JOHN CLEESE ON VIDEO

How To Irritate People (1968)

(early sketch comedy film co-written by John Cleese and Graham Chapman; starred John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, and Connie Booth (shortly after she and John Cleese were married and her first film appearance; film includes references to Pepperpots and features a precursor to the infamous Dead Parrot sketch)

  • David Paradine Productions, distributed by White Star, 1656 (ISBN 1-56127-656-1), 65 minutes

The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom (1968)

(a 1960s comedy about a brassiere manufacturer's wife, played by Shirley MacLaine, who keeps a lover in the attic; features John Cleese in a brief appearance as a "Post Office Clerk")

  • distributed by Paramount Home Video & Movies Unlimited, PAR 6810V (ISBN 0-7921-2196-1), 93 minutes

The Magic Christian (1969) (see Graham Chapman)


The Statue (1971)

(comedy about a language professor who becomes angry at his sculptress wife when she makes an 18-foot statue of him; with appearances by John Cleese, as a renegade psychiatrist, and Graham Chapman)

  • Cinerama/Josef Shaftel Productions, distributed by Prism Entertainment, PRISM 2858, 86 minutes (also cited as 84 and 89 minutes)

Comedy Double: Sex In The 70's -- Anyone For Sex?/Percy's Progress (1972)

("Anyone for Sex?" was originally titled "The Love Ban" and, later, "It's a 2'6" Above the Ground World;" film about a married Catholic man who must abstain from having sex with his wife because they have too many children and because he doesn't practice birth control; includes a brief performance by John Cleese as the "Contraceptive Lecturer")

  • distributed by Lumiere Pictures Limited (U.K.), LUM 2102, 97 minutes

Doctor At Large (1973)

("No Ill Feelings" episode written by John Cleese)

  • London Weekend Television, distributed by *** (U.K.), VC3453, *** minutes

Romance With A Double Bass (1974)

(based on a short story by Anton Chekhov; filmed on location during October 1974 in Wiltshire, England; starring Connie Booth as "Princess Costanza" and John Cleese as "Musician Smychkov;" story about a musician and a princess who take a swim in the river and must sneak back to the castle nude after a thief steals their clothing)

  • Anton Films, distributed by White Star (19***), 1664 (ISBN 1-56127-664-2), 40 minutes
  • Anton Films, distributed by Pacific Arts Video Records (1984), PAVR-559 (ISBN 1-5611-1027-2), 40 minutes

Fawlty Towers (1975/1979)

(the popular "Fawlty Towers" comedy series co-written by John Cleese and Connie Booth; loosely based on a hotel in Torquay that the Python group stayed at while filming their television series; starring John Cleese as "Basil Fawlty" and Connie Booth as "Polly Shearman;" video cassette includes "A Touch of Class," "The Hotel Inspectors," and "The Germans")

  • distributed by CBS/Fox Video (1986), 3719 (ISBN 8616-23719-3), 90 minutes

Fawlty Towers (1975/1979)

(video cassette includes "The Builders," "The Wedding Party," and "The Psychiatrist")

  • distributed by CBS/Fox Video (1986), 3720 (ISBN 8616-23720-3), 98 minutes

Fawlty Towers (1975/1979)

(video cassette includes "Gourmet Night," "Waldorf Salad," and "The Kipper and the Corpse")

  • distributed by CBS/Fox Video (1986), 3721 (ISBN 8616-23721-3), 90 minutes

Fawlty Towers (1979)

(video cassette includes "Communication Problems," "The Anniversary," and "Basil the Rat")

  • distributed by CBS/Fox Video (1986), 3722 (ISBN 8616-23722-3), 94 minutes

Fawlty Towers: The Complete Set (1975/1979)

(boxed set of all 12 episodes on four video cassettes; compilation of the four videos described above)

  • distributed by CBS/Fox Video (1992), 5714 (ISBN 0-7939-5714-1)

Fawlty Towers (1975/1979)

(set of six video cassettes with the twelve episodes)

  • distributed by Time-Life Video (1980), 27 minutes each

Fawlty Towers (1975/1979)

(presumably includes "The Builders," "The Wedding Party," "The Psychiatrist," "A Touch of Class," "The Hotel Inspectors," and "The Germans")

  • distributed by BBC Video, BBC J142

Fawlty Towers (1975/1979)

(presumably includes "Communication Problems," "The Anniversary," "Basil the Rat," "Gourmet Night," "Waldorf Salad," and "The Kipper and the Corpse")

  • distributed by BBC Video, BBC J143

Fawlty Towers: The Psychiatrist (1975/1979)

(presumably includes "The Builders," "The Wedding Party," and "The Psychiatrist")

  • BBC Video (1994), BBCV 5213, approximately 90 minutes

Fawlty Towers: The Germans
has also been cited as Fawlty Towers: The Germans/Hotel Insprectors (1975/1979)

(presumably includes "A Touch of Class," "The Hotel Inspectors," and "The Germans")

  • BBC Video (1994), BBCV 5214, approximately 90 minutes

Fawlty Towers: Basil the Rat (1979)

(presumably includes "Communication Problems," "The Anniversary," and "Basil the Rat")

  • BBC Video (1994), BBCV 5215, approximately 90 minutes

Fawlty Towers: The Kipper and the Corpse (1975/1979)

(presumably includes "Gourmet Night," "Waldorf Salad," and "The Kipper and the Corpse")

  • BBC Video (1994), BBCV 5216, approximately 90 minutes

Fawlty Towers: The Complete Set (1975/1979)

(laser disc version of all 12 episodes; comes on four discs and boxed with cover art of John Cleese)

  • distributed by CBS/Fox Video (1993), 5714-80, 368 minutes

Ripping Yarns (1976/1979) (see Terry Jones; John Cleese makes a brief appearance in the "Golden Gordon" episode)


The Strange Case Of The End Of Civilization As We Know It (1977)

(screenplay by John Cleese, Jack Hobbs, and Joseph McGrath; film in which John Cleese plays "Arthur Sherlock Holmes," the bumbling grandson of Sherlock Holmes and Connie Booth plays "Francine Moriarty," the granddaughter of Moriarty)

  • Shearwater Films, distributed by White Star, WSV 1663 (ISBN 56127-663-4), 55 minutes

The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979)

(the first Amnesty International Comedy Gala recorded live over four nights at Her Majesty's Theatre, London; starring John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and others)

  • Amnesty International, distributed by Columbia Tristar Home Video/Sony Music Operations (U.K.), CVR 16920, 92 minutes

Roasting -- Roast Beef (1980)

(program hosted by Robert Carrier on the preparation of roast beef and wine selection; features John Cleese preparing a bearnaise sauce)

  • distributed by Time-Life Video, ***, 27 minutes

The Taming Of The Shrew (1980)

(originally available in three parts, can now be obtained on one tape; John Cleese plays "Petruchio" in this Shakespeare play, aired in1980 on BBC-2's "BBC Television Shakespeare" series and in 1981 on PBS's "The Shakespeare Plays;" available through Ambrose Video Publishing, Inc.: 1290 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 2245, New York, New York 10104, Phone: 1-212-696-4545; Note: this product is licensed for library and school use only, not for home viewing)

  • distributed by Time-Life Video/Ambrose Video Publishing (U.S.), 127 minutes
  • distributed by BBC Video (U.K.), BBCV 4188, 126 minutes

Dr. Who: City Of Death (1980/1981)

(with Tom Baker as the fourth "Dr. Who" who uncovers a bizarre event which distributed an alien's presence in multiple time dimensions; with a brief cameo by John Cleese in the final episode as an "Art Gallery Critic" who comments on the TARDIS which had actually materialized in the art gallery a few nights prior)

  • BBC, distributed by Fox Video, 8102 (ISBN 0-7939-8102-6), 100 minutes

The Great Muppet Caper (1981)

(story of the Muppets who find themselves in London investigating a jewel heist; with a cameo appearance by John Cleese as an English gentleman whose house is used by Miss Piggy to impress Kermit)

  • Universal Pictures, distributed by Precision Video (U.K.), ***, 95 minutes
  • Universal Pictures, distributed by CBS/Fox Video, Cat No. 9035, 98 minutes
  • Universal Pictures, distributed by Jim Henson Video, 1603 (ISBN 1-55890-603-7), 98 minutes

Time Bandits (1981) (see Terry Gilliam)


Whoops Apocalypse (1981)

(six part comedy about events leading to World War III which aired March 1982 on London Weekend Television; features John Cleese as "Lacrobat," a terrorist and master of disguise; there was also a 1986 film version of "Whoops Apocalypse" which featured Loretta Switt and Peter Cook but did not include John Cleese)

  • distributed by London Weekend Television / Pacific Arts Video Records (1983), PAVR 541, 137 minutes

Privates On Parade (1982)

(humorous film about the British Song and Dance Unit, Southeast Asia, run by "Major Giles Flack," played by John Cleese; John Cleese is seen doing a silly walk and dance during the end credits of the film)

  • Handmade Films, distributed by HBO Video, TVF 1628, 93 minutes
  • Handmade Films, distributed by Paramount Home Video (1992), PAR 12997 (ISBN 0-7921-2558-4), 93 minutes

The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (1982) (see Graham Chapman)


Yellowbeard (1983) (see Graham Chapman)


Group Madness: The Making Of Yellowbeard (1983) (see Graham Chapman)


The Secret Policeman's Private Parts (1984) (see Graham Chapman)


Silverado (1985)

(star-studded epic Western filmed in New Mexico; John Cleese plays "Sheriff Langston" of the small town, Turley, from which the main characters escape towards the beginning of the film; John Cleese learned how to ride a horse for this film)

  • Columbia Pictures, distributed by RCA-Columbia Home Video, 60567 (ISBN 0-8001-0969-4), 132 minutes

Silverado (1985)

(three laser disc version of the film; widescreen edition; includes trailers and extra scenes)

  • Columbia Pictures, distributed by The Voyager Company (1992), "The Criterion Collection", CC 1228L

Silverado (1985)

(two laser disc version of the film; widescreen edition)

  • Columbia Pictures, distributed by The Voyager Company (1992), "The Criterion Collection", CC 1229L

Clockwise (1986)

(film starring John Cleese in which he portrays "Brian Stimpson," a headmaster at a middle school who is obsessed with time and efficiency, but has trouble making it to the Headmasters Conference)

  • Universal Pictures, distributed by Cannon - Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment, TVA 9962 and Lumiere Pictures/Republic Pictures (1994), VHS 0729 (ISBN 0-7820-0289-7), 96 minutes
  • Universal Pictures, distributed by *** (U.K.), SO 38003, 96 minutes

The Secret Policeman's Third Ball (1987)

(stage show at the London Palladium in aid of Amnesty International; brief appearance by John Cleese in a sketch with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in which he accepts the "Silver Dick" award, which spoofs his refusal to participate in that year's show)

  • Amnesty International, distributed by Columbia Tristar Home Video/Sony Music Operations (U.K.), CVR21431, 92 minutes

Quark The Dragon Slayer (1987)

(Animated about a baby giant named Quark who causes trouble everywhere he goes; most catalogs which feature this video include John Cleese's name, although there are no credits in the film to confirm that he participated)

  • Celebrity Home Entertainment (U.S.), CHE 3079, 70 minutes

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

(co-written by John Cleese and Charles Crichton; starring John Cleese as "Archibald Leach" and Michael Palin as "Ken Pile;" story is about a bungled jewel heist and the characters' attempts to cover up the crime and get away with the jewels)

  • Prominent Features, distributed MGM/UA Home Video (1993), M201247 (ISBN 0-7928-1759-1), 108 minutes
  • Prominent Features, distributed by CBS/Fox Video, 4752, 108 minutes
  • Prominent Features, distributed by *** (U.K.), SO 51247, 108 minutes

John Cleese's First Farewell Performance -- The Making Of "A Fish Called Wanda" (1989)

(aired October 18, 1988 on BBC-1; a collection of out-takes and clips from the film "A Fish Called Wanda;" the video also includes interviews with the film's stars)

  • Park Field Entertainment/Kentel Productions (U.K.), distributed by MGM/United Artists Home Video, SMV 11684, 49 minutes
  • distributed by MGM-P/WHV (U.K.), SMV 11684, 48 minutes

Hysteria 2 - The Second Coming (1989)

(the best in comedy performed live at the Sadlers Wells Theatre on September 18, 1989, as part of an AIDS benefit; featured artists included John Cleese, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson, French and Saunders, and Lenny Henry; John Cleese appears in a brief humorous segment with Tina Turner)

  • Tiger Television Productions, distributed by Palace Video/Parkfield Entertainment (U.K.), PVC 2173 A, 80 minutes

The Big Picture (1989)

(John Cleese makes a cameo appearance as "Frankie," a bartender, first in a dream sequence in black-and-white made to look like a scene from "It's a Wonderful Life" and later in a quick real-life color scene)

  • Columbia Pictures / Aspen Film Society, distributed by RCA-Columbia Home Video, 50263, 100 minutes

Erik The Viking (1989) (see Terry Jones)


The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball (1989)

(Fourth Secret Policeman's Ball benefit for Amnesty International in ten years. Filmed over four nights at the Cambridge Theatre London. Starring John Cleese and Michael Palin; featuring the "Dead Parrot" sketch with a new punchline)

  • ITV, distributed by Columbia Tristar Home Video/Sony Music Operations (U.K.), CVR16921, 92 minutes

Bullseye! (1990)

(slapstick comedy about two shady scientists, played by Roger Moore and Michael Caine, who are pursued by two look-alike con-artists, played by Roger Moore and Michael Caine; includes a cameo appearance by John Cleese as himself at the very end of the film)

  • distributed by Columbia Tristar Home Video (1991), COL 77153 (ISBN 0-8001-0383-1), 95 minutes

An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West (1991)

(sequel to the very popular Steven Spielberg animated feature; John Cleese provides the voice of "Cat R. Wall," an aristocratic cat who cons the mice of New York into moving to the Western town of Green River)

  • Universal Pictures / Amblin Entertainment, distributed by MCA Universal Home Video, (ISBN 1-5588-0966-X), 75 minutes

Splitting Heirs (1993)

(written by Eric Idle, stars Eric Idle as "Tommy Patel," the offspring of the Duke of Bournemouth but who is accidentally abandoned in a restaurant as an infant and raised by poor a Pakistani family; John Cleese plays "Shadgrind," the lawyer who insists on helping Tommy by killing the only remaining offspring of the Duke)

  • Universal Pictures/Prominent Features, MCA Universal Home Video, 81494 (ISBN 0-7832-0742-5), 87 minutes

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? (1993)

(John Cleese narrates this Dr. Seuss tale to animated pictures taken from the book)

  • distributed by Random House Home Video, ISBN 0-679-84627-1, 30 minutes

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)

(John Cleese plays the role of "Dr. Waldman," the inspiration behind Victor Frankenstein's obsession with re-animating the dead; to be released May 9, 1995 at rental prices)

  • Columbia/Tri-Star, distributed by Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video (1995) 78713 (ISBN 0-8001-3594-6), 123 minutes

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)

(letterbox version on laserdisc; presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85 to 1; includes 67 chapter stops)

  • Columbia/Tri-Star, distributed by Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video (1995) 78716 (ISBN 0-8001-7747-9), 123 minutes

The True Story Of Frankenstein has also been cited as It's Alive: The True Story Of Frankenstein (1994)

(documentary on Mary Shelley's gothic novel and Hollywood's many attempts to capture the story on film; includes interviews with John Cleese, Robert DeNiro, Kenneth Branagh, Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Janey Seymour, and others)

  • A&E Television Networks, distributed by A&E Home Video (1994) AAE-10065 (ISBN 1-56501-456-1), 100 minutes

The Jungle Book (1994)

(John Cleese stars as "Dr. Plumford," Mowgli's tutor, in this live-action version of Rudyard Kipling's classic novel)

  • Walt Disney Pictures, distributed by Walt Disney Home Video (1995) 4604 (ISBN 0-7888-0177-5), 111 minutes

The Jungle Book (1994)

(widescreen laserdisc edition; presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of approximately 2.35 to 1; includes 25 chapter stops)

  • Walt Disney Pictures, distributed by Walt Disney Home Video (1995) 4604 AS (ISBN **********), 111 minutes

The Swan Princess (1994)

(John Cleese performs the voice of an arrogant French frog named "Jean-Bob" in this animated feature based on the classic fairy tale "Swan Lake")

  • Nest Entertainment, Inc., distributed by Turner Home Entertainment (1995) 8021 (ISBN 0-7806-0793-7), 90 minutes

Comic Balls (1994) (see Graham Chapman)


The Secret Policeman's Box Of Balls (19***) (see Graham Chapman)