Astronomer Carl Sagan leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe.
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Top Rated TV #8 | Won 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
 Himself - Host (13 episodes, 1980)


Astronomer Dr. Carl Sagan is host and narrator of this 13-hour series that originally aired on Public Broadcasting Stations in the United States. Dr. Sagan describes the universe in a way that appeals to a mass audience, by using Earth as a reference point, by speaking in terms intelligible to non-scientific people, by relating the exploration of space to that of the Earth by pioneers of old, and by citing such Earth legends as the Library of Alexandria as metaphors for space-related future events. Among Dr. Sagan's favorite topics are the origins of life, the search for life on Mars, the infernal composition of the atmosphere of Venus and a warning about a similar effect taking place on Earth due to global pollution and the "greenhouse effect", the lives of stars, interstellar travel and the effects of attaining the speed of light, the danger of mankind technologically self-destructing, and the search, using radio technology, for intelligent life in deep space. Written by Kevin McCorry <>

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TV-PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

28 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,250,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(13 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The series featured the most extensive use of special effects ever conducted for a documentary. In one notable episode, special effects were used to make it seem as if host Sagan was walking through a model recreation of the Library of Alexandria. See more »


Carl Sagan: Where we have strong emotions, we're liable to fool ourselves.
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(Main Theme)
Composed by Vangelis
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User Reviews

a milestone in scientific educational fun and amusement: outstanding work of art
22 February 2004 | by (La Rioja, Spain) – See all my reviews

More than twenty years on, but this documentary series still stands out head and shoulders above most. It is not simply the fact that it was a well-made production, but more of how it was presented. Professor Carl Sagan offered ordinary intelligent viewers an enthralling scientific series without the scientific language; he presented it as if he were an excellent school-teacher, right there before the class, in his careful, methodical way of speaking. His carefully worded explanations of all that could be seen on screen added superbly to that something which is close to magical; thus, for many people, it was a magnificent series for people to learn English; and I include a lot of North Americans and British people!

The magnificent use of visual concepts as Professor Sagan took us on his voyage into the unknown, was admirably backed up by a sensational selection of music which just lifted the entire work way above the run-of-the-mill documentaries. Here there is no preaching: just simple plain old-fashioned teaching; but so carefully carried out. The universe came to life as we journeyed on through the Cosmos: it was at once exciting, it was fun, it was spell-binding, but this series was always educational in the first degree.

And do not think I am talking about it being for a classroom of 14 year-olds: this is not the case. Whatever your age, `Cosmos' is one of those great landmarks in the making of anything for the screen, whether the big one or the small one.

Previous to this wonderful series, I had only heard Vangelis' music in `Chariots of Fire', but with the selection used in `Cosmos' I have become the firmest stalwart of this brilliant Greek musician and composer. Who can forget such delightful pieces as `Entends-tu les Chiens Aboyer' and - on my LP recording! - the Bulgarian Shepherdess Song, as well as the other pieces used to such effective advantage for this unrepeatable TV documentary series?

This is a series that should be repeated again and again. Outstandingly brilliant.

Many thanks to the late Professor Carl Sagan and to KCET, Los Angeles.

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