Dir: Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, 1974
The Python boys first real foray into cinema after the non-film And Now For Something Completely Different.
Holy Grail is true Python and very akin to their series Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
Absurd and surreal, the very loose plot is an excuse to link a load of sketches together.
King Arthur and his knights of Camelot are instructed by God to find the Holy Grail.
In their search, they come across sex mad women who lure knights to their castle by using a Grail-shaped beacon, anarchist peasants, The Black Knight who can’t accept when he’s defeated and a group of knights who say “ni!”.
Intercut with this is a police investigation over the slaying of a historian by a knight, animation and musical numbers.
The knights of Camelot pretend to ride horses while their subservients bang two coconut halves together.
An obscure and disjointed film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is gutbustingly hilarious.
It’s so quotable. You can’t help yourself but say the lines along with the cast while you’re watching it.
Allegedly, this was Elvis Presley’s favourite film and could recite nearly the whole script.
The team is able to walk that fine line of crudity without going too far and just being vulgar.
You can’t really analyse the film as there are no messages or meanings. It doesn’t try to make a statement. All it does do is try to be funny and succeeds.
Eric Idle is a particular highlight as Sir Robin-the-not-quite-so-brave-as-Sir-Lancelot.
Aided by his minstrels (led by Neil Innes), they merrily sing of his bravery and boldness with graphic detail, unnerving Sir Robin.
Scarpering in fear, the minstrels sing about his cowardice.
Soiling himself at the sight of any danger, Idle as the yellow knight is given some of the best lines.
Just watch it. Nothing I can say can describe how excellent this film is.