The Man from Earth

The Man from Earth
The Man from Earth

The Man from Earth theatrical poster.
Directed by Richard Schenkman
Produced by Emerson Bixby, Eric D. Wilkinson, Richard Schenkman
Written by Jerome Bixby
Starring David Lee Smith
John Billingsley
Tony Todd
Music by Mark Hinton Stewart
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment,
Shoreline Entertainment,
Release date(s) November 13, 2007 (2007-11-13)
Running time 89 minutes
Language English
Budget $200,000[1]

The Man from Earth is a 2007 science fiction film written by Jerome Bixby and directed by Richard Schenkman. The film stars David Lee Smith as John Oldman, the protagonist of the story. The screenplay for this movie was conceived by Jerome Bixby in the early 1960s and was completed on his death bed in April 1998, making it his final piece of work.[2] The movie gained recognition in part for being widely distributed through Internet peer-to-peer networks and its producer publicly thanked users of these networks for this.

The plot focuses on John Oldman, a departing university professor who claims to be a Cro-Magnon (or Magdalenian caveman) who has somehow survived for over 14,000 years. The only setting is in and around Oldman's house during his farewell party, with the plot advancing through intellectual arguments between Oldman and his fellow faculty.



The movie begins with Professor John Oldman (David Lee Smith) packing his belongings onto his truck, preparing to move to a new home. His colleagues show up to give him an impromptu farewell party: Harry (John Billingsley), a biologist; Edith (Ellen Crawford), a fellow professor and devout Christian; Dan (Tony Todd), an anthropologist; Sandy (Annika Peterson), a historian who is in love with John; Dr. Will Gruber (Richard Riehle), a psychiatrist; Art (William Katt), an archaeologist; and his student Linda (Alexis Thorpe).

As John's colleagues continue to pressure him for the reason for his departure, John slowly, and somewhat reluctantly, reveals that he is a prehistoric "caveman" who has survived for more than 14,000 years. His colleagues refuse to believe his story. John continues his tale, stating that he was once a Sumerian for 2000 years, then a Babylonian under Hammurabi, then a disciple of Gautama Buddha. He claims to have known Christopher Columbus, Van Gogh, and other famous historical figures.

During the course of the conversation, John's colleagues question his story according to their specialties. For instance, Harry, the biologist, discusses the possibility of a human living for so long. Art, the archaeologist, questions John about events in prehistory; he exclaims that John's answers, though correct, could have come from any textbook.

The discussion turns to the topic of religion. John mentions that he is not a follower of a particular religion; though he does not necessarily believe in an omnipotent God, he does not discount the possibility of such a being's existence. John then reluctantly reveals that he was the inspiration for the Jesus story and "the one called Jesus", which leaves members of his audience, especially Edith, aghast and angry. Out of his hearing, they begin to talk about the possibility of John being mentally ill or high on drugs.

After this shocking revelation, emotions in the room run high. Edith begins crying, and Gruber sternly demands that John end his tale and give closure by admitting it was all a hoax, threatening him with the possibility of locking him up for observation. John apologizes to everyone and tells them that it was all just a story.

John's friends begin to leave. John apologizes to Harry and Edith, while Art and Linda depart without many parting words. When it is Dan's turn to say goodbye, his words hint that he believes John's story. After everyone but Dr. Gruber and Sandy has left, Dr. Gruber overhears John and Sandy's conversation, which suggests that the story was true after all. John mentions some of the pun pseudonyms he had used over the years, such as John Paley (as in Paleolithic) and John Savage. He also mentions another pseudonym, used over sixty years ago while a chemistry professor at Harvard: John Thomas Partee (as in John T. Party of Boston). This was the name of Gruber's father; upon hearing this, Gruber, shocked and over-excited at the sight of his ageless father, suffers a heart attack and dies. After Gruber's body is taken away, Sandy notes that John seems especially struck by his death. She realizes that it is the first time he has seen his grown child die. John wordlessly gets in his truck and drives away, as though to leave forever. Then he stops and looks at Sandy, apparently deciding to spend some time with her. The movie ends with Sandy getting into the truck.


The story is Jerome Bixby's last work, which he completed on his deathbed in April 1998. Bixby dictated the last of his screenplay to his son, screenwriter Emerson Bixby. After Jerome Bixby's death the script was given to Richard Schenkman to direct on a $200,000 budget.[1]


In order of appearance:

Distribution and Publicity

The film screened at the San Diego Comic-Con Film Festival in July 2007, and premiered theatrically in Hemet, California and Pitman, New Jersey[3] in October 2007. It was released on DVD in North America by Anchor Bay Entertainment on November 13, 2007 and became available for digital rental and sale at iTunes on September 22, 2009. It won the grand prize for Best Screenplay and first place for Best Feature at the Rhode Island Film Festival in August 2007.[4]

Producers Schenkman (sellingrs), Bixby (Emerson_Bixby) and Wilkinson (EWilkinson100) have written comments on IMDb forums and responded to questions from fans.

Festivals and awards

The film has been nominated and won numerous awards.[5]

  • 2007 – WINNER – 1st place – Best Screenplay - Rhode Island International Film Festival
  • 2007 – WINNER – Grand Prize - Best Screenplay - Rhode Island International Film Festival
  • 2008 – WINNER – Best Film – Montevideo Fantastic Film Festival of Uruguay
  • 2008 – WINNER – Audience Choice Award Montevideo Fantastic Film Festival of Uruguay
  • 2008 – WINNER – Best Director - Fantaspoa – International Fantastic Film Festival of Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • 2008 – WINNER – 2ND place – Best Screenplay - Rio de Janeiro International Fantastic Film Festival (RioFan)
  • 2008 – WINNER – Audience Award: Best Screenplay Film – Fixion-Sars Horror & Fantastic Film Festival of Santiago, Chile
  • 2008 – WINNER – Jury Award: Best Screenplay – Fixion-Sars Horror & Fantastic Film Festival of Santiago, Chile
  • 2008 – WINNER – Best SCI-FI Screenplay - International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival, Phoenix, AZ
  • 2008 – WINNER – Best Screenplay - Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre – Int'l Independent Horror, Fantasy & Bizarre, Argentina
  • 2007 – Official Selection - Another Hole in the Head SF IndieFest
  • 2007 – Official Selection – San Diego ComicCon International Film Festival
  • 2008 – Official Selection – Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival
  • 2008 – Official Selection (Opening Night Screenplay) – Down Beach Film Festival, Atlantic City, NJ
  • 2008 – Official Selection – Otrocine Fantastic Film Festival of Bogota
  • 2008 – Official Selection – FilmColumbia – Festival of Film in Chatham, NY
  • 2008 – Official Selection - Festival de Cine Fantástico (Fantastic Film Festival of Malaga) (FANCINE)
  • 2008 – Official Selection - Festival Cinema de Salvador
  • 2008 – Official Selection - Mostra Curta Fantástico of São Paulo, Brazil
  • 2007 – Saturn Award nominee - Best DVD Release - The Man From Earth[6]
  • 2008 – WINNER – DVD Critics Award – Best Non-Theatrical Movie


All music performed by Mark Hinton Stewart.

Publicity through filesharing

In what may be an unprecedented move, the producer of this film, Eric D. WilkinsonIMDb
, has publicly thanked users of BitTorrent who have distributed the movie without express permission, saying that it has lifted the profile of this product far beyond the financier's expectations,[7] while encouraging fans to purchase the DVD or donate.[8]

See also

  • Requiem for Methuselah 1969 Star Trek episode by Jerome Bixby, an earlier version of this story, by the same author. "Mr. Flint" is 6000 years old and has lived through all of recorded history.
  • The Gnarly Man 1939 short story by L. Sprague de Camp about a cave man (in this case a Neanderthal, not a Cro Magnon), who makes it to modern times by failing to age, after being struck by lightning.[1] The story ends with the main character "Clarence" tearing apart a laboratory of a scientist who wants to vivisect him. In The Man from Earth, John says he's stayed away from laboratories "for fear of going in and not coming out."
  • All Men are Mortal 1946 novel by Simone de Beauvoir. It tells of a man born in 1279 A.D. who is cursed to wander the Earth without aging. See also the 1986 film [[Highlander (film) about a Scotsman from a similar time who finds he does not age.
  • The Wandering Jew: a series of old legends about a Jewish man who is made immortal in the time of Jesus, and cursed to wander the Earth until the second coming.
  • She: A History of Adventure, an 1886 novel by H. Rider Haggard about an ageless woman who rules a lost African kingdom, discovered by explorers. She ages rapidly and dies at the end.
  • Long Live Walter Jameson 1960 Twilight Zone episode by Charles Beaumont, about a man more than 2000 years old, who has not aged due to an encounter with an alchemist. He teaches very realistic history classes.
  • Queen of the Nile 1964 Twilight Zone episode about an Egyptian queen (implied to be Cleopatra) who has learned the secret of immortality by stealing youth from others (something Professor Oldman is accused randomly of doing in the Bixby film, but this is never established or suggested by any other plot elements.)
  • The 2000 Year Old Man 1961 Mel Brooks/Carl Reiner comedy skit with both cave man jokes and ancient history jokes. The title character has lived to the present by not aging.
  • Grotto of the Dancing Deer 1980 short story on a similar theme.
  • Last Supper (The Outer Limits), which features a women from Medieval Spain who survived into the present day after being the sole survivor after everyone in her village died from the Black Plague. She is subjected to brutal medical experiments by the US military to test her endurance and healing ability. The doctor who conducted the experiments injects himself with samples of her blood to obtain this strength.


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Man from Earth — Données clés Titre original Jerome Bixby s The Man from Earth Réalisation Richard Schenkman Scénario Jerome Bixby Acteurs principaux David Lee Smith John Billingsley Ellen Crawford William Katt …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The Man from Earth — Jerome Bixby´s The Man from Earth Título The Man from Earth Ficha técnica Dirección Richard Schenkman Producción Emerson Bixby, Eric D. Wilkinson, Richard Schenkman …   Wikipedia Español

  • The Man from Earth — Filmdaten Originaltitel: The Man from Earth Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 2007 Länge: 89 Minuten Originalsprache: Englisch Stab …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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