on 9 May 2003
I'm not going to lie to you; you HAVE to be in a good mood the first time you watch this film. I have never come across another film that's as entertaining, creative, nonsensical and just plain silly as this. There is never a dull moment, from the moose business in the credits at the beginning to the totally stupid, but perfect end.
The thing with this film is that everyone has seen it and it's become part of our general culture. Bits of it just crop up everywhere, especially in computer games.
The first time I watched this there were some bits I really loved like the Trojan Rabbit, Robin's minstrels, Sir-Not-Appearing-in-this-Film, the moose thing, the Camelot song, the burn the witch scene, and of course, Terry Gilliam's animations. However, it all really grew on me and I love it now and can quote everything along with the best, and most annoying, of them!
Buy this! It is genius and the actors are brilliant. Long live Monty Python! This film is a national treasure and should be treated as such! Amen.
on 25 February 2003
The accepted wisdom on this film is that it is the second-best of the Monty Python films, after "The Life of Brian". That is in fact, not true. While "Brian" had many things that "Grail" lacks, such as a linear storyline, and it shows two fingers to the religious establishment; it also lacks the sheer madcap humour of this film.
The film basically consists of a series of sketches and set pieces arranged in a roughly chronological order. There are superb performances from all the actors, with John Cleese's wonderful turn as Sir Lancelot and Michael Palin in the role of Sir Galahad being the outstanding ones.
The sheer number of hilarious scenes in this film simply beggars belief. Every scene is a masterpiece of comedy, even the much-maligned final scene. Not even "The Life of Brian" can make that claim, brilliant though it is.
The bottom line is that generations of people in Britain and around the world have enjoyed Monty Python for most of their lives. This is true because of the towering comic genius of the six men involved. This film is, quite simply, Monty Python at their best.
on 12 February 2004
I saw MP's Holy Grail for the first time when I was about 14. I never saw anything as nonsensical and silly before and it just cracked me up. I sort of forgot about it in the following years. What am I saying? Anyone who ever saw the movie will tell you that even if you see it only once lots of scenes will get stuck in your head forever. I'm talking about the coconuts, the "it's only a flesh wound" comment, the Killer Rabbit, ...
Anyway. It was there in the back of my mind when I visited Scotland last June. I was reading the guide again and I noticed that the Castle we were going to visit that afternoon was the same castle where they filmed the Holy Grail (Doune Castle).
We stopped, wandered around and I was explaining the whole coconut scene to my friend who didn't know Monty Python that well when we decided to wait for the others in the gift shop. There I found the MP screenplay and while I was again giggling hysterically, the shopkeeper behind me suddenly produced 2 coconut halves and started clapping them together... I have to tell you I thought I was going to choke, I was laughing so hard! He simply gave us the coconuts and told us to run around the castle with them and make as many silly pictures as we could. If we would send them to him afterwards, he'd include them in his Monty Python scrapbook which also featured pictures of some of the actors.
While we were running around, there was this elderly French gentleman (college professor type, very distinguished looking) staring at us with a strange look on his face (we thought it was disapproving). He then broke into a huge grin and said something like: "Aah, zee Montie Pie-tton coconutz!"
Maybe you're now wondering what this story has to do with the actual film. Well, I was just trying to show how this silly and hilarious movie affects everyone who ever sees it in a very good way!! When I came home, the first thing I did was order the complete Monty Python set, including the Life of Brian, the Meaning of Life and the And now for something completely different-sketches (Gallery of Funny Walks!!!)
I think I'll just have to watch it again tonight...
If you love absurd humour, over-the-top silliness and some of the best jokes ever, PUT THIS ON YOUR KEEPER SHELF!! IT IS SO WORTH IT!!!
on 20 March 2004
For me, the funniest film ever made. The only film were I know the entire script. The number of stars I give it is five, no more, no less. Six is right out! Is there actually anyone who enjoys mad comedy who hasn't seen this very silly film? If you're one of this rare breed, then where have you been? Holed-up with the Frenchies in Castle Arrrghhh. A true gem. An all time classic, a shrubbery, a witch, a Trojan Rabbit.
If you are a fan of very silly comedy and don't own this DVD, then answer me these questions three:
1. Why not?
2. What is the air speed velocity of an African Swallow?
3. Are you dead?
Buy it or go and boil your bottom, you son of a silly person.
on 11 October 2004
I watched films like Kung Pow and thought the comedy was so stupid it was funny. I also thought it was original, "Nay" A friend yelled at me, "Watch the holy grail"
So I did, and I'm all the better for it. Even from the start...the dramaticly misty hill, the smoke bellowing, King Arthur riding up on his, er, coconuts with his trusty servant Patsy.
And so begins the unbelievably random and daft tale of King Arthur and his knights on their mission to seek the Holy Grail. Daftness can at times be annoying, but monty python pulls it off perfectly. There's nothing annoying or boring about this film.
Another thing I quite like about it is that's it's historically accurate. I don't mean that they rode about to banging coconuts or that Camelot was 'a silly place', I mean the whole "Bring out yer dead!" and the witch trials actually happened like that. I'm a boring historian so it kept me quite happy. Incidentally, I shouldn't have admitted to being a historian...as you no doubt know they come to rather sticky end in this film.
Really, this film doesn't need to be reviewed in detail cos nothing can replace watching it. I think the fact that everyone has given it 5 stars says it all. get it, and laugh.
The ending rocks as well!
on 8 March 2000
A top movie which even if you watch it now does not look dated. The monty python comedy was way ahead of its time and it shows in this film. In this film you see the usual team playing a variety of different roles (both male and female) which makes this stand out. No-one is a by-stander in the movie it is definately a team effort. If you have watched the TV series and thought it wasn't for you, try this as I feel this film is for more of a main stream audience. If you enjoy The Python then you will love this.
There are so many things about this (and indeed any) Monty Python movie that one hardly knows where to begin. Nothing is left out of the mix--history, religion, politics, personal relationships, prejudices, intellectual prowess or the lack thereof. My title, of course, comes from an early scene in with Arthur approaches a castle, inexplicably occupied by French k-nigits, who claim to already have a grail.
The Monty Python troupe, led by the creative talents of Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, incorporated John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Graham Chapman as King Arthur, the dominant role in the film. No animals were harmed in the filming, not even an African Swallow, non-migratory as they are. A few coconuts bit the dust, however, as did more than a few comic images. Logic bits the dust, too, on more than one occasion. I did a paper once for symbolic logic which I was told ten years later was still being passed about because I had dared to use something so unconventional as this Monty Python movie in the references (I couldn't see why that wouldn't be much more common, and indeed, hope it is today--I use 'Life of Brian' in homilies, so why not this film in logic?).
The particular logical incident (or rather, illogical incident) involves the trial of a woman accused of being a witch. Through 'logic' it is demonstrated that she would be a witch if she weighed the same as a duck (which, surprisingly enough, it turns out that she does -- 'It's a fair cop' she concedes as the general rejoicing commences at the prospect of a bonfire). Those who have benefit of the 'Executive Version of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail' are also treated to an exposition of the logical problems which itself concludes that 'sex is better than logic'. And who could argue with that reasoning?
However, my favourite scene would have to be the liturgical procession and reading of instructions for the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, with the leader's instruction 'skip a bit, brother' -- an instruction which I've searched in vain in the liturgical handbooks, but would vastly improve many readings on some mornings in church. This is a perfect parody of the sonorous but deadening readings that seem to drag on interminably.
A close second would be the scene in which Arthur tries to explain his kingship to members of an autonomous collective (read, peasants without a lord) who view him as just another oppressor, and inform him that watery tarts throwing swords at you is not an adequate basis for the exercise of supreme executive power.
Those who have visions of Great Britain as royal and cultural icons are often amazed-the likes of Monty Python and Benny Hill (among others) show the inhabitants of the UK as just as human (if not moreso) than the rest of the world. And we are all the richer for it. Alas, the Holy Grail is never actually attained by the seekers, who run into trouble with more French k-nigits and the local constabulary. But, the journey's the thing, so they teach me in seminary, and thus, this journey is well worth following to the end.
The DVD comes with many extras, including the Camelot song being sung by Lego-land figures, and extensive commentary by actors and others involved in the production.
Prepare to be amazed! Prepare to be offended! Prepare the popcorn in advance.
on 26 November 2002
'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' was the Python team's take on Arthurian legend, directed by the Terrys Jones and Gilliam and was driven my Jones' love of history and legend and Gilliam's general weirdness. Even though the film was made in 1974, it hasn't really dated and remains gut-wrenchingly funny.
Whilst the general concensus is that `Life of Brian' is the best of Python's films, it's always 'Holy Grail' that I find myself watching over again - this isn't to say that 'Life of Brian' is a bad film, it certainly isn't, but despite the dark and mucky atmosphere of 'Holy Grail', the actors seem to be enjoying themselves, and as a result many of the scenes are indelibly etched into the brains of countless Python fans: the Black Knight ('All right, we'll call it a draw ...'), the French knights (`Now go away or I will taunt you a second time!') and, of course, the Knights Who Say .... Ni! Throw in a handful of Terry G's trademark animations and you've got yourself a winner.
Although the film's ending is, quite frankly, rubbish, the laughs will come thick and fast.
For fans of `additional material' (or filler, if you prefer) the second disc contains, amongst other things, a documentary in which Michael Palin and Terry Jones visit the film locations 25 years after the event; this is well worth watching in its own right. Other bits of inconsequential trivia include a couple of clips from the Japanese version of the film and the `Camelot' sequence performed with Lego(!). There's also the `singalong' sequence where you can learn the words to Sir Robin's theme song or the 'Camelot Song' (`we're knights of the Round Table, we dance when'er we're able' etc.etc.)
Like Monty Python? Got a DVD player? Get this ... you'll never look at coconuts in the same light again!
on 14 July 2002
Holy Grail is often regarded as the second best Monty Python movie and despite its age, looks absolutely amazing on DVD. Anyone who has owned any of the VHS video versions would be well advised to upgrade from their old edition and pick up this new set.
And of course not only does the audio-visual quality surpass any previous release of this film, but the DVD contains lots of facinating additional features, the best of which is the returning to the film locations documentry, as well as the two informative audio commentaries by the surviving Pythons.
This DVD set represents excellent value for money and remember - Holy Grail has never looked this good. All Python fans owe it to themselves to get this DVD set. Worth buying a player for.
I've always felt sorry for those who are unable to appreciate Pythonesque humour. They say it's so silly and even childish; but that's why I like it so much. It's so true to how life actually is and, above all, it teaches us how to laugh at ourselves as it exposes the crankery within ostensibly serious beliefs. Monty Python came around at just about the right time and one wonders if they could get away with it in these days of increased religious sensitivity. I always think that what Monty Python is telling us is that, if it's not worth laughing at, it's not worth anything. For those of us who believe in some kind of deity, and many of us don't, then surely such a deity would have a sense of humour and be able to laugh at him/her/itself? What I do know is that, if everything were to be Monty Pythonised it would spell the end of strife and religious bigotry.
Yes, it is all very silly like when grown men pretend to ride horses, which are not there; but I used to do that. It was more fun than playing with a computer. Monty Python is all about us doing what we really like to do and behaving as we truly want to and not allowing ourselves to be stereotyped into into behaving after certain styles and fashions. It takes the mickey out of pomposity and teaches us to laugh at ourselves. And, of course, the Monty Python team made a lot of money out of doing just that, which is a reminder of how much money is made out of many people by fooling them into smoking, drinking, gambling, drug taking and wasting money by taking holidays in all the wrong places. This is all daft and made worse by religious daftery. (Is that a word?) Python teaches us to laugh at ourselves and realise how silly everything really is. If we all did that there wouldn't be any more wars or religious bigotry. Stars? Of course it's worth five stars, although 'The Life of Brian' is worth five even brighter stars.