Dinosaurs have captured the imaginations of both young and old for centuries. There are movies, books, toys and of course dinosaur documentaries. Where movies will entertain you without facts (usually) Documentaries have, especially in recent years, made the attempt to bridge the gap between movies and facts. Some have succeeded more than others. We take a look a better dinosaur documentaries here.
There many many dinosaur documentaries to choose from. Unfortunately, the accuracy between the different documentaries varies. Accurate information in important and this includes appearance and behavioral information. Planet Dinosaur and When dinosaurs walked America are good examples to try.
A lot of these are available in shops or Amazon for example, but also many have been put onto Youtube now as well, so a search of the titles may help you watch them right away.
What Qualifies As A Good Dinosaur Documentary?
Unfortunately, or fortunately! since no one, has ever seen dinosaurs up close and personal, all we have to go on is the evidence we can gather from fossils we find. This knowledge has grown considerably in the last 50 years but the problem is not with what we know it is what we don’t know!
it has allowed film makers to use their imagination to embellish some dinosaur documentaries. Now this is great when in movies like Jurassic World, but less so when we are trying to learn from a documentary.
Some documentaries have strayed too far towards Hollywood and farther away from the museum and we have left those out for the sake of this article on dinosaur documentaries.
We have tried to include both dinosaur documentaries that been critically acclaimed for being more accurate while also having an excellent level of CGI and production value. If you are going to learn its better o do so while being entertained we think!
1. Prehistoric Planet
As if from leftfield there came prehistoric planet from the BBC and Apple Tv. not only did it feature the most UpToDate depictions of the iconic dinosaurs, it also had the most iconic of naturalists presenting it – Sir David Attenborough.
in a similar vein to planet Earth and other nature documentaries Prehistoric planet focusing on regions, and specifically the late Cretaceous period of our planet. it was releases in 2022 with 5 episodes shown in a week that include the following. great for adults and kids.
- Ice Worlds
1. Prehistoric Planet 2
Unsurprisingly renewed for a second season Prehistoric Planet 2 will air on May 23rd 2023 and although at the time of writing it has not yet been released we are pretty confident it will also warrant a place on the best dinosaur documentaries list! the spinodes shown 1 a night include the following.
- North America
3. Dinosaur 13
Any research that you do on dinosaur documentaries, you will find that one documentary is always near the top or at the top . This is the documentary called Dinosaur 13.
This documentary is based on the finding of the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever, the most famous dinosaur of them all. Unfortunately, this skeleton got seized by the federal government. A battle between the finders of the skeleton and the government over who deserves access to the skeleton.
The only issue that dinosaur fan may have with the Dinosaur 13 documentary is that it is not based on the behaviour of the dinosaurs or any facts about the dinosaur era. It focuses on fossil hunting and how it has become more than just science, now it’s also big business.
4. The Ballad Of Big Al
The Ballad of Big Al got made as a special edition of a dinosaur series created in the late 1990s called ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’. Although Walking With Dinosaurs was produced and directed very well, with great CGI (especially for the time the producers made it), it has been debunked many times for being factually inaccurate.
Many large and small details were incorrectly documented in Walking With Dinosaurs, resulting in the documentary not making the list. (though as entertainment its actually pretty good)
However, The Ballad Of Big Al does make the list even though it was a part of the Walking With Dinosaurs series. This 2-part documentary got made after Walking With Dinosaurs, and so much more research had been done on dinosaurs, and the producers were able to make it more factually accurate.
This documentary is about a young Allosaurus, “Big al” This dinosaur is followed throughout his life, and the documentary goes into in-depth detail about its behaviors. habitat and appearance. It is a new approach and a successful one.
The Allosaurus (named ‘Big Al’) is followed through his life until his unfortunate death due to injury as a young teenager. Scientists have been on record as saying that this dinosaur documentary is one of the more factually accurate.
5. Planet Dinosaur
Like Walking With Dinosaurs, Planet Dinosaur got produced by BBC. However, Planet Dinosaur got made around a decade later, when many more dinosaur species had been found, and much more accurate research had been done.
Planet Dinosaur had the opportunity to be much more factually accurate than Walking With Dinosaurs, and it was. This 6-part series covers dinosaurs more enormous than the T-Rex to cannibalistic dinosaurs and many dinosaurs in-between. including Spinosaurus, Microraptor and even the less talked about troodon.
This documentary series has been critically acclaimed and is highly recommended.
6. Dinosaurs: Giants Of Patagonia
This documentary has been critically acclaimed because the production level has deemed the documentary to be almost film-like. This documentary covers many dinosaurs but with a focus on two of the giant dinosaurs: the Argentinosaurus and the Mapusaurus.
These dinosaurs are followed throughout their lives as if it was a film that focuses on these two individual dinosaurs. The documentary has been said to be very factually accurate while also having great CGI and narration that tells the story of these two types of dinosaurs.
7. When Dinosaurs Roamed America
This documentary is one of the best dinosaur documentaries or even dinosaur movies ever produced. This rating is due to its high level of CGI, but it’s a highly accurate factual representation of dinosaurs and the different ages of dinosaurs that existed.
The documentary shows different dinosaurs and their behaviors throughout five different time segments (or periods) that the dinosaurs lived in.
Many people assume that all the dinosaurs lived together at the same time. Still, some famous dinosaur species never came into contact with other well-known dinosaur species as they lived millions of years apart.
This documentary puts this difference in ages into perspective and shows the viewer how dinosaurs evolved over millions of years.
This documentary was released in cinemas in 2012 and although it has been criticized for its less serious tone we have however thought it was actually provided a lot of information, maybe not scientifically but in an easier to understand way, which as we are not all scientists is a welcome change!
it might no tbe part of a university lecture, but its great to learn a little more about dinosaurs!
If all else fails you can watch our dinosaur facts channel!
Luckily for dinosaur lovers, there are dozens of dinosaur documentaries and movies that have been produced over the years. they come in varying qualities both of porduction but also accuracy. We have put together the ones we here at DinosaurfactsForKids,com hold some value in for accuracy at least,
Although its certainly entertaining to watch the dinosaurs in movies with the money like the Jurassic World Series, but after that you may want to find out more about the dinosaurs you have just seen!
Documentaries will help you with this. A lot are on youtube! if you wanted to watch for free as well.
You can also
Hi, I am Roy Ford a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.