Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Gilliam, Terry

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(1940-    ) US movie director and scriptwriter, earlier an animator. TG first came to wide notice with his animations for Monty Python's Flying Circus; he perhaps continued his connection with the Python crew too long. He partook in the Python compilation movie And Now For Something Completely Different (1971), co-directed (with Terry Jones) Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) and did various work on Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983). His first solo directorial venture was Jabberwocky (1977); here, though he still clung to the Python team in the form of the actor Michael Palin and others, he began to speak with his own voice. This voice became resoundingly clear with Time Bandits (1981), one of the core works of fantasy Cinema. As if this were not enough, TG went on to create what is arguably both the best Technofantasy and the best Alternate-World fantasy in cinema – Brazil (1985) – and then an outstanding piece of Twice-Told storytelling in the form of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989), which was a commercial flop due to budgetary mis-estimation. The Fisher King (1991) is an excellent stab at Contemporary Fantasy, bringing the legends of Perceval and the Grail into the modern USA. Twelve Monkeys (1996) is a brilliant Time Fantasy that largely ignores its sf trappings while echoing in part the technofantasy of Brazil. TG is one of the most significant late-20th-century creators of fantasy. [JG]

Terry Vance Gilliam


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.