History of the World, Part I

From Academic Kids

The  cover artwork for the movie depicts many of the eras parodied in the film
The DVD cover artwork for the movie depicts many of the eras parodied in the film

History of the World, Part I is a 1981 film directed by Mel Brooks. Brooks wrote the screenplay and stars in the film, playing five roles: Moses, Comicus the stand-up philosopher, Toms de Torquemada, King Louis XVI, and Jacques le garon de pisse. The large ensemble cast also features Sid Caesar, Shecky Greene, Gregory Hines, and Brooks regulars Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman and Cloris Leachman among many others, including cameo appearances by Bea Arthur, Hugh Hefner, John Hurt, Jackie Mason, Paul Mazursky and Henny Youngman, and narration by Orson Welles.

The film's story, such as it is, is a parody of "historical spectacular" cinematic genre, including the "sword and sandal epic" and the "period costume drama" subgenres. The four main segments of the film consist of stories set during the Dawn of Man, the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition (as a Busby Berkeley-esque song-and-dance number) and the French Revolution. Between the Dawn of Man and the Roman Empire sequences there is also a very short clip called "The Old Testament," which shows Moses receiving fifteen commandments from God, then dropping a tablet and declaring them to be only Ten Commandments.

At the very end of the film there is a teaser-trailer for History of the World: Part II, which promises to feature a Viking funeral, Hitler on Ice, and Jews in Space. As of 2005, no release date has been set for this proposed sequel. It was most likely a joke, since most of the "trailer" featured visual gags. The melody for the "Jews in Space" song was later recycled by Brooks for the "Men in Tights" musical number in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

On several occasions in the film, a character exclaims that "only a miracle can save us now!" At which point a white stallion gallops in (apparently named "miracle") and carries off the characters to safety.

"It's good to be the King."

This popular catchphrase comes from its repeated use in the French Revolution segment. Brooks, as Louis XVI, says it bluntly direct to the camera on several occasions as if to justify the King's wanton behavior. Brooks also portrays "Le Garon de Piss" ("The Lowly Pissboy"), who carries a bucket for the royals to urinate into and later impersonates the King. Brooks as Le Garon delivers the same line with a sense of surprise when he gets to sample the King's luxurious lifestyle for the first time.

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