Critic Reviews



Based on 9 critic reviews provided by
History of the World: Part I might not be the best effort from Brooks, but it still remains one of his crowning jewels – a testament to bravado irreverent humor and biting wit.
An entertaining mishmash of skits which finds Mel Brooks back in lively form, both for better and for worse. The only consistent thing about this burlesque miscellany, which incorporates skits about the Dawn of Man, Moses, the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition and the French Revolution, is its inconsistency.
The one interlude which really brings down the house has Brooks working as a waiter at the Last Supper and asking the assembled group. ‘Are you all together or is it separate checks?’..As the old ad line said, there’s something here to offend everybody, particularly the devout of all persuasions and homosexuals.
Time Out
It's difficult to dislike Brooks' parody of the historical epic.
A rambling, undisciplined, sometimes embarrassing failure from one of the most gifted comic filmmakers around.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Mel Brooks, the writer, director and producer of History of the World, is an ecologically sound filmmaker, a staunch adherent of recycling. If you laugh the second or third time, you defend the repetition as a variation on a theme; if you don't laugh, the charges are self-plagiarism and lack of imagination. [13 June 1981]
Despite cameos by many superior comic actors and well-known celebrities, this episodic would-be laughfest comes up wanting as many of Brooks' elaborate gags fall flat.
By this time your face is twisted out of shape from reacting to Brooks's nonstop gags with either a yock or a wince. The trouble is that Brooks (who wrote, produced and directed the movie) doesn't develop anything: just like King Louis, he skeet-shoots the audience with his gags. He needs the creative help he had on his biggest hits, "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein." Good bad taste is too precious to be bollixed up. [22 June 1981, p.87]
The movie is so sour that its humor is often undermined, because so many of the jokes are either mean-spirited or scatological, or both. Women are either explicitly predatory or stupidly decorative, and homosexuals are made fun of regularly. Bathroom jokes are everywhere. Flamboyantly bad taste, which Mr. Brooks raised to the level of supreme wit in his ''Springtime for Hitler'' number in ''The Producers,'' is this time just bad.

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