Movie: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)

On their highly influential and subversively masterful variety show, Monty Python's Flying Circus, the British comedy troupe (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, and Terry Jones) redefined everything viewers and critics knew about humor with social commentary, a no-rules format, and rampant quirkiness. On the big screen, they were just as efficient, kicking off a string of grade-A, satirical comedies with 1974's Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Interpreting the medieval legend of King Arthur and his Round Table with smartly moronic touch, Holy Grail presents its dim-witted but regal characters with a series of mirthful set pieces. In one hilarious scene, they enter a dark, empty castle and discover some writing on one of its walls. Hoping the message will help them find the elusive Grail, King Arthur asks Brother Maynard (Idle) to read the Aramaic engraving. It turns out to be "the last words of Joseph of Arimathea," saying, "He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail in the Castle of Aaargh…"

It's as if the author died in mid-writing. As Arthur points out, "If he was dying, he wouldn't bother to carve 'Aaargh.' He'd just say it." Sir Galahad's (Michael Palin) buffoonish reasoning? "Perhaps he was dictating."