Monty Python's Life of Brian

Trivia: Michael Palin as Pontius Pilate was genuinely daring his guards to laugh about Biggus Dickus' name. The people playing the soldiers were told not to laugh during the scene but were not told what Palin would be doing or saying.

Trivia: The film was initially banned in Norway, for fear that it might offend some people's religious sensibilities. In neighboring Sweden, it was billed as "The film so funny it was banned in Norway"

Trivia: When Brian wakes up after spending the night with the girl he walks down and finds loads of his followers in a cellar. He gets introduced to a guy with a deep Liverpool accent with a big bushy beard who says "'ello." This man is the late George Harrison. (01:08:45)

Trivia: Eric Idle originally recorded the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" in his normal singing voice. After deciding this was not quite right, he re-recorded it with a Cockney accent. This version, the one that can now be heard in the film, was recorded in a hotel room with mattresses pushed up against the walls.

Trivia: Just something to look for: when Michael Palin as the ex-leper is hopping away after finishing his conversation with Brian, you can see he very narrowly avoids prancing right through a pile of manure (which he didn't know was there).

Trivia: This movie remained banned in the Irish republic until the year 2000. A town in south Wales famously banned it at the time even though there was no local cinema.

Trivia: The legendary tv debate over this classic film was wonderfully parodied by the cast of Not the Nine O'clock News, where the roles were reversed. Clerics made a film lampooning the comic messiah, our Lord John Cleese. Really funny and brilliantly scripted.

Trivia: In the scene where the gang of people is following Brian after his speech on the stage, one of them falls behind and says "let us... let us pray." This man is the late, great comedian Spike Milligan. (00:57:15)

Trivia: When Pilate is offering to "welease a pwisoner" the crowd mock him and are rolling about laughing while naming names with the letter "r" in. The actual scene of the crowd rolling around laughing were extras copying what Terry Jones was doing up on a stage. The scene was a "2nd try" The 1st try of the crowd copying Terry was apparently much better but the camera wasn't rolling.


Trivia: Graham Chapman (Brian) also played the role of doctor for all the cast, who, being on location in Tunisia, often had a bit of an upset tummy.

Gary O'Reilly

Trivia: Despite persistent rumors, the movie was never intended to have the title "Jesus Christ's Lust For Glory". The true story is that during production of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), the Python's became increasingly irritated by the press always asking the same questions, such as "What will your next project be?" One day, Eric Idle flippantly answered, "Jesus Christ's Lust For Glory". Having discovered that this answer quickly shut up the reporters, the group adopted it as their stock answer. After production completed, they did some serious thinking about it, and realized that while satirizing Christ himself was out of the question, they could create a parody of first-century life. An early idea for a scene involved Jesus, a skilled carpenter frustrated by being crucified on a poorly built cross.

Trivia: Sue Jones-Davies, who played Brian's girlfriend Judith Iscariot in the movie, is now Mayor of Aberystwyth, where the Life of Brian is still banned under a local bylaw.

Jeff Walker

Trivia: Shots of people walking towards the Mount near the beginning of this film were unplanned; filming was late in the afternoon, when Tunisian extras were leaving.

Trivia: Only this week in July 2009 has a Scottish town lifted the 30 year ban on this classic. An '18 certificate' was issued just to be safe.

Monty Python's Life of Brian mistake picture

Visible crew/equipment: In the last scene while Brian and the others are singing you can see a tourist walking in the background. (01:30:30)

More mistakes in Monty Python's Life of Brian

Jewish Official: All right, no one is to stone ANYONE until I blow this whistle! Even... And let me make this absolutely clear... Even if they do say "Jehovah"!

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Question: When Brian is about to be crucified, soldiers arrive with news of his release. The soldiers ask for Brian, and everybody shouts "I'm Brian." Is this a parody of the "I'm Spartacus" episode in the Kirk Douglas/Stanley Kubrick film of "Spartacus"? If so, would this support my feeling that Life Of Brian is primarily a parody of classical/biblical 'epic' films?

Rob Halliday

Answer: Actually, no, the primary goal of "Life of Brian" was not to parody biblical films. Terry Gilliam has stated that the "important" objective of the movie was "to offend a lot of people," particularly "Jews and Christians, because they're easy to push around." Gilliam further said that, at the same time, they were "very cautious not to offend Muslims, because they're the dangerous ones." Both Gilliam and John Cleese have also said that, while the Pythons took care to avoid blasphemy (not directly mocking Jesus of Nazareth, with whom the Pythons had no quarrel), they fully intended that the film be heretical (in defiance of Catholic Church doctrine and dogma). Make no mistake, "Life of Brian" is not supposed to be a lighthearted parody of biblical films; it's supposed to be a sharp stick in the eye to the Roman Catholic Church.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: The scene is a parody of the scene in "Spartacus" (although they are saying "I am Brian" for completely different reasons.) However, the film is meant to be a satire on religion itself and not a parody of epic films. The Pythons did a lot of research to try and accurately portray 1st century Judea, which is why it may look like a biblical epic, but I can't recall any biblical epics they parodied. At the time it was considered blasphemous, and not a parody, and banned in several areas in the UK and some countries. Although the Pythons argued it's not blasphemy but heresy.


Answer: You are indeed correct. It is a parody of the "Spartacus" scene but mostly of religion.

raywest Premium member

Perhaps not so much a parody of "Spartacus" as a tribute to Stanley Kubrick. Monty Python writer Terry Gilliam was very much a fan of Kubrick films and became friends with Kubrick in the 1980s. Gilliam claimed that Kubrick had even spoken with him about making a sequel to Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove" (with Gilliam as director). Chances are, the "Spartacus" allusion was part of Gilliam's contribution to the "Life of Brian" screenplay, a tip-o-the-hat to Stanley Kubrick.

Charles Austin Miller

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