"The Holy Grail" Movie Summary

by Alex Tannin
John Cleese, star of

John Cleese, star of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is a 1975 movie starring the Monty Python comedy team. It's loosely based upon the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, although it treats its subject matter with the trademark irreverent Python style of humor. "The Holy Grail" was the first feature-length movie consisting of specifically written material from the Monty Python team.


King Arthur, accompanied by his squire Patsy and the Knights of the Round Table, set off on a journey to Camelot. On their travels they battle the Black Knight, who refuses to concede defeat even after all his limbs have been chopped off. Arthur and the Knights eventually reach Camelot, but Arthur decides not to enter on the grounds that it is a "foolish" place. God appears to them in the clouds and instructs them to search for the Holy Grail.

The French

Arthur and the Knights travel to a castle where they believe the Grail is kept. The castle is controlled by French troops who fire insults at Arthur and his Knights. The Knights attempt to sneak into the castle inside a Trojan Rabbit. Although the rabbit makes it inside, the Knights have forgotten to hide inside it. The Frenchmen catapult the Rabbit back at the Knights, knocking them down. Arthur decides that the Knights should split up and each search for the Grail separately.

Individual Journeys

The Knights all come across various perils on their travels. Arthur comes into contact with the Knights Who Say Ni, who, as their name implies, are knights who say the word "ni" repeatedly. "Brave Sir Robin" flees in fear from a three-headed giant, all the while his bard singing a mocking song as he runs. Lancelot ruins a wedding party as he is convinced they are holding the bride against her will. Galahad is captured by women who wish to fulfill his every desire, although he is "rescued" against his will by Lancelot. The Knights regroup and are shown the location of the Grail by Tim the Enchanter.

Bridge of Death

The Knights must cross the Bridge of Death before they can reach the castle the Grail is kept in. A bridge-keeper insists that the Knights answer three questions before they can cross it: Robin and Galahad fail, but Arthur makes it across. Arthur discovers that the castle the Grail is kept in is occupied by the same French forces from earlier in the movie. He sets about organizing an army to storm the castle but as he prepares his assault the police arrive and arrest him.

About the Author

Born in Northampton, Alex Tannin has been writing across the journalistic landscape since 2003. His articles have appeared in "The Guardian," "Bizarre Magazine" and for Gaydar Radio and the Press Association, among others. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in print journalism from Leeds Trinity and All Saints College.

Photo Credits

  • Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images