Editor's note: It will be welcome news to devotees of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" -- the 1975 movie inspired "Spamalot," the Tony-winning musical -- that the distributor struck a new print and restored 24 seconds that were snipped prior to its original release. What follows is a condensed version of a review by Kevin Thomas that was published June 15, 2001.
The inspired lunacy of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," the famed British comedy troupe's take on King Arthur and his knights' quest, is more often amusing than hilarious. There are laugh-out-loud moments, but some passages are dry and talky.
Two things stand out: first, its glorious Scottish locales; second, the erudition of the Pythons, several of whom were steeped in medieval history and literature. They create a persuasively authentic world -- the better to send it up. They cherish nonsense for its own sake, but they also skewer stupidity, ignorance, an unquestioning acceptance of conventional pieties and wisdom.
Since the Pythons started production in April 1974, and their picture opened in New York and London in April 1975, just as Saigon fell, it can also be read as a commentary on the folly and brutality of war -- which is not without contemporary resonance.