Hilarious Monty Python & The Holy Grail Censorship Letter Revealed

Often regarded as one of the greatest comedy films ever made, ‘Monty Python and The Holy Grail’ is considered tame by today’s standards, yet had a tough time with the censors back in the mid-1970s.

A letter written by the film’s producer Mark Forstater has surfaced over the comedy’s proposed rating and what needed to be cut to attain the biggest audience possible.

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Addressed to ‘Mike’ - assuming this is to fellow producer Michael White, and not Python regular Michael Palin - the letter states the key elements that Censors didn’t approve of.

It reveals how they intended to rate it an AA (the equivalent of today’s PG-13) rather than an A, which equates to a PG. Clearly the least restrictive certificate was preferred here.

However, as Forstater stipulates, there were a number of things the Censors wanted cutting to approve it for the more lenient rating.

Amusingly, they included the removal of some choice words and phrases:

As many ‘s**ts’ as possible,

the use of ‘Jesus Christ’,

“I fart in your general direction,”

“the oral sex,”

“Oh, f**k off,”

“We make castanets out of your testicles.”

It’s interesting how insistent they were in regard to these alterations, whereas nowadays there would be relatively little issue censoring religious defamation or the odd swear word in films rated suitable for 12a audiences.

Having negotiated to remove some of the above, Forstater managed to secure the lower audience rating for the movie and the rest, as they say, is history.

Let’s face it, the censors wouldn’t be up in arms about a few fart jokes nowadays, would they? If that were true then no Adam Sandler film would’ve ever seen the light of day.

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Picture credits: Michael White Productions