If you asked anyone in the world to name their top ten comedy films of all time, no one would argue that Monty Python and the Holy Grail deserves a spot on that list. This legendary send-up of traditional Arthurian tales is such a classic that it has achieved icon status, even inspiring its own Broadway musical, Spamalot.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is arguably the most famous film ever made by the most famous comedy group of all time, and the movie truly deserves all of the attention and accolades it's gotten over the years. But the history and trivia behind the film is almost as interesting, funny, and strange as the movie itself. Undoubtedly very few people would be surprised to know that things could get weird on the set of a Monty Python production, but some of the behind the scenes details of the film are absolutely wild.
10 Rock Stars Made The Movie Happen
Most people are familiar with the Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon, but most probably don't know that part of the money earned by the album went into the production of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Pink Floyd's members were apparently huge fans of Monty Python's Flying Circus, so much so, they decided to invest in this Monty Python film. And they actually weren't the only ones, fellow legendary rock bands Genesis and Led Zepplin were also investors.
9 The Killer White Rabbit Caused Some Drama
The segment in Monty Python and the Holy Grail featuring a homicidal white rabbit is one of the most memorable parts, and parts of the scene were actually filmed with a live white rabbit. The production paid the owner of a white rabbit for the use of their pet, and at one point they put what they thought was washable red dye on the animal.
Lo and behold, the dye was not so washable after all. The rabbit was completely unharmed, but the drama ensued made the Monty Python guys wish they had just bought their own rabbit instead.
8 They Had To Reuse Their Castle
The original plan for Monty Python and the Holy Grail was to film significant portions of the film at different castles around the United Kingdom. But shortly before the production actually began, the UK government decided to withdraw their filming permits for the castles that were under their control.
Luckily for Monty Python, the privately-owned Doune Castle and Castle Stalker were still available. However, the sudden limitations meant the production crew had to get very creative, which meant that most of the castle scenes are the same castles just redressed to look like different places.
7 They Really Paid Attention To Detail
Although Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a silly parody of classic Arthurian legend, that doesn't mean the production team didn't go above and beyond to make the movie as accurate as they could possibly make it. One fun Easter Egg in the movie is the costumes of the knights. The armor and weaponry of all of the knights are emblazoned with different artwork, which is actually a reflection of the knight that wears it throughout the story.
For example, King Arthur's armor features a sun design and Arthur receives a message from the god in the sky. Furthermore, Sir Galahad has his purity tested and his armor is decorated with a holy cross.
6 Director Terry Gilliam's Role Was Supposed To Be Much Bigger
Originally the on-screen role of the film's director, Terry Gilliam, was supposed to be much bigger than it wound up being in the final product. Gilliam's character was supposed to be a character called Sir Gawain, and the intention was for his character to constantly be breaking the fourth wall in the film.
Sir Gawain ultimately became Patsy, the assistant to King Arthur. Despite the original intentions of getting extra meta throughout the film, Patsy only delivers one line that breaks the fourth wall. This happens when, upon seeing Camelot Castle, Patsy declares that it's only a model.
5 An Army Of Students
Although the majority of the production value in Monty Python and the Holy Grail appears to be, shall we say, humble, the army that King Arthur manages to amass towards the end of the movie is actually a pretty impressive crowd. For most of the film, the extras are actually members of the crew, but for this particular scene, the production hired nearly two hundred students from Scotland's University of Stirling to play the role of the army.
The students were paid a whopping two pounds each for their services, but at least they can say that they were in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
4 No Money, Mo Problems
There seem to be dozens of memorable moments and scenes in this one film, but a few of their most iconic moments were purely driven by the fact that they didn't have the budget to make the story they wanted to write into a reality.
For instance, the iconic horse galloping sounds that are actually being created by a few coconuts came about simply because the movie couldn't afford real horses and had to think of a way to work around it. And the same goes for the lack of a battle at the end of the movie, there wasn't one because the money just wasn't there for it.
3 Their Armor Was Wool
Some of you might pick up on a recurring theme here, but the production for Monty Python and the Holy Grail was operating on a shoestring budget. Since they unsurprisingly couldn't afford the cost of real armor, the costumes were actually made from wool and painted to look like armor.
While wool is at least more flexible than metal, the typical UK weather meant that the entire cast was subjected to wearing cold and damp costumes for the majority of the project, which the entire troupe was not particularly fond of.
2 They Really Found A One-Legged Actor For The Black Knight
John Cleese initially played the Black Knight for the scenes in which the knight is still fully physically intact, but when he first loses his leg the production switched over to an actor who was really an amputee. Well actually, he wasn't really an actor either, he was apparently a local silversmith the production crew happened to find that made their lives a whole lot easier.
As the Black Knight's maiming progressed even further, the production just fully faked it and used a marionette to achieve the special effect. Obviously, John Cleese was the one performing all of the dialogue.
1 The Production Was Miserable
Most of the world looks at Monty Python and the Holy Grail and sees one of the funniest movies ever made, but the Monty Python troupe weren't big fans of the process that led to the film's creation. They pretty much unanimously agree that the movie was a miserable and exceedingly difficult experience, literally from day one pretty much everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.
Whether it was with locations, equipment, costuming, or even the performers, nothing went off without a hitch. Even Michael Palin, who was known for being the calmest and most easygoing member of the group, had an on-set blow up due to the stress.