This Week in 1981: 'History of the World: Part I' Drops Wisdom

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. (So said one of the Marxes, Groucho or Karl, I forget which.) Mel Brooks took the latter approach and came up with one of his most memorable comedies, 'History of the World: Part I,' released 30 years ago this week (on June 12, 1981).

The film consisted of old-fashioned sketches, vaudevillian riffs on well-known historical periods, but it's so deliberately dated that it still feels fresh today. Its impact continues to this day, echoing through the acting careers it launched, its irreverent approach to history and its catchphrase so, um, catchy, that Brooks has continued to use it in just about everything he's done since.
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