Monday, June 15, 2009


Monty Python and the Holy Grail was officially rated PG, but that was back in 1975, before PG-13 was instituted as a step before R. It definitely earns the higher rating, so depending on the age of your kids, you want to consider what’s ahead.

Son K is now 12, going on 18, and we figured it was an appropriate time for Monty Python. Of course, the television episodes are available on Netflix and elsewhere, so starting there is a possibility. Those can be spotty, in terms of what might be inappropriate, as you don’t know what you get from episode to episode. (For some reason, when I think of Monty Python, the first thing I think of is, “Oh, intercourse the penguin!”)

Anyway, we rented Holy Grail, knowing that both The Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life have solid R ratings, and figured we’d be pretty safe.

First, you need to know that there is a great amount of cartoonish gore in the film, which isn’t a problem -- at least not in our house. You may not care for the spurting streams of fake blood and occasional rampages of killing that are darkly hilarious -- how funny is the line, “It’s only a flesh wound!” uttered by the Black Knight as he’s losing limbs in a sword fight?! -- but compared to what a lot of kids see in movies and X-box games these days, it’s probably no worse ... and the cartoonish aspect helps offset the volume.

As suspected, K loved Monty Python’s absurd and bizarre brand of humor ... we had a great time, and now we’ve got some TV episodes lined up to see.

Here’s the caveat: material that may be inappropriate includes some language (no F-bombs), and dialogue rich with sexual innuendo, most of which kids under 12 or 13 will either not get, or will miss due to the speedy delivery. Most of it takes place in one scene, where one character enters a castle full of vestal virgins, one of whom points out they are all between the ages of 16 and 19, unsupervised, and pretty much all deserve spankings. We were sort of holding our breaths through this scene, and it reached a pinnacle with her offering -- very quickly and rather casually, so it didn’t really stand out -- “followed by oral sex.”

I’m not sure, but I think I heard K laugh at that. I was trying to just get through the moment.

Anyway, now that you know the worst of it, you can plan to talk loudly over that part, or take one of those well-timed breaks.

If you’re new to Monty Python yourself, you need to be the type of person who appreciates ridiculously hilarious lines such as, “I fart in your general direction!” These are lines your kids are sure to remember, and will practice repeating until you long for the good old days of "Blues Clues" and "The Wiggles."

Here's a great clip (whoever put it on YouTube had a brightness issue, but you get the idea):


  1. Thanks for the comments! That is exactly what I needed to know for my 14 and 11 yr olds. I'll just skip the castle of virgins scene ;) Thanks! cb

  2. ?
    I thought it was R

  3. that movie is defenetly R

  4. Thanks this really helps cause my mom thinks its PG and wants to let my little bro watch

  5. There will be a time, I hope, when something as natural and (generally) unharmful as oral sex is considered LESS offensive than graphic violence and gore.
    "Dear Child, these acts that two people share between each other, frequently and the world over in happiness and pleasure-- we dare not speak of it. Now go, desensitize yourself to the rare (in reality) but disturbingly-popular fictionalized mass slaughter of your fellow man."
    ... yeesh, let the kid watch Monty Python.

  6. Thanks for writing this up. I'm looking forward to watching it with my son, but we'll skip the castle of virgins scene like the other commenter.

  7. Have just enjoyed it with small son - who found the holy hand grenade scene deeply funny. Thanks to you I fast forwarded the Vestal virgins. Really appreciated the warning as I'd forgotten that bit. Bizarrely my DVD of this seems to be rated 15. (I only noticed that after having started watching it - hence a quick check on here). We watched the killer rabbit twice!

  8. Just don't let them watch the Lancelot adventure, and you'll be fine!

  9. John Cleese is on tour this year, and it reminded me that NONE of my children have seen The Holy Grail. I have two teenage boys, two preteen girls, and two toddlers, that I needed to research for. Thank you for this review, as my memory of this movie is old and limited.


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