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History of the World: Part I
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Reviews & Ratings for
History of the World: Part I More at IMDbPro »

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92 out of 115 people found the following review useful:

OK; What do you expect???

Author: deemo31 from California
6 October 2004

I'm kind of surprised at some of the reviews of this film. Mainly the "very poor" and "putrid" ones. This is Mel Brooks having the time of his life. The marketplace scene is hilarious. "Plumbing! Pump s**t right out of your house! Plumbing!

It's a wild romp through early history, with a few side steps into vaudeville and Broadway. I disagree that this film is not a classic. There are enough funny lines to quote out of this film to keep the average frat house laughing through three or four kegs of Bud.

"Boy, when you die at the palace, you REALLY die at the palace!"

Madeline (The Queen): "What happens to the slaves?"

Queen's Maid: "If they're captured, they're hung."

Madeline (The Queen): "Not necessarily."

So I suggest that you take of the Jeffrey Lyons face, sit down with some chips and brews, and watch this movie if you haven't already done so. Slapstick? You bet. Silly? Of course. As I asked before. It's Mel Brooks. What do you expect????

9/10

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39 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Mel Brook's best film, yet.

Author: LisN2me from St. Louis, Missouri
22 June 1999

Classical comedy satire..Mel Brook's best film. Once you've seen this film, you will not forgot it. The punchlines keep rolling from the beginning of the film, and even past "the big ending". There is not much of a plot, but that is to be expected in a movie that contains a bunch of skits. If you like Monty Python, then you should love this movie. This movie is not for everyone, especially if you are easily offended. However the opening scene should tell you if you would have a problem watching the rest of the movie. This movie does currently rank in my top 10 comedies of all time.

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27 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Pretty good movie

8/10
Author: Carl Christensen (carlgt1@yahoo.com) from London England
3 January 2001

This was actually a lot better than I expected. I'm more from a Monty Python humor background and some of the Mel Brooks humor is pretty campy and dated in a Marx Bros sense but it was still pretty darn good. It's hard not to like a guy who turns the Spanish Inquisition into a musical. I guess there's something for everyone to like (and be offended by).

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24 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Witty AND Clever

6/10
Author: CarelessMoonDruid from .: Fiendish Writings in the Dark :.
3 March 2006

Although it is aged around the edges, History of the World is one of my favorite comedies. Admittedly, I have a good 100 in my "favorites" list, but HotW is definitely in the top 25. It is pure enjoyment and while sometimes raucous, it is never raunchy. Tactless, but never dumbed down, and that makes for the best kind of comedy.

In true Brooks fashion, this work takes you from a parody of life to a satirical pop-culture vehicle. Unfortunately, the many late 1970's pop-culture references throughout the dialog is what dates this work. Otherwise, it would still be fresh, today.

Led by Mel Brooks's polished stylized direction, this work is not only hilarious, but is clever in its irony. It never takes itself too seriously, and delivers with every scene.

If you liked Wholly Moses, you will LOVE this!

It rates a 6.4/10 from...

the Fiend :.

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22 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

"He's definitely a eunich."

Author: DarthBill from United States
28 April 2004

Marred only by overlength, this is one hilarious bit of cinema as Mel Brooks satirizes the stone age, the 10 Commandments, Rome, the Last Supper, the Inquisition, and Louie the 16th (sorry I couldn't get the name right). Of course, the stone age also happens to make fun of "2001 A Space Odyssey". Also funny is at the end with the whole "Jews In Space" bit. I love that stuff.

Personally I thought the best bits were set in Rome, what with the gags about Vestal Virgins, innuendo between the queen and the late Gregory Hines, the "Stand Up Philosopher", Ethiopia, getting the Roman guards high, and of course, the Last Supper. This is not to say the Inquisition Musical number is not worth a look.

"Jesus!" - Mel Brooks

"What?" - Jesus Christ

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

I'm Still Awaiting Part II and "Hitler on Ice"

8/10
Author: theowinthrop from United States
9 July 2006

Mel Brooks did not invent the comedy spoof movie, but his best work ("Blazing Saddles", "Young Frankenstein", "Dracula, Dead And Loving It", and "High Anxiety") certainly make the most of it - even if some of it gets rather too dirty (literally dirty - "caca" dirty). "History Of The World" is a funny film, but it is not one of his best films. It looks like it was based on bits and pieces of ideas that could have been built up into separate movies: a film about the stone age, a film about the Roman Empire, a film about the French Revolution. I am sure that Brooks was inventive enough to have created three film spoofs, but for some reason he decided to just concentrate on pasting these mini-spoofs together.

It has wonderful moments in it - some are thrown away. The four desperate refugees from the Roman Empire, followed by centurions, pray for a miracle. Suddenly they see an old man - Brooks dressed like Moses (from an earlier sequence in the film). A river is parted like the Red Sea with "Moses" arms in the air. The refugees flee thanking God and Moses. In a moment we see there is a robber in back of "Moses" holding him up (hence his arms in the air), and when the robber leaves the old man starts cursing him.

Similar stuff is throughout the film (typical of Brooks' inventiveness). After fleeing Rome, Brooks has reached Palestine and is the waiter serving the "Last Supper". Besides having a problem when he keeps saying "JEEZUS" causing John Hurt (who is Christ) to ask, "Yes?", there is the problem of the painting being done by Da Vinci (Art Metrano), and how Brooks manages to get into the background of the masterpiece - holding his tray like a halo behind Hurt).

Brooks uses a number of his regulars in the film: Madeline Kahn as the Empress Nympho, Dom DeLuis as the Emperor (one could call him "piggy" after one particular comment about his eating habits), Harvey Korman as the foppish Count du Monet, Sid Caesar as a caveman who is full of awe. He was also lucky to have Gregory Hines, usually a dancer but here a strikingly breezy comic, and Orson Welles doing the narration properly (note his voice's confusion at the start when describing the first heterosexual marriage, followed by the first homosexual one).

The disjointed style is a minor problem in enjoying the film. Judging from the final scenes from the sequel, Brooks could have done a Viking movie, a skating film about Nazism, and a space musical about the Jews. Alas, only those scenes were ever shot. A second part might not have been a great film either, but it would have been quite as amusing.

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18 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

One Of My Favorite Comedies

10/10
Author: treeskier802 from United States
18 June 2007

History of the World Part I (man, I wish they had done a part II!) is one of my all-time favorite comedies. In fact, this is my favorite Mel Brooks film.

One of my favorite scenes is Mel Brooks as the King of France, playing chess with real people. He yells through a loudspeaker, Pawn jump Queen, Rook jump Queen, Bishop jump Queen...everybody JUMP Queen, (well you get the idea!) Then you see him on the very top of the pile. This gets me in stitches every time! In the same skit, Harvey Korman exclaims to the King, "you look like the pee (sic) boy." In which, Brooks says "and you look like a bucket of turd (sic)." Of course, Brooks is also playing the pee (sic) boy, which is why there is a resemblance.

The movie is a series of skits from the times of the caveman up to the French Revolution. The Roman Empire skit is also hilarious.

Brooks' comedies are brilliant and this is one I highly recommend. I believe that ratings should be subject to what the film is trying to accomplish. This film wants you to laugh and have fun, and that is exactly what I do every time I see it. This is a film I can enjoy over and over again. Rating 10 of 10 stars.

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20 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Great movie? No. Great laughs? YES!

Author: mdnrules from Hays, KS
4 July 1999

If you're trying to kill time on a Sunday, watch this movie. It's the perfect example of Mel Brooks comedy.

Everyone has their favorite and least favorite part. My favorite was "The Inquisition" song. My least favorite? Probably the French Revolution part, which dragged out for a while.

Hey, Mel, do your audience a favor and make "History of the World: Part II". I can just see him harassing Thomas Edison, Jimi Hendrix, Ed Sullivan, Adolph Hitler, and others.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Silly jokes, slapstick and sight gags galore

5/10
Author: ma-cortes
16 June 2008

The film concerns about history of the world in various parts, from the dawn of human being until the distant future in French Revolution and narrated by Orson Welles. The first part during the Stone age with a sympathetic cavemen(Sid Caesar, Ron Carey) inventing the music. The second about Roman Empire with a filthy emperor Nero(Don DeLuise) with flatulence,a lecherous empress(Madeleine Khan) a slave(Gregory Hines) and of course, Mel Brooks. The following , the Spanish Inquisition , again with Mel Brooks as Torquemada making a spectacular dances, including a beautiful swimmers. The third part about French Revolution with a lascivious Luis XVI(Brooks),a conspirator count of Monet(recently deceased Harvey Korman) and a gorgeous Mademoiselle Rimbaud(Pamela Stephenson).

Mel Brook's direction keeps things moving with laughs, he directed this sometimes hilarious, but mostly crude and bad taste spoof of history with ridiculous episodes, as how to test eunuchs or the lasciviousness of Luis XVI's court. The jokes come with machine-gun rapidly , though don't always work, there are so many of them that this comedy ends up with enoughs laughs for quite entertaining. It's a stupid movie but also funny and remains like a laugh-filled amusement. The movie hasn't the thematic unity of 'The producers, Blazing saddles and Young Frankestein', the Mel Brooks's best . The stars race around like maniacs and appear several famous uncredited, actors and directors, such as Hugh Hefner as Roman entrepreneur, Paul Mazursky as roman officer, Barry Levinson as column salesman, Art Metrano as Leonardo and John Hurt as Jesus in a bemusing sketch about the 'Last supper', among others. The film is classified 'PG', parents guide, as displays objectionable material, for occasional adult content, crude language and profanity. If it weren't in such bad taste and dirty humor , it would be perfect for the children.

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

History Of The World Part I (Mel Brooks, 1981) **1/2

6/10
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta
4 August 2007

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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