The Fisher King was one of Terry Gilliam’s greatest filming masterpieces of all time. There were many key movie elements used that all somehow led to or showed signs of the overall thematic issue of the film. The clear message of this film is forgiveness and grace. Different significant motifs and odd filming techniques are some important filming elements have to do with the overall theme.
The Holy Grail is mentioned very frequently throughout the film, and quickly becomes a significant motif to the film. The central themes of the film, playing on the grail motif, is grace and forgiveness. Jack's signature line in his potential sitcom is "forgive me," which he is constantly repeating but can't get right. One of the main thematic issues or “themes” of the movie was to portray the message of forgiveness. As for the thematic issue of religious grace, there is a good explanation for that, too. In the story, Parry is seeking the Holy Grail. In actual theology, the Holy Grail held the wine at the Last Supper and, at the crucifixion, its religious equivalent, the blood of Christ, which is said to be the very source of grace and forgiveness.
Another significant motif in The Fisher King is the reoccurring image of the red knight. This hallucination that Parry sees around New York seems to represent Parry's fears from both his former life, his time in the mental institution and his current life as a homeless dreamer on the street, all of which send him into a coma (besides the obvious beatings). The red knight could also represent the image of Parry's wife dying in front of him. She was shot in the back of the head with a shotgun while facing him, causing her blood to spray all over him.
One of the largest and most important motifs in the film is the image and mentioning of the common story of Pinocchio. Pinocchio is compared to Jack, and sometimes Parry as well. The comparison is used in a way where these two main characters become “real”....