Trivia / Monty Python's Life of Brian

  • Actor Allusion: the "Latin grammar graffiti correction" scene reflects John Cleese's former job as a Latin teacher.
  • Banned in China: The film still remains banned in nations including but not limited to: Bhutan, Oman, Singapore, and South Africa. It used to be banned in Ireland and Norway. Swedish theatres advertised it as "The film so funny they banned it in Norway."
  • Breakaway Pop Hit: Not a pop hit, per se, but the popularity of "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" has long surpassed that of the film is was from. note 
  • Deleted Scene:
    • Three shepherds discussing sheep and completely missing the arrival of the angel heralding Jesus's birth, which would have been at the very start of the film.
    • A segment showing the attempted kidnap of Pilate's wife (a large woman played by John Case) whose escape results in a fistfight.
    • A scene introducing hardline Zionist Otto, leader of the Judean People's Front and his men who practice a suicide run in the courtyard.
    • A brief scene in which Judith releases some birds into the air in an attempt to summon help.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • The extras playing the guards in the Biggus Dickus scene were told that if they laughed once during filming, they'd be fired immediately. Thus their desperate attempts to keep a straight face are genuine. One can even be seen trying not to cry.
    • A small one, but in the scene where the crosses are being carried up the hill, the guard (apparently named Parvus) hits Eric Idle's annoying character. It was supposed to be only a tap and not meant to hurt, but the actor was annoyed with him that day and whacked him instead. Eric's brief look of surprise is genuine.
  • Executive Meddling
    • A rare positive example. The original production company canned this movie at the last minute, fearful that the religious subject matter would offend people. So ex-Beatle George Harrison stepped in, paid a few million pounds, and more or less let the Pythons do whatever they wanted... for the sole reason that he was a huge Python fan and wanted to see their next movie. Eric Idle later described it as "the most expensive movie ticket ever purchased."
    • The one thing they did cut to avoid offending people was a Jewish Nazi-esque character named Otto, who wore a combination Star of David/swastika and wanted to make Israel a racially pure Jewish nation. He shows up at the end as the leader of the "suicide squad" that tries to help the crucified convicts by pointlessly killing themselves on the ground under the crosses.
  • From Entertainment To Education: If you learn Latin, be prepared to see the "Latin grammar correction" scene.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: The Monty Python crew consider this to be their masterpiece, but most other people say that the less controversial Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the best thing they've made. John Cleese once stated that most people in Great Britain are a fan of Life of Brian, while Americans like Holy Grail better.
  • Orphaned Reference: There was originally had a whole subplot about King Otto, who was to have been A Nazi by Any Other Name. The only mention of Otto in the finished film is when his crack suicide squad show up in the final scene.
  • Recycled Set: The film reused the sets from Jesus of Nazareth.
  • Throw It In
    • The scene of all the people trudging uphill to listen to the Sermon on the Mount. It was getting late in the day and the extras all started to leave during a lull in filming and had to be herded back, and it was Eric Idle who noticed that it looked really good and said to turn the cameras on.
    • The lone man in the "We are all individuals" scene, who plaintively comments "I'm not!"? That was improvised. He ended up getting a pay raise to speaking actor for his improv.
  • Trope Namer
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The concept of the film came when Eric Idle said in a post-Holy Grail interview that their next film would be "Jesus Christ: Lust for Glory." Needless to say, the concept went through numerous revisions, including one where Brian was the unknown 13th Apostle, who was always slightly late to important moments of Jesus' life.
    • In another version, the movie was about Jesus, who, being an experienced carpenter, nitpicked the construction of his crucifix.
    • The Pythons practically begged George Lazenby to make a cameo as Jesus, for the sole purpose of advertising, "George Lazenby IS Jesus Christ!"
    • The role of the "blood and thunder" prophet was originally offered to The Who's drummer Keith Moon, whom the Pythons had met while writing the script in Barbados. Moon was excited to play the part, but died of a drug overdose before filming began, and Terry Gilliam was cast in his place.

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