Terrence Vance “Terry” Gilliam (born 22 November 1940) is an American-born British screenwriter, film director, animator, actor and member of the Monty Python comedy troupe. Gilliam is also known for directing several films, including Brazil (1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), The Fisher King (1991), and 12 Monkeys (1995). The only “Python” not born in Britain, he took British citizenship in 1968.
With the gradual break-up of the Python troupe between Life of Brian in 1979 and The Meaning of Life in 1983, Gilliam became a screenwriter and director, building upon the experience he had acquired during the making of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Gilliam says he used to think of his films in terms of trilogies, starting with Time Bandits in 1981. The 1980s saw Gilliam’s self-written Trilogy of Imagination about “the ages of man” in Time Bandits (1981), Brazil (1985), and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). All are about the “craziness of our awkwardly ordered society and the desire to escape it through whatever means possible.” All three movies focus on these struggles and attempts to escape them through imagination; Time Bandits, through the eyes of a child, Brazil, through the eyes of a thirty-something year old, and Munchausen, through the eyes of an elderly man.
Throughout the 1990s, Gilliam directed his Trilogy of Americana, The Fisher King (1991), 12 Monkeys (1995), and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), which were based on scripts by other people, played on North American soil, and while still being surreal, had less fantastical plots than his previous trilogy.
First Published: Feb 5, 2012 – Last Updated: Jan 27, 2013