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History of the World: Part I (1981)

 -  Comedy | Musical  -  12 June 1981 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 28,309 users  
Reviews: 126 user | 39 critic

Mel Brooks brings his one-of-a-kind comic touch to the history of mankind covering events from the Old Testament to the French Revolution in a series of episodic comedy vignettes.

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Title: History of the World: Part I (1981)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Narrator (voice)
Rudy De Luca ...
Prehistoric Man / Captain Mucus - The Roman Empire (as Rudy DeLuca)
Leigh French ...
Prehistoric Woman
Richard Karron ...
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Storyline

From the dawn of man to the distant future, mankind's evolution (or lack thereof) is traced. Often ridiculous but never serious, we learn the truth behind the Roman Emperor, we learn what REALLY happened at the Last Supper, the circumstances that surrounded the French Revolution, how to test eunuchs, and what kind of shoes the Spanish Inquisitor wore. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

IN MEL WE TRVST See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

12 June 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

History of the World: Part II  »

Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

SEK 8,592,518 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie is an "episodic comedy in the spirit of Monty Python" according to Paul Brenner at Allmovie stating also that "the French revolution section is a broad parody of The Man in the Iron Mask story". See more »

Goofs

During the Stone Age segment, when Orson Welles narrates about the Cavemen discovering "Humor", A caveman unsuccessfully tries to humor the others with his comic routine before being snatched away by a dinosaur. As the dinosaur snatches the caveman comedian away, you can see the cables used to hoist him. See more »

Quotes

[while disguised as King Louis, Jacques agrees to release Mademoiselle Rimbaud's father]
Jacques: [searching the forms in Louis's desk] Execution, Execution, Execution, Execution, Execution... tough guy.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the movie there is a teaser-trailer for a (never to be released) History of the World: Part II, featuring a Viking burial, a "Hitler on Ice" number and a science fiction "Jews in Space". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Californication: In the Clouds (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Funkytown
Words and Music by Steven Greenberg (as Steve Greenberg)
© 1979, 1980 Rick's Music, Inc. & Steve Greenberg Music
Performed by Lipps Inc. (as Lipps, Inc.)
Courtesy of Polygram Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
History Of The World Part I (Mel Brooks, 1981) **1/2
4 August 2007 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I had watched this as a kid, a popular but not highly-regarded Brooks effort. It is wildly uneven but, also, undeniably funny at times (even if most of the gags are, unsurprisingly, of the vulgar kind).

Brooks managed to rope in Orson Welles to provide indifferent narration over his lampoon of various historical eras (the film's one-liners, too, read better than they play). Still, "The Stone Age" (featuring Sid Caesar) offers a nice parody of the "Dawn Of Man" sequence from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) – while the brief but hilarious "The Old Testament" sees Brooks himself as Moses accidentally lose a third of God's original 15 Commandments! "The Roman Empire" – the longest segment – features Brooks veterans Dom De Luise and Madeleine Kahn, the film's single best joke (the Senators' spontaneous reply, in unison, to a fellow members' concern over the plight of the city's poor), plus wonderful conclusion involving John Hurt as Jesus Christ. "The Spanish Inquistion" is, again, brief but surely one of the film's highlights with its tastelessly inspired depiction of this infamous period as a Busby Berkeley-ish production number (though Brooks' typical Jewish jokes seem baffling in this context). Just as Monty Python had done the definitive parody of the Roman Empire with LIFE OF BRIAN (1979), "The French Revolution" follows on from the "Carry On" gang's DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD (1966). The results are just as middling (involving the inevitable impersonation of the King by a commoner) – but highlighting two established presences in Brooks' films, Harvey Korman and Cloris Leachman. Easily the funniest bit from this segment is the King's outrageous shooting practice.

Still, at the end of the day, Brooks can't avoid repeating himself: the "Walk This Way" gag from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) turns up here as well; Brooks' lecherous French king is virtually a copy of his Governor characterization in the Western spoof BLAZING SADDLES (1974); and the surreal nick-of-time escape at the very end, which also derives from the latter film.


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