Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The 1974 comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail stars Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.  It is directed by Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam.

The movie opens with King Arthur searching for knights to join his Round Table.  First comes Sir Bedivere, who offers up an interesting way to determine whether a particular woman is a witch.  Next came Lancelot, Galahad, and finally the timid Robin.  One day, after they decide not to go to Camelot because “it is a silly place”, God appears to them in the sky asking them to embark on a quest to search for the Holy Grail.  They decide to separate.  Sir Robin rides north with his minstrels.  Along the way, he encounters a three-headed knight.  As the three head disagree about what to do with Robin, he sneaks away as his minstrel sings the tale of his cowardly escape.  Sir Galahad, meanwhile, comes upon a castle filled with beautiful but deadly temptresses.  Just as he agrees to stay, Sir Lancelot saves him.  Sir Bedivere and King Arthur, a “swallow’s flight away”, find an old man who directs them to the Holy Grail’s location.  But, as they ride through the forest, they meet the Knights Who Say “Nee!” who demand a shrubbery in return for safe passage through the forest.  The tale of Sir Lancelot involves Lancelot finding a distress note and attempting to save what he believes to be a princess.  Upon reaching the tower where the arrow came from, the knight discovers that the note was not from a princess but from an effeminate prince.  Later, all the Round Table Knights meet up and follow the clues Arthur received from the old man.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is widely considered one of the funniest films ever made.  One example is the “horses” the knights ride.  They are not actually horses.  The knights are just galluping with their assistants in the back making the sound of hooves with coconuts.  At the beginning of the movie, Arthur is given a hard time about this by two castle guards.  They get into a discussion about where Arthur found the coconuts.  The king is trying to get them to summon their master to ask him to join the Round Table.  The guards seem to ignore him and focus on how a swallow could carry a coconut, an idea referred to several times in the film.

Also, the idea of being almost dead is a recurring joke throughout the story.  The first time this happens is when Arthur faces the black knight who won’t be defeated.  The king cuts off the knight’s arms and legs but still refuses to accept defeat.  As Arthur leaves, the black knight calls him a coward and wants the king to come back so he can bite his legs off.  A little later in the film as Lancelot is looking for the Grail, his assistant Concorde is shot with an arrow from the Swamp Castle.  As Concorde is lying there unconscious, Lancelot finds a note attached to the arrow.  As he is saying that his assistant shall not have died in vain, Concorde comes to and says “I’m not quite dead, sir”.  Then Lancelot rephrases his statement, saying that he “shall not have been mortally wounded in vain”, after which Concorde says “I could pull through, sir.”

To wrap, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a hilarious film.  You will laugh ’til it hurts!

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