The movie narrates King Arthur and his most loyal Knights, searching tirelessly for the Holy Grail. They must deal with the most dangerous enemies throughout their endless quest, from bloodthirsty beasts, witches, fortune tellers, rival knights, even to a murderous rabbit. In this parody full of humor, irony, and sarcasm, “The Monty Python and the Holy Grail” mocks with medieval England and with the legendary story of King Arthur.
The story takes place in England during the Middle Ages, where King Arthur sets out on a journey searching for companions to form the Knights of the Round Table. When he manages to form it (besides him are Sir Lancelot, Sir Robin, and Sir Galahad), they receive the divine mission (literally) to find the holy grail hidden somewhere in the British kingdom. They get separated into groups, each led by one of the four main members. Each group lives a different adventure, each one more meaningless than the other, all of them bring huge laughs.
The story is nothing more than a surreal, irreverent, and absurd review of the medieval tales of chivalry and myths of that time, more specifically, of King Arthur’s adventures. The movie brings the legends in the most comical way possible. We see the great King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his sidekick Patsy (Terry Gilliam) searching for knights to be part of the court of Camelot. However, the story is the only context for the jokes, when the film looks more like a series of interconnected sketches, a script with fantastic freaks that is as old-fashioned as it is excellent. Monty Python is entirely nonsense with numerous absurd scenes, such as the scene with a journalist shooting a documentary in the middle of nowhere during the middle age. It is this humor that delights us in this fascinating work.
The film’s indication is +18, but at no time we see any kind of sexual content, but it is more for the bloody scenes, like our dear Black Knight ( John Cleese), so angry that he continues to fight even without his legs and arms.
Created as a low-budget film, Holy Grail often finds incredible solutions to theoretically tricky scenes. They demonstrate their mastery and ingenuity in this humor and turn many of the setbacks into remarkable moments in cinema history: You can’t afford some horses? It doesn’t matter; you use coconuts to simulate trotting!
Characters and acting
Within the small cast of “Monty Python and The Holy Grail,” it is well worth highlighting especially Graham Chapman, who plays an always eloquent and cultured King Arthur; John Cleese as the always troublesome and exaggerated Sir Lancelot who leads the group of knights; Terry Gilliam as Patsy, the ever-efficient servant with his small group; and Eric Idle, who plays the “brave” Sir Robin. Terry Jones, who in addition to playing Sir Bedevere, directs the film with Gilliam, and Michael Palin as Sir Galahad, complete the comic sextet, each one doing their own thing, based on sarcasm and a lot of black humor and acting as three, four and even five different characters. The actors are at all times are showing that they really enjoyed their work and achieving something that many more successful actors are unable to: to make us laugh.
Music and cinematography
There is not much to say about the movie production because it was shot with an extremely low budget. Everything had to be accelerated to shoot the movie in just one month. But with intelligent decisions, this was overcome, such as the now-iconic paper animation work that would forever characterize Monty Phyton. Terry Gilliam traditionally created these cartoons based on a collage of images, recorded photographs, drawings, and designs in a time when Photoshop or other photography software did not exist. The movie makes fun of itself in every aspect. For example, the movie’s heroic soundtrack is mocked by the on-screen shenanigans and the gray, dismal atmosphere.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is among the best and most important comedies of all time (in the 70s, the group dominated the genre): With tremendous boldness for the time, a considerable amount of anthropological scenes for the genre, and genius multi-interpretations by each of Monty Python members, in addition to director Terry Gilliam himself. Even though its absurd humor may not be for everyone, this hilarious movie is absolutely a must-watch!