(In Sweden it was advertised as being ‘so funny it was banned in Norway’.) In the US, Rabbi Abraham Hecht, President of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, told Variety magazine: “Never have we come across such a foul, disgusting, blasphemous film before.”, John Cleese disagreed with Jones’s take, arguing: “I don’t think it’s a heresy. Read about our approach to external linking. Some local councils banned the film, a measure which did it no harm at all: people would simply flock to the nearest city where it was showing. The idea they came up with was a dangerous one which could very well have ruined their careers and led to charges of blasphemy. Favorite Answer. Lennon’s killer even cited the comment as one excuse for the murder. The comedy team’s irreverent Biblical romp had been due to open on 200 screens across the US, but after various religious groups protested against it, the number of screens was tripled. “They actually made me rich,” said John Cleese of the protesters on one American talk show. Its tongue-in-cheek billing was ‘a movie destined to offend two thirds of the civilised world…and severely irritate the rest’. As blasphemy it was, even in its original version, extremely mild. The British movie, “Life of Brian”, which was written and starred the group of Monty Python, contained themes of religious mockery that were very controversial in 1979 when it was released. “Do you believe Monty Python's Life of Brian is blasphemous?” [blasphemy/ˈblasfəmi/noun: blasphemy; plural noun: blasphemies. Life of Brian was certainly considered blasphemous in 1979 – and the film itself makes references to the absurdity of blasphemy as a crime. It means nothing whatsoever to atheists and sensible Christians. 'Blasphemy' is an ancient, fundie Christian concept. “Why is there all this stuff about blasphemy?” he asked in the Evening Standard. Directed by Terry Jones. John Cleese claimed that Life of Brian was “about people who cannot agree with each other” (Credit: Alamy), The Pythons’ satire wouldn’t target Jesus or his teachings, instead caricaturing political militants, credulous crowds, the appeal of throwing stones at people, the complexities of Latin grammar, and the difficulties of being a tyrant when you’ve got a speech impediment. But before that he was appointed by John A. Macdonald as Minister of Justice in in 1885… before even having a seat. The Pythons were adamant about that, and even included Jesus in the movie in a very respectful way. Share the best GIFs now >>> level 2. They regard the film as "grieviously insultlng," and have described it as "a vicious attack on Judaism and the Bible, and a cruel mockery of Christian religious feelings as well." on 11/14/2009. In 1966, as Beatlemania raged, John Lennon was interviewed by Maureen Cleave in London’s Evening Standard newspaper, and made the remark that would haunt him ever afterwards: “We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity.” The blowback included threats, the picketing of concerts, and the burning of Beatles records on bonfires. They moved onto the character of Brian, a 13th disciple who never made it into the Bible because he always arrived five minutes late and missed the miracles. / Don’t grill or toast your flock. Though stoning was not a legal punishment in Greek or Roman law, it was one of the four forms of capital punishment in the Jewish criminal code, along with decapitation by sword, strangulation, and being made to drink molten lead. The team followed Life of Brian with a comedy that was far more heretical, 1983’s The Meaning of Life. “I thought we’d been quite good,” said Idle in Robert Sellers’ behind-the-scenes book, Very Naughty Boys. But in Very Naughty Boys, Terry Gilliam noted one positive aspect of these protests: “I thought at least getting the Catholics, Protestants and Jews all protesting against our movie was fairly ecumenical on our part... We had achieved something useful.”. Today, however, blasphemy is … And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called The Essential List. “It was quite obvious that there was very little to ridicule in Jesus’s life, and therefore we were onto a loser,” said Michael Palin in 1979. One cannot practice blasphemy without actually blaspheming. When Brian met Moses: Life of Brian (1979), Wholly Moses (1980) and the 'Failure' of Biblical Parody David Shepherd, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland 4.'Blasphemy!' Get ready for a Monty Python's Life of Brian re-release to make blasphemy funny again this April in honor of the 40th anniversary. Gosh, we’re really impressed down here, I can tell you.” And then comes a fearful hymn: “O Lord, please don’t burn us. The three Jewish organisations speak for more than 1,000 rabbis. It was never our intention to offend anyone's belief. Life of Brian was certainly considered blasphemous in 1979 — and the film itself makes references to the absurdity of blasphemy as a crime. Originally financed by EMI, who backed out because they considered the script blasphemous. It may not be true that all publicity is good publicity, but in the case of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, which was released 40 years ago, some of the bad publicity was heaven-sent. 1 decade ago. 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