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A Brief History of Time (1991)

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A film about the life and work of the cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, who despite his near total paralysis, is one of the great minds of all time.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Isobel Hawking ...
Herself - Stephen Hawking's Mother
Janet Humphrey ...
Herself - Stephen Hawking's Aunt
Mary Hawking ...
Herself - Stephen Hawking's Sister
Basil King ...
Himself - Hawking Family Neighbor
Derek Powney ...
Himself - Hawking Classmate at Oxford
Norman Dix ...
Himself - Hawking Classmate at Oxford
Robert Berman ...
Himself - Hawking Tutor at Oxford
Gordon Berry ...
Himself - Hawking Classmate at Oxford
Roger Penrose ...
Himself - Professor at Cambridge
Dennis Sciama ...
Himself - Professor at Cambridge
John Wheeler ...
Himself - Astrophysicist
Brandon Carter ...
Himself - Astrophysicist
John Taylor ...
Himself - Astrophysicist
Himself - Research Scientist at Cambridge


Unlike the book, this film is really an anecdotal biography of Stephen Hawking. Clips of his lectures, interviews with friends and family and a little physics are thrown together. Written by Jim Sadur <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Where did the universe come from? Will time ever come to an end? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?


G | See all certifications »



| |


Release Date:

16 October 1992 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Ajan lyhyt historia  »

Box Office


$2,279,692 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Appearances to the contrary, all interviews were filmed on sets built for the movie. See more »


[first lines]
Stephen Hawking: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did the universe have a beginning, and if so, what happened before then? Where did the universe come from, and where is it going?
See more »


Featured in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Episode #1.7 (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting Look
29 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A very fine and intriguing documentary from Errol Morris about the life and work of physicist/celebrity Stephen Hawking, who revolutionized the way we think about the universe in his monumental book of the same name. The film is really divided into two stories, the life of Hawking as he struggles to overcome his paralysis, and the brilliant work he achieved in spite of his physical limitations. One gets the impression that had Hawking never became ill, he wouldn't have been as compelled to carry out the kind rigorous intellectual work that he of course did carry out, and (he himself notes that he was quite bored with life prior to his paralysis). Morris does a fine job with the material; the first half hour of the film suffers from a dry PBS feel, but the aesthetic and intellectual intensity takes off from there, the film never digresses into a mere sob story. Morris nearly always keeps the material more intellectually intriguing than it is uplifting and sentimental.

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