Great Movie Scenes #005: Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)

Whenever we want to talk about the songs Monty Python have given us we usually go with the big one in “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life”. Now I am not dismissing that as anything short of brilliant so hopefully you fans don’t take umbrage when I say I don’t find that to be my favorite. It’s catchy and the message in it is uplifting; which is why everyone goes for it. For me though I have to say another Eric Idle written gem is my all time favorite of the groups musical numbers. It takes place in the fifth section of their final film The Meaning of Life. It’s called “The Galaxy Song” and I’l let you listen in before rattling off my love of it.

First of all: That outfit. Look at what Eric Idle is wearing in that! Even in the 80s a pink tuxedo seemed a bit excessive. But damn if he doesn’t make it work. That hair too is also pretty crazy too with the grey gloves and the cane. Basically he is an anti-Willy Wonka and I don’t think we have ever gotten a real explanation on why he looks like this. But hey, it works for the tone of the song so why complain? Also, I love that little bit in the beginning of the song where John Cleese closing the refrigerator door matches with the beat of the next verse. Nice bit of staging and editing there.

The song itself is not only catchy but it is pretty impressive with the math. Of course now a days we have a more exact science on these figures so they are a bit outdated. It does feel quite profound to listen as most of this is just a series of facts and figures about our place in the universe. Then again the final lyric might sour things a bit and it certainly still feels topical in today’s age. The song is also the biggest contrast to a scene in cinema history as the sketch that precedes it involves a man’s guts being ripped out (like The Walking Dead) as organ donor deliverymen basically kill a man.

The Meaning of Life is a very underrated film in my opinion even in today’s new age of Python fans. I hope there are a good amount of people though that share the same love of this song as much as I do.


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