Combustible Celluloid
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With: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Written by: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Directed by: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 91
Date: 03/13/1975

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Just Say 'Ni'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The funniest movie I ever saw, Airplane!, couldn't possibly be made today because it assumed its audience was intelligent and didn't explain any of its jokes. Whose standards have lowered, the moviemakers' or the audience's? Certainly no one today could make the second funniest movie I ever saw, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). What studio would greenlight a film that has knights skipping over hill and dale while clopping coconut halves together? I first saw the film on video in a living room packed with about a dozen other kids my age, and I laughed so hard I thought I would stop breathing. I actually feared for my life.

Graham Chapman stars as King Arthur, though all the Pythons play multiple roles. Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam also appeared and shared directing duties, with Gilliam providing some of his famous, weird animated segueways. The movie is ragged and astoundingly low-budget, with laughably bad effects, but with an undeniable, rambunctious, rebellious spirit. It's known for an impressively high number of quotable lines, but a favorite of mine is Sir Galahad (Michael Palin) being asked his favorite color, answering, "blue," and then changing his mind, sealing his doom. It goes without saying, but John Cleese and Eric Idle round out the legendary sextet.

Columbia/TriStar has re-released their previous 2-disc edition in a new deluxe box set that also comes with the printed screenplay. The discs come with more funny business than can possibly be recounted, including commentary tracks, subtitles from "Henry IV - Part II" for people who don't like the film, a short documentary with Michael Palin and Terry Jones returning to the set, and more. In 2015, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released a 40th anniversary Blu-ray edition. A new extra is a 2015 Q&A from the Tribeca Film Festival, but it also includes classic extras: outtakes and extended scenes, lost animations, commentary tracks, locations, and many other funny tidbits.

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