When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)


In fantastical prehistoric times, a blonde named Sanna (Victoria Vetri) who is about to be sacrificed escapes at sea and is rescued by a man from a rival tribe named Tara (Robin Hawdon), much to the consternation of his would-be lover, Ayak (Imogen Hassall). Sanna is soon driven away from her new tribe, where she must survive among dinosaurs and avoid being captured by her vengeful former tribemates; will she eventually reunite with Tara?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Fantasy
  • Prehistoric Times
  • Rivalry
  • Survival

Val Guest directed this Hammer Studios follow-up to One Million Years B.C. (1966), offering more of the same fare that drew audiences in the first time: gorgeous women scantily clad in all-natural bikinis (this time starring former Playboy Playmate Victoria Vetri):

… minimal “dialogue” (though at least the characters’ vocabulary expanded from simply grunting each other’s names up to 27 words):

… and (Oscar-nominated) stop-motion animation — this time from Jim Danforth.

There is truly nothing more to the storyline than what’s described in the synopsis above, with an emphasis on Hassall’s jealousy of her new rival:

Be forewarned that this movie’s score is a total earworm which will get on your nerves and stay there.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Jim Danforth’s special effects

  • Reasonably creative direction and cinematography by Val Guest and Dick Bush

Must See?
Nope; you can skip this one unless it sounds like your cup of tea.


2 thoughts on “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)

  1. This is a great looking film with an excellent Mario Nascimbene score. Unfortunately, by 1969 Hammer were making their films more adult and this film exists in two versions. The 96 minute US G version and the 99 minute UK version which contains some nudity.

    It’s fun as far as these silly cave people with dinosaurs go but the nudity is out of place (including a rape) and it has no significance so not must see for FFs.

    All of it’s plusses are visual and in the excellent SPFX.

  2. First viewing (5/14/21). Not must-see but fans of creature effects will want to have a look.

    The Hammer Studios response to ‘One Million Years B.C.’ (of a few years earlier) is not the camp-fest that some would have you believe. If you *should* happen to find yourself in a group watching it, there may of course be some chuckles – mainly due to the fact that the dialogue seems to consist of a vocabulary of about 10 words, so each of these words seems to take on endless meanings.

    The scenes with Harryhausen-like effects by Jim Danforth are the film’s impressive calling card – but, if you ask me, there aren’t nearly enough of them. And, when the creatures aren’t around, all that’s left are the dramatic scenes (such as they are) – which, overall, make for a rather tepid flick.

    Viewers would be hard-pressed to recognize star Victoria Vetri as Mia Farrow’s basement laundry buddy in ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. But Vetri certainly has an eye-opening life story:


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