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.
God is a famous Cricketer, naturally
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.
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.
… 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.
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.