Life of Brian

Directed By: Terry Jones

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Product Overview

The Gospel according to Monty Python: In Judea, a boy is born in a manger a short distance from, and about the same time, as Jesus Christ. Three wise men from the East are for a time deceived by this proximity into believing that he is the promised Messiah, but it soon becomes apparent that he is, in fact, only a hapless peasant named Brian. However, the Life of Brian causes plenty of commotion for the Roman Empire and leaves him desperate to escape his burgeoning popularity.


Studio Sony
SKU 205562736
UPC 043396225923
UPC 14 00043396225923
Format DVD
Release Date 9/2/2008
Rating Rating
Ancient World
Black Comedy
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note Monty Python delivers a scathing, anarchic satire of both religion and Hollywood's depiction of all things biblical with their second--and tightest--full-length film. The setting is the Holy Land in 33 A.D., a time of poverty and chaos, with no shortage of messiahs, followers willing to believe in them, and exasperated Romans trying to impose some order. At the center of it all is Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman), a reluctant would-be messiah who rises to prominence as a result of a series of absurd and truly hilarious circumstances that parallel the life of Christ--providing ample opportunity for the entire ensemble (John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Chapman) to shine in multiple roles as they blaspheme and mock everyone and everything from ex-lepers, Pontius Pilate, and the art of haggling to crazy prophets, Roman centurions, and crucifixion.^Directed by Python Terry Jones, MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN is an uproarious biblical parody that does to ancient Rome what THE HOLY GRAIL did to the Middle Ages. Rome is run by pathetic wimps, liberation fronts fight with each other over acronyms, and gladiators put on bloody children's matinees as the people search desperately for someone to lead them out of their life of misery and poverty. And Brian is that man. Sort of. Well, not really. Chapman excels as Brian, a simple, quiet man suddenly thrust in the role of leading the revolution--while constantly being yelled at by his shrew of a mother.
Plot Summary
Summary Monty Python's comic take on the New Testament tells the tale of Brian Cohen, a highly unlikely candidate for messiah-hood who has the miserable luck of always being in the wrong place at the right time. Born in Nazareth, baby Brian is mistakenly visited by the Three Wise Men, who were actually looking for a different infant--the one born down the street in the glowing manger. Brian leads a fairly normal life while growing up: He works as a vendor at the local coliseum, gets involved in terrorist activities, and paints anti-Roman slogans around town, but he soon finds his life changed forever when he is abducted by aliens and taken on an excursion through the cosmos. Upon his return, a group of locals decide that he's the messiah and begin worshiping him--but he wants them to start the revolution without him.
Memorable Quotes
Quote "What is myrrh? It sounds like some kind of animal to me. Something with horns..."--Mandy (Terry Jones), Brian's mum
Quote "What was that?--Gregory (Terence Bayler) |"I don't know. I was too busy talking to Bignose."--Cheeky (Eric Idle) |"I think it was 'Blessed are the cheesemakers.'"--crowd member |"Ah, what's so special about the cheesemakers?"--Mrs. Gregory (Carol Cleveland) |"Well, obviously, it's not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products."--Gregory
Quote "Hear that? 'Blessed are the Greek.'"--Spork |"The Greek?"--Gregory
Quote "If you want to join the People's Front of Judea, you have to really hate the Romans."--Reg (John Cleese) to Brian (Graham Chapman)|"I do!"--Brian |"Oh yeah, how much?"--Reg|"A lot!"--Brian|"'re in."--Reg
Quote "I'm Brian!"--Brian (of course, you silly person)
Quote "He's not the Messiah! He's a very naughty boy!"--Mandy speaking to a crowd about Brian
Quote "You are all individuals!"--Brian to a huge crowd of his followers|"We are all individuals!"--the crowd
Quote "Apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system, and public health...what have the Romans ever done for us?"--Reg (John Cleese) to others in the People's Front of Judea (not to be confused with the Judean People's Front)
New York Times "...Just when you thought that the uproarious English comedy troupe had taken bad taste as far as it could go....Bad taste of this order is rare but not yet dead..." 08/17/1979 p.C15
Total Film "...Always hilarious..." 07/01/2003 p.137,5 stars out of 5 -- "[With] a consistently high strike rate that puts this on a par with HOLY GRAIL as the team's best big-screen foray." 01/01/2008 p.164
Los Angeles Times "[I]ts free-form humor and fearless blasphemy still intact and as potent as ever." 04/30/2004 p.E13
Empire 5 stars out of 5 -- "[It] might bear similarities to the greatest story ever told, but you'll be laughing too hard to take offense." 12/01/2007 p.224
Ultimate DVD 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his saucy, provocative satire on the sometimes ridiculous nature of religion is absolutely brilliant...the effervescent gags never grow tired." 04/01/2008 p.69
Terry Jones
Name Jones,Terry
Link Search Link
Cast & Crew
Charles McKeown - Actor
Eric Idle - Actor
Geoffrey Burgon - Original Music By
George Harrison - Actor
George Harrison - Executive Producer
Graham Chapman - Actor
Graham Chapman, et. al. - Writer
John Cleese - Actor
Julian Doyle - Editor
Michael Palin - Actor
Peter Biziou - Cinematographer
Roger Christian - Art Director
Terry Gilliam - Production Designer
Terry Gilliam - Actor
Terry Jones - Actor
Terry Jones - Director
Tim Hampton - Producer
Technical Info
Original Release Date 1979
Catalog ID 22592
UPC 00043396225923
Number of Discs 2
Running Time 94 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English, Portuguese
Available Audio Tracks English
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  1.85:1
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review The middle [Monty Python] film, The Life of Brian, may not have as many laugh-aloud moments as The Holy Grail or The Meaning of Life, but it is more pointed in its satire than either, and, beneath the comedy, there's real substance to this motion picture...There is little doubt that The Life of Brian represents some of the most daring and cutting edge comedy of the 1970s. It is a testimony to the force and timelessness of the material that it is as effective today as it was when it was initially released more than 20 years ago, and that, more than either of the other two Python movies, it stands up to multiple repeated viewings. Over the years, few comedies have dared to confront religious hypocrisy with the uncompromising fervor of this one (Kevin Smith's inferior Dogma is the only other one that immediately comes to mind), although the charges of blasphemy are both unfair and unfounded. It has been said that a Monty Python movie is only successful if it offends everyone in the audience at least once. By that measuring stick as well as nearly any other, The Life of Brian is an unqualified triumph. It makes us confront our foibles and laugh at them.
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 10
Review For those who think that Kevin Smith and Dogma are the cutting edge in sacrilegious humor, think again. Smith was but a schoolboy in 1979, when Monty Python's Life of Brian, a not-quite-Biblical satire raised a firestorm of protest...Of all of the Monty Python films, Life of Brian is, by far, the most tightly structured, which is not to say that it is totally without the Pythons' trademark anarchic humor or penchant for taking multiple roles. Palin, in particular, scores as the ineffectual rebel Francis; a speech-impaired Pontius Pilate who enables Brian to escape when he reduces his guard to helpless laughter at the sound of his some of his more outrageous pronunciations; and an ex-leper whose chief complaint is that Christ laid hands on him and cured him, robbing him of his livelihood as a beggar...Brian is very much the Flying Circus on the big screen, but with a beginning, middle, and an end, and a sublime logic that evaded all of the Pythons' other cinematic efforts. Providing suitable ballast for the film's more buoyant flights of fancy is Chapman, in a sweet, good-natured performance as Brian.
Reviewer Pam Grady
ReviewRating 9
DVD, Collector's Edition, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, Dolby Digital (5.1), English, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Actor Jones,Terry
Label Columbia/tri-Star
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide ...[the] funniest and most sustained feature yet from Britain's bad boys.
Marc Mohan, Portland Oregonian As far as a coherent, hilarious story line, as well as sheer blasphemous glee, you can't do much better than "Life of Brian."
Robert Abele, L.A. Weekly Astringently funny masterpiece.
VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever Probably the group's most daring, controversial venture.
Vincent Canby, The New York Times A non-stop orgy of assaults, not on anyone's virtue, but on the funny bone.

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