Life of Brian…. a brief plot and some dialogues

While writing a post on Saviours and Messiahs yesterday, I referred to the Life of Brian. At that time, with a great effort, I managed to maintain my composure since I was in office. But as soon as I reached home, I was convulsed with laughter as I recalled the film and some on its dialogues. I seek to acquaint some of you with the film, with a brief plot outline and some of its memorable dialogues.

Monty Python’s Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 film written, directed and largely performed by the Monty Python comedy team. It tells the story of Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman), a young Jewish man who is born in the same era and location as Jesus Christ, and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah. Brian grows up an idealistic young man who resents the continuing Roman occupation of Judea. While attending Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, Brian becomes infatuated with an attractive young rebel, Judith.

His desire for her and hatred for the Romans lead him to join the Peoples’ Front of Judea (PFJ), one of many factious and bickering separatist movements, who spend more time fighting each other than the Romans. Brian then agrees to participate in a kidnapping plot by the resistance, which, because of a clash with the Judean People’s Front, a rival separatist faction intent on the same mission, fails miserably.

This forces him to go on the run again; but, this time, he is captured and summoned before Pontius Pilate. He manages to escape after a hilarious episode…. pure slapstick (I am not going to write about it since it could lead to me getting convulsed in that unrestrained laughter, which according to Homer, is the privilege of the Gods…. and since I am again in office, it could excite comment).

After several misadventures (including a brief trip to outer space in an alien spaceship), Brian winds up in a lineup of wannabe mystics and prophets who harangue the passing crowd in a plaza. Forced to come up with something plausible in order to blend in, he babbles pseudo-religious nonsense, which quickly attracts a small but intrigued audience.

Once the guards have left, Brian finds he has unintentionally inspired a movement; he grows frantic when he finds that some people have started to follow him around with even the slightest unusual occurrence being hailed as a “miracle”. After slipping away from the mob and a spate of adventures, he is against captured and brought before the Procurator.

Pilate eventually orders Brian’s release. But, in a moment parodying the climax of the film Spartacus, various crucified people all claim to be “Brian of Nazareth”—one man stating “I’m Brian and so’s my wife”—and the wrong man is released. Various other opportunities for a reprieve for Brian are denied as, one by one, his “allies” (including Judith) step forward to explain why they are leaving the “noble freedom fighter” hanging in the hot sun. Condemned to a long and painful death, Brian finds his spirits lifted by his fellow sufferers, who break into song with “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.

Well, that was a brief outline of the plot. I must seek apology as I am not including the funniest scene, which I believe deserves its own post – though my primary intention was to showcase that very episode. Enjoy the others.

Brian: Are you the Judean People’s Front?
Reg: Fuck off!
Brian:What?
Reg: Judean People’s Front. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! Judean People’s Front. Cawk.
Francis: Wankers.
Brian: Can I… join your group?
Reg: No. Piss off.
Brian: I didn’t want to sell this stuff. It’s only a job. I hate the Romans as much as anybody.
People’s Front of Judea (PFJ): Shhhh. Shhhh. Shhh. Shh. Shhhh.
Judith: Are you sure?
Brian: Oh, dead sure. I hate the Romans already.
Reg: Listen. If you really wanted to join the P.F.J., you’d have to really hate the Romans.
Brian: I do!
Reg: Oh, yeah? How much?
Brian: A lot!
Reg: Right. You’re in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the f***ing Judean People’s Front.
P.F.J.: Yeah…
Judith: Splitters.
P.F.J.: Splitters…
Francis: And the Judean Popular People’s Front.
P.F.J.: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters…
Loretta: And the People’s Front of Judea.
P.F.J.: Yeah. Splitters. Splitters…
Reg: What?
Loretta: The People’s Front of Judea. Splitters.
Reg: We’re the People’s Front of Judea!
Loretta: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
Reg: People’s Front! C-huh.
Francis: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
Reg: He’s over there.
P.F.J.: Splitter!

Brian: I’m not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly!
Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.
Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!
Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!
Brian: Now, f*** off!
[silence]
Arthur: How shall we f*** off, O Lord?

Reg: [arriving at Brian’s crucifixion] Hello, Sibling Brian.
Brian: Thank God you’ve come, Reg.
Reg: Well, I think I should point out first, Brian, in all fairness, we are not, in fact, the rescue committee. However, I have been asked to read the following prepare statement on behalf of the movement. “We the People’s Front of Judea, brackets, officials, end brackets, do hereby convey our sincere fraternal and sisterly greetings to you, Brian, on this, the occasion of your martyrdom. ”
Brian: What?
Reg: “Your death will stand as a landmark in the continuing struggle to liberate the parent land from the hands of the Roman imperialist aggressors, excluding those concerned with drainage, medicine, roads, housing, education, viniculture and any other Romans contributing to the welfare of Jews of both sexes and hermaphrodites. Signed, on behalf of the P. F. J. , etc. ” And I’d just like to add, on a personal note, my own admiration, for what you’re doing for us, Brian, on what must be, after all, for you a very difficult time.

Lead Singer Crucifee: You know, you come from nothing, you’re going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing!

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