The film has been seen as a critique of excessive religiosity, depicting organised and popular religion as hypocritical and fanatical. The film's satire on unthinking religious devotion is epitomised by Brian's attempt to persuade an enormous crowd of his followers to think for themselves:
Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow me, you don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!
The Crowd (in unison): Yes! We're all individuals!
Brian: You're all different!
The Crowd (in unison): Yes, we are all different!
Man in Crowd: I'm not.
Another Man: Shhh!
Брайан: Послушайте, вы все напутали! Вам не нужно следовать за мной, вы не нужно следовать ни за кем! Вы должны думать сами за себя! Вы все самостоятельны!
Толпа (в унисон): Да! Мы все самостоятельны!
Брайан: Вы все разные!
Толпа (в унисон): Да, мы все разные!
Голос из толпы: А я - нет.
Другой голос: Тс-с...
И да, фильм запрещали в той же Норвегии. Пока не одумались. Норвежцы его в Швецию ездили смотреть.
The alleged representation of Christ proved controversial. Protests against the film were organised based on its perceived blasphemy. On its initial release in the UK, the film was banned by several town councils – some of which had no cinemas within their boundaries, or had not even seen the film for themselves. A member of Harrogate council, one of those that banned the film, revealed during a television interview that the council had not seen the film, and had based their opinion on what they had been told by the Nationwide Festival of Light, of which they knew nothing. Some bans continued into the 21st century. In 2008, Torbay Council finally permitted the film to be shown after it won an online vote for the English Riviera International Comedy Film Festival. In 2009, it was announced that a thirty-year old ban of the film in the Welsh town of Aberystwyth was finally lifted, and the following showing was attended by Terry Jones and Michael Palin alongside mayor Sue Jones-Davies (who portrayed Judith Iscariot in the film). However, before the showing, an Aberystwyth University student discovered that the film actually never was banned in Aberystwyth, but was shown (or was scheduled to be shown) at a cinema in the town in 1981.
In New York, screenings were picketed by both rabbis and nuns ("Nuns with banners!" observed Michael Palin). It was also banned for eight years in the Republic of Ireland and for a year in Norway (it was marketed in Sweden as '"The film so funny that it was banned in Norway").