The Life of Brian was a film released in 1979. The British comedy troupe Monty Python made this picture. This film is a send up of Christianity despite Monty Python’s protestations to the contrary.
Michael Palin and John Cleese appeared on British television after this movie came out to discuss it. The took part in a public conversation with the Christian apologist Malcolm Muggeridge and a bishop of the Church of England. Muggeridge was a journalist who was renowned for his book ‘Something beautiful for God.’ He and the Anglican prelate courteously criticised the film. At no point did they question the right of these men to show such a film. There was no shouting match. The testiest moment was when Muggeridge panned the film as ”tenth rate”.
It was a remarkably restrained and polite exchange. This is how it should be. Bear in mind that England still has Christianity as its state religion. Even then there was no attempt to have this film prohibited on a national scale. Some local councils told cinemas not to show it or they would have their licences revoked. No acts of violence were committed despite this piece of cinematography lampooning Christianity.
At the opening of the film Monty Python show the Three Wise men going to Jesus. Brian is someone different. They seek to make that point. However, Brian’s life moves in parallel to Jesus. It is a study in how a faith can be started by accident. Some people are desperate to believe.
It is a testament to how civilised the United Kingdom is that this film was not suppressed and nor did any acts of terror occur. It is absolutely right that these men were permitted to make a highly tendentious film.
Muggeridge made a prescient point. He said that these people would never dare to make a film satirising another figure who shall remain nameless. He said the race industry would come down on them like a tonne of bricks of they did. These are the same left wingers who generally welcomed the Life of Brian because it ridiculed Jesus. The film is indeed mirthful, original and tastefully executed. It contains some classic lines and is a cult following. It is popular in Germany to this day.