This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite comedies of all time, coming as it does from Mel Brooks as it successfully skewers such movie staples as the big-budget epic, musicals and, of course, sequel-itis.
Mel (in my humble yet informed opinion) has never been in better form during the '80s as he was here: lashing out in full force as writer, director and actor against the stoic straightness of history with a sardonic smile and twisted wit.
He surrounds himself with a more-than-capable cast, including such mega-star comics as Caesar (whose caveman seemed to develop all of man's first inventions all by himself), Kahn (his eternal diva and a sassy diva at that), Greene (pompous, puffed-up and ready to pop), DeLuise (making slobbery a pure art form), Korman (Hedley Lamaar in royal French garb - and still as funny), and even such loyal stand-bys as Carter, Murray, Milligan and DeLuca offer able-bodied support.
But let's not forget Hines. In his first major motion picture role as Josephus, he shucks and jives, sand-dances and withstands the fiery dancing of Caledonia like a pro. Just an inkling of what his career had to offer later on, and a perfect calling-card for a future in show business.
And the jokes! There are some classic Mel bits here that have stood the test of time and will continue to do so. Such classic bits as "The Inquisition", Comicus' first gig at Caesar's Palace, the Caveman's critique of that cave painting, "Count duh money, count duh money!", that obscene French chess game, even the coming attractions offer a few smiles.
But how can anyone cite certain favorites? The whole movie is a grab bag of jokes, many off-color and sure to offend. As if Mel made "Blazing Saddles" to please everyone...yeah, right.
In the end, "History" was the passing of an era, since Mel has made fewer movies as "R"-rated, raunchy, raucous, dis-respectful and belly-laughable as this one. He's still good, mind you, but just watch this one and see if you don't agree: what a wonderful "World".
Ten stars and a true sense of "awww" for "History of the World, Part I". Just ask Mel, he'll tell you - it's good to be king.