Anthony's Film Review
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Delivers plenty of laughs as a satire of the famous legend of King Arthur...
Just when you thought the British comedy sextet Monty Python was done after their Flying Circus show on TV, they made a comeback with Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Even though it's a full-length feature film, it's not real different from an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, because the format is a series of loosely connected sketches with many characters played by the same six cast members: John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam. It does have a story to encompass the whole thing: a humorous take on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
The humor begins when the movie starts. Pay attention to the opening credits and you'll see lots of gags slipped in, mostly moose-related jokes. Then the first scene appears with King Arthur riding to a castle. Immediately, you see the absurdity. There is no horse. King Arthur is just galloping along on his feet. Behind him is a servant who bangs two halves of a coconut together as an acoustic enhancement for Arthur's imaginary horse. Meanwhile, a man on top of the castle notices this. It leads to a discussion about how a coconut could possibly exist in England and the biomechanical capabilities of two species of birds: African and European swallows.
Even though I mention how the cast plays multiple characters, four of them do play a primary character. Graham Chapman is King Arthur, John Cleese is Sir Lancelot, Michael Palin is Sir Galahad, and Eric Idle is Brave Sir Robin. There is a scene where they receive a message from God telling them to seek the Holy Grail. Well, there you have it. A purpose for the quest that these knights embark on. That's really all you need, because there is no point in having a fully developed plot when the only purpose of this movie is to be funny.
So with that, here are some of the notable scenes in this movie, in no particular order: Frenchmen in English castles, a black knight who remains stubborn no matter how badly dismembered he is, the Knights Who Say Ni and their botanical request, the word that everyone hates to hear from the Knights Who Say Ni, the word that the Knights Who Say Ni hate to hear, catapulting live animals, an overly enthusiastic storming of a castle, a questionable castle name on a cave inscription, the Holy Hand Grenade, an enchanter named Tim, and the presence of modern-day police. There are two scenes that I consider my favorite and, therefore, mention separately: the Killer Rabbit and a seemingly easy three-question quiz at the Bridge of Death.
I laughed plenty of times during this movie. There were some slow moments, but the jokes came often enough for me. I was also amazed by how the Monty Python gang had not lost their touch. Fans of this comedy troupe will not be disappointed with Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I will conclude by mentioning how the last two minutes of the film are so unusual that you can't help but laugh at how silly they can be. Given how they throw in moose jokes in the opening credits, what do you expect?
For more information about Monty Python and the Holy Grail, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following:
Monty Python in Film
Monty Python on Television