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Life of Brian (1979)

aka Life of Brian

"He wasn't the messiah. He was a very naughty boy."

Directed By: 
Details: 94 mins · English, Latin · R (USA)


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Small Brian Cohan
Small Arthur
Small Crucifee
Small Mr. Cheeky
Small Mandy Cohen
Small Wise Man #3
No_movie_poster Gregory
No_movie_poster Mrs. Gregory
No_movie_poster Jesus
No_movie_poster Mrs. Big Nose
No_movie_poster Judith
No_movie_poster Pilate's Wife
Small Reg
Small Man Even Further Forward
Small Stan (Loretta)
Small Biggus Dickus
Small Mr Cheeky
Small Harry the Haggler
Small Official
No_movie_poster A Weedy Samaritan
No_movie_poster Matthias


Small Terry Gilliam Production Design
Small Michael Palin Screenplay
No_movie_poster Charles Knode Costume Design
No_movie_poster Roger Christian Art Direction
Small John Cleese Screenplay
No_movie_poster Hazel Pethig Costume Design
Small Terry Jones Director
Small Eric Idle Screenplay
No_movie_poster John Goldstone Producer
No_movie_poster Geoffrey Burgon Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Peter Biziou Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Julian Doyle Editor
No_movie_poster Kenteas Brine Makeup Artist
No_movie_poster Tony Orton Sound Effects Editor
No_movie_poster Kent Houston Visual Effects
Small Graham Chapman Screenplay
Small Terry Gilliam Writer
Small Terry Jones Writer
No_movie_poster Julian Doyle Editing


"He wasn't the messiah. He was a very naughty boy."

"See the movie that's controversial, sacrilegious, and blasphemous. But if that's not playing, see The Life of Brian."


Brian Cohen is born in a stable a few doors from the one in which Jesus is born, which initially confuses the three wise men who come to praise the future King of the Jews. Brian grows up an idealistic young man who resents the continuing Roman occupation of Judea. While attending Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, Brian becomes infatuated with an attractive young rebel, Judith. His desire for her and hatred for the Romans lead him to join the People's Front of Judea (PFJ), one of many fractious and bickering independence movements, who spend more time fighting each other than the Romans.

After several misadventures, and escaping from Pontius Pilate, the fugitive winds up in a line-up of would-be mystics and prophets who harangue the passing crowd in a plaza. Forced to come up with something plausible in order to blend in and keep the guards off his back, Brian babbles pseudo-religious truisms, and quickly attracts a small but intrigued audience. Once the guards have left, Brian tries to put the episode behind him, but he has unintentionally inspired a movement. He grows frantic when he finds that some people have started to follow him around, with even the slightest unusual occurrence being hailed as a "miracle". After slipping away from the mob, Brian runs into Judith, and they spend the night together. In the morning, Brian opens the curtains to discover an enormous crowd of people outside his mother's house, all proclaiming him to be the Messiah. Brian's mother protests: "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy". Brian finds himself unable to change their minds, because his every word and action are immediately seized as points of doctrine.

Neither can the hapless Brian find solace back at the PFJ's headquarters, where people fling their afflicted bodies at him demanding miracle cures. After sneaking out the back, Brian finally is captured and scheduled to be crucified. Meanwhile, a huge crowd has assembled outside the palace. Pilate (together with the visiting Biggus Dickus) tries to quell the feeling of revolution by granting them the decision of who should be pardoned. The crowd, however, simply shouts out names containing the letter "r", in order to mock Pilate's speech impediment. Eventually, Judith appears in the crowd and calls for the release of Brian, which the crowd echoes, since the name contains the letter "r". Pilate then agrees to "welease Bwian".

The order from Pilate is eventually relayed to the guards, but in a moment parodying the climax of the film Spartacus, various crucified people all claim to be "Brian of Nazareth" (one man shouting "I'm Brian and so's my wife") and the wrong man is released. Various other opportunities for a reprieve for Brian are denied as, one by one, his "allies" (including Judith and his mother) step forward to explain why they are leaving the "noble freedom fighter" hanging in the hot sun. Hope is renewed when the Judean People's Front come charging towards the Romans, but as a political statement they intentionally commit suicide rather than concentrating their efforts in liberating Brian and his fellow sufferers. Condemned to a long and painful death, Brian finds his spirits lifted by his fellow sufferers, who break into song with "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1979-08-17 : United States of America

DVD : 1999-04-30