Ranking the Monty Python films: The Bad to the Amazing

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Monty Python has been a personal favourite of mine ever since I watched the Black Knight sketch on YouTube when I was eight years old. Nine years on however, I thought I’d go more in depth to what arguably started my love for comedy. Although, instead of going into depth about the show itself, I wanted to look at the movies. Arguably, the films are as funny as the show, I believe so anyways. Keeping that in mind, lets rank the four cinematic films that Monty Python released, from worst to best.

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

Eric Idle (left) and Terry Gilliam (right) pictured performing “The Galaxy Song”. – Monty Python’s Meaning of Life (1983).

iMDB: 7.6/10.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%.
Roger Ebert: 2.5/4.

The last and arguably least funny of the four Monty Python films. By no means is it bad though, as noted by the ratings overall. It actually provided the second best Monty Python song, which is The Galaxy Song. I’ve taken the liberty of listing that down below because it is quite catchy, which strangely enough is rather catchy.

What of the film on the whole, though? It’s as energetic as you’d expect from Python, and just as weird as the others. Although, it does lack a certain narrative. I suppose it’s much more like And Now For Something Completely Different, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just feel personally that it was the weakest of the bunch. And this is what this article is really, isn’t it? Opinion.

Monty Python: And Now for Something Completely Different

John Cleese pictured in one of the many sketches of Monty Python And Now for Something Completely Different (1971)

iMDB: 7.6/10.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%.
Roger Ebert: 3/4.

The only difference in this film is the .5 extra Ebert gave the film in his overall rating. However, this is my personal opinion, and to be honest I did like this film quite a lot. I’ve watched this one several times, unlike The Meaning of Life. This film is basically just a re-hashing of of the original first two or three seasons of the BBC show.

What I like the most is that it isn’t just the same as the TV Show. They’ve actually went out of their way to film it in much better quality and actually slightly re-written. Some sketches fit together in an almost story like segment, such as the Parrot Sketch leading onto the Lumberjack Song which I thought was a great idea to say the least.

Overall the film takes the best experiences of the TV Show and slaps them on the big screen. I did miss some of my other favourites though that weren’t remade, mainly the Cheese Shop which was underappreciated to say the least. That may have been season four though.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

From left to right, Idle, Cleese, Chapman, Jones and Palin, all pictured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail – (1975)

iMDB: 8.3/10.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Roger Ebert: N/A.

So unfortunately Ebert never saw this film. If he did, I couldn’t find his review on it, which is a shame because I find his reviews really helpful. Regardless of that, Monty Python and the Holy Grail was my favourite comedy for a very long time.

Like I said at the beginning of this article, it was one of the very first sketches I watched in my entire life. A low quality YouTube video manages to successfully capture my attention and lead me down a dark, dark path of comedy. Right now I’m sat writing this, all thanks to this film. But why isn’t it my favourite? It’s very simple.

After discussing it with a few friends, we found that there was one other film that was much wittier and funnier. Not that this film doesn’t have its moments. The whole film is basically one giant, brilliant moment. It’s a sure fire laugh a minute comedy that introduced me to the world of comedy, so I can thank Monty Python and the Holy Grail for that.

Monty Python’s Life of Brian

John Cleese, Michael Palin and Graham Chapman pictured in the final few scenes of the film. – Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)

iMDB: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Roger Ebert: 3/4

This is the definitive Monty Python experience in my eyes. There are so many reasons for this. Most notably is the amount of quotable lines actually available within this film. From “he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!” to “Biggus Dickuss.” it’s quite simply the funniest film the Pythons produced.

What I liked most about this film is that it doesn’t take itself seriously, much with the charm of the Pythons it breaks the fourth wall. The main example of this being Brian falling off of the top of a tower, only to land in an alien spacecraft. It was truly stupendous and stunned me, which is a difficult thing to do.

Of course, much like Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, this film also had a catchy song. It’s by far the best song Monty Python has ever produced, and it can be found at the end of this article. But, for now, lets delve a little deeper into this film, because I don’t think I’ve quite hit the 1000 word mark.

Personally, I feel that this is the Python film that manages to blend their knack for story with a big budget and the traditional roots of their sketch show. They managed to do this all in one go and it truly exemplifies that good movies based off of TV Shows exist. Well, I mean, there are lots of good TV Show movies, but that’s for a different article altogether.

Also, this film apparently mocks religion. Now, I’m not the most religious person in the world, far from it. So, bonus points for making jokes about people’s dearly held beliefs. Bonus points also for criticising those that spoke out against the film, because they can’t understand satire. It’s very clear, Brian is not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention you can get the boxset for Monty Python movies on Amazon.


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