Monty Python's Life of Brian

Monty Python's
Life of Brian
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTerry Jones
Produced byJohn Goldstone
Written byMonty Python
Music byGeoffrey Burgon
CinematographyPeter Biziou
Edited byJulian Doyle
Distributed byCinema International Corporation
Release date
  • 17 August 1979 (1979-08-17) (United States)
  • 8 November 1979 (1979-11-08) (United Kingdom)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget$4 million[2]
Box office$20.7 million[3][4]

Monty Python's Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film starring and written by the comedy group Monty Python (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin). It was also directed by Jones. The film tells the story of Brian Cohen (played by Chapman), a young Jewish-Roman man who is born on the same day as—and next door to—Jesus, and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah.

Following the withdrawal of funding by EMI Films just days before production was scheduled to begin, long-time Monty Python fan and former member of the Beatles, George Harrison, arranged financing for Life of Brian through the formation of his company HandMade Films.[5]

The film's themes of religious satire were controversial at the time of its release, drawing accusations of blasphemy and protests from some religious groups. Thirty-nine local authorities in the United Kingdom either imposed an outright ban, or imposed an X (18 years) certificate.[6] Some countries, including Ireland and Norway, banned its showing, and a few of these bans lasted decades. The filmmakers used the notoriety to promote the film, with posters in Sweden reading, "So funny, it was banned in Norway!"[7]

The film was a box office success, the fourth-highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom in 1979, and highest grossing of any British film in the United States that year. It has remained popular and was named "greatest comedy film of all time" by several magazines and television networks, and it later received a 95% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus, "One of the more cutting-edge films of the 1970s, this religious farce from the classic comedy troupe is as poignant as it is funny and satirical."[8] In a 2006 Channel 4 poll, Life of Brian was ranked first on their list of the 50 Greatest Comedy Films.[9]

  1. ^ "Monty Python's Life of Brian (AA)". British Board of Film Classification. 24 August 1979. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Life of Brian". 17 August 1979 – via IMDb.
  3. ^ "Monty Python's Life of Brian". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. 17 August 1979. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  5. ^ Jordan Runtagh (26 November 2016). "10 Things You Didn't Know George Harrison Did". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Monty Python's Life Of Brian". BBFC. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  7. ^ Bhaskar, Sanjeev (29 November 2009). "What did 'Life of Brian' ever do for us?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Monty Python's Life of Brian Movie Reviews". Flixster. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  9. ^ "50 Greatest Comedy Films". London: Channel 4. 2005. Archived from the original on 15 April 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2019.