Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)

Film and Plot Synopsis

2000 years ago, three wise men enter a manger where a babe is wrapped in swaddling clothes. It is an infant named Brian… and the three wise men are in the wrong manger. For the rest of his life, Brian finds himself regarded as something of a Messiah, yet he’s always in the shadow of this Other Guy from Galilee. Brian is witness to the Sermon of the Mount, but his seat is in such a bad location that he can’t hear any of it. Ultimately he is sentenced to crucifixion, which takes place at that crowded, non-exclusive execution site a few blocks shy of Calvary. Rather than utter the Last Six Words, Brian is treated to a spirited rendition of Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.

‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’ Movie Summary

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)Our film begins with the birth of Brian Cohen in a stable next to Jesus of Nazareth the same night he’s born. These two births initially confuse the three wise men who have come to praise the future King of the Jews, but they quickly straighten the little mess out and head to Jesus’ stall.

Brian (Graham Chapman) grows up into a young man who really hates the Romans and their occupation of Judea. One day while attending Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, Brian becomes smitten with young rebel woman named Judith (Sue Jones-Davies). Soon after, his mother, Mandy (Terry Jones), reveals Brian is actually half Roman, and this discovery leads Brian to channel his lust for Judith and his hatred of the Romans into joining the People’s Front of Judea (PFJ). Unfortunately, the group argues with one another instead of actually spending time on fighting the Romans.

The PFJ decides to have Brian prove his worthiness by painting “Romans, go home!” all over Roman governor Pontius Pilate’s (Michael Palin) palace. When a Roman officer discovers him writing the slogan, he’s appalled with Brian’s grammar and orders him to rewrite it correctly one hundred times by sunrise or he will cut Brian’s balls off. As a new day dawns, Brian finishes just as a new morning patrol discovers him. An epic chase ensues as Brian runs for his life.

Soon, the PFJ decides to kidnap Pilate’s wife and they screw it up and Brian finds himself under arrest. He’s able to flee when Pilate’s inept guards explode with laughter over Pilate’s speech impediment and talk about his friend, Biggus Dickus (Graham Chapman). Brian hides from the pursuing guards by joining a gaggle of prophets preaching along a wall in a nearby plaza with a sermon of his own.

Once the Roman guards pass by, Brian stops his mock-sermon mid-sentence. This causes his little audience to demand more. Their commotion causes a crowd to form which leads Brian to flee yet again. The crowd follows him to the mountains where they declare him to be their messiah. Brian makes his way home with Judith where they spend the night making sweet, sweet love. The next morning, Brian’s mother tries to get the assembled crowd to go home, but they demand to see Brian. She agrees to let him speak, but Brians for them to think for themselves only falls on deaf ears and they demand he tell them what to do.

Now the PFJ tries to cash in on Brian’s sudden rise to messiah popularity by having him help followers who demand miracle cures. When Brian sneaks out, a group of Roman soldiers capture him and Brian finds himself sentenced to crucifixion. As part of the celebration of Passover, Pilate offers to pardon a prisoner the assembled crowd chooses. As the crowd shouts out names made to mock Pilate’s speech impediment, Judith calls for the release of Brian which Pilate agrees to.

When the guards go to release Brian, various crucified people claim to be Brian and the Romans wind up releasing the wrong man. The PFJ show up to praise Brian for his martyrdom as does Judith. His mother arrives to let Brian know she regrets raising him. A crack suicide squad from the Judean People’s Front (JPF) commits mass suicide in front of him on his behalf before another crucifixee cheerfully sings Always Look on the Bright Side of Life to close out the film.

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Cinema International Corporation released Monty Python's Life of Brian on August 17, 1979. Terry Jones directed the film starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.

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