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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (reissue)


Stars: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Connie Booth, Carol Cleveland, Neil Innes

Director: Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones

A grubby, muddy and vile comic picture of the Middle Ages, told in the inimitable, anarchic style of the Monty Python gang, as King Arthur and his knights set out on a quest to find the eponymous grail.

Although a delight for all their (now ageing) fans, the film's inspiration comes only in flashes: the funniest scenes involve a Trojan rabbit; Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot (Idle) and his minstrels; a crazed bridgekeeper; a French knight (Cleese) with a line in bizarre insults that would have done credit to Peter Sellers' Clouseau; and a fight between King Arthur (Chapman) and the Black Knight (Cleese), in which Arthur has to sever all his rival's limbs, leaving only a head that rants for him to come back and fight like a man.

It's all cobbled together on an obviously tight budget that only adds to its lunatic charm - such as scenes where knights don't have horses, but are followed around by servants knocking cocoanut shells together.

David Quinlan

UK 1974. UK Distributor: Park Circus (originally EMI). Technicolor.
90 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 12 Oct 2015