None Shall Pass Up These ‘Monty Python And The Holy Grail’ Lines

Since its release, Monty Python and the Holy Grail has grown from successful box office hit to inescapable cultural phenomenon. The Python troupe retained their mix of slapstick, surrealism, parody, and anarchic silliness from their sketch comedy television show when shifting to the big screen for their take on the King Arthur legend, and the goofy charms of their madcap film are hard to ignore.

A significant reason for the longevity of the film’s popular reputation is its seemingly endless supply of memorable scenes and quotes. It can be quite the daunting task to narrow down a selection of the film’s greatest zingers because there are always more to uncover, but here’s an absolutely definitive list of Holy Grail’s wittiest moments.

“Lets not bicker and argue over who killed who.” – Swamp Castle King

Sir Lancelot’s hasty and ill-advised attack on the swamp castle ended in a bloodbath with several pointless casualties, so surely this was an event of great shame? Not so for the king, who casually brushes aside the tragedy as if it were an everyday petty squabble.

“What…is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” – Bridgekeeper

The hilarious combination of the technology-less medieval society with very specific science talk (along with political musings in other scenes) is a frequently recurring joke throughout the film.

“I’m not dead!” – Old Man

The Black Plague is played for some twisted laughs in this sequence where people are rounding up dead bodies as if they were going about their daily nine-to-five routines, but one man isn’t quite as stone cold as he seems.

“She turned me into a newt!” – Witch-Hunting Peasant

“…A newt?” – Bedevere

“…I got better” – Witch-Hunting Peasant

For a film that is ostensibly about being as silly and random as possible, it also finds ways to poke fun at the absurdities of medieval life, such as the witch burning hysteria. When pressed for why this particular woman is a witch, the peasant is (nearly) caught in his forced lie.

“When suddenly, the animator suffered a fatal heart attack.” – Narrator

Part of the charm of Holy Grail is how delightfully random and full of non-sequitors it is, none of which is more apparent than in this hand-drawn monster chase where it’s cut short by the abrupt death of its animator mid-sequence.

“Must be a king…he hasn’t got sh*t all over him” – Dead collector

Sometimes it’s the simplest and most direct answers that speak the greatest truths in life.

“Camelot!” – Arthur

“Camelot!” – Galahad

“Camelot!” – Lancelot

“It’s only a model.” – Patsy

Rarely has a meta “we’re all in a movie” joke been so naturally delivered without feeling smug and/or distracting, as Patsy’s killer punchline deflates the iconic castle’s sense of wonder.

“I fart in your general direction!” – French Soldier

This just further proves the silliness of the French people and provides an insult for the ages.

“It’s just a flesh wound.” – The Black Knight

This is arguably the most oft-repeated quote from the film, and for good reason. The fight with the Black Knight is filled wall-to-wall with quotable lines as the stubborn knight refuses to back down, and it’s this casual brush-off at the loss of his arm that still earns the biggest laughs to this day.

“You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.” – Dennis

The entire sequence with Dennis is a treasure trove of incisive political analysis and criticism from a filth-digging peasant, but it’s this myth-demolishing quote, one that hasn’t been run into the ground by endless Holy Grail cultural references, pointing out the ridiculousness of Arthur’s destiny as king that reigns supreme above all others.

And now, we’re all through here so…