Forty years after its release, Monty Python & The Holy Grail remains one of the most popular indie comedies of all time, if not one of the great comedies in general. Designed on a shoestring budget and as a result of a hiatus in Monty Python’s TV show back in the ’70s, the satirical take on the legends of King Arthur and his knights has proven to be timeless. Its quirky brand of humor appeals to all generations, and even its dubious visual quality and comically underdeveloped special effects still come across as parts of the comedy, rather than budget-related shortcomings.
It helps that the film has also managed to stay alive for younger generations through various adaptations in other forms of entertainment. Chief among these is Spamalot, the theatrical musical based on Monty Python & The Holy Grail. The musical was thought up and written by Eric Idle (who played Sir Robin and Roger the Shrubber, among other roles in the film), and over the years it’s become an incredible Broadway success. According to the Playbill Vault, the musical has grossed nearly $170 million on Broadway since its initial emergence in 2005, and the show is still running and selling huge numbers of tickets today.
According to the Playbill Vault, the musical has grossed nearly $170 million on Broadway since its initial emergence in 2005, and the show is still running and selling huge numbers of tickets today.
Actually, Spamalot has even inspired spin-off material of its own over the years. The casino games at Betfair include a free spin experience designed as a tribute to the musical. Simply called “Spamalot slot,” the game’s cover uses illustrations of Arthur and his knights that are vaguely reminiscent of the animated portions of the original film. Also, the sounds and music within the game will remind players of certain musical numbers from Spamalot. Given that most of the rest of the themed games at this site deal with the very latest in entertainment—as in, Marvel superheroes and films like Rocky—the presence of the Spamalot slot speaks to the material’s relevance to different audiences and generations
And this past week, all of those different audiences and generations of Monty Python & The Holy Grail lovers got an unexpected treat when 14 minutes of lost animations from the original film were uncovered and released to the Internet. Fans will recall that there are certain portions of the film that were crudely animated, perhaps as a way to save time and effort during production but also with clear comedic intent.
And the new footage suggests that animation was almost an even bigger part of the movie. Time posted the clip, which was initially released on YouTube by Terry Gilliam himself (the co-director and animator of the film). He provides amusing and fascinating comedy throughout the clip, theorizing jokingly that this lost animation wasn’t included because the other Python members were envious of his animation skills.
According to Gilliam’s commentary, the lost footage will be featured on a new Blu-ray version of Monty Python & The Holy Grail, which should make for a pretty nice treat for the film’s droves of fans. So fear not, Monty Python lovers, this absurd little satire is still delighting us 40 years later.