login | register

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Makes Ben Hur look like an epic. 

Year: 1975 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

If you have not seen this film, firstly, shame on you. Secondly, you should not even be reading this, you should be queuing up to see it. Now.

Good, now that's been sorted out all that remains is to remind those who have seen it what makes it the funniest film of all time, ever, bar none. A consideration of the circumstances is also important, however, as it makes the final product even more remarkable. Made on a shoestring budget, and with actual shoestrings, the film was funded in part by Pink Floyd with profits from 'Dark Side of the Moon' and had an overall budget of a little over £200,000, for which nowadays you couldn't even buy Tom Cruise's shoestrings.

But in true Python style the boys did not let this hinder them, and in fact used their lack of money as a running (or skipping) gag in their radio-style use of banging coconut shells together instead of riding horses, a technique which is not only a genius throwaway joke, but also removes any need for actual horses.

The plot is unashamedly non apparent, the knights of yore stagger from scene to scene in a collection of the most memorable, and (often annoyingly) repeatable, sketches ever performed. While there are people in the world who can recount the entire 'Camelot' song and use the word 'Ni' without even a hint of irony, it is a small price to pay for this endlessly rewatchable classic. The rate of jokes is incredibly high, peppered here and there so that it is impossible to notice everything in one viewing. Which, considering how much one person physically can laugh in an hour and a half, is probably medically beneficial.

The real delight, however, is in knowing that while you don't quote the entire film over and over again to whoever will listen, you could if you wanted to. Each sketch is like an old friend who you never tire of seeing, and the whole film is an example of perfect humour played out by gifted comedians at the top of their game. This is proof that all you need to make a classic film is talent, hard work and…shoestrings.

Peter Lefort

Quoted by students throughout the land for a quarter of a century, WSC is delighted to present Monty Python's classic Arthurian comedy.

Arthur (Chapman), King of England despite the absence of a mandate from the masses (the bestowal of a sword by "some watery tart" being deemed insufficient) together with his trusty Knights of the Round Table (who, it is alleged, "dance whene'er they're able") eschew a visit to Camelot ("for it is a silly place") in favour of more spiritual pursuits, namely a divine quest for the Holy Grail.

During their quest, they must outwit or battle many deadly foes: the Beast of Aargh ("Over there, behind the rabbit"), the Knights Who Say "Ni!", the Knights Who Say "EkkiEkkiEkkiEkkiPTANG!", Tim the Enchanter, and the Black Knight ("It's only a flesh wound!").

Marvel at Sir Bedivere's masterful application of logic to the art of witchburning and his explanations of the New Learning ("And that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be bananashaped"). Gasp at the uncouthness of the French Knights ("Your mother was a hamster..."), and the application of the Holy HandGrenade of Antioch. Witness Sir Robin's bravery at first hand, complete with musical commentary ("Brave Sir Robin ran away...").

There will be a short intermission during this screening.

Nicholas Jackson

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

Screenings of this film:

1977/1978 Spring Term (35mm)
1977/1978 Spring Term (35mm)
1977/1978 Spring Term (35mm)
1977/1978 Spring Term (35mm)
1981/1982 Spring Term (16mm)
1984/1985 Autumn Term (16mm)
1987/1988 Autumn Term (16mm)
2000/2001 Autumn Term (35mm)
2001/2002 Spring Term (35mm)
2005/2006 Autumn Term (35mm)