Geek and Nerd In-Jokes: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy GrailThis next installment in my inside-jokes sequence is a very fun movie that my wife can’t stand. The only thing she likes from this movie is the logical method for determining if someone is a witch, which was screened and discussed in her college logic class.

As for me, this film is one of my favorites, and I can be caught quoting it frequently.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a movie that was made by the British comedy group that called themselves Monty Python. It follows the adventures of Sir Arthur of Camelot and his Knights of the Round Table as they quest to find the Holy Grail. Comedy ensues throughout their exploits. I won’t tell you how it ends, but it is both disappointing and humorous.

What You Need to Know

  • Prominent characters: King Arthur, his squire Patsy, Sir Bedevere the Wise, Sir Lancelot the Brave, Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot, Sir Galahad the Pure (also Sir Galahad the Chaste), the Black Knight and Tim the Enchanter
  • King Arthur engages in combat with the Black Knight, during which the black knight gradually loses all of his limbs, and finally agrees to “call it a draw”. After which, he taunts Arthur for running away as a coward.
  • There is a song-and-dance routine about being knights of the round table and eating spam a lot.
  • At various times throughout the film, black cats are abused in odd ways (used to dust a rug, kicked off a table during a can-can dance, etc.)
  • The film was re-made for broadway as a theater production called “Spamalot”
  • Arthur and his companions encounter the knights who guard the sacred words (commonly referred to as the knights who say Ni)
  • King Arthur and his men travel primarily on coconut horses (galloping on imaginary horses while banging coconuts together). At one point, they are forced to dismount and leave their horses behind when they get spooked.
  • The aptly-named Sir Not-appearing-in-this-film, does in fact not appear in the film.
  • There is a scene where a woman has been dressed-up like a witch, and Sir Bedevere helps the villagers determine whether or not it is true. The result of their logical process is that she is a witch if she weighs the same amount as a duck.
  • Sir Galahad sees an image of the holy grail above the castle anthrax. When he goes to investigate, he finds the castle to be inhabited only by attractive and “lonely” maidens. It is finally revealed that he was lured there by a lighted beacon, that happens to be grail-shaped. Just in the nick of time, Sir Lancelot rescues him from the peril of impending spankings and oral sex.
  • Sir Lancelot finds a letter asking for help. His mistakenly presumes the author to be a damsel in distress, and proceeds to murder a large portion of a wedding party in an attempt to save her. He is disappointed and apologetic when he finds it was the prince who wrote the note.
  • Sir Robin is followed by a band of minstrels that continuously sing of his bravery in escaping dangers and running away. The minstrels are later eaten as the group crossed the frozen lands of Nador. And there was much rejoicing. yay.
  • Running out of options when faced with the abominable killer rabbit, they employ their most powerful weapon, the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. Instructions for use can be found in the Book Of Armaments Chapter 2.
  • The opening credits and subtitles are hijacked, and those responsible are promptly sacked.

How to Recognize Allusions

  • References to a Black Knight or images of a knight without arms, wearing black armor
  • References to a killer bunny or images of a bunny with a bloody mouth
  • Someone says “ni”
  • References to a Trojan Rabbit
  • Mentions of the Holy Hand-grenade of Antioch, any Holy Hand-grenade, or other “Holy” weapons
  • Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh
  • Gorge of Eternal Peril
  • Responding to a question with a question about swallows (e.g. “What do you mean? African or European swallow?”)
  • Someone says that they need a shrubbery
  • A lackluster response of “and there was much rejoicing”
  • The word “spamalot”
  • A non-French person insulting or taunting someone with a French accent
  • Someone falters when recalling their favorite color (“Blue. No wait, green…”)
  • The phrase “really small rocks”, particularly in the context of water or things that float

Some Common Quotables

You might be a nerd if you are caught saying any of these phrases.


There are many other humorous gems and one-liners in this film. If I missed one of your favorites, post a comment to let me know!

One Response to “Geek and Nerd In-Jokes: Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

  1. Craig (Yes, that Craig)

    You might need most of the script to catch all of the funny bits. One allusion in particular is counting to 3, but messing and saying 5 instead of 3. A friend and I once used logic like unto that in the film to conclude the largest tree in the forest could be chopped down with an herring, if one had a pen that looked like a fish.


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