Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam


11/22/1940, Minneapolis, MN

Birth Name

Terrance Vance Gilliam


out of 10
User Rating
26 votes


Terry Gilliam is one of the most exceptional Pythons for one main reason: he's an American, the only one of the predominantly British cast. His different takes on humor bring yet another unique craziness to Monty Python. Terry Gilliam was born on November 22, 1940 in Medicine Lake,…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Terry designed the logo for the Umbria Film Festival, and donated it to the festival organizers.

    • Terry contributed a Doodle to the National Doodle Campaign, which auctions off celebrity doodles for charity (The Neurofibromatosis Association).

    • Terry made a cameo appearance in the Chevy Chase/Dan Ackroyd outing Spies Like Us (1985) as Dr. Imhaus.

    • The Fisher King (1991) was the first film that Terry directed in which he was not involved in writing the screenplay.

    • Terry did not originally intend to cast Sean Connery as King Agamemnon in Time Bandits (1982), he merely wrote in the screenplay that when Agamemnon took off his helmet that he looked "exactly like Sean Connery." To Gilliam's surprise, the script found its way into Connery's hands and Connery subsequently expressed interest in doing the film.

    • Terry was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001.

    • Terry turned down directing Braveheart (1995), when briefly solicited by Mel Gibson to direct an abandoned film version of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities.

    • Terry directed a series of TV adds for Nike in 2001. They were part of The Scorpion Knockout Campaign, which featured some of the best soccer players on the globe. That campaign went to win a Cannes award in 2002, in the category of Best TV Campaign.

    • Terry started to direct The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in 2001 (in Spain) with Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis and Jean Rochefort but the shooting was unfortunately stopped a couple of days after it started because several disasters that meant the Insurers stopped production. But Terry Gilliam said that he won't give up and that he will try again later because he dreams about making this movie! In 2008, he started working on it again.

    • Terry turned down the opportunity to direct Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Enemy Mine (1985), and Forrest Gump (1994).

    • Terry was the only American-born member of the Monty Python troupe.

    • J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter book series, originally wanted Terry to direct Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone (2001), but Warner Brothers studios wanted a more family friendly film and eventually settled for Chris Columbus.

    • Terry is now a British citizen.

    • During the filming of Brazil (1985) Terry became so stressed that he temporarily lost the use of his legs, which only returned to normal several weeks later.

    • Terry was the founding editor of and principal contributor to campus humor magazine, Fang, at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA in the early 1960s.

    • Terry is best known for the bizarre animation sequences in Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969) using cutout pictures and photographs.

    • Terry's nickname is "Captain Chaos."

  • Quotes

    • Terry Gilliam: 'One Of Hollywood's Greatest Visionaries'?!? I'm Not Even A Hollywood Director!!!

    • Terry Gilliam: There's a side of me that always fell for manic things, frenzied, cartoony performances. I always liked sideshows, freakshows. Jerry Lewis was a freakshow ... absolutely grotesque, awful, tasteless. I like things to be tasteless.

    • Terry Gilliam: People in Hollywood are not showmen, they're maintenance men, pandering to what they think their audiences want.

    • Terry Gilliam: To be deemed to be OK, to be part of the culture, that's the kiss of death. When I'm pushing against something it helps me define what I believe. I've always been led to see what's beyond, what's round the corner. The world tries to say that this is what it is, and don't go any further, because out there are monsters. But I want to see what they are. So when I talk about the others in the group not having done more, that's because I really admire them, and I get angry when I see those with extraordinary talents not using them.

    • Terry Gilliam: I am getting tired of these fights [with backers.] Each time you get into a fight the world closes in a bit. You start losing an innocence, a belief that everything is possible. Terry Jones thinks I'm belligerent and egotistical, and that I've got to get into a fight to keep me going. It does keep me awake. But I limit it to the fights that are worth it nowadays.

    • Terry Gilliam: All I do is hunt. I want to be thrilled. And I'm not being thrilled at the moment. So I'm being old and bitter and curmudgeonly, because I want sensory buzz and I'm not getting it!

    • Terry Gilliam: I think I've got a certain talent and I don't know how to defend it. So I end up defending it more vociferously than it may need, but I always feel under threat. It's a basic in-built paranoia. When people start interfering, I go a little bit crazy.

    • Terry Gilliam: Hollywood is run by small-minded people who like chopping the legs off creative people. All they want to do is say no.

    • Terry Gilliam: I do want to say things in these films. I want audiences to come out with shards stuck in them. I don't care if people love my films or walk out, as long as they have a strong response.

    • Terry Gilliam: My problem is I'm like a junkie. I want a good movie fix, and I never get that fix. I want to be taken into some place, some world, some idea that I haven't thought of or imagined. And it doesn't happen.

    • Terry Gilliam: It happens with every film. There comes a part where the money and the creative elements all come crashing together. Everybody's under a lot of pressure, and everybody is panicking about what works and what doesn't. And the studios and the money always have one perspective and the creative people have another one, and usually what happens is a lot of compromises get made.

    • Terry Gilliam: (on future use of CGI in his films) Nooo! Leave that to George Lucas, he' s really mastered the CGI acting. That scares me! I hate it! Everybody is so pleased and excited by it. Animation is animation. Animation is great. But it's when you're now taking what should be films full of people, living thinking, breathing, flawed creatures and you're controlling every moment of that, it's just death to me. It's death to cinema, I can't watch those Star Wars films, they're dead things.

    • Terry Gilliam: Whether I like it or not, or whether anybody else does, when I start a film I have a few ideas. And as you're getting into it, you think, 'Ooh, there's another idea,' and you're shooting some more and, 'Oh, here's another thing. Let's do that.' I'm always changing and adding. That's just the way my mind works.

    • Terry Gilliam: Everybody has their opinion and some people are wrong. One of the things I enjoy about my films is that children really love them. They are open-minded. As we get older we seem to close in. We limit the size of the world we limit everything about it. We have to break that shell open sometimes and (The Brothers Grimm) is just a desperate attempt to do so.

    • Terry Gilliam: My main concern is to protect the film, and sometimes even I can get in the way of the film. If I'm causing a problem for the ultimate film, then I've got to be stopped, and I tell this to everybody who works with me. They find it hard to believe, but they finally do say, 'Terry, you can't do it.'

    • Terry Gilliam: I think there's a side of me that's trying to compete with Lucas and Spielberg - I don't usually admit this publicly - because I tend to think that they only go so far, and their view of the world is rather simplistic. What I want to do is take whatever cinema is considered normal or successful at a particular time and play around with it - to use it as a way of luring audiences in.

    • Terry Gilliam: The more successful I get, the more the onus of having to get it right wants to settle on my shoulders alone, but I just hate that, I freeze up. I want everyone to share my responsibility, the guilt, and I'll shoulder the blame, because that's my job in the end.

  • Great cartoonist and a great director.

    Think that Terry Gilliam is an underrated director and also he is eccentric. But in a good kind of way and that he made his start as the unseen person that was doing the animations for Monty Python's Flying Circus. His talent was often overlooked at times. But if you stop and think about it. His talent was now preparing him to become a great director. He is the only American in the British Monty Python troupe. He did act a bit in the last year of Flying Circus since Cleese went to go to Fawlty Towers. But his best work is as director and animator.moreless