Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Movie Review

By: Oberst von Berauscht (A Toast) –

Comedy Troupe Monty Python re-tell the King Arthur legend in their own ridiculous way. Charged by God himself to seek out the Holy Grail, the adventures of Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his knights Sir Bedevere (Terry Jones), Sir Lancelot (John Cleese), Sir Galahad (Michael Palin), and Sir Robin (Eric Idle) are chronicled in a series of comedy sketches as they embark on their holy crusade.

Image result for monty python and the holy grail god cricketer

God is a famous Cricketer, naturally

A Toast

Monty Python and the Holy Grail was the 2nd feature film for the Monty Python troupe, and their first attempt at telling an original story. Of course, the “story” is really just an excuse for a series of comedy sketches. This loose outline of a story is more than enough to tie everything together. The biggest problem with a sketch-based film is maintaining the pacing and comedic consistency needed to carry interest for the full feature. Fortunately, the Pythons nail it. Every single comic set piece in this film works in its own eccentric way, from the sketch about Constitutional Peasants, to the violent confrontation with the black knight.

Image result for monty python and the holy grail black knightSam Peckinpah-approved

Graham Chapman sells this movie through the strength of his straight-man skills. His King Arthur is played with all of the operatic swagger of a great classical theater performance, which stands in hilarious contrast to the supremely silly characters that populate this film. Also worth noting is co-director Terry Gilliam, whose spectacular animated sequences and attention to grubby detail in the filmed sequences give a lived-in texture to the world. Few films dealing with the Middle Ages are as grody as this, save for Gilliam’s own solo-film Jabberwocky.

Image result for jabberwocky movie

… which shares this film’s grotesque atmosphere

What’s most remarkable about the film is how timeless the humor is.  So many comedies have aged out of relevance, but Grail avoids these pitfalls by avoiding pop culture references and focusing on universal comedic themes. It also manages to avoid being dated with offensive humor, never choosing to punch downwards.

Verdict

On a list of great all-time comedies, this movie ranks near the top. It is absurd and silly yet intelligent and clever.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Movie Review

Take a Drink: for every shot of the coconut-horses

Take a Drink: whenever a background character is doing something ridiculous

Take a Drink: for every mention of the Grail

Take a Drink: every time a Python plays 2 characters in the same scene

Do a Shot: if you know the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow.

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!