login | register

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

It took God six days to create the earth, and Monty Python just 90 minutes to screw it up. 

Year: 1983 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

Director: Terry Jones/Terry Gilliam

Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin

For Monty Python’s last outing together on the big screen, they chose not to present a feature-length story as in ‘Life of Brian’ and ‘Holy Grail’, but more an extended episode of ‘Flying Circus’, depicting the stages of life from birth to death, each with a dollop of typical Python absurdity. Included are classic sketches such as a British officer who supposedly loses his leg to a tiger during the Zulu Wars, Terry Jones as Mr Creosote, Cleese’s sex education class brought to life by demonstrations with his wife, Gilliam’s Rastafarian Jewish liver donor and Death’s appearance at a dinner party (‘…but I didn’t eat the mousse’).

Adding to the fun are the collection of musical scenes, complete with choreographed dancing and backup vocals. Absolute gems are the songs ‘Every Sperm is Sacred’ and ‘The Universe Song’, which are very catchy. Some may be grossed out by the more tasteless jokes in the film and Gilliam’s ‘The Crimson Permanent Assurance’ may not be to everyone’s taste as a prelude but is worth sitting through for the main event. Sight gags abound, as do hilarious subtleties in the dialogue, which is why repeat viewing is a must!

In all this is a production with much slicker direction and better written material than its predecessors, but is bittersweet in that the ‘Death’ segment marks the last time all six Pythons appeared on screen together. This film might not actually reveal the meaning of life but it’s a hilarious attempt.

Jack Gregory

More Information | Back to Previous Schedule | This Season  |  BBFC Classification Guidelines

Screenings of this film:

1983/1984 Summer Term (35mm)
1983/1984 Summer Term (35mm)
1983/1984 Summer Term (35mm)
1983/1984 Summer Term (35mm)
1987/1988 Autumn Term (16mm)
1993/1994 Spring Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Autumn Term (35mm)