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Holy Flying Circus 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars (15) IMDb 7.2/10

Holy Flying Circus reimagines the controversy surrounding Monty Python's 1979 film, Life of Brian, which was greeted with widespread outcry and accusations of blasphemy. This docudrama is a peek behind-the-scenes of the notorious film.

Ben Crispin, Steve Punt
1 hour, 29 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Owen Harris
Starring Ben Crispin, Steve Punt
Supporting actors Charles Edwards, Rufus Jones, Tom Fisher, Darren Boyd, Phil Nichol, Simon Greenall, Robin Sebastian, Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Micah Balfour, Paul Chahidi, Ian Bonar, Selina Griffiths, Jason Thorpe, Geoffrey McGivern, Mark Heap, Alex Macqueen, David Birrell, Rupert Vansittart
Studio Acorn Media
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brett H TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 2, 2012
Format: DVD
As a committed Python fan I was really looking forward to viewing this DVD and I was not disappointed. It covers the period immediately after The Life of Brian was released. Today this film is rightly considered one of the masterpieces of comic cinema. However, at the time it caused an enormous furore. There were demonstrations, heated exchanges in the Houses of Parliament, Bishops denouncing it from their pulpits and numerous councils using their powers to ban the showing of the film in their areas.

The presentation is quite Pythonesque. The intro could be straight out of one of the episodes and the cut outs are very skillfully put together. The action is punctuated regularly by cartoon type interludes and dream sequences from the mind of Michael Palin which again could have been lifted straight out of Monty Python. The crew of Monty Python sound and behave closely to what one would have expected whilst John Cleese and Michael Palin do look extremely similar to their real life counterparts provided you do not look too closely!

The story builds up to a UK chat show, Friday Night Saturday Morning, which Cleese and Palin are eventually persuaded to appear on since, by that time, the aggravation over the film has reached such a crescendo that there seems nothing to lose. In the other corner are the late Malcolm Muggeridge, a media figure who was a leading campaigner for morals and the Bishop of Southwark. These characters are bombastic, bullying and, although they manage to effectively shout down the Python boys, show themselves up for what they are.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, but I do have the right background, in that I have enjoyed The Life of Brian many times and seen the Monty Python episodes over and over. Whilst it is certainly Five Star material for me, I quite understand that anyone seeing this without the grounding in Monty Python would be left somewhat bemused and would probably give it quite a low rating.
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Format: Blu-ray
I've enjoyed the guys from Monty Python as clowns, as satirists, and as provocateurs. Some of their earlier material pushed the boundaries of good taste in the most progressive of ways. Perhaps the most incendiary project they ever worked on, though, was "Monty Python's Life of Brian" which specifically skewers aspects of Christianity. While the boys were certainly equal opportunity offenders, apparently this was one step too far and the film was labeled blasphemous and banned and/or condemned throughout England and many other countries. This untraditional biopic "Holy Flying Circus" tells the story of this controversy and how Michael Palin and John Cleese appeared on a weekly newsmagazine show to debate their opponents (including a Bishop). As fascinating as the topic alone is, though, it is really the presentation of the material that stole my heart. I can't imagine why it took so long for this to receive a proper North American DVD distribution!

This is an absolutely brilliant film. And, truthfully, its approach to the topic caught me by complete surprise. Instead of playing it straight, this is a hysterical interpretation employing many Python-esque bits of comedy. I found this to be devastatingly clever and smart (of course, it helps if you are familiar with Python). The principles who stand out are a blisteringly funny Cleese (Darren Boyd) as a contrary curmudgeon and his more beloved counterpart, The Nicest Man in Britain Palin (Charles Edwards). Boyd, in particular, really sends up Cleese in some of the movie's most inspired sequences. I also really enjoyed the unscrupulous BBC producer who sees the scandal as his opportunity to reap glory and awards.

The show utilizes animation, cross dressing, fantasy sequences, and absurdist humor to drive its narrative.
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Format: DVD
This is a BBC 4 programme that was first shown in October of 2011 and I missed it so this was a God send (if he truly exists obviously). It starts as it means to go on by being an homage to the Monty Python Crew and wearing its humour proudly on its sleeve. It says it is all a bit made up which is a bit like the Bible.

It centres around the furore and public hulabaloo that blew up around `The Life of Brian', and the handling that they did to try to get it shown. It was banned in more places than the Sex Pistols Tour had been, with only one London Cinema allowing a screening. In the midst of this Bible bashing self righteousness Mary Whitehousesque frenzy, the BBC waded in. They wanted the boys to appear on the current affairs talk show (not `chat' you understand) `Friday Night, Saturday Morning'.

Michael Palin (Charles Edwards who also plays his own mum!) is the nicest man in the World and John Cleese, well is the opposite and seen as a bit abrasive. As such the duo would be the perfect foils in a healthy adult debate about all matters ecumenical and stuff with some Bishop and womanising alcoholic and former comedian Malcolm Muggeridge.

The Python humour is at the centre of all of this with surreal moments galore which are sent up through out and men playing all the parts. Rufus Jones plays both Terry Jones and Michael Palins wife - without adequate `shaver time'. There are animation sequences to honour Terry Gilliam and a BBC team straight out of `In The Thick of It' with a producer who just wants a BAFTA. There is also a lot of modern satire and clear references to the future through out. Stephen Fry makes a short appearance as God too.
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