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Characters / Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Characters in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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Knights of the Round Table & Retinue

    In General 
  • Dysfunction Junction: These guys have some pretty weird hang-ups, from Robin's laughable cowardice to Lancelot's uncontrollable berserker rage.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: They are very much God-fearing men who are honored to be given a Mission from God.
    Lancelot: A blessing! A blessing from the Lord!
    Galahad: God be praised!

    King Arthur 

Arthur Pendragon, King of the Britons
Played by: Graham Chapman

The main character. He is the king of the Britonsnote . God sent him and his knights on a quest to find the Holy Grail. Acts very stoic considering the amount of strangeness happening around him.

Tropes associated with this version of King Arthur:

  • Authority in Name Only: Few in Britain really see Arthur as King (or even know about him), and throughout the film, he doesn't seem to command much respect from the people. The Dennis the Peasant scene even suggests that there are entire systems of government within his kingdom that don't recognize him.
  • Catchphrase:
  • Coconut Superpowers: His status as king is limited by the film's budget, explaining why he only travels with Patsy and a handful of knights recruited on the spot (with his army showing up only at the end) and we only once see Camelot. The film gets around this by writing him as an Authority in Name Only.
  • The Comically Serious: His main contribution to the film's humour is remaining completely straight-laced through it all.
  • Cool Crown and Cool Helmet: Wears a helmet that looks like a crown.
  • Cool Sword: Excalibur, of course.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mostly he plays the Straight Man to the rest of the movie, but he occasionally gets in a couple of digs at them.
  • Disabled Badass: Very mild example: he appears to suffer from discalculia, explaining his trouble with counting to three.
  • I Am X, Son of Y:
    "I am Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon of the Castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, sovereign of all England."
  • Not So Stoic: Compared to other characters, who have very eccentric personalities, Arthur always acts like people would expect from a king... until someone starts pointing out the absurdity of proclaiming royal status on the basis that one was given a sword by "a watery tart".
  • Only Sane Man: In a movie where all the characters are weird, eccentric or absurd to some degree, Arthur is pretty much the only one who isn't. Unless you count his refusal to acknowledge that this isn't a serious movie.
  • The Smart Guy: Much wiser than Sir Bedivere.
  • Verbal Tic: He says "five" instead of "three", then is corrected by his knights.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Arthur is convinced that he is in a straightforward Arthurian legend, and no amount of silliness shall convince him otherwise.



Played by: Terry Gilliam

Arthur's faithful servant who carries his stuff and uses coconut shells to simulate the hoofbeats of Arthur's nonexistent horse.

  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When the party comes to Camelot, he says, "It's only a model."
  • Human Pack Mule: Parodied. Besides toting a huge amount of gear for Arthur, he also mimics the sounds of hoofbeats when they travel.
  • The Quiet One: He only gets one line in the movie.
  • Sidekick: To Arthur. Mostly acts as his assistant and is his only companion at the start of the movie.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Disappears after the encounter with Tim.


Sir Bedivere the Wise
Played by: Terry Jones

The wisest of the knights. Unfortunately, that still doesn't leave enough wisdom to be detected without the aid of powerful instruments.

  • Badass Moustache: He has a large, impressive 'stache, though his badass credentials are very debatable.
  • Character Tics: He always holds his visor up, despite being able to look perfectly through it.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Despite being treated as The Smart Guy, he is more accurately this trope, most of his learnings based on Insane Troll Logic.
  • Cool Helmet: The visor seems to get in the way, but still it looks neat and knightly.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The one time he comes up with a plan (the Trojan Rabbit), it's actually somewhat decent...but not only did he not consider the French would catapult it out of the castle before the intended nighttime attack to take them by surprise and unharmed, he forgot that Lancelot, Galahad, and himself were supposed to be inside the thing for the plan to work at all.
  • The Fool: Despite his inherent idiocy, he still manages to survive through the end.
  • Informed Attribute: Played for laughs. He is supposed to be wise, but makes very big mistakes and acts like a fool.
    Bedivere: And that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Employs this to help villagers expose a witch. It went like this: Witches burn. Wood also burns. Wood floats. Ducks also float. So if someone weighs the same as a duck, she is made of wood and is therefore a witch. Amusingly, this logic actually works as the woman in question does indeed weigh the same as a duck and turns out to be a witch after all.
    Witch: It's a fair cop.
  • The Lancer: Accompanies Arthur throughout the film and seems to be his right hand man.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Despite the above Insane Troll Logic, even he recognizes that "building a bridge out of her" is a poor test to see if someone is a witch. Why? Because the test is to see if the person is made out of wood, but you could also build a bridge out of stone.


Sir Lancelot the Brave
Played by: John Cleese

An Axe-Crazy knight. He always tries to solve his problems through violence. Is also very dramatic in his way of acting.

  • Adaptational Nationality: Was French in source materials (owing to having been created by a French writer), but here he doesn't even have an out-rrrrajeous ak-sent!
  • Affably Evil: He's quite charming when he's not in the middle of a killing spree.
  • Always Save the Girl: Rushes off to rescue someone once he receives a call for help. Once he finds the person in distress is a man and not a woman as he expected, he's flabbergasted. Not angry or ready to raise hell about it, just flabbergasted.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Lancelot's sexuality is open to interpretation due to Rule of Funny. He's very immune to the charms of the Castle Anthrax "temptresses," and unconvincingly denies Galahad's accusations that he's gay, but when the distressed damsel he was expecting to rescue turns out to be a prince named Herbert, he's quite disturbed. It's hard to tell if he's a repressed homosexual or just a heterosexual who's really into the whole "chivalry and purity" thing.
  • Apologetic Attacker: He does regret and sincerely apologize for killing a whole bunch of innocent wedding guests and hapless guards (and then also killing several more of the survivors when they come after him). Poor guy just can't help himself.
  • Axe-Crazy: When something provokes him to fight, there is nothing stopping him from slaughtering everyone on sight. Even wedding guests had to die.
  • Badass Cape: He is One-Man Army when he gets riled up.
  • The Berserker: It doesn't take a whole lot to set him off, and once he gets going he'll kill people indiscriminately, no matter if they're putting up a fight or not. Which is actually quite accurate to his character from Arthurian myth.
  • The Big Guy: The fighter of the round table.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: He IS John Cleese, you know.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: He's mostly jolly and good-natured. Just don't get too close when he's dead-set on a murderous rampage; being an innocent bystander will not save you.
  • Chaste Hero: Unlike Sir Galahad, Lancelot appears to be completely unaffected by feminine wiles. While dragging off Galahad from Castle Anthrax, he's accused of being gay.
  • Easily Forgiven: Subverted. He bursts into Swamp Castle, killing multiple guards and unarmed wedding guests. But when the King of Swamp Castle realizes the potential of arranging a marriage with a knight of Camelot, he instantly forgives Lancelot. The wedding guests, however, aren't so forgiving. Only when the allegedly dead prince Herbert proves to be alive do the wedding guests forget about Lancelot.
  • Evil Laugh: Cackles wildly while hacking his way through defenceless wedding guests.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: To put it bluntly, he storms a wedding and murders most of the guests just because he thinks a princess is in danger, and tries to leave awkwardly when he realizes that it was a man who sent the cry for help.
  • Knight In Shining Armour: Subverted — he's certainly a brave knight, and he's even affable enough as long as he isn't riled up... but, as is quickly revealed, he is very much a violent, homicidal maniac who kills people without a second thought.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: As befitting a chivalrous knight, which he believes himself to be.
  • Large Ham: Tends to burst into dramatic speeches during his 'heroic rescue mission' at Swamp Castle.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: He has exactly one strategy: Charge right ahead without thinking. It works, too — he's one of the few characters who actually survives to the end. It probably helped that his only "opponents" were defenceless wedding guests and useless guards who don't even try to fight him.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: As a traditionally chivalrous knight, his attitude towards women is mixed. He despises the "temptresses" of Castle Anthrax, but is eager to heroically rescue (and presumably fall in love with) what he assumes to be a virtuous young lady. When he realizes the "lady" in question is a man, he's rather put off.
  • One-Man Army: Slaughters half of an entire castle full of guards to save, erm, the prince. Although admittedly they didn't even try to fight back.
  • Token Evil Teammate: To the Knights. He murders a lot of innocent people attempting to rescue (what he thinks is) a Damsel in Distress.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Much like King Arthur, he's convinced that he's the protagonist of a chivalric romance, which, of course, involves slaughtering one's way through castles to rescue imprisoned maidens. Unfortunately for him, the "maiden" in this case is a young man.
  • Unstoppable Rage: He even Lampshades it to the King of Swamp Castle:
    "You see, when I'm in this idiom, I sometimes get sort of, er, carried away..."


Sir Galahad the Pure/Chaste
Played by: Michael Palin

This knight does not do much in the film. Like his title says, he is a chaste knight.

  • Chaste Hero: He tries to be this, but after being in Castle Anthrax for around 10 minutes, he gives up.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's either this or a Captain Obvious. It's not always that easy to tell.
    "What a strange person."
  • Eating the Eye Candy: What he ends up doing at the Castle Anthrax, and soon starts giving into temptation.
  • Epic Fail: When the man from Scene 24 asks him what his favorite colour is, he still manages to get it wrong.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Parodied. He tries to resist the allure of one hundred and sixty nymphomaniac blondes and brunettes between the ages of 16 to 19, but eventually starts to succumb to their temptations and actually decides to give in, just as Lancelot comes in and drags him away. He then begs to be allowed to go back and face the "peril."


Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot
Played by: Eric Idle

Sir Robin claims to be very brave. He also has a band of minstrels singing about his bravery... but is an enormous coward. He is fully designated as "Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot who had nearly fought the Dragon of Angnor, who had nearly stood up to the vicious Chicken of Bristol and who had personally wet himself at the Battle of Badon Hill".

  • Accidental Hero: Saves Arthur and Bedevere from the Knights Who Say Ni by uttering their Achilles' Heel (the very common word 'it') without realizing it.
  • Animal Motifs: The sigil on his shield and surcoat is a chicken.
  • Badass Moustache: His moustache is actually much more badass than him.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: He is known for personally wetting himself at the Battle of Badon Hill. He then soils himself when the Killer Rabbit appears, and again when it kills Bors.
  • Canon Foreigner: There is no "Sir Robin" in the Arthurian mythos.
  • Cowardly Lion: He may run in the face of danger, but he also manages to survive the battle against the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.
  • Deadpan Snarker: For someone so cowardly, he sure can be sarcastic when the mood takes him.
  • Death by Irony: Dies at the bridge of death when caught with a question he doesn't know the answer to, after he decides it's too easy to not get scared by, something he's done the whole film.
  • Informed Attribute: An in universe example. He is claimed to be the brave sir Robin, but runs away from every sign of danger. But this does not stop his minstrels from singing how bravely he ran away.
  • Lovable Coward: "When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled..."
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: It's nearly as big as his body. All the better to cower behind.
  • Miles Gloriosus: He has a group of minstrels follow him around to constantly boast about his skills, and he always tries to look like a brave and heroic knight. Too bad he isn't.

    Sir Not Appearing In This Film 

Sir Not Appearing In This Film

This is not a real character, but more of a gag when the narrator introduces the Knights of the round table. When his picture is shown, he appears as a baby wearing a chainmail coif that's too large — this is actually Michael Palin's son, William Palin. He is the Trope Namer to Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer and Lady Not-Appearing-in-This-Game.

    Robin's minstrels 

Sir Robin's minstrels

Played by: Neil Innes (lead minstrel)

A quartet of minstrels who accompany Sir Robin wherever he goes and sing about him. Later, Arthur and the knights are forced to eat them. And There Was Much Rejoicing. (Yaaaaay.)

    Gawain, Ector & Bors 

Sir Gawain, Sir Ector, & Sir Bors

Played by: Terry Gilliam (Sir Bors)

Three knights who appear after the year-long Time Skip. They serve little purpose beyond cannon fodder for the Killer Rabbit.

  • Red Shirt: They appear suddenly and without any introduction before The Rabbit of Caerbannog and they are promptly dispatched.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Nobody acknowledges that three previously unseen knights are part of the group. Although to be fair, they showed up post Time Skip.
  • Tempting Fate: "One rabbit stew comin' right up!" They are promptly killed by the rabbit

    Brother Maynard 

Brother Maynard
Played by: Eric Idle

A monk and scholar. He gives the Holy Hand Grenade to the Knights when they need a way to defeat the Killer Rabbit. He also translates the runes inside the Cave of Caerbannog, but is eaten by the Black Beast of Aaarrrrggghhh.

  • Cunning Linguist: As the only one who can read Aramaic, he translates the runes for the knights.
  • Mr. Exposition: His main role in the plot is to tell the knights they can find the grail in the castle of Aaarrrrggghhh.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Like Gawain, Ector and Bors, no one notices how he's never been seen in the party before, though again this was after the Time Skip.
  • The Smart Guy: The scholar of the group.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Gets eaten right after guiding the knights to the cavern showing the Grail's location and reading the ancient text on the wall.


    The Black Knight 

The Black Knight
Played by: John Cleese

A black knight that won't let Arthur pass. He loses all his four limbs in the following battle and still wants to fight.

  • Allegorical Character: In the DVD commentary, Cleese states that he based the Black Knight on a tale he heard while in school about a Roman wrestling match where one tapped out; his opponent won the match... posthumously. The moral was that "if you never give up, you can't possibly lose", which Cleese found "philosophically unsound". So the Black Knight is a Take That! at the Determinator.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Loses all of his limbs in the fight with Arthur.
  • Animal Motifs: His surcoat bears an image of a wild boar, an animal known for putting up a fight no matter how injured it might be.
  • Badass Baritone: Has a deep voice and is a badass until he fights Arthur.
  • Badass Boast: "I move... for no man." Shame he can't really deliver.
  • Black Knight: Well, duh. Unfortunately, he's not as impressive as he believes he is.
  • Boisterous Weakling: While he starts off commanding an imposing presence, once the limbs start coming off, his attitude becomes less like a menacing brigand and more like an excitable jock looking for a brawl and refusing to admit that he's outmatched.
  • Boring, but Practical: He's a lot more successful by using his sword as more of a staff (half-swording), with tighter movements. When he tries Flynning, things start to go wrong.
  • Butt-Monkey: Seriously, getting all four limbs lopped off one at a time?
  • Catchphrase: "None shall pass!"
  • Determinator: Taken to its extreme and (il)logical conclusion.
  • The Faceless: Never seen without his helmet on, which even obscures his eyes.
  • Fearless Fool: He's clearly outmatched (he's getting his limbs hacked off, for goodness sake!), yet he still insists on fighting.
  • Feel No Pain: Getting his limbs chopped off doesn't seem to bother him in the slightest. John Cleese himself has noted that if it weren't for this trope, the scene would likely come off as more sadistic and heartless than funny.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: While he initially has a certain degree of menace, it all goes out the window when the dismemberment starts.
  • Large Ham: He is played by John Cleese, so it's not surprising that he Chews The Scenery a bit.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: He seems relatively fine with losing all his limbs. It's "just a flesh wound", as he says.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Trope Namer. Even when both his arms are cut off, he insists that it's only a flesh wound and he's still perfectly capable of fighting.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: While not evil per se, he's an antagonist who wears a black surcoat with a red sigil.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Kills the Green Knight by throwing his longsword through his face.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The main reason why he loses all of his limbs.
  • The Worf Effect: He looks pretty badass when he fights the Green Knight, but he flails around hopelessly when facing Arthur.
  • Worthy Opponent: Arthur initially considers him one, but quickly loses respect as he de-limbs the Knight.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Attempts this on Arthur without taking Excalibur into account. Arthur disarms, and dislegs, him.

    The French 

The French
Played by: John Cleese (leader), Terry Jones, Michael Palin

A bunch of French soldiers that like to insult 'English types' with random insults. Reappear in the end where they claim Castle Aaargh as their own.

  • Abnormal Ammo: Subverted. The French try to scare the Knights of the Round Table away by throwing living animals at them. While the scene looks strange, the DVD commentary reveals it has really been done in history, but not with the kinds of animals used in the movie. They also catapult the Trojan rabbit at the knights.
  • Big Bad: The final battle is a siege against the French soldiers who apparently had the Grail the whole time. Subverted when the Investigator shows up and arrests everyone.
  • Blowing a Raspberry: The leader of the French soldiers does this every encounter.
  • Fauxreigner: Implied. They have no good answer for why they're in England, despite being French, and their command of the French language is...a little sketchy.
  • Flowery Insults: In every scene, they have creative insults.
    I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.
  • French Jerk: They have no reason for mocking and taunting Arthur and his knights, other than being French when Arthur and the knights are "English pig-dogs".
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Despite their constant insults, they never actually swear. The gag is that they pretty much use the most colourful insults possible without outright saying anything profane (at least by modern standards). Although, "make castanets out of your testicles" is pretty graphic.
  • Gratuitous French: "Fetchez la vache!", which is a case of "Franglish" blending the English verb 'to fetch' with French conjugation. The true translation of 'to fetch' is 'chercher'.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Trope Namer. They seem to do it just for fun, ironically.
  • Jerkass: Their only reason to be in England seems to be to insult English knights in every way possible. During the climax, they even occupy Castle Aaargh, where the Holy Grail itself is located, just to humiliate the English even further.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: At least one of them cannot even speak French.
  • Poirot Speak: "I'm French! Why do you think I have this OUTRAGEOUS accent?"
  • Relative Ridicule: The leader of the French soldiers says that King Arthur's mother "was a hamster" and his father "smelled of elderberries."
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Surprisingly subverted; despite their constant torrent of increasingly bizarre insults, the worst word any of them uses is "fart."
  • Verbal Tic: They cannot pronounce the word 'knights' correctly, instead trying to say it phonetically, sounding like 'k-nnniggits'. This could actually be considered a mild example of Shown Their Work, since the word "knight" derives from Old English cniht, which would have been pronounced something like "cuh-nicht".

    The Three Headed Knight 

The Three Headed Knight
Played by: Graham Chapman (middle head), Terry Jones (left head), Michael Palin (right head)

A large three headed knight who seems to be a formidable fighter, were it not that the heads first must agree before an action can be taken.

  • Allegorical Character: This character can be seen as a Take That! towards bureaucracy. The body of the knight can only act once all three heads agree. But by that time, new developments have taken place that render their previous agreement useless. In this case, Sir Robin appeared, causing the Three Headed Knight to argue how to deal with him. But after reaching an agreement, Robin already left. Likewise, a large company or institution might run into trouble adapting to new technological advancements or other societal developments. When the administration of said company or institution finally decided how to deal with said developments, other developments have already taken place.
  • Multiple Head Case: This gave the brave Sir Robin the chance to bravely run away.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Terry Jones's head is the mean one who insists on killing Robin, Michael Palin's head is friendlier and wants to be nice to him, and Graham Chapman's head, being in the middle, is literally in between the two.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Just before Robin encounters the Three-Headed Knight, three other (regular) knights are shown to have recently been skewered through in a neat row on a single lance — like a human shish-kabob — and left staked up that way against a tree, apparently by him/them.
  • Terrible Trio: Sort of. They're technically one being, but each head has a mind of its own, and they're an enemy that stands in Robin's way.
  • Two Men, One Dress: Played by three Python members sharing a costume.

    The Residents of Castle Anthrax 

The Residents of Castle Anthrax
Played by: Carol Cleveland (Zoot / Dingo)

160 blonds and brunettes, between 16 and 19 and a half years old. They light a grail-shaped beacon to lure knights to them in order to tempt them.

  • All Women Are Lustful: Taken Up to Eleven. They're all trying to get it on with Galahad and aren't at all subtle about their attempts at seducing him.
  • Always Identical Twins: Zoot and Dingo are twins, and look and act exactly like one another. And are never on-screen at the same time. And are played by the same actress. Actually, we only have Dingo's word that they are two separate people.
  • Casual Kink: They start trying to get Galahad to spank them slightly before outright offering oral sex.
  • Unwanted Harem: They try to get this role to Galahad, but it's ultimately Subverted, first when Galahad starts to succumb to their charms, and immediately afterwards when he's "rescued" by Lancelot.
  • The Vamps: Sort of. While not inherently evil, they do try to tempt the chaste sir Galahad into sexual activities.
    Zoot: It is a lonely life. Bathing, dressing, undressing, making exciting underwear...

    The Knights Who Say "Ni!" 

The Knights Who Say "Ni!"
Played by: Michael Palin (the leader)

An order of knights based on protecting the sacred words of Ni, Peng and Nee-wom.
Like it says on the tin, they frequently say 'NI!' as a Brown Note of sorts. Their leader is a very tall man who wears a large helmet with antlers. He is the one who speaks in behalf of the whole order. The rest of the knights mostly limit themselves to saying 'NI!' and sometimes repeat the last words the head knight is saying.
They live in a spooky forest and coerce travellers into buying shrubberies for them.

  • 419 Scam: They run an absurd medieval version of this. In order to pass through their forest, travellers have to pay them shrubberies. When they do, they are informed that the Knights changed their name and that the traveller therefore must buy them another shrubbery along with performing an impossible but ridiculous task. In an earlier version of the script it is implied they will keep changing their name in order to make their victim continue to do things for them, without ever granting passage through their forest.
  • Badass Beard: The leader sports a thick brown forked beard. His followers appear to have identical beards sticking out from under their helmets.
  • Brown Note: Known for terrorizing people this way, just by saying the word "ni." Their leitmotif as well.
  • Cool Helmet: The Head Knight wears a bucket-shaped helmet with antlers on it and the other knights wear horned helmets that cover their faces.
  • Dark Is Evil: They are dressed in black/dark brown and their leader looks like a typical Evil Overlord.
  • The Dreaded: The Knights who say Ni! appear to have a terrifying reputation, considering the fact they inspire fear within nearby villages, maybe even the whole country, cause the shrubbery-economy to collapse and make a fearful king Arthur do their bidding. Anyone who terrifies King Arthur like that is worthy of being called 'the Dreaded'.
    Arthur: "Those who hear them seldom live to tell the tale."
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Inverted, as they all speak in high pitched voices.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: They are knights and they say Ni!, so their name kind of fits them.
  • Impossible Task: They tell Arthur that in order to get past them, he must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest wiiiiith... a herring! Luckily, Arthur accidentally discovers their weakness, so he doesn't actually have to go through with it.
  • Large and in Charge: The leader is twice as tall as the average man.
  • Large Ham: Especially their leader, who tries to sound impressive and authoritative with a high pitched voice.
  • Totem Pole Trench: The leader was originally supposed to be portrayed this way, but Michael Palin settled for a stepladder instead of John Cleese's shoulders.
  • Trope Namer: for The Knights Who Say "Squee!" and With This Herring
  • The Unpronounceable: The phrase they switched to after they stopped using "Ni!" Something like "Ikki-ikki-ikki-p'TENG-zoop-BOING-nawumbbawobba.."
  • Verbal Weakness: Despite being so powerful in that they can even force the great King Arthur to do as they command, the Knights of Ni can be defeated by saying the word 'it'. even if they say it themselvesnote  The fun thing is that King Arthur never realizes what this weakness is, but rather keeps using it accidentally.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The word "it". So weaksauce that Arthur defeated them with it without even realizing what it is.
  • With This Herring: Trope Namer. "You must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest wiiiiith... a herring!"

    The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog 

The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog

A cute white rabbit who guards a cave — but it's no ordinary rabbit! It's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on! Trope Namer and Trope Codifier to Killer Rabbit... if it wasn't obvious already.

  • Badass Adorable: A very cute white rabbit capable of defeating a group of armed knights.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: Has apparently killed a fair number of people, and is possibly carnivorous. ("Look at the bones!")
  • Killer Rabbit: The Trope Namer, the Rabbit of Caerbannog is highly aggressive and deadly, tearing out the throats of several of Arthur's knights.
  • Lightning Bruiser: It's very fast and agile and easily kills three probably highly trained knights in seconds.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Much more dangerous than an ordinary rabbit, but doesn't seem to be any more intelligent.

    The Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh! 

The Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh!

A cartoon monster that appears out of nowhere. It quickly devours Brother Maynard and chases Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

  • Cartoon Creature: Well, it is a cartoon.
  • Deus ex Machina: It spontaneously ceases to exist when the person responsible for animating it dies of a heart attack.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: It appears without any foreshadowing, eats someone alive, causes the legendary Knights of the Round Table to run in terror and then suddenly disappears because its animator dies of a heart attack.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: It can be seen peeking out of a cave during the transitional animated scene after the Knights who say Ni! are defeated.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Treated as such in-universe, but its cartoony look is decidedly less-than-scary.
  • Extra Eyes: Over twenty of them, in fact.
  • Nonindicative Name: The "Black Beast" is very colourful, actually.
  • Stylistic Suck: Like God, the Beast appears as an entirely unconvincing cutout animation, which is the entire joke.

    The Bridgekeeper 

The Bridgekeeper
Played by: Terry Gilliam

He guards the Bridge of Death and asks each traveller 3 questions. If they answer correctly, they may pass. When answering a question wrong, an invisible force grabs the victim and throws him into the gorge of eternal peril.

  • Beard of Evil: A very sinister character with an Evil Laugh.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: First appears as a mad soothsayer telling Arthur and Bedivere where to look for the Grail before his iconic appearance as the Bridgekeeper.
  • Evil Laugh: Possibly the first sign of his villainy is when he lets out an Evil Laugh in his first scene.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He is defeated when King Arthur answers a question with another question. The Bridgekeeper admits he does not know the answer and is thrown away himself.
  • These Questions Three...: Trope Namer. His Catchphrase is "Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see..."
  • Uncertain Doom: It's hinted in the final product that his failure to clarify whether his third question to Arthur refers to the airspeed velocity of an unladen African or European swallow led to his death, but an unfilmed scene reveals him to be Not Quite Dead (of course!) and trying in vain to hinder Arthur's progress at the Sea of Fate, at which point Arthur and Lancelot decide they've had quite enough of his antics.

Neutral Characters & Other Annoyances

    Guards of Swallow Castle 

Guards of Swallow Castle

These guards refuse to believe Arthur is king and instead break the fourth wall, by lampshading his use of coconuts instead of a real horse. After that, they start a useless discussion if swallows are able to bring coconuts to England.

  • Brick Joke: Their useless discussion does provide Arthur with a means to defeat the bridgekeeper when he starts asking a question about swallows.
  • Comically Missing the Point: King Arthur comes up to them and asks to recruit their master as one of his knights. They're more concerned with how he got his coconuts.
  • The Faceless: They're only seen from below the ramparts. The distance, fog and lack of luminosity do not allow to see their faces.

    The Corpses Collector 

The Corpses Collector
Played by: Eric Idle

A man who collects corpses at a village ravaged by the plague. He gets into an argument with a villager who wants to hand him over a still living man. The collector then solves the situation by killing the 'living corpse'.

  • Catchphrase: "Bring out your dead!"
  • Deadpan Snarker: When king Arthur 'rides' past the collector and his customer, the customer verbally wonders who King Arthur was. The collector's answer:
    "Must be a king. He hasn't got shit all over him."
  • The Dung Ages: Of all characters in the movie, he's the one who embodies the trope, because he's walking around collecting corpses, looks filthy and assumes a passerby is a king by how clean he is.
  • No Name Given: He's never named by the movie.
  • The Pig-Pen: He's covered in shit and his job consists of collecting corpses and removing them from the streets. Needless to say, he most definitely reeks.

    Dennis the Peasant 

Dennis the Peasant
Played by: Michael Palin

A 37-year-old peasant, whose community is based on a political system that's far too modern for the Dark Ages. It certainly has no place for a mythical king like Arthur, which Dennis openly shows. This starts another pointless discussion in which Dennis wants to prove that just wielding Excalibur is not a reason to boss people around.

  • Berserk Button: Don't mistake him for an old woman, don't try to engage in conversation without asking his name, and whatever you do, don't go around insisting you're a king when your whole basis for ruling is that a strange woman in a pond gave you a sword.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Perhaps the most elaborate one in the movie, though he becomes less and less deadpan about it as his scene goes on.
  • The Dung Ages: Like the Collector, he embodies this trope. For all his ideas of modern democracy and politics, he's still a literal mud farmer.
  • Inherent in the System: Trope Namer. "Come and see the violence inherent in the system!"
  • Insufferable Genius: While he has several good points on how hierarchal systems like Monarchy work, it is implied that he talks about it a lot, Arthur finding his rantings irritating enough to try and "repress" him and the old woman he spends his time with reacting with annoyed indifference.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Subverted. While Dennis certainly acts like a jerk towards King Arthur, he does have a point about how wielding Excalibur should not be a basis for government...if he didn't live in the middle ages that is...
  • Motor Mouth: Never stops talking, and being ordered to be quiet just sets him off even worse.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Despite being a literal mud farmer in an era where literacy outside of nobility and any political system outside of Feudalism are next to nonexistent, he possesses a very deep comprehension of Marxist theory and politics centuries ahead of his time. Considering his entire community is an anarcho-syndicalist commune, its possible that he isn't the only one.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The entire joke. It's really funny to see a mud farmer spout complex political philosophy.
    You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!
  • Windmill Crusader: His democratic ideals will make sense to contemporary audiences (although anarcho-syndicalism, specifically, is still a fairly obscure philosophy), but Arthur isn't the tyrant he makes him out to be, and none of his fellow peasants take him very seriously.


Voiced by: Graham Chapman

God appears to the Knights of the Round Table and gives them the task to find the Holy Grail. He finds it annoying that people constantly consider themselves unworthy of His presence. His face is based on the cricket player W.G. Grace.

  • Berserk Button: Has grown really sick of grovelling, apologizing, people saying they're not worthy...
  • Dispense with the Pleasantries: Can't stand people grovelling when He tries to tell something.
  • God Is Good: He might be a bit of a grump, yes, but God nevertheless just wants to instil hope in the Britons during these trying times.
  • Grandpa God: You have to admit, W.G. Grace's large greying beard is absolutely perfect for the classic look of God.
  • Large Ham: Despite being a poorly-animated cutout, He manages to be this thanks to Graham Chapman's voice acting; He speaks in a loud, booming voice and uses formal, stilted language... until He gets annoyed; then He starts ranting in a loud, booming voice.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: He dislikes it when people treat Him like, well...God.
    God: Its like those miserable psalms, they are so depressing.
  • Stylistic Suck: They don't even try to make Him, or the cloud He appears in, look convincing. This is of course part of the joke.

    The Historian 

Frank The Historian
Played by: John Young

This Historian tells the audience about Arthur's defeat at the hands of the French. He also explains that the knights continued their search separately. He is killed by a knight riding on a real horse. His death sets up the events happening in the end of the film.

  • Chekhov's Gunman: His death causes the film to end an anticlimax as the knights are arrested by the police for being well, knights
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In his appearance (brown suit, bow tie, glasses), earnest manner and high voice, he's strongly reminiscent of the distinguished English historian of 19th and 20th century diplomacy A.J.P. Taylor, who made a lot of TV documentaries consisting of himself explaining things to the camera. This is lampshaded in the published screenplay, where he is sometimes referred to as "Not A.J.P. Taylor".
  • No Indoor Voice: His short historical lecture is delivered in a very loud voice, with much gesticulation. Then again, the only time we see him he isn't indoors...
  • No Name Given: Played with. When he appears, on-screen text refers to him only as "A famous historian," but doesn't give his name. However, when he is killed by the passing knight, the woman who runs up to him (presumably his wife) yells "Frank!"
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He's only in the movie for around a minute, but his death leads to the arrest of Arthur, Lancelot, and Bedivere at the end.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: He appears only in one scene, and is killed off at the end of it.

    The King of Swamp Castle 

The King of Swamp Castle
Played by: Michael Palin

A corrupt king that tries to use an arranged marriage to gain more huge tracts of land. He hates it when his son attempts to sing and rudely interrupts him when he does.

  • Abusive Parents: He straight up doesn't give a damn about his son Prince Herbert, smacks him across the face for resisting the arranged marriage, and is all too happy to kill the prince when he realizes he can use Lancelot as a replacement suitor.
  • Badass Beard: An impressive Beard of Evil.
  • The Determinator: He built a castle in a swamp just to show the other kings it's possible to do so. It sank into the swamp. The same happened to the second castle. Guess what? He built a third castle in the swamp...which burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth and current one stayed up.
  • Dodgy Toupee: Wears a pretty obvious one.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Has a very deep guttural voice. This is actually a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as Michael Palin was suffering from a cold when they were filming this character.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: He insists angrily that his son Alice — sorry, Herbert — should be practical and marry for money and "huge... tracts of land" instead of clinging to silly and useless romantic dreams. A rare version of the trope, as he doesn't really care what's best for his son, and is quite willing to let him fall to his apparent death.
  • Fur and Loathing: Wears a large fur cape.
  • Jerkass: You might, at first, think that he's just your typical Fantasy-Forbidding Father, not approving of his son's flights of fancy but ultimately just looking out for him. But as it turns out he really only cares about his personal gain; as soon as he sees another way of making some sort of profit, he sends his son falling to his (apparent) death without a second thought. Like everything else in the movie, this is Played for Laughs.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite being one of the more despicable characters in the film, he is never seen receiving comeuppance for his dastardly deeds (well, other than that Lancelot killed a lot of his guards - given that they cost "50 pounds each", he complains that the damages from Lancelot's attack will cost him a fortune).
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Uses the opportunities Lancelot's rampage give him to possibly gain an alliance with Camelot. First, he attempts to kill his son, kills the bride's father and then legally adopts the bride. This is followed by him trying to marry her off to Lancelot. Unfortunately for him, his plans are foiled when his son proves to be Not Quite Dead.

    Prince Herbert 

Prince Herbert
Played by: Terry Jones

The son of the king of Swamp Castle. He is very girly and does not like the fact he is used in an arranged marriage. When he wants to express his feelings, he starts singing, complete with cheesy music in the background, but this is always interrupted by his father, who hates singing. Being fed up with his life, he shoots a message out of the window, which is found by Lancelot. Lancelot thinks the message is from a princess and goes on a rampage to rescue Herbert.

  • Ambiguously Gay: He's either this, or Camp Straight. The movie zig-zags a little on it — though in Spamalot he is confirmed to be gay.
  • Dreadful Musician: Singer, really, given that his father keeps interrupting him. Subverted that only his father dislikes his singing, the wedding guests are all more than willing to become his backup singers.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: He nonchalantly shoots an arrow out of the window, which hits Lancelot's 'horse' and servant Concorde from probably miles away, judging from the change in scenery.
  • "I Want" Song: He repeatedly attempts to start one, only to be thwarted by his father every time he tries. It is first when he gets the idea to turn it into a Crowd Song that the Swamp King is powerless to stop him.
  • Marry for Love: Perhaps. He starts to explain what sorts of qualities he'd like in the girl he marries, but as he chooses to do so in song, his father is quick to put an end to it.
  • Not Quite Dead: He falls down from the highest tower, but later returns to the castle unharmed. He was going to tell in song how he survived his fall, but the scene ends before he's able to do so.

    Roger The Shrubber 

Roger The Shrubber
Played by: Eric Idle

Catches Arthur and Bedivere coercing an old woman by saying Ni to her. After expressing his disappointment in them, he reveals he is a shrubber. This gives Arthur an opportunity to bring a shrubbery to the Knights of Ni.

  • The Cynic: Judging from what he says when calling out King Arthur, his outlook on the world isn't too bright:
    "Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history."
  • Deus ex Machina: Its very convenient that a shrubber appears when Arthur needs a shrubbery.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He has no qualms about calling King Arthur out on the fact he is coercing an old woman. In the real middle ages, this kind of disrespect towards a king would get him into trouble.

    Tim the Enchanter 

Tim the Enchanter
Played by: John Cleese

A powerful and eccentric wizard Playing with Fire. He tells the knights about the cave of Caerbannog and the Killer Rabbit. Naturally, he is called a liar when the knights see the rabbit, but has the last laugh when some of the knights get killed by the rabbit.

  • Badass Beard: An impressive goatee.
  • Cassandra Truth: Tells the truth about the Killer Rabbit, in that it is a terribly dangerous creature, but gets ridiculed by the Knights of the Round Table. Guess what happens next...
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He vanishes completely after the Killer Rabbit scene, likely because he would have had to share scenes with Lancelot otherwise.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Lampshaded.
    Arthur: What an eccentric performance.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He comes over as a very intimidating and evil looking wizard, complete with a black robe and horns on his hat, but is does not appear to be malevolent. He honestly warns the knights about the rabbit and only laughs at them when they stop taking him seriously.
  • Ignored Expert: A powerful enchanter who makes sound arguments to the knights regarding the ferocity of the killer rabbit, but they laugh him off anyway.
    Tim: Look at the bones!
  • Large Ham: He even starts to spit drops of saliva when warning the knights about the Rabbit.
  • Magic Staff: Has a simple wooden staff that is able to blow fire.
  • Nice Hat: Wears a hat with the horns of a ram on it.
  • Playing with Fire: Taken literally with the 'playing' part, since he does not do anything useful with his gift. Like roasting a certain rabbit, for instance.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Leaves the group after they ignore his warnings about the Killer Rabbit.
  • Some Call Me "Tim": Trope Namer, but does not actually use it. Amusingly, this was an ad-lib because Cleese forgot the character's name.
    "There are some who call me...Tim."
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Occasionally, especially when he gets worked up.

    The Inspector 

The Inspector

A modern inspector who investigates the Historians death. He is something of a running joke, in that he constantly appears at scenes where Arthur and his knights previously were. He later appears at the end of the film, to arrest Arthur and Bedivere for allegedly killing the Historian.

    The Green Knight 

The Green Knight

Played By: Terry Gilliam

A knight wearing green armour who fights the Black Knight.

  • An Axe to Grind: Charges the Black Knight with an axe before getting killed.
  • Epic Flail: Uses a flail against the Black Knight, with little success.
  • Eye Scream: The Black Knight throws his sword into his eye slit, killing him.
  • The Faceless: We never see what his face looks like under that helmet. After what the Black Knight does to him, it's probably for the best.
  • Groin Attack: The Black Knight kicks him in the groin during their fight.
  • Noodle Incident: It's never said why he and the Black Knight are fighting.
  • Red Shirt: Exists only to die at the hands of the Black Knight.
  • The Voiceless: He never speaks, with all of his vocalizations being rough shouts.


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