starring Monty Python
screenplay by Graham Chapman & John Cleese & Terry Gilliam & Eric Idle & Terry Jones & Michael Palin
directed by Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
by Walter Chaw Comprising Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, and Graham Chapman, the comedy troupe Monty Python had as their stock in trade the dialogue-dense, mildly absurdist short-form sketch. To that extent, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a series of comedic skits and improvisations bound loosely--very loosely--by the contention that this merry sextet of Britons is attempting to tell the Arthur myth without the aid of budget, plot, or accuracy. All of them are classically educated, and the film seems to be a giant flip of the nose at the pretension of the British literary tradition. In the act of being such, it nearly becomes the best telling of the Grail legend available. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a satire that instructs with its informed irreverence, a piece that knows the rules before it breaks them and has shown itself over the course of 26 years to be almost as immediate and hilarious as it was upon initial release.