Terrence Vance Gilliam (born November 22, 1940) is an American-born British screenwriter, film director, animator, actor, comedian and former member of the Monty Python comedy troupe (with Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin). He was born in Minnesota, but spent his high school and college years in Los Angeles. He started his career as an animator and strip cartoonist. He joined Monty Python as the animator of their works, but eventually became a full member and was given acting roles. He and Jones made their feature debuts as co-directors on Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, which they also co-wrote and acted in with their fellow Pythons.
He has directed 13 feature films, including Time Bandits (1981), with Sean Connery; Brazil (1985), with Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm; The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), with John Neville, Sarah Polly, Idle, Uma Thurman, and Oliver Reed; The Fisher King (1991), with Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, Mercedes Ruehl (who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress), Amanda Plummer, and Michael Jeter; 12 Monkeys (1995), with Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt; and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), with Johnny Depp, Benecio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Ellen Barkin, Gary Busey, Christina Ricci, Mark Harmon, and Cameron Diaz.
Later films include The Brothers Grimm (2005), with Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Lena Heady, Peter Stormare, and Monica Bellucci; Tideland (2005), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), with Christopher Plummer, Ledger, Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole, Tom Waits, Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law; The Zero Theorem (2013), with Christoph Waltz, David Thewlis, Mélanie Thierry, and Lucas Hedges; and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018), with Adam Driver and Pryce. Quixote he had been trying to get for around 30 years, one attempt chronicled in the documentary Lost in La Mancha (2002).
Most of his films explore the theme of imagination and its importance to life, express his opposition to bureaucracy and authoritarianism, and feature characters facing dark or paranoid situations. His own scripts feature black comedy and tragicomedic elements, as well as surprise endings. In 1988, Gilliam and the other Monty Python members received the BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema. In 2009, Gilliam received the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement. The only “Python” not born in Britain, he became a naturalised British subject in 1968 and formally renounced his American citizenship in 2006.
Each new review will me linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Do Not Adjust Your Set (1968) – animator, writer – TV series
- Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-1974) – animator, writer, actor – TV series
- And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) – directed by
- Ian MacNaughton – animator, co-writer, actor
- The Miracle of Flight (1974) – director, writer, animator – short
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)** – co-directed with Terry Jones – also co-writer, actor, animator
- Jabberwocky (1977) – director, co-writer
- Story Time (1979) – director, writer, animator – short
- Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)** – directed by Terry Jones – co-writer, animator, actor
- Time Bandits (1981) – director, co-writer
- Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) – directed by Terry Hughes (live segments) & Ian MacNaughton (filmed segments) – co-writer, actor – concert comedy film
- The Crimson Permanent Assurance (1983) – director, writer – short
- Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983) – directed by Terry Jones – co-writer, actor
- Brazil (1985) – director, co-writer
- The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) – director, co-writer
- The Fisher King (1991) – director
- 12 Monkeys (1995) – director
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) – director, co-writer
- The Brothers Grimm (2005)* director, uncredited co-writer
- Tideland (2005) – director, co-writer
- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) – director, co-writer
- The Legend of Hallowdega (2010) – director – short
- The Wholly Family (2011) – director, writer – short
- The Zero Theorem (2013) – director
- Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go (2014)* – directed by Eric Idle & Aubrey Powell – also co-writer, actor – concert film
- Jupiter Ascending (2015)* – directed by The Wachowskis – actor
- Absolutely Anything (2015) – directed by Terry Jones – actor
- The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)* – director, co-writer