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Trivia / Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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  • Acting for Two: Perhaps both for comedic effect and for budget reasons, each Python plays both one of the Knights of the Round Table and assorted roles throughout.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!:
    • The old man being put in the dead cart in scene 2 never actually says the oft-misquoted line "I'm not dead yet." He does say "I'm not dead," twice, but neither time does he say "yet." But in Spamalot, the stage musical based on it, he sings a song called "Not Dead Yet". (lyrics).
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    • Likewise, the line when Princess Lucky's father is "dying" is "He's not quite dead," used again when Herbert reappears.
    • The Black Knight's famous line is "It's just a flesh wound," not "It's only a flesh wound."
    • Arthur says "It is a silly place" when referring to Camelot, not "'Tis a silly place."
  • California Doubling: Although set in medieval England, the film was largely filmed in Scotland.
  • Completely Different Title:
    • The film is for some reason named Monty Python og de Skøre Riddere ("Monty Python and the Crazy Knights") in Denmark, even though "the Holy Grail" can easily be translated into Danish as "Den Hellige Gral".
    • The film is titled "Los caballeros de la mesa cuadrada y sus locos seguidores" ("The knights of the square table and their crazy followers") in Spain.
    • The film is titled Die Ritter der Kokusnuss (The Coconut Knights) in German, referring to the coconut gag.
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    • Finland: The Crazy World of Monty Python
    • Greece: The Brotherhood of the Knights of the Merciful Bank
    • Norway: Monty Python and the Knights of the Round Table
    • Taiwan: Holy Grail Legend
  • Creative Differences: There were numerous disagreements between Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. Gilliam was more focused on technical aspects, while Jones was more focused on the comedy. After this, it was agreed that Jones direct the further Python films.
  • Dawson Casting: Dingo and Zoot, at the very least, played by 33-year-old Carol Cleveland.
  • Deleted Scene: Plenty, including some that were put in TV airings.
  • Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: After Arthur chops off one of the Black Knight's legs, the Black Knight is played by a local one-legged blacksmith named Richard Burton.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: The Python crew generally considered this to be one of their lesser works despite its popularity. John Cleese often says they think Monty Python's Life of Brian is their best work. But it has also to do with their bad memories of the filming itself. Having to rush to the hotel afterwards because there wasn't enough warm water for all the guests, Chapman being in the depths of alcoholism, squabbles between Jones and Gilliam over direction...
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  • Name's the Same: For the scene where the Black Knight is reduced to one leg, Cleese was doubled by Richard Burton. No, not him, but a one-legged tinsmith.
  • No Budget: It was very clearly filmed on a shoestring budget for its sizenote , with cheap camera tricks and poor special effects being the norm. The infamous ending and the squires banging coconuts together are both a direct result of the lack of money; a large battle would have cost far too much, and since they couldn't afford horses but were still using the coconut sound effect as a joke, why not have the people making the sounds be on camera? By some accounts, Tim the Enchanter's pyrotechnics alone blew a big chunk of the budget.
  • No Dub for You: There is no European French dub of the film (although a French Canadian version does exist). The reason being that the gags work so well in English accents included, dubbing them in French was felt as denaturing the film.
  • No Stunt Double: Both Cleese and Gilliam performed all their stunts during the duel between Black and Green Knight. They both had to learn to manage big and heavy swords and to do some acrobatics, though never being recognizable, wearing both heavy armors and full helmets. They both avoided use of stunt-men because, as they said in commentaries, they had a lot of fun in enacting the duel.
  • Quote Source: This film provides the page quote for:
  • Talking to Himself:
    • Graham Chapman voices God and plays Arthur in just one example.
    • Michael Palin as the king of Swamp Castle and the father of the bride is more visual example as the camera cuts between two characters played by Palin.
  • Throw It In!:
    • For the most part, there was very little variation from the script, there are two instances of improvisation: The first being the pause Cleese takes in the Burn the Witch! scene (which forced Eric Idle to bite his scythe so as not to crack up), before saying "Because she's made of wood", and the other being Idle's "He hasn't got shit all over him".
  • Trope Namer: It's named the following tropes:
  • Troubled Production: The film was not easy for the cast or crew to make. Issues such as Chapman's alcoholism and arguments amongst the cast and crew were the least of their worries. The very first day of filming, the camera malfunctioned and then fell apart when the operator opened it. The damp Scottish climate made everyone miserable, and the budget hotel they were staying at only had a limited amount of hot water, meaning that everyone would make a mad dash back when the shooting day wrapped just to get a hot shower (Idle and Palin eventually struck out on their own and were fortunate enough to room at the hotel where all the lovely young actresses from the Castle Anthrax scene were staying). The infamous abrupt ending was the result of a lack of patience as much as it was a lack of money.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Gilliam was originally supposed to play Sir Gawain, whose role would have consisted of repeatedly Breaking the Fourth Wall and pointing out how special effects and other aspects of the film's production were achieved. His role ultimately ended up being turned into Patsy, with his Medium Awareness jokes being reduced to just one mention of "Camelot" being only a model.
    • Immediately after the second encounter with the Knights Who Say Ni, the original script had a lengthy sequence involving a character named King Brian the Wild, who enjoyed getting people to come to his castle, having them sing in close harmony, and then having them killed by his archers. The Knights of the Round Table nearly end up meeting this fate themselves, but Sir Robin unwittingly saves the day when he shows up in the nick of time, and the archers shoot his minstrels instead. King Brian would most likely have been played by Idle, given that Sir Robin is absent for most of the sequence, though there have been some reports that the role was written for no less than BRIAN BLESSED himself.
    • In an earlier script, the bridgekeeper was stated to return as the boatkeeper, guarding the boat that sails to Castle Aaargh. He would greet any traveller with; "Who wants to cross the Sea of Fate must answer me questions twenty eight." Arthur and Bedevere would have defeated him by simply throwing him into the lake.
    • The "Swallows and Coconuts" Running Gag would have had an epic payoff where the attack on the castle at the end would have been assisted by birds dropping coconuts on the defenders. Unfortunately, the production crew had already spent most of their budget, and couldn't afford to film this climactic final battle as they had intended, leading to the film's famously blunt literal cop-out ending.
    • The original script's ending had the Knights actually finding the Grail they spent the whole movie looking for, bringing closure to the whole rambling quest storyline. And where did they find it, you may ask? On sale at Harrod's department store.
    • Neil Innes was originally hired to compose the score, but could only afford a small ensemble of musicians who sounded too "quaint." Innes stayed on as music consultant and played several bit roles (most notably the leader of Sir Robin's minstrels), and pre-existing stock cues were used for an authentic epic score.


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