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Monty Python and the Holy Grail Special Edition

2-disc Special Edition DVD of Monty Python's classic 1974 medieval comedy that spoofs Arthurian legend.

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Welcome to the Sixth Century

  • Jul 7, 2003
Rating:
+5
Of all the films and television programs produced by airborne members of the Flying Circus, I consider this to be their greatest achievement. Co-authored and then co-directed Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones (two rather silly people indeed), this film makes at least some effort to recreate a distant period in history and from a somewhat 20th century perspective. Apparently available funds were limited because Gilliam and Junes could not afford to rent horses and thus were forced to simulate them with body language and coconut half shells. Also, various members of the Ye Olde Merrie Companie were required to play several different roles...on occasion at the same time. For example, Graham Chapman as King Arthur as well as (or as unwell as) the Three-Headed Knight and the Hiccoughing Guard. Eric Idle ia also actively involved as Sir Robin, Maynard, Roger, a Guard, and the Historian Who Isn't A.J.P. Taylor...plus some other stuff my limited space precludes noting. One of Gilliam and Jones's cleverest strategies is to juxtapose 6th century Breton with 20th century England. Actually, not only juxtapose them but to have the former and latter interact without prior warning. Yes, this creates some confusion but the plot lags on fewer occasions and younger persons in the audience will feel more at home.

According to various historical sources, there was not one Arthur but hundreds...perhaps thousands in 6th century England. Indeed, here in Dallas in the year 2003, there are thousands of Arthurs now living in the North Texas region. How many kings? Ooodles of Kings but no kings; however, back then (i.e. 6th century), there were quite a few.

According to generally reliable research sources, for example, Geoffrey of Monmouth (about 1100-1155 A.D.) recorded Arthur as a High-King of Britain. He was the son of his predecessor, Uther Pendragon and nephew of King Ambrosius. As a descendant of High-King Eudaf Hen's nephew, Conan Meriadoc, Arthur's grandfather, had crossed the Channel from Brittany and established the dynasty at the beginning of the 5th century. The Breton King Aldrien had been asked to rescue Britain from the turmoil in which it found itself after the Roman administration had departed. He sent his brother, Constantine, to help. Constantine appears to have been the historical self-proclaimed British Emperor who took the last Roman troops from Britain in a vain attempt to assert his claims on the Continent in 407. Chronologically speaking, it is just possible he was King Arthur's grandfather. Arthur's Breton Ancestry was recorded by Gallet.

Of course, historical material such as this brought tears of joy to the eyes of both Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones (also their parents). They were inspired by it to bring the story of King Arthur and the Holy Grail to the sometimes silver screen. This they have done. Truly, the Pendragons are the stuff of legend. Predictably, Gilliam and Jones took certain liberties to achieve enhanced dramatic effect, adding some important new information revealed by their own historical research. For example, details about martial arts for quadriplegics, the Sepulcher of the Holy Grenade and its Killer Rabbit, aerodynamics of various species of migrating swallows, and interior decorating (e.g. curtains) in 6th century royal quarters. Exciting new stuff indeed.

Who said in 1974 that "They just don't make great movies anymore"? Well, whoever said that could not be more wrong.

For proof, they are herewith directed to the abundance of materials which are available only with the DVD version of this film. If they are still not convinced, I fart in their general direction.

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More Monty Python and the Holy Grai... reviews
review by . December 17, 2008
Graham, Eric, Terry G., Michael, Terry J., & John
-This review pertains to the Monty Python and the Holy Grail 2-disc Special Edition DVD-         In 1974 the bad boys of British comedy decided to create a full-length motion picture, which was destined for greatness (or at least mediocrity disguised as greatness). Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a totally distasteful classic of almost epic proportions.    The film stars John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Terry …
Quick Tip by . August 26, 2009
Perhaps the funniest movie ever made, this irreverent take on the King Arthur tale is =D. Who doesn't want to fall prey to a killer rabbit?
review by . May 31, 2009
You know, I would've loved to have been in the audience when Monty Python and the Holy Grail was first shown. I'm picturing a fair amount of laughter, but also quite a bit of confusion and critics saying, "What the hell did I just see?" That was certainly the case when Roger Ebert reviewed the first Monty Python movie, And Now For Something Completely Different. He seemed very interested in the audience reaction during his review, and I imagine the audience reaction during the first screenings for …
review by . June 27, 2003
This movie is funny, it has so many funny lines, that you can taunt your enemies for years to come, using lines from THe Holy Grail. Monty Python may be a bit of a refined humour, that has it's fans and the non-fans who just don't like it. That's fine, this was my second Python movie ( after Eric the Viking) and I fell deeply for this humor.   THe Python Boys take on so many different roles that they themselves said they loose track of who's who. The speicla edition DVD has behind scenes …
review by . April 08, 2003
For those who don't "get" the humor in this movie, it may seem like a 90 minute detour into one of the outer circles of hell. Actors playing multiple roles, idiots smacking coconut shells together to make horse-sounds, men playing most of the female roles, modern-day police tracking medieval knights, the use of the word "nee" to a huge extent and lots of blood gouting from gory wounds. For those people, I can only have pity.Because to love HOLY GRAIL is to establish a life-long friendship. I've …
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Robert Morris ()
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Wiki

Could this be the funniest movie ever made? By any rational measure of comedy, this medieval romp from the Monty Python troupe certainly belongs on the short list of candidates. According to Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide, it's "recommended for fans only," but we say hogwash to that--you could be a complete newcomer to the Python phenomenon and still find this send-up of the Arthurian legend to be wet-your-pants hilarious. It's basically a series of sketches woven together as King Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail, with Graham Chapman as the King, Terry Gilliam as his simpleton sidekick Patsy, and the rest of the Python gang filling out a variety of outrageous roles. The comedy highlights are too numerous to mention, but once you've seen Arthur's outrageously bloody encounter with the ominous Black Knight (John Cleese), you'll know that nothing's sacred in the Python school of comedy. From holy hand grenades to killer bunnies to the absurdity of the three-headed knights who say "Ni--!," this is the kind of movie that will strike you as fantastically funny or just plain silly, but why stop there? It's all over the map, and the pace lags a bit here and there, but for every throwaway gag the Pythons have invented, there's a bit of subtle business or grand-scale insanity that's utterly inspired. The sum of this madness is a movie that's beloved by anyone with a pulse and an irreverent sense of humor. If...
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Details

Genre: Adventure, Classics, Comedy, Fantasy, History, Musical
Release Date: 1975
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: October 23, 2001
Runtime: 91 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures
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