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HISTORY

The 26 Jun 1980 HR and the 2 Jul 1980 DV refer to the film by the title Planet of the Dinosaurs. However, the onscreen credit and an advertisement in the 9 May 1979 Var state the title is Planet of Dinosaurs.
       The film’s advertisement in the 9 May 1979 Var stated the film had won a “Special Jury Gold Medal Award” at the Virgin Islands Film Festival.
       On 2 Jul 1980, the DV listing of the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) Classification & Rating Administration noted the film received a PG-rating. According to an item in the 26 Jun 1980 HR, Wells Films “set the new release” of Planet of Dinosaurs for 4 Jul 1980 at 122 theaters in TX, OK, AK, and TN, at Plitt Theaters, United Artists Theaters, Video Independent Theaters, and Martin ... More Less

The 26 Jun 1980 HR and the 2 Jul 1980 DV refer to the film by the title Planet of the Dinosaurs. However, the onscreen credit and an advertisement in the 9 May 1979 Var state the title is Planet of Dinosaurs.
       The film’s advertisement in the 9 May 1979 Var stated the film had won a “Special Jury Gold Medal Award” at the Virgin Islands Film Festival.
       On 2 Jul 1980, the DV listing of the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) Classification & Rating Administration noted the film received a PG-rating. According to an item in the 26 Jun 1980 HR, Wells Films “set the new release” of Planet of Dinosaurs for 4 Jul 1980 at 122 theaters in TX, OK, AK, and TN, at Plitt Theaters, United Artists Theaters, Video Independent Theaters, and Martin Theaters.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 1980.
---
Variety
9 May 1979.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam asst
Cam asst
Gaffer
2d unit cam
Asst
Key grip
Stills
FILM EDITORS
Negative cutter
Film ed
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Spec props
Machinist
COSTUMES
SOUND
Boom op
Sd studio
Spec sd eff
Spec sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles by
Spec visual eff by
Spec visual eff by
Chief stop motion anim
Matte artist
Spaceship des
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Script girl
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Release Date:
4 July 1980
Premiere Information:
TX, OK, AK, and TN opening: 4 July 1980
Los Angeles opening: 17 April 1981
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The spaceship Odyssey experiences an unexpected emergency and Captain Lee Norsythe’s escape shuttle is ejected just before the Odyssey explodes. Lee is joined by Harvey Baylor, the vice president of Spaceways Incorporated, his secretary, Derna Lee, and crew members Nyla, Jim, Mike, Chuck, Cindy, and Charlotte. Captain Lee asks Nyla to scan for other shuttles, but they are the only survivors. Communications officer Cindy sent out a distress signal, but static caused by the explosion interfered with her transmission, and Mike, the navigator, reveals that they are in uncharted space. Jim, the engineer, warns there is only enough power to make it to the nearby planet, but fortunately the planet’s atmospheric conditions are similar to those on Earth. A body of water cushions their crash landing, but the shuttle starts sinking, forcing them to evacuate with limited supplies. When they reach shore, Cindy realizes she forgot the distress transmitter. Chuck swims out to retrieve it, but Cindy insists it is her responsibility. However, when she dives into the water, she is eaten by a large underwater creature. As Chuck rushes back to shore, they move away from the beach, fearing the creature might be amphibious. They move to higher ground and their trek takes them to a swamp. Derna is fearful of the water, so Mike hands her his laser gun for protection. As they move through the swamp, something swims by Derna’s foot and she screams, dropping the gun in the water and destroying it. Lee is furious that Mike gave the gun to a civilian and Mike apologizes for making a stupid mistake. ... +


The spaceship Odyssey experiences an unexpected emergency and Captain Lee Norsythe’s escape shuttle is ejected just before the Odyssey explodes. Lee is joined by Harvey Baylor, the vice president of Spaceways Incorporated, his secretary, Derna Lee, and crew members Nyla, Jim, Mike, Chuck, Cindy, and Charlotte. Captain Lee asks Nyla to scan for other shuttles, but they are the only survivors. Communications officer Cindy sent out a distress signal, but static caused by the explosion interfered with her transmission, and Mike, the navigator, reveals that they are in uncharted space. Jim, the engineer, warns there is only enough power to make it to the nearby planet, but fortunately the planet’s atmospheric conditions are similar to those on Earth. A body of water cushions their crash landing, but the shuttle starts sinking, forcing them to evacuate with limited supplies. When they reach shore, Cindy realizes she forgot the distress transmitter. Chuck swims out to retrieve it, but Cindy insists it is her responsibility. However, when she dives into the water, she is eaten by a large underwater creature. As Chuck rushes back to shore, they move away from the beach, fearing the creature might be amphibious. They move to higher ground and their trek takes them to a swamp. Derna is fearful of the water, so Mike hands her his laser gun for protection. As they move through the swamp, something swims by Derna’s foot and she screams, dropping the gun in the water and destroying it. Lee is furious that Mike gave the gun to a civilian and Mike apologizes for making a stupid mistake. They set up camp and eat freeze-dried rations from a case of food salvaged in the crash. Lee confides to Nyla that he is a technician, and this situation was never taught at the space center. He plans to find a good place to set up a permanent camp and tells them they will have to live off the land until rescuers arrive. Baylor scoffs, demanding they find someone to help. Jim doubts there is intelligent life on the planet. They are interrupted by a loud roar that reminds Mike of Africa where he heard the roars of carnivorous animals. The next morning, Jim is the first to discover a dinosaur feeding nearby. He awakens the others and they theorize that conditions on this planet are similar to those on Earth millions of years ago. As they continue to seek higher ground, they discover an enormous footprint and see a half-eaten dinosaur rotting nearby. When they stop to rest, Charlotte scans berries to determine which are safe to eat and discovers a highly poisonous type. Later, the group is caught between two dinosaurs confronting each other. Mike daringly retrieves a dropped laser weapon, and the group sneaks away as the victorious dinosaur eats his dead opponent. Lee spots a plateau at the top of a mountain and orders the group to make the arduous climb, insisting they will be safe on the high ground. As they maneuver through a dangerous, rocky passage, Nyla slips off the edge. Jim catches her, but the box of rations falls onto the rocks below. Baylor wants someone to retrieve the food, but Lee insists they will find food on the plateau and the group continues to climb. When they stop to rest again, Baylor orders Derna to fill his canteen in a nearby stream, but Mike tells the man to do it himself. Baylor threatens to dock Mike’s pay and Derna declares she does not need Mike’s help. However, when Baylor holds out his canteen, Derna refuses to fill it. They discover a cave and Nyla notices an overhead passage to higher ground. Lee sends her and Baylor to investigate, and they emerge onto an area overlooking a massive valley. Baylor discovers a nest of large eggs and becomes excited about eating them and the “large chicken” he believes laid the eggs. Nyla warns they are not chicken eggs, but Baylor ignores her and shouts to attract the animal’s attention. When the dinosaur attacks, Baylor grabs Nyla’s laser gun and shoots, but it does not deter the creature. Nyla hides behind rocks, but Baylor runs away. The creature pursues Baylor to the cliff’s edge, impales Baylor on its tusk, and tosses the man over the ledge. The group buries Baylor before continuing their climb to an area Lee determines is a safe, defensible position. Jim argues that they might never be rescued and need to hunt the dinosaurs and build a community on land, rather than hide in caves. However, the others agree Lee’s plan is the safer option. As they build a stockade and various weapons, Lee confides to Nyla that he wishes Jim would stop criticizing his plans. Nyla understands both men’s positions, but promises to follows Lee’s orders unless it endangers her survival. As they work, Nyla searches among rocks for more flint and is attacked by a giant spider. She flings it away and Jim spears it to death. When they finish building the stockade, Mike shares an alcoholic beverage he created from berries. Everyone else becomes inebriated, but Jim refuses to drink and stands guard. A tipsy Nyla attempts to talk Jim into understanding Lee’s point of view, but he refuses and rebuffs her, stating they must all become crueler to survive. The next day, Charlotte helps Chuck set up “astro reflectors” to signal potential rescuers, but as she heads back to camp, a dinosaur chases her. As Chuck throws spears and Jim shoots his laser gun, the dinosaur runs away. When Jim declares it is time to fight back, Lee hesitates, but the others agree. They follow the dinosaur’s tracks, and discover it was killed and dragged away by a Tyrannosaurus. As the crew returns to camp, they come upon two smaller dinosaurs fighting. Jim, Chuck and Mike kill one of the dinosaurs and everyone cheers about the fresh meat. Later, they hear the hunting cry of the Tyrannosaurus and Jim declares they are not safe. Lee disagrees, but Nyla sides with Jim. Across camp, Chuck and Charlotte are about to kiss when the Tyrannosaurus attacks. Everyone rushes into a cave, but one of the laser guns is dropped and Derna rushes back to get it. As the creature turns toward Derna, Mike moves to save her, but the dinosaur’s tail knocks part of the stockade wall onto him. The Tyrannosaurus bites Derna and carries her body away. After locating the dinosaur’s lair, the team debates the best way to kill it. Lee wants to kill a smaller dinosaur as bait, cover its body with poisonous berries and let the Tyrannosaurus eat it. Jim wants to coat huge spears with the poison, and lure the dinosaur to be impaled upon them. They try Lee’s plans first, but as they drag the poison-coated dinosaur carcass, the Tyrannosaurus attacks from behind. Everyone scatters, except Mike, who throws poisoned spears at the animal, then trips and is eaten by the dinosaur. Jim and Lee argue about their next step, but reconcile as Lee admits Jim’s plan has merit. They set up giant poison-covered spears and lead the Tyrannosaurus into the death trap. The dinosaur dies and everyone cheers, realizing they can create a new world. Years later, the group works near the home they built and Charlotte bathes her young son. She wonders if they will ever be rescued, but Nyla says it does not matter anymore. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.