Feb 022016

Title: Monty Python and the Holy Grail


Monty Python and the Holy Grail

I have to push the pram a lot.

King Arthur and the knights of the round table seek the Holy Grail. Along the way they encounter a wide variety of medieval and legendary comic situations that unfold in a uniquely Pythonesque way. From an anarcho-syndicalist commune of peasant mud-farming to the knights who say, “Ni!”, the dread Rabbit of Caerbannog, a black knight who proves particularly resistant to flesh wounds, French invaders who are uniquely skilled at insults, and many many more.

Appropriate for:

Ages 13 and up

When Monty Python and the Holy Grail first came out in 1975 it was rated PG because the PG-13 rating had not yet been created. There is some sexual content and plenty of violence but it’s all mild enough by today’s standards, or treated so comically, that most 13 year olds should be fine. It’s also a perfect movie for teenagers as opposed to a younger audience because teenagers are better equipped to get some of the subtler references and they will love all of the over-the-top silliness.

Content Warnings:

There is violence but any blood is comically exaggerated. There is sexual innuendo, which for the most part may go over younger viewers heads – except for the Castle Anthrax scene. It’s easily skipped over if you think your kids aren’t ready for the bits where its innuendo crosses over into overt sexual references. There is also a little swearing.

The Scoop:

When Monty Python set out to make Holy Grail in 1975 the small budget forced them to cut corners in ways that turned out to be a tremendous benefit. Almost every castle set is the same castle, redressed and shot from different angles. The inventiveness this required is reflected in the final film and created the opportunity for humor beyond the original script. Iconic jokes like the knights pantomiming riding horses while being followed by lackeys with coconuts would not have happened if the production could have afforded horses.

Another testament to the genius of Monty Python and the serendipity of the circumstances is that the film has aged remarkably well over the years. It has remained a cult classic and kids today are just as likely as their Dad to be heard saying, “It’s just a flesh wound!” Merran, as a representative of moms in general, is less inclined to engage in the very nerdy quoting of Monty Python (although the Parrot sketch may be tempting).

The successful 2005 stage adaptation, Spamalot, by Python member Eric Idle is further proof of the film’s enduring appeal. Who knows, Spamalot may be adapted back into a movie like The Producers but unless they severely restrict the budget I can’t imagine that it would be able to match the hilarious charm of the original.

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