[[caption-width-right:350:I will destroy you with my fantastical and science-fictional movies!]]
->''"The problem with movies is that you're in with the most bizarre group of people."''
-->-- as quoted in ''Losing the Light: Terry Gilliam and the Munchausen Saga''

'''Terrence Vance Gilliam''' (November 22, 1940-) was the only American in the Creator/MontyPython troupe (although he does have British citizenship) and added the most surreal elements of the show through his many animations. As the series progressed, he also did many small roles the other actors didn't want to perform for various reasons, and had very few speaking parts, if you forget his voice acting during the animated segments (one of his most notable lines is "I want more beans!"; he was also Cardinal Fang of the Spanish Inquisition). He wrote a number of the sketches, and from there co-wrote the troupe's three films based on original material with the rest of the troupe, on which he also played much more parts than he usually would in the series. He co-directed ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'' and directed the opening segment of ''Film/MontyPythonsTheMeaningOfLife'', "The Crimson Permanent Assurance".

From there, Gilliam moved into writing and directing non-Python films, though some of his fellow troupers have appeared in and/or co-wrote them. His specialties are fantasy and science fiction films, often laced with dark humor: one could construe his worldview as "We're all doomed! Isn't that hilarious?" He was Creator/JKRowling's choice of director for the ''Film/HarryPotter'' movies -- however, Creator/WarnerBros decided against it.

This is understandable, given that few directors in the history of film have been so prone to ExecutiveMeddling, production delays and budget overruns, and just plain '''bad luck''' as Terry Gilliam. After ''Film/{{Jabberwocky}}'' (1977) and the hit ''Film/TimeBandits'' (1981), the first great tale of his struggles came with 1985's ''Film/{{Brazil}}''. It put him at odds with Universal Pictures when executives attempted to recut the movie, especially its ending; the subsequent book ''The Battle of Brazil'' tells the tale. His next film, 1988's ''Film/TheAdventuresOfBaronMunchausen'', went wildly over budget and then bombed in the U.S. thanks to Columbia Pictures undergoing a regime change that kept it from getting proper release and promotion.

In the 1990s, things were looking up with ''Film/TheFisherKing'' (1991), ''Film/TwelveMonkeys'' (1995), and ''Film/FearAndLoathingInLasVegas'' (1998). Then at the TurnOfTheMillennium, his films became a parade of bad situations behind the scenes. ''The Man Who Killed Don Quixote'' was never completed thanks to trials and tribulations covered in the documentary ''Lost in La Mancha''. ''Film/TheBrothersGrimm'' (2005) was beset by ExecutiveMeddling, this time via Bob and Harvey Weinstein. ''Film/{{Tideland}}'' (also 2005) made it to theaters, but was overlooked and shunned for its focus on pedophilia (plus it was set in, and filmed in a desert, but it ''just kept raining'' during filming). And finally, perhaps saddest of all, ''Film/TheImaginariumOfDoctorParnassus'' (2009) became Creator/HeathLedger's final film when [[AuthorExistenceFailure he died before completing his role]].

Bad luck simply doesn't cut it: the man's '''cursed'''.

''TheOnion'' once joked that if Terry Gilliam were to have a barbecue, [[http://www.theonion.com/content/node/32920 it would be beset by production delays]]. But his perilous productions have resulted in a portfolio of fascinating, if not always successful, films.

!! Terry Gilliam's works on the wiki:
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' (1969-74): Terry Gilliam did many memorable animations for the series.
* Acted in & co-directed: ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'' (1975)
* Acted in & animated ''Film/MontyPythonsLifeOfBrian'' (1979)
* ''Film/{{Jabberwocky}}'' (1977)
* ''Film/TimeBandits'' (1981)
* Co-directed: ''Film/MontyPythonsTheMeaningOfLife'' (1983)
* ''Film/{{Brazil}}'' (1985)
* ''Film/TheAdventuresOfBaronMunchausen'' (1988)
* ''Film/TheFisherKing'' (1991)
* ''Film/TwelveMonkeys'' (1995)
* ''Film/FearAndLoathingInLasVegas'' (1998)
* ''Film/TheBrothersGrimm'' (2005)
* ''Film/{{Tideland}}'' (2005)
* ''Film/TheImaginariumOfDoctorParnassus'' (2009)
* ''Film/TheZeroTheorem'' (2014)
!!Common tropes found in the films of Terry Gilliam:

* BlackComedy: Oh, defiantly so.
* ButtMonkey: Most of his characters.
* CrapsackWorld: Several of his films involved depraved or outright crumbled societies.
* DerangedAnimation: It doesn't come more deranged than [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVgAzbuKjZY&feature=fvw that]].
* DoingItForTheArt
** ''Tideland''. A fairy tale of the sort modern people do not tell any longer. Absolutely unsuitable for commercial purposes.
** Gilliam in general is a fine example of this. Most filmmakers would have called it a day after barely surviving ''Brazil'' and the ensuing ExecutiveMeddling. The rest would have certainly thrown in the towel after ''The Man Who Killed Don Quixote'' collapsed. Not Mr. Gilliam.
* DownerEnding: Most of his films have this. On the DVD Commentary of ''Film/TheBrothersGrimm'', he says that he hates happy endings.
* TheDungAges: Along with the other Pythons, popularized the trope with ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail''; as a solo director, this appears in ''Film/{{Jabberwocky}}''. In general, his period settings are not particularly tidy.
* DutchAngle: Uses it moderately in some of his films.
* OutOfGenreExperience: Aside from the movies and DerangedAnimation, he's also directed a few {{Opera}}s.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: His entire career has been about flights of fancy, so naturally his films tend to rail against iron-fisted bureaucracies and the narrow-minded jobsworths who staff them. Probably the pinnacle of this trope was the beginning of ''Baron Munchausen'', when city administrator Creator/JonathanPryce -- graduating from playing a BeleagueredBureaucrat in {{Film/Brazil}} -- orders the execution of a soldier[[labelnote:*]]''{{Music/Sting}}, in a cameo''[[/labelnote]]. The offense? The soldier was ''so good at his job he made everybody else look bad''. A title card reveals this as "The Age of Reason".
* ProductionPosse: Many actors reappear throughout Gilliam's films:
** Creator/MontyPython members frequently get cast, to the point that some fans misguidedly believe Gilliam's own films are Python productions
** Creator/RobinWilliams: ''The Adventures of Baron Munchausen'' (under a pseudonym) and ''The Fisher King''. He was going to be in ''The Brothers Grimm'' until objections were made by the Weinstein brothers.
** He tends to work with actors on multiple occasions, occasionally after prolonged periods of time, including Creator/HeathLedger, Creator/MattDamon, IanHolm, Creator/JonathanPryce, Creator/JeffBridges, Music/TomWaits, Creator/ChristopherPlummer, Creator/JohnnyDepp and many more.
* RealitySubtext: A lifelong, seemingly futile and endlessly troubled quest to make Don Quixote ... its almost quixotic.
* ReCut: The Criterion releases of ''Brazil'' on home video include three different versions, his original cut, a slightly shorter version that Universal ultimately released in the US, along with a drastically shorter and drastically altered version Universal almost released instead (see ExecutiveMeddling).
* SceneryPorn: His films have a very distinct look (highly detailed sets shot with very wide lenses), to the point where cinematographers often call a 14mm lens "the Gilliam lens". Granted, what he's actually shooting [[SceneryGorn isn't always that pretty]].
* SelfInflictedHell: The DevelopmentHell of ''The Man who killed Don Quixote'', caused in no small part by Gilliam stubbornly clinging to his artistic vision on the face of a just as stubbornly adverse reality:
** The successive castings of archetypical actors to play Don Quixote, all over 70-80 years old, [[LostInImitation despite the book character being canonically in his early fifties]], who end injured because they cannot handle the physicality of the character or are diagnosed of age-related heath problems before they can shoot the movie, inevitably putting filming on hold again.
** Filming in Spain, [[YourCostumeNeedsWork but not in La Mancha because it isn't picturesque enough]]. Gilliam's choice of filming in Navarre's Las Bárdenas Reales resulted in the sound being ruined by planes exercising in a nearby NATO base and was ultimately ended by a freak storm that completely changed the landscape (LBR's unique look is caused by its rapid rate of erosion in the first place).
* SurrealHumor: When he does comedy, it usually falls under this. Being a Python might have something to do with it.
* ThematicSeries: He considers ''Time Bandits'', ''Brazil'', and ''The Adventures of Baron Munchausen'' to be his "Imagination Trilogy". The movies themselves are not connected by continuity but they share similar themes.
** Gilliam has also said that ''Brazil'', ''12 Monkeys'', and ''The Zero Theorem'' make up his [[Creator/GeorgeOrwell Orwellian]] triptych.
** He also made another trilogy, consisting of ''Film/TheFisherKing'', ''Film/TwelveMonkeys'', and ''Film/FearAndLoathingInLasVegas'', being his ''Trilogy of Americana.''
* TricksterArchetype: Baron von Munchausen and Mr. Nick in ''The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus''.
* TroubledProduction: Nearly all of them. Parodied by the man himself [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVW9usMRgNE&feature=related here]].
* WhatCouldHaveBeen
** J.K. Rowling originally wanted Gilliam to direct ''Film/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone'' but Creator/WarnerBros ExecutiveMeddling led to Creator/ChrisColumbus being hired. Gilliam has stated:
-->''"I was the perfect guy to do Harry Potter. I remember leaving the meeting, getting in my car, and driving for about two hours along Mulholland Drive just so angry. I mean, Chris Columbus' versions are terrible. Just dull. Pedestrian."''
** Nevertheless, in 2005, Gilliam also stated he would never direct a ''Film/HarryPotter'' movie because he would not enjoy working on a project filled with ExecutiveMeddling.
** Obviously, ''The Man Who Killed Don Quixote'', with Johnny Depp & Jean Rochefort. Gilliam tried to revive the project eight years after the attempt documented in ''Lost in La Mancha'', but it never got past pre-production. However, thanks to a new development deal with [[http://arstechnica.com/the-multiverse/2015/06/amazon-commits-to-terry-gilliams-lost-don-quixote-film/ Amazon]], it looks like the film will actually get made, with Creator/JohnHurt now in the Quixote role.
** He was approached to direct ''Film/{{Watchmen}}'' back sometime in the 1990s, but they took him off the project when he insisted that the only way to do the story justice would be with a big-budget miniseries on a channel like HBO. Many still feel he was right.
** He also turned down offers to direct ''Film/AmericanBeauty'', ''Film/EnemyMine'', and ''Film/ForrestGump''.
** Gilliam has been wanting for ages to direct a film adaptation of ''Literature/GoodOmens'' by Creator/TerryPratchett and Creator/NeilGaiman, an idea both authors were on board with, but the film has been languishing in DevelopmentHell for ages.
*** Whenever either Gaiman or Pratchett do a Q&A anywhere, it always seems someone asks about the status of the ''Good Omens'' movie. At one point Gaiman replied, "It's the same as it's always been: Terry Gilliam wants to do it, Terry Gilliam has a script, no one will send Terry Gilliam seventy million dollars."
''[[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail And suddenly, the editor suffered a fatal heart attack]]''
-->'''[[HollywoodHeartAttack URK!]]'''
''[[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail The trope description was no more. The quest for more tropes could continue.]]''