‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ on Netflix

The wacky minds of Monty Python took on the legend of King Arthur for Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, PG), their first “real” feature film (I’m not counting their skit comedy And Now For Something Completely Different) and Camelot has never been the same.

Graham Chapman is King Arthur (the closest the film has to a straight man), the monarch who gathers the greatest knights of the land to accompany him a quest from God (also the voice of Chapman): Sir Lancelot the Brave (John Cleese), Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot (Eric Idle), philosopher/knight Sir Bedevere (Terry Jones), and Sir Galahad the Pure (Michael Palin). And of course they (and animator/co-director Terry Gilliam) play various supporting roles along the way.

Banging coconut shells across the misty English countryside, Arthur and a band of dotty knights run afoul of abusive Frenchmen (“Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!”), sex-crazed nuns, a killer rabbit, the mysterious Knights Who Say “Nih!,” and other classic medieval threats while discussing philosophy, logic, and the average speed velocity of the swallow (African or European?).

It is probably the cheapest Arthurian adventure ever made (heck, they couldn’t even afford horses!), and easily the funniest. In fact, this absurdity is considered by many (including myself) to be one of the funniest movies ever made.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus regular Carol Cleveland and Cleese’s Fawlty Towers collaborator Connie Booth co-star and friend of Python Neil Innes is Sir Robin’s minstrel.

Rated PG

Queue it up!

Also on DVD and Blu-ray and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail [Blu-ray]
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Limited Edition Castle Catapult Gift Set [Blu-ray]
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Special Edition [DVD]

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Sony has released the film in multiple home video editions on Blu-ray and DVD. The special editions feature commentaries by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones and general complaints and back-biting by John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin, an optional on-screen script and alternate “Subtitles for People Who Don’t Like the Film” taken from Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part II,” a “Follow the Rabbit” feature, the featurette “The Quest for the Holy Grail Locations” hosted by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, the 18 minutes 1974 BBC report “On Location with The Pythons,” “How To Use Your Coconuts” (you don’t want to know), three sing-alongs, clips from the film in Japanese with English subtitles, the all-interlocking “Monty Python and the Holy Grail In Lego,” an interactive cast directory (aka “Spot the Python”), a gallery of Terry Gilliam’s original sketches and posters, a gallery of rare behind-the-scenes stills, unused ideas and locations, a surprise package of mystery items titled “A Load of Old Rubbish,” and trailers.

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Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears in Vulture, Turner Classic Movies online, Keyframe, and Parallax View.

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