8.9/10
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5 user 1 critic

The Ascent of Man 

An account of man's development through his scientific and technological achievements.
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Episodes

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1  
1975  
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Jacob Bronowski Jacob Bronowski ...  Himself - Presenter 13 episodes, 1973
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Storyline

Jacob Bronowski, a friend of many famous 20th century nuclear physicists describes the history of Man from Ape to computer-maker. He touches upon the history of art, empires and science. Written by Sundar Narayan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tv mini series | See All (1) »

Genres:

Documentary

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 January 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Powstawanie czlowieka See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(13 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the initial broadcast of the program, each segment had an epilogue by a very young Anthony Hopkins, who once was a student of Dr. Bronowski's. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Water Power (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

The Narrow Way
Written by Pink Floyd
Performed by Nick Mason
Courtesy of Capitol Records USA
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the most remarkable achievements in television history
15 May 2003 | by ajaverettSee all my reviews

This extraordinary series, thirteen fifty-minute episodes, is one of television's highest achievements; nearly forty years after its completion, it has lost little of its luster.

A mathematician whose professional journey included work on the Manhattan Project, later at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, as well as an editor and scholar of the works of William Blake, Dr. Jacob Bronowski was one of the last true Renaissance men.

Presented here is a veritable smörgåsbord of human history cast against scientific advancements and technological innovations that take the viewer around the world, from the dawn of Man to the then-present of 1972. Along the way, Dr. Bronowski stops to examine some of humanity's greatest accomplishments - and lowest depths. One outstanding quality of this remarkable series is that he speaks to the viewer directly and very personally through the lens of the camera; the book of the same name is a virtual transcript of his remarks.

Not simply lectures (nor read from a script), these extemporaneous essays offer Bronowski's "personal view" on a wide range of human, scientific and technological history, presented in both a dramatic and memorable fashion. For example, the episodes are sprinkled with delightful (and sometimes moving) anecdotes of various people, some of whom Bronowski knew and worked with - such as Leo Szilard (who first conceived the concept of sustained nuclear fission - even coining the term "chain reaction" - and who subsequently wrote the letter which Einstein signed that was sent to FDR, bringing about the Manhattan Project) and John von Neumann (one of the great mathematicians of the twentieth century and the "Father of Electronic Computing").

Anyone with even a passing interest in the history of our species and its place amongst the stars, or of science in general, will be astonished, delighted, deeply moved and profoundly affected by "The Ascent of Man." The production value is of the highest order throughout (and, now in its second DVD incarnation, the sound, which was always somewhat problematic, has been greatly improved, matching the often stunning visuals).

(NOTE: Viewers who enjoy this series will also enjoy both the seven-part BBC miniseries "Oppenheimer" (1980) and their production of Michael Frayen's play "Copenhagen" (2002), both available on DVD.)

Highest possible recommendation.


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