George Harrison is famous for his work with The Beatles and his solo material, however, he’s perhaps less known for his work as a film producer. He executive produced the classic Monty Python movie Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Here’s a look at why he did so — and how the world reacted to this controversial movie.
Why The Beatles’ George Harrison got a loan to help produce ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’
Monty Python became famous through their television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus. They then made the transition to the big screen with And Now for Something Completely Different, which featured recreations of sketches from the show. They followed this movie with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which later became the basis for the musical Spamalot. Then, the group made the most controversial film of their career: Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
A comedy about a man who lives a life parallel to that of Jesus Christ, Monty Python’s Life of Brian pushed a lot of buttons. It was banned in Norway as well as towns in the United States and the United Kingdom. While George generally wasn’t known for creating controversy, he still served as this film’s executive producer for a very specific reason.
“What happened was that I helped to raise the money for them in order to make the film when the previous backer pulled out,” George told Rolling Stone’s Mick Brown. “As I’m a Monty Python fan, I wanted to see the movie – I like to go and have a laugh too – and a friend suggested that I try and raise the money. So we just got a loan from a bank. It’s a risk I suppose.”
How The Beatles’ George Harrison befriended members of the Monty Python troupe
Afterward, George discussed meeting members of the Monty Python troupe. “I first met Michael Palin and Terry Jones in 1972, I think,” he recalled. “I met Eric Idle in 1975, at the California premierè of the Holy Grail film. And although that was the first time I’d ever met him, I felt like I’d known them all for years, because I’d watched all the programs and had had them on videotape. So it only took ten minutes before we were the best of friends.” George revealed Monty Python was his favorite thing in the world after The Beatles broke up. He praised the troupe for being able to find humor in everything.
How the world reacted to ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’
George knew how to write a hit rock song — and how to produce a hit movie. According to Box Office Mojo, Monty Python’s Life of Brian earned over $140,000 during its opening weekend. It ultimately earned over $20 million. Monty Python’s Life of Brian certainly offended people — but that didn’t stop it from becoming a hit.