommend it to fans of Monty Python, people who enjoy dark humor and people who can laugh a little at the less intelligent parts of Christianity. I fall into all three categories, and I loved it. 8/10
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10/10
One of my all-time favourites
MrVibrating27 December 2005
While Quest for the Holy Grail was funny because it was so low-budgetty and silly, Life of Brian is more advanced and with a greater variation of humour. It also has a bigger budget, which is great to see. Every scene looks realistic, and the sets (someone said they were formerly used by "The Last Temptation of Christ?) are great.

Almost every line in this movie is a classic, and all of them very quotable. The characters are hilarious, and out-of-this world zany.The plot is good, and contrary to the Holy Grail, it actually comes to a satisfying conclusion.

The movie also dares to joke about religion. No, they don't joke about Jesus or God, but about the believers in them. The line "I say you are Messiah, and I should know. I've followed a few" is so spot-on it hurts(when I laugh).

All in all, watch this. This is possibly the funniest movie ever created. You can't afford to miss it.
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Disgraceful depiction of the Popular Front.
O'Hanrahanrahan11 August 2000
For many years I have worked tirelessly to promote the aims of the Popular Front of Judea, and quite frankly I'm disgusted at its treatment of us. To depict us as a lonely old man is one of the most grotesque distortions ever commited to celluloid. We are at least three times that number, and furthermore we don't have a single repressed transexual among us. An absolute disgrace. I shall never watch this film again, unless I rent it out on video or see it on the TV in the near future. Vive la PFJ.
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9/10
red sea pedestrians
supers10022 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
i am a huge Monty python fan, but have never laughed so hard at any movie or sketch i have ever seen written by them the scene where Michael palin is talking about biggus dickus and ordering the guards NOT TO LAUGH made me shake with laughter till tears ran down my cheeks, and not until dinner the next day did i stop giggling to myself all in all, this mite be the troupe's best film, although the holy grail is equally as good, i think that life of Brian is better written in every scene, and it is great to not find any offense in some of the Jewish jokes personally, i think Michael palin owned this movie, although graham Chapman was probably the better actor, each one of palin's roles were different and memorable, the jail guard leading the prisoners to crucification is so funny, because hes just so sweet sounding of course, there was the irrelevant bit, strange but funny in the Monty python way, that they can get away with almost everything this is my favorite of all the Monty python films, and i recommend it to anyone who is willing to laugh extremely hard at womans (romans)
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6/10
Don't crucify me, but I don't think it's that great.
BA_Harrison31 December 2007
What I am about to write might upset some people. Hell, many comedy fans would even say that I was being blasphemous, but here goes...

Life Of Brian isn't THAT funny!

There, I've said it—even after multiple viewings, I still find the Life of Brian, Monty Python's tale of an ordinary man who is mistaken for the Messiah, to be rather disappointing as far as belly laughs are concerned.

Sure, it's a very quotable film, the sets and cinematography look great, and it certainly has a lot of valid things to say about the stupidity of religion and it's followers (who are, let's face it, often pretty stupid!), but I honestly feel that much of the movie's comedy just doesn't work, and actually feels rather laboured. I mean, is a speech impediment really THAT hilarious?

I'm not saying that I am not amused by any of the Python's silliness: there are definitely laughs to be had, particularly at some of the more absurd moments (after all, who can keep a straight face at the phrase 'wolf's nipples'?), but, with the complete adoration that Life of Brian receives from it's fans (particularly from students), anyone would think it was the second coming.

5.5 out of 10, rounded up to 6 for IMDb.
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10/10
The first time I watched Life of Brian I hardly laughed at all
Hokusai5 May 2005
The first time I watched Life of Brian I hardly laughed at all. Why? Certainly not because it wasn't funny. The problem was that the most absurd and hilarious moments in the movie are actually painfully real, only exaggerated a little bit. If the messenger hadn't been so funny the message would have really depressed me. Which is why it's such a great movie, I suppose. It's hilarious, and at the same time it's actually about something that matters, and is really depressing at that.

Personally I don't think it's blasphemous in any way. It conveys its message in a way that's probably offensive to some people, but it doesn't mock God or Jesus, it doesn't even lash out against religion as a whole. It merely points out the absurdity of people who are too lazy or too stupid to think for themselves, and desperately cling to anybody willing to lead them. Or even unwilling to lead them. You can almost feel the anger and frustration of the writers in some scenes, as if they want to scream "God/Evolution/Whatever you believe in gave you a mind to think with on your own. USE IT!" to the viewer.

All in all, I'd say this is the best of the Python movies and in general one of the greatest movies of all time.
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7/10
Monty Python and the Search for Religion
Ryan13 February 2005
The British comedy troupe Monty Python had always been on the edge of controversy ever since their show "Flying Circus" appeared on the BBC in the late 1960s, but nothing had prepared the world for what Life of Brian had brought. In Life of Brian, the comedians go after the one institution that has always had trouble accepting satire: religion, specifically the Christian Church. Seen as blasphemous, Life of Brian needed an eleventh hour rescue for Beatle George Harrison to finish the film. The church was wise to wonder what the Pythons were doing. Life of Brian is filled with questions of the role of religion in society, why people often feel they need religion, and the age old question of "What would happen if the 3 wise men went to the wrong stable on that night they brought gifts to the young savior?" There is typical Python silliness throughout the movie, set up early where listeners at one of Jesus' sermons (held at "tea time," of course) think they hear that "blessed are the cheese makers." But the most important part of this film, and it's charm, are the questions of religion. No matter your faith, you will find scenes in Life of Brian unsettling, provocative, and humorous, possibly all three at once. While not wall-to-wall as funny as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian is a humorous look at civilization's oldest and dearest institutions, and asks us to consider what we are doing.
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10/10
Satirical and cunning farce: you either love it or hate it
Teyss5 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"God created man in His own image" (Genesis, 1:27). He gave him humour, and saw it was good. Later, God created cinema, and saw it was good.

Still later, God created the Monty Python, but was not sure it was good. It got out of hand, because this disrespectful bunch used God's creations, man, humour and cinema, to turn them against religion.

So the story goes: some believers think "Life of Brian" is blasphemous. It was banned on its initial release by several UK councils, Ireland and Norway. However, non-believers think this aspect is trivial. Let's try to neutrally assess how provocative the movie is.

In any case, the religious satire needs to be tempered by two caveats: the movie not only mocks religion, but almost everything MP can lay their hands upon; the blasphemous parts are not hostile nor gratuitous. Let's explore both elements. I won't discuss humour, because it is subjective (for me the movie is hilarious).

*** WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS ***

1. What do MP target apart from religion?

  • People. Except Brian, humans are stupid and/or ridiculous morons. Brian's mother is greedy, vulgar and simple-minded. Persons quarrel foolishly precisely when Jesus voices his Sermon on the Mount, a message of love. Even Brian's girlfriend, brainwashed by ideology, abandons Brian on the cross when he asks to be freed.


  • Crowds. If individually people are pathetic, when they gather, they also are ugly. Women cruelly regroup at the beginning to lapidate a poor lad whose crime is trifle. An insensitive mob plays with prisoners' lives by asking for irrelevant pardons to make fun of Pilate's pronunciation. Crowds blindly worship Brian: "We've got to work it out for ourselves", they repeat like brainless zombies. The suicide squad, well, commits suicide without freeing Brian.


  • Oppressive power. Romans imprison, crucify and execute. Yet the powerful are laughable. The mighty Pilate and Biggus Dikus are grotesque. A Roman patrol, instead of arresting Brian for a graffiti, makes him copy a hundred times "Romans go home" in Latin (a reference to the slogan "US go home" during the Vietnam War, which ended four years before the movie was released).


  • Vain ideology that delivers no results (a possible reference to left-wing politics). To resist oppression, the rebel group displays an impressive incompetence. They spend more time fighting each other than against Romans (People's Front of Judea, Judean People's Front, Judean Popular People's Front). They just talk pompously and don't manage to perform one single effective action during the entire movie: only does Brian graffiti the fortress. The rebel leader is cynical, cowardly and short-sighted.


  • Themselves. Like a schoolboy bunch, MP make fun of everything including their own movie. Each of them plays different roles, some completely silly. Graham Chapman appears in frontal nudity, very rare in cinema at the time. They introduce an absurd and useless scene parodying Star Wars (WTF?), whereby a spaceship captures Brian (FWTF?) and crashes after a battle (FWTFF?).


2. The movie iconoclastically tackles various religious fundamentals. MP argued their movie is heretical, not blasphemous, because it mocks dogma but not God: granted, even though the representation of Jesus is ambiguous (see below). Also, it sometimes feels as if it does not criticise religion as much as the usage people make of it, since they are dumb as noted above.

  • The Nativity. The three Wise Men mistake Brian for Jesus, implying the Latter was a man like any other.


  • The Crucifixion. Brian ends on the cross like Jesus: the loop with the initial confusion is looped. Crucifixion, which was actually widespread, is not shown as horrible but as a relatively minor punishment. The final scene is not tragic but comical: the crucified sing "Take a look on the bright side of life", one of MP's best songs. Understandably, this sequence was highly controversial.


  • The Messiah. It is easy to become one like Brian: a few words, some mystery and crowds will follow senselessly. Faith, as love, is blind.


  • The Sayings. Jesus's Sermon is misunderstood ("Blessed are the cheese-makers", "Blessed are the Greek"). Yet it is unclear who is being made fun of: people who miss the point, or Jesus who accumulates the "Blessed are…". Jesus is surrounded by a halo, but this positive view could be first or second degree.


  • Relics. When Brian drops a gourd and a shoe, his followers absurdly split into two groups, each worshipping a different relic. And that is how sects are born…


  • Fear. Religion is based on fear (Hell, Judgement Day, the deadly sins, the ten commandments, crucifixion representations, prohibitions). In the movie, would-be prophets distil fear with dreadful predictions… until a lunatic turns this rhetoric upside-down ("A friend shall lose his friend's hammer, …"). Again it is not clear if the target is religion, or people who need to be frightened in order to orientate their deeds.


  • Wows. A hermit breaks his silence wow… because Brian stepped on his foot. Wows appear as a useless and easily reversible commitment.


-----

In summary, "Life of Brian" is farcical yet meaningful, richer than its simple blasphemous reputation: it blends MP's unique style into a consistent and funny satire. Historically well documented, it arguably is the best of the three movies they directed, less gratuitous and nonsensical than "Holy Grail" and "The Meaning of Life".

Behind the farce, the movie delivers a hedonistic message: even if life is bleak, let's have fun. People are idiotic and cruel, but also laughable. Oppressive powers can be ridiculed. Humans are condemned, but show resilience by singing. Ideology can be a risible delusion. We don't know if religion is right or wrong, but it can be caricatured.

You will not like this movie if you are hermetic to MP's humour or if your religious beliefs are hurt, both being understandable reactions. But then, isn't comedy always irreverent?
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6/10
Delightful as well as hilarious film about a false and unwilling Messiah who wants to free his land from the oppression of Rome
ma-cortes15 August 2014
Religious parable about intolerance focuses on Brian , a Jew in Roman-occupied Judea. After joining up with an anti-Roman political organization, Brian , a reluctant savior is mistaken for a prophet , and becomes a peculiar Messiah . Then a group decides Brian is the Messiah and he cannot convince them he is not . Brian joins the Peoples' Front of Judea, one of several dozen separatist groups who actually do nothing .

Irreverent and often sidesplitting satire of Jesus Christ movies that will probably offend some catholics , including many Political and Social comments . Graham Chapman plays the title role born in a manger just down the street from Jesus Christ's and spends his life being mistaken for a messiah . This is the tale of of a man whose life parallels Jesus ; it results to be the most sustained and funniest film from Britain's bad boys . Six cast members played 40 various characters such as Graham Chapman , John Cleese , Terry Gilliam , Eric Idle , Terry Jones and Michael Palin . Well produced by George Harrison, a huge fan of Monty Python, he felt so strongly about the movie he "pawned" his home in London and his office building, to raise the 4 million $ . According to the diaries of Michael Palin a possible title was "Brian of Nazareth", which was strongly favored by Palin, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle . In the end this was never used, perhaps to avoid title comparisons with Jesus of Nazareth (1977), whose leftover sets were used for filming parts of this film . However, when the film was released in Italy in the early 1990s, it was titled "Brian di Nazareth¨ . Originally financed by EMI, but they backed out when they believed the script to be blasphemous . EMI was sued by the Pythons and settled out of court. Finance was then arranged through George Harrison, who thought it was the last chance to have another Python film, creating Handmade Films for this purpose . Though the movie has been directed by Terry Jones only, to avoid the frictions and conflicts there were in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Terry Gilliam directed at least two scenes: the very first one, with the arrival of the Wise Men and the Nativity, and the abduction of Brian by the aliens, as explained in the commentary.

Lively Original Music by Geoffrey Burgon , including jolly final song sung by Eric Idle . Colorful as well as evocative Cinematography by Peter Biziou . The motion picture was well directed by Terry Jones . In 1965, with his friend Michael Palin, he made The Late Show (1966) for television, which was his first success and he wrote for many other TV shows . But Jones' greatest success was the zany Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-74) (with Palin, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle) and other hits such as Jabberwocky , The meaning of life , Monty Python and the Holy Grail and this Life of Brian , among others .
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4/10
It lacks the mad surrealism of "Holy Grail" and "Flying Circus," but it has its moments
David Conrad19 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The Pythons' 1979 movie has its moments but doesn't replicate the mix of intellectualism and absurdity that defined "Flying Circus" and "Holy Grail." "Brian" is altogether too linear and grounded for the Pythons. One notable exception, an alien abduction, feels a bit strained, like a conscious attempt to do something random. It would have been one of the most pedestrian segues on an episode of "Flying Circus."

Moreover, religious fundamentalism seems far too easy a target for the Pythons. Satire was always an important part of their act, and there are some very funny instances of it here at the expense of the People's Front of Judea (PFJ) and its similarly-named but much-despised splinter groups, but nothing quite as sharply-written as the exchange with the anarcho-syndicalist peasant in "Holy Grail." Moreover, the scenes never seem to end quickly enough after the points have been scored. The same wells, whether PFJ infighting or crowds slavishly following (and misunderstanding) prophets, are visited so often that the movie becomes predictable and stale, adjectives not often heard in reference to the most influential sketch comedy troupe of all time.

The best bits here are more low-brow: Romans with sophomoric names that send the centurions into uncontrollable giggling fits, and straight- faced full-frontal nudity. Even in these cases, though, incredibly slow pacing saps some of the humor. A gag about speech impediments, for example, takes ages to play out to its conclusion. The film ends well, though, with a perfectly earnest Eric Idle singing the hilarious earworm "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

Some religious groups and even entire nations (Ireland and Norway) took the Pythons' bait and reacted with great offense to the release of "Brian," a fact that says a lot more about the time period than it does about the movie, which hardly justifies such a response. From a contemporary perspective "Flying Circus" seems far more subversive than "Brian" in the sense that it forged new comedic ground and tested the limits of the television format. "Brian" doesn't reach beyond what the Pythons had already achieved, and, in failing to succeed at anything different, compares unfavorably.
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10/10
The greatest comedic moments in film
Publiusah178821 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have been reading the reviews, and I'm just happy to see that there still are some people out there who appreciate real comedy. For anyone who is willing to actually watch the movie, and not expect a zoolander-ish barrage of fleetingly funny moments, this is definitely one of the funniest movies in the history of film. One may watch this movie a hundred times, and still find parts of it he never noticed before. The scene with Michael Palin chained up to the wall in the dungeon is possibly the most perfect absurd comedy sketch in existence. (Oh, what I wouldn't GIVE to be SPAT at in the face!) Even better than the Dead Parrot! And the movie has a wonderful unity as well, as a massive (semi-serious) satire of not just religion, but humanity in general. Two of them went to Oxford, three to Cambridge--these guys are well educated, and their work is absolutely brilliant, simply funny on the surface and hilariously complex beneath. This movie IS better than Holy Grail, and is the python's finest work.
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8/10
Just when you thought you were saved...
Jessica Carvalho6 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
''Life of Brian'' is, in my opinion the second best film of Monty Python's movies,only losing for 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail''. Polically incorrect, banned banned from theatrical release in Ireland,banned in Norway for blasphemy, this movie is a parody and a comedy about a guy named Brian, who makes a parallel with the life of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. Brian was born in the same day and almost the same hour as Jesus Christ,no to mention they both live in the same country and city; but Brian is a regular guy, until he become a member of ''People Against Judea'' (or something like that) and many situations starts to happen.

With the same actors who worked in the others Monthy Pythons, this is one of the funniest movies someone can watch!
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7/10
Still wondering about that spaceship
Rammstein-213 January 2000
If the "Holy Grail" is their funniest movie, "Life of Brian" is the most well-made. And here it is easier to sort through the sketches and jokes scattered around the film, because it does tend to get boring at some times. British humor is the best, though, and this film is a clear and vivid example of the finest the Python gang had to offer.

The single most hilarious moment is when Brian shouts to the crowd that they're all individuals. They answer in unison: "yes, yes, we are all individuals" - and then this bearded fellow pokes his head out and calmly states: "I'm not." That is just brilliant.

Blasphemous? Yes, somewhat, but you'd have to be a really thick-headed Christian not to laugh at this harmless little film. After all, you are prompted to sing along: "always look on the bright side of life"...

What I really can't figure out is that sequence with the spaceship. I know you're not supposed to ask questions when watching Python humor - I just want to know what went through their minds when they added it...
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5/10
What was all the fuss about- it's an Almighty Laugh!
de_niro_200111 January 2007
I'm not a Python fan but I thought this film was hilarious. I am also a communicating member of the Church of Scotland and attend church fairly regularly. I might point out that I have heard a minister make mention of this film in his sermon and he was not condemning it. Even now, supporters of this film have to keep on driving home the point that this film is NOT about Jesus. Yes, Jesus does appear and is portrayed reverentially in the film (what the Pythons say about not being afraid of the blasphemy laws is a load of big talk). The laughs come thick and fast. If mishearing Jesus's words as "Blessed are the cheesemakers" is blasphemous then schoolchildren all over the world commit blasphemy when they sing "Dance then, wherever you may be. I am the Lord of the Dance Settee". If creating a fictional character whose life runs parallel to that of Jesus is blasphemous then Lew Wallace committed a blasphemy when he wrote Ben Hur. In a recent Channel 4 documentary about the film Polly Toynbee said there is a great humour vacumn at the heart of religion. It's true. The way some religious groups got so hot under their clerical collars about it takes your breath away. When the film opened in Glasgow, the late Pastor Jack Glass, well known arch enemy of Billy Connolly, presented the cinema manager with four nails. Glass told the manager this was because he was crucifying Jesus all over again. Much as he would have disliked it,Glass had a few things in common with Billy Connolly. Both came from a Glaswegian working class background, both had beards and expressed their strongly held views irrespective of what other people thought. Glass also had a bit of a knack for making people laugh although unlike Billy Connolly this was not intentional. Most of the religious nuts who opposed and continue to oppose this film have never seen it but these people aren't noted for their broad mindedness. Some have seen it and probably would have sat their scowling and not laughing as it was what they saw as their Christian duty. But frankly, it's very hard to sit through this film and not laugh. Brian's ride in the spaceship is hilarious. There are also some brilliant lines in the film. Come on, you religious fanatics. Get a life. Have a laugh. Your faith must be very flimsy if it is harmed by a film that is just meant as a joke.
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7/10
Religious satire at its finest, not its most controversial
Movie_Muse_Reviews27 June 2008
Watching Monty Python's "Life of Brian" is not blasphemy. In 1979, that might have been more reasonable. Let's just say that the penalty in today's society would be crucifixion and that back then it would have been something worse.

"Life of Brian" doesn't directly insult Judeo-Christian history, it just takes it extremely not seriously. The result is a satire not of specific religions, but of religious characteristics that apply to most of the world's religions: people being quick to believe, notions of what is sin, etc. It plays off a western sensibility, but it doesn't directly criticize Judeo-Christian religious practice. The incredible Monty Python cast delivers this in their typical sketch humor manner, though this film has much more continuity than 1975's "Holy Grail."

Brian Cohen was born the same day as Jesus, but Jesus is separated from the film early on, so the film becomes about how Brian finds himself looking for something to believe in and eventual finds people strangely believing he is the messiah. He is a true protagonist in that the ridiculousness happens to him instead of the other way around. It is the rest of the cast in their multiple roles that surround his story with humor.

The array of comedic characters are not nearly as diverse and memorable as "Holy Grail" and for that matter the film is not nearly as memorable or funny. The comedic elements are the same, but they are much more potent in "Grail." However, the plot line is much smoother, with the sketches fitting into the plot line instead of bouncing all over the place.

"Brian" is good as a satire, better than it is at being a comedy. While the film will still has the distinct look and feel of a Monty Python work, it doesn't go from hilarious scene to hilarious scene as one might expect if they've only seen "Grail." There's a lot of clever humor, but "Brian" is not nearly as out of the box as you'd like. But in terms of offensive, only if you take all discussion of religious ideas and history very seriously as the Monty Python crew quite literally turn the sacred into the profane.
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