When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1969)

UK, 1969
35mm, Technicolor, 1.66:1
mono, English

A British fantasy film directed by Val Guest. It was Hammer's third prehistoric fantasy and was based on a treatment written for them by science fiction author J.G. Ballard.

Plot Summary

A huge chunk of space debris breaks away from the Sun and winds up in Earth orbit as . The priests of a prehistoric tribe believe that Sanna is to blame for this cosmic cataclysm and decide to sacrifice her. She flees her people, the priests in hot pursuit, and she teams up with caveman Tara and tames a couple of before a tidal wave, caused by the new gravitational pull exerted by the moon, threatens devastating climate changes…


Directed by: Val Guest
© MCMLXIX [1969] Hammer Film Productions Limited
A Hammer Film production. Distributed by Warner Bros.
Produced by: Aida Young
Written for the Screen by: Val Guest
Treatment by: J.G. Ballard
Director of Photography: Dick Bush
Editor: Peter Curran
Music and Special Music Effects Composed by: Mario Nascimbene
Sound Recordist: Kevin Sutton
Costume Designer: Carl Toms
Make-up Supervisor: Richard Mills
Hairdressing Supervisor: Joyce James
Special Effects: Allan Bryce, Roger Dicken, Brian Johncock
Special Visual Effects by: Jim Danforth
Art Director: John Blezard
Made at Shepperton Studios Limited, Shepperton, Middlesex, England and on location in the Canary Islands

Victoria Vetri (Sanna)
Robin Hawdon (Tara)
Patrick Allen (Kingsor)
Drewe Henley (Khaku)
Sean Caffrey (Kane)
Magda Konopka (Ulido)
Imogen Hassall (Ayak)
Patrick Holt (Ammon)
Jan Rossini (rock girl)
Carol-Anne Hawkins (Yani)
Maria O'Brien (Oman)
Connie Tilton (sand mother)
Maggie Lynton (rock mother)
Jimmy Lodge (fisherman)
Billy Cornelius, Ray Ford (hunters)

Alternative Titles

Akita – solens förbannelse – Sweden
Akita, dinosaurukset tulevat – Finland
Als Dinosaurier die Erde beherrschten – Germany
Cuando los dinosaurios dominaban la Tierra – Spain
Gdy dinozaury wladaly swiatem – Poland
Quando i dinosauri si mordevano la coda – Italy
Quando os Dinossauros Dominavam a Terra – Portugal
Quano les dinosaures dominaient le monde – France

Extracts included in
Beauties and Beasts (1970)
Dinosaur Movies (1993)

Includes extracts from
The Lost World (1960)

See also
Caveman (1981)
Jurassic Park (1993)



  • Castle of Frankenstein no.14 p.6
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.16 pp.13, 14
  • Cinefantastique vol.1 no.3 (Summer 1971) pp.26-27 – review
  • Cinema of the '70s no.1 (2020) pp.49-68 – illustrated article (Straight on till '79: A decade of Hammer horror by Ian Taylor)
  • Dark Terrors no.3 p.17 – note
  • Dark Terrors no.9 (November 1994) p.22 – illustrated article
  • Films and Filming vol.17 no.4 (January 1971) p.60 – review
  • The Guardian: The Guide 11 – 17 December 1999 pp.53; 56 – review (by Paul Howlett); television listing
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.203 no.33 (22 November 1968) p.19 – credits
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.214 no.32 (20 January 1971) p.3 – review
  • The House That Hammer Built no.6 (December 1997) pp.346-348 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Infinity no.37 (2021) pp.18-23 – illustrated interview with Val Guest (Guest appearance by Richard Hollis)
  • Kine Weekly no.3286 (3 October 1970) p.19 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.37 no.442 (November 1970) p.234 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.241 no.3 (24 February 1971) p.552 – credits, review
  • Nouveau Cinemonde no.1774 (21 January 1969) pp.26-29 – review
  • Supernatural no.1 (January 1969) p.9 – note (Horror film production guide)
  • Today's Cinema no.9718 (3 September 1969) p.3 – illustrated note (Today's Cinema summer girl)
  • Today's Cinema no.9844 (2 October 1970) p.9 – review
  • Variety 6 November 1968 p.26 – note
  • Variety 14 October 1970 p.28 – credits, review


  • Epic Films (2nd edition) by Gary Allen Smith pp.279-280 – illustrated credits, review
  • Film Review 1971-72 by F. Maurice Speed (ed) p.238
  • The Hammer Story by Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes p.107 – illustrated review
  • by Walt Lee p.535 – credits
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith pp.235-236