Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1974 film directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. It is loosely based on the legend of King Arthur and features humorous looks at the quests the different knights engaged in. The film has been consistently ranked as one of the funniest films of all time and one of the best comedies ever put to the screen. So as the film rapidly approaches its 40th birthday how does it hold up and does it deserve to be called a classic?
Should this film be considered a classic? I think that probably one of the hardest genres to create a film in that stretches across generational boundaries is comedy. So much comedy is rooted in popular culture and little winks and nods that someone unfamiliar with the context could easily lose the jokes. The genius of this film is that so much of the humor is rooted in western history and the ageless legends of King Arthur. If you know your history of western civilization at least passably and have a basic knowledge of the Arthur stories you will likely find much of the material quite engaging. The thing that makes this film so watchable, in my opinion, is the historical jokes that are more intellectual but provide a greater payoff for those who know the real history. While the film does have some weaker moments, I think it definitely belongs on this list. It’s an ageless comedy and that is something that is very hard to pull off.
Would I own this film? I believe so. This is my favorite of the Python films. A lot of the material in the others is too heavily peppered with offensive material for my taste. While there is one quest in particular in this film that bothers me, it is easy enough to hit the skip button and jump to the next portion of the film. One of the reasons I enjoy this film so much is thanks to the twelve hours of Western Civilization classes that I took in college. If you don’t know the history they are still funny but if you do know the history they are down right hysterical in places.