As the title indicates, it is a history of leisure, or rather the effort of humanity to establish a balance between work and leisure. The film encompasses the history of humanity from caveman days to the modern day (the 1976 modern day, anyway), demonstrating how leisure changed and took different forms as humanity invented new technologies.
A little bit of an Unintentional Period Piece, as a 21st century remake of Leisure would have to deal with how the Internet and smartphones have radically redefined what humanity calls leisure time and how we spend it.
- Anachronism Stew: Played for laughs in the opening bits that dramatize early human history. The caveman dodges dinosaurs, and in another bit, accidentally creates a perfect archway that he uses to make a home, where he listens to rugby on the radio.
- Book-Ends: The same caveman drawing circles in the dirt at the beginning and at the end.
- Limited Animation: Crude line drawings matched up with collage-style animation. The caveman is always drawn with lines, even when he's become a modern man and is interacting with the pictures demonstrating the modern world.
- Medium Blending: Basic line drawings mixed in with Terry Gilliam-style moving picture collage animation.
- Naked Apron: A throwaway gag about "housewives wanting romance" is illustrated by a drawing of a woman wearing an apron and nothing else.
- Narrator: Well-known Australian actor Alexander Archdale delivers the narration that accompanies the film.
- No Plot? No Problem!: A lecture about the history of leisure done with whimsical narration and amusing animation, but no attempt at a story.
- Sarcasm Mode: The narrator gets pretty snarky sometimes, like when he talks about how shocking it was that humanity didn't want its leisure to be regimented.
- Time Passes Montage: The whole cartoon, really, as the history of the human race is summarized in 13 minutes.
- White Void Room: Much of the animation, especially the hand-drawn cartoon man part, is drawn against a plain white background.