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Jerome Bixby's The Man from Earth

439 customer reviews

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(Nov 13, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

On a cold night in a remote cabin, Professor John Oldman (David Lee Smith of CSI: MIAMI) gathers his most trusted colleagues for an extraordinary announcement: He is an immortal who has migrated through 140 centuries of evolution and must now move on. Is Oldman truly Cro-Magnon or simply insane? Now one man will force these scientists and scholars to confront their own notions of history, religion and humanity, all leading to a final revelation that may shatter their world forever.

John Billingsley (STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE), William Katt (THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO), Ellen Crawford (ER) and Tony Todd (CANDYMAN) co-star in this provocative final work by Jerome Bixby, renowned as one of the greatest science-fiction authors of all time.

Based on renowned sci-fi author Jerome Bixby's final 1998 manuscript, Man From Earth is the long-awaited film adaptation in which Professor John Oldman (David Lee Smith) attempts to convince his fellow faculty members that he is 14,000 years old. Shot almost entirely inside Oldman's cabin as he's about to leave his friends and career, the film's dialogue consists of philosophical chatting about the possibility and ramifications of his alleged birth during the Upper Paleolithic era. As his faculty peers are all anthropology, biology, religion, and philosophy scholars, the conversation levels remain high throughout. Oldman's friend Harry (John Billingsley) is well versed in multiple religions as well as in science, while Gruber (Richard Riehle) is invited to the house mid-story to evaluate Oldman's psychological state. Edith (Ellen Crawford) is the Christian voice, considering the religious repercussions of Oldman's assertion. All the while, Oldman's love interest, Sandy (Annika Peterson), remains quietly contemplative and most capable of believing that he doesn't visually age and has seen epochs and historical eras come and go. Humorous scenes, such as when his friends discover a Van Gogh painting wedged into the back of his pick-up truck, keep the story flowing, though eventually heavy-handed conceptualism does make the film sluggish. Similar to some great episodes of The Twilight Zone, Man From Earth does pose enough grand questions about life and death that urge viewers to wonder if such a man could plausibly exist, and if so, what his fate would be. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this story is its fusion of spirituality and science by providing viewers a scenario in which proof is impossible, in a world where high value is placed on concrete evidence. –Trinie Dalton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: David Lee Smith, Tony Todd, John Billingsley, Alexis Thorpe, Richard Riehle
  • Directors: Richard Schenkman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: November 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (439 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UYX4Q8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,376 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

124 of 130 people found the following review helpful By G P Padillo VINE VOICE on March 24, 2008
Format: DVD
While clearly a no-budget film (shot almost entirely in a single room), this is nonetheless a remarkable bit of storytelling and offers a gripping, involving tale. John Oldman, decides its time to leave his life as a college professor. Wanting to take his leave with minimum fuss, his colleagues decide otherwise and arrive at his box filled residence with food and drink for an impromptu farewell, ensuring a room ripe with stereotypes for the story to play off of. Against his own better judgment, John decides to reveal his "real" self to his friends, and comes forth with the news he is an ageless, 14,000 year old Cro -Magnon. The recounting of his journey through the history of humankind is mesmerizing, and proves to be a tale with implications for all in his company provoking reactions from fascination to outrage, violence and disbelief to emotionally shattered.

Wisely playing this all with great understatement, Davlid Lee Smith delivers a gently powerful performance as history's most emotionally guarded man letting down his guard for the first time to reveal the truth about who is really is. The excellent ensemble cast (despite a moment or two of some hamfisted acting, a hurdle unavoidable in any screenplay relying entirely on human language) lend a realistic believability to John's colleagues.

An enormous relief from all the over-budgeted Hollywood costume and explosion dramas, this sensational little movie actually gets one to ponder some of the great questions as well as coming up with some provcative thought. Richard Schenkman is to be commended for (with minimal money) putting together an absolutely wonderful and entirely engaging movie.
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84 of 92 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on April 19, 2008
Format: DVD
John Oldman (David Lee Smith) has been a history professor for ten years and is now preparing to move away from the school he's dedicated a decade to. The reasons are initially his own until a group of his fellow friends and professors come by to say goodbye and he drops a bombshell on them; he claims to be a caveman who's lived eons and eons, witnessing historical events and even being part of that history that we thought we knew.

The group of professors that come by to send him off are a complex group: a religious studies professor, another that's an English prof, a psych prof, and a few others that round out a pretty decent world view.

Initially all of John's fellow colleagues challenge him, but his arguments are solid and disturbing. But is John for real? Or does he need psychotropic medications?

The thing about THE MAN FROM EARTH is that it's a stage-play put into film form. The entire movie is pure character exposition and dialogue with no action, flashbacks, or other techniques most movie-goers have become accustomed to. And this is both a strength and a weakness. The strength comes from the strong scripting of the dialogue that keeps the viewer interested and wondering how it will all pan out. The weakness is that it makes for incredibly slow pacing. Thankfully the The Man From Earth is only 87 minutes long, not stretching out its length and thus causing great yawns from the watchers.

The other strength within the movie is the acting. All of the characters were believable and the actors and actresses played their parts very well (being frustrated or angry or sad or scared, etc.). But the filming was tough to watch. Too many times the shots looked grainy or underexposed, giving it a B-movie feel; that was unfortunate.

Even so, this is an interesting treatise on humanity and how we might deal with the unexplainable should a friend thrust a near impossible quandary upon us.
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88 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Junshien Lau on November 14, 2007
Format: DVD
Wow I am blown away. I never though an entire movie revolving around a single conversation could have me so engrossed. No stunts, no special effects, no action, under a dozen actors/actresses sitting in a living room... and yet I'm sitting slack jawed watching the story unfold.

The movie is one for the brain ... challenges your mind, opens you to possibilities you never considered before. Of course, it could not be true, and I'm sure there are some holes I did not notice, but for the most part, the entire story fell together very well. Superb! I wish there were more movies like this.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Aficionado on June 25, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I had never seen this movie before purchasing the BluRay.

The movie is interesting and thought provoking; certainly deserving of the high IMDB rating it has.

As far as the video quality - save your money and buy the standard DVD. The BluRay quality was at best mediocre - I have standard DVDs that look better than this BluRay does. I would be amazed if this BluRay offers any improvement over the standard DVD - my guess is the BluRay is a simple copy of the standard DVD. Towards the end of the movie the video was not synchronized with the audio - I have never had that happen with a BluRay.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Moore VINE VOICE on September 3, 2008
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
There is no, well very little, action or romance here. The movie is essentially and intellectual exploration of what it would be like for someone who lived for 14,000 years. Don't let that read as boring, because it is not at all.

What would it really be like to live for 14,000 years? Would you learn a bunch of languages and forget them after you haven't used them for a hundred or so years? Would you be able to identify yourself as a Cro-Magnon man after the phrase has been coined?

John is a college professor who has decided to quit his job and gathers up his friends at his cabin for a going away party. Over some nice Scotch he reveals a captivating story of a live that has lasted 140 centuries.

Do they believe him? Is he lying? Is he crazy? Is it some weird thought experiment? Or, is he telling the truth?

What is his take on the Christ and Buddha? On man? The environment?

I really enjoyed watching this thought-provoking movie. It's got an independent flavor, but is very accessible.
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Topic From this Discussion
Commentary Track?
Do not believe the Amazon listing for the DVD which states that there are no special features. I received my copy today and was quite pleased to see that there are two audio commentary tracks as well as four "featurettes."
Aug 2, 2015 by Michael J. Valinis |  See all 2 posts
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