Films about large prehistoric reptiles are nearly as old as movies themselves. Heck, The Lost World, a silent film, had dinos stomping across the screen way back in 1925, and the animated short, Gertie the Dinosaur, even predates that by 11 years.
And they come in all forms, from cartoons to horror, kids’ movies to comedies. This just underscores the fascination audiences long have had with the creatures.
With this mind, so you can prep for your trip to Jurassic World, here are some notable dinosaur films to check out, in chronological order.
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953): Awakened by atomic testing in the Arctic, an angry dinosaur goes on the attack, which is what one does when roused unexpectedly.
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Godzilla (1954): Godzilla may not be any form of real dinosaur — the Smithsonian magazine, trying to get to the bottom of what exactly the monster is, labeled it a “mutated something-o-saurus” — but that doesn’t matter when he’s crushing Tokyo underfoot.
Despite all the sequels, remakes and reboots, the Japanese original about the enormous sea lizard awakened by, guess what, atomic bombs remains the best.
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959): Based on Jules Verne’s classic novel of the same name, this adventure film starring James Mason and Pat Boone asks the question what would happen if a group of people found a strange prehistoric world deep, deep underground. The answer: It’s not all good.
One Million Years B.C. (1966): Starring a scantily clad Raquel Welch as the best-looking cavewoman ever, this piece of pre-historic camp won’t get any prizes for scientific and historical accuracy. That the advertising tag line was “discover a savage world whose only law was lust!” tells you everything you need to know.
Destroy All Monsters (1968): Aside from having a great name (which also became the moniker of an influential Detroit proto-punk band), this Japanese monster party features 11 (!) rampaging lizards including Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and the three-headed King Ghidorah.
The Land That Time Forgot (1975): Survivors of a shipwreck during WWI stumble across a strange land where dinosaurs still roam.
Jurassic Park (1993): This is the gold standard in killer dinosaur movies. Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, and Sam Neill star in this thriller about the ill-fated theme park where its cloned dinosaurs wreak havoc.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, it would go on to win three Oscars for sound and visual effects while spawning two, less well-received sequels, The Lost World and Jurassic Park III. Jurassic World is the latest, and time will tell how it fares against the original.
King Kong (2005): A giant ape may be the star in Peter Jackson’s take on the classic but it’s the scenes where Kong takes on angry T rexes that remains the high point in the film. That scene alone could be why the movie won the sound and visual effects Oscars that year.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009): The third film in the long-running children’s movie franchise has our heroes venturing into their own dino-dominated lost world. And it’s not going to stop. Get ready for Ice Age 5, coming next year.
Night at the Museum (2006): Shawn Levy’s adventure comedy about museum exhibits coming alive at night launched a reliable franchise that has led to three sequels.
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014): Not a particularly good movie but notable because it has the first appearance of the dinobots in the Michael Bay franchise. The dinobots are some of the most popular characters in the Transformers’ comic universe.
The Good Dinosaur (2015): This animated film won’t come out until the fall, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s a Pixar film and it has a great cast — including Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, John Lithgow, Frances McDormand and Judy Greer.