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These “Monty Python” Quotes Are the True “Holy Grail”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail ranks among the silliest films ever made. Critics have perhaps justifiably called the movie uneven, but amid all the zaniness are many moments of true comedic genius — enough of them to cement The Holy Grail’s status as a cult classic and one of the greatest comedic films of all time.

This is all the more impressive considering the minuscule budget that the now-legendary comedy group (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin) had to work with. The sheer wackiness of the script — a surreal, ridiculous parody of Arthurian legend, featuring killer rabbits and debates about the air-speed velocity of swallows — made finding investors problematic.

To get the movie made, the Pythons convinced a handful of rock groups, including Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Jethro Tull, to help finance the film. The budget remained tight, which explains the need for coconuts rather than horses and the movie’s famously abrupt and bizarre ending.

Here are some of the funniest quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, featuring a host of memorable characters including the Black Knight, the French Soldier, and the anarcho-syndicalist peasant Dennis.

Look, it's my duty as a knight to sample as much peril as I can.
Sir Galahad (Michael Palin)

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Oh, king, eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.
Dennis (Michael Palin)

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I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
French Soldier (John Cleese)

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We are the knights who say, “Ni!”
Knight 1 (Michael Palin)

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When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp.
King of Swamp Castle (Michael Palin)

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
Dennis (Michael Palin)

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There are some who call me ... Tim.
Tim (John Cleese)

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I'm French. Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king?
French Soldier (John Cleese)

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When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled / Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out / Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat / A brave retreat by brave Sir Robin.
Minstrel (Neil Innes)

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Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.
Dennis (Michael Palin)

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We're knights of the Round Table, our shows are for-mi-dable / But many times we're given rhymes that are quite un-sing-able /… / In war we're tough and able / Quite in-de-fa-ti-gable. Between our quests, we sequin vests and impersonate Clark Gable.
Knights of Camelot

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Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who.
King of Swamp Castle (Michael Palin)

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That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on … That rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!
Tim (John Cleese)

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Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I'm being repressed!
Dennis (Michael Palin)

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I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
Woman (Terry Jones)

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On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.
King Arthur (Graham Chapman)

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Featured image credit: Desintegrator/ Alamy Stock Photo

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About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
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