The Movie: Quest for Fire (1981)
What Is It?: Jean-Jacques Annaud’s adaptation of J.H. Rosny’s novel is kind of like a feature-length version of the “Dawn of Man” sequence in 2001 without the sci-fi stuff. Prehistoric people hunt for fire, clash with each other, discover the value of making nice with intimidating animals, and engage in a little slapstick goofing and soft-core canoodling. The film gets really fascinating when they meet a more advanced tribe. No monoliths necessary here, though there are some pretty woolly looking mammoths.
Why Today?: On this day in 1940, four teens discover a collection of cave paintings in Lascaux, France.