King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table go on a quest to find the Holy Grail.
Director: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Connie Booth
MPAA Rating: PG for comedic violence, blood, and language
Fun Fact: Rock bands Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Genesis all made contributions to the film’s budget.
I remember seeing this film for the first time in high school. We had finished renovating a portion of our house and my family was moving into the finished portion so the construction can begin in the area that was going to be worked on next. Well after a long day of moving we ordered some pizza and went to the video store to rent some movies for the weekend. My Dad picked out Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I looked at the DVD cover and thought this would be the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen. We watched the movie that night and for the rest of the weekend my sister and I kept at it with repeat viewings.
Monty Python was known for their sketches on television. It was the British answers to Saturday Night Live. The structure of the film is in sketches, so it brings a unique twist to the film. There has been many takes on the King Arthur stories and his knights. You can take the stories and make your own twist to them. Until that point, we had not really seen anything of comedic value with the King Arthur stories or the Holy Grail for that matter. In fact, blending comedy with the stories works quite well. From the minute the credits start to the very end of the film, we get nonstop laughs through the many jokes and sketches that are presented on screen. The perfect ingredients for a good comedy are to have jokes and performances that make the audience laugh. If the film is not funny what would the point of it be. Fortunately for this film, the jokes keep going and something funny is always happening. The funnier scenes are legendary in the realm of comedy and are practically household names. We also get a surprise ending that we did not really see coming. Pepper in some action at an over top value and you get a nice balance in the adventure that is presented on screen.
Technical wise, the film has quite a bit going for it. The medieval like drawings show the talent that Terry Gilliam had while working on the production. I always have enjoyed the uniqueness of medieval artwork and why not give it a comedic twist to that as well. Medieval artwork can be absurd at times so these drawings bring that to a new life. The costumes that the performers wear have an authentic feel to them as well. If you are going to have a medieval period setting for your film comedic or not, you would want to have authentic costumes to it. Another thing that shines is the musical score. The music has an epic feel to elevate the scenes to a different level. While the music is performed epically, you cannot help but laugh about what is going on in the scene. It just works to a certain degree.
The Monty Python group of performers all had a great chemistry to them. Everyone in the main cast shines in all of the different roles they had. I loved all of the performances and cannot get enough of them. One of the main reasons why I watch this movie as much as I do is to see the performances and all of these characters from the legends performed in a different light. If I had to pick a favorite, I would have to go with Sir Robin played by Eric Idle. To me I believe that he had the funniest characters, actions, and stories to him. John Cleese might be my favorite from the group, but Eric Idle had the best performance in this film.
Overall, Monty Python and the Holy Grail to me is one of the greatest comedies of all time. I am not one that has a thing for British comedy, but everything presented in this film works. It has consistent laughs and it is presented like a sketch show. This gives the film a nice flow to it as there is always something going on during the run time. The technical aspects to the film also shine as the costumes have an authentic feel to them and the set pieces look nice as well. The music has an epic feel that brings the silliness to a new height for making in grander than it should be. The Monty Python cast shines in the film and I cannot get enough of these performances as it is the very reason that I have seen the movie as much as I have. Throw in some solid comedic action and we have a legendary comedy adventure film that still holds up to this very day.