Follow TV Tropes


Film / When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

Go To
The original movie poster

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth is a 1970 film, directed by Val Guest and starring Victoria Vetri. A production of Hammer Films, it serves as a spiritual successor to their earlier film One Million Years B.C..

Like its predecessor, it included a great many stop motion dinosaurs and attractive women in fur bikinis. The plot, such as it is, is that in the dawning days of humanity there is a tribe who sacrifice blonde women for better weather. One of these women, Sanna, is able to escape and comes to live among another tribe. There, she falls in love with a tribesman named Tara. But when her new tribe opts to sell her back to her old, Sanna is cast out. Now she and Tara must try to survive in the dinosaur-infested wilderness while being hunted by the tribes.

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth was never as popular as its predecessor but is considerably more popular than its successor, Creatures the World Forgot, which abandoned dinosaurs entirely in favour of simple Fanservice.


When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth contains examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: Primitive humans, dinosaurs, and the formation of the moon all at once.
  • Cataclysm Climax: The film ends with some kind of astronomical/seismic/meteorological event that somehow created the Moon.
  • Conlang: The Cavepeople here speak a made up language which seems to repeat quite a few words. In particular "Neecha" seems to be used for every negative idea.
  • Distressed Dude: In the climax Tara is captured and about to be burned alive. Then the giant crabs appear and distract the enemy long enough for Sanna to save him.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: Sanna manages to domesticate a Megalosaurus.
  • Fanservice: Absolutely full of it, up to and including full nudity.
  • Fantastic Racism: Blondes are considered evil and sacrificed to the sun.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: A few show up at the end to kill unfortunate cavepeople.
  • Advertisement:
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Ayak hates Sanna for stealing Tara away from her, and constantly schemes for ways to get rid of her.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Not only are the outfits smaller, you get to see them come off. (One DVD edition accidentally left the nudity in despite being labeled "PG.")
  • Human Sacrifice: Practiced against blondes.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens to several members of Sanna's tribe, courtesy of an enraged Chasmosaurus.
  • Imprinting: Inverted. The carnivorous dinosaur believes Sanna is one of her young upon finding her sleeping in a broken eggshell in her nest.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than One Million Years B.C.. The cavepeople are less violent and brutal, the landscape is a lush jungle instead of a barren wasteland and the dinosaurs are both less hostile and easier to deal with.
  • Mama Bear: The carnivorous dinosaur Sanna encounters mistakes her for one of its young and later fights to defend her.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Sanna very narrowly escapes from one.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Sanna, and every other young female.
  • Nubile Savage: Sanna and the rest of the female tribe members.
  • 1 Million B.C.: Quite possibly, the last significant piece of media in which this trope is played totally straight, right down to the thrilling battles between cavepeople and dinosaurs. After this, it's pretty much only comedies and parodies that put cavepeople and dinosaurs together.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Ayak is ultimately sucked in by some random quicksand.
  • Sea Monster: The Elasmosaurus.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The film features Chasmosaurus as the token ceratopsian.
  • Slurpasaur: A modified monitor lizard is seen, and later fights a modified crocodilian of some sort. (Unfortunately, this means animals probably were harmed to make the movie; it didn't look like a play-fight.)
  • Spiritual Successor: To One Million Years B.C..
  • Shout-Out: The carnivorous dinosaur Sanna befriends is very similar to the Rhedosaurus from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Zig-zagged. On the one hand the stock Elasmosaurus and Rhamphorynchus show up. On the other hand the traditional theropod is absent, in favour of a fictional quadrupedal carnivore. None of the other stock animals appear either and the ceratopsian featured is a Chasmosaurus instead of the stock Triceratops.
  • Stripperific: The clothing here is even skimpier than in One Million Years B.C..