Brian Cohen of Nazareth (Graham Chapman) was born in a stable. In the next stall was Jesus. Three wise men that are following a star come to the stable to honor Jesus but mistakenly end up in the wrong stall. When they realize their mistake they leave Brian and his mother Mandy (Terry Jones) and go to the correct stall.
Brian grows up a Jew in a repressed society governed by the laws of the Romans. When his mother tells him that his father was a Roman he rebels. He joins an underground society called The People’s Front of Judea. In part to prove to himself he is a Jew and in part because he is interested in Judith (Sue Jones-Davies), one of the members of the front.
As a new member of the organization Brian is sent on a mission to kidnap Pontius Pilate’s wife. He gets captured and is brought to Pilate. He escapes and ends up trying to hide from the guards by pretending to be a preacher. Eventually the guards, thinking he is just one of the raving prophets, ignore him. The small crowd that has gathered around him become enthralled with his ramblings and begins to follow him. Some declare him to be the messiah.
Brian escapes them for a while and ends up sleeping with Judith. In the morning the crowd outside his home is larger than before. They believe everything he says without question. The Peoples Front of Judea decides to exploit this phenomenon, but Brian sneaks away only to be captured again by the Romans and sentenced to crucifixion.
“Life of Brian” AKA “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” was released in 1979 and was directed by Terry Jones. Technically it is a comedy but since it doesn’t fall into one of the usual categories for the site let’s call it a comedy/fantasy.
The movie was banned in Norway for a year for blasphemy. Sweden marketed it as "The film that is so funny that it was banned in Norway!" Ireland also banned it for blasphemy until 1987. Torbay Council, Devon banned it until September 2008. Aberystwyth, Wales, lifted its local ban in 2009 after cast member Sue Jones-Davies was elected Mayor.
During the Falkland War, in 1982, the destroyer H.M.S. Sheffield was severely damaged in an Argentinean missile attack. The sailors started singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" while awaiting rescue.
Monty Python made four movies, “And Now for Something Completely Different” 1971, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” 1975, “The Meaning of Life” 1983, and “Life of Brian” 1979. The only character who appeared in all four movies is God.
A group called U.A.A.R. (Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics) established an award for the most rationalist/atheist movie which is presented during the Venice Film Festival. The award is called the Premio Brian after the character in this movie.
The Pythons used some of the same sets that were created for the mini-series “Jesus of Nazareth” 1977. The British company EMI was to fund the film. When the chief executive read the script he refused to fund it. George Harrison, being a Monty Python fan, stepped in and mortgaged his house to provide the needed funds for the project. Reportedly Eric Idle joked that is was the highest price ever paid for a cinema ticket.
The film has been ridiculed for over forty years for being blasphemous concerning the life of Jesus. Although the film does take place in biblical times it is not Jesus that is being lampooned but government and fanaticism. It is more a political statement than a religious one. It does, however, show a light on extremist views that result in blind obedience regardless of truth or facts, which could also apply to certain political policies. The controversy and the banning of the film did nothing to stop people but actually enticed them to want to see it, creating a box office hit. When Python followed up with the even more heretical “The Meaning of Life” 1983 it didn’t garner near as much outrage or protests. It also didn’t do as well at the box office.