Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 11, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is a film that fans of British comedy will want to own on Blu-ray. It’s so enjoyable, ludicrous but yet, a whole lot of fun! If you don’t have the film on Blu-ray, then you owe it to yourself to purchase “Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition”, it’s a film that I highly recommend!
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TITLE: Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition
DURATION: 126 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:66:1), English 5.1, English Original Mono DTS-HD MA, French, Japanese and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese (Traditional), French, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: October 27, 2015
Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones
Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Producer: Mark Forstater, Michael White
Executive Producer: John Goldstone
Cinematography by Terry Bedford
Edited by John Hackney
Production Design by Roy Forge Smith
Costume Design by Hazel Pethig
Graham Chapman as King Arthur/Voice of God/Middle Head/Hiccoughing Guard
John Cleese as Second Swallow-Savvy Guard/The Black Knight/Peasant 3/Sir Lancelot the Brave/Taunting French Guard/Tim the Enchanter
Eric Idle as Dead Collector/Peasant 1/Sir Rob the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Launcelot/First Swamp Castle Guard/Concorde/Roger the Shrubber/Brother Maynard
Terry Gilliam as Patsy/Green Knight/Old Man from Scene 24 (Bridgekeeper)/Sir Bors/Animator/Gorilla Hand
Terry Jones as Dennis’ Mother/Sir Bedevere/Left Head/Prince Herbert/Cartoon Scribe
Michael Palin as First Swallow-Savvy Guard/Dennis/Peasant 2/Right Head/Sir Galahad the Pure/Narrator/King of Swamp Castle/ Brother Maynard’s Brother/ Leader of the Kights/Who Say NI!
Connie Booth as The Witch
Carol Cleveland as Zoot/Dingo
Neil Innes as First Monk/Singing Minstrel/Page Crushed by the Rabbit/Peasant #4
Bee Duffell as Old Crone
John Young as Dead Body/Historian Frank
Rita Davies as Historian’s Wife
Avril Stewart as Dr. Piglet
Sally Kinghorn as Dr. Winston
In 1975, the British comedy film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” was released in theaters and too the world by storm.
Starring the comedy group of Monty Python (which consists of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin) who wrote and performed in the film, the film directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones would cost $400,000 to make and would earn $5 million in the box office. Becoming the first financially successful British film in the U.S.
Conceived during the hiatus between the third and fourth season of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” was the second film that would feature original material and its content would parody the legend of King Arthur and his quest to find the Holy Grail.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, a Blu-ray was released in the U.S. on October 2015.
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition” is set in 932 and King Arthur and his squire Patsy search to recruit his Knights of the Round Table.
King Arthur manages to recruit his Knights of the Round Table: Sir Bedevere the Wise, Sir Lancelot the Brave, Sir Galahad the Pure, Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot and the Sir Not-appearing-in-this film.
But as King Arthur tries to recruit his Knights of the Round Table, he is instructed by god to seek the Holy Grail.
So, King Arthur and his men confront knights in the French-controlled castle and try to find a way to get in, they come upon the dreaded Knights who say Ni, Sir Robin avoids a fight with the Three-Headed Giant, Sir Galahad ends up at Castle Anthrax, Sir Lancelot assaults a wedding party at Swamp Castle and more.
Will King Arthur find the Holy Grail?
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:66:1 aspect ratio). While the film would become a tremendous success, it’s important for everyone to remember that the film was shot in a low budget. So, picture quality was not the greatest for the film. Nevertheless, there are moments where the film looks amazing with great clarity, others that look soft. But for the most part, the film looks so much better in HD over my previous DVD’s of the film that I have owned and watched.
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition” is presented English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and English original mono DTS-HD MA with a French, Japanese, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital Soundtrack.
For the most part, the dialogue and music is clear, but one should not expect an immersive soundtrack. There are times when the rear surround channels are used, which work great when they are used sparingly. But for the most part, it’s a front-channel driven soundtrack.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, French, Korean, Thai, Portuguese and Spanish.
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition” on Blu-ray comes with the following special features:
- Lost Animations – (12:55) Featuring six lost animations with an introduction by Terry Gilliam.
- Quest for the Holy Grail Locations – (47:00) A special feature included in the 25th Anniversary of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, as members of Monty Python revisit locations where the film were shot.
- LEGO Knights – (1:43) A classic LEGO featurette based on “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” Knights of the Roundtable music scene.
- Japanese Version – (8:35) Japanese promotion for “Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition”.
- Coconuts – (2:58) A short featurette on how to split a coconut by Terry Jones.
- BBC Film Night – (17:12) A 1974 featurette for BBC Film Night for “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” with interviews with the cast.
- Sing Alongs – (5:10) Sing along for “Knights of the Round Table”, “Sir Robin” and “Monks Chat”.
- Subtitles for People Who Do Not Lile the Film (From Henry IV pt 11) – (3:04) A proper subtitle translation of the film.
- Cast Directory Photo Gallery – Featuring a photo gallery of the Monty Python cast and the various roles they played.
- Original Theatrical Trailer – The original theatrical trailer for “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”.
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition” comes with a slipcover.
In life, it’s always good to watch a film that can make you laugh.
Monty Python films and my favorite, “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” have made me laugh. And “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” makes me chuckle today as it did when I discovered the film in my late teens. It’s a film that makes me laugh because it’s so crazy and while the film is divided up into segments (skits that are similar to the comedy troupe’s “Flying Circus” TV shows), you can’t help but laugh no matter how crazy, how violent or how ludicrous the subject matter may be.
The film is a hilarious take by the legend of King Arthur who is in search of the holy grail and looking for brave knights (and become known as the Knights of the Round Table) who will join him on the quest to search for it.
For those watching “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” for the first time, one can be surprised by its unconventional plot. There is no way you can predict how things will end, how a character will succeed or meet their demise, it plays out in storyline like no other, full of humor. Take for instance, King Arthur’s first meeting with the French. Feeling he has the muscle to fight them, how would you expect to see the French return by catapulting cows towards them.
Who can predict Sir Lancelot, receiving a distress message and during a wedding, slaughtering everyone in sight. Who can predict a rabid rabbit being a nemesis in the film or how about a Trojan rabbit being used to get inside a castle. Or the battle between King Arthur and the Black Knight. There are a lot of intriguing situations that in someways, is smartly written, while others are just lines that you can’t help but laugh because they feel they come from nowhere. And by the end of the film, you may find yourself yelling, “Ni! Ni! Ni!”.
But as “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is a classic British comedy that seems to be released every several years, those who owned the film on Blu-ray may be wondering, is the 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition worth upgrading to?
If you are only in it for the film and not the special features, then the 2012 Blu-ray release should suit you just fine. But let’s say you are the fan who may have purchased the original Criterion Collection LaserDisc in 1995 for the film’s 20th Anniversary, then purchased it again in 1999 for the DVD release to celebrate the 25th Anniversary, just to find out that two years later, a Special Edition DVD was to be released with even more special features. Then possibly purchased the 2003 Collector’s Edition that came with a copy of the screenplay, then again in 2006 ala an “Extraordinarily Deluxe” DVD release to celebrate the 30th anniversary which included more special features. And then you upgraded to the film in HD in 2012 for the film’s debut on Blu-ray.
Well, here we are in 2015, and chances are, you are probably wanting to upgrade to the 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition because it comes with newer special features such as the 30-minute Q&A at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. As a Monty Python fan, while there will not be a true Monty Python revival without the late Graham Chapman, it was still great to see five of the six Monty Python members taking part in this Q&A and still are crazy now, as they were back in the day.
While most casual fans will be fine with the 2012 Blu-ray release (as all the special features from the 2012 Blu-ray release can be found on this 2015 Blu-ray release), there’s just something about seeing the five together again, even though it’s a single new special feature. So, really…it comes down to how big of a fan you are and if a single special feature is worth your time. And if you have been a fan of the film, don’t be surprised if we get another release in a few years from now, may it be the 45th anniversary or some special deluxe edition.
Overall, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is a film that fans of British comedy will want to own on Blu-ray. It’s so enjoyable, ludicrous but yet, a whole lot of fun! If you don’t have the film on Blu-ray, then you owe it to yourself to purchase “Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition”, it’s a film that I highly recommend!
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