Monty Python And The Holy Grail – 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

monty pythonOne of the greatest comedies ever made is back on Blu-ray for a new release celebrating its 40th anniversary. Unfortunately, if you have already purchased Monty Python and the Holy Grail in the past, there is not much new here, beyond a new Q&A recorded this year. That said, you still get a ton of extra features for those who have not already delighted in the craziness of Monty Python and the release of their most celebrated film on Blu-ray. And yes, this film is still incredibly funny.




For the uninitiated, the film’s premise is completely in its title. The legendary comedy troupe made a film centered around King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table on a quest to find the Holy Grail. That is basically a loose way to say these very funny people are going to go on all sorts of misadventures, as they eventually make their way through some plot on a holy quest.

Graham Chapman takes up the lead role as King Arthur, but he is joined by the whole crew including John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. The whole cast plays the various Knights, as well as many of the other characters seen throughout the film. I’m honestly not even sure what else I am supposed to say about the plot and characters this point, so I’ll stop.

What makes this film work is the incredible silliness that is guided by very smart individuals. Anyone that has never seen this film will likely recognize all sorts of references their friends may have made over the years and be thrilled by the context. This is a film that is incredibly quotable, but what makes it so everlasting is the amount of wit found behind every stitch of comedy in this film.


The whole Monty Python crew was involved in ‘Holy Grail’s production, with Jones and Gilliam taking on directorial duties. This mix of creative control and limited funds also aided in making this film a difficult production, but an incredibly successful one. Yes, it has a cheap look to it, but that is very much how the team mines even more comedy out of the film. Who needs horses, when you can just use coconuts to make the sound of their galloping and then develop a string of jokes surrounding that very aspect?

There is also something to be said for this film’ staying power. A film does not just become one of the greatest comedies ever made for having a collection of jokes that play well. So much inspiration and intelligence surrounds those who grew up with a film like this and it helps that this film is so fixated on delivering on each new sequence, without dwelling too much on various bits.

It is hard to detail what else makes this film such a masterpiece, so suffice it to say, it really just is. Yes, it’s a comedy and that is a hard concept to sell everyone on, when it comes to telling someone what is funny, but ‘Holy Grail’ is a film that really delivers on all fronts. The wit, silliness, quotable moments, casting and so much more have combined for a terrific feature film and anyone not already caught up on it, this is the time to check it out.



Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Clarity/Detail: As far as I can tell, this is exactly the same transfer as seen in the 2012 release. Fortunately, that is a very good thing. The film may have been made on the cheap and is not the prettiest film, but the transfer does a fine job of representing the film as it is. The clarity is quite superb, though the film’s bland palette does not quite help matters all that much.

Depth: Depth comes across well enough for a film that does a lot with cheap sets and people having conversations that range from intellectual to silly in them.

Black Levels: Black levels actually fare pretty well, given the age and quality of the film.

Color Reproduction: There is a muted color scheme present in this film, which was both due to the low budget and an element that would go on to serve the film in its comedy department. That said, when color does emerge, it looks good enough.

Flesh Tones: Facial textures are fair and accurate.

Noise/Artifacts: Aside from the natural grain, the actual transfer presentation has been handled well enough to show no errors.




Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA 5.1, English Original Mono DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai

Dynamics: Again, the audio tracks match the 2012 release, but the lossless soundtrack does fine justice to the lunacy of this film. There are a lot of jarring music and audio cues, but they play very well here. The range is heard, as things are mixed up repeatedly throughout the film, but it is all clear to hear.

Low Frequency Extension: Some of the larger music cues allow for a solid use of the LFE channel.

Surround Sound Presentation: While the film is largely dialogue focused, aside from some large moments in the score, there is a great sense of balance in how we hear everything playout in this film. The proper channels are given emphasis, as the film plays out finds ways to let us hear both conversations and things like the Holy Hand Grenade do its job.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone is heard loud and clear.




If this were just a review of what’s new, this Blu-ray release would get a much lower rating, but aside from the one new additional feature, there is still a bevy of material available.

Note: the Limited Edition Blu-ray Castle Box Set version of this release includes a catapult and rubber farm animals for you to do what you like with.

Features Include:

  • All-New 30-Minute “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” Q&A with Terry, Terry, Mike, John and Eric, hosted by John Oliver! Recorded live at the Beacon Theater in New York City at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival (HD, 31:00) – This is the only new extra in this release and it’s hilarious. Not a reason to completely buy this film again, but still a lot of fun.
  • The Holy Book of Days Second Screen – The highlight of the previous release was a companion app for you to watch the film with. It’s a clever and hilarious way to dig into the making of this film and all that went with it.
  • Outtakes and Extended Scenes with Introduction by Terry Jones (HD, 18:57)
  • Lost Animations with Introduction by Terry Jones (HD, 12:55)
  • Scintillating Commentary by Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones and Even More Revealing Commentary by John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin – If you’re a fan of the film, you will get a kick out of these two commentary tracks.
  • Quest for the Holy Grail Locations with Michael Palin & Terry Jones (SD, 47:00)
  • Lego Knights: The Knights of the Round Table in LEGO (SD, 1:43)
  • Special Japanese Version (SD, 8:34)
  • How To Use Your Coconuts (An Educational Film) (SD, 2:58)
  • BBC Film Night On Location (SD, 17:12)
  • Three Songs to Sing-Along (SD, 5:10)
  • Photo Gallery (HD)
  • Previews



This film will never stop being hilarious to me and I can only hope new viewers realize why it is so special. The Blu-ray is a bit of a missed opportunity, but I can’t imagine what else there is to really add to this film. The new extra is a good one and the technical presentation is still very strong. Basically, this is a comedy to get immediately.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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