Life of Brian — Happy 30th Birthday

Monty Python’s The Life of Brian is turning 30, and I think it’s as fresh as ever.

At The New Statesman, Nelson Jones considers the legacy of the once controversial film:

[In Britain], Life of Brian remains as subversive as ever. If not an overt attack on Christianity, the film is devastating in its satire of religious behaviour. Blasphemy is parodied in the famous stoning scene. Just as pointed, in its own way, is the depiction of a would-be disciple who thinks that Brian will heal his wife’s headache because “her brother-in-law is the ex-mayor of Gath”. The scene in which Brian flees from a crowd of would-be worshippers manages to encapsulate the whole history of religion in around three minutes.

Brian himself is something of a holy fool. Though naive, and far more interested in getting off with Judith than in either revolution or starting a religion, he sees with more clarity than any of the idiots, charlatans and human sheep that constitute the local population. In some ways, he may indeed be the Messiah:

Look, you’ve got it all wrong! You don’t need to follow me! You don’t need to follow anybody! You’ve got to think for yourselves! You’re all individuals!

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  • Great scene from a movie we Christians all need to watch. Are we just doing this religious thing because everybody else is?

  • I remember going to see this with a group of friends from my church–I was 18 or so. We LOVED it. The snarky humor, the political commentary (most of which we didn’t get back then), and the way it seemed like a perfectly aimed shot not at Christian faith, but at a way of holding faith that no longer made sense to us. As I watch it now it seems like a much more directed attack on the Israel-Palestine conflict, with early Christianity as a backdrop (remember all the different Palestinian terrorist groups?). The backlash from Christian groups always seemed to me to be part of the movie’s point. Besides, the one time Jesus appears on screen he’s glowing (appropriately for the film language of the time), and giving the Sermon on the Mount. That this leads to one of the best jokes in the movie is why I love it so much (“Cheesemakers?…).

  • Tony, were you with us when we watched this at the end of our Fuller experience? I remember taking my very last final, and watching with a bunch of people. Such a perfect end to seminary. 🙂

  • I’m not.

  • Nice one Tony! Just added this post to our Facebook Page 🙂