Time: 91 mins.
I have to say that whenever I need cheering up, I turn to Monty Python. Their blend of insane, clever, silly humor always makes me laugh, no matter how many times I've seen it. One of my all time favorite films is HOLY GRAIL. Though the film is mainly a bunch of sketches strung together, there is more of a plot in this film than most of the other Python movies. Not that it matters. It is rare for a troupe of writers/actors so diverse in talent to actual become a successful team and truly bring out the best in each other. THE HOLY GRAIL is a masterstroke of comedy dry and witty one minute, completely absurd and silly the next. I believe this film has more laughs per minute than any other I've ever seen.
PYTHON didn't have a lot of money to make this movie and that's apparent in the locations and art direction, but you won't care. They put all of their time and effort into writing great scenes and memorable characters, which is exactly where the effort should be focused. In fact, they use their financial shortcomings to their advantage. One of the funniest continuous bits throughout the film is the knights banging coconuts together to create the sound of horses trotting, while galloping along as if they're on a steed. They couldn't afford horses, so they turned the situation into comedy. Much of the film was created this way and it's all the better for it.
The basic premise of the film follows the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table on their quest for the Holy Grail. Graham Chapman plays Arthur in a wonderfully somber and majestic performance. He and his knights canvas the countryside on their holy search, meeting everyone from oppressed peasants to the Knights who say "Nee" to a holy man named Tim. Some people are helpful, but mostly they are out to impede the knights progress. They battle dark knights, horny women, and a fierce rabbit with deadly fangs during their service to the Lord. The quest is very earnest and incredibly ridiculous.
This being PYTHON, the film ends very abruptly, apparently they ran out of money, and is a bit uneven at points, spending far too much time on some sequences. However, it is still exceedingly brilliant. Graham Chapman is the only member of the troupe to play a single role since Arthur is in almost every scene. He may have been upset at first, but he handles the part wonderfully giving the King just that right amount of regalness and indignation. The Grail is the most important thing on Earth and damned if others don't understand his quest. Being the straight man isn't easy, but Chapman pulls it off with great aplomb. The other members play a plethora of characters that will keep you in stitches. Even though the film is 35-years-old it's as funny as the day it was made. When done right, comedy just gets better with age.
If you've never seen this movie, shame on you. It's a comedy classic for a reason. Don't worry if you're not a PYTHON fan. You will be when this is over.