Monty Python’s Life of Brian is the most prescient movie ever made, predicting exactly in 1979 the cultural madness you see around you today.
Despite that, the flick was wrongly derided four decades ago by the very people who might find it gob-smackingly funny today.
Life of Brian was vigorously protested during its U.S. release by various groups who believed — apparently without having seen the movie — that it was anti-Christian.
Nothing could be further from the truth. There are only two appearances by Jesus in the movie, one of which is off-screen. The first is the night of Jesus’ birth (Brian’s, too) and what little we see is true to the Bible.
Well, except for the part where the Three Wise Men first tried to deliver their gifts to baby Brian in the manger next door.
In the other scene, years later, we briefly see Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount. No mockery is made of Jesus or His message.
Of all the jokes, gags, and barbs thrown in every direction, Jesus is the only figure shown respect. Monty Python trouper Eric Idle later said of Jesus, “What he’s saying isn’t mockable, it’s very decent stuff.”
For a non-believing, take-no-prisoners comedian like Idle, that’s practically a whole-hearted endorsement.
Instead, the film — Python’s only real film, the others were basically collections of sketches, even Holy Grail — is anti-authoritarian, anti-fanaticism, anti-nihilism, and anti-humorless prigs.
Life of Brian is, however, very pro-funny.
The Pythons even saved their sharpest barbs for political extremists and self-deluded lefties.