I was just watching a trailer for the new Jurassic movie and was thinking to myself that the special effects industry really has grown since the old Godzilla movies. But I'm sure at the time that it was a good special effects. It got me wondering about times earlier than that. Which leads to my question, What is the first movie/show that introduced dinosaurs as a "real" creature? As in, not a cartoon, but ones interacting with a set. I think it would be fun to watch and compare.

  • 2
    What do you mean with realistic? Do you mean the first time some real props were used or when a biologically correct dinosaur was depicted?
    – Sekhemty
    Dec 16, 2017 at 12:47
  • @Sekhemty Real props, as in they had to actually create a dinosaur or make a model of one.
    – Sensoray
    Dec 16, 2017 at 15:58
  • 1
    If this question is taken out of hold again I can mention several movies with physical dinosaurs - and thus realistic in that aspect - several decades earlier than those given in other answers. Dec 16, 2017 at 16:10

5 Answers 5


The first movie dinosaur was a cartoon, Gertie the Dinosaur, in 1914.

Wikipedia's list of Dinosaur Movies includes the following with actual physical models, costumes, props, lizards wearing dinosaur makeup, etc. of dinosaurs that are earlier than in previous answers:

The list is in reverse chronological order.

17) 1956 The Beast of Hollow Mountain.

16) 1955 Godzilla Raids Again.

15 1955 King Dinosaur.

14) 1955 Journey to the Beginning of Time.

13) 1954 Godzilla.

12) 1953 The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

11) 1951 Lost Continent.

10) 1950 Two Lost Worlds.

9) 1948 Unknown Island.

8) 1940 One Million B.C..

7) 1933 The Son of Kong.

6) 1933 King Kong.

5) 1925 The Lost World.

4) 1923 Three Ages.

3) 1918 The Ghost of Slumber Mountain.

2) 1917 The Dinosaur and the Misssing Link: A Prehistoric Tragedy.

1) 1914 Brute Force.

  • 3
    So 1914? Also you could probably find better links than whatever those are.
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 16, 2017 at 22:05
  • 1
    It is a list of dinosaur movies counting down the the earliest one. Each title has attached links so that someone can verify if they wish that the movie actually does have realistic dinosaurs. Jan 5, 2018 at 18:15
  • the answer itself should provide the relevant information with a link to the source. As constructed now, If the source itself goes away, the useful info goes with it and it's an answer full of useless links. At least with a bit of quoted text or images, it could be useful beyond the life of the source links. Also, listing them in this order is counter-intuitive to the question as asked.
    – NKCampbell
    Jan 5, 2018 at 18:32
  • @NKCampbell SO has a rule about link-only answers. I'm unsure this qualifies (it is at least a list) but could make for a good Meta.SFF question
    – Machavity
    Jan 5, 2018 at 18:43
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    @NKCampbell I accepted it because the other answers posted weren't the oldest, and even though this isn't that great of an answer and is just a copy and paste of wikipedia, it gave me a place to start and look and find sort of what I was looking for. I've still been independently searching and haven't found anything later that the 1914 movie.
    – Sensoray
    Jan 5, 2018 at 19:25

My mind immediately goes to Ray Harryhausen, who became legendary for his stop-motion interactions in movies. In 1956, he did the effects for The Animal World, which mixed some green-screen with his stop motion.


The Sid & Marty Kroft series "Land of the Lost" from the mid/late 70s had moving dinosaurs. One smaller dino named Dopey got close enough to be touched. The dinosaurs were some form of model, obviously and added in post production.

  • As I remember, there were scenes where Holly (Kathy Coleman) rode on Dopey's back. Dec 16, 2017 at 16:15

The Last Dinosaur was a 1977 film about the present-day discovery of an isolated valley where a few dinosaurs still live. The film features a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, a third creature which isn't actually a dinosaur, and Richard Boone as Maston Thrust, a wealthy industrialist and big game hunter.

The film was a joint production of Rankin/Bass and Tsuburaya Productions, the Japanese company that produced shows like Ultraman. The dinosaur scenes were filmed using the "man in suit" method, like the Godzilla films of the time. A man-sized Dinosaur prop, with a man inside providing movement, was filmed on a scale model set.

The movie was apparently intended as a theatrical release, but it eventually ran as a TV movie on the USA network.

The trailer is on youtube:

Searching for the movie title will turn up other clips.


I'm pretty sure it was the first Jurassic Park. All of the dinosaurs on there were animatronic but they all look and act realistic.

  • 1
    Are you sure that was the earliest such film?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 16, 2017 at 14:59
  • The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park were a combination of CGI and animatronics. Filmmakers should have learned from Spielberg's example, but now they just CGI everything.
    – the guest
    Dec 16, 2017 at 15:38

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