We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. Click here to find out more. Allow cookies

arrow Register here

Forgotten password?


  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 

Monty Python and Censorship by Sophie-Louise on 20 May 2008 12:55am
Hi all,

I'm doing a degree in photography and film and i'm writing my dissertation on the controversy surrounding film censorship, particularly focusing on Monty Python films. I personally don't think the Python movies should have been censored as I am a huge fan of their humour but I would just like to hear a few opinions. Are there parts of Monty Python films, particularly the Life of Brian, which pushed the boundaries of censorship in terms of blasphemy? Or were a minority of religious people just being oversensitive? Should censorship be up to the viewer depending on their personal views, or should a higher authority do it for us?

Just thought it would be interesting to hear some Python fan's views on the matter!

Re: Monty Python and Censorship by johnnythemonkey on 20 May 2008 1:52am
Sophie, I think the controversy about ' Life of Brian ' was just a reflection of the times and would be laughable now.
I do believe however, that some sort of censorship is still required, as pornography and violence can be quite pernicious.
I am however, an old git who has fcuked and punched his way through life, so my opinion counts for nothing. ;)
Re: Monty Python and Censorship by mrsthing on 20 May 2008 2:26am
The Pythons showed the script to an Anglican bishop who censored a few words and deemed it fine. They argue among themselves whether it's heretical or not; Terry Jones believes it is (heresy isn't quite as serious an error as blasphemy), John Cleese says it isn't. (Personally, I think it is heretical, not blasphemous, and I don't care that it's heretical. I think the church needs critics to prevent it from becoming a bloated bureaucracy with too much power. But that's just my opinion.)

There would still be pockets of mean-spirited, self-righteous protest in the US if the movie were shown widely today. It received some controversy in CT when it was shown in Hartford a few years back, and the conservative Christians were urging people not to go. I don't think there were any picketers, though. But it didn't get much circulation in New England. I have no idea what happened in other parts of the US.

I assume you've seen the documentary called "The Secret Life of Brian" that came out a few years ago. If not, it's on YouTube, starting here:


As far as whether there should be an authority who censors stuff for us, I don't know. Some people watch movies or TV and try to go out an imitate what they see, injuring or killing others in the process. But I'd rather err on the side of liberty and let people make up their own minds.
Re: Monty Python and Censorship by geordiegirl on 20 May 2008 12:44pm
Let me recommend you Michael's DIARIES< Sophie. There is a good discussion of the 'controversy' - Michael solicits opinions of his mother, a practicing Anglican, etc.
Or perhaps you've done that already?
Re: Monty Python and Censorship by vlad all over on 20 May 2008 4:32pm
I just have to say that the ABC cinema in Harrogate, where I live, that refused to screen Life of Brian is now a Superdrug so at least some justice was done!!!
Re: Monty Python and Censorship by Sophie-Louise on 20 May 2008 5:57pm
yes it is a very valid point that the controversy is a reflection of the time it was released! Do you not believe that if Life of Brian were released now then the level of controversy would be different? I think there would be less people offended due to society and the views on censorship and religion changing but I still do think there would be a small minority who would kick up a huge fuss.

Yes I have seen the Secret Life Of Brian, I found it really interesting to see the different views. There is also a documentary soley about Mary Whitehouse coming soon to BBC2 and Python should be mentioned considering she was the major player in getting Life of Brian cancelled in so many areas.

Thanks Geordiegirl, I will have to read Michael's Diaries, I didn't realise it was mentioned in here. Does anyone know if it was talked about in the Python Diaries as well? I think that's what the book is called, the large grey book? lol

Re: Monty Python and Censorship by peripatetically on 20 May 2008 6:03pm
Sophie-Lou. There might be less controversary in general, but I would think the Bible Belt in the USA would still find great offense with LOB. Would be interesting to hear from some of those folks, but I'm not sure there are any people here representing that region or viewpoints matching those that gave the region it's nickname.
Re: Monty Python and Censorship by geordiegirl on 20 May 2008 11:28pm
Yes, it's in Python grey-book as well, Sophie. Good coverage, in fact.
Re: Monty Python and Censorship by mrsthing on 21 May 2008 12:22am
It's in Michael's diaries, titled "Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years" (ISBN-13: 978-0312369354). It's available in a Kindle edition, too! He mentions it in 1979, but you should read the filming part in 1978, because some of it is laugh-out-loud funny! There's also some censorship stuff about the shows around 1975, I think--a big brouhaha with ABC (American Broadcast Co.) about "edits" to their TV show because American censorship laws were stricter than in the UK.
Re: Monty Python and Censorship by Sophie-Louise on 21 May 2008 2:54pm
thanks guys, i will add those to my bibliography and look into them.
Messages 1 2 

  Reply to this post:
  Register here


Select a discussion theme.
Register (or log in if you have not yet done so).

To start a new discussion topic:

Write the name of the topic in the 'Subject' box.
Type your message in the larger box to contribute.
Click 'Submit'.

To join a discussion topic:

Click on the discussion topic of your choice.
Type your message in the larger box to contribute.
Click 'Submit'.

To edit your message:

You can edit a message at any time after posting it as long as you're signed in.
Click on the 'Edit your message' link above the message.
Make your desired changes.
Click 'Submit'.

If you find you don't want to change the message after all, click on 'Return without changes'.

To set a chatmark:

Register (or log in if you have not yet done so).
Click on the "Set chatmark" link on the Chatter Box pages. This will set the time at which you have logged in.
Click on the "Go to chatmark" link to see all messages posted since you set your chatmark.

You can set your chatmark at any time and as often as you like.