Life of Brian (1979)

Director: Terry Jones
Cast Notables:
Wise Man #2/Brian/Biggus Dickus - Graham Chapman
Wise Man #1/Reg/Jewish Official/Centurion/Deadly Dirk/Arthur - John Cleese
Man #2/Jailer/Blood & Thunder Prophet/Frank - Terry Gilliam
Mr. Cheeky/Stan/Loretta/Harry the Haggler/Culprit Woman/Warris/Youth/Jailer's Assistant/Otto/Mr. Frisbee III - Eric Idle
Mandy/Colin/Simon the Holy Man/Bob Hoskins/Saintly Passer-by - Terry Jones
Wise Man #3/Mr. Big Nose/Francis/Mrs. A/Ex-Leper/Announcer/Ben/Pontius Pilate/Boring Prophet/Eddie/Shoe Follower/Nisus Wettus - Michael Palin


Brian, played by Graham Chapman, is born in a manger in Bethlehem. Three wise men confuse him with Jesus, and his troubles only mount from there.

The story follows Brian through his mishap-ridden life, from his discovery of his Roman heritage, to his joining the People's Front of Judea (not to be confused with those wankers the Judean People's Front or the Popular People's Front of Judea.), to his stint as reluctant prophet, and his eventual arrest by the Romans.

Leave it to the Monty Python troupe to deliver a scathing look at religion, while at the same time poking fun at the institutions of the time.

The Review

REG: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

XERXES: Brought peace.

Monty Python's Life of Brian is, without question, one of my favorite movies. It is more than a situational comedic film filled with funny skits, as it is also a unrelenting criticism of religion, political activism, and history. It is the sort of satire you have to see at least twice, if only to catch all the bits you missed the first time through because you were laughing so hard you couldn't hear the television.

The only parts I thought were either excessive or pointless were the People's Front of Judea's invasion of Pilate's Palace, which was merely a joke from earlier in the movie badly repackaged and sent from a different--and less funny--direction, and the seemingly never-ending Roman speech impediment gag, with emphasis on the word 'gag'.

These minor unfunny bits do not in any way detract from the movie as a whole, however, and the number of clever jokes and insights more than makes up for it. There is, unfortunately, little else I can say about the specific skits, as I have no intention of ruining this movie for you.

All in all, I give Life of Brian three and a half stars out of four. The missing half point is for the two parts I mentioned above. Why are you still sitting there? Go rent this movie now! Better yet, buy it!