Monty Python: The Meaning of Live

With unprecedented access, this program reveals the humour, chaos and passion that went into bringing the Flying Circus to the stage cumulating in the legendary One Down, Five To Go.


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  • ★★★½ review by Tron329 on Letterboxd

    #200 Monty Python: The Meaning of Live (2014) #2017MovieMarathon Documentary on the legendary comedy troupe's 2014 shows at London's O2 Arena.

  • ★★★★ review by pkazee on Letterboxd

    Thinks I think I learned from - or had confirmed by - this doc:

    John Cleese was the know-it-all perfectionist Nazi of the group.

    Cleese did not like or respect Terry Jones for the 1st two years of the series.

    Cleese is not sure if he ever agreed with a single thing Terry Gilliam ever said.

    Cleese and Michael Palin were very close, though Cleese's writing partner was Graham Chapman and Palin's was Terry Jones.

    Cleese and Palin were the most heavily invested in creating fully-formed standalone sketches.

    Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle (who wrote alone) were more interested in keeping things off-center, being champions of open and/or aborted endings.

    Gilliam, a curmudgeon, was the most interested in rocking the social-political boat, though he did little writing or performing, being primarily involved with the group as an animator.

    Graham Chapman was an unreliable drunk.

    Terry Jones considers himself lucky to have been involved with so many far more creative people.

    Jones started earning respect from Cleese and others when his attentions became focused upon directing their feature films.

    Finally, Michael Palin is the only member of the group that nobody has anything seriously critical to say about.

  • ★★★★ review by Sean Kelly on Letterboxd

    A fine document of the troupe’s final performance.

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  • ★★★★ review by Jason Bailey on Letterboxd

    This entertaining and informative documentary from directors Roger Graef and James Rogan uses performance and backstage footage, as well as production and rehearsal clips, to tell the story of how Monty Python got back together (live on stage for the first time since the Hollywood Bowl shows in 1980) for a series of sold-out reunion dates at the O2 Arena in 2014. They were the first ones to admit they did it for the money (paying off a pricey lawsuit, specifically) and not for the art, which causes some self-doubt; Terry Gilliam admits that they’re all afraid of coming off like “a bunch of old farts trying to scrabble away to get some money.” The filmmakers look not just at the new shows but the role live performance has played throughout the careers, so there’s priceless footage, photos, and recordings from those old shows and the tours surrounding them. And they intercut history with the present, thus lending some real pathos to the struggles of the show and the personal dynamics that come to light.


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