John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.
The story of Brian of Nazareth, born on the same day as Jesus of Nazareth, who takes a different path in life that leads to the same conclusion. Brian joins a political resistance movement aiming to get the Romans out of Judea. Brian scores a victory of sorts when he manages to paint political slogans on an entire wall in the city of Jerusalem. The movement is not very effective but somehow Brian becomes a prophet and gathers his own following. His fate is sealed however and he lives a very short life. Written by
Several scenes were filmed involving a group of Jewish zealots led by a psychopath named Otto, who used as their symbol a combination of the Nazi swastika and a Star of David. However, these scenes were cut from the film during post-production, largely because several of the cast members decided an analogy of Nazism and extreme Zionism, even one that was played for laughs, was too incendiary for a movie that was already going to be hugely controversial. Terry Gilliam, writing in The Pythons Autobiography by The Pythons, said he thought it should have stayed, saying "Listen, we've alienated the Christians, let's get the Jews now". Idle himself was said to have been uncomfortable with the character; "It's essentially a pretty savage attack on rabid Zionism, suggesting it's rather akin to Nazism, which is a bit strong to take, but certainly a point of view". Michael Palin's personal journal entries from the period when various edits of Brian were being test-screened consistently reference the Pythons' and filmmakers' concerns that the Otto scenes were slowing the story down and thus were top of the list to be chopped from the final cut of the film. However, Oxford Brookes University historian David Nash says the removal of the scene represented "a form of self-censorship" and the Otto sequence "which involved a character representative of extreme forms of Zionism" was cut "in the interests of smoothing the way for the film's distribution in America." See more »
A camera shadow appears on Brian the first time people chase him, thinking he's the messiah. See more »
Not necessarily laugh-out-loud every minute, but it's satirical edge and wit is as clever as the technical side of the film
Monty Python's follow-up to their cult smash Holy Grail was Life of Brian, a film that takes on (if not always with the utmost seriousness, then usually with a mix of silliness and slight intellectualism) the believers in religions, the zealous nature that belief brings out in people. I first saw the film in the theater upon its re-release last month, and I found it very funny, though not with the kind of belly laughs that I had on my first reaction to Holy Grail. It's not without it's scenes that stick out as some of Python's finest (the Stoning, Pilate's scenes, the Spaceship sequence), even as sometimes it goes a little too broad for comfort (part of the colisseum).
Yet, the great strengths that lie in Life of Brian are that 1) the writers and performers (Chapman, Cleese, Gilliam, Jones, Idle, Palin) bring their irreverent strengths to a fine point with the script and multiple roles. Even when a scene doesn't get the laughs it could've or should've, it turns out to be a scene brimming with a cleverness that could only exist in the "Python-esque" universe. 2) the director (Jones) and designer/animator (Gilliam) lay the groundwork for this realistic atmosphere of 33 A.D. and bring out what is the best in the acting, Pythons or otherwise (famous British comedian Spike Milligan has a role of note). Held over from the sets of Franco Zeferelli's Christ film, the Pythons use all these locations and settings and little details to spring out their wild, brilliant gags. The look of the film enriches the comedic elements, and the result is (arguably, of course) the troupe's best film. Not for all tastes by the way (Monty Python in general for me took some while to warm up to, but paid off once it worked). Grade: A
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