10 best Dinosaur Movies of All Time

Nov 22, 2004

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The Bottom Line Dinosaurs are great, and a list of the top 10 movies involving them is just as good!

Dinosaur movies are hard to come by when you really think about it, and trying to slim down the list inevitably involves using sequels. I thought that the topic was an interesting one, and wanted something were I would have to do a little research and see a few films that I had yet to see. In the long run, I have now come to realize that "well-made" Dinosaur movies are actually a rarity.

From the list I was working with, I concocted a list of what I felt to be the 10 best, so in numerical order here they are. Remember, a Dinosaur is an extinct reptile. This let some of the movies open for debate, but this is my list, so my rules. Enjoy!

10. The Reptile (1966) -- His brother dies under mysterious conditions, and the main character is forced to go investigate. The movie takes place in a small village, and it seems that there have been more deaths than originally thought. Being a movie from the 60's there is a lot of screaming done by the actresses in the movie, and the special effects leave a lot to be desired. However, on the whole the movie is watchable, and the "villain" is quite good.

9. Dinosaur (2000) -- In this recent Disney picture, we are treated with the story of Aladar, an orphaned Dinosaur, who stars as the main character. He has been raised from an egg by a family of lemurs, and we follow the story of his life. The animation for the story is very good, but the story ends up falling a little flat in the end. Voices include D.B. Sweeney, Alfre Woodard, and Della Reese. It is a good family movie, but a little short on substance.

8. Journey to the Center of the Earth (1958) -- Pat Boone and James Mason star in this story about a group that decides to follow an extinct volcano into the Earth's core. Mystery is what they find, because they don't know what to expect. For a 1950's movie, this must have seemed pretty intense at the time, but since then the subject matter has been covered a few times. The acting is good, and the premise is strong, so the movie was able to make it on my list.

7. Jurassic Park II : The Lost World(1997) -- The first sequel to Jurassic park didn't show very many technological advances when it came to the dinosaurs, and plot or character development took a backseat again to the CGI creations on the screen. There was the introduction of some new dinos though, and at the same time we were treated to another Dinos-eat-humans-who-won't-listen movie. It went on to become one of the highest grossing sequels of all time and broke several box office records in its opening weekend, taking in a whopping $92.7 million.

6. When Dinosaurs ruled the Earth (1970) This film was set in the past, and untrue past, where humans were forced to live with dinosaurs. Seems like right out of a H.G. Wells tale, but this movie works with its innovative story line of the time. The special effects were terrible to say the least, but the movie keeps you interested up till the end.

5. Godzilla (1954) -- This movie set the standard for cheesy 'B' movies with its man dressed up in a lizard suit. Godzilla became a Japanese treasure as he started out his "acting career" in this 1954 movie. Many, many sequels would result from this, but the original helped show that 'B' production values can still lead to a box office hit. Everyone knows who Godzilla is, and in this original movie, he was still the bad guy. Little did moviegoers know, that many years later, we would be rooting for him to protect us from worse monsters.

4. The Land That Time Forgot (1918) In this movie, a German submarine downs a U.S. ship, but a handful of survivors commandeer the vessel, which then runs aground on Caprona, an island in the South Sea. Now, the people must not only fight to survive, but fight against the dinosaurs that already inhabit the island. This movie was later redone in 1975 (in a much better version), but the story still remains an ideal choice for dinosaur movie enthusiasts.

3. Toy Story (1995) -- I admit I cheated a little bit with this one, but one of the starring characters of the film is Rex, played by Wallace Shawn. He was good enough to return for a part in The Incredibles this year. In Toy Story, Rex is a shy Tyrannosaurus Rex, who has befriended the main character Woody. His role is hilarious in the film, and made him one of the most memorable characters in the story. It is because of this that I had to put Rex on this list of the best Dinosaur movies.

2. The Land Before Time (1988) -- This cartoon movie has spawned 10 sequels of itself so far, and shows no signs of stopping. The premise of the first film in the chain, is that a baby dinosaur named Littlefoot sets off on a journey to find the "Great Valley." This is the place where all the dinosaurs must make it to if they are to survive on the planet. Through his journey he meets various other young dinosaurs that set off on his quest, and soon they are on an adventure greater than anything they have done before. The movie appeals to all ages, and has many lessons about overcoming obstacles that are great for kids.

1. Jurassic Park (1993) -- Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Michael Crichton, this story brought dinosaurs in the CGI world of today. Using technological advances, this movie was a masterpiece for special effects of the 20th century. Though the story left a little to be desired, the dinosaurs more than made up for the story by coming to life and jumping right off the screen. This movie has already spawned 2 sequels with a 3rd in the works. It remastered how we see dinosaurs in the movies, and has now set the standard. For dinosaurs in Hollywood, the time periods are now before Jurassic Park, and after Jurassic Park.

Well there it is! I hope that you enjoyed my list of what I thought to be the best Dinosaur movies of all time. Lists are always left open for debate, but this is my story and I am sticking to it.

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