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Life of Brian

Life of Brian is a 1979 film by Monty Python which deals with the life of Brian Cohen (played by Graham Chapman), a young man born nearly the same time as, and right down the street from, Jesus. more...

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In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted it the greatest comedy film of all time. In 2004 the same magazine named it the 5th greatest British film of all time. On the IMDb, the film is consistently ranked among the top 250 films of all time.

Synopsis

Life of Brian is essentially a classic farce and is eloquently summed up by Brian's mother (played by Terry Jones) saying, "He's not the messiah; he's a very naughty boy." This notwithstanding, the film is variously seen as a stunning critique of excessive religiosity, a satire depicting organised and popular religion as a racket involving hypocrisy and religious zealotry, a sacrilegious film "deserving censorship," or just a very funny movie.

It also pokes fun at revolutionary grouplets of the 1970s by featuring several factions that are nominally protesting against the Roman occupation of Judea, but are in fact more at loggerheads with one another (examples include 'The Judean People's Front', 'The People's Front of Judea', and (with only one member) 'The Judean Popular People's Front').

The film contains all members of Monty Python in multiple roles, and also features cameos by Spike Milligan (who happened to be on holiday in Tunisia where the filming was taking place) and George Harrison (without whom the film would not have been made — since Harrison set up Handmade Films to help fund it after the subject matter scared off the original backers). Chris Langham also appears as a centurion.

Either by accident or design, several characters are never named during the film, although they do have names which are used in the tracklisting for the soundtrack album and elsewhere. There is no mention of the fact that Eric Idle's ever-cheerful joker is called "Mr. Cheeky", that the terribly well-meaning Roman guard played by Michael Palin is (aptly) named "Nisus Wettus", or that Brian's mother (Terry Jones) is named "Mandy".

Blasphemy allegations

The film initially attracted some complaints about Michael Palin and Graham Chapman's portrayals of characters with speech impediments (e.g. Biggus Dickus), but Mr. Palin insisted that this was solely for humorous purposes. Indeed, his father had a stammer, and he himself gives his name to 'The Michael Palin Centre', which offers "specialist assessment and therapy service in stammering." However, what caused most contention was the film's supposed blasphemous content.

Protests against the film were organised based on its perceived blasphemy, not least because the film ends with a comical song sung by the victims of a mass crucifixion ("Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"). Ironically, this song was later re-released with great success, after being sung by British football fans. Indeed, many people have come to see the song as a life-affirming ode to optimism. ("The Bright Side Of Life" is also featured in Eric Idle's Spamalot, a Broadway musical loosely based upon Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

Read more at Wikipedia.org


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