Monty Python’s Life Of Brian – 1979
Perhaps the best remembered and best loved of the Python movies. Life Of Brian was hugely controversial, but hysterically funny.
The film does contain themes of religious satire and as such drew huge criticism at the time from many religious groups. Thirty-nine local authorities in the UK either banned it completely or imposed an x rated certificate on it. It was banned altogether in certain countries, some of these bans lasted for many years. Undaunted, film makers used this to their advantage when marketing the film with posters stating “So funny it was banned in Norway!”
With just days before production was scheduled to begin, EMI Films withdrew funding. It was long-time Monty Python fan and former Beatle: George Harrison who saved the day. He arranged financing for Life of Brian through the formation of his company: HandMade Films.
Life Of Brian was a huge success, becoming the fourth highest grossing film of 1979 in the UK and the highest grossing British film for that year in the United States. It remains popular even today.
Judea 33 A.D, a time of poverty and chaos. There’s no shortage of messiahs, or followers willing to believe in them, The Romans are battling to bring some sort of order.
At the centre of it all is Brian Cohen, a young Jewish man who has the misfortune to be born on the same day and next door to Jesus Christ. As a result he finds himself becoming a reluctant would-be messiah.
Brian rises to prominence as a result of a series of absurd and truly hilarious circumstances. This provides ample opportunity for the entire Python team to shine in multiple roles as they mock everyone and everything from ex-lepers, Pontius Pilate, and the art of haggling to crazy prophets, Roman centurions, and crucifixion.
Executive Producers: George Harrison and Denis O’ Brien
Produced By: John Goldstone
Directed By: Terry Jones
Original Release Date: 17 August 1979