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History of the World: Part I (1981)

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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.

Director:

Mel Brooks

Writer:

Mel Brooks
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4,478 ( 502)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Brooks ... Moses / Comicus / Torquemada / Jacques / King Louis XVI
Dom DeLuise ... Emperor Nero
Madeline Kahn ... Empress Nympho
Harvey Korman ... Count de Monet
Cloris Leachman ... Madame Defarge
Ron Carey ... Swiftus
Gregory Hines ... Josephus
Pamela Stephenson ... Mademoiselle Rimbaud
Shecky Greene ... Marcus Vindictus
Sid Caesar ... Chief Caveman
Mary-Margaret Humes ... Miriam
Orson Welles ... Narrator (voice)
Rudy De Luca ... Prehistoric Man / Captain Mucus - The Roman Empire (as Rudy DeLuca)
Leigh French ... Prehistoric Woman
Richard Karron Richard Karron ... Prehistoric Man
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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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

IN MEL WE TRVST See more »

Genres:

Comedy | History

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin | French

Release Date:

12 June 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Viking Funeral See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,792,731, 14 June 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$31,672,907
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Brooksfilms See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On June 7, 1981, just four days before the movie opened in theaters, Mel Brooks was interviewed by The New York Times and mentioned the possibility of a sequel. "Will there be a History of the World: Part II?" he asked, rhetorically. "No. Maybe a part four, never a part two." See more »

Goofs

As Comicus and Swiftus are watching Josephus performing on the slave auction block, there's a girl standing behind them in some shots and not in other shots. See more »

Quotes

Monsieur Rimbaud: [falls flat on face] What fool put a carpet on the wall?
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 »

Alternate Versions

The German TV version is missing the "Hitler on Ice" segment during the finale. Also, there is a small bit missing in the stone age segment, showing the invention of art (wall painting), and the first critic taking a leak on the masterpiece. See more »


Soundtracks

An der schonen blauen Donau
(uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
[Played during the segment "Hitler on ice"]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I'm Still Awaiting Part II and "Hitler on Ice"
9 July 2006 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

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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