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Mankind: The Story of All of Us



Human species series is informative, dramatic, violent.
  • Review Date: November 9, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 552 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series shows how the human race has adapted to difficult circumstances and harnessed power to survive over billions of years. Explanations for human development and religion are offered from a scientific and sociological point of view.

Positive role models

Good or bad, the decisions and activities of mankind's early ancestors and historic leaders are credited with helping the human species survive, either by preserving it or by inspiring it to invent and develop things.


Many images of animals being hunted, bitten, speared, and killed. Fighting between warring factions is also visible; graphic and bloody reenactments of people being shot (with blood shown), stabbed, beaten, etc. are also visible. Replicas of x-ray images show broken bones and other injuries of ancient remains.


Pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are discussed, but not in great detail.

Not applicable

Capitol One is a visible sponsor of the series.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking is mentioned.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mankind, a documentary about the evolution and survival of the human species, uses special effects and dramatic reenactments to tell the often violent story. While offered in context, many of these often bloody scenes may be too intense for younger or sensitive viewers.

What's the story?

MANKIND: THE STORY OF ALL OF US is a dramatic documentary series that offers an in-depth look at the history and evolution of human civilization. Narrated by Josh Brolin, it features actor portrayals of historic events showing the various inventions, activities, and pursuits that have helped the human species survive over millions of years. With the help of various experts like celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, food critic Anthony Bourdain, historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and military experts like former Navy SEAL Richard "Mack" Machowicz, the series explains how harnessing natural elements like fire, increasing food production through farming, fashioning weapons from different materials, and creating painted and written communication systems, directly impacted the way early humans survived on the planet. It also shows how the combination of these activities led to mass migrations of people, the development of economic and trade systems, the building of empires, and the creation of social power structures that evolved into modern-day warfare. The emergence of religion, as well as the rise of disease and other human-ills, are also discussed.

Is it any good?


Mankind is an informative, in-depth documentary series. It shows how the human race has managed to survive harsh elements, predatory animals, disease, and each other, through invention, creativity, and by taking risks. The series also highlights how small activities that we take for granted today, such as heating our food and writing, are the same acts that literally transformed the human species, and contributed to the rise of human civilization billions of years ago.

History buffs will enjoy Mankind, but some folks might be put off by many of the violent reenactments featured here, even if they are being shown in context. Meanwhile, some of the scientific and sociological explanations about things like the original source of human DNA and the rise of religions may directly conflict with some viewers' personal belief systems. Nonetheless, it's a well-researched, and entertainingly dramatic discussion about humanity, and what we, as a species, have actively done over the centuries to survive.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the history of the human race. What do you believe are some of the most significant things the human species has invented and/or developed over the centuries? Are there things you wish humans had not invented? Why?


  • Is it necessary to reenact violent events in great detail, especially if it is for educational purposes? Why do you think documentaries include violent scenes? What impact can these images potentially have on viewers, especially kids?

Movie details

DVD release date:December 11, 2012
Cast:Josh Brolin, Paul Hampshire
Studio:A&E Home Video
Run time:552 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Mankind: The Story of All of Us was written by

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Teen, 15 years old Written byeverthesame13 January 12, 2013

Very watchable, so interesting.

I'm a teen, and when I'm bored and nothing is on TV then I watch the history channel. When I turned this on, I was like 'Huh, kind of interesting." But it really develops and the graphics are captivating and eye-catching. It really tells history in an interesting, watchable way and I enjoyed it. Very educational, good for high/middle school history classes.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Kid, 9 years old September 11, 2013


very very informative i loved it
Educator and Parent Written byHomeschoolingmother April 15, 2016

Very focused on War

We've only watched the first disc in the series, but it seems rather sensational and overly focused on war. Not that war isn't a big part of history, but even inventions and discoveries are presented in a framework of war. The depictions of battle are constant and unnecessary and several of elements like farming and democracy are glossed over with battles. It does go through several pivotal moments in history and so may be worth watching. I am having to watch often and talk often about the why we think they focus so much on war and why it seems so sensational and how they could have made the movie better.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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