18 of the Best Dinosaur Movies and Documentaries Ever (Besides ‘Jurassic Park’)

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Screenshot: The Lost World/YouTube

Gentle giants, cuddly friends, vicious monsters, deadly dragons: Even the earliest film depictions of dinosaurs evidence our complicated relationship with Earth’s prehistoric thunder lizards. Windsor McCay’s puckish Gertie the Dinosaur might be stubborn, but she’s unlikely to eat you, and might even dance if you ask politely.

D.W. Griffith’s Brute Force, also from 1914, doesn’t bother with the distinction between the age of the dinosaurs and the age of humans—which is a recurring bit of willful ignorance. Who doesn’t kinda want to ride a dinosaur? Buster Keaton’s Three Ages introduced more cave-people into the world of dinosaurs, then 1925’s The Lost World truly brought them to life on screen. That film made a distinction between the friendlier-seeming species of vegetarian dinosaurs and their scarier carnivorous cousins, a conceit that’s held up through Jurassic Park and beyond.

There’s plenty of flexibility to the dinosaurs-on-film genre, with movies featuring dinosaur cops, robot dinosaurs, and any number of entirely made-up dinosaur-esque creatures. With Jurassic World Dominion, the sixth movie inspired by the Spielberg original and Michael Crichton’s original novel, on the way, let’s run down some of our favorites.

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