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Top 10 Dinosaur Movies

VO: Matthew Wende
Written by Clayton Martino Although dead for millions of years, these movies used filmmaking magic to bring dinosaurs back to life! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Epic Dinosaur Movies! But what will make the top spot on our list? "The Land Before Time", or something from the "Jurassic Park" franchise? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to jkellis, Jordan Brown, laceynator, Rebecca Kerr, Levi B. Keiser for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/top+10+dinosaur+films

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They’re the cinematic masterpieces 65 million years in the making. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Dinosaur Movies.

For this list, we’re looking at the best films that contain dinosaurs, regardless of how big or small a role they play in the overall plot.

#10: “Jurassic World” (2015)

Twenty-two years after the original dazzled us, audiences were finally treated to a fourth the “Jurassic Park” movie – and, if the over $1 billion in worldwide box office revenue is any indication, they were psyched. A popcorn thriller of the highest order, “Jurassic World” capitalizes on the nostalgia factor by bringing many of the same elements to the table as its predecessor, but modernizes the idea of a dinosaur amusement park enough to please modern audiences. It also re-emphasizes the inherent problem with humans playing god by introducing a brand new, genetically modified killing machine. With Chris Pratt leading the pack of terrifyingly realistic raptors, “Jurassic World” is worth the watch for sheer entertainment value alone.

#9: “One Million Years B.C.” (1966)

Hey, we didn’t say they had to be historically accurate to make our list. “One Million Years B.C.” gives us dinosaurs living alongside cavemen, despite the fact that they lived literally millions of years apart. In fact, our main characters meet several dinosaurs over the course of the film and even witness an epic battle between a Ceratosaurus and a Triceratops. While many people enjoy this movie for Raquel Welch’s fur bikini-clad character, it’s Ray Harryhausen’s massive stop-motion dinosaurs that really take us back to the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

#8: “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” (2009)

In the third installment in the “Ice Age” franchise, our favorite herd returns and comes into contact with dinosaurs. Longing for a family of his own, Sid adopts three abandoned eggs, intending to raise them. But shockingly, they hatch into baby Tyrannosaurs. The group soon discovers a tropical world, located beneath the ice, that’s actually inhabited by dinosaurs. Hitting many of the same notes as the first two in the series to keep fans happy, “Dawn of the Dinosaurs” features terrific animation – especially of the dinos. In fact, many critics consider this the best film in the franchise. See? Dinosaurs ALWAYS work.

#7: “Walking with Dinosaurs” (2013)

For all the kids out there who can’t get enough dinosaurs, this film features phenomenal special effects that bring the creatures to life. The plot revolves around a herd of Pachyrhinosaurus, particularly two brothers, who are forced to mend their relationship when their family’s killed by carnivores. This one was planned to ensure as much accuracy as possible; for example, several paleontologists acted as consultants on the film and the locations were chosen because of their similarities to the dinosaurs’ surroundings. Though the mixed reviews said “Walking with Dinosaurs” was juvenile and predictable, the 3D effects compensate for that, and help the dinosaurs spring back from extinction.

#6: “The Good Dinosaur” (2015)

It was only a matter of time before Pixar got in on the dinosaur game – and although this star-studded effort actually turned out to be Pixar’s lowest-grossing movie, it’s still a charming and visually impressive tale. Exploring what would’ve happen had the Earth NOT been hit by an asteroid that caused the dinosaurs’ extinction, “The Good Dinosaur” features a young Apatosaurus named Arlo as its main character, and he befriends a caveboy whom he names Spot. Ironically, it’s the human who assumes the role as the pet, and the two quickly bond over their shared traumatic pasts. Tear jerking and ambitious, it’s dino fun for the whole family.

#5: “King Kong” (2005)

Whether we’re watching our main characters run from a dinosaur stampede, or seeing a showdown between Kong and not one, not two, but three V. rex, “King Kong” just wouldn’t be the same without its deadly dinos. The Kong/V. rex battle is vicious, but ultimately Kong defeats the three fictional beasts, the last of which he kills by literally ripping its mouth apart. He then proceeds to mock the powerful carnivore, showing everyone that he is the real King of the Jungle. Sure, the dinosaurs may only play a supporting role in this epic film, but even so, the thunder lizards are certainly memorable.

#4: “Dinosaur” (2000)

Following an orphaned Iguanodon named Aladar who’s raised by lemurs, here’s another flick featuring dinosaurs in the main roles – and it was a big box office success for Disney. When a meteor strike destroys his home island, Aladar and his remaining lemur family join a herd on a journey to reach the “Nesting Grounds,” coming across several vicious carnivores along the way. That may sound too scary for kids, but don’t worry: it’s got just the right amount of Disney magic to please everyone. While some critics questioned the filmmakers’ decision to let the dinosaurs talk, overall that issue took a backseat to “Dinosaur”’s incredibly realistic computer animated visuals and inspiring story.

#3: “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997)

Few sequels live up to the original, but, on its own, “The Lost World” is a solid film, a killer monster movie and a showcase for even better CG effects than the first film. The plot sees Dr. Ian Malcolm –once again played brilliantly by Jeff Goldblum – travel to the fictional Isla Sorna, a deserted island where dinosaurs have been roaming free. Naturally, disaster ensues, and several characters are eaten. However, we also get to see what’d happen if a T-Rex went ballistic in a densely populated suburban area, Godzilla-style. According to Stan Winston, the genius mind behind the film’s animatronics, the filmmakers’ motto for this sequel was “More, bigger, better” – and, it shows.

#2: “The Land Before Time” (1988)

Not all dinosaur films are filled with death and destruction; some are kid-friendly and teach valuable lessons about growing up. In Don Bluth’s “The Land Before Time,” we first meet Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike, and follow them on their quest to find the Great Valley. And, although it’s an animated children’s film, it presents several powerful themes, helping to teach kids to deal with the death of a loved one or to recognize prejudice between different species. Our young dino characters are forced to overcome their differences while escaping a killer Tyrannosaurus Rex in a land devastated by a severe drought – and with its great animation and endearing personalities, we love every minute.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (2008)
- “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story” (1993)
- “The Land That Time Forgot” (1975)

#1: “Jurassic Park” (1993)

Just as the T-Rex is the king of the dinosaurs, “Jurassic Park” is the king of the dinosaur movies – and was there ever any doubt as to which film would reign supreme? Not only is Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece the best dino film ever made; it’s one of the greatest action movies of all time as well. Box office and critical success aside, this Michael Crichton adaptation features great characters, epic dinosaurs in all shapes and sizes and thrilling dino fights. Plus, the special effects still look impressive today – quite the feat considering it was released in 1993. Besides, ignoring all the deaths and bloody attacks, who hasn’t wanted to visit an amusement park where dinosaurs roam free?

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