The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986)

R | 98 mins | Adventure | 17 January 1986

Director:

Michael Chapman

Writer:

John Sayles

Producer:

Gerald I. Isenberg

Cinematographer:

Jan de Bont

Production Designer:

Anthony Masters

Production Companies:

Warner Bros., Inc., Producers Sales Organization, The Guber-Peters Company
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HISTORY

The following prologue appears in opening credits: “At the dawn of Mankind there were the Neanderthals. During the long Ice Age they lived in caves scattered across Europe and the Near East. Then 35,000 years ago, a new people appeared, the Cro-Magnon. For a brief moment in time these two groups shared the stage of prehistory. What happened to the Neanderthals is still a mystery, but it was the Cro-Magnon who survived and began the long climb towards the world we know now.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, archeologist/anthropologist Dr. Deborah LaGorce Kramer joined the production five months before the start of filming to act as technical advisor and ensure authenticity for production designer Anthony Masters and director Michael Chapman. LaGorce Kramer was also able to summon other experts to fill in important information gaps. Through her contacts, the production was able to obtain casts of an existing bear skull found in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, CA, and housed at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.
       A 28 Oct 1984 LAT article noted that in his effort to attract financing, producer Gerald I. Isenberg first approached the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) television network to make a deal for a movie-of-the-week. When NBC was not interested, Isenberg tried to generate interest at Universal Pictures and other studios, but received more rejections. However, he claimed that his deal with Producers Sales Organization came together quickly.
       Principal photography began in early Jul 1984. An 8 Apr 1985 HR article stated the film’s budget was $16 million. Production notes indicated that principal photography was completed by late ... More Less

The following prologue appears in opening credits: “At the dawn of Mankind there were the Neanderthals. During the long Ice Age they lived in caves scattered across Europe and the Near East. Then 35,000 years ago, a new people appeared, the Cro-Magnon. For a brief moment in time these two groups shared the stage of prehistory. What happened to the Neanderthals is still a mystery, but it was the Cro-Magnon who survived and began the long climb towards the world we know now.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, archeologist/anthropologist Dr. Deborah LaGorce Kramer joined the production five months before the start of filming to act as technical advisor and ensure authenticity for production designer Anthony Masters and director Michael Chapman. LaGorce Kramer was also able to summon other experts to fill in important information gaps. Through her contacts, the production was able to obtain casts of an existing bear skull found in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, CA, and housed at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.
       A 28 Oct 1984 LAT article noted that in his effort to attract financing, producer Gerald I. Isenberg first approached the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) television network to make a deal for a movie-of-the-week. When NBC was not interested, Isenberg tried to generate interest at Universal Pictures and other studios, but received more rejections. However, he claimed that his deal with Producers Sales Organization came together quickly.
       Principal photography began in early Jul 1984. An 8 Apr 1985 HR article stated the film’s budget was $16 million. Production notes indicated that principal photography was completed by late Oct 1984.
       As much as filmmakers wanted to use natural caves, they eventually opted to build sets when they could not find suitable locations. For a ten-week period, campfires on the sets filled the spaces with smoke, necessitating that the actors wear masks between takes. A 17 Jul 1984 DV brief reported that the actors worked in Canadian mountains, wearing costumes that consisted of a few animal pelts, in temperatures that might fluctuate between five and eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit within a twenty-four hour period. According to the 28 Oct 1984 LAT, three-and-a-half hours were spent each morning applying makeup to twenty-four actors for their roles as Neanderthals.
       End credits state: “Filmed in Cathedral and MacMillan Provincial Parks, Province of British Columbia with the assistance of the Ministry of Land, Parks, and Housing.” The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special Thanks to: British Columbia Ministry of Tourism, Film Promotion Office, Department of Parks, Lands and Housing, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Province of British Columbia, Federal Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Parks, Yukon and Northwest Territories, Indian and Northern Affairs, Northwest Territories, Nahanni Park Reserve, City of Vancouver, Municipality of Burnaby, Canada Tungsten Mining Company, The Completion Bond Company, New England Digital – Brad Naples, Leroy Perry – Sports Medicine Institute” and “Sincere appreciation to the Motion Picture Studio Production Technicians I. A. T. S. E. Local 891, Vancouver, Canada.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Jul 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 1986
p. 3, 29.
LAHExam
6 Sep 1985
Section A, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
28 Oct 1984
p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
24 Jan 1986
p. 1, 22.
New York Times
17 Jan 1986
p. 32.
Variety
15 Jan 1986
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Warner Bros. and Producers Sales Organization Present
In Association with The Guber-Peters Company
A Jozak/Decade Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
Key 2d asst dir
Key 2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Co-exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op/Steadicam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
U. S. gaffer
Canadian gaffer
Best boy
Genny op
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Still photog
Cave painting photographs
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
U. S. art dir
Canadian art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed
Assoc ed (Canada)
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Head propmaker
Const coord
Const foreman
Head painter
Master plasterer
Sculptor
Sculptor
Head greensman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv/Canada
Ward head
1st cost asst
2d cost asst
3d cost asst
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Scoring mixer
Asst scoring mixer
All mus written and performed on the
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Spec sd eff by
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Audio programming
VISUAL EFFECTS
U. S. spec eff
Canadian spec eff
Opt eff
Main title des
Title backgrounds
Vision seq opticals
MAKEUP
Co-head of makeup dept spec makeups created and de
Head of makeup dept
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup prosthetics
Makeup prosthetics
Head hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Clan body movement by
Sr prod exec
Prod exec
Scr supv
Sign language
Clan vocalizations
Clan vocalizations
Clan vocalizations
Primitive skill training
Survival and safety expert
Vancouver casting
Toronto casting
Voiceover casting
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Animal prosthetics
Animal trainer, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal trainer, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal trainer, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal trainer, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal trainer, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal trainer, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Bird trainer
Bird trainer, Tropic of Parrotdise
Bear fight
Head bear trainer and bear stunts
1st asst bear trainer
Bear stunts
Bear stunts
Vision seq animals
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Unit pub
Payroll services provided by
Loc camp coord
Craft service/First aid
Transportation coord
Driver capt
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel (New York, 1980).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 January 1986
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 17 January 1986
Los Angeles opening: 24 January 1986
Production Date:
early Julyy--late October 1984 in Canada
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros., Inc., & Jonesfilms
Copyright Date:
18 February 1986
Copyright Number:
PA278316
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Color by Alpha Cine Services, Vancouver
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Canada, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27751
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 35,000 BC, a small Cro-Magnon child named Ayla is orphaned during an earthquake. One day, Ayla crawls into a cave to escape being killed by a lion. Soon, Iza, a Neanderthal medicine woman and member of the Clan of the Cave Bear, sees Ayla sprawled on some rocks, and discovers that she is alive. Brun, the Neanderthal Clan leader, orders Iza to ignore the strange golden-haired toddler, but she says that bird spirits encourage her to rescue the child. Iza and her brother, Creb, a holy man, adopt Ayla, and teach her their language. Other Clan members fear Ayla because she comes from an unknown tribe, and represents a negative spirit that will prevent them from finding a cave before winter comes. However, after a male Clan member reprimands Ayla for touching his spear, she runs away and finds a cave where the Clan can take shelter. The Clan lives in the cave for many years. Iza and Creb raise Ayla as part of their family, but she is slow to learn certain Clan ways. Broud, Brun’s son and the up-and-coming leader of the Clan, reprimands her for not being subservient. When Broud becomes a Clan hunter, Iza worries that Ayla will be in danger because of his fear and jealousy. Creb searches for a special totem to protect Ayla. He prays on the mountaintop, and has a vision of a mountain lion. Elsewhere, Clan hunters surround a musk ox and kill it. Later, Creb, dressed in ceremonial bearskins, gives Broud credit for the kill. Then, Creb presents Ayla with an amulet, saying that her protective spirit is the cave lion. Broud protests that the spirit ... +


In 35,000 BC, a small Cro-Magnon child named Ayla is orphaned during an earthquake. One day, Ayla crawls into a cave to escape being killed by a lion. Soon, Iza, a Neanderthal medicine woman and member of the Clan of the Cave Bear, sees Ayla sprawled on some rocks, and discovers that she is alive. Brun, the Neanderthal Clan leader, orders Iza to ignore the strange golden-haired toddler, but she says that bird spirits encourage her to rescue the child. Iza and her brother, Creb, a holy man, adopt Ayla, and teach her their language. Other Clan members fear Ayla because she comes from an unknown tribe, and represents a negative spirit that will prevent them from finding a cave before winter comes. However, after a male Clan member reprimands Ayla for touching his spear, she runs away and finds a cave where the Clan can take shelter. The Clan lives in the cave for many years. Iza and Creb raise Ayla as part of their family, but she is slow to learn certain Clan ways. Broud, Brun’s son and the up-and-coming leader of the Clan, reprimands her for not being subservient. When Broud becomes a Clan hunter, Iza worries that Ayla will be in danger because of his fear and jealousy. Creb searches for a special totem to protect Ayla. He prays on the mountaintop, and has a vision of a mountain lion. Elsewhere, Clan hunters surround a musk ox and kill it. Later, Creb, dressed in ceremonial bearskins, gives Broud credit for the kill. Then, Creb presents Ayla with an amulet, saying that her protective spirit is the cave lion. Broud protests that the spirit is too strong to be given to a woman, but Creb silences him. Ayla grows strong and tall. She helps other Clan members catch fish in the river with her bare hands, but Broud disapproves of everything she does. Iza decides to teach Ayla the healing arts so that her place in the Clan will be assured once Iza and Creb are no longer around to protect her. One day, Ayla is allowed to heal a Clan member, and he is grateful. Meanwhile, a female Clan member delivers a stillborn baby. After the baby is buried, Iza explains that the spirits called for the child, and this comforts the child’s mother. Ayla asks if the spirits will give her a baby, but Iza responds that Ayla’s cave lion sign is too strong, and she will not have a child, which makes her sad. Later, Ayla sees her reflection in a pond, and realizes how different she is from the rest of the tribe. Hiding in the forest, Ayla watches male Clan members practice their hunting skills. She touches a sling left behind, even though she knows the punishment for a woman for such an action is death. Later, Broud hits Ayla for not bowing before him, but Brun tells him he cannot be a leader if he strikes his people. One day, as Ayla gathers berries and herbs in the forest, Broud rapes her. After she recovers, she finds a small cave where she can hide from him. She also practices with the forbidden sling, until her aim is accurate and she can hurl stones great distances. At mealtime, Ayla is not hungry, and Iza discovers that Ayla is pregnant. Broud rapes Ayla in front of other female Clan members, but she has learned not to react, and he is frustrated and leaves. Soon, the Clan settles in the forest, and is surrounded by a pack of wolves. As the men grab their weapons, a wolf carries off a Clan child named Brac, and Ayla stops it with her sling. Later, she is punished with banishment from the tribe, and considered an evil spirit. Even Iza and Creb ignore her. In the forest and her small cave, Ayla fends for herself, while her family mourns her loss. Later, Ayla goes into labor, and gives birth to her baby. She and the baby eat food that she hunts. When her exile is over, Ayla returns to the Clan with her baby, Durc. Broud thinks the baby is a burden and should be killed, but Creb pleads to spare Ayla and her child. Ayla is also pardoned and given permission to be a woman hunter. Later, Iza gives Ayla a medicine bowl that belonged to her mother. She is ailing and does not have the strength to travel to the Clan Gathering, but insists that Ayla go and find a mate. There, Ayla meets an admirer, and must relinquish her bowl to Creb because the other elders fear she is different. Soon, Ayla and Durc watch tribal hunters fight off a bear. When Ayla rushes to save a wounded warrior the bear comes after her. Ayla’s admirer attacks the bear, but is killed, and Broud savages the creature. Later, Creb conjures a magic fire that allows Ayla to see a vision. It tells her that her destiny involves leaving the Clan, but she cannot do it while Durc is young. Still, she waits for a sign. Later, Iza tells her that it is time for her to go and find her own people. The spirits have said it is so. Soon, Iza dies, and Brun decides to make Broud the leader of the Clan. Broud announces that he will take Ayla as his wife and Durc as his son. He also banishes Creb, but Ayla argues that Creb will die if he leaves. When Broud insists, Ayla pulls out her sling, and fights with Broud like a man. Brun interrupts the fight, telling his son that Ayla is a spirit and she has won. Broud is disgraced as Brun rips the warrior-leader necklace from his throat. Ayla tells her son that she loves him, and that they are one spirit. Then, Creb tells her to walk with the cave bear. She knows that her son will become the next leader of the Clan, but she sets forth to find her own people. The time is right. She is not afraid, and is propelled by the strength of her own spirit.
+

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

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