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Monty Python's Life Of Brian

4.7 out of 5 stars 625 customer reviews

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(Jan 29, 2008)
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Collector's Edition
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DVD
(Nov 16, 1999)
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The Criterion Collection
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$19.96 $0.94
DVD
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DVD
(Jan 27, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Gospel according to Monty Python: In Judea, a boy is born in a manger a short distance from and about the same time, as Jesus Christ. Three wise men from the East are for a time deceived by this proximity into believing that he is the promised Messiah, but it soon becomes apparent that he is, in fact, only a hapless peasant named Brian. However, the "Life of Brian" causes plenty of commotion for the Roman Empire and leaves him desperate to escape his burgeoning popularity.

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"Blessed are the cheesemakers," a wise man once said. Or maybe not. But the point is Monty Python's Life of Brian is a religious satire that does not target specific religions or religious leaders (like, say, Jesus of Nazareth). Instead, it pokes fun at the mindless and fanatical among their followers--it's an attack on religious zealotry and hypocrisy--things that that fellow from Nazareth didn't particularly care for either. Nevertheless, at the time of its release in 1979, those who hadn't seen it considered it to be quite "controversial."

Life of Brian, you see, is about a chap named Brian (Graham Chapman) born December 25 in a hovel not far from a soon-to-be-famous Bethlehem manger. Brian is mistaken for the messiah and, therefore, manipulated, abused, and exploited by various religious and political factions. And it's really, really funny. Particularly memorable bits include the brassy Shirley Bassey/James Bond-like title song; the bitter rivalry between the anti-Roman resistance groups, the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea; Michael Palin's turn as a lisping, risible Pontius Pilate; Brian urging a throng of false-idol worshippers to think for themselves--to which they reply en masse "Yes, we must think for ourselves!"; the fact that everything Brian does, including losing his sandal in an attempt to flee these wackos, is interpreted as "a sign." Life of Brian is not only one of Monty Python's funniest achievements, it's also the group's sharpest and smartest sustained satire. Blessed are the Pythons. --Jim Emerson


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle
  • Directors: Terry Jones
  • Writers: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle
  • Producers: Denis O'Brien
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (625 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305388458
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,587 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Monty Python's Life Of Brian" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I suspect most fans of this film and Monty Python in general already own a copy on DVD. The bonus features in this new double-disc edition definitely make it worth the repeat buy. Most of the features from the Criterion edition (two commentary tracks, five deleted scenes, radio ads) are here. (The nice 1979 BBC documentary "The Pythons" is the only feature from the Criterion version missing from this new set.)

The new hour-long documentary included with this edition is worth the purchase alone. All five surviving Pythons are interviewed and offer a lot of insight into the film, from its conception, to the controversy surrounding its opening (in the US and in the UK), to its lasting standing as the Pythons' greatest work. (Yes, I know, many fans like "Grail" even more.) I'm always pleased to see up-to-date interviews with the team, now all in their sixties.

The other significant feature is an audio reading of the original script, recorded with all six members several months before filming began. This is much more enjoyable and watchable than you might expect, illustrated onscreen with storyboard drawings and script pages. The reading is 20 minutes longer than the film, and you hear some bits that never made it past this stage.

And the film itself, of course, is a treasure. A hysterically funny, yet thought-provoking satire whose target is group-think in general, and not merely religion or superstition.
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Format: Blu-ray
This is the 4th iteration of this movie that I have owned. My first was on VHS, then came the Criterion LaserDisc, which was followed by the Criterion DVD edition. I really wasn't expecting much of an improvement over the Criterion DVD since this is an older movie. Regardless of what version you own, if you are a Python fan, you are in for a HUGE surprise with this latest edition on Blu-ray. The picture is near perfection with only a couple of scenes where I noticed the tiniest bit of film grain. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the remastered sound elements. After trying the different sound choices, I found the PCM soundtrack to be the best. I really wasn't expecting the sound to be that great for this movie, but BOY was I surprised. Sony has truly outdone themselves with this latest high def remastering of Life of Brian. This is the absolute best I have ever seen or heard of this zany film. There are details in the picture that I have NEVER seend before, and I have seen this movie MANY MANY times. If I had to complain about anything, it would be that the special features were not in HD, but that is not that big a deal since everything else about this title is just spot on.

There are many who would say this movie is a sacrilege. As a Christian, I would disagree with such a statement. I have heard some say that this movie is making light of Jesus' ministry, and especially his crucifixion. They are missing the whole point. I think this movie illustrates how some people will blindly follow religious leaders, or will just go with the crowd without really questioning what they're doing, or why they're doing it. The scene where Brian is mistaken for Jesus and chased by the crowd is a good example.
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Format: DVD
To put it simple, this is one of THE funniest comedies ever made, and following the old Python tradition, it makes fun of everyone and anything. Also, if you didn't know it, this is the Python movie that also contains Eric Idle's now classic song, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".
I recommend you get the Criterion collection if you're going to purchase this DVD. I got it today, and it has tons of extra features, plus it is a high-quality-transfer widescreen (I don't think the standard DVD is widescreen, but I won't bet money on it).
I haven't had time to hear the TWO, yes two, additional sets of audio tracks, with commentary from all of the five Pythons (sadly excluding Graham Chapman, for obvious reasons), but I can only imagine that they alone are worth the extra bucks you spend on getting the Criterion edition.
Go get yourself this DVD right away -- you won't regret it!
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Format: DVD
You have to be a genius to be this silly. Monty Python has done a fantastic amount of research into Jewish history and the birth of Christianity to make a total mockery of the hypocrisy found in people who claim to practice these religions. As a deeply spiritual man, I found this film completely unoffensive. This film doesn't poke fun at those who are a part of their religion because of an informed, knowledgeable decision, but rather at those who believe what they believe despite all evidence to the contrary and can't offer any valid explanation for it. Most people have probably been embarassed by people of that sort even in there own religion. Anybody who thinks that Monty Python's sense of humor is stupid isn't smart enough to understand the vast amount of research they must have done to turn verifiable history into such a ridiculous commentary on unchanging human behaviour. From the political issue made out of Stan's irrational desire to be a woman so he could have babys (You haven't got a womb. Where's the fetus going to gestate? You gonna put it in a box?) to the embarrasing meeting where the PFJ finds out that maybe the Romans aren't so bad (Okay, they did provide the roads, the aqueduct, public sanitation, education, the wine, etc.) to Pontius Pilate's speech impedement (Who do you want weleased? And no more Wudolph the Wed-nosed Weindeer.) followed by his best friend's linguistic problems (Thampthon of Thithily the Thaduthee thtrangler wanted for theveral theditious crimeth) to the finale of optomistics on crosses singing "Always look on the bright side of life." If you don't get this epic joke and at least appreciate some of what they deleted to keep the plot tight (DVD--Criterion Edition only) I feel sorry for you. But I'm not your judge. Review this film for yourself.
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