It may have been one of the of most obvious films to be ever banned in oh so holy catholic Ireland but The Life of Brian was also the funniest.
If you wanted proof that comedy can be both popular & subversive – satirising the bible and the ‘church’ – than this all time classic from the English Monty Python comedy team of writers, directors and actors stands tallest.
The story of (Monty Python’s) Life of Brian“ is that Brian is born in the stable next to Jesus and mistaken for the Messiah. It was banned in Ireland but also in Norway because of its heavy religious satire. In 1980 the Catholic Church still had a say on what Irish people thought, read and watched. Thank God not any more!! Down with that sort of thing. The film was finally passed in 1987, and with the years of controversy and our love of Python, the cinemas were packed and proved to be one of the most successful films of the year.
One of the interesting ‘cameos’ in the film was from ex Beatle George Harrison who answered the call to invest in the film when the producers ran into ‘obstacles’ as they attempted to raise finance. George not only came up trumps with the cash but also went on to produce all future Python movies under his company HandMade Films. As a bonus he won a speaking part in The Life of Brian – see here the only Liverpudlian in the film in a red hat.
The producers of Life Of Brian used the controversy at the time of its release to their advantage. They marketed the movie as “The film so funny that it was banned in Norway.”
.. and after Ireland and England (twice) leaving The Euros why not lighten up the office, the car, the bus, the train, your home or even your own head – sing alone and smile!!