THE COMPLETE AND, INDEED, *UNABRIDGED* FILMSCRIPT TO
*** THE MEANING OF LIFE ***
Transcribed by Jason R. Heimbaugh
Further edited and slightly enhanced by Richard C. Karsmakers
THE MEANING OF LIFE
FIGHTING EACH OTHER
Biggs: [now a soldiers-in-arms] O.K. Blackitt, Sturridge and
Walters you take the buggers on the left flank. Hordern, Spadger
and I will go for the gunpost.
Blackitt: [a Deptford Cockney] Hang on, you'll never make it,
sir... Let us come with you...
Biggs: Do as you're told man.
Blackitt: Righto, skipper. [He starts to go, then stops.] Oh,
sir, sir... if we... if we don't meet again... sir, I'd just like
to say it's been a real privilege fighting alongside you, sir...
[They are continually ducking as bullets fly past them and
shells burst overhead.]
Biggs: Yes, well I think this is hardly the time or place for a
goodbye speech... eh...
[Biggs is clearly anxious to go.]
Blackitt: No, me, and the lads realise that but... well... we
may never meet again, sir, so...
Biggs: All right, Blackitt, thanks a lot.
Blackitt: No just a mo, sir! You see me and the lads had a
little whip-round, sir, and we bought you something, sir... we
bought you this, sir...
[He produces a handsome ormolu clock from his pack. Biggs is at
a loss for words. He is continually ducking.]
Biggs: Well, I don't know what to say... It's a lovely
thought... thank you... thank you *all*... but I think we'd
better... get to cover now...
[He starts to go.]
Blackitt: Hang on a tick, sir, we got something else for you as
[Two of the others emerge from some bushes with a grandfather
Blackitt: Sorry it's another clock, sir... only there was a bit
of a mix-up... Walters thought *he* was buying the present, and
Spadger and I had already got the other one.
Biggs: Well it's beautiful... they're both beau -
[A bullet suddenly shatters the face of the grandfather clock.]
Biggs: ... But I think we'd better get to cover now, and I'll
thank you properly later...
[Biggs starts to go again but Blackitt hasn't finished.]
Blackitt: And Corporal Sturridge got this for you as well, sir.
He didn't know about the others, sir - it's Swiss.
[He hands over a wristwatch.]
Biggs: Well now that is thoughtful, Sturridge. Good man.
[A shell bursts right overhead. Biggs flings himself down into
Blackitt: And there's a card, sir... from all of us... [He
produces a blood-splattered envelope.]... Sorry about the blood,
Biggs: Thank you all.
[He pockets it and tries to go on.]
Blackitt: Squad, three cheers for Captain Biggs. Hip Hip -
Blackitt: Hip Hip -
[An almighty burst of machine-gun fire silences most of them...
Blackitt is hit.]
Biggs: Blackitt! Blackitt!
Blackitt: [hurt] Ah! I'll be all right, sir... Oh there's just
one other thing, sir. Spadge, give him the cheque...
Spadger: Oh yeah...
Biggs: Oh now this is really going to far...
Spadger: I don't seem to be able to find it, sir... [Explosion.]
Er, it'll be in Number Four trench... I'll go and get it. [He
starts to crawl off.]
Biggs: [losing his cool] Oh! For Christ's sake forget it, man.
[The others all look at Biggs after this outburst, as if they
can't believe this ingratitude.]
Blackitt: Oh! Ah!
Spadger: You shouldn't have said that, sir. You've hurt his
Blackitt: Don't mind me, Spadge... Toffs is all the same... One
minute it's all 'please' and 'thank you', the next they'll kick
you in the teeth...
Walters: Let's not give him the cake...
Biggs: I don't want *any* cake...
Spadger: Look, Blackitt cooked it specially for you, you
[They all look at Blackitt rolling in the mud.]
Sturridge: Yeah, he saved his rations for six weeks.
Biggs: I'm sorry, I don't mean to be ungrateful...
Blackitt: I'll be all right.
[Shell crashes. Blackitt dies.]
Spadger: Blackie! Blackie! [He turns to Biggs with tears in his
eyes.] Look at him... [He pulls up the supine form of Blackitt.]
He worked on that cake like no-one else I've ever known. [He
props him in the mud again.] Some nights it was so cold we could
hardly move, but Blackie'd de out there -slicing lemons, mixing
the sugar and the almonds... I mean you try getting butter melted
at fifteen below zero! There's love in that cake... [He picks up
Blackitt again.] This man's love and this man's care and this
man's - Aarggh! [He gets shot.]
[Biggs runs over to them in horror.]
Biggs: Oh my Christ!
Sturridge: You bastard.
Biggs: All right! All right! We will eat the cake. They're
right... it's too good a cake not to eat. get the plates and
Walters: Yes, sir... how many plates?
[A shot rings out. Walters drops dead.]
Biggs: Er... no... better make it five.
Sturridge: Tablecloth, sir...?
Biggs: Yes, get the tablecloth...!
[Explosion. Sturridge gets shot.]
Biggs: No no no, I'll get the tablecloth and you'd better get
the gate-leg table, Hordern.
[Hordern is shot in the leg.]
Hordern: I'll bring two sir, in case one gets scrumpled...
[Suddenly we find this has all been a film, which a General now
General: Well, of course, warfare isn't all fun. Right, stop
that. It's all very well to laugh at the Military, but when one
considers the meaning of life it is a struggle between
alternative viewpoints of life itself. And without the ability to
defend one's own viewpoint against other perhaps more aggressive
ideologies then reasonableness and moderation could quite simply
disappear. That is why we'll always need an army and may God
strike me down were it to be otherwise.
[The Hand of god descends and vaporizes him.]
[The audience of two old ladies and two kids applauds
[Outside the hut RSM Whateverhisnameis is drilling a small squad
RSM: Don't stand there gawping like you've never seen the Hand
of God before. Now! Today we're going to do marching up and down
the square. That is unless any of you got anything better to do?
Well, anyone got anything they'd rather be doing than marching up
and down the square?
[Atkinson puts his hand up.]
RSM: Yes? Atkinson? What would you rather be doing, Atkinson?
Atkinson: Well to be quite honest, Sarge, I'd rather be at home
with the wife and kids.
RSM: Would you now?
Atkinson: Yes, sarge.
RSM: Right off you go. [Atkinson goes.] Now, everybody else
happy with my little plan of marching up and down the square a
Coles: I've got a book I'd quite like to read...
RSM: Right! You go read your book then! [Coles runs off.] Now
everybody else quite content to join in with my little scheme of
marching hup and down the square?
RSM: Yes, Wycliff, what is it?
Wycliff: [tentatively] Well... I'm... er... learning the
RSM: [with contempt] 'Learning the piano'?
Wycliff: Yes, sarge...
RSM: And I suppose you want to go and practise eh? Marching up
and down the square not good enough for you, eh?
RSM: Right! Off you go! [Turns to the rest.] Now what about the
rest of you? Rather be at the pictures I suppose.
Squad: Ooh, yes, ooh rather.
RSM: All right off you go. [They go.] Bloody army! I don't know
what it's coming to... Right, Sgt Major, marching up and down the
square... Left-right-left... left... left... left-right-left...
[The RSM marches himself off into the distance of the barracks
Democracy and humanitarianism have always been tarde marks of
the British Army and have stamped its triumph throughout history,
in the furthest-flung corners of the Empire. But no matter where
or when there was fighting to be done, it has always been the
calm leadership of the officer class that has made the British
Army what it is.
The First Zulu War
Natal 1879 (not Glasgow)
[Inside a tent.]
Pakenham-Walsh: Morning Ainsworth.
Ainsworth: Morning Pakenham-Walsh.
Pakenham-Walsh: Sleep well?
Ainsworth: Not bad. Bitten to shreds though. Must be a hole in
the bloody mosquito net.
Pakenham-Walsh: Yes, savage little blighters aren't they?
First Lieut Chadwick: [arriving] Excuse me, sir.
Ainsworth: Yes Chadwick?
Chadwick: I'm afraid Perkins got rather badly bitten during the
Ainsworth: Well so did we. Huh.
Chadwick: Yes, but I do think the doctor ought to see him.
Ainsworth: Well go and fetch him, then.
Chadwick: Right you are, sir.
Ainsworth: Suppose I'd better go along. Coming, Pakenham?
Pakenham-Walsh: Yes I suppose so.
[Chadwick leaves. Ainsworth and Pakenham-Walsh thread their
leisurely way through the line of assegais. Pakenham-Walsh's
valet is speared by a Zulu warrior but Pakenham-Walsh valiantly
saves his jacket from the mud. They enter Perkins's tent. Perkins
is on his camp bed.]
Ainsworth: Ah! Morning Perkins.
Perkins: Morning sir.
Ainsworth: What's all the trouble then?
Perkins: Bitten sir. During the night.
Ainsworth: Hm. Whole leg gone eh?
[As they talk, the din of battle continues outside. Screams of
dying men, crackling of tents set on fire.]
Ainsworth: How's it feel?
Perkins: Stings a bit.
Ainsworth: Mmm. Well it would, wouldn't it. That's quite a bite
you've got there you know.
Perkins: Yes, real beauty isn't it?
Ainsworth: Any idea how it happened?
Perkins: None at all. Complete mystery to me. Woke up just
now... one sock too many.
Pakenham-Walsh: You must have a hell of a hole in your net.
Ainsworth: Hm. We've sent for the doctor.
Perkins: Ooh, hardly worth it, is it?
Ainsworth: Oh yes... better safe than sorry.
Pakenham-Walsh: Yes, good Lord, look at this.
[He indicates a gigantic hole in the mosquito net.]
Ainsworth: By jove, that's enormous.
Pakenham-Walsh: You don't think it'll come back, do you?
Ainsworth: For more, you mean?
Ainsworth: You're right. We'd better get this stitched.
Ainsworth: Hallo Doc.
Livingstone: [entering the tent with Chadwick] Morning. I came
as fast as I could. Is something up?
Ainsworth: Yes, during the night old Perkins had his leg bitten
sort of... off.
Livingstone: Ah hah!? Been in the wars have we?
Livingstone: Any headache, bowels all right? Well, let's have a
look at this one leg of yours then. [Looks around under sheet]
Yes... yes... yes... yes... yes... yes... well, this is nothing
to worry about.
Perkins: Oh good.
Livingstone: There's a lot of it about, probably a virus, keep
warm, plenty of rest, and if you're playing football or anything
try and favour the other leg.
Perkins: Oh right ho.
Livingstone: Be as right as rain in a couple of days.
Perkins: Thanks for the reassurance, doc.
Livingstone: Not at all, that's what I'm here for. Any other
problems I can reassure you about?
Perkins: No I'm fine.
Livingstone: Jolly good. Well, must be off.
Perkins: So it'll just grow back then, will it?
Livingstone: Er... I think I'd better come clean with you about
this... it's... um it's not a virus, I'm afraid. You see, a virus
is what we doctors call very very small. So small it could not
possibly have made off with a whole leg. What we're looking for
here is I think, and this is no more than an educated guess, I'd
like to make that clear, is some multi-cellular life form with
stripes, huge razor-sharp teeth, about eleven foot long and of
the genu *felis horribilis*. What we doctors, in fact, call a
All in tent: A tiger...!!
[Outside, everyone engaged in battle, including the Zulus,
breaks off and shouts in horror:]
All: A tiger!
[The Zulus run off.]
Pakenham-Walsh: A tiger - in Africa?
Pakenham-Walsh: A tiger in Africa...?
Ainsworth: Ah... well it's probably escaped from a zoo.
Pakenham-Walsh: Well it doesn't sound very likely.
Ainsworth: [quietly] Stumm, stumm...
[A severely-wounded Sergeant staggers into the tent.]
Sergeant: Sir, sir, the attack's over, sir! the Zulus are
Ainsworth: [dismissively] Oh jolly good. [He turns his back to
the group around Perkins.]
Sergeant: Quite a lot of casualties though, sir. C Division
wiped out. Signals gone. Thirty men killed in F Section. I should
think about a hundred - a hundred and fifty men altogether.
Ainsworth: [not very interested] Yes, yes I see, yes... Jolly
Sergeant: I haven't got the final figures, sir. There's a lot of
seriously wounded in the compound...
Ainsworth: [interrupting] Yes... well, the thing is, Sergeant,
I've got a bit of a problem here. [With gravity.] One of the
officers has lost a leg.
Sergeant: [stunned by the news] Oh *no*, sir!
Ainsworth: [gravely] I'm afraid so. Probably a tiger.
Sergeant: In Africa?
Ainsworth and Pakenham-Walsh: Stumm, stumm...
Ainsworth: The M.O. says we can stitch it back on if we find it
Sergeant: Right sir! I'll organise a party right away, sir!
Ainsworth: Well it's hardly time for that, is it Sergeant...?
Sergeant: A search party...
Ainsworth: Ah! *Much* better idea. I'll tell you what, organise
one straight away.
Sergeant: Yes sir!
[Outside dead British bodies (of the other ranks) are
Sergeant: [apologetically] Sorry about the mess, sir. We'll try
and get it cleared up, by the time you get back.
[They walk through the carnage. Orderlies are cheerfully
attending to the equally cheery wounded and the only slightly
less cheery dead.]
A dying man: [covered in blood] We showed 'em, didn't we, sir?
[He gives a thumbs up and dies.]
Sergeant: [addressing a soldier who is giving water to a dying
man] We've got to get a search party, leave that alone.
Another cheery cockney: [with an assegai sticking out of his
chest] This is fun, sir, init... all this killing... bloodshed...
bloody good fun sir, init?
Ainsworth: [abstracted] Yes... very good.
[He waves and moves on.]
A severed head: Morning, sir!
Ainsworth: Nasty wound you've got there, Potter.
Severed head: [cheerily] Thank you very much sir!
Ainsworth: Come on private - we're making up a search party.
Another terrible casualty: Better than staying at home, eh sir!
At home if you kill someone they arrest you. Here they give you a
gun, and show you what to do, sir. I mean, I killed fifteen of
those buggers sir! Now at home they'd hang me. *Here* they give
me a fucking medal sir!
[The search party for Perkins's leg is passing through thick
jungle. As they emerge into a clearing they suddenly see a
tiger's head sticking out of some bushes.]
[Their eyes follow along the bushes to where the tiger's tail is
sticking out several yards away. For a moment it looks like a
very long tiger.]
Ainsworth: My God, it's *huge*!
[The tiger's head rises up out of the thicket with its paws up.
The tiger's rear end backs out of the thicket further down.]
Rear end: Don't shoot... don't shoot. We're not a tiger. [Takes
off head.] We were just... um...
Ainsworth: Why are you dressed as a tiger?
Rear end: Hmmm... oh... why! Why why... isn't it a lovely day
Ainsworth: Answer the question.
Rear end: Oh we were just er...
Front end: Actually! We're dressed like this because... oh no
that's not it.
Rear end: We did it for a lark. Part of a spree. High spirits
you know. Simple as that.
Front end: Nothing more to it...
Front end: Well *actually*... we're on a mission for British
Intellingence, there's a pro-Tsarist Ashanti Chief...
Rear end: No, no.
Front end: No, no, no.
Rear end: No, no we're doing it for an advertisement...
Front end: Ah that's it, forget about the Russians. We're doing
an advert for Tiger Brand Coffee.
Rear end: 'Tiger Brand Coffee is a real treat. Even tigers
prefer a cup of it to real meat'.
Ainsworth: Now look...
Rear end: All right, all right. we are dressed as a tiger
because he had an auntie who did it in 1839 and this is the
Front end: No. We're doing it for a bet.
Rear end: God told us to do it.
Front end: To tell the truth, we are completely mad. we are
inmates of a Bengali psychiatric institution and we escaped by
making this skin out of old cereal packets...
Perkins: It doesn't matter.
Perkins: It doesn't matter why they're dressed as a tiger, have
they got my leg?
Ainsworth: Good thinking. Well have you?
Rear end: Actually!
Rear end: It's because we were thinking of training as
taxidermists and we wanted to get a feel of it from the animal's
point of view.
Ainsworth: Be quiet. Now, look we're just asking you if you have
got this man's leg...
Front end: A wooden leg?
Ainsworth: No, no, a proper leg. Look he was fast asleep and
someone or something came in and removed it.
Front end: Without waking him up?
Front end: I don't believe you.
Rear end: We found the tiger skin in a bicycle shop in Cairo,
and the owner wanted to take it down to Dar Es Salaam.
Ainsworth: Shut up. Now look, have you or have you not got his
Rear end: Yes.
Front end: No. No no no.
Both: No no no no no no. Nope. No.
Ainsworth: Why did you say 'yes'?
Front end: I didn't.
Ainsworth: I'm not talking to you...
Rear end: Er... er...
Ainsworth: Right! Search the thicket.
Front end: Oh come on, I mean do we look like the sort of chaps
who'd creep into a camp at... night, steal into someone's tent,
anaesthetise them, tissue-type them, amputate a leg and run away
Ainsworth: Search the thicket!
Front end: Oh *leg*! You're looking for a *leg*. Actually I
think there is one in there somewhere. Somebody must have
abandoned it here, knowing you were coming after it, and we
stumbled across it actually and wondered what it was... They'll
be miles away by now and I expect we'll have to take all the
[During the last exchange a native turns and leers at the
camera, while the dialogue continues behind him. Then he unzips
his body to reveal a fully dressed white announcer in dinner
jacket and bow tie underneath.]
Zulu announcer: Hallo, good evening and welcome to the Middle of
Lady TV presenter: Hallo and welcome to the Middle of the Film.
The moment where we take a break and invite you, the audience, to
join us, the film-makers, in 'Find the Fish'. We're going to show
you a scene from another film and ask you to guess where the fish
is. But if you think you know, don't keep it to yourselves - YELL
OUT - so that all the cinema can hear you. So here we are with
'Find the Fish'.
OF THE FILM
FIND THE FISH
Man: I wonder where that fish has gone.
Woman: You did love it so. You looked after it like a son.
Man: [strangely] And it went wherever I did go.
Woman: Is it in the cupboard?
Audience: Yes! No!
Woman: Wouldn't you like to know. It was a lovely little fish.
Man: [strangely] And it went wherever I did go.
Man in audience: It's behind the sofa!
[An elephant joins the man and woman.]
Woman: Where can the fish be?
Man in audience: Have you thought of the drawers in the bureau?
Woman: It is a most elusive fish.
Man: [strangely] And it went wherever I did go!
Woman: Oh fishy, fishy, fishy, fish.
Man: Fish, fish, fish, fishy oh!
Woman: Oh fishy, fishy, fishy fish.
Man: [strangely] That went wherever I did go.
First fish: That was terrific!
Second fish: Great!
Third fish: Best bit so far.
Fishes: Yeah! Absolutely... ! Terrific! Yeah!... Fantastic...
[Whistles 'More'... Pause.]
Fifth fish: They haven't said much about the Meaning of
Life so far, have they...?
First fish: Well, it's been building up to it.
Second fish: Has it?
Fifth fish: yeah, I expect they'll get on to it now.
Third fish: Personally I very much doubt if they're going to
say anything about the Meaning of Life at all.
Fourth fish: Oh, come on...they've got to say something...
Other fishes: ... Bound to... yeah... yeah...
[They swim around a bit.]
Second fish: Not much happening at the moment, is there...?
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.