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Monty Python and the Holy Grail
dir. Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones / UK 1975 / 91’
subtitles: Polish and English


Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Connie Booth, Neil Innes, Sandy Johnson, Carol Cleveland

Film description

Monty Python’s first full-length film may have never seen the light of day if not for financial backing from rock groups Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, as well as singer Elton John. The film’s small budget and lack of resources only spurred the Pythons’ creativity, producing some of the film’s most memorable scenes and self-referential humour. After a short period of directorial conflict, Gilliam and Jones divided their tasks, so that Gilliam was responsible for visual effects and cinematography, while Jones directed the actors. At the outset, the subject of the film was much easier to agree on, since both Gilliam and Jones had a deep interest in medieval history and they both insisted on realistic settings, which paid-off brilliantly by contrasting with the script’s absurd humour. Both were also inspired by Borowczyk and Pasolini, which is discernable in the detailed sets and epic narrative. Gilliam was unmistakably painstaking: on one shot, he made the actors change places countless times so that their helmets would reflect light at the right angle – given the Pythons’ brand of humour, perhaps it is not coincidental that four of the characters Gilliam plays in the movie meet their end on screen.

Prepared by: Jagoda Murczyńska

Information about directors

Terry Gilliam

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 22, 1940, Gilliam was briefly employed by Mad Magazine as a writer/illustrator before he emigrated to England in 1967. Soon after he arrived in the U.K., he began working on Do Not Adjust Your Set, a popular children's TV show, developing his eccentric animated cartoons, which put into motion a hodgepodge of images, including photographs, cutouts from magazines, and famous works of art. In 1969, Gilliam was asked to join the absurdist comedy troupe Monty Python. He began offering his iconoclastic vision to moviegoers with the comedy troupe's first original film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), which he co-directed with fellow Python Terry Jones. Gilliam had his first outing as a solo director with Jabberwocky (1976).

Gilliam's status as auteur has been assured by his strikingly idiosyncratic style, recurrent themes, and insistence on control of all stages of filmmaking. An open hostility towards the studio system has complemented his criticism of mainstream American culture, pragmatically sealed by a thirty-five-year residence in Britain. While he has had to turn to his native country to finance his most recent films, he has continued to denounce Hollywood as an accessory to the 'lie' lived by American society; accordingly, he has declined the direction of many a US box-office hit.


1975 Monty Python i Święty Graal / Monty Python and the Holy Grail (co-dir.)

1977 Jabberwocky

1981 Bandyci czasu / Time Bandits

1983 Karmazynowe Ubezpieczenie Ostateczne / The Crimson Permanent Assurance (short)

1985 Brazil

1988 Przygody Barona Munchhausena / The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen

1991 Fisher King / The Fisher King

1995 12 małp / Twelve Monkeys

1998 Las Vegas Parano / Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

2005 Nieustraszeni bracia Grimm / The Brothers Grimm

2005 Kraina traw / Tideland

2009 Parnassus – człowiek, który oszukał diabła / The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

2010 The Legend of Hallowdega (short)

2011 Świetna rodzina / The Wholly Family (short)


selected animations

1968 Czas na opowieść / Storytime (short)

1968 Animations for We Have Ways of Making You Laugh

1968 Animations for The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine

1968 Świąteczna kartka / The Christmas Card (animation for Do Not Adjust Your Stockings)

1968 Animations for Do Not Adjust Your Set

1969–1974 Animations for TV series Latający Cyrk Monty Pythona / Monty Python’s Flying Circus

1971 Sen o lataniu / The Miracle of Flight (short)

1971 Animations for A teraz coś z zupełnie innej beczki / And Now for Something Completely Different

1979 Animations for Żywot Briana / Monty Python’s Life of Brian

1982 Animations for Monty Python na żywo w Hollywood Bowl / Monty Python Live at Hollywood Bowl

1983 Animations for Sens życia według Monty Pythona / Monty Pythons The Meaning of Life

2006 Animations for Latający Cyrk Monty Pythona – Perełki Monty Pythona: Terry Gilliam / Monty Python’s Flying Circus – Terry Gilliam’s Personal Best

Terry Jones

Terence Graham Parry Jones was born in Colwyn Bay, Wales in 1942. He graduated in English from Oxford University, where he was actively involved in student drama groups, through which he met fellow future Python, Michael Palin. His first writing work in television was for the programme The Frost Report. When John Cleese asked Palin to collaborate on a planned show, Palin in turn asked Jones and the loose connections between the future Pythons were completed with the additions of Eric Idle, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam to the troupe. The group produced the seminal Monty Python’s Flying Circus series. Jones became increasingly interested in directing and editing, and has direction credits on all the group's feature films. He also created the comedy series Ripping Yarns. He has worked on historical documentaries such as The Crusades, Ancient Inventions, Medieval Lives and Gladiators: the Brutal Truth.

Selected filmography

1975 Monty Python i Święty Graal / Monty Python and the Holy Grail (co-dir.)

1979 Żywot Briana / Monty Python’s Life of Brian

1983 Sens życia według Monty Pythona / Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (co-dir.)

1996 O czym szumią wierzby / The Wind in the Willows

Prepared by: Jagoda Murczyńska


director: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
screenplay: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
cinematography: Terry Bedford
editing: John Hackney
music: Neil Innes, De Wolfe
cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Connie Booth, Neil Innes, Sandy Johnson, Carol Cleveland
producer: Mark Forstater, Michael White
production: Michael White Productions, National Film Trustee Company, Python (Monty) Pictures, Twickenham Film Studios
sales: Python Pictures
language: English, French, Latin
colouration: colour
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