Trisha Shetty (Editor)

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (film)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
1 Ratings
Rate This

Rate This

Produced by  Steve Hickner
Music by  James Horner
Screenplay  John Patrick Shanley
6.1/10 IMDb

Screenplay by  John Patrick Shanley
Initial release  24 November 1993 (USA)
We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters15507p15507

Directed by  Dick ZondagRalph ZondagPhil NibbelinkSimon Wells
Based on  We're Back! A Dinosaur's Storyby Hudson Talbott
Starring  John GoodmanBlaze BerdahlRhea PerlmanJay LenoRené LeVantFelicity KendalCharles FleischerWalter CronkiteJoey SheaJulia ChildKenneth MarsYeardley SmithMartin Short
Directors  Simon Wells, Phil Nibbelink, Ralph Zondag, Dick Zondag
Cast  John Goodman, Walter Cronkite, Jay Leno, Julia Child, Rhea Perlman

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story is a 1993 American animated children's science fantasy adventure comedy film, produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio, distributed by Universal Pictures, and originally released to theaters on November 24, 1993 for the United States. Starring the voice talents of John Goodman, Jay Leno, Walter Cronkite, Julia Child, and Martin Short.


We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (film) Brian Terrills 100 Film Favorites 65 Were Back A Dinosaurs

It was based on the 1987 Hudson Talbott children's book of the same name, which was narrated from the perspective of the main character, a Tyrannosaurus rex named Rex.

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (film) wwwDrewStruzancom


We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (film) Were Back A Dinosaurs Story Trailer YouTube

The film opens with a trio of young bluebirds harassing their youngest sibling, Buster (Blaze Berdahl). As Buster leaves his family, he meets an intelligent orange T. rex named Rex (John Goodman) playing golf. He explains to Buster that he was once a ravaging dinosaur, and proceeds to tell his personal story.

In prehistoric times, Rex was a savage, frightening creature who terrorized smaller dinosaurs. But one night he encounters a strange spacecraft and a small green alien-like creature named Vorb (Jay Leno). Vorb captures Rex and feeds him "Brain Grain", a special breakfast cereal that vastly increases Rex's intelligence. Rex is given his name and introduced to other dinosaurs that have been fed Brain Grain: A green Parasaurolophus named Dweeb (Charles Fleischer), a blue Triceratops named Woog (Rene LeVant), and a purple Pteranodon named Elsa (Felicity Kendal). They soon meet Captain Neweyes (Walter Cronkite), the inventor of Brain Grain and pilot of the spacecraft, who reveals his goal of allowing the children of the present time to see real dinosaurs, fulfilling their biggest wishes. He plans to take them to Dr. Julia Bleeb (Julia Child), who will guide them to the Museum of Natural History in New York City. He also warns them to avoid Professor Screweyes (Kenneth Mars), his insane brother.

Neweyes drops the dinosaurs off at the East River in 1993, but they fail to meet with Dr. Bleeb. Instead, they meet a young boy named Louie (Joey Shea), who plans on running away to join the circus. Louie agrees to help the dinosaurs. Louie soon encounters a girl named Cecilia, who is miserable with her life because of her neglectful parents. She agrees to run away with Louie and help the dinosaurs.

To prevent mass panic, Louie decides that the dinosaurs need to stay hidden during their journey to the Natural History Museum. He disguises them as floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. During the parade, Rex hears all the children wishing to see real dinosaurs, so he starts to sing "Roll Back the Rock (To the Dawn of Time)" (the movie's theme song). When he sees the Apatosaurus balloon coming out in the parade however, Rex mistakes it for being real and hand shakes it too tight with his claws, causing its air sealer to pop open. The balloon runs out of air and falls on the dinosaurs, who are otherwise unharmed. When the audience realizes that live dinosaurs are among them, they fly into a panic. The local authorities are called in to stop the dinosaurs.

As the dinosaurs lose the police, Louie and Cecilia venture to Central Park, where Professor Screweyes is running his "Eccentric Circus". Unaware of Screweyes' sinister nature, the children sign a contract to perform in his circus troupe. The dinosaurs arrive and try to prevent this, but they are too late. Screweyes, upon meeting the dinosaurs, explains that he delights in scaring people and believes that the dinosaurs would make a great addition to his circus. He then reveals his very own "Brain Drain", pills that are the polar opposite of his brother's Brain Grain. He demonstrates the Brain Drain on the two children, devolving them into chimpanzees; however, he offers the dinosaurs a deal: if they consume the pills and join his circus, he'd destroy the contract and release Louie and Cecilia. Reluctantly and sadly, the dinosaurs accept the offer.

As the kids awake the next morning, they are greeted by a circus clown named Stubbs (Martin Short). Upon seeing the dinosaurs returned to their natural savage states, Louie and Cecilia, with the help of Stubbs, plan to sneak into the night's show and save the dinosaurs. Professor Screweyes claims he can control the now-savage Rex, and proceeds to hypnotize him. Everyone watching the show gets frightened during the performance, and many run away. However, a crow accidentally activates flare lights, breaking Rex out of the trance. The savage Rex realizes he has been tricked, becomes enraged and tries to attack Screweyes. However, Louie steps in and desperately tells Rex that killing Screweyes will not be worth it; these impassioned pleas serve to return the dinosaurs to their kind and friendly natures. Just then, Captain Neweyes arrives in his spacecraft and congratulates Louie and Cecilia, who proceed to kiss in front of a whole crowd of people. Stubbs announces his resignation from Screweyes' employ. Neweyes, Louie, Cecilia and the dinosaurs board the aircraft, leaving Screweyes to be swarmed upon by the crows. When the crows take off, all that is left of Screweyes is his fake eye, in which one of the crows takes and flies off with.

The dinosaurs spend the rest of their days in the Museum of Natural History, allowing children to see live dinosaurs, fulfilling their wishes. Meanwhile, Louie and Cecilia reconcile with their respective parents, and the two become a couple.

Rex returns Buster to his family before returning to the Museum of National History, humming the movie's theme song to himself.


Production and development on We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story began at Universal Studios in Universal City near Los Angeles, California and Amblimation in London, United Kingdom in May 1989, which is at the time An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) was also in production. As in a five-year production schedule, it takes four years for the film to be made. In January 1990, after the film's voice actors recorded their voices for the characters, animating and filming began through storyboards, pencil tests (rough and clean-up) and ink and paint (the final version of the film) to bring the characters to life, using cameras and recorded audio. James Horner composed music for the film, including the only song "Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time)" performed by John Goodman. After four years in the making, the film was completely wrapped in the fall of 1993 (the time before the movie's theatrical release on November 24, that year).

Actor John Malkovich was originally set to voice the role of Professor Screweyes but dropped out because of disagreements with the animators' vision of the film. Upon the movie's release, Malkovich was a vocal critic of the project, arguing that the scope of the script was not fully realized and that the final product was "sub par, to say the least." To this day, Malkovich generally refuses to talk about the film. In a rare 2003 interview, Malkovich made a brief allusion to the movie, saying, "Good ideas go to die in Hollywood. I worked on an animated movie about dinosaurs in New York once. It was completely bureaucratized. They took something that had art in it and put it in the laps of people that only cared about the bottom line, and look what happened." In a later portion of the interview, Malkovich went on to say, "Yeah, projects like We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story—they just make you sick. That's why I left this town. It's all about the money, the bottom line. It's disgusting."

Deleted Scenes

A scene in which Screweyes cages and chains the dinosaurs, explains how he lost his eye and blasts Brain Drain down their throats with actual cannons causing them to transform back to their monstrous states was fully animated, but ultimately cut from the movie on the grounds that it was too intense. Shots of it can still be seen in the original trailer.


To promote the film's release, a giant helium balloon of Rex the T. Rex was included in the real-life 1993 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Unfortunately, as the parade moved through Columbus Circle, high winds caught the Rex balloon and caused it to lift over the nearby sidewalk. The head of the Rex balloon struck a protruding street light and popped, but the rest of the dinosaur's body remained inflated until the end of the parade.

There were also video game adaptations of the movie released for the SNES, Sega Genesis and Game Boy. The Game Boy version was altered in other regions to feature a different IP instead. In Sweden the game featured instead the cartoon character Bamse. In Australia, the game was called Agro Saur and featured the puppet Agro. In Europe, the game featured an original character called Baby T-Rex. A fifth version featuring Edd the Duck was to be released in the UK but was later cancelled (the film was never released to UK cinemas, going directly to video in 1994).

Pizza Hut carried a series of toys. Dakin and Just Toys made stuffed animals and other things like bendies.


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a 38% approval rating, based on 16 reviews (6 "fresh" and 10 "rotten"). Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 1 star out of 4 stars and wrote, "It's shallow and kind of dumb, and the animation is routine, and the story isn't much, and the stakes are a lot higher these days in the featurelength animation game". Variety's Daniel M. Kimmel gave the film a positive review and wrote, "In spite of narrative problems... the film's chief appeal is its central conceit -- that giant monsters... can be transformed into creatures who like to play with children".

Box office

The film grossed a total of $3,707,770 on its opening weekend and a total domestic gross of $9,315,576 in the United States, resulting in a box office bomb.

Home video release history

  • March 15, 1994 (VHS)
  • May 26, 2009 (DVD)
  • November 17, 2015 (Blu-ray)
  • Aspect ratio

    The laserdisc release was presented in its original widescreen aspect ratio. When the film was released on DVD in some other countries, it was presented in the pan and scan format. However, the widescreen version of the film was once available at Hulu, but was removed. When the film was finally released on DVD in the United States and Canada on May 26, 2009, it was presented in its original theatrical ratio in anamorphic widescreen, being Universal/Amblin's first animated film to be presented in widescreen on a Region 1 DVD (although international DVD releases of An American Tail (which eventually got a widescreen Blu-ray release in the United States and Canada in 2014), An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, and Balto were presented in widescreen), the next would be The Land Before Time (which eventually got both new widescreen DVD and Blu-ray releases in the United States and Canada in 2015), and also Universal's second animated film from the 1990s to be presented in widescreen on a Region 1 DVD (the first being Jetsons: The Movie).


    This soundtrack included the songs "Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time)" and "Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time) (Finale Version) by James Horner, Little Richard and Thomas Dolby.

    Soundtrack album track listing

    1. Main Title / Primeval Times – 4:14
    2. Flying Forward in Time – 5:48
    3. Welcome to New York – 2:26
    4. First Wish, First Flight – 3:48
    5. A Hint of Trouble / The 'Contract' – 1:49
    6. Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time): performed by John Goodman – 2:55
    7. Grand Slam Demons – 2:05
    8. Hot Pursuit – 3:18
    9. Central Park – 1:21
    10. Screweyes' Circus / Opening Act – 1:12
    11. Circus – 2:29
    12. Fright Radio / Rex's Sacrifice – 6:19
    13. Grand Demon Parade – 7:39
    14. The Kids Wake Up / A New Day – 2:57
    15. The Transformation – 5:30
    16. Special Visitors to the Museum of Natural History – 2:12
    17. Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time): performed by Little Richard – 2:56

    Other media

    A novelization of the film entitled "We're Back! Dinosaur's Story: The Novelization" was later released.


    1Main Title / Primeval TimesJames Horner4:14
    2Flying Forward in TimeJames Horner5:48
    3Welcome to New YorkJames Horner2:26


    We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (film) Wikipedia