Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

  • Review Date: October 31, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 108 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Edgy Python schtick better for older viewers.
  • Review Date: October 31, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 108 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Various comic characters, none with many redeeming social values, but who aren't supposed to be taken seriously.


Slapstick but with some gore when a man cuts a liver out of a person, a man explodes after eating too much.


Animated nudity, frank, thorough and detailed discussions of male and female genitals and sexual activity, a teacher has sex with his wife in front of his students as a part of sex education, female topless nudity.


Sporadic cursing

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is decidedly more mature (if one can use that word with this hilarious crew) than other Python offerings as it tackles death, sex, religion, war, and more all with the expected heavy doses of satire and sarcasm. Monty Python is well known for its lampoons of religion and this movie has a song called "Every Sperm is Sacred." It pokes fun at the Catholic religion. The violence is all rather cartoonish, though at times can be gory. Blood spurts everywhere during one scene as people try to take his liver while he's alive. There is sexual innuendo and there are sexual jokes.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In MONTY PYTHON'S THE MEANING OF LIFE, the Monty Python troupe tackles questions that plague us all. Why are we here on earth? What is the purpose of life? Well, sort of. Less philosophical musing than it is highly satiric of many aspects of human behavior; The Meaning of Life spares no aspect of the human condition from ridicule. From the cradle to the grave, the six Python comedians, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin present a series of skits in a seven part, 100 minute romp.

Is it any good?


Certainly not among the favorites of Python fans ("The Life of Brian" and "The Holy Grail" are the undisputed Python classics), The Meaning of Life still remains pure Python, replete with their disdain for organized religion and constant mocking of what they must surely see as hypocritical human morals. Python is more agreeable to the tireless social critic with a penchant for irreverent British humor. Unlike many contemporary British comedies popular in the U.S. (such as "The Office" or the hopelessly postmodern "Spaced"), Python mixes dire social critique amongst the fart and penis jokes. And, for the most part, they are successful at this.

A good example of the silly: the questioning of two men dressed as a tiger in the African jungle during the height of the Zulu Wars. The strong cultural criticism comes in scenes like the mutiny of bookkeepers against their corporate masters or the explosion of the supremely gluttonous Michael Palin. In fact, whether intentional or not, The Meaning of Life is the Monty Python film that contains their most bold-faced critical social commentary. It is good for a chuckle, but unquestionably funnier to those fed up with many aspects of culture which seem to defy logic.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why we use humor to address the big issues of life. Also, how can people tell when they are being spoofed versus being insulted?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1983
DVD release date:September 2, 2003
Cast:Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
Director:Terry Jones
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:108 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, sexuality

This review of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

"Have You Ever Wondered What Life's All About?"

Monty Python Give You There View Of The Meaning Of Life... Which Means Normal Bloody Violence, Some Cursing And Loads Of Sex Scenes... Plus Some Very Funny Bits To! Overall This Film Is NOT, I Repeat, NOT Suitable For A Child Under The Age Of 18 At All!!!!
Teen, 17 years old Written bycopperzinc July 15, 2009
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written bytn April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


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