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Il était une fois... l'homme 

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


Albert Barillé

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


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


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Procidis [France]





Release Date:

1978 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Byl jednou jeden... clovek See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(26 episodes) | (30 episodes)


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The first episode, dealing with prehistory, presents many thoroughly outdated theories originating from the early 20th century. While widely accepted when the show was made, they have been overturned by scientific advancements beginning from the 1980s. Among other inaccuracies, it depicts herbivorous dinosaurs as swamp dwellers, proposes the unsubstantiated idea that carnivorous dinosaurs were afraid of water, and claims that crocodiles descended from dinosaurs. Brachiosaurus is said to have been the largest land animal at 50 tons, but modern-day estimates are significantly lower and many larger dinosaurs have since been discovered. The Anatosaurus is nowadays called Edmontosaurus, and while more recent findings suggest it did have a head crest, it probably wasn't as big as the cartoon version. The Elasmosaurus is incorrectly shown with a bendy neck and Tylosaurus has a ridge on its back and no tail fluke. Furthermore, the extinction of non-bird dinosaurs isn't given an explanation, only depicted as a large earthquake and droughts, because the show was produced years before evidence of an asteroid impact came to light. One of the more forward-thinking theories presented is the now-accepted fact that birds came from dinosaurs, though the animation falsely shows Archaeopteryx (long regarded as the "first bird") descending from generic thecodonts instead of dinosaurs (the term "thecodont" is not in use anymore, these days they would be called archosaurs). See more »


Featured in Videofobia: Star Crash 2 (2013) 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 StibbertSee 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.

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