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Film / One Million Years B.C.

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One Million Years B.C. is the better-known 1966 Hammer Film Productions remake of 1940's One Million B.C.. The film provided a showcase for Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion effects, as well as Raquel Welch's physique in her iconic Fur Bikini.

The story begins with the brutish Rock Tribe, where Tumak (John Richardson) makes a failed attempt at displacing his father, Akhoba (Robert Brown) as alpha male and is banished into the wilderness as a result. After escaping various predators and collapsing from exhaustion, he's rescued by Loana (Welch), whose Shell Tribe is somewhat more civilized and technologically advanced. Tumak's culture clash with the Shell Tribe eventually drives him and Loana back to his own people, where he has to contend with his jealous brother for leadership.

The film was the first in a Thematic Series from Hammer. It was followed by Prehistoric Women in 1967, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth in 1970 and Creatures the World Forgot in 1971.


  • All Flyers Are Birds: The pterosaur acts just like a bird, complete with enormous nest.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Despite his violent behavior, Loana is so stuck on Tumak that she follows him into exile.
  • Anachronism Stew: A lot. Like the original, it extends to the human culture as well as the animals.
    • The spears used are stone-tipped. Hafted stone spears weren't invented until around 500,000 years ago. Earlier humans would have used spears made of sharpened wood like chimpanzees do today.
    • The shell tribe also use hafted axes which weren't invented until the Mesolithic (c. 6000 BC). Paleolithic axes were simple sharpened rocks with no handles.
    • The Fur Bikini is iconic but a historically accurate Loana may not have worn any clothing at all. Based on the speciation of the human body louse (which clings to clothing), anthropologists estimate the invention of clothing to around 107,000 years ago. Moreover, if she did wear clothing, it would definitely not be an outfit that goes out of its way to cover her breasts while leaving as much of the rest of her body exposed as possible. That would imply the existence of very modern standards of sexual modesty.
    • The shell tribe make wall paintings reminiscent of those found in the Chauvet cave which are dated to the Upper Paleolithic (50,000 - 12,000 years ago). The only possible examples of art from the Lower Paleolithic (3,000,000 - 300,000 years ago) are simple bone etchings.
    • Many of the women wear jewellery which was invented by later neanderthals around 115,000 years ago. It is likely that earlier humans had an eye for beauty but they lacked the the technology to craft such fine things.
  • Anachronistic Animal: The film rather infamously shows Mesozoic reptiles sharing space with accurate Cenozoic animals like hominids, vultures and ungulates.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Though the Anachronism Stew and Slurpasaur are the most obvious use of the license, another curious feature of the ecosystem as that it seems to be almost totally missing the bottom 90% of the food chain. The barren landscape (filmed in the Canary Islands) contains almost no plants or small animals, just one large predator after another.
  • Artistic License – History: Even by the 1960s, the dog-eat-dog image of Paleolithic society was dated.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: And how. Lampshaded by Ray Harryhausen, who remarked that he did not make the movie for palaeontologists and dino-nerds "who probably don't go to see these kinds of movies anyway."
  • Behemoth Battle: Carnosaur vs. ceratopsian, and pterosaur vs. pterosaur. This is a Harryhausen movie, after all.
  • Behind the Black: The humans don't seem to notice predators until they're practically on top of them, even though the predators are huge and there isn't much for them to hide behind.
  • Bowdlerize: As you might expect from Hammer Film Productions, the original British version had some pretty violent scenes, including one showing a new head being added to the ape-men's collection. Some of these were trimmed off for the American release, as the distributor did not want to drive off the obvious demographic for a dinosaur movie.
  • Cain and Abel: Inasmuch as the movie has a villain (which is a bit of a stretch since it doesn't really have a morality), it's Tumak's jealous brother, Sakana.
  • Cataclysm Climax: The climactic fight between Tumak's and Sakana's factions is ended by a volcanic eruption and an earthquake, which kill plenty of tribesmen on both sides, including most of Tumak's antagonists.
  • Cat Fight: Loana gets into one with a female member of the Rock Tribe, while the rest of the tribe (presumably standing in for much of the audience) stands around and cheers them on.
  • Conlang: What little dialogue there is in the movie is invented (and untranslated) caveman speech. Though given the general standards of the movie, this is probably more a case of As Long as It Sounds Foreign.
  • Culture Clash: The Shell Tribe's civilized ways initially mystify Tumak. He wins their goodwill by killing an attacking carnosaur, then promptly torches it by walking out on the funeral of a casualty to try to steal a spear. Basically, he's a Hero with an F in Good.
  • Damsel in Distress: Our heroes must rescue Loana after a pterosaur catches her and tries to feed her to its chicks.
  • Dead Guy on Display: The ape-men's cave displays skulls on pikes.
  • Death World: Prehistory is depicted as this. In addition to being a harsh and barren environment to begin with, it's crawling with large, vicious predators who have an apparently insatiable desire for human flesh. Most of the sapient inhabitants aren't much better, with the ape-men and the Rock Tribe being savage and brutal.
  • Disney Death: Tumak sees a Rhamphorhynchus eating two pterosaur chicks, believing the food to be Loana, but it turns out she survived the capture and later came back.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Cavemen don't really seem to have any sense of morality, being focused almost entirely on survival. The Shell Tribe don't like stealing, but that's about it.
  • Dumb Dinos: The dinosaurs are constantly fighting the native cavepeople and one another in situations where normal animals would back off.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The Rock Tribe's harsh amorality is made clear in the opening scene when no one even seems to notice that one of them is accidentally knocked into the boar pit, and barely give a glance at his agonized death screams.
  • Fanservice: Not just Raquel Welch but everyone is scantily clad. Even the men.
  • Frazetta Man: The ape-men are like this, though we only get a brief glimpse of them.
  • Fur Bikini: Perhaps the most famous example.
  • Giant Flyer: The Pterosaurs
  • Giant Spider: One appears briefly. And is actually a real tarantula superimposed into the scene, rather than a Harryhausen creation.
  • Handsome Heroic Caveman: While Tumak has a full beard and scruffy hair, he's played by the rather good-looking John Richardson.
  • Hollywood Prehistory: It's got cavemen, dinosaurs, ape-men and other real and made-up creatures of the past duking it out in a volcano-scarred landscape.
  • Humans Are White: It's unlikely that anyone was white 1,000,000 years ago, let alone blonde.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How the Allosaurus is eventually killed, impaling itself on a wooden spike raised by Tumak. Then, in a move likely inspired by the previous Harryhausen movie The 3 Worlds of Gulliver, Tumak delivers the Coup de Grâce by impaling the dinosaur's throat.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Predator attacks menace children more than once, but the children are rescued. The adults aren't always so lucky. Averted with the baby animals. The Rhamphorhynchus, for instance, eats the baby Pteranodons after killing their mother.
  • Kidnapping Bird of Prey: A Pteranodon attacks several of the Rock People and ends up nabbing Loana when she tries to save a child.
  • Klingon Promotion: Sakana achieves this by knocking his father off a cliff. He turns out not to be dead, but he's too crippled to regain his position.
  • Language Barrier: Tumak and the Shell Tribe speak different languages, but neither is terribly verbal anyway.
  • Might Makes Right: The reigning principle of the Rock Tribe.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Note Raquel's full-body image dominating the poster above, as it dominates practically every publicity photo from the film.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Boy, is it ever not. Just about all the creatures you'll meet will try to kill you, when they aren't trying to kill each other. The animals don't even have Improbable Infant Survival, as we see in one disturbing scene.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We never get a good look at the ape-men, which makes them considerably creepier.
  • Not Quite Dead: Sakana believes he's killed Akhoba, but the old man was merely crippled.
  • Nubile Savage: Look who's in that trope's page image, after all.
  • Opening Monologue: A narrator introduces us to the setting and main characters, and then disappears from the movie.
  • Papa Wolf: Tumak takes on an Allosaurus single-handedly to save a young Shell Tribe child from being eaten by it.
  • Patricide: An occupational hazard for a Rock Tribe patriarch, it seems.
  • People of Hair Color: All the members of the Shell Tribe are fair-haired, while the Rock Tribe is brunet.
  • Prehistoric Monster: Almost every animal fits this trope, even a sea turtle (which is, admittedly, the size of a house).
  • Rule of Cool: The only rule that really matters.
  • Slurpasaur: One appears briefly, as a homage to the original film. The giant spider is also played by a real animal.
  • Stock Sound Effect: The sound the Allosaurus' jaws make comes from a previous Harryhausen movie, The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (the crocodile from that movie).
  • Stone Punk
  • Terror-dactyl: Both the pterosaurs in the film are gigantic, ugly, batlike monstrosities with scales, bat wings, bird feet, and a great appetite for human flesh as they kidnap and fight over Loana. The Rhamphorhynchus is oversized and short-tailed. They also practice extended parental care, though granted this error is more due to Science Marches On. If the babies themselves are any indication, they're also bipedal.
  • Title by Year: The 1966 Hammer Film Productions remake of 1940's One Million BC, named for the year of events.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer focuses a lot on the volcano eruption scene that happened near the end of the movie.
  • Villainous Rescue: More than once, a predator is distracted from attacking people by an attack from another one.


Video Example(s):


Allosaurus Attack

Cavemen battling an Allosaurus in a fictionalized version of prehistoric times

How well does it match the trope?

4.91 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / HollywoodPrehistory

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