In 33 A.D. Judea, exasperated Romans attempt to impose some order in a time of chaos and change, in a land with no shortage of messiahs. At the centre of our story is Brian Cohen, a young man who was born next door to Jesus. A reluctant would-be messiah, Brian rises to prominence as a result of a series of absurd circumstances. Providing ample opportunity for the entire Monty Python ensemble to shine in multiple roles as they question everyone and everything from ex-lepers, Pontius Pilate and the art of haggling, to revolutionaries, crazy prophets, Roman centurions and crucifixion.
The legendary British comedy troupe delivers an anarchic satire of organized religion (and a parody of Hollywood's biblical epics) with Monty Python's Life of Brian. Highly controversial upon its original release and banned in several countries, Python's cheeky satire of the life of Jesus told through the story of the boy next door, stands today as one of the greatest comedy features of all time.
“It rips bare and makes you laugh at the world we’ve created for ourselves.”
- Terry Gilliam
“The producer John Goldstone and I went round America looking for money. We went off to New York and we met all these people and they'd say, ‘Can't deal with this.’ /…/ They loved Python but this was a dangerous area, and all the time I was talking to George Harrison on the phone and he'd say, ‘Don't worry, I'll give you the money.’ And I'd say, ‘Yeah, right,’ because I didn't think anybody would have. /…/ Then George proved to be true to his word, he paid for the whole thing, he mortgaged his house and raised the money, it was extraordinary. He paid for it because he wanted to see it. The most anybody's ever paid for a cinema ticket in history. God bless him.”
- Eric Idle
“Monty Python’s Life of Brian still stands up as an amazing achievement, the Pythons’ masterpiece: a 90-minute sketch elevated to an entirely consistent, hugely audacious and ambitious film, shot in Tunisia on sets used for Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth, with £3m of George Harrison’s money provided after EMI Films nervously withdrew its backing. There are tremendously funny set pieces and brilliant visual moments. /…/ Could it be done now? In 2019, the nature of censorship and self-censorship has changed. The speech-impediment gags would be a tricky sell, some of the language that Brian angrily uses to come out as Jewish feels misjudged and the material about the transgender character might get the Pythons into a whole new world of trouble. But what a triumph this film was for Chapman, who gave a convincing, touching performance as the bewildered everyman who decides to make a stand, and in his battle with the evil empire makes a Luke Skywalker-style discovery about his lineage. Life of Brian is an unexpectedly earnest, sweet-natured hymn to the idea of tolerance.”
- Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian