For my money, there is not a funnier movie, second by second, scene to scene, than Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There isn’t a more quotable movie, or a more fun one to quote, either. While it’s probably not my favorite movie of all-time, it’s in the top 5, and is one of the best communal movie-going experiences ever.
Thank you John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.
The brilliant quest for the Grail is one of those movies that presents you with a different favorite scene every time you watch it. The touchstone of a great comedy is when you ask people what their favorite scene is, and they all have wildly different answers to that question. That’s the beauty of the Holy Grail, the entire thing is made up of favorite scenes, jokes, and bits. It never drags, even through the brilliant credits (perhaps the best ever).
gh impossible to pinpoint a favorite scene. When I first was shown Monty Python and the Holy Grail by my Uncle (who grew up listening to the movie on tape; how many movies can you just listen to and love?), I was most amused by the glee with which a 35 year old man watched it for the hundredth time, quoting every word. But by the second time I watched it, I was quoting it myself (and I’m not one of those people who quotes movies all the time, at least not outside of blog posts), laughing deliriously at the infinite silly, irreverent and timeless gags.
There’s the Rabbit of Caerbannog. The gay son who doesn’t want land, Father (“I just want to…sing!” STOP THAT), who’s like the spiritual cousin of Hermey the Elf from Rudolph. The stunning refusal of characters to die. The Trojan Bunny. Patsy. Camelot.
John Cleese’s taunting French guard. Swallows (“African or European?”). Wicked, bad, naughty Zoot. Shrubberies. Tim the Enchanter. Sir Not Appearing In This Film. The greatest and probably most accurate witch scene ever (“Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?”).
In other words: Everything. Every time you watch it, you discover a new gem you missed the first time (likely because you were laughing during it). Recently, my favorite has become the political scene involving Dennis the Peasant and his Mother (“Well, I didn’t vote for you” is my favorite thing to say):
While Monty Python and the Holy Grail doesn’t need booze to be the fulcrum of a fantastic Friday night, a frosty ale wouldn’t hurt it, neither. And thus is borne the Monty Python and the Holy Grail Drinking Game: Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch Edition.
1. Drink for butt trumpets. Because, butt trumpets:
2. Drink whenever you hear the infamous Monty Python cat scream. You’ll find it in the “Bring Out Yer Dead!” scene, for starters:
3. Drink for every utterance of “I’m not dead yet,” or variance thereof. This happens throughout, not just the above scene.
4. Any time there’s an argument about African or European swallows, drink.
5. Take a sip whenever Sir Lancelot kills someone.
6. Each time Arthur, King of the Britons proclaims, “I am Arthur, King of the Britons!”, take a swig.
7. Every time the Monks self-flagellate, sip for their pain.
8. Drink for every “Run away!”
9. Take a drink for every limb that the Black Knight loses.
10. Drink every time “Brave Sir Robin” is sung/uttered. This one comes with a multiplier: take an extra drink for every “Brave” said before “Sir Robin.”
11. Whenever you hear the Knights Who Say Ni (or formerly say Ni) say, “We are the Knights who say…”, drink.
12. Drink every time Sir Bedevere flips up his helmet (“Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?”).
13. Whenever something is launched (“Jesus Christ!”), drink.
14. Take a sip for every instance of story book graphics.
15. Waterfall for the Camelot song (“It’s a silly place”).
If you can’t hang with these rules, then…well: