Life of Brian is about a lot of things. It’s about human stupidity. It’s about a poor fella who just can’t win. It’s about the eternal hilarity of naming a character “Biggus Dickus,” and it’s kind of, sort of about Jesus, in a sideways fashion at least.
It’s no secret that the film came out to great controversy and was banned out the wazoo. While there’s certainly a mean-streak informing the film’s look at a biblical period, it doesn’t really mess with Jesus as a person or leader. Looking at it now, the idea of blasphemy within the film seems only possible among those who have never actually seen it. If people had a problem that it utilizes too much comedic violence or Graham Chapman weenis, at least you know they really sat through the thing.
Of all the Python films, I find this one not quite as funny as Holy Grail (which actually features God) but probably the better movie overall, certainly the most respectable one from a satirical point of view. There’s a reason why this, rather than Holy Grail, has a Criterion release, and it’s one of those wonderful selections that keeps that company from just being an outlet for snooty film snobs. If you want to celebrate great cinema, you also need to include movies where goofy aliens show up in Roman times for no reason at all.