Terry Gilliam, Movie by Movie

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Total Film has published an installment of their regular feature “Movie by Movie,” about each one of Terry Gilliam’s films: “The Trials, the Tribulations, The Triumphs.” From Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Jabberwocky on to Time Bandits about which there is an amazing story:

Gilliam was having a big argument with the studio about the ending, where the parents are blown up. The studio didn’t want exploding parents at the end of a movie. So he agreed to have a test screening in Fresno, with parents. But there was something wrong with the print, the sound was garbled, and it died altogether about a third of the way through. The test audience left, writing on their feedback cards that the one thing they liked most, was the ending — that is, they were relieved it was over! But the studio never found out the screening got botched, and so Gilliam got to keep his exploding parents.

Similar stories are given for Brazil, Baron von Munchausen, the Fisher King, Twelve Monkeys, Fear and Loathing, the Brothers Grimm, Tideland, and Doctor Parnassus.


Jeremy Hatch is a writer, musician, and professional bookseller leading a cheerful, aimless life in San Francisco. He is the Junior Literary Editor of the Rumpus and has a blog which he updates once in a while. More from this author →