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YMMV / Monty Python's Life of Brian

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  • Accidental Aesop: The various Jewish resistance groups were meant to parody the British far left of the time. Continuing that metaphor implies that the Romans represent capitalism. This realization has made the, "What have the Romans ever done for us?" scene a favorite of right-wing pundits.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Let's face it, do you know anyone who doesn't know "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"? Even the survivors of two British ships (HMS Sheffield and HMS Coventry) sunk during the Falklands War sang it while waiting to be rescued.
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    • Often overlooked but still awesome is "Brian", the credits song, which grants a massive booming orchestra and an incredibly talented singer to some of the silliest Coming of Age lyrics you've ever heard. "And he started to shave / And have one off the wrist / And want to meet girls / And go out and get pissed..."
    • After the success of Spamalot, Eric Idle wrote a comic oratorio based on the film called "(Not the) Messiah," which had dozens of new songs, a full orchestra, and is written in the style of Handel's Messiah. It may in fact be the only comic oratorio in existence.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: For a Monty Python film, Life of Brian is very reasonably paced and well-grounded — save for the scene where Brian falls off of a tower to be saved by a passing spaceship with two big-lipped and one-eyed aliens onboard, taken into space to pass through a chase in an asteroid field, and then brought back to Earth in a crash — right at the foot of the same tower. The scene was added merely to give Brian a way to escape the tower.
  • Broken Base:
    • People are split as to whether this or Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the better movie (most would agree that Meaning of Life falls just shy of that honor). All three are considered good movies.
    • This is a film that still remains controversial. Some people assume it's a parody of Jesus, who is actually just a very minor character in the film (and himself played completely straight). Others claim the film mocks Christianity, while it can also be interpreted as mocking religion or blindly fanatical followers in general, for that matter. In a sense it also spoofs the typically heavy handed and deadly serious Bible epics. Some very devout religious people condemn the film for being blasphemous without having seen it. Some religious people who did watch it act as if this movie doesn't mock Jesus, Christianity or religion at all, which is again not totally true either. There are several very outrageous heretical scenes that could easily offend people who take their faith too seriously, but religious people with a sense of humour can enjoy the film just fine. The movie is also more than just a shocking comedy. It raises excellent points about blindly following leaders, misinterpreting so-called signs and messages and not thinking for yourself.
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  • Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch: Quite a number of the people criticizing the film when it first came out openly admitted that they hadn't actually seen it, and so missed several important points, most importantly that Brian is not Jesus.
  • Ear Worm: Always look on the bright side of life...
  • Fair for Its Day: Stan/Loretta isn't necessarily a negative or stereotypical depiction of a trans woman, but the concept of a man wanting to be a woman is still treated as absurd though it's specifically her wish to have babies. And while his/her comrade isn't wrong that it would be anatomically impossible for her to have children, his flippant dismissal of her feelings feels as though he's kicking her while she's down. That said, her friends accept her despite their confusion, not to mention her constant interjection of female pronouns into her friend's speech is now a common tactic of people who are pro-trans who want those less enlightened to pay more attention to which pronouns they use. It helps that Eric Idle plays the character with the utmost sincerity, though even he admitted that it was done for the sake of comedy rather than tactfulness.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Some very early anti-Christian polemics in the Roman Empire alleged that Jesus was the bastard son of Mary and a Roman soldier named Pantera, similar to Brian's paternity.
    • In the scene where a Roman guard corrects the grammar on a vandal's graffiti, the Latin grammar is entirely accurate; you can thank former Latin professor John Cleese for that.
    • The Judean Peoples' Front's suicide squad recalls the Jewish rebels at Masada who collectively committed suicide rather than be captured by the Romans during the Jewish Revolt.
    • "Blessed are the Cheesemakers." There was an area of Jerusalem at the time the movie takes place, whose name translates to "The Valley of the Cheesemakers."
    • While the People's Front of Judea were, to contemporary audiences, a clear satire of the infighting among the British far left, the groups resisting Roman occupation really did behave like that.
  • Heartwarming Moments:
    • Another meta-example. The fact that ex-Beatle George Harrison came forth after the studio canned the film, set up an entire production company, paid the Pythons a few million pounds, and let them do whatever they wanted. Why? Because he was a huge Python fan and wanted to see their next movie. Going even further, Harrison would often state that the formation of the Pythons greatly helped him overcome the shock of the dissolution of The Beatles.
    • Given the time Life of Brian was filmed in, the film's treatment of Stan/Loretta is surprisingly sympathetic. While taken to a hilarious extreme in the typical Monty Python fashion, Stan/Loretta's peers are generally willing to roll with it when she says she wants to be a woman. Even when she exasperates Reg by stating her desire to have babies, they acknowledge that while she can't, they'll still fight for her symbolic right in an attempt to get Loretta's desires and the reality of her situation at least somewhat on the same page.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight
    • The scene where Stan/Loretta defends their right to have babies is even funnier with the advent of Mr. Seahorse fan fiction.
    • "People called Romanes, they go the 'ouse?!"-to anyone who's ever read a computer-generated translation of anything.
    • One of the places the film was banned was the town of Aberystwyth, Wales. There was a public showing of the film in 2009. It was organized by the city's mayor at the time: Sue Jones-Davies, who played Judith in the film and who later gave up acting to go into local politics in Wales.
  • Moment of Awesome: A meta example. When several members of the various clergies in Britain started targeting the film, John Cleese and Michael Palin went on air to be interviewed and to debate regarding the controversy. When a smug bishop and a hostile Catholic commentator begin bashing the film over things that don't happen, both Cleese and Palin tear into them. This is particularly notable in that Palin is doing the verbal smackdown, as Cleese noted years later.
    John Cleese: Four-hundred years ago, we would've been burnt for making this film. Now, I'm suggesting that we've made an advance.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Religion isn't inherently bad, but it's important to think for yourself and properly absorb the teachings rather than just blindly wait for any messiah to come along and magically fix all your problems. Think for yourself. We're all individuals.
    • Also, don't squabble over minute details over essentially the same philosophy (like the People's Front of Judea and the other splinter groups do), because someone bigger and stronger will be happy to come along and take control while you do (like the Romans).
  • Strangled by the Red String: Brian and Judith end up in bed together despite having had very little interaction beforehand. Admittedly, the film wasn't trying to be a romantic drama.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The bits between the botched (or successful, depending on your outlook) Suicide Squad raid and the finale. Brian is being crucified, and not even those he loves are going to help him. His lover takes his "martyrdom" with pride, and his mother berates him and leaves him for dead.
    • Though the rest of the scene is Played for Laughs, Brian's/the crowd's interactions with the hermit end on a genuinely sad note, with the hermit being labelled a heretic and dragged off by the crowd (and presumably killed), all amidst protests from Brian.
  • Unacceptable Targets: Despite not being particularly religious themselves, the Pythons quickly came to the conclusion that there was nothing particularly funny about Jesus and his teachings.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Fair for Its Day or not, Stan/Loretta's comrade having no regard for her feelings when she says she wants to have babies (even if it is impossible) comes off as much meaner than it was originally intended.
    • Pilate's lisp is a major source of comedy in this film, with his followers laughing uncontrollably every time he says anything. These days, it comes off as a man with a handicap getting picked on.
  • The Woobie: Brian, he never gets a break long enough, and every one of his friends leave him for dead.
  • Woolseyism:
    • The Swedish sub somehow manages to make the "Romanes eunt domum" scene even funnier by having the Centurion translate Brian's original botched Latin as "The Romanians go to the house note ".
    • In the same translation, the cheeky guy who makes fun of Brian's big nose asks: "Where are you from? Nosareth?"
    • In Spain, Biggus Dickus is called "Pijus Magnificus" (Magnificentus Preppus). As a bonus translation, "Pijus" also refers to male genitalia in many Latin American countries.
      • In Germany, they translated his name to Schwanzus Longus (Dickus Longus).


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