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List of Dinosaur Movies
By Robert Vaux
Source: Dinosaur.org's list of dinosaur movies
Many people love dinosaurs: a fascination born in childhood and nurtured well into adulthood by all but the most dour grown-ups. The majesty, savagery and vision of a world before man touch deep and primal emotions in our core... but it wasn't until the magic of the movies that dinosaurs truly came to life. The medium seemed made for depiction of the giant reptiles--from simple animation to the latest in digital video effects--and yet only a handful of films have truly brought thunder lizards to life in memorable ways.
Gertie the DinosaurMovies had explored dinosaurs since the early 1900s, when the lost short "Prehistoric Man" featured crude depictions of the beasts in a few shots. Gertie, however, was the first bona fide dino-star: an animated brontosaurus, hand-drawn by Windsor McCay in 1914, who interacted with a live human being standing in front of the screen.
The Lost WorldSpecial effects wizard Willis O'Brien used stop-motion animation to populate a South American plateau with all manner of prehistoric animals in this 1925 silent film classic based on the story by Arthur Conan Doyle.
King KongO'Brien went on from "The Lost World" to deliver his inarguable masterpiece in 1933: the tender, loving story of a shrieking woman and the ape who loves her. While the titular giant monkey remains the film's centerpiece, he does battle with a number of memorable dinosaurs in his jungle home of Skull Island.
FantasiaIn 1940, Walt Disney released an eclectic collection of animated shorts, based around and inspired by specific pieces of classical music. Among their number was an intense and savage depiction of life in the time of the dinosaurs, unfolding over the sounds of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring."
The Beast From 20,000 FathomsO'Brien's protégé Ray Harryhausen had taken over from the master by 1953, improving upon stop-motion techniques which allowed animatronic figures to come to life alongside live actors. This notable variation concerns a prehistoric monster, awakened by atomic bomb tests, who proceeds to takes its frustrations out on New York City.
One Million Years B.C.Harryhausen contributed more stop-motion effects to this 1966 remake of an earlier film, detailing tribes of primitives struggling to survive in a prehistoric world. Though the dinosaurs remain impressive, the real draw was actress Raquel Welch, resplendent in a furry cave girl bikini. (Apparently, Nair was cheap and plentiful in the Stone Age. Who knew?)
Jurassic ParkSpecial effects took a huge leap forward by 1993, when Steven Spielberg directed a big-screen adaptation of the Michael Critchton novel about a nascent wildlife preserve and the genetically engineered dinosaurs therein. Live-action mechanical effects combined with early computer-generated imagery to create some of the most lifelike (and frightening) prehistoric movie stars to date.