Film: History of the World Part I

It's good to be the king!

History of the World Part I is a 1981 comedy film written, directed and produced by Mel Brooks. He is also part of the main cast if not the main character. Starting out with the Dawn of Man, cavemen discovering fire, cave paintings, and the art critic, the film skips to various 'important' areas of history usually with a unique interpretation of the events. Following this, the film touches on Moses receiving the Fifteen... er, Ten Commandments then takes time to waltz through the Roman Empire and end up at the Last Supper. They then sing and dance during The Spanish Inquisition, though nobody expects it. The French Revolution comes next with Brooks playing King Louis XVI and the piss boy, don't ask, that turns into the Prince and the Pauper though it ends well through a miracle. Before the credits are 'Coming Attractions'.

Fun Fact: The Jews In Space song was later recycled for another Mel Brooks film, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, while the concept itself evolved into Spaceballs, with its Druish Princess.

This film provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: In-Universe. Unbelievably, this is a plot point. The Count de Money Monet tells King Louis that he looks exactly like the piss boy. Naturally, both characters are played by Mel Brooks himself.
    • Rudy de Luca who plays Captain Mucus, can also briefly be seen in Prehistoric Man segment. He's the caveman that gets accidentally killed by a thrown spear.
    • Also Ronny Graham does double duty as Oedipus and a tortured Jew who relays his unfortunate experience of being anally tortured with a red hot poker.
  • Adipose Rex: The Roman Emperor. Check your material carefully before performing at the Palace.
  • Adolf Hitlarious: "See... Hitler on Ice!"
  • Affectionate Parody: Of history in general.
    • The French Revolution section is largely a spoof of A Tale of Two Cities.
    • The Rome section owes a lot to Caligula and even moreso to the spoof Caligula II: Messalina, Messalina.
  • All Jews Are Ashkenazi: Sephardi Jews during the Spanish Inquisition musical sequence speak with Yiddish accents with smatterings of Yiddish like "Oy gevalt!"
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Stand-up Philosophers? A real thing. In Roman times rich people would hire philosophers to talk at parties so they looked more cultured.
  • Anachronism Stew: Plenty, from an ancient Roman carrying a boombox to Leonardo da Vinci, Moses, and some of the Romans appearing in the wrong time period. But of course, movies are magic.
    • Also, Comicus is telling jokes about Christians before the Last Supper.
  • Answer Cut: During the Last Supper.
    Jesus: Yea, yea, so you say, but one who sits amongst us has already betrayed me this night.
    Apostles: Who? Who could it be?
    Waiter: JUDAS!
    (Judas gasps)
    Waiter: Do you want a beverage? Try the mulled wine, it's terrific!
  • Background Halo
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: "Yes, yes, no, yes, yes, no, yes..." with a final "YES!"
  • Bilingual Bonus: The beginning of the "French Revolution" segment. As the narration describes the desolation of the common Frenchmen, the camera pans in on a sign that says "Rue de Merde". The translates to "Shit Road".
  • Busby Berkeley Number: SEND IN THE NUNS!
  • Camp Gay: The announcer in Caesar's palace.
  • Catch Phrase:
    King Louis XVI: "It's good to be the King."
  • The Cameo: Quite a few...
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Combined with Deus ex Machina, the Roman Empire group help out Miracle towards the beginning of the segment. Miracle goes on to save them twice. First at the end of the segment, when they escape from the Emperor, then during the end of the French Revolution segment, in a carriage driven by Josephus.
  • Deus ex Machina: "Miracle!"
  • Gag Boobs: Apparently literally inflated with air.
  • Got Me Doing It: DeMonet keeps correcting people who pronounce his name "De Money". Eventually he needs to correct himself.
  • Grapes of Luxury: DeLuise gets this treatment as Nero.
  • Groin Attack: During the Spanish Inquisition sequence, one of the Jews claims that the Inquisitors played ping-pong with his balls.
  • Historical In-Joke: The title of the film. It is a play on The Historie Of The World, a work written by Sir Walter Raleigh. He only finished the first book before he was beheaded.
  • Human Chess: "Knight jumps queen! Bishop jumps queen! PAWNS jump queen! GAAAAAANG BAAAAAAAAANG!"
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • "I don't care for the peasants?! They are my people. I am their sovereign. I love them... PULL!!"
    • From the same scene, he mentions detesting violence... well...
  • Inherently Funny Words:
    • DeMonet
    • Torquemada (Say it fast)
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The Trope Namer. The French Revolutionaries place it fairly high in their list of grievances even.
  • Mood Whiplash: After "The Roman Empire" sequence ends with a funny scene with "The Last Supper", we cut to "The Spanish Inquisition" which begins in a very bleak scene of monks chanting and Jews being tortured.
    • Then the music starts and it's back to funny again.
  • Mythology Gag: Harvey Korman's role as Count deMoney (deMonET!) is a reference to his previous role in Blazing Saddles as the evil chancellor Hedy Lamarr. (HEDLEY!) Par for the course for a Mel Brooks film, really.
  • Pun: And really, do you expect anything less with Mel Brooks?
    • "The servant waits while the master baits."
    • You can't Torquemadanote  anything!
    • "Don't get saucy with me, Bearnaise."
    • Oedipus Rex has a cameo at one point.
      Oedipus: 'Ey, Josephus!
      Josephus: 'Ey, motherfucker.
  • Oh, Crap: Comicus, while expounding on political corruption.
    Comicus: It goes all the way up to the Emperor!
    Emperor: Death Glare
    Comicus: Shit.
  • Really Gets Around: Empress Nympho
  • Reclining Reigner: Nero, natch.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Hump/death/hump/death...
  • Sequel Hook: Faked with a preview of features in ''History of the World, Part Two":
  • Sequel Snark: Even the title implies a sequel, and they do "previews" to Part Two, but it's clear they don't mean to make one. This is actually a reference to Sir Walter Raleigh's History of the World, Volume I; he wrote it in prison in the Tower of London and was executed before he could write any other volumes.
    • Also part of the Running Gag of Mel Brooks's films mentioning a sequel that is never intended to be made. (Compare Spaceballs, where the title of a sequel is even given. And the movie itself appears to be "Chapter 11".)
  • Shout-Out: Don't you remember where Madame Defarge originally came from?
  • Something Else Also Rises: Invoked by the Roman soldiers in the eunuch scene so that they can identify Josephus. It succeeds.
  • Space Jews: Literally!
  • Title 1
  • Villain Song: The aforementioned song about the Spanish Inquisition.
  • Visual Pun: They're coming to The End.
  • Who's on First??: The interaction between Jesus and the waiter at the Last Supper.
    Comicus(Upset after being told to leave): Alright, alright, Jesus.
    Jesus: Yes?
    Comicus: What?
    Jesus: What?
    Comicus: What?
    Jesus: Yes?
    Comicus: Jesus
    Jesus: What?
  • The X of Y

Alternative Title(s):

History Of The World Part One