40 years of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by mBen989, Mar 11, 2023.

  1. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member Thread Starter

    Scranton, PA
    Yes, it was forty years this month that the last Monty Python cinematic effort, The Meaning of Life, that great masterpiece for Agnathas, Chondrichthyes, Osteichthyes and other higher forms* of being, was released.


    So, when did you first see this film?
    What did you think?
    Had this opinion changed over time?
    Do you own the film on Betamax, VHS, Super 8, Laserdisc, DVD and/or BluRay?
    What's your favorite sketch?
    What's your favorite song?

    *not that kind of high but let's be honest, you may have been when you watch this
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  2. masswriter

    masswriter Minister At Large

    New England
    I saw this in San Diego at the downtown Balboa Theater, (I think) . . . I was 18, some of it went over my head, and some stuck.
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  3. SgtPepper1983

    SgtPepper1983 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    I used to love it and still think it's got some of the best stuff they ever did. On a whole, though, it's incoherent in a way Sgt. Pepper is: it holds together only because they tell you it does. Grail and especially Brian it is not.
    Gilliam's prelude is fantastic and it is kind of sweet to end it with the Pythons in heaven/hell and a TV set going into the great unknown..... It's still weird to see them in that corporate business meeting room in full 80s asthetic. It was a natural end to the group.
    Although I was initially very excited about it, and even saw a show, I loathe their 2014 reunion. For me, it all ends with Meaning.
  4. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member

    First saw it the week it opened in theaters up here in Canada
    Loved it- I'd say at least 80% was genuinely funny and only about 5% was just dumb (eg. African rubber suit guy with zipper skin, marching up and down, here they give me a medal...)
    Not really
    Currently just have the BluRay, but I previously owned it on Betamax, Laserdisc and DVD
    Live Organ Transplants
    "And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space 'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth" (though Sacred Sperm comes close)
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  5. pdenny

    pdenny 22-Year SHTV Participation Trophy Recipient

    Hawthorne CA
    On release, probably in Hollywood, with my younger brother also a Python obsessive

    Underwhelmed...many sketches went on too long (birth, sex ed, Grim Reaper). A sometimes successful attempt to duplicate the sketch atmosphere of the TV series. Moments of greatness though: organ donor, Mr. Creosote, Christmas in Heaven)

    Not really.


    Noted above

    The Not Noël Coward Song (because I'm infantile), Christmas in Heaven (on my holiday playlist since forever)

    mBen989 likes this.
  6. captouch

    captouch Forum Resident

    Bay Area, CA
    I think I saw it in the theater, but can’t be sure as I would have been 16 and had to sneak into it (which wasn’t unheard of as we snuck into other R rated movies).

    My friends and I were already watching the series in the 70’s, so Python was not new to us. But it struck me as a more odd/surreal version than what I was used to from them. The Find the Fish sketch kind of took that to another level.

    I own it on DVD, btw.
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  7. Partyslammer

    Partyslammer Lord Of The New Church

    I saw it on opening weekend at the now long gone Orange Cinedome in Orange, CA. Theater was packed and *very* loud at appropriate parts of the movie. The Mr Creosote bit had one of the most uproarious audience responses I've ever experienced.
  8. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Berlin, Germany
    I must have been around 15 when I first saw it, and I found it incredibly funny. I have seen it many times since, but it's been a while now.

    "Every sperm is sacred" is my favourite song, followed by the "Galaxy Song".
    mBen989 likes this.
  9. Galley

    Galley Forum Resident

    Part II is coming to Hulu.
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  10. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member Thread Starter

    Scranton, PA
    That's History of the World. It's being hit on the head lessons in here.
  11. longdist01

    longdist01 Senior Member

    Chicago, IL USA
    I did see it at cinema, probably Old Orchard M&R location...watching it again I enjoy about 90% of the film, at least it's all of the Pythons together on screen one last time!
    mBen989 likes this.
  12. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    I probably tracked it down on VHS rental in the early 2000s for my first viewing as a teenager. Thought it was great but didn't really understand what Gilliam was going for with the opening feature until I saw Brazil a little later and fell in love with that weather-beaten adventurer thing of his

    My opinion now is that it's very flawed as a film, plenty of enjoyably funny sketches but not a lot of really memorable visuals — it might make a good stage musical!

    I don't own it, though I used to have the Windows CD-ROM game adaptation!

    I think the Protestant couple is hilarious

    Galaxy Song is a classic — so good that even children's performers Sharon, Lois & Bram recorded a fairly faithful version (minus the rude word at the end):

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2023
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  13. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member Thread Starter

    Scranton, PA
    Well, this made my day.
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  14. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Senior Member

    40 years. Have they figured it out yet?
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  15. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Senior Member

    This was actually kind of traumatizing to me. I don’t know if it was the fat guy exploding or the naked girls on the bicycle
  16. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member Thread Starter

    Scranton, PA
    They did and here it is.

    Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.
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  17. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Senior Member


    And I thought it was to evolve until we can return our star-seed to Alpha Centuri. Silly me. I should’ve known it would be simpler.
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  18. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member Thread Starter

    Scranton, PA
    Oh, and Eric updated the Galaxy Song because SCIENCE!

    Here are the new lyrics.

    Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
    And revolving at 900 miles an hour,
    That’s orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
    A sun that is the source of so much power.
    The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see,
    Are moving at six million miles a day
    In an outer spiral arm, 200,000 miles an hour,
    Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way.

    Our galaxy itself contains 300 billion stars
    It’s 100,000 light years side to side.
    It bulges in the middle 16,000 light years thick
    But out by us it’s just 3 thousand light years wide
    We’re 30,000 light years from galactic central point,
    We go round every 200 million years
    And our galaxy is only one of millions and billions
    In this amazing and expanding Universe.

    The Universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
    In all of the directions it can whizz
    As fast as it can go, at the speed of light you know,
    12 million miles a minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is.
    So remember when you’re feeling very small and insecure
    How amazingly unlikely is your birth
    And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space
    Because there’s bugger all down here on earth.
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  19. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member Thread Starter

    Scranton, PA
    "What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven's sake, mankind, it's only four light years away, you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that's your own lookout. Energize the demolition beam. I don't know, apathetic bloody planet, I've no sympathy at all."

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  20. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    saw this at the movies opening week...it was amazing on the big screen...a few of the scenes were extra gross on the big screen! all in all this movie was amazing fun! still love it. : )
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  21. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member Thread Starter

    Scranton, PA
    This is the poem that was submitted to Universal along with a budget ($8 million).

    There's everything in this movie,
    Everything that fits.
    From the Meaning of Life in the universe,
    To girls with great big tits.

    We've got movie stars and foreign cars,
    Explosions and the lot
    Filmed as only we know how,
    On the budget that we've got.

    We spent a fortune on locations
    And quite a bit on drink
    And there's even the odd philosophical joke,
    Just to make you buggers think.

    Yet some parts are as serious
    And as deep as you could wish
    But largely it's all tits and ass
    And quite a bit of fish.

    Other bits are fairly childish
    And some are frankly rude
    But at least we've got a lot of nice girls
    All banging around in the nude.

    So take your seats, enjoy yourselves
    And let's just hope it's funny
    Because it's not only done to make you laugh
    But to make us lots of money.

    So sit back and have a good time
    With your boyfriend or your wife
    Relax and just enjoy yourself
    For this is the Meaning of Life

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  22. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Bay Area, CA
    It's wafer thin!
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  23. Mike Dow

    Mike Dow I kind of like the music

    Bangor, Maine
    First saw it in a theater and almost had an out of body experience from laughing so hard. Owned it on VHS and DVD.

    Does the Blu-ray offer a significant upgrade?
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  24. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Bay Area, CA
    Might as well skip the blu-ray and get the 4K.
    Mike Dow likes this.
  25. 64FALCON

    64FALCON Forum Resident

    I've seen a lot of movies over the years, but I've never seen MONTY PYTHON's THE MEANING OF LIFE. Wasn't intentional by me to not see it. It just hasn't happened yet. AT some point I'm sure I'll give it a watch. :pleased:


    Here's a short trivial story about the absurdist 1977 comedy 'JABBERWOCKY': When RCA/COLUMBIA PICTURES HOME VIDEO released "Jabberwocky" on VHS (and ßeta, too) in 1983 the studio plastered this ALL over the video box:

    → "Monty Python's JABBERWOCKY". ←

    It's on the front of the box. It's on the top and underside of the box. It's on both spines of the box (the video box has a side-flap and opens that way).

    So when I open the the 1983-issue box directly on the inside it continues with "Monty Python's JABBERWOCKY" on the inside flap and on both videocassette labels. Columbia was still using spine labels then, btw.

    I reckon COLUMBIA got in to some kind of legal "issue" with this because "Jabberwocky" is not actually a Monty Python movie. It is a 'Monty Python-esque' movie. When COLUMBIA re-issued "Jabberwocky" in 1984 the box was altered. The inside flap was altered. The labels on the videocassette were altered.

    All these things were changed and the "Monty Python" part was gone.

    I like JABBERWOCKY. It's not a great movie nor is it is a particularly funny movie, but I find it amusing enough to have watched it a number of times am well-familiar with the movie. And the '84 Columbia box.

    However, when I ran across that odd-duck '83 Columbia release on eBay some 9 months ago I bought it. I had had the '84-issue of "Jabberwocky" on COLUMBIA for years and I'd thought that was the 1st release, but then I noted it wasn't.

    Maybe COLUMBIA put the 'Monty Python' lettering on the box, inner flap and labels perhaps mistakenly thinking it •was• a Python film?

    Or maybe it was done on purpose with the idea that the 'Monty Python' name all over the box would improve "Jabberwocky"'s chances of being rented and sold?

    I don't know the answer, but that's what happened with regards to JABBERWOCKY and its homevideo releases on COLUMBIA in 1983 and '84.

    I don't think Columbia really •wanted• to re-tool the box and re-print the labels but I reckon the studio had to.

    So that's my "Monty Python-esque" story of the non-Monty Python film 'JABBERWOCKY'.

    (P.S. It's not a rare movie by any stretch, but if you should be prowling eBay one afternoon and see the 1983 Columbia release of "Monty Python's JABBERWOCKY" for sale it IS a rare video nugget. That's why I bought it even though I already had it. My eyeballs almost popped out of my head when I saw that listing. I keep the '83 box next to the '84 box. Makes it very easy to compare).
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