The Movie That Made Monty Python A Worldwide Controversy Is Now On Netflix

Monty Python's Life of Brian beset the group with controversary from religious groups, and governments, but now it stands as a comedy classic and is finally available on Netflix.

By Douglas Helm | Published

The Monty Python classic Life of Brian is now streaming on Netflix and you owe it to yourself to check it out. The comedy group’s follow-up to Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a little less popular and a lot more controversial than its predecessor. If you’re looking for some laughs this holiday weekend, this is your answer.

Life of Brian stars the usual Monty Python suspects Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin with Chapman taking the lead role as Brian Cohen of Nazareth. The film follows Brian, who is born on the same day as Jesus and born next door to him, leading to him being mistaken for the Messiah. The film was well-received by comedy appreciators at the time and has since gone on to become a comedy classic, but it was met with plenty of controversies back in 1979.

Of course, a major movie that features Jesus in the same film as a character called Biggus Dickus is not going to fly under the controversy radar. Life of Brian inspired many religious protests and accusations of blasphemy, with some countries outright banning the film from being shown. Of course, the Monty Python team had some fun with this, and released cheeky posters that said things like “So funny, it was banned in Norway!”

Even EMI Films, the backers for Life of Brian, buckled under the weight of the potential controversy and pulled funding days before filming was supposed to begin. Fortunately, former Beatle George Harrison decided to provide the world with more artistic gifts and put forth the money to make sure the film would be made. As a thank you, they gave Harrison a cameo appearance as Mr. Papadopoulos, whose one line of dialogue had to be dubbed over because of his Scouse accent.

Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Life of Brian wasn’t necessarily a financial smash hit, as it only managed to pull in around $19 million at the global box office at the time of release. In a classic Monty Python move, they re-released the film on five screens in North America in 2004 to coincide with the release of The Passion of the Christ. Coincidentally, that movie also just hit several streaming platforms if you’re up for the weirdest double-feature ever.

Life of Brian continues to attract criticism and controversy to this day, but it’s more largely considered one of the best comedy movies out there. Although the film didn’t make the famous comedy group a ton of money, it certainly helped to cement their legacy. It’s also one of the best one-two punches of comedy films released with their previous effort Monty Python and the Holy Grail also often considered one of the best comedy movies of all time.

We only ended up getting five films from the Monty Python team, along with the series Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Each one has its own merits, but Life of Brian and Monty Python and the Holy Grail are both the must-see additions to their filmography. Make sure to check it out while it’s on Netflix.