Your favourite Monty Python movie

Yes, you've guessed it - your favourite Monty Python film of all time ever in your own lifetime is...

Duh, duh da duh duh duuhhhh...

Monty Python's Meaning of Life, and here's why:

1. It's the only film ever made in which one of the main characters is an hasidic rasta. Hava nagila, hava nagila, hava nagila v'nismeha. Hava neranenah, hava neranenah, hava neranenah v'nismeha.

2. There are not any tigers in Africa.

3. A 1980's digitally rendered vagina. Or perhaps it's a digitally rendered 1980's vagina.

4. Graham Chapman sings.

5. The entire fourth series of Blackadder is merely an homage to Part III: Fighting Each Other.

6. Disaster Recovery (the main feature crushes the supporting short in a manner the human race failed to achieve vs. The Love Bug).

7. The NHS Administrator.

8. John Cleese mind games - pooh-poohing Mr. Creosote and then graciously resurrecting the sketch, ensuring he had the best part in it.

9. A-fish, a-fish, a-fish, a-fishy, ooooh.

I used to work in the Academie Francaise, but it didn't do me any good at all,
And I once worked in the library in the Prado in Madrid, but it didn't teach me nothing, I recall.
And the Library of Congress you'd have thought would hold some key,
But it didn't, and neither did the Bodleian Library.
In the British Museum I hoped to find some clue.
I worked there from nine till six, read every volume through,
But it didn't teach me nothing about life's mystery.
I just kept getting older, and it got more difficult to see,
Till, eventually, me eyes went and me arthritis got bad,
And so now I'm cleaning up in here, but I can't be really sad,
'Cause, you see, I feel that life's a game. You sometimes win or lose,
And though I may be down right now, at least I don't work for Jews.

11. Well, that's the end of the examples, now here's the reason it's your favourite Monty Python movie...

The point is that while Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python's Life of Brian were exciting, hilarious, sexy-successful sidelines, Monty Python's Meaning of Life is no more and no less than an episode - the final episode - of Monty Python's Flying Circus. The Meaning of Life exemplifies precisely what each episode of Flying Circus strove to be. Each episode needed 100 minutes and a $9m budget to do it justice. And it's not as if the bloody BBC couldn't commit that kind of commitment, what with the amount of money they screw out of me and every other Python-fee payer every year, the tight-arsed bastards. Imagine what $9m could have bought you in 1969. Short-sighted, ignorant, complacent, mincing, risk-averse slobomites.

Basically, The Meaning of Life is as true to Python as any of the Python output. That's why it's your favourite Python movie, and the best Python movie. Indubitably. Cleese doesn't have a clue what he's on about when he says he's "disappointed" with it. The tart. I mean, Fierce Creatures? Tame Lemurs, more like. And Terry Gilliam? Watching The Meaning of Life makes watching Tideland about as thought-provoking an experience as watching ET. Terry Palin? Go film some turgid documentary about The Crusades in 80 Days in the Sahara with Vikings. It won't live up to Find The Fish, you bastards.

And Eric Idle, Eric "fucking" Idle - well, yeah. You've kept the faith. You're an innocent. You're the only one of the bastards who's tried to use the Python heritage to generate more and more money. But you didn't say "god bless you" when I sneezed.

Anyway... I do honestly believe that The Meaning of Life is the finest Python output of all, and I think you should too.

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smillsoid: I agree with every word 100%.

killerrabit444: i havent seen it so i dont really know but what i've seen of it doesnt seem as if it would be funny to me personally but i will deffinetly have to fully watch/appreciate it sorry if this was a bit stereotypical of a response i know you kind of meant it as a joke and a discussion of meaning of life

genji at 11:05 pm October 26

No problem but be sure to come back and give us your opinions when you've watched it.

Probably best not to watch it with your folks, though ;)

genji at 12:44 pm November 25

Er... you didn't go and watch it with your folks, did you?

mrsCutout at 3:20 pm November 25

lOL! Indeed that wouldn't be a good idea hahah!

Here Comes Another One at 3:36 pm November 25

I did the first time (was abt 17) and felt so awkward I didn't even enjoy it that much. Now it's my favourite - can't fault it.

genji at 10:05 pm November 25

The thing is, killerrabit444 hasn't been around much since deciding to watch...

Here Comes Another One at 11:53 pm November 25

No, that's true! Hopefully no parental collision there!

mrsCutout at 3:22 pm November 27


Not that late: Well, so I just watched TMoL again, but bearing in mind all this post and (I think) I understand what you say.

It's the ultimate Flying Circus episode, like a superlative "And Now for Something Completely Different" (if that word exists in english), and you think that it's more Pythonesque than the other two movies, because of the randomness of it (and all the other reasons you explain). Am I right?

In that case, you leave us with no choice, this must be our favourite Monty Python movie, and they are wrong for not being so proud of it.

And about the money... I don't know, would you say that the parrot sketch was better in ANFSCD than in the tv show because the pet shop set was more expensive? some ot the best movies are made with just a little amount of money (you know Kevin Smith, you know this), so I don't agree with you in that point. BBC could have treated them better, give them some more money or a better schedule. Maybe they should have done another tv series after LoB because they were in a great good shape...

Yes, Sir, The Meaning of Life is the best Monty Python movie, and then everyone has a favourite movie from Monty Python, even the Monty Pythons themselves!

Keep posting this kind of threads and we will keep misunderstanding them, ok? We are random too, you know.

genji at 11:27 am October 13

Haha - you might want to improve your English but I think being able to make jokes and understand jokes in a foreign language proves how good you are already.

No - I don't think throwing money at the Dead Parrot sketch would make it better. I do think more money would make the sketches much bigger. I think they would write bigger sketches with a bigger budget. That could mean a new kind of sketch, as we saw in The Meaning of Life: 'Mr. Creosote', 'Christmas in Heaven', 'Fighting Each Other'... they all worked because there was a bigger budget. Whether they were funnier than 'Dead Parrot' or 'Nudge, Nudge' is a matter of taste, I suppose. But - yes, The Meaning of Life is like a big, BIG episode of Flying Circus, and I would have liked to see more of them.

But you're right about spending more money to do the same thing. I don't think Mallrats ($6m) was a better film than Clerks ($27k). I do think Dogma ($10m) was better than both because it did something different.

Not that late: I don't understand #6, I know the meaning of every word, but I don't get it.

Then, I'll answer properly to this thread, ok?

genji at 2:39 am October 13

The Crimson Permanent Assurance short invades and tries to take over, shortly after the 'Live Organ Transplants' section. The Meaning of Life, however, has a built-in safety mechanism: the main feature shuts down to eradicate the threat from the short, and starts up again on a completely different subject.

As far as I know, in the entire history of cinema, The Meaning of Life is the only film that has been made with a built-in safety mechanism to prevent it being taken over by the supporting short. Life of Brian and Holy Grail certainly didn't have such a sophisticated defence mechanism. Nor did Ben Hur or Dr. Zhivago.

And neither did Microsoft Windows when the Love Bug shut down half the world's computers.

Not that late: This is not funny! How can I pick just one???

Well, I guess I would say Holy Grail, but then I read all your reasons and... I don't know it anymore. Can I have three favorite movies from MP?

genji at 2:42 am October 12

It's not funny? That's disappointing because it was meant to be humorous. I wasn't asking anyone to tell me which film is their favourite; I was telling them that it's The Meaning of Life. I have found it quite entertaining that some of the replies have been to nominate Life of Brian or Holy Grail (indicating that people had perhaps just read the title of the thread and maybe not bothered with the entire original post - so thanks for making the effort), instead of arguing against the points I'd made. I thought it was going to be a discussion about The Meaning of Life, not a poll on which Python film people like best.

"Favourite movies from MP" isn't the same as "favourite Monty Python movie". I meant the film that is most true to being Monty Python, not necessarily the one that works best as a movie (the linear plots and character development of Holy Grail and Life of Brian probably make them better in that respect).

So my argument was supposed to be that Meaning of Life must be the favourite Monty Python movie because it's more Pythonesque than the others. I was expecting the challenge to that opinion to come from And Now For Something Completely Different, but I'm also interested in any arguments for Holy Grail or Life of Brian being more Pythonesque.

Not that late at 4:06 am October 12

Aha ha ha!!! THIS is funny!!! Your frustation because noone understood your thread!!!

And, may I sidetrack for a moment... this, what should I call it, nickname of yours "Genji" ... how did you come by it?

mrsCutout: And something else! Who beats Palin as the Ex-Leper?I mean come on!!

genji: 13. Soundtrack for the Lonely.

Here Comes Another One at 11:44 pm October 10

Well, if we're talking Special Features ... The Cheese Lady! And Mrs Hendy listing the contents of her handbag ... and Martin Luther!!!

genji: 12. Mr. Cleese's performance as Mr. Idle steps out of the refrigerator to sing 'The Galaxy Song' to Mr. Jones.

Here Comes Another One at 11:39 pm October 10

And, moreover, the Galaxy Song!

marga: Mine it has to be "The life of Brian", it's the first Python thing I ever saw (I even didn't know who were the Pythons) and I consider it the most brilliant comedy at the end of the XX century

mrsCutout at 2:50 pm October 10

Wpw same here!

The Ex-Leper: Life of Brian definitly I laughed the hardest at that one and it has possibly one of the best movie endings of all time

genji at 1:13 pm October 05

Better than Mr. Palin in a dress?

The Ex-Leper at 8:32 pm October 08

well while mr. Palin in a dress is quite an impressive sight, I still think the overall epicness of LoB ending tops them all

Here Comes Another One at 6:09 pm October 05

They're both better than the Holy Grail ending, but Meaning of Life edges over the line for me too.

genji at 10:02 pm October 05

I think what they all share is the anti-climax - the lack of a punchline. In Life of Brian there is chance after chance for him to be rescued or pardoned and it just doesn't happen. It's true that, given the failure of a climax in the plot, ending on a song was a good (and funny) way to wrap up the film. But, for me, Life of Brian had the least Pythonesque ending of all the movies because it's a satisfying ending.

Here Comes Another One at 10:16 pm October 05

That's an interesting point, actually. Life of Brian was the only one with a resolution. Holy Grail just reminded me of the argument sketch and it annoyed me a bit, especially when I first saw it in my mid-teens and didn't know about the whole no-punchline-Python thing. Which leads me to another point: is Python funnier if you watch things in chronological order? Because I first saw Meaning of Life before I'd watched Flying Circus and I didn't think much of it, apart from the Galaxy Song. But then I came back to it years later, after falling in love with the series, and now I love it just as much as the other films. I think it helped me to have that whole backlog of Python humour behind it. On that point, though I wouldn't say that Life of Brian is my favourite Python film, it may well be the one that stands best on its own.

genji at 12:02 am October 06

I don't know about watching it in chronological order - it's an interesting question.

Flying Circus repeats were always on TV when I was a child so I was aware that Monty Python existed long before I became interested enough to pay any real attention. I watched Life of Brian in my early teens and just rewatched it over and over again and that's when Python really hit me. I watched Holy Grail a while later and loved a lot of it but the modern day historian scenes, the breaking of the fourth wall and (like you) the abrupt ending left me a bit cold. It took a fair bit of paying attention to Flying Circus for me to 'get' those elements in Holy Grail.

Breaking the fourth wall and the abrupt ending seem clichéd now, and did when I watched Holy Grail, but that's due to not realising that Python (and others, to be fair, before them) invented those comedy clichés, or at least adopted them for TV comedy from the theatrical world. It's like the Beatles. If you listen to the Beatles it sounds trite and hackneyed and clichéd, but it wasn't at the time. It's only because they invented those clichés.

So, I suppose Python is funny when you 'get' it - whenever that may be. Flying Circus is one way to absorb what Python is, but I know people who love Holy Grail and Life of Brian but aren't particularly taken with Flying Circus.

You're dead right about Life of Brian - it's their most accomplished film and was a leap forward in terms of their creative powers. I do believe it's the greatest comedy movie ever made - it's just not my favourite Python film. I think returning to fundamental Pythonism for The Meaning of Life was sheer brilliance. It's a highly polished, glossy version of Monty Python but it doesn't sacrifice or compromise anything in achieving the polish and the gloss.

Here Comes Another One at 10:18 pm October 05

Oh yeah, just to save confusion, I had listened to an audio tape that had the argument sketch on it, hence Holy Grail reminding me of it when I hadn't yet watched the series! :-p

Here Comes Another One: Haha, I laughed at this post. Especially 'The Crusades in 80 Days in the Sahara with Vikings.' (Mind you, I'd watch that.) The trouble is, I can't decide what my favourite Python movie is. Life of Brian and Meaning Of Life don't have The Knights Who Say Ni or Dennis the peasant or the witch trial; Meaning of Life and Holy Grail don't have Loretta or the stoning or 'Romans Go Home,' but then again, neither Holy Grail nor Life of Brian has Find the Fish or the Galaxy Song, or the bit with the Protestants. So you see my problem. :-p

Holly: I concur!

ThankYouSaystheGreatQueen: I honestly can't decide... I mean, I love them all!

Lvndr HppE: Well, Meaning of Life is my favorite Python fan. But reason number five is my favorite on this list.

thewastelandr at 12:00 am September 26

Mine too!

Lvndr HppE at 5:01 pm October 02

I finally saw Black Adder. The entire show. Didn't know Fry and Laurie were on that show. That was a very pleasant surprise for me.

thewastelandr at 7:47 am October 03

Aren't they amazing?? I love them in each season they were on!

Johnnyrose: Tht's easy!! Life of B..., no, no, it's And Now For... wait... I prefer Meaning of... ..... I'll come again...

Colonel Daughter at 2:17 pm September 25


Colonel Daughter: All the three of them explain the ultimate meaning of Python: don't blindly respect authority, but analyze it, criticize it, and decide if it really IS an authority-- the peasant who refuses the concept of 'king'; brian who shouts you don't need to follow anyone; almost all the meaning of life with meaningless obedience to sadistic professors, soldiers, rich and vulgar people (creosote), everyone who only wants to maintain his own power, etc.

That's why I find difficult to choose...

But if I have to, the movie I love more is LIFE OF BRIAN.

Even if it lacks the colourful, abstract almost lysergic environment of the other movies/TV projects, I truly love it.

Graham gives his best performance (second best? 'The Odd Job'), the script has been rewritten many times, there's a lot of work behind it.

I loved it so much that I read monty python's tunisian holiday, the diary of one of the character actors of the movie. liked it, liked it, liked it. :)

arkennedy: The Meaning of Life is a great movie (I thought "The Galaxy Song" was especially good) but Holy Grail is my favorite Python movie.


Interesting... I just made this little animated gif. I love the Super Inn scene.
"Power case, lipstick, packets of gum, hair brush, 38 tampons."

So, Meaning of Life is definitely my "favorite" Python movie too.... BUT..... I'm torn because Patsy is definitely my all-time favorite character, so I love Holy Grail too.

the_thina at 6:47 pm September 24

oh! I LOVE patsy too! haha. even if he only got one line. ooh sweet sweet patsy! <3

TheRealGilliamFan at 8:11 pm September 24

I know! And I love that he barely speaks. It's part of his charm. Reminds me of the clowns of old.

the_thina at 8:37 pm September 24

yeah, he just stands there and makes those silly faces only gilly can make with his huge mouth. haha. they are not like harpo marx´s silly face, much more suttle, but silly all the same. :)
but no, dont comparece him to a clown, I hate cowns, they scare the shit out of me. :(

TheRealGilliamFan at 9:27 pm September 24

But Harpo is a clown... I mean a true clown like Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd. Not Ronald MacDonald or Pennywise lol XD

the_thina at 9:35 pm September 24

haha ok. but clowns with extremely much makeup etc... they scare me. :(
but I looooooove harpo. :)

the_thina at 8:40 pm September 24

with harpos silly face, I ment this one

mrsCutout: I agree with your arguements but I don't agree with your choice haha! All Python fi,ms are my favs! And this one too for the reasons you mentioned and for more.BUT! Life of Brian was the first pythons film I introduced me to them and I think it's the funniest most touching most sweet and bitter film they made and was ever made.Plus a film wich ends with a bunch of people on crosses singing"Always look on the bright side of life"a song that changed my life,cannot not be your fave! I was in love with Grey there i saw the docu called Pythons and learned more about them...I laughed till i had tears in every single scene it's very pythonesque but it also had the structure of a proper film.And Grey is phenomenal there. Oh and so is Mike ..especialy as a yummy Ex-Lepper Awwww