Once Upon a Time... Man (1978– )
"Il était une fois... l'homme" (original title)

TV Series  -   -  Animation | Adventure | Drama
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,135 users  
Reviews: 10 user

A comprehensive animated survey of the evolution of humanity and the history of predominately Western Civilization.


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Title: Once Upon a Time... Man (1978– )

Once Upon a Time... Man (1978– ) on IMDb 8.1/10

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1981 | 1979 | 1978




Series cast summary:
Annie Balestra ...
 Pierette (26 episodes, 1978-1981)
Albert Barillé ...
 Narrator (26 episodes, 1978-1981)
Yves Barsacq ...
 Le Gros (26 episodes, 1978-1981)
Claude Bertrand ...
 Le Teigneux (26 episodes, 1978-1981)
Roger Carel ...
 Maestro / ... (26 episodes, 1978-1981)
Patrick Préjean ...
 Le Nabot (26 episodes, 1978-1981)


In this series, the history of humanity and Western Civilization is surveyed. To illustrate this in an entertaining way, a cast of specific characters are recast in each episode as they live their lives in each major historical period of focus. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Official Sites:



Release Date:

April 1978 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Il était une fois... l'homme  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(26 episodes) | (30 episodes)


See  »

Did You Know?


The face of Jeremy/Colargol, the singing bear from a stop-motion animated series produced apparently by the same studio that produced this series, appears as an outline drawing in the opening credits sequence when the fish is transforming into the amphibian and leaving the water. See more »


Followed by Il était une fois... les découvreurs (1994) See more »


Tausend Jahre sind ein Tag
Music by Udo Jürgens
Lyrics by Siegfried Rabe
Performed by Udo Jürgens
(main theme: German version)
See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining, educational and the best of it's kind
5 March 2006 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

To be honest I was surprised there were not more comments on this series. It's a true gem and a classic. Even if it's nearly 30 years old it's still one of the most entertaining and best children's series.

They have shown this on Norwegian TV several times. I can remember watching this every Sunday morning as one of my favorite shows. First of all it's an excellent written series with an idea of combining education and entertainment. Often a doomed combination, but the way it's pulled off in this series is incredible. They succeed in making it both entertaining and educational. You follow a group of character through the different stages of mankind. It's the same characters and so you get to know them throughout the series. They also use a narrator and include him as a character of his own in the show. Making him interesting and funny rather than just a boring narrator from a kids perspective.

The animation is also good. They characters look of the character matches up with who they are. It's well animated, still by todays standards.

As for the educational aspect you get to see history. It's as simple as that. What they do it put these characters into history making one of them Moses one episode and Julius Caesar in the next. They recreate human history as it's supposed to have happened in their own universe with the help of a few characters.

I consider this series as a true classic and one of the best children series of all time. Unfortunately it would seem that it is being forgotten as those who saw it are growing up.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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