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Monty Python’s Life of Brian

October 12, 2015

MPLOBA romp of a less tasteful kind, the Judas among the twelve and the ultimate anti-Christ film, this perceptive, amusing and influential parody of the biblical epic by the Monty Python team has forever tinted the lens through which the popular imagination now views Christian origins. Here a reluctant non-biblical lead character is caught up in the new religion to the extent of being mistaken for the Messiah. Among the unforgettable set pieces are “What have the Romans ever done for us?” (a lesson in imperial revisionism designed to disarm all Zealots!) and the notorious “Always look on the bright side of life!” (the reductio ad absurdum of the essence of Christian optimism — “Have a truly Good Friday!”) Explorations in Theology and Film: Movies and Meaning – ed. Clive Marsh & Gaye Ortiz pp. 116f https://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/explorations-in-theology-and-film-movies-and-meaning-ed-clive-marsh-gaye-ortiz/

This film is brilliant for teaching New Testament background – the different anti-Roman factions, the likelihood that people misheard Jesus’s actual words p- Blessed are the Cheesemakers.

Spectator I: I think it was “Blessed are the cheesemakers”.

Mrs. Gregory: Aha, what’s so special about the cheesemakers?

Gregory: Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.

Brian: Please, please, please listen! I’ve got one or two things to say.

The Crowd: Tell us! Tell us both of them!

Brian: Look, you’ve got it all wrong! You don’t NEED to follow ME, You don’t NEED to follow ANYBODY! You’ve got to think for your selves! You’re ALL individuals!

The Crowd: Yes! We’re all individuals!

Brian: You’re all different!

The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!

Man in crowd: I’m not…

The Crowd: Sch!

Brian’s mother: He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy! Now, piss off!

Brian: Excuse me. Are you the Judean People’s Front?

Reg: Fuck off! ‘Judean People’s Front’. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! ‘Judean People’s Front’.

Francis: Wankers.

Nisus Wettus: [a line of prisoners files past a jailer] Crucifixion?

Prisoner: Yes.

Nisus Wettus: Good. Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each. [Next prisoner] Crucifixion?

Mr. Cheeky: Er, no, freedom actually.

Nisus Wettus: What?

Mr. Cheeky: Yeah, they said I hadn’t done anything and I could go and live on an island somewhere.

Nisus Wettus: Oh I say, that’s very nice. Well, off you go then.

Mr. Cheeky: No, I’m just pulling your leg, it’s crucifixion really.

Nisus Wettus: [laughing] Oh yes, very good. Well…

Mr. Cheeky: Yes I know, out of the door, one cross each, line on the left.

Matthias: Look, I don’t think it should be a sin, just for saying “Jehovah”.

[Everyone gasps] Jewish Official: You’re only making it worse for yourself!

Matthias: Making it worse? How can it be worse? Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!

Jewish Official: I’m warning you! If you say “Jehovah” one more time (gets hit with rock) RIGHT! Who did that? Come on, who did it?

Stoners: She did! She did! (suddenly speaking as men) He! He did! He!

Jewish Official: Was it you?

Stoner: Yes.

Jewish Official: Right…

Stoner: Well you did say “Jehovah. ”

[Crowd throws rocks at the stoner]

Jewish Official: STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT RIGHT NOW! STOP IT! All right, no one is to stone _anyone_ until I blow this whistle. Even… and I want to make this absolutely clear… even if they do say, “Jehovah. ” [Crowd stones the Jewish Official to death]

Reg: All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Attendee: Brought peace?

Reg: Oh, peace – shut up!: There is not one of us who would not gladly suffer death to rid this country of the Romans once and for all.

Dissenter: Uh, well, one.

Reg: Oh, yeah, yeah, there’s one. But otherwise, we’re solid.

Stan: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.

Reg: But you can’t have babies.

Stan: Don’t you oppress me.

Reg: Where’s the fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?

Brian: I’m not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly!

Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.

Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!

Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!

Brian: Now, fuck off! [silence]

Arthur: How shall we fuck off, O Lord?

Ex-Leper: Okay, sir, my final offer: half a shekel for an old ex-leper?

Brian: Did you say “ex-leper”?

Ex-Leper: That’s right, sir, 16 years behind a veil and proud of it, sir.

Brian: Well, what happened?

Ex-Leper: Oh, cured, sir.

Brian: Cured?

Ex-Leper: Yes sir, bloody miracle, sir. Bless you!

Brian: Who cured you?

Ex-Leper: Jesus did, sir. I was hopping along, minding my own business, all of a sudden, up he comes, cures me! One minute I’m a leper with a trade, next minute my livelihood’s gone. Not so much as a by-your-leave! “You’re cured, mate.” Bloody do-gooder.

[first lines] Wise Man #1: Ahem!

Brian’s mother: Oh! [falls over in chair]

Brian’s mother: Who are you?

Wise Man #2: We are three wise men.

Brian’s mother: What?

Wise Man #1: We are three wise men.

Brian’s mother: Well, what are you doing creeping around a cow shed at two o’clock in the morning? That doesn’t sound very wise to me.

Pontius Pilate: [Pilate is going to release a prisoner to the crowd] People of Jewusalum, [Everybody laughs at his speech impairment] Wome… is your fwiend! [They laugh more] To pwove our fwiendship, we will welease one of our wong-doers! Who shall I welease?

Man in crowd: Welease Woger! [Everybody laughs, and begin to chant, “Welease Woger”]

Pontius Pilate: Vewy well, I shall… Welease… Woger! [Everybody laughs]

Centurion: Uh, we haven’t got a “Woger”, sir.

Pontius Pilate: Oh, okay. We have no “Woger’! [They all laugh]

Man in crowd: Well what about “Wodewick” then? [They laugh and chant “Welease Wodewick!”]

Pontius Pilate: Vewy well! I shall welease… Wodewick! [the crowd laughs some more]

Centurion: Sir, there’s no “Wodewick”.

Pontius Pilate: Who is this “Wodewick” you speak of?

Man in crowd: He’s a wobber! [they laugh] And a wapist! [more laughter]

Girl In Crowd: And a pick-pocket! [Everybody shakes their heads at her and say no]

Pontius Pilate: He sounds a notowious cwiminal.

Judith: [on Stan’s desire to be a mother] Here! I’ve got an idea: Suppose you agree that he can’t actually have babies, not having a womb – which is nobody’s fault, not even the Romans’ – but that he can have the *right* to have babies.

Francis: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother… sister, sorry.

Reg: What’s the *point*?

Francis: What?

Reg: What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies, when he can’t have babies?

Francis: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.

Reg: It’s symbolic of his struggle against reality.

Brian: What will they do to me?

Ben the Prisoner: Oh you’ll probably get away with crucifixion.

Brian: CRUCIFIXION?

Ben the Prisoner: Yeah, first offense.

Wise Man #1: We were led by a star.

Brian’s mother: Led by a bottle, more like.

Suicide Squad Leader: We are the Judean People’s Front crack suicide squad! Suicide squad, attack! [they all stab themselves] That showed ’em, huh?

Centurion: Where is Brian of Nazareth?

Brian: You sanctimonious bastards!

Centurion: I have an order for his release!

Brian: You stupid bastards!

Mr. Cheeky: Uh, I’m Brian of Nazareth.

Brian: What?

Mr. Cheeky: Yeah, I – I – I’m Brian of Nazareth.

Centurion: Take him down!

Brian: I’m Brian of Nazareth!

Victim #1: Eh, I’m Brian!

Mr. Big Nose: I’m Brian!

Victim #2: Look, I’m Brian!

Brian: I’m Brian!

Victims: I’m Brian!

Gregory: I’m Brian, and so’s my wife!

Victims: I’m Brian! I’m Brian!…

Brian: I’m Brian of Nazareth!

Centurion: All right. Take him away and release him.

Mr. Cheeky: No, I’m only joking. I’m not really Brian. No, I’m not Brian. I was only – It was a joke. I’m only pulling your leg! It’s a joke! I’m not him! I’m just having you on! Put me back! Bloody Romans! Can’t take a joke!

[last lines] Lead Singer Crucifee: [as end credits role and crucifees are singing “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”] It’s the end of the film. Incidentally, this record’s available in the foyer. Some of us have got to live as well, you know. Who do you think pays for all this rubbish? They’ll never make their money back, you know. I told him. I said to him, “Bernie”, I said, “They’ll never make their money back.”

Mrs. Big Nose: [trying to hear Jesus’ sermon on the mount] Oh, it’s blessed are the MEEK! Oh, I’m glad they’re getting something, they have a hell of a time.

Blood and Thunder Prophet: [screaming] … and the bezan shall be huge and black, and the eyes thereof red with the blood of living creatures, and the whore of Babylon shall ride forth on a three-headed serpent, and throughout the lands, there will be a great rubbing of parts. Yeeah…

False Prophet: [yelling] … for the demon shall bear a nine-bladed sword. NINE-bladed! Not two or five or seven, but NINE, which he will wield on all wretched sinners, sinners just like you, sir, there, and the horns shall be on the head, with which he will…

Boring Prophet: …there shall, in that time, be *rumors* of things going astray, errrm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things wi – with the sort of raffia work base that has an attachment. At this time, a friend shall lose his friend’s hammer and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o’clock. Yea, it is written in the book of Cyril that…

Brian: I am NOT the Messiah!

Arthur: I say you are Lord, and I should know. I’ve followed a few.

Ex-Leper: Half a dinare for me bloody life story?

Brian: There’s no pleasing some people.

Ex-Leper: That’s just what Jesus said, sir.

Reg: [arriving at Brian’s crucifixion] Hello, Sibling Brian.

Brian: Thank God you’ve come, Reg.

Reg: Well, I think I should point out first, Brian, in all fairness, we are not, in fact, the rescue committee. However, I have been asked to read the following prepare statement on behalf of the movement. “We the People’s Front of Judea, brackets, officials, end brackets, do hereby convey our sincere fraternal and sisterly greetings to you, Brian, on this, the occasion of your martyrdom. ”

Brian: What?

Reg: “Your death will stand as a landmark in the continuing struggle to liberate the parent land from the hands of the Roman imperialist aggressors, excluding those concerned with drainage, medicine, roads, housing, education, viniculture and any other Romans contributing to the welfare of Jews of both sexes and hermaphrodites. Signed, on behalf of the P. F. J. , etc. ” And I’d just like to add, on a personal note, my own admiration, for what you’re doing for us, Brian, on what must be, after all, for you a very difficult time.

Boring Prophet: There shall in that time be rumors of things going astray, erm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things with the sort of raffia-work base, that has an attachment. At that time, a friend shall lose his friend’s hammer, and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o’clock.

Brian: [Brian is in a prison cell with Ben who is hanging from chains] Oh lay off, I’ve had a hard time!

Ben the Prisoner: You’ve had a hard time? I’ve been here five years, they only hung me the right way up yesterday.

Ben the Prisoner: Quite the jailer’s pet, are we?

Brian: What do you mean?

Ben the Prisoner: You must have slipped him a few shekels, eh?

Brian: Slipped him a few shekels-you saw him spit in my face!

Ben the Prisoner: Oh, what wouldn’t I give to be spat at in the face? I sometimes hang awake at night, dreaming of being spat at in the face.

Brian: Well it’s not exactly friendly, is it? They have me in manacles!

Ben the Prisoner: Manacles! Ooooh, my idea of heaven, is to be allowed to be put in manacles. Just for a few hours… they must think the sun shines out your ass, sonny.

Reg: If you want to join the People’s Front of Judea, you have to really hate the Romans.

Brian: I do!

Reg: Oh yeah, how much?

Brian: A lot!

Reg: Right, you’re in.

Brian: I’m not a roman mum, I’m a kike, a yid, a heebie, a hook-nose, I’m kosher mum, I’m a Red Sea pedestrian, and proud of it!

Brian’s mother: What star sign is he?

Wise Man #2: Capricorn.

Brian’s mother: Capricorn, eh? What are they like?

Wise Man #2: He is the son of God, our Messiah.

Wise Man #1: King of the Jews.

Brian’s mother: And that’s Capricorn, is it?

Wise Man #3: No, no, that’s just him.

Brian’s mother: Oh, I was going to say, otherwise there’d be a lot of them.

Centurion: You know the penalty laid down by Roman law for harboring a known criminal?

Matthias: No.

Centurion: Crucifixion!

Matthias: Oh.

Centurion: Nasty, eh?

Matthias: Could be worse.

Centurion: What you mean “Could be worse”?

Matthias: Well, you could be stabbed.

Centurion: Stabbed? Takes a second. Crucifixion lasts hours. It’s a slow, horrible death.

Matthias: Well, at least it gets you out in the open air.

Centurion: You’re weird!

Leper 1: Alms for a leper!

Leper 2: Alms for a leper!

Ex-Leper: Alms for an ex-leper!

Mr. Big Nose: I’ll get you for this, you bastard.

Parvus: Oh, yeah?

Mr. Big Nose: Oh, yeah. Don’t worry. I never forget a face.

Parvus: No?

Mr. Big Nose: I warned you. I’m going to punch you so hard, you Roman git!

Parvus: Shut up, you Jewish turd!

Mr. Big Nose: Who are you calling Jewish? I’m not Jewish! I’m a Samaritan!

Gregory: A Samaritan? This is supposed to be a Jewish section.

Parvus: It doesn’t matter! You’re all going to die in a day or two.

Gregory: It may not matter to you, Roman, but it certainly matters to us. Doesn’t it, darling?

Mrs. Gregory: Oh, rather.

Gregory: Under the terms of the Roman occupancy, we’re entitled to be crucified in a purely Jewish area.

Reg: From now on you shall be called Brian that is called Brian.

The Crowd: The Messiah! The Messiah! Show us the Messiah!

Brian’s mother: The who?

The Crowd: The Messiah!

Brian’s mother: There’s no Messiah in here. There’s a mess all right, but no Messiah. Now go away!

Brian: Well, why don’t you go and tell him you want to be a leper again?

Ex-Leper: Uh, I could do that sir, yeah. Yeah, I could do that I suppose. What I was thinking was I was going to ask him if he could make me a bit lame in one leg during the middle of the week. You know, something beggable, but not leprosy, which is a pain in the ass to be blunt and excuse my French, sir.

[Taking the gifts from the Three Wise Men and pushing them out the door] Brian’s mother: Er, well, um, if you’re dropping by again, do pop in. Heh. And thanks a lot for the gold and frankincense, er, but don’t worry too much about the myrrh next time. All right? Heh. Thank you. Good-bye. [Three wise men leave] Well, weren’t they nice? Hmm. Out of their bloody minds, but still.

Reg: What Jesus fails to appreciate is that it’s the meek who are the problem.

[On the run from Roman soldiers, Brain lands on a public stage prophets. Brian quickly decides to disgues himself as one] Brian: [Unsure and stuttering] Don’t… pass judgement… on other people, or you might be judged yourself.

Passer-by: [as if shocked] What?

Brian: I said, don’t pass judgement on others or you might be judged yourself.

Passer-by: [in small, squeaky voice] Who me? Oh, Thank you very much!

Francis: We’re gettin’ in through the underground heating system here, up through into the main audience chamber here, and Pilate’s wife’s bedroom is here. Having grabbed his wife, we inform Pilate that she is in our custody and forthwith issue our demands. Any questions?

Commando Xerxes: What exactly are the demands?

Reg: We’re giving Pilate two days to dismantle the entire apparatus of the Roman Imperialist State, and if he doesn’t agree immediately, we execute her.

Matthias: All I did was say to my wife, “That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!”

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From → Biblical, Film

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