Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Monty Python And The Holy Grail is still one of the funniest films of all time. Here, in no particular order, we count down its ten best scenes…
1) Arthur vs the Black Knight
Finding his path across the bridge barred and his attempts at diplomacy rebuffed, Arthur (Graham Chapman) has no choice but to take on the Black Knight – with hilarious results. Despite having all his limbs amputated one by one (“Look you stupid bastard, you’ve got no arms!”) he remains defiant (“I’ll bite your legs off!”).
2) The Rabbit of Caerbannog
The most cruel and bad-tempered rabbit you’ve ever seen proves to be more than a match for Arthur and his men, taking out three (or is it five?) of them, only to be subdued by the Holy Hand Grenade.
3) Lancelot goes homicidal
In an ill thought-out ‘rescue’ attempt, Lancelot (John Cleese) goes into full-on Braveheart mode, cutting down anyone in his way (and plenty who aren’t). In fairness to him he does apologies though.
4) The taunting French soldiers
It seems surprising that this is the scene that gets quoted the most when there are arguably plenty better, but it’s still capable of wringing a laugh out of even the biggest grouches out there.
5) The Knights Who Say Ni
Those who have seen the Knights have seldom lived to tell the tale, which makes Arthur’s handy discovery of Roger the Shrubber (Eric Idle), and his inadvertent discovery of their weakness (the word ‘it’) all the more handy.
6) The Bridge of Death
One of their final obstacles on the path to the Grail – and the most hazardous. Galahad (Michael Palin) and Robin (Idle) both fall before the Gatekeeper’s questions, until yet again, Arthur managed to turn the tables.
7) Opening scene
From the coconuts to the long-winded debates, the tone for The Holy Grail is set here in this excellent opening scene. For all the targets the Python mocked, they were equally unafraid to send themselves up.
8) Witch trial
“She’s a witch!” “Burn her!” In a light-hearted film this is the darkest comedy the Pythons do, but it does give Terry Jones’ Bedivire his moment to shine.
9) Bloody peasant!
Despite being king, not everyone respect’s Arthur’s authority, as shown in this scene where’s driven to fury by an irascible serf. His takedown of the Lady in the Lake is especially brilliant.
It wouldn’t be Monty Python without a musical number somewhere along the line, but Holy Grail gets it out of the way early with this rendition by the Knights of the Round Table – before deciding that this isn’t the film they want to do after all and moving on.
Monty Python And The Holy Grail is being re-released in cinemas on 14 October. For more news on the biggest movies, pick up the latest issue of SciFiNow.