Life of Brian (1979)

What more can be written about the Monty Python classic, Life of Brian?  A firm favourite in any movie aficionado’s collection that just keeps giving and as it comes up for 40 years old, shows no more sign of aging than the day it was released.

I refuse to believe there are people who do not know the story line, but just in case you have been in prison (or a remote Scottish island) with no access to civilization, then allow me to give you a quick primer.

Long story short – Brian was born at the same time as Jesus Christ and follows his life as they bump into each other.  He is often mistaken for the Messiah through out his life.   All the major incidents of Big J’s life, is seen through the eyes of Brian and how he copes with the unwanted attention.

He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy! Now, piss off!

The amount of lines this movie gifted to the English speaking western world that have now become part of our culture is immeasurable.  All 6 Pythons (playing 40 characters between them) have classic lines with no real stand out one.  They are all on top form.

I say you are Lord, and I should know. I’ve followed a few.

The movie was not without its critics. Even before it was released, it was lobbied hard by the various Christian groups who thought it was a complete a-front to their beliefs.  When the movie was finally released, there was lots of demonstrations and the Pythons found themselves in a whole series of interviews defending their right to express their beliefs.

John Cleese once remarked that they had done the Christian groups a favor “We’ve brought them all together for the first time in 2000 years!“.  I have always believed a strong and true believer should never fear criticism but welcome it.  Movies are designed to challenge the wisdom of the day, provoke debate and open peoples minds to other possibilities.

In addition to the comedic setups and cleverly scripted word play, the movie gave the world the excellent Eric Idle song, ‘Always look on the bright side of life’, as he was nailed up on the cross, trying to convince Brian who has been mistaken for Big J yet again, shouldn’t worry too much, and should always look on the bright side.  Genius.

Takes a hardened critic not to come away humming the tune.  My heart goes out to those that can’t – you are taking life way too seriously.

Naturally the problem with ‘Life of Brian’, is that it has you reaching for that other Python classic, ‘Holy Grail’.  Expect that to pop up here soon.


Viewing Date
Wednesday, 26th August 2015


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Author: Alan Williamson

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