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The Meaning of Life (1983)

The comedy team takes a look at life in all its stages in their own uniquely silly way.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chadwick / Jeremy Portland-Smythe
Andrew MacLachlan ...
Mark Holmes ...
Victim #2 / Troll Waiter / Guest #2
Valerie Whittington ...
Jennifer Franks ...
Imogen Bickford-Smith ...
Nurse #2 (as Imogen Bickford Smith)


Why are we here, what's it all about? The Monty Python-team is trying to sort out the most important question on Earth: what is the meaning of life? They do so by exploring the various stages of life, starting with birth. A doctor seems more interested in his equipment than in delivering the baby or caring for the mother, a Roman Catholic couple have quite a lot of children because 'every sperm is sacred'. In the growing and learning part of life, catholic schoolboys attend a rather strange church service and ditto sex education lesson. Onto war, where an officer's plan to attack is thwarted by his underlings wanting to celebrate his birthday and an officer's leg is bitten off by presumably an African tiger. At middle age a couple orders 'philosophy' at a restaurant, after which the film continues with live organ transplants. The autumn years are played in a restaurant, which, after being treated to the song 'Isn't It Awfully Nice to Have a Penis?' by an entertainer, sees the arrival ... Written by Arnoud Tiele (imdb@tiele.nl)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What it is, Where it is, and how to avoid treading in it [Video Australia] See more »


Comedy | Musical


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 March 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life  »


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,987,000, 3 April 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (2003 restored director's cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The names of companies owned by the Very Big Corporation of America (listed on the wall in the board room and being added to by the sign painter) are a repeating list, some of which are puns or in-jokes having to do with events in the rest of the movie. They are:
  • Acme Construction Company
  • Payne, Bickers and Dogood Ltd.
  • Stn. Pendons Ltd.
  • V. Rich and Son
  • Doneys (Florence)
  • Mirage Land Co.
  • Arctic Geo. Lab. Co.
  • Liver Donors Inc.
  • World Wide Wine Corp.
  • Universal Amalgamations Ltd.
  • Consolidated Steel Co.
  • Micro Computer Inc.
  • Moonscape Products Ltd.
  • Rubber Goods Incorporated
  • D.Odgey Enterprises Ltd.
  • Money Factor Printers Ltd.
  • Better Plastics Corps.
  • D. Crepid Holdings
  • Super Big Ltd.
  • Space Propulsion Lab
  • Interstellar Travel Corp.
  • Dawking's Mining Co.
  • Lange and Sons (International)
  • Cooper's (Purveyors)
  • Dickinson Kincain Association
  • The All Enveloping Co. Ltd.
  • O. Verpaid Associates Ltd.
  • E. Normons and Sons
  • A. Maze and Lee
  • Huge Horace Mann and Yure Ltd.
  • R. Devious Inc.
  • Wakefeld and Daughter
  • Vast Holdings (Europe) Ltd.
  • Phil Thevich Consortium
  • Fastness and Vast Co. Ltd
  • Star Bright Merchandise Org.
  • X. Tortion World Wide Ltd.
  • Cartwright Tutorials
  • Black and White Picture Co. Ltd.
  • R. J. McArthur Parks Ltd.
  • Walker, Walker and Jones Bros.
  • Data Travel and Experiments
(list repeats) See more »


In the war sequence, the soldiers give their sergeant a clock, which is placed on the edge of the mound they are hiding behind, clearly visible. In the next shot, the clock is gone. See more »


Chaplain: [singing] Oh Lord, please don't burn us/Don't grill or toast your flock/Don't put us on the barbecue/Or simmer us in stock/Don't braise or bake or boil us/Or stir-fry us in a wok/Oh please don't lightly poach us/Or baste us with hot fat/Don't fricassee or roast us/Or boil us in a vat/And please don't stick thy servants Lord/In a Rotiss-o-mat.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, the title is initially written as "MEANING OF LIFF", then a lightning strike corrects that to "LIFE". A book, "The Meaning of Liff", written by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd was published in 1983. See more »


Referenced in Sånger från andra våningen (2000) See more »


The Liberty Bell
Written by John Philip Sousa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Disgusting, Obscene, Disgraceful; and downright hilarious!
20 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

I was introduced to Monty Python a few weeks ago by a friend who let me borrow their movie collection on DVD. I have still got it with me, and have watched all the films at least twice. I have to admit, the humour and format is a bit out of date, but when you consider it's all over 20 years old and all still funny, you realise how ingenious it actually is. Anyhow, despite what other fans have said, this is almost certainly Monty Python's best film. Sure, it doesn't quite have the satirical cleverness of Life of Brian, sure it isn't as creative as Holy Grail, and despite the fact a lot of fans like this because it's quite similar to the flying circus show, it doesn't get as close to that as 'Now for something completely different' did (probably because that contained sketches directly from the show), and sure, John Cleese denied rewriting the script, which would of made the film even better, but it does have one thing that the show; or any of the other movies for that matter; doesn't have... Conplete and utter frequent obscenity. Seriously, from the beginning to the end it's got sexual, near blasphemous, and death based humour, but because I was watching it with my brother and not mother or any older generation, I hardly noticed. That was, until the live organ transplant scene. Seriously, that was the funniest, most shocking scene I have ever seen in Monty Python, or possibley ever. You have to watch it to get it, but damn. It's also got everything Monty Python's stuff other stuff has got, including an incredibly surreal 'middle of the film' Your'll love this film if you like Monty Pythons unique brand of humour, or if you enjoy fatalist, dark, sexual, toilet, violent, offencive or any other kind of shock value humour. Oh yeah, It's also got Boobies. I think it also contains the f-word a few times, but I don't think it was used more than in Life of Brian so from that side it was less obscene, but on the whole, this is the live-action, plot less, philosophical South Park movie.

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