''Creator/MontyPython's The Meaning of Life'' arrived in 1983 as the last hurrah of the complete six-man troupe, directed by Creator/TerryJones. The film marked the troupe's return to sketch-based comedy after two films that followed a linear plot. The film's sketches are loosely connected and arranged by the stages of human life.

The movie opens with the unrelated[[note]](or so it seems)[[/note]] Creator/TerryGilliam-directed short film ''The Crimson Permanent Assurance'', the tale of accountant pirates who take on Wall Street. From there, we move on to the film proper, a series of sketches purporting to examine the Meaning of Life, arranged from "The Miracle of Birth" to "Death". But even this structure allows for stops examining "The Third World" and "Live Organ Transplants".

This is notable as ''by far'' the grossest of the Python films, via such highlights as the aforementioned "Live Organ Transplants" sketch and the restaurant scene featuring Mr. Creosote. That didn't stop it from receiving the Grand Prize of the Jury award at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival, however.

!!This film provides examples of:

* AnimatedCreditsOpening: By Creator/TerryGilliam, of course.
* AudienceParticipation: We are invited to "Find the Fish" at The Middle of the Film.
* BackForTheFinale: The "Christmas in Heaven" song.
* BadassGrandpa: The entire "crew" of the Crimson Permanent Assurance.
* BadLiar / BlatantLies: ''Oddly enough'', the two men dressed as a tiger have difficulty convincing anyone of their various stories about a) why they're dressed as a tiger and b) why they definitely ''didn't'' steal an officer's leg and run away with it.
-->'''Major:''' Right. Search the thicket.\\
'''Man Dressed as the Front of a Tiger''': Oh, come on! I mean, do we look like [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial the sort of chaps who'd creep into a camp at night, steal into someone's tent, anaesthetise them, tissue-type them, amputate a leg and run away with it]]?\\
'''Major:''' ... '''''Search the thicket'''''.
%%* BloodyHilarious: "Live Organ Transplants".
* BoltOfDivineRetribution:
-->'''Sergeant Major:''' Don't stand there gawpin'! Like you've never seen the hand of God before!
* BookEnds: Not in the movie itself, but for Creator/MontyPython as a whole in hindsight -- what turned out to be the troupe's final film ends with a TV set playing the original credits for ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus''.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: A rare inversion. When filming the "Every Sperm is Sacred" scene, Michael Palin recited one of his lines as "at the end of my sock" (which was later dubbed to the intended line of "at the end of my cock" in post-production) because the scene featured numerous underage children (some of whom weren't even dressed) and the Pythons were concerned the line could land them in hot water.
* BrickJoke:
** The movie opens with the "Meaning of Life" song, wherein the singer goes through all the big questions about the meaning of life that humanity tends to torture itself with, rather grandiosely boasting that "tonight, for a change, it will all be made clear!" Then, after all the surreality wherein these central questions are loosely touched on at best, the movie ends with a short scene wherein the Meaning of Life is, in fact, revealed -- and it turns out to be nothing that special.
** The "Crimson Permanent Assurance" short invades the main film.
* ChocolateBaby: Blink and you'll miss it, but one of the "Every Sperm is Sacred" children is very definitely Asian.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: One skit has a man executed by being chased through Dover and off a cliff by naked women (well, boxing helmets, thongs, kneesocks and cleats). It's mentioned that he was allowed to choose the method of his execution.
* CorporateWarfare: The Crimson Permanent Assurance.
* CowTools: The "machine that goes 'Ping.'" It supposedly tells whether the baby, during labour, is still alive, albeit without being connected to the mother. The hospital administrator and staff are very proud of it.
* CrowdSong: "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk Every Sperm Is Sacred]]".
* CurtainCall: In the "Christmas in Heaven" scene, most (if not all) of the characters we've seen in the film appear in the Heaven nightclub.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Though the film is still very much a comedy, it focuses a good deal more on attempting to make its viewers uncomfortable than any of the Pythons' previous work did.
* DrillSergeantNasty: [[ParodiedTrope Parodied]] with the sergeant major who ''talks'' (or, rather, [[NoIndoorVoice yells]]) like one, but proves remarkably lax about discipline.
* DumbassHasAPoint: The aforementioned Tiger-suit scene.
-->'''Major''': Look, he was fast asleep, and someone, or something came in and removed it!\\
'''Man Dressed as the Front of a Tiger''': ...[[FridgeLogic without waking him up]]!?\\
'''Major''': ...yes.\\
'''Man Dressed as the Front of a Tiger''': I don't believe you!
* EducationalSong: "The Galaxy Song" is surprisingly educational for a Monty Python film (although the science is [[ScienceMarchesOn a bit outdated]]; at the time the film was made the numbers used were considered [[http://ephemeris.sjaa.net/0312/b.html fairly accurate]]).
** Notably, DUE to the fact the science IS outdated, The Galaxy Song is being constantly revised to try to keep to the tune while ALSO updating some of the more incorrect pieces of information, meaning that a version broadcast on a sketch show by [[Series/RutlandWeekendTelevision their successor]] is several times more accurate than the original Python version!
* ExcuseMeWhileIMultitask: The sex ed teacher not only instructs his class in a bored tone while fucking his wife in front of them, but has a mundane discussion about household chores to his wife as well.
* ExcusePlot: Why is the film about The Meaning Of Life? Because it was the broadest subject the Python's could come up with that would allow them to go back to random sketches.
* FakePeriodExcuse: A diner, faced with the appalling prospect of having Mr. Creosote at the next table, uses the excuse of suddenly realizing she's having a ''really'' heavy period and consequently not wishing to bleed all over the carpet, as her excuse to get the hell out of the place quickly.
* {{Fanservice}}: The thirty-odd topless women running in slo-mo, bouncing, sweating, which was the condemned man's LastRequest [[spoiler: and execution method - he was meant to run from them until he dropped dead]]. It's meta when you learn that [[spoiler: the crime he has been convicted of is "first-degree making of sexist jokes in a moving picture"]] and played by ''Creator/GrahamChapman.''
* FatBastard: Mr. Creosote (Creator/TerryJones), the rude, morbidly obese and incredibly messy restaurant patron.
* FluffyCloudHeaven: PlayedForLaughs, of course. Heaven is a garish Vegas-style resort, complete with an elaborate floor show emceed by a smarmy [[LoungeLizard lounge singer]]. Also, it's ChristmasEveryDay.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: After "Every Sperm is Sacred" is sung, and a Protestant snarks at Catholics being unable to use contraception, in the background a long, unending line of children keep marching from the Catholic home.
* FunnyForeigner:
** [[FakeAmerican American]]: [[EagleLand The exaggeratedly]] broad-accented couple eating dinner and their waiter in the "The Middle Age" sketch, the business executives discussing the meaning of life. Also, Howard Katzenberg, the loud, brash, pop-psychology-obsessed dinner party guest in the "Grim Reaper" sequence:
-->'''Grim Reaper:''' [I have come to] take you away. That is my purpose. I am Death.\\
'''Host:''' Well, that's cast rather a gloom over the whole evening, hasn't it?\\
'''[[Creator/TerryGilliam Howard]]:''' I don't see it that way, Geoff. Let me tell you what I think we're dealing with here: a potentially positive learning experience to get an--\\
'''Grim Reaper:''' Shut up! Shut up, you American. [[LampshadeHanging You always talk, you Americans.]] You talk and you talk and say "let me tell you something" and "I just wanna say this". Well, you're dead now, so shut up!
** French: The comically-accented maître d' and waiter in the "Mr. Creosote" sketch and its aftermath.
-->'''Maître d':''' Anozzer bucket for monsieur... ''(Creosote vomits on his leg)'' and perhaps -- a khhhhose.
* GagBoobs: Unusually, it's not because of their ''size''. In the "Christmas in Heaven" number, all of the apparently-topless dancing girls are wearing fake plastic breasts. The plan was originally to have them be topless, but it was decided that plastic breasts would be a lot funnier. It was also out of necessity, as not all of the actresses had the same-sized breasts.
* {{Gainaxing}}: The women in the bit mentioned under HowWouldYouLikeToDie below.
* GreekChorus: The fish in the tank.
* TheGrimReaper: Appears near the end taking the lives away from some American and British guests.
* GrossOutShow: Mr. Creosote barfing and exploding his intestines out. A woman leaving the restaurant with the excuse that she has her period and doesn't want to be "bleeding all over the place". Creator/TerryJones playing a mother with many children, giving birth to one while standing in the kitchen. A man being given a live organ transplant, with all the gory body parts being cut out.
* HighClassGlass: Livingstone (Creator/GrahamChapman), the military surgeon, uses a monocle in the Anglo-Zulu War sketch.
* HostileShowTakeover: The Crimson Permanent Assurance attempts to do this towards the end of the "Live Organ Transplants" chapter.
* HowWouldYouLikeToDie: A condemned criminal chooses to be chased off a cliff by a crowd of topless, helmeted women. Conveniently, he falls right into his coffin at the funeral already in progress.
* HumansAreMorons: As if the last line of "The Galaxy Song" doesn't make it clear enough:
-->"Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause there's [[StockBritishPhrases bugger all]] down here on Earth."[[note]][[http://ephemeris.sjaa.net/0312/b.html An unassailable truth.]][[/note]]
* HurricaneOfEuphemisms: The [[Creator/NoelCoward Cowardesque]] "Penis Song".
* HypocriticalHumor:
** Graham Chapman's character is executed by being chased off a cliff by a group of topless women. His crime? "First degree making of sexist jokes in a moving picture."
** Roman Catholics believe that "Every sperm is sacred", but see nothing wrong with selling their children to science.
** And the Protestants celebrate their access to contraception but are trapped in a SexlessMarriage anyway.
* JabbaTableManners: Mr. Creosote, who eats a grotesque amount of food. Just one bite more makes him actually ''explode''.
* TheLastStraw: The "wafer-thin mint" scene, in which a diner tops off a larger meal with a small cracker, resulting in his stomach exploding LudicrousGibs style. It achieves BrickJoke status when the waiter ''eats the cracker'' that is now exposed in Creosote's exposed body cavity.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: "...And I'd like to sing a song for all...[[AsideGlance of]] ''[[AsideGlance you]]''.
* {{Leitmotif}}: The evil, ''{{Film/Jaws}}''-style string theme that accompanies Mr. Creosote's entrance and recurs right before he explodes.
* LyricalDissonance: "Every Sperm Is Sacred". A cheery, EarWorm-y CrowdSong about [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin sperm]].
** Arguably "The Galaxy Song" too, at least at the end when it reflects on the cosmic insignificance of humanity.
* MajorInjuryUnderreaction:
** A British army officer has a rather blasé attitude about waking up with a leg missing: "Stings a bit." So does the doctor examining him:
--->"Yes, well, this is nothing to worry about [...] Yes, there's a lot of it about. Probably a virus. Uh, keep warm, plenty of rest, and if you're playing football or anything, try and favor the other leg."
** Mr. Creosote is only a little inconvenienced by his stomach exploding and exposing his internal organs, which are still working.
* MassiveNumberedSiblings: The Catholic family has an absurd number of kids, because they're not allowed to use birth control.
* TheMeaningOfLife: The film says this about the meaning of life.
--> It's nothing special. Try to be nice to people. Avoid eating fat. Read a good book now and then. Get some walking in. Try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.
* MeatgrinderSurgery: Two "surgeons" forcibly harvest organs from a man just because he's got an organ donor card. Mostly offscreen but obviously MeatgrinderSurgery.
* MisplacedWildlife:
** Invoked, lampshaded:
--> '''Pakenham (Michael Palin):''' A tiger? In Africa?\\
'''Ainsworth (John Cleese):''' Well, it probably escaped from the zoo.\\
'''Pakenham:''' Well, I don't think that's very likely- ''(Ainsworth sshs him)''
** And ultimately subverted: it was really two guys in a tiger costume.
* ModularEpilogue: In the video game adaptation, a series of interludes between scenes ask "moral dilemma" questions with Multiple Choice answers. At the end of the game, a woman comes on to tell you your personal, individual Meaning of Life based on your answers.
* NippleAndDimed: One sketch shows a man slated for execution, who chose to be chased off a cliff to his death by a thundering horde of models wearing nothing but boxing helmets, G-string panties, socks, and football cleats. Nothing is censored, either.
* NoIntelligentLifeHere: "Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space 'cause it's bugger all down here on earth!"
* NotDistractedByTheSexy: In the Private School segment, the students chat, fiddle about, and otherwise do bored teenager stuff despite the teacher's naked wife standing in front of the class and the sex that follows.
* OhCrap:
-->'''Fish:''' Oh ''shit'', it's Mr. Creosote!
* OnlySaneMan: The Grim Reaper. It takes him several minutes to impress upon the hosts and guests of a dinner party that he's not there to trim the hedge, doesn't want wine and won't discuss philosophy with them. When they finally die and follow him to the great beyond, they decide to take their cars (their ''ghost'' cars, which, like them, leave behind the original forms), causing the Reaper to do a hilarious double-take before shrugging it off and beckoning them on.
%%* TheOner: The scene with Gaston the waiter.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: The Python's American accents are either [[SoBadItsGood hilariously bad]] or painfully bad.
* OopNorth: Parodied with the portrayal of Yorkshire.
* OrganTheft: Or at least very aggressive organ collection.
%%* APirate400YearsTooLate: The Crimson Permanent Assurance.
* ProlongedPrologue: "The Crimson Permanent Assurance" goes on for 15 minutes before the actual film starts.
* RacistGrandma: "You see I feel that life's a game, you sometimes win or lose. And though I might be down right now, at least I don't work for Jews!"
* RhetoricalQuestionBlunder: When the Sergeant Major asks his men whether they would have better things to do than marching down the square. Turns out, one would rather spend time with his family, another one reading a book, a third one having piano lessons and every other one going to the movies. He ends up marching down the square alone.
* RugbyIsSlaughter: A boarding school holds a rugby match pitting little boys against grown men. As if that weren't brutal enough, when a boy finally gets to make a try, a teacher trips him from the sidelines. To further underline the point, the scene segues directly into a UsefulNotes/WorldWarI segment.
* SelfDeprecation:
** An Englishman's attempt to upbraid the Grim Reaper for his poor manners is met with this response:
-->'''Grim Reaper:''' ''(poking him in the eye)'' Quiet! Englishmen, you're all so fucking [[BritishStuffiness pompous]]. None of you have got any balls.
** From "Fighting Each Other":
-->'''Narrator:''' Democracy and humanitarianism have always been trademarks of the British Army.\\
'''Sergeant Major''': Rubbish!\\
'''Narrator:''' Shush!
* SexlessMarriage: The Protestants in "The Miracle of Birth".
-->'''Harry Blackitt:''' Look at them, bloody Catholics, filling the bloody world up with bloody people they can't afford to bloody feed!\\
'''Mrs. Blackitt:''' What are we dear?\\
'''Harry Blackitt:''' Protestant, and fiercely proud of it!\\
'''Mrs. Blackitt:''' Hmm. Well, why do they have so many children?\\
'''Harry Blackitt:''' Because... every time they have sexual intercourse, they have to have a baby.\\
'''Mrs. Blackitt:''' But it's the same with us, Harry.\\
'''Harry Blackitt:''' What do you mean?\\
'''Mrs. Blackitt:''' Well, I mean, we've got two children, and we've had sexual intercourse twice.
* ShoutOut:
** iOS' Siri will quote the ending if you ask what the meaning of life is.
** "Every Sperm Is Sacred" is a parody of ''Theatre/{{Oliver}}''.
* SmiteMeOhMightySmiter:
** A military recruiter, after showing a war documentary, says, "That is why we will always need an army, and [[TemptingFate may God strike me down]] were it to be otherwise." [[BoltOfDivineRetribution Whereupon...]]
** Inverted in the Chapel segment when the song is essentially about how they don't want to be cooked by God.
* SoundtrackDissonance: The "Galaxy Song", a cheery, happy-go-lucky tune, with vaguely upbeat lyrics about the wondrous vastness of the universe, that ends on a big downer about the [[HumansAreMorons lack of intelligent life]] on Earth. It's sung right after a scene wherein a man has his liver harvested while he's still alive. Immediately after the song finishes, his wife agrees to undergo the process herself.
* StupidBoss: The hospital administrator in "The Miracle of Birth".
-->'''Administrator:''' And what are you doing this morning?\\
'''Obstetrician:''' It's a birth.\\
'''Administrator:''' Ah. And [[YouFailBiologyForever what sort of thing is that]]?\\
'''Doctor Spenser:''' Well, that's when we take a new baby out of a lady's tummy.\\
'''Administrator:''' Wonderful what we can do nowadays!
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: The man in the front end of the tiger costume:
--> ''Oh come on! I mean, do we look like the sort of chaps who'd creep into a camp at night, steal into someone's tent, anaesthetise them, tissue-type them, amputate a leg and run away with it?''
* TheUnreveal: Although several theories as to the "meaning of life" are given throughout the film, when the "true" answer is finally revealed at the end it's [[{{Anticlimax}} not very life-changing.]] And this is only a segue into a totally unrelated and tangential joke.
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight:
** "Don't just stand there gawping, like you've never seen the hand of God before!"
** The schoolboys getting bored at the sight of their teacher having sex with his hot wife counts too.
* VisualPun: The "Middle Age" segment mostly takes place in a recreation of a Medieval dungeon.
* VomitIndiscretionShot: Mr. Creosote's entire scene consists of him [[OverlyLongGag repeatedly projectile vomiting on everything]]: the floor, the waiters, the menu... ''Every'' shot of him is a vomit indiscretion shot! You can also see several restaurant patrons vomiting (and reportedly [[EnforcedMethodActing not of their own free will]]) as they rush out following his [[spoiler:explosion]].
* VulgarHumor: So, so much:
** In "The Third World" segment, a slimy newborn baby drops like excrement out of a Yorkshire housewife while she's doing her chores, and hits the floor.
-->'''Housewife:''' [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight Get that for me, would you, Deidre?]]
** Young children sing, with their parents and the entire neighbourhood, about semen and masturbation.
** A teacher and his wife having sex in front of an entire classroom, shortly after the teacher rather curtly describes foreplay.
** The unfortunate organ donor who has his liver removed, in gory detail, while he's still alive.
** During the "Galaxy Song", the standard cosmic grid morphs into a pregnant woman with legs spread, impregnated by a beam of light as sperm.
** The Noel Cowardesque "Penis Song".
** And last but certainly not least, Mr. Creosote. "Better get the bucket..."
* WalkThePlank: The "Crimson Permanent Assurance" short.
* WhileRomeBurns: [[ExaggeratedTrope Exaggerated]] in the "Zulu War" sketch. While British infantrymen are getting maimed and slaughtered left and right, the officers [[StrollingThroughTheChaos walk through the thick of battle completely unmolested and unfazed by the carnage]]. They even mutter curt excuse-mes as they pass by, and combatants on both sides make way for them.
->Well, that's the end of the page, now here's the Meaning of Life:\\\
[[spoiler:"[[TVTropesWillRuinYourLife Add more tropes"...?]]]]