Monty Python's Life of Brian, 1979

Director

Terry Jones

Cast

visit the film locations

Tunisia: Getting there: flights to Habib Bourguiba International Airport, Monastir

Tourist info: Tunisian National Tourism Office

Specialist tours: Panorama Tunisia Experience specialists in Tunisian holidays (based in the UK)

Visit the fascinating Ribat at Monastir


Trivia

If you’re touring Tunisia, you’ll want to visit sites from The English Patient, Raiders of the Lost Ark and, of course, the Star Wars films.

Monty Python's Life of Brian filming location: The Ribat, Monastir, Tunisia

Monty Python's Life of Brian filming location: "Welease Woger!": The Ribat, Monastir, Tunisia

Along with Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap and Mel Brooks’ (original) The Producers, this has to be one of the three funniest films ever. Well, that’s my opinion.

Very naughty boy Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman) gets mistaken for the Messiah – and makes a pretty good job of the position – in the Python team’s brilliant satire.

Monty Python's Life of Brian filming location: The Ribat, Monastir, Tunisia

Monty Python's Life of Brian filming location: The Ribat, Monastir, Tunisia

You can visit the film’s ‘Holy Land’ settings in Tunisia, where most of the film was shot in the Ribat, the fortified monastery at Monastir, previously the setting for Franco Zeffirelli’s terminally pious TV production, Jesus of Nazareth.

Monastir, with its airport, is the centre of the Gulf of Hammamet’s tourist coast, though the town itself is small and away from the hotel complexes. The Ribat, with its maze of walls and passages, is open to the public (admission charge).

Monty Python's Life of Brian filming location: The Kasbah, Sousse, Tunisia

Monty Python’s Life of Brian filming location: ‘Jerusalem’ city walls: The Kasbah, Sousse, Tunisia

The city walls are the Kasbah at Sousse, the major city about 25 miles west of Monastir. The Kasbah is now a museum, containing a collection of Roman mosaics.

Many tour guides, countless internet sites and indeed guide books, will tell you that the ‘Jerusalem’ Colosseum scene was filmed at the spectacular amphitheatre of El Djem. Well, it wasn't.

Towering over the small town of El Djem, the third largest Roman amphitheatre in the world is certainly worth visiting, but it bears no resemblance to the arena seen in the film.

In fact, the scene of Brian being recruited into the People’s Front of Judea at the bloody ‘Children’s Matinee’ was filmed at the Roman theatre in Carthage, northern Tunisia, with plenty of set-dressing and matte painting.

The final crucifixion scene uses the landscape around Matmata, toward the south of the country, the town which became home to Luke Skywalker in the Tunisia-shot Star Wars.

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