I remember seeing Monty Python and the Holy Grail in the theater with my friends in high school (that dates me) and it set the standard in my book for wit and intelligent writing that few works I’ve seen or read since even approach.

This scene in particular is one of the sharpest pieces of comedy ever scripted. My sons grew up with this film and can rattle off the entire Arthur-Dennis dialog between them at the drop of a hat. It’s hard for me to fathom that there might be people who don’t know this piece of brilliance, but if you happen to be one of them, or if you could use a fresh fix of Python, then enjoy!

CONSTITUTIONAL PEASANTS

ARTHUR (Graham Chapman): Old woman!

DENNIS (Michael Palin): Man!

ARTHUR: Man, sorry. What knight lives in that castle over there?

DENNIS: I’m thirty-seven.

ARTHUR: What?

DENNIS: I’m thirty-seven. I’m not old!

ARTHUR: Well, I can’t just call you ‘man.’

DENNIS: Well, you could say Dennis.

ARTHUR: Well, I didn’t know you were called Dennis.

DENNIS: Well, you didn’t bother to find out, did you?

ARTHUR: I did say sorry about the ‘old woman,’ but from the behind you looked–

DENNIS: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior!

ARTHUR: Well, I AM king…

DENNIS: Oh, king, eh, very nice. An’ how’d you get that, eh? By exploitin’ the workers — by ‘angin’ on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic an’ social differences in our society! If there’s ever going to be any progress–

WOMAN (Terry Jones): Dennis, there’s some lovely filth down here. Oh — how d’you do?

ARTHUR: How do you do, good lady. I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Whose castle is that?

WOMAN: King of the who?

ARTHUR: The Britons.

WOMAN: Who are the Britons?

ARTHUR: Well, we all are. We’re all Britons and I am your king.

WOMAN: I didn’t know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.

DENNIS: You’re fooling yourself. We’re living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes–

WOMAN: Oh, there you go, bringing class into it again.

DENNIS: That’s what it’s all about. If only people would–

ARTHUR: Please, please good people. I am in haste. Who lives in that castle?

WOMAN: No one lives there.

ARTHUR: Then who is your lord?

WOMAN: We don’t have a lord.

ARTHUR: What?

DENNIS: I told you. We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.

ARTHUR: Yes.

DENNIS: But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting.

ARTHUR: Yes, I see.

DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs–

ARTHUR: Be quiet!

DENNIS: –but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more–

ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!

WOMAN: Order, eh — who does he think he is?

ARTHUR: I am your king!

WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.

ARTHUR: You don’t vote for kings.

WOMAN: Well, ‘ow did you become king then?

ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, [singing] her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!

DENNIS: Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

ARTHUR: Be quiet!

DENNIS: Well you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they’d put me away!

ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!

DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.

ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! — HELP! HELP! I’m being repressed!

ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!

DENNIS: Oh, what a giveaway. Did you here that, did you here that, eh? That’s what I’m on about — did you see him repressing me, you saw it didn’t you?

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Erin MacMichael is a science fantasy author and artist, creator of the T'nari Renegades series of novellas, novels, covers, and artwork. Her lifelong quest has been to explore past the boundaries of conventional thinking and figure out what really has transpired on this planet. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her marvelous offspring.

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I remember seeing Monty Python and the Holy Grail in the theater with my friends in high school (that dates me) and it set the standard in my book for wit and intelligent writing that few works I’ve seen or read since even approach.

This scene in particular is one of the sharpest pieces of comedy ever scripted. My sons grew up with this film and can rattle off the entire Arthur-Dennis dialog between them at the drop of a hat. It’s hard for me to fathom that there might be people who don’t know this piece of brilliance, but if you happen to be one of them, or if you could use a fresh fix of Python, then enjoy!

CONSTITUTIONAL PEASANTS

ARTHUR (Graham Chapman): Old woman!

DENNIS (Michael Palin): Man!

ARTHUR: Man, sorry. What knight lives in that castle over there?

DENNIS: I’m thirty-seven.

ARTHUR: What?

DENNIS: I’m thirty-seven. I’m not old!

ARTHUR: Well, I can’t just call you ‘man.’

DENNIS: Well, you could say Dennis.

ARTHUR: Well, I didn’t know you were called Dennis.

DENNIS: Well, you didn’t bother to find out, did you?

ARTHUR: I did say sorry about the ‘old woman,’ but from the behind you looked–

DENNIS: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior!

ARTHUR: Well, I AM king…

DENNIS: Oh, king, eh, very nice. An’ how’d you get that, eh? By exploitin’ the workers — by ‘angin’ on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic an’ social differences in our society! If there’s ever going to be any progress–

WOMAN (Terry Jones): Dennis, there’s some lovely filth down here. Oh — how d’you do?

ARTHUR: How do you do, good lady. I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Whose castle is that?

WOMAN: King of the who?

ARTHUR: The Britons.

WOMAN: Who are the Britons?

ARTHUR: Well, we all are. We’re all Britons and I am your king.

WOMAN: I didn’t know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.

DENNIS: You’re fooling yourself. We’re living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes–

WOMAN: Oh, there you go, bringing class into it again.

DENNIS: That’s what it’s all about. If only people would–

ARTHUR: Please, please good people. I am in haste. Who lives in that castle?

WOMAN: No one lives there.

ARTHUR: Then who is your lord?

WOMAN: We don’t have a lord.

ARTHUR: What?

DENNIS: I told you. We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.

ARTHUR: Yes.

DENNIS: But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting.

ARTHUR: Yes, I see.

DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs–

ARTHUR: Be quiet!

DENNIS: –but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more–

ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!

WOMAN: Order, eh — who does he think he is?

ARTHUR: I am your king!

WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.

ARTHUR: You don’t vote for kings.

WOMAN: Well, ‘ow did you become king then?

ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, [singing] her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!

DENNIS: Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

ARTHUR: Be quiet!

DENNIS: Well you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they’d put me away!

ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!

DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.

ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! — HELP! HELP! I’m being repressed!

ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!

DENNIS: Oh, what a giveaway. Did you here that, did you here that, eh? That’s what I’m on about — did you see him repressing me, you saw it didn’t you?

Like and share this page!

Save Save Save Save Save

Erin MacMichael is a science fantasy author and artist, creator of the T'nari Renegades series of novellas, novels, covers, and artwork. Her lifelong quest has been to explore past the boundaries of conventional thinking and figure out what really has transpired on this planet. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her marvelous offspring.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *