Eric Idle


Eric Idle (born March 29, 1943) is an English actor, comedian, author, and musician. He is a former member of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python (with Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin), a member of the parody rock band The Rutles, and the writer, for the music and lyrics, of the Broadway musical Spamalot (based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail).

Known for his elaborate wordplay and musical numbers, Idle performed many of Python’s songs, including “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (from Life of Brian), and the “Galaxy Song” (from The Meaning of Life). After Monty Python’s Flying Circus, he hosted Saturday Night Live in the US four times in the first five seasons. Other notable film appearances include Yellowbeard (1983), with Chapman, Peter Cook, Peter Boyle, Cheech & Chong, Martin Hewitt, Michael Hordern, Madeline Kahn, James Mason and Cleese, Marty Feldman, Spike Milligan and Peter Bull. He also provided the voice of Wreck-Gar in the cult animated film The Transformers: The Movie (1986), with Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Casey Kasem, Robert Stack, Lionel Stander, John Moschitta Jr., Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, and Orson Welles (in one of his last credited roles), Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), with John Neville, Sarah Polley, Oliver Reed, and Uma Thurman; Quest for Camelot (1998), with Jessalyn Gilsig, Cary Elwes, Gary Oldman, Don Rickles, Jaleel White, Jane Seymour, Pierce Brosnan, Gabriel Byrne, and John Gielgud.

Idle’s initially successful solo career faltered in the 1990s with the failures of his 1993 film Splitting Heirs (written, produced by, and starring him), with Rick Moranis, Barbara Hershey, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cleese and Sadie Frost; and An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1998). Though he had slight success with Casper (1995), with Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, and Cathy Moriarty. He revived his career by returning to the source of his worldwide fame, adapting Monty Python material for other media. Following the success of the musical Spamalot (which won the Tony Award for Best Musical), he also wrote Not the Messiah, an oratorio derived from the Life of Brian. He featured in a one-hour symphony of British Music when he performed to a global audience at the London 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Alice in Wonderland (1966) – uncredited – TV movie
  • Now for Something Completely Different (1971) – directed by Ian MacNaughten – also co-writer
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)** – directed by Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones – also co-writer
  • The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978) – co-directed with Gary Weis – also writer, actor
  • Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)** – directed by Terry Jones – also co-writer
  • Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) – directed by Terry Hughes (live segments) & Ian MacNaughton (filmed segments) – also co-writer -concert comedy film
  • The Crimson Permanent Assurance (1983) – directed by Terry Gilliam – uncredited actor
  • Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983) – directed by Terry Jones – also co-writer
  • Yellowbeard (1983) – directed by Mel Damski
  • National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985) – directed by Amy Heckerling
  • The Transformers: The Movie (1986)** – directed by Nelson Shin
  • The Mikado (1987) – directed by John Michael Phillips – TV movie
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) – directed by Terry Gilliam
  • How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989) – directed by Bruce Robinson – uncredited voice
  • Around the World in 80 Days (1989) – directed by Buzz Kulik – miniseries
  • Nuns on the Run (1990) – directed by Jonathan Lynn
  • Too Much Sun (1991) – directed by Robert Downey Sr.
  • Mom and Dad Save the World (1992) – directed by Greg Beeman
  • Missing Pieces (1992) – directed by Leonard Stern
  • Splitting Heirs (1993) – directed by Robert Young – also writer, executive producer
  • Casper (1995)* – directed by Brad Silberling
  • The Wind in the Willows (1996) – directed by Terry Jones
  • An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1998) – directed by Arthur Hiller (as Alan Smithee)
  • The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue (1998) – directed by Dick Sebast – direct-to-video
  • Quest for Camelot (1998)* – directed by Frederik Du Chau
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie (1998) – directed by William R. Kowalchuk
  • Dudley Do-Right (1999) – directed by Hugh Wilson
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) – directed by Trey Parker
  • 102 Dalmatians (2000) – directed by Kevin Lima
  • Pinocchio (2002) – directed by Roberto Benigni – English dub – Italy
  • The Scream Team (2002) – directed by Stuart Gillard – TV movie
  • The Rutles 2: Can’t Buy Me Lunch (2002) – also director, writer
  • Concert for George (2003) – directed by David Leland – documentary
  • Hollywood Homicide (2003) – directed by Ron Shelton – cameo
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure (2003) – directed by Nick Marck – TV movie
  • Ella Enchanted (2004) – directed by Tommy O’Haver
  • The Aristocrats (2005) – directed by Penn Jillette & Paul Provenza – documentary
  • Shrek the Third (2007)* – directed by Chris Miller & Raman Hui
  • Delgo (2008) – directed by Marc F. Adler & Jason Maurer
  • Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy) (2010) – directed by Aubrey Powell – oratorio
  • Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go (2014)* – co-directed with Aubrey Powell – also co-writer – concert film
  • Absolutely Anything (2015) – directed by Terry Jones