Terry Jones and Michael Palin later complained that the vast majority of the film was "nothing more than jokes behind desks." Another argument with Lownes occurred when Terry Gilliam designed the opening credits for the film.
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Reviews for American audiences were mixed (principally because British humour was unfamiliar to American viewers at that time) but mostly positive.
When it was released on 22 August 1972, the film had little success at the box office and did not do well until a late 1974 re-release, which was around the time PBS started showing the original television episodes. The film originally was on DVD in Region 1 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; in 2005, it was repacked in a new collector's pack called And Now For Something Completely Hilarious!
Initially, Gilliam refused but eventually he was forced to give in.
Gilliam then created a different style of credit for the Pythons so that in the final version of the film, Lownes's credit is the only one that appears in that way.