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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What have the Romans ever done for us?
John Cleese once said that this film is what he'd most like to be remembered for, which coming from a man who wrote some of the best Python sketches and Fawlty Towers, should tell you something about how good this film is.
Hugely controversial at the time, the subject matter of 'The Life of Brian' was considered strictly taboo in 1979, and even today it can still...
Published on 1 April 2003 by Touring Mars

versus
102 of 115 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Always read the small print
I have steadfastly resisted buying previous versions of this DVD, as the 'extras' are virtually non-existent. Where is the spoof travelogue that accompanied the cinema release (with John Cleese getting increasingly frustrated with the number of scenes including gondolas)? Where is the short Christmas card animation, without which the appearance of the cut-out stagecoach...
Published on 9 July 2004 by John Wyant


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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What have the Romans ever done for us?, 1 April 2003
By 
Touring Mars (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
John Cleese once said that this film is what he'd most like to be remembered for, which coming from a man who wrote some of the best Python sketches and Fawlty Towers, should tell you something about how good this film is.
Hugely controversial at the time, the subject matter of 'The Life of Brian' was considered strictly taboo in 1979, and even today it can still rattle a few cages, but ultimately the Python team all shared the same conviction that they were not poking fun at religion (or Jesus) per se, but at the people who blindly follow and misunderstand. In this way, 'The Life Of Brian' became not just a comedy classic, but a ground-breaking movie that pushed the barriers of what was previously considered 'off-limits'.
Graham Chapman revels in the lead role of 'Brian of Nazareth', and the rest of the team play multiple rolls, in a very Goon Show-esque type way, with the story always revolving around Brian. The turning point comes when, in an attempt to evade the notice of the Romans, Brian pretends to be a street preacher and gathers the attention of a small crowd. Once the Romans pass by, however, he stops preaching and tries to walk away, only to find that the small crowd want to hear the rest of what he was saying. As more and more people come along to find out what is happening, his followers multiply until they are convinced that he must be some sort of messiah. They follow Brian home only to be told by his mother that "There's a mess alright, but no messiah.." (I'm paraphrasing, by the way!)
Each member of the Python team contributes immensely to the film, with Eric Idle supplying a classic Python tune as Brian is being crucified ("Always Look On The Bright Side of Life"), Terry Gilliam with some great visual gags, Terry Jones as the director of the film, Cleese and Palin turning in multiple brilliant performances (like Cleese's Reg, the leader of the PFJ, and the classic "What have the Roman's ever done for us?" sketch), not to mention Chapman as the unsuspecting hero. There are also a couple of cameo appearances (notably Spike Milligan and George Harrison) which can be spotted by the eagle-eyed viewer, but are all too brief if you ask me.
If you haven't got this film in your collection, then now is your chance to correct the error of your ways!... and as the "Not the Nine O'Clock News" team once pointed out, Britain is still ostensibly a Python-worshipping country, so do your duty and buy a copy of this classic today!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funniest Film Ever!, 3 Jan 2004
By 
Mr. A. Larkin - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm a Christian, and had heard the claims from people about this film. Blasphemous, evil etc. Clearly though, to say it is blaphomous is wrong though. I mean, Jesus is in the film twice. The Pythons are also admitted fans of Jesus' teachings in the Bible, and so deliberately made sure they weren't taking the mick out of him.
The film is hilarious, with some of the most classic comedy moments ever. It attacks religion a bit, but many of the criticsms the film makes are real ones. Also, I think it's important to have a joke at your own expense.
For a Christian, I suggest watch this film, enjoy it, then think about the things said about religion. Once you question and think about it, answers will come. Christianity is a great religion and I think is true, but some of the things the Church has done in the name of Christianity has been wrong - and the Pythons are more than capable of pointing it out.
Superb film!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyably offensive!!!!, 3 Dec 2001
wow,in this age of political correctness it's a breath of fresh air to see something that is enjoyable and very funny-and life of brian is just that.On the other hand if you are easily offended then please ignore this outrageous comedy and watch DUMBO instead.This movie is a reminder to how good british comedies used to be.Just a shame the dvd is empty on the extras front.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always look on the bright side of …, 24 Nov 2003
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
There are certain movies that stand out on the holidays. This is not one of them. It probably should be. You will find that many of the Python crew plays many different characters in the movie.
Now the truth can be told. It all starts with three wise men delivering gifts to young Brian. Oops they correct their mistake. Later, Judea, 33 A.D., on a Saturday afternoon, once again Brian (Graham Chapman) is a tad far down the mount when they hear what sounds as “blessed are the cheese makers” (it’s not meant to be taken literally that could mean any manufacturer). That is where Brian first sees Judith (Sue Jones.) Later he shall be involved in the People's Front of Judea. Later still he will be mistaken for the messiah (it is a logical mistake). Two factions fight over who owns the messiah (the Shoe Followers and Gourd Followers.)
You will recognize many of your favorite vices and verses. One of the highlights of the story is the speech given by Pilate and Biggus Dickus.
As with most complex movies you will find the one you are looking for Python comedy, fanatic parody, or if you wish a deeper meaning.
If you enjoyed this movie the next on your list should be “Wholly Moses” (1983) with Dudley Moore and Laraine Newman.
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89 of 100 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic film. Shame about the DVD, 27 Aug 2004
By 
lexo1941 (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
There are arguably only two even slightly good movies featuring Jesus as a character; one is Pasolini's gritty and soulful "The Gospel According to Matthew", the only film to have been given awards by both the Vatican and the Italian Communist Party, and the other is "Monty Python's Life of Brian". Jesus turns up early on, played by the superb British character actor Kenneth Colley, giving a Sermon on the Mount with unparalleled sincerity - he gradually recedes from view (and gets fainter and fainter) until we are scuffling around the edge of the crowd with the eponymous Brian and his ratbag mother, who shouts "Speak up!" at the unheeding Christ. The whole film takes place here - on the edge of potentially great events, as its hero gets loaded by everyone around him with more and more burdens of significance and responsibility, just because that's the way it goes in Judea in AD 33.

It's maybe the best Python movie because it handles such dynamite material so brilliantly. So many priceless moments that can make you laugh out loud even when you're in a room on your own - like the intricate committee structure of the People's Front of Judea, or Pilate not being able to pronounce his "r"'s ("No, no. Spiwit! Bwavado! A touch of...dewwing-do!"), or the saintly passer-by who offers to shoulder the burden of a crucifixee, and finds himself being hung on the cross for his good heart. Brian's life mirrors that of Jesus not because he has ambitions in that direction, but because everyone around him (except his mother - "He's not the Messiah! He's a very naughty boy!") wants it to. This gives the film a truly satisfying narrative that none of the other Python movies managed to achieve. (While I love the "Holy Grail", I always get disappointed that it just stops, with no real ending.)

Okay, so if you've read this far you probably love the movie anyway. The question remains, why has it been so badly served on DVD? "Holy Grail" and "Meaning of Life" have had lavish treatment, with multiple commentaries and featurettes and all sorts of bells and whistles. Why has their masterpiece not been given the same? This "Special Edition" includes a copy of the screenplay, a few postcards and a frame from the film, mounted on a bit of card...well, thanks, guys, but I could really have used some of those deleted scenes that were included in the original edition of the screenplay AND NOT IN THIS ONE...

Whoever is responsible for this sorry-ass packaging of a great film deserves to be hung upside down for several years. Or at the very least, to be stwuck. And vewy woughly. Save your money - the cheaper version has the same disc, and unless (like me) you actually want a postcard of the boys to stick up in your office, then you'll miss nothing.
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102 of 115 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Always read the small print, 9 July 2004
By 
John Wyant (Romsey, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I have steadfastly resisted buying previous versions of this DVD, as the 'extras' are virtually non-existent. Where is the spoof travelogue that accompanied the cinema release (with John Cleese getting increasingly frustrated with the number of scenes including gondolas)? Where is the short Christmas card animation, without which the appearance of the cut-out stagecoach in the film itself makes no sense? Both of them together can't take up more than 15 minutes, so space can't be the issue.
But at last - 'a special edition' - surely this will have everything that was missing from the previous releases? And the package IS very nice - script book, postcards, film cell, sturdy box to house them in. But what's the point of good packaging if the DVD is the same? As far as I can make out, there is no difference at all, and for the first time I actually regret buying a DVD - I really should have read the small print.
The film itself, of course, is an absolute classic that everyone should see. Not only is it extremely funny, it has a serious sub-text about not just believing what you're told - with religious fundamentalism on the rise, it feels more relevant today than it did when it was first released. So just buy the cheapest version you can find - you'll enjoy it more without the nasty taste in your mouth.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Masters re-mastered., 12 April 2009
By 
P. Kendrick (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Although the source film is 30 years old and the standard dvd has been available for aeons, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the producers have made some effort in the presentation of the feature as a whole in this format, rather than simply make the film itself high-def.
I expected to load the disc, wait the statutory five minutes for it to start, then see a simple 'play' button taking me straight to the action. But no, there before me was a reasonable choice of buttons leading to various settings and film features. Just like a modern day blu-ray feature.
What's more, the links have been given a Pythonesque feel and you could think that Terry Gilliam (the arty American Python who produced all of their excellent animations) had been directly involved in the dvd production.
The quality of the picture is very good and has truly benefited from the high def process. Some older films don't seem to benefit a great deal from the transfer process, but as all of the outdoor shots were done in Africa, with the richness and tonality of light that was available, this one certainly does. This is highlighted even more by the stark contrast of the dungeon scenes where the only light is that suggested by sunlight filtering through the walls and the odd flame torch or two.
Referring back to Terry Gilliam, the scene when Brian falls off the top of the tower and is saved by the alien spaceship which is being pursued by an enemy alien spaceship and is taken for a quick spin of the earths atmosphere, before crashing right back at the base of the same tower-cue Gilliams twisted inventiveness- I can definitely see things in this sequence that I never could on the standard dvd.
Again, when Brian writes the graffiti on the walls of the fort, which takes him all night, when you see the finished article (no pun intended) the writing is so vivid it almost gives the effect of being in 3D -it jumps out of the screen.
My only criticism, and it is a slight one, is that I didn't really notice a great leap forward in the sound quality and there is no uncompressed audio option, but then it is a 30 year old film!
In conclusion I'm not trying to say that this is the best blu-ray dvd ever produced -Iron Man, Dark Night are far more technically accomplished- but it is a noticeable upgrade from the standard dvd, and one that can be appreciated by anyone with access to a decent size, good quality, flat screen tv and blu-ray player. And with that in mind I would recommend it as a good value purchase
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ageless epic has finally arrived, 27 April 2003
By 
Mr. R. Chapman "epiq" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I knew it wouldn't be long for such a superb film to be transferred to DVD, and here it is. The Monty Python team have done it again, and have created a hilarious, clever film. Some have thought this to be the best of the lot.
If you haven't seen this film before, the plot is basically the story of a young man who still lives with his mum. After several scenes of hilarious scripting, Brian, the main character brilliantly played by Graham Chapman, falls onto a podium, and accidentally gets himself some unwanted attention. Then, trying to escape, the people think he is the new messiah. Cue a great adventure.
There are some classic scenes, such as the stoning, and the Biggus Dickus sketch, and all will be fondly laughed at as you watch them. While most of the cast consists of the same small group of people (All male), the Monty Python team manage to create very vivid, different characters.
Still, if you want your own personal copy of a fantastic comedy film, you cannot beat this. Buy it right now!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Python Film Ever, 6 May 2003
By A Customer
This is easily the most accessible Python film made - not as silly and anarchic as the Holy Grail and not contrived and overdone as the Meaning of Life. All the jokes, scenes and storyline have easily stood the test of time (its about 15 years since I last saw the movie) and it's impossible not to laugh out loud many, many times during the course of the film. For the only time in their celluloid career the Python team have combined brilliant satire, decent production standards, consistancy of quality in the script and all the team give performances at their top level. Michael Palin's Pontius Pilate and ex-leper characters are just about the funniest he's been as part of a Python project, Eric Idle is fantastic as the optimistic/jokey prisoner and the haggling merchant, Graham Chapman is great as Brian the fall guy / straight man (I never thought he was ever funny in anything apart from this) and I could go on. The relatively low points in the movie are some of the more predictable elements eg what have the Romans done for us? (this has been so widely quoted by a generation of now 40 year olds that even if you've never seen the movie you know exactly what is coming) but even then the delivery and the pace of the movie keep everything ticking along.
On the DVD the picture quality is OK but the sound is not up to what I had expected - it's dolby 5.1 but the clarity of the speech and mix is not great. I found myself turning up the volume to get the speech only to have some extraneous sound effect blow my eardrums.
This is one you'll watch again and again and still find something new to keep you looking on the bright side of life.....
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68 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film ruined by a terrible DVD, 8 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This DVD has to be the worst I have ever seen in terms of picture quality, the print used is truely awful and it often distracts from the enjoyment of the film.
That said the film itself is still probably the funniest film ever and it puts modern "comedies" to shame.
Buy the video instead and save yourself some money.
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Monty Python's Life Of Brian [VHS] [1979]
Monty Python's Life Of Brian [VHS] [1979] by Terry Jones (VHS Tape - 2004)
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