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How MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL Changed the Movies

There are movies that have just become a part of the cinematic zeitgeist, where every character or line of dialogue is seared into the collective unconscious. Most people probably can’t remember the first time they saw something having to do with Star Wars or Jurassic Park or The Big Lebowski, but they’ve been in our brains forever. It’s this type of permeation that makes people forget just how groundbreaking these movies were. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has been focusing on such films and events in their great series “Moments That Changed the Movies,” and this time they’re focusing on one of the most influential comedy movies in history, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Everybody has likely heard the phrases “I fart in your general direction” or “It’s just a flesh wound” or “We are the Knights Who Saaaaayyyyyyy…. NI!” but not many people born after the film’s release 40 years ago are aware of its importance in the realm of movie comedies. The Pythons were a British sketch TV act that was able to make a feature film shot on location in Scotland, entirely in period, and with a single through-line made up of vignettes around a central theme and characters. They claim their influences as varied as Mel Brooks and Pier Paolo Pasolini.

The video above features interviews with The Holy Grail‘s two directors, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam, as well as celebrity fans of the movie Ed Helms and Hank Azaria, all of whom discuss what made the film as important as it is today. Comedies flatly weren’t made like this before 1975 but they sure were a lot afterwards, to varying degrees of success. This video will make you want to discuss the airspeed velocity of unladen European swallows all over again.

why do you think the movie’s as well-remembered as it is? What are some of your favorite Monty Python and the Holy Grail moments? Let us know in the comments below!

Image: Python (Monty) Pictures

Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!

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