The life of Brian

by Monthy Python 1979


The three wise men from the East are wrong about the house number.

Fight against reality

The absolute right of every individual to fight against reality.

That requires immediate action

Even spontaneous actions require proper preparation.

Closing Song

Cheer up, Brian. You know what they say.
Some things in life are bad.
They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle.
Don't grumble. Give a whistle.
And this'll help things turn out for the best.

♪ Always look on the bright side of life
♪ Always look on the light side of life
♪ If life seems jolly rotten, there's something you've forgotten
♪ and that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing
♪ When you're feeling in the dumps, don't be silly chumps
♪ Just purse your lips and whistle, that's the thing. And...
♪ Always look on the bright side of life
♪ Always look on the right side of life
♪ You must always face the curtain with a bow.
♪ Forget about your sin, give the audience a grin
♪ Enjoy it. It's your last chance, anyhow.
♪ Always look on the bright side of death
♪ Just before you draw your terminal breath
♪ Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it
♪ Life's laugh and death's a joke, it's true
♪ You'll see it's all a show, keep 'em laughing as you go
♪ Just remember that the last laugh is on you
♪ Always look on the right side of life
♪ Come on guys, cheer up!
♪ Always look on the bright side of life
♪ Always look on...
What have you got to lose? You come from nothing.
You go back to nothing. What have you lost?
Nothing will come from nothing.
You know what they say?
Cheer up, you old bugger.
Give us a grin. There you are.
See? It's the end of the film.

Movie data

Title: Monty Python's Life of Brian
Published: 1979
Length: 94 minutes

Director: Terry Jones
Script: Monty Python
Production: John Goldstone
Music: Geoffrey Burgon, Eric Idle
Camera: Peter Biziou
Cut: Julian Doyle

Graham Chapman: Brian Cohen, Biggus Dickus, Wise from the East
Michael Palin: Pontius Pilatus, Francis, Ex-Leper, "Big nose", boaring prophet, Nisus Wettus, Wise from the East
John Cleese: Reg, Centurio, High Priest, Wise from the East
Terry Jones: Mother Cohen, Eremit, Simon from Cyrene
Eric Idle: Stan ("Loretta"), Mr. Cheeky, Beard seller, Jailer
Terry Gilliam: Blood-and-Thunder-Prophet, Jailer
Sue Jones-Davies: Judith Ischariot
Kenneth Colley: Jesus
Terence Bayler: Mr. Gregory, 2nd Centurio
John Young: Matthias, Condemned at stoning
Carol Cleveland: Mrs. Gregory
Neil Innes: Condemned Samaritan
Spike Milligan: Mediator (Cameo)
George Harrison: Mr. Papadopoulos (Cameo)


Brian, the result of an affair between the Jewish woman Mandy Cohen and a Roman soldier, Naughtius Maximus, is born in the stable next to that of Mary and Joseph. Dominated by his imperious mother, he grows up to be an inconspicuous man in Judea. He falls in love with the idealistic Judith, who is involved in the "Popular Front of Judea", a Jewish resistance group against the Roman occupiers. Brian successfully tries to get accepted into this group and participates in their break-in into the palace of Pontius Pilate: There the freedom fighters want to kidnap Pilate's wife and so bring down the Roman Empire. The kidnapping fails because another faction, the Campaign for a Free Galilee, is pursuing the same plan. Brian is arrested in the palace and dragged for a hearing before Pilate. Thanks to a fit of laughter from the palace guards and a spaceship, Brian manages to escape from the palace.
In order not to attract the attention of the Roman search party, he has to slip into the role of one of the numerous prophets. His clumsy stuttering puzzles the few listeners, and makes interest in him grow, and so he soon has a large following behind him, who are hoping for answers to all questions in life. The steadily growing crowd of followers follows the fleeing Brian into the barren surrounding area. Meanwhile, Judith is impressed by Brian's charisma. He spends his first night of love with her.
The next morning the streets of the city are crowded with disciples of Brian who are waiting under his window for messages of salvation. Brian unsuccessfully points out the nonsense of following a leader uncritically. In the back yard he is arrested by the legionaries and brought back to Pilate, who condemns him to death by crucifixion. Rescue attempts fail: Both his lover and the resistance fighters congratulate Brian on his selfless martyrdom on the cross. His mother accuses him of selfishness. Only a happy crucified man asks the desperate Brian to look to the sunny side of life despite the grueling senselessness. In his song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life all those sentenced to death finally join in.


The satire aims at the dogmatism of religious and political groups. Christian, but also Jewish associations responded with sharp protests at the publication. The following performance boycotts and bans in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, or Norway further fueled the controversy over freedom of expression and blasphemy.
Although the accusation of blasphemy has been refuted from practically all sides, satire is still controversial among Christians and, due to its importance in the history of reception, is considered a prime example of the points of friction between artistic freedom of expression and tolerance of religion. Film critics and the Pythons themselves refer to 'The Life of Brian' as the comedian's most mature work because of its coherent story and intellectual substance. Numerous surveys confirm the continued success with the public. The closing song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life became known far beyond the film context.