The Man from Earth Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

University teacher John Oldman (David Lee Smith), who has worked in his post for exactly ten years, unexpectedly for all his fellow teachers, quit and is about to leave. However, the friends decided not to let John go without a farewell party, which they threw at his house, arriving there uninvited.

Friends are biologist Harry (John Billingsley), archaeologist Art (William Catt), art historian Edith (Ellen Crawford), historian Sandy (Annika Peterson), anthropologist Dan (Tony Todd), student Linda (Alexis Thorpe) and psychiatrist Dr. Gruber (Richard Riley).

John treats them to very old whiskey, they drink, chatting about this and that, and suddenly John confesses to his friends that he has been living on this Earth for fourteen thousand years. He is a real “caveman”, born in the Madeleine period. After reaching thirty-five, John stopped aging and remained forever thirty-five. People around notice that John does not change with time, so he is forced to change his place of work and place of residence every ten years.

At first, friends do not understand how to react to this. It is clear that this is some kind of joke, but John is completely serious and willingly answers first the playful, and then the completely serious questions that he is asked. And gradually the audience realize that this is all very similar to the truth.


This film has an interesting history. A typical independent project directed by Richard Shankman from a script by Jerome Bixby. The whole picture cost $200,000. Shenkman did not have any funds for advertising, besides, the “screen” of the picture was posted in the ReleaseLog torrent tracker literally the next day after the picture was released.

But unexpectedly, it was this pirated publication that served as such a good advertisement for the film that the producer of the film even wrote a letter of thanks to the owners of the torrent tracker, stating that he had no complaints against them, and even plans to personally post the next film on the Web. After that, the administration of the torrent tracker called on visitors to support the creators of the picture by buying a DVD edition.

“The Man from Earth” is a typical film-performance: almost all the action takes place in one room, where several people are talking to each other. I love this genre: as a rule, such films turn out to be very good, despite the lack of entertainment. But in this case, the film usually contains interesting dialogues and unexpected plot twists, because without good dialogues, such a film simply will not take place.

In The Man from Earth, both the dialogues and some of the plot twists are excellent. The situation of a person living on Earth for fourteen thousand years, with whom specialists in various fields of science are talking, is cleverly modeled. And, of course, they also touched on the religious topic: the episode with it was very exciting when John argued with the deeply religious Edith.

The acting work is very good, despite the fact that the actors here are quite little known. Most of all I liked John himself, played by David Lee Smith, Harry’s cheerful biologist, John Billingsley, and Sandy’s historian, Annika Peterson, who is in love with John.

There is no point in discussing the plot twists and the most interesting questions that John answered, so as not to spoil. It is better to watch this film yourself if you like smart, ironic and witty films-performances. I got great pleasure and, one might say, experienced an intellectual orgasm, as one of my friends used to say.

By the way, this picture has a continuation of “Man from Earth: Holocene”. Richard Shankman and producer Eric Dee Wilkinson raised funds for it on Kickstarter, and the picture was released in 2017. However, her rating is below the baseboard, and those who watched said that the sequel turned out to be completely ugly and it was completely incomprehensible why it had to be removed. So it’s better not to watch it, as you understand.

The Man from Earth movie meaning

Director: Richard Shankman Cast: Tony Todd, David Lee Smith, John Billingsley, Ellen Crawford, Annika Peterson, William Catt, Alexis Thorpe, Richard Riley, Stephen Littles, Chase Strug

Budget: $0.2 million

Fantasy drama, USA, 2007, 87 min.

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