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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Visitor Comments

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by John Ulmer (email, web) on 2003-06-18 09:07:54

I agree that "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is overrated as far as being hailed as one of the top ten comedies of all time, but I wouldn't give it a half a star.

I do agree, however, that "SNL" is ten times funnier. So is "Kids in the Hall."

(John Ulmer)

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by Bill King (email, web) on 2003-07-09 01:07:23

This movie made me sleepy. Immediately after watching Monty Python, I bought a ticket for "Waking Life," and was reinvigorted. A huge chasm separates the two films.

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by katie   on 2003-12-04 16:10:12

i like monty python so be quite!

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by gizmola (email, web) on 2003-12-18 08:04:52

Well reviews are opinions nothing more or less. It's hard to find a more subjective area than that which people find funny. With that said, I think you would be hard pressed to find an opinion that was less in step with the majority than the one expressed in this review. Having seen this film many times, there are still any number of scenes that can make me laugh. The Holy hand grenade for example, always brings a smile to my face. I guess Bill just doesn't appreciate Python humor, but in giving this classic comedy such a poor rating, I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering whether we even saw the same film as this classic, created by the endlessly inventive comic geniuses who (despite a shoe string budget) were at the apex of their talents when this film was released.

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by Bill King   on 2003-12-20 13:11:04

Katie: Okay, I'll be quite, er quiet. Check your spelling next time.

gizmola: I guess I don't appreciate Monty Python humor. I don't think it's funny to beat a joke to death, especially if the joke isn't funny in the first place. I didn't laugh at all when the servant clapped two coconut halves together endlessly. Seeing the same image over and over and over again becomes tedious. My 1/2* rating is justified. I laughed once. The rest of the time, I grew impatient with every passing moment.

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by John Ulmer   on 2004-04-05 19:01:27

I bought the new Collector's DVD (w/ screenplay etc.) and appreciated it much more the second time around. In fact, I was laughing so hard that I cried when John Cleese storms the castle, kills EVERYONE, and then stops to stab a candle on a wall (or something). It's just great.

But I still have doubts as to whether it is the 53rd greatest film of all time (as IMDb had it listed last I checked).

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by carl langley   on 2004-05-06 09:53:32

While I agree that the Holy Grail is overrated, I do find alot of humor in Monty Python; the Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life is a totally different story. Those two had me ROLLING. I would say that the Holy Grail is the worst of the three, but I don't think it deserves a .5 star rating. Especially if you gave it that on your four star scale!

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by SomeRandomGirl (email) on 2004-06-17 16:29:43

I pity the Philistine who cannot appreciate the Python.

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by Bill King   on 2004-06-23 01:00:34

How about explaining to me why it's funny to see people clapping coconut halves not once, not twice, not three times, but... Heck, I can't remember how many times they did it. What about the endless dialogue about the swallows? How about the predictable scene with the horny women? I knew *exactly* how that scene would end.

In short, explain why it's funny to see the same jokes told over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by the lord Jesus Christ   on 2004-10-20 13:49:07

Python is an acquired taste, and it requires alot of intellect to appreciate. You have to be able to know the facts about subjects like king Arthur and his knights to fully understand the humor in it. You, my friend, obviously do not have that intellect.

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by Bill King   on 2004-10-26 00:53:00

You, my friend, obviously have no intellect about what I wrote. I've studied the legends of King Arthur, but that's irrelevant. Either Monty Python is an acquired taste, or one requires knowledge of King Arthur to enjoy the film. Which is it?

It's certainly not the latter, since the movie hardly depends on the legends of King Arthur except as an excuse to tell jokes with a repetive style. While the film does include elements of the Arthurian legends, that simply doesn't excuse the comedic style presented here. How does understanding King Arthur make the endless coconut scenes funny? How does understanding King Arthur excuse the botched castle scene with the sex-starved women?

That leaves the Pythons as an acquired taste, so I'll agree with you there. That being said, my review simply provides evidence on why I will never find Monty Python funny. Monty Python tells jokes by dragging them out over an unreasonable length of time. I defend that position by describing scenes that fall into that category. It wasn't hard, because there were plenty to choose from.

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by Aimee (email) on 2004-11-19 10:05:14


The coconuts
Added by Gizmola   on 2004-11-19 14:05:30

I will attempt to address the coconuts issue that you seem preoccupied with. The first thing you have to realize is that THG was filmed on a shoestring budget. They didn't have the money to use actual horses, so they came up with the idea of having the actors "pretend" that they are on horses. This would be an exanmple of what in general is called "breaking the 4th wall." From the very start of the film, they are playing with the conventions of storytelling. It's not suppossed to be the funniest joke in the film, and if you start off taking umbrage, perhaps it's understandable that you aren't able to get past that. THG does have structure, in that it lampoons Arthurian Legend, and so it's largely based on taking the stuffing out of that area of hallowed ground, including

In my mind there are any number of classic sequences in the film including:

-Bring out your Dead
-the knights of Ni
-The dangerous bunny
-The bridge gatekeeper
-brave sir robin
-The infamous battle with the Dark Knight

Like a handful of other comic movies, I can watch the film and still be amused, even though I've seen it many times. For me, that's why it's a great comic film. I suppose it's just not your cup of tea, but I think you missed the boat. To go back to John's comment, I think it's funny that he mentions SNL and Kids in the Hall which were both influenced greatly be the Pythons.


Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by Bill King   on 2004-11-19 16:23:36

Thanks for your comments Giz. I appreciate you trying to explain what makes this movie funny. However, I just don't see it. I've read about the low budget and the filmmakers deciding not to use horses, but that knowledge doesn't help. All I see onscreen are people with no horses and using coconuts to mimic hoofs clapping. I can accept that joke once, maybe twice, but not as many times as we see in the movie. My problem with the movie lies more with the way MP extends many of the jokes over an unreasonable length of time.

The same can be said for the battle with the Dark Knight. I think I laughed briefly when his first arm was cut off, but I grew impatient as the scene dragged on. The Dark Knight talked about it being a flesh wound or whatnot, but again this scene just lasts too long. His dialogue seemed designed more to make the scene last longer rather than because what he was saying was actually funny.

I liked the Sir Robin sequence, particularly his minstrel singing about how Sir Robin would get killed. It worked because it didn't wear out its welcome and didn't include unnecessary exposition. It was short, to the point, had a good punch line, then moved on.

I'd recommend reading Roger Ebert's review of "Scenes From a Mall," in particular the first paragraph. (

The first paragraph describes my objections to "The Holy Grail" perfectly.

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by Spainish Inquisiton   on 2005-04-04 18:01:31


ps. Ni, Albotros and Nobody expects the spainish inquistion.

Re: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added by Jake   on 2005-07-28 21:58:01

Yowza. Here is absolute proof that comedy is a deeply subjective thing, and that you can never "teach" anybody to find something funny if they don't to start off with. I myself found the endless stretching out of jokes funny because...well, for the same reasons you hated it. There is no earthly justifiable reason to drag out moments this long, which is the best reason *to* do it. The debate about swallows carrying coconuts is stupid, ridiculous, pointless, and a complete waste of time--that is, it's all of those things if you're debating it, but that's why it's funny if you're just watching someone else debate it. (Well, if *I'm* watching it; you know what I mean.) And the throwaway shot later on of someone actually testing their theories about swallows was perfect.

But, of course, that's only true if you actually find it funny. I can understand where you're coming from, as somebody who really and truly hated 'Napoleon Dynamite' and cannot understand its massive popularity. Nothing anyone could ever say to me would ever make me enjoy that movie any more than I do now.

I disagree, Bill
Added by Denis Logan (email, web) on 2005-10-19 01:23:40

I think it might be a problem with perception. Like a liberal thinks a conservative is mad (which they are).

I don't feel the jokes drag on- I see a bunch of goofs who stay totally in character, but because everyone in the "Python World" has the same sense of humor, the challenges they face come from the fact that they can't get "out of tune" with each other's humor.
It's ultimately a satirical piece involving several characters that are completely different, but all have essentially the same "sillly humor". It's like having a court of jesters- a madhouse!

I think the reasons North Americans don't get British humor is because North American culture is very fast-paced- quick cuts, action-packed, etc.. Life in Europe is more laid back... hence, thier humor has a slower pace.

Think of Abbot and Costello- a routine like "Who's on first?" is funny because of repetition. The idea is to test your patience- the answer is obvious to the audience, but the characters (who we view as actors playing characters in this kind of sketch) are so in character, they do not understand- and our frustration brings out the laughter.

In the Holy Grail, the Pythons use a slower version of the repetition- every character cannot understand the other's needs.
The black knight cannot understand why Arthur should cross, and Arthur cannot understand why he cannot pass; confrontation.
Arthur wants to see the king of the castle, the guards cannot understand why he is using coconuts over horses; non sequiter.
Lancelot recieves a message to rescue a "maiden" but it turns out to be a man... the twist being, Lancelot kills half the wedding party... the second twist- he gets away with an apology; unexpeceted resolution.
Lancelot coming up the hill a million times; non sequiter.
The maidens and Gallahad the Pure; seeing his complete ignorance frustrates us, causing us to get "giddy" with excitement.

I'd continue elaborating, but I'm not writing an essay here...

In any case, I boil it down to a simple difference in patience- one must be a patient person to enjoy Monty Python.

I guess I'm also part of the minority.......
Added by Lorenzo Jaldin III (email) on 2009-08-01 12:01:48

I'm afraid I have to agree with Bill but more then just because of the recycling of jokes.

I find the execution to be horrendous and the pacing to be too fast/slow at times in this movie. Sometimes the actors responded a tad too quickly with the punch line or they had a very bored expression and so on and so forth.

And I remember a joke where He was running but never seeming to get anywhere while two guards watched perplexed. It was funny after 3 seconds, hilarious after 6, a riot after 8 but it kept getting dragged on.....and on......and after what seemed like forever he finally killed the guards. It was just simply too long.

Maybe you're right Denis, maybe it's because I'm American or have no patience. But honestly dragging out the same jokes for sooooo long isn't that funny to me. And I love British humor, have watched numerous comedies, talk shows etc. But this is just ridiculous.

O btw, I disagree with Bill's rating. I would actually give this move a 1 1/2 because I laughed twice and giggled 4 times throughout the whole movie.

Ni, I don't agree!
Added by Yes (email) on 2012-09-28 04:27:41

So, Bill...what DO you find amusing? What ONE film would YOU deem as funny?
(I think if they'd have used Bill's empty skull (sawed in halves) to clop together,
the sound would have been more hollow.)
THAT would be funny!

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