directed by Terry Jones
UK 1979

After slaying the Arthurian legend in their now classic Holy Grail, the Pythons set their sights on the Greatest Story Ever Told. Blind faith, virgin birth, crucifixion nothing is sacred in this epic send-up of ancient times, which draws on the cornball biblical blockbusters of the 1950s to lampoon celebrity culture in any era.

***

The Three Wise Men go to the wrong manger, thus foisting upon Brian Cohen a role for which he is eminently unprepared. More Carrying On than usual from the Pythons, but the use of a tried and tested storyline (Cleese: 'Yes, it has got a bit of shape, hasn't it?') results in their most sustained effort to date. Python successfully lampoon religious attitudes rather than religion itself, while the comedy relies mainly on memories of the classroom; which is apt enough, considering that most of the audience is likely to associate knowledge of the Holy Writ with schooldays too.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 17, 1979

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Sony Pictures (Blu-ray) - Region FREE

Big thanks to Ole Kofoed for all the Screen Caps!

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Sony Pictures (Blu-ray) - Region FREE - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Criterion

Region 0 - NTSC

Sony Pictures
Region FREE
Runtime 1:33:45 1:33:43
Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.76 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: around 20-30 mb/s
 

Audio English Stereo Dolby Digital 2.0

English Uncompressed PCM 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) / English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 / French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 / Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.0

Subtitles English, none English SDH, English, Spanish, French, Nordic, Dutch, Portuguese, Czech, Polish, Chinese, Thai, Arabic and more...
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary with Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle & Terry Jones.
• Commentary with John Cleese & Michael Palin.
• The Pythons - Documentary - 1979 (49:48).
• 5 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary.
• 4 British Radio Ads.
• Theatrical Trailer.
• Fold-Out Booklet Feat. Liner Notes by Film Editor George Perry (Sunday Times).

DVD Release Date: November 16, 1999
Double Keep Case

Chapters 19

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary with Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle & Terry Jones.
• Commentary with John Cleese & Michael Palin.
• The Story of Brian - Featurette - 2007 (59:51).
• 5 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary.
• 4 British Radio Ads.
• Audio Recording of the Script Being Read by the Pythons with Storyboard Illustrations (1:50:48).

 

DVD Release Date: January 29th, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 16

 

Comments

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures are ripped directly from the DVD and not all frame matches are exact.

The Criterion SD release (compared HERE to the Columbia UK edition) always seemed inferior in the image department (dirty, grainy, hazy), but now we can see how telling it is in the differences against the Sony hi-def disc. Using an MPEG-4 AVC codec the 1080P resolution is a revelation (no pun intended) for Life of Brian. Detail, colors, brightness leap to life on the Sony REGION-FREE dual-layered Blu-ray edition. The screen caps tell the visual story better than words. NOTE: Skin tones are very red/dark on the newer Blu-ray.

The Criterion had some stupendous supplements but these are, almost, all duplicated including the two audio commentaries: one by Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, and Terry Jones; the second by John Cleese and Michael Palin as well as five deleted scenes with audio commentary by the Pythons... BUT the additional The Story of Brian featurette on the Blu-ray is quite excellent and informative in its own right. NOTE: All the Blu-ray edition extras are in SD (480 res) only.

We haven't fully compared the audio but although the Criterion *may* be original the BRD bumps sound full and rich - closely matching the brilliance of the image quality. Both editions have English subtitle options but the Sony adds a stack more to satisfy many of the geographic locations it is being sold.

Those debating the value of Blu-ray may wish to use this comparison as a yardstick for an encouraging kick in the pants. Of course, not every film has this level of improvement but in this particular case the differences are some of the largest we have yet seen.

 - Gary Tooze + Ole Kofoed

 


 

Screen Captures

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Sony Pictures (Blu-ray) - Region FREE - BOTTOM) 

 

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Sony Pictures (Blu-ray) - Region FREE - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Sony Pictures (Blu-ray) - Region FREE - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Sony Pictures (Blu-ray) - Region FREE - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Sony Pictures (Blu-ray) - Region FREE - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Sony Pictures (Blu-ray) - Region FREE - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Sony Pictures (Blu-ray) - Region FREE - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Sony

Sound:

Sony

Extras: Sony
Menu: Sony

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Criterion

Region 0 - NTSC

Sony Pictures
Region FREE

 

 





 

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