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):