Existentialism in Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”

The Monty Python world is always absurd and not necessarily full of meaning but that is particularly prevalent in their last moving The Meaning of Life. 

In The Meaning of Life, the Monty Python cast attempts to discover the meaning of life. In the film, the stages of life: birth, growing up, war, middle age, organ transplants, old age, and death, are told through sketches and songs. 

In one scene, two tourists are having a conversation about philosophy and eventually give up, stating there is no point. In another scene, corporate executives attempted to discuss the meaning of life but eventually decided it might have anything to do with people not buying enough hats. 

Additionally, throughout the film, there is a recurring theme of the pointlessness of death. In one scene, soldiers yawn as a violent battle is occurring all around them. In another scene, soldiers try to celebrate their captain’s birthday but keep getting shot in the process. 

At the end of the film, they finally reveal the meaning of life to be “Well, it’s nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people. Avoid eating fat. Read a good book every now and then”.

The overall theme of the film seems to be the pointlessness of life and death and the absurdity of even trying to figure it out.

4 thoughts on “Existentialism in Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”


    I really like your analysis of Monty python. I have always watched it and not thought much about the deeper meaning, but I realize now that a lot of the jokes may have gone over my head the first time I watched the film because I didn’t know what existentialism was and how it related to the satire aspect of the movie.


  2. LG

    Monty Python is a great connection to existentialism and the absurd. I like how you mentioned Monty pythons interpretation on the meaning of life. Its quite in line with “The Stranger”. Ill have to give the movies a look.



    I love Monty Python and I think this analysis of “The Meaning of Life” in an existentialist lens is super interesting. I think the point you made about the absurdity in “trying to figure it out” clearly captures the main idea of what I’ve learned about existentialist theory so far.


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