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YMMV / Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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  • Acceptable Targets: The French, naturally. It's a British film. Why else would they have that outrageous accent? Also, the BLOODY PEASANTS.
  • Adaptation Displacement: There are fans of Monty Python and the Holy Grail who have no idea there was a TV series before it.
  • Adorkable: Michael Palin plays Galahad as a preppy Upper-Class Twit, but you can't deny he has a certain awkward charm. The ladies of Castle Anthrax certainly think so!
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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Rob Ager theorizes that the "anachronisms" aren't actually anachronisms at all. They tell the audience point-blank the film is set in contemporary England, and that it's a sort-of Spiritual Successor to the "Upper Class Twit of the Year" sketch. It's about a bunch of delusional, up-their-own-arse 1970s aristocrats who, faced with the decline of the British class system, force all of England to abandon modernity and play along with their medieval LARP power fantasy to reclaim their old prestige and glory. At the end, the forces of modernity finally catch up to them and arrest the lot of them for thinking they can do whatever they want to England.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: A staple of Monty Python humour.
    • The Camelot song. 'Tis a silly place indeed.
    • The 2-second shot of the prisoner in the dungeon (which occurs right in the middle of the aforementioned Camelot song!)
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    • The opening credits' moose dialogue at the bottom. And the credits themselves being repeatedly interrupted because the people responsible keep getting sacked.
    • The Sun and clouds jumping up and down, causing an earthquake.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The Black Knight getting dismembered. John Cleese admitted as much in his commentary track. He explained that some viewers in America found the sequence horrifying because of Vietnam War footage on the news; however, he noted that they began to laugh when BK's first leg got hacked off and he was still raring to go.
    • Lancelot's "rescue" in which he charges into the castle and slaughters half of the townspeople under the belief that they're kidnappers. The heroic music and the fact that he turns his wrath on not only guards and peasants but the bridesmaids, the wedding band, and a torch on the wall make something that should by all rights be horrifying absolutely hilarious.
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  • Discredited Meme: The constant use of quotations from it has caused it to become popular to mock people for quoting it so much.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The Black Knight, despite only being in one scene, is arguably the most famous character in the film.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The Killer Rabbit scene is particularly funny if you consider the, er, interesting role rabbits had in Mediæval art (no. 2).
    • Yes, the original pronunciation of "knight" was from the Old English word "cniht", pronounced "cuh-nit". It's not quite the way the French Taunter says it ("cuh-niggit"), but it's close.
    • The chant by the monks is from a real hymn - "Dies Irae" ("Day of Wrath" in Latin) is a poem of the era describing the Last Judgment, appropriate for a bunch of self-flagellating monks to focus upon. For simplicity's sake, the monks only chant the last two lines. It is still sometimes used at a Requiem Mass to this day.
    • Terry Jones, an actual historian, often threw in stuff that seems like it'd be a joke. For instance, Dennis the Peasant's description of their system of government is pretty accurate to how some actual medieval communities functioned (though the "anarcho-syndicalist commune" is indeed anachronistic), and the film is one of the few Arthurian adaptations to correctly have Arthur's men wearing mail armor rather than the more recent plate armor.
    • The antics of the Black Knight, staking out a little bridge and attacking anybody who tried to pass by, are based on a real practice called the pas d'armes. Yes, knights back then were a little too enthusiastic sometimes.
    • Sir Lancelot saving Sir Galahad from 'great peril' at Castle Anthrax could be a nod to the fact that in a lot of stories Lancelot was the father of Galahad. Which makes changes the ending of the scene to a father dragging his son out of a Wild Teen Party.
    • Lancelot just suddently going on massive killing sprees was something that happened in some Arthutian stories. However he would be wracked with shame and guilt not just offer up a Terribly sorry.
    • The sudden ending? While that was mostly because the Pythons ran out of budget and patience, a few Arthurian Legends end with them suddenly being wiped out before they could actually find the Grail.
    • "What is the capital of Assyria?" is a trick question. Assyria had Seven capitals over its nearly 2,000-year history.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • A few years after the film came out, Jimmy Carter was attacked by a rabbit.
    • In Monty Python's Life of Brian, Brian uses his (Chapman's) prominent Roman nose as proof that he is part Roman. Arthur, also portrayed by Chapman, is historically said to have been Romano-British. Incidentally, Chapman also played Raymond Luxury Yacht (It's pronounced Throat Warbler Mangrove!) in the series, who appears on set with a huge fake nose.
    • It has been suggested with complete seriousness that coconuts really did migrate naturally. The claim is heavily disputed, the coconuts obviously never ended up in England, but just being plausible is hilarious even if it's not true.
    • As he's being "saved" from the beautiful women of Castle Anthrax, Galahad mutters that he thinks Lancelot is Gay, which Lancelot quickly denies. In the musical adaptation, he has an entire musical number dedicated to his realization that he is.
    • Robin's minstrels sing about him getting his liver removed. In Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, someone does have his liver removed.
    • The sword duel between King Arthur and the Black Knight may have mirrored the lightsaber duel between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith. A rare Star Wars prediction from a film that came out a little before the Star Wars franchise could begin.
    • Sir Galahad became a Knight for real in 2018, when Michael Palin was created a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.
    • The "Knights of the Round Table" song contains the line "We eat ham and jam and spam a lot". The digital age has introduced a pretty amusing Ambiguous Syntax.
    • The Knights who say "Ni" panic after King Arthur says "It", as it's among their forbidden words. In the original production of Spamalot, Tim Curry starred as King Arthur, having previously played Pennywise aka It.
  • Hype Backlash: A huge dose of Discredited Meme has resulted in quite a bit of the humor to lose a lot of its impact.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: It is not uncommon for viewers (both new and old) to fast-forward through much of the film just to see its most iconic skits.
  • Memetic Mutation: Essentially, the whole film. There's not one scene that isn't eminently quotable, and several exchanges are considered required basic knowledge for nerd cred.
  • Nausea Fuel: First-time viewers or the very squeamish may find the Black Knight scene to be more off-putting than intended, due to the copious amounts of blood and Body Horror.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Jim Morrison had been crying out "bring out your dead" at concerts nearly a decade prior to this film's release.
    • Amusingly, this actually isn't even the first time Monty Python has ended a story by having the police abruptly show up and arrest everybody. Their Argument Clinic Sketch basically ended the same way albeit on a much smaller scale.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Black Knight and the Killer Rabbit are well known and well quoted despite having little screen time.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Good luck spotting him, but one of the many extras who make up Arthur's army at the conclusion of the film is a young Iain Banks.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The best jokes from this movie have been memes for so long and are so familiar by now that it might not be clear why they were ever really funny in context. In fact, quoting the movie around LARP groups is often strictly frowned upon, especially if it's a newcomer to the group who has never done a LARP before. Not only because they've all heard those references before, but because if one person starts doing it, everyone will start doing it.
  • Signature Scene: The fight between Arthur and the Black Knight is the most well-known and widely-quoted scene in the entire film. And possibly of the Monty Python franchise as a whole.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The rapid cutting featured during the attack of the Killer Rabbit doesn't quite hide the fact that the Rabbit itself is a hand puppet, but it's no great loss, since this isn't the kind of film where immersion is terribly important.
    • It's revealed in the DVD commentary that the dye used on the Rabbit's fur didn't wash out, causing the cast to be quite embarrassed when the owner showed up (having been promised this wouldn't happen).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: While most fans still think the purposely anticlimactic ending is hilarious, many of the same fans also wish the film had more of a proper ending.
  • Values Dissonance: The fact that the temptresses of Castle Anthrax are described as being "between 16 and 19 and a half" can be a bit disconcerting to viewers from places where the age of consent is above 16, as it is in the UK - or places where people believe the age of consent is above 16, thanks to Hollywood Provincialism. Also, while Carol Cleveland as Zoot & Dingo is clearly a case of Dawson Casting in action, the two girls who describe themselves as doctors appear to be played by actual teenagers - or at least, women who could pass as teenagers - making watching them come on to the thirty-something Michael Palin... uncomfortable.
  • "Weird Al" Effect:
    • It can be very hard to take Arthurian legend seriously after seeing this movie. There have also been reports of audiences bursting into laughter during violent sequences in movies like Excalibur.
    • Quoting The Holy Grail has become such a tradition among Dungeons & Dragons tabletop due to its close association with Medieval Fantasy, that most newcomers become well immersed in the film's jokes before they've even seen it, and are likely introduced to it through tabletop.
      • As shown here.
      • As noted under "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny above, it's become so prevalent that many groups actively discourage quoting the film. Not only because everyone has already heard it, but because once one person starts in, it's inevitable that the entire group will soon recite the entire movie!
    • The humorous on-again, off-again Running Gag of characters shouting "RUN AWAAAAY!!" is well-known to fans of Ed, Edd n Eddy, but younger fans aren't as likely to recognize it as being an homage to this film, where it's repeatedly yelled with the exact same inflection as Arthur and his knights flee from danger.
  • Woolseyism: The Italian dub of the movie is an example of this backfiring. As the original movie's humour was considered "too weird" for Italian audiences, almost every dialogue was rewritten with new jokes, making half of the movie's humour being either sex jokes or political satire about taxes (for example, half of the Black Knight's dialogue was replaced with him making homophobic remarks towards Arthur, Tim the wizard says he's training to become a fiscalist and the Knights who say Ni became the Knights who say Fuck You). Because of this, the Italian dub of the movie is deeply hated by fans. To add salt to the wound, in the early 2000 all the Monty Python movies were redubbed with more faithful dialogues... except for The Holy Grail, the only one that seriously needed a redub.


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