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The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus

519 customer reviews

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(Nov 07, 2000)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Talk about the full monty—"Monty Python's Flying Circus", that is: A boxed set of 14 DVDs containing all the cerebral wit, slapstick, silly walks, and naughty bits that have made this series a comic classic. Making the deal even sweeter are these DVD extras: Meet the Chaps, a Pythonisms Glossary, Gillianimations Art Gallery, Troupe Career Highlights, trivia, web links, and more. About 24 hours 40 min. on 14 DVDs or 21 cassettes. Also available: "Seasons I-IV." Each is 13 episodes, 6-1/2 hours on 4 DVDs or 6 cassettes. Web Extra: If "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" had been a failure, the Pythons were prepared to split up. Though disputed by the group, it's said that Michael Palin is the "nice Python"—Eric Idle is the "sixth nicest Python.".

While more cautious fans may want to pick and choose among the previously released individual volumes of Monty Python for their collection, true Pythonites will want to own this definitive, 14-volume DVD-only boxed set that contains all 45 episodes (in chronological order) of Monty Python's Flying Circus. This "persistently silly" collection encompasses three-and-a-half seasons of dead parrots, cross-dressing lumberjacks, loonies, upper class twits, and spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, and spam. Click past the occasional clunker and go directly to such signature sketches as the Ministry of Silly Walks, the Spanish Inquisition, the Fish-Slapping Dance, the Dead Parrot Sketch, the Lumberjack Song, the Cheese Shop, the Argument Clinic, and Nudge, Nudge. Taken as a whole, one marvels at how Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam thoroughly subverted television convention with "something completely different," like sketches with no punch lines ("Your average TV viewer isn't going to understand this").

A warning to the uninitiated: there is much "material that some may find offensive, but which is really smashing." Violations of something called the "Strange Sketch Act" are the least of the troupe's offenses, as witness the Oscar Wilde Sketch, the Dirty Vicar Sketch, and the Most Awful Family in Britain Sketch, all of which achieve "the really gross awfulness" all Python fans are looking for. Say no more. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • Meet the Chaps
  • Pythonisms Glossary
  • Gillianimations
  • Art Gallery
  • Troupe Career Highlights
  • Trivial Quest
  • Useless Tidbits

Product Details

  • Actors: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones
  • Writers: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones
  • Producers: John Howard Davies
  • Format: Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 14
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 7, 2000
  • Run Time: 30 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (519 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004ZEU5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,176 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

604 of 615 people found the following review helpful By David L. White on June 30, 2002
Format: DVD
I just couldn't bring myself to give this set 5 stars. I wish it were possible to give it 4 1/2 stars.
First of all, it's true, the episodes are not 100% complete, however, many people, in my opinion, have been over-reacting about the cuts. Actually, the A&E DVD #1 has a sketch in the 2nd episode called 'The Wacky Queen', which was edited out of the show after the first broadcast & was never shown again on TV in the UK or abroad, as far as I know. Seasons 1 & 2 have no cuts, at least none that I spotted when comparing the DVDs to the synopsis in the Monty Python books by Jim Yoakum & Kim "Howard" Johnson. There is a slight edit of one word in the 5th episode of the 3rd season during the 'Summarize Proust Competition' which the BBC made to the episode before broadcast. Broadcasts outside of the UK had the uncensored version of the sketch. Unfortunately, A&E got a censored master. In the 7th episode of the same season during the 'Biggles Dictates a Letter' sketch, there is a slight glitch which can be blamed on slopply mastering on A&E's part. It doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the sketch very much. The episode that appears to be worst hit is the 12th episode of season 3. A&E goofed when they included 'Party Political Broadcast' on the box to this episode. The sketch was edited from the master tape and hasn't been seen since the original broadcast in 1973. This material is very probably lost forever. The very end of this episode, which has a trailer for Dad's Doctors & Dad's Pooves, is also missing from the episode. This was probably sloppy editing on the part of A&E video as the episode does a fade to black with the BBC TV logo then fades up again with the BBC TV logo again and the 'Dad's...' trailer.
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409 of 427 people found the following review helpful By vlad48 on May 28, 2006
Format: DVD
As some of the other reviews have pointed out, some bits from the original series are missing or dubbed over. Those writers noted changes in the Summarizing Proust and Australian Philosopher sketches. Add to that list the removal of most of Terry Gilliam's religious animations from the "Not Being Seen" episode. (The show ends with a fast-forward summation of the episode and you can see a glimpse of what was expunged.)

I saw all of these episodes uncensored in Canada when they were originally broadcast -- now 35 years later A&E decides what we can and cannot see, even as we pay to own the set. It's disturbing for many reasons that BBC comedy that pushes the boundaries with religion and philosophy is wiped clean by the hand of A&E.
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224 of 232 people found the following review helpful By B-MAN on July 27, 2002
Format: DVD
This is a set of 14 DVDs which contain all 45 episodes, every sketch you know and love (all 4 seasons, 1969-1974) of the ground-breaking Monty Python's Flying Circus starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. It comes in a neat and pretty orange and pink box that's roughly 5.5 x 8.5 inches. In terms of digital format there are some minor blemishes but this show dates back to 1969! Get a grip! Its almost as if the presenters new that people would be complaining about this and wrote on the DVD cases - "...enjoy the original scratches, pops and hisses with crystal clarity." The bigger complaint you will hear or read about is the fact that somethings (mostly a word or two) have been censored from the original episodes. I admit there is nothing sillier than censoring a completely normal word and yet leaving the topless woman in, but this is a minor detail to having the entire series at the push of a button. I'm not about to hunt down all the VHS tapes just so I can have a few (and I do mean a few) words. I also don't plan on aging a decade to see if they will bring out another set. If you love this show, I don't recommend you do that either. This will be the definitive set for quite some time, if not until the next new format arrives, so why wait? Start the lunacy right now! Here are the episode titles and corresponding DVDs. Why? Because I care, silly.Read more ›
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101 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Josh Lesnick on May 3, 2006
Format: DVD
A&E released this series a long time ago, back before sets like The Simpsons came out and set new standards for TV DVD collections. It was passable, at the time, for them to include only 3-4 shows per disc and lukewarm Extras, but these days... not so much.

Thus, I was a little disappointed when they re-released the Season set a few months ago, and it turned out to be the same thing, only in thinpacks. Don't get me wrong, the slim cases are nice, but I really wish they had gone the distance and repressed the DVDs, and put 6-7 episodes per disc, cobbled together some commentary tracks from archived recordings, and at the very least fixed the mistake where they deleted a skit from the end of one of the episodes.

Instead, we still have DVDs that are looking rather outdated, complete with a really long, unskippable intro that's the same on every disc, and "Special Features" that are mostly redundant. Why include clips from the episodes when we could just watch the episodes? Not to mention that we know A&E can do better now, as seen by their work on the Kids in the Hall DVDs and other sets.

As you can see, this is just a review of the DVD set. As for Python itself, there not much I can say that hasn't been said already. I give the material SIX stars, and the DVD set three stars, which averages out to four. I am a little disappointed, but this remains a must-buy for fans of Python.
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