“We are now no longer the Knights who say Ni.”
After the opening credits (helpfully subtitled in Swedish), Graham Chapman’s gallant King Arthur gallops off (well, he prances along on foot, while lackey Terry Gilliam clicks two coconut shells together) to recruit more bold knights to help him eat a lot of SPAM™ and to search for the Holy Grail. Along the way they must brave such horrific obstacles as John Cleese’s dreaded Black Knight coming back for more, even as each of his limbs is shorn; Michael Palin’s plague victim insisting he isn’t dead; Cleese’s richly-accented French castle guard raining offal and scatological taunts on the hapless questers; Gilliam’s Bridge of Death gatekeeper demanding answers to three daunting questions (“WHAT … is your favorite color?”) on pain of being launched into a volcano; minstrels composing ballads about the legendary cowardice of Eric Idle’s Sir Robin; Palin’s anarcho-syndicalist Dennis questioning Arthur’s royal legitimacy; the voracious Killer Bunny, stoppable only by the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch; and then the shocking final hurdle. Inspired Monty Python lunacy, done on the proverbial shoestring (at the sight of Camelot, a squire carps, “It’s just a model”), complete with personified metaphors, conceits run into the ground, casual straight-to-the-audience remarks, etc., etc., with Chapman’s Arthur the linchpin; despite numerous slow burns and frustrated rages, he plays it straight – heroically, even. -Film Forum.
DirectorTerry Gilliam, Terry Jones
First ShowingDecember 3, 2023
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