History of the World---Part I (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

History of the World---Part I1981

History of the World---Part I (1981)



Critic Consensus: History of the World: Part I may not have enough comedic inspiration to merit a Part II, but the sporadic cleverness of these anachronistic skits are still a testament to Mel Brooks' gift for farce.

History of the World---Part I Photos

Movie Info

Mel Brooks produced, directed, wrote, and starred in this episodic comedy in the spirit of Monty Python and the 1957 studio travesty The Story of Mankind. The film is divided into five sequences that play like blue-toned Eddie Cantor vaudeville sketches -- "The Dawn of Man," "The Stone Age," The Spanish Inquisition," "The Bible," and "The Future." Also included is a Brooksian depiction of The Last Supper and a long-winded sequence about the French Revolution. The film starts with a 2001: A Space Odyssey parody, narrated by Orson Welles, in which a collection of ape-men learn to stand erect (in more ways than one). The Stone Age reveals the origins of both the first homo sapien and homosexual marriages. Brooks then appears in an Old Testament sequence as Moses, descending from Mount Sinai with three heavy stone tablets bearing the 15 Commandments; after he drops one of these tablets, the laws of God become 10 Commandments. The Roman period picks up with Brooks as Comicus, attempting to get a gig as a "stand-up philosopher" at Caesar's Palace. The Spanish Inquisition is a musical production number with monks torturing Jews to lively Broadway musical strains. The final French revolution section is a broad parody of The Man in the Iron Mask story. The film closes with coming attractions of "History of the World, Part II" that features a rousing Star Wars parody (anticipating Space Balls) called "Jews in Space" that includes a jaunty theme song.

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Mel Brooks
as Moses/Comicus/Torquemada/Jacques/Louis XVI
Dom DeLuise
as Emperor Caeser
Harvey Korman
as Count de Monet
Madeline Kahn
as Empress Nympho
Cloris Leachman
as Madame de Farge
Ron Carey
as Swiftus
Gregory Hines
as Josephus
Pamela Stephenson
as Mademoiselle Rimbaud
Shecky Green
as Marcus Vindictus
Sid Caesar
as Chief Caveman
Howard Morris
as Court Spokesman
Rudy De Luca
as Capt. Mucus
Orson Welles
as Narrator
Charlie Callas
as Soothsayer
Dena Dietrich
as Competence
Paul Mazursky
as Roman Officer
Ron Clark
as Stoned Soldier
Jack Riley
as Stoned Soldier
Art Metrano
as Leonardo Da Vinci
Diane Day
as Caladonia
Fritz Feld
as Maitre d'
Hugh Hefner
as Entrepreneur
Pat McCormick
as Plumbing Salesman
Sid Gould
as Barber
Jim Steck
as Gladiator
John Myhers
as Senate Leader
Lee Delano
as Wagon Driver
Sidney Lassick
as Applecore Vendor
Johnny Silver
as Small Liar
Rod Haase
as Officer
John Hurt
as Jesus
Jackie Mason
as Jew No. 1
as Jew No. 2
Phil Leeds
as Chief Monk
Jack Carter
as Rat Vendor
Jan Murray
as Nothing Vendor
Spike Milligan
as M. Rimbaud
Sydney Lassick
as Applecore Vendor
Jonathan Cecil
as Poppinjay
John Gavin
as Marche
J.J. Barry
as Prehistoric Man
Sammy Shore
as Prehistoric Man
Michael Champion
as Prehistoric Man
Earl Finn
as Prehistoric Man, Disciple - The Roman Empire
Leigh French
as Prehistoric Woman
Richard Karron
as Prehistoric Man
Susette Carroll
as Prehistoric Man
Suzanne Kent
as Prehistoric Man
Molly Basler
as Game Show Girl - The Roman Empire
Christine Dickinson
as Game Show Girl - The Roman Empire
Deborah Dawes
as Game Show Girl - The Roman Empire
Lisa Sohm
as Vestal Virgin - The Roman Empire
Michele Drake
as Vestal Virgin - The Roman Empire
Jeana Tomasina
as Vestal Virgin - The Roman Empire
Lisa Welch
as Vestal Virgin - The Roman Empire
Alan U. Schwartz
as Senator #2
Janis Schmitt
as Vestal Virgin - The Roman Empire
Ira Miller
as Roman Citizen
Heidi Sorenson
as Vestal Virgin - The Roman Empire
Karen Morton
as Vestal Virgin - The Roman Empire
Kathy Collins
as Vestal Virgin - The Roman Empire
Lori Sutton
as Vestal Virgin - The Roman Empire
Lou Mulford
as Vestal Virgin - The Roman Empire
Henry Kaiser
as Disciple - The Roman Empire
Zale Kessler
as Disciple - The Roman Empire
Anthony Messina
as Disciple - The Roman Empire
Howard Mann
as Disciple - The Roman Empire
Sandy Helberg
as Disciple - The Roman Empire
Mitchell Bock
as Disciple - The Roman Empire
Lee Gilbert
as Disciple - The Roman Empire
Michael Miller
as Coming Attraction
Royce D. Applegate
as Coming Attraction
Sean Barry-Weske
as Insolent Flunkey
Bella Emberg
as Baguette - The French Revolution
Geoffrey Larder
as Footman - The French Revolution
George Lane Cooper
as Executioner - The French Revolution
Stephanie Marrian
as Lady Marie - The French Revolution
Royce Mills
as Duke D'Honnefleur - The French Revolution
Mike Cottrell
as Tartuffe - The French Revolution
Gerald Staddon
as Le Fevre - The French Revolution
Barry Levinson
as Column Salesman - The Roman Empire
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Critic Reviews for History of the World---Part I

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (5)

"History of the World, Part 1" is one of the all-time great spoof comedies. Its genius can be seen right there in its title.

June 14, 2021 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

What [Brooks] takes to be the glorious folk humor that modern people have repressed looks to many of us like the tired jokes that were yawned off the burlesque stage 50 years ago.

December 31, 2019 | Full Review…

Mel Brooks's movie History of the World, Part 1 is a rambling, undisciplined, sometimes embarrassing failure from one of the most gifted comic filmmakers around.

November 12, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

... an entertaining mishmash of skits which finds Mel Brooks back in lively form, both for better and for worse.

October 3, 2017 | Full Review…

As written and directed by Brooks, the movie's overreliance on sex, scat and Semitic jokes wears painfully thin halfway through the picture.

May 26, 2020 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

History of the World, Part I-which has no sequel-spoofs multiple genres in this anthology showing that there are no limits to the mind of writer-director Mel Brooks.

December 27, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for History of the World---Part I

A truly funny, episodic comedy. Kahn is great and the musical numbers are memorable.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer


An underrated Mel Brooks gem, The History of the World-Part 1 is a hilarious film. Mel Brooks delivers yet another great film. The History of the World-Part 1 is a crude, offensive comedy, but it works. The film has all the ingredients that make up a great Mel Brooks comedy. This film is fairly underrated, and is viewed as less superior as Brooks' works. The cast here are a wonderful bunch of actors that deliver something memorable to the screen. If you enjoy a good Mel Brooks film, then give this film a view, this film is definitely worth it, and is lots of fun from start to finish. The comedic delivery is low brow, and it works. With every film that Mel Brooks has done, he's done something hilarious, something that would push the boundaries of the comedy genre, much like Monty Python; His films are classics of the genre. If you're a fan of Mel Brooks, give this one a shot. The jokes are in poor taste at times, but they're meant to be taken with a grain of salt. The History of the World-Part 1 is a near flawless comedy, and is among Mel Brooks' best works. Funny from start to finish, History of the World-Part 1 is supported by a great cast of talented funny actors who really make this film stand out. If you want a great slapstick offensive comedy, then this is the perfect flick to watch. This really an underrated film in my opinion and it doesn't deserve the flack it has received. If you enjoy Mel Brooks, you'll enjoy this film. I was surprised at how much I loved it, a true comedy classic.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

What was Brooks thinking with this movie? It's not funny, all the jokes are stupid, and there's not really a story (not that one I can recall anyway.). I hated this movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

History of the World---Part I Quotes

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