Henry IV and the Holy Grail

Banner Holy Grail above Castle Anthrax - Python Grail Henry IV subtitles

12 May 2016
· Monty Python mashes up 2H4 with their movie about King Arthur ·

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Shake-Speare (that’s me) is a great fan of Monty Python. Python is the second-best cultural entity ever to come from this scepter’d isle, and it’s a close second.

Today I share a particular gem.

The troupe’s first real film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail [1], arrived in cinemas in April 1975. Hasn’t aged a day. It was subsequently released on videocassette (those bloody tapes), and more recently on various DVD and Blu-ray discs. Last fall (2015) brought the 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Gift Set Blu-ray [2], which came in a castle-shaped box complete with an ersatz catapult and miniature livestock. The boys demonstrate in the following video, though Eric is absent and Graham is still dead.

January 2020 update: So now is Terry Jones, see the end of the post.

Plastic cows aside, Python DVDs have included a changing assortment of bonus features. They love to keep tinkering with their work (reminds me of me, revising my plays over time), and these added bits of new content keep people buying the same movies over and over again. I own three different copies of Holy Grail, not counting the tape. Smart lads.

What you want is a disc with an English subtitle track called Subtitles For People Who Don’t Like The Film. It should be listed among the bonus features on the packaging. This is the gem.

If you’ve gone disc-less and you know how to mess with SRT files, you can go to opensubtitles.org and download the file. Or save a few extra clicks and download this SRT directly instead.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll see when you run the subtitle track. It’s all from Henry IV Part 2 but pay attention because the quotes aren’t random and they aren’t the play’s lines in sequence.

They’ve done this for the entire film. The first time I saw it I would have died laughing, had that been possible.

I was so flattered.

  • [2] June 2020: I doubt that the 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Gift Set Blu-ray is still available, unless you manage to exhume a used one. I don’t know if this will help, but here are the links I included when the post first went up in 2016. [Amazon UK] [Amazon US]


Terry Jones
1 February 1942 – 21 January 2020