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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Boy's Own Adventure
Next to "Jason and the Argonauts" and "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger", this is quite possibly one of Ray Harryhausen's best movies. The stop-motion dinosaurs are amazing and Gwangi himself, an Allosaurus, is actually quite scary in the way he moves (Watch it yourself and see). Don't expect deep characterization though. Quite enjoyable.
Published on 5 Feb 2004 by brenapp

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jurassic Park - Harryhausen style!
The Valley of Gwangi is an odd story. A travelling circus of cowboys (whose star is a woman who leaps into a vat of water on horseback) discover a secluded valley in Mexico inhabited by dinosaurs. One of these is Gwangi,* an Allosaurus, who is captured, taken to the circus as an exhibit, and escapes. So far, so Jurassic Park (but with a twentieth of the budget). Things...
Published on 8 Feb 2010 by Sophie


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Boy's Own Adventure, 5 Feb 2004
This review is from: The Valley of Gwangi [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Next to "Jason and the Argonauts" and "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger", this is quite possibly one of Ray Harryhausen's best movies. The stop-motion dinosaurs are amazing and Gwangi himself, an Allosaurus, is actually quite scary in the way he moves (Watch it yourself and see). Don't expect deep characterization though. Quite enjoyable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Smorgasbord of Delights., 4 Aug 2010
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Valley of Gwangi [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Cowboys fighting dinosaurs, mysterious gypsies and an evil dwarf. What more could a kid want growing up in the sixties! This was an absolute smorgasbord of delights to my inventive and youthful mind. You have to remember that in those days my most cutting edge possession was an action man. Todays generation of face book addicts, who expect special effects to be up there with "Avatar", might not be so impressed with "The Valley of Gwangi". Just for old times sake I decided to sit down and watch it again recently. All very sad I hear you say, but what was even sadder is that I enjoyed it! Perhaps I am just a dinosaur? It is a film that exotically manages to straddle both the western and monster genres. A very unusual mix indeed, that I cannot recall being done before or since.

The story commences with the capture of a prehistoric horse from a forbidden valley in Mexico at the turn of the last century. The horse becomes part of a wild west show but is recognised as a long extinct species by a British paleontologist, who with a group of cowboys traces the valley of its origin. This is a place that has been cut off from time, where dinosaurs still rule, including the top predator Gwangi a voracious Allosaurus. Let battle commence between Gwangi, the cowboys and a host of other nasties. Throw in a bit of romance, some dodgy gypsies, and we have quite a volatile mix. Then we have a fiery ending where Gwangi proves very effective in getting people back to church.

The first big mention has to be for Ray Harryhausen's excellent special effects which even in this day and age stand up pretty well. He was the very best for his time, and his work took many painstaking hours to complete. That he was a perfectionist is obvious. The original story was conceived by Willis O'Brien, the creator of the original "King Kong", but lay on the shelf for many years until Harryhausen decided to resurrect it. The idea of a hidden world, was probably borrowed from Arthur Conan Doyle's book "The Lost World", which was first filmed in the twenties. The film was made in Cuenca Spain, and the strange rock formations fit in with the prehistoric look. The acting is not the main attraction of the film, which is just as well! James Franciscus just about passes muster in the lead role, but Gila Golan as has already been pointed out is woeful. Her Israeli accent proved so strong that she had to be dubbed. Perhaps the best of a bad lot was Laurence Naismith, who was quite amusing as the eccentric British paleontologist. He memorably played Captain Smith in the film "A Night to Remember", about the sinking of the Titanic. He had already appeared in another Harryhausen film "Jason and the Argonauts" a few years before.

It is interesting to see that the scene where Gwangi ambushes a smaller dinosaur was copied in "Jurassic Park". The action comes thick and fast, which is helped by a rousing score from Jerome Moross, which is very similar to the one he composed for the western "The Big Country", some years before. It should be pointed out that there were definitely a few health and safety issues with keeping an Allosaurus in a circus. I did not see one H&S officer ask to see the licence for keeping wild dinosaurs! The film is still refreshingly entertaining, and has not aged badly at all, which is more than can be said of me!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jurassic Park - Harryhausen style!, 8 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Valley of Gwangi [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
The Valley of Gwangi is an odd story. A travelling circus of cowboys (whose star is a woman who leaps into a vat of water on horseback) discover a secluded valley in Mexico inhabited by dinosaurs. One of these is Gwangi,* an Allosaurus, who is captured, taken to the circus as an exhibit, and escapes. So far, so Jurassic Park (but with a twentieth of the budget). Things take a turn for the strange at the climax - a dinosaur in a burning cathedral is the closest you'll ever get to seeing what might have been if Pier Paolo Pasolini had made a monster movie.

This would be a very entertaining film, but the slow start and ordinary acting and directing make the first half quite a drag. However once the action starts it gets much more entertaining, with the unsurpassed Ray Harryhausen doing some of his best work. A scene where (live action) cowboys lasoo up the {animated) Gwangi is a lesson in precise modelwork, twenty years before CGI came along. Very, very impressive.

*In case you were wondering, "Gwangi" apparently means "big lizard" in a native American language - which language that might be (there are over 800) is not known.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Birthplace of Jurassic Park, 17 July 2014
By 
William Mason (England) - See all my reviews
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I have a soft spot for this fantastic 1970's monster movie, which I first saw as a small boy. In short, this is a highly enjoyable "cowboys v dinosaurs" B Movie, with inventive and effective special effects for its time. A group of cowboys enter into a mythical realm of dinosaurs (and an extremely cute tiny prancing horse), and they have to battle their way out to survive. The story takes place in some undefined part of Mexico, although very little Spanish is spoken by the actors. The stop-motion animation and special F/X are by the world renowned Ray Harryhausen, which should indicate how good the creatures appear on screen (think of the scene with the skeletons in the original Jason and the Argonauts, and that will give you a good idea of the sorts of effects used in this movie). Highly imaginative, with several memorable sequences, including a fight between a cowboy and a dinosaur in a church, and an attempt to capture one of the dinosaurs with lassoes. The film builds slowly at the outset but soon works up a good pace. This is one of those movies which, like Westworld of the same era, or Barbarella from the previous decade, is crying out for a modern remake with top-notch current special effects. Somebody like Stephen Spielberg, who did of course make ET, would do a wonderful job of revamping this classic monster flick, perhaps using somebody like George Clooney in the lead role as one of the cowboys. In any case, I look forward (hopefully) to the release of Gwangi on Blu Ray, which is long overdue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valley of Gwangi is a must see Movie!, 2 April 2010
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This review is from: The Valley of Gwangi [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
When I was a child in the 1970's Valley of Gwangi was shown quite often on the TV and I was always enthralled...
It was this movie and the amazing 1933 King Kong that created my love of dinosaurs and fantasy, and gave me a life long interest in the movies of Ray Harryhausen.

I hadn't seen Gwangi for years until I located the DVD, but as soon as I put it on and heard the thumping theme music I was a kid again, watching with awe and wonder.

Although I admit the movie is pehaps not perfect, it is for me! Harryhausen's creations are still wonderful and the sheer beauty of his animation is a joy to behold. The famous lassoo scene of the Allosaurus is simply awesome as is the demise of Gwangi in the burning cathedral.

It is very entertaining and a very much underrated film... They re-made Clash of the Titans recently, so how about a remake of Gwangi in CGI?

A little known fact is that Kong animator and Harryhausen's mentor Willis H O'Brien wanted to make this movie for RKO back in 1942. It never happened of course, but Ray re-discovered the script in his garage and finally made the movie in 1969.

If you like Ray Harryhausen and love fantasy movies then I can recommend Valley of Gwangi... Enjoy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ray Harryhausen and some cowboys capture an angry gwangi. Look out!, 11 Aug 2009
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Valley of Gwangi [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Valley of the Gwangi, as long as you're easily satisfied, is a movie to enjoy in spite of itself. It's a light-hearted but leaden-footed dinosaur adventure film, with a group of turn-of-the-century cowboys versus a gwangi. The idea is fun, the acting is adequate (with one exception), the script is workmanlike and the direction is dull. It seems to take forever to get to the good stuff. What it has going for it, starting half way through the movie, is the gwangi - an allosaurus - that seems to be constantly angry. The joy of the movie is that this giant, meat-eating, top-of-the-food chain creature is brought to life by the stop-motion artistry of Ray Harryhausen.

Down Mexico way at the turn of the century, T. J. Breckenridge (Gila Golan) stars in and manages a ramshackle circus, Champ Connors (Richard Carlson) and a handful of American and Mexican cowboys help out. Old flame Tuck Kirby (James Franciscus) shows up and wants to buy T. J.'s wonder horse, Omar. No way, says T. J. And she tells him that she's got an even better horse act ready to be introduced...a tiny horse-like creature she purchased with no questions asked. But eccentric Professor Horace Bromley (Lawrence Naismith), a paleontologist who is determined to prove his theory of the humanoids, identifies the whinnying little thing as an eohippus, an ancestor of the horse, which supposedly has been extinct for millions of years. When gypsies steal the eohippus to return it to a hidden valley, off in pursuit goes T. J., Tuck, Champ and the Professor, aided by Lope, a ten-year-old Mexican lad and two wranglers from T. J.'s circus. And finally, after nearly 50 minutes, the 96-minute movie really starts.

The movie, thanks to Ray Harryhausen, gives us the goods with three first-rate scenes. There's the entrance to the valley on horseback, with some strange scenery and then a quick attack by a pterodactyl that scoops up Lope. Lope's rescue is something to see. There's the great set piece of cowboys versus the angry allosaurus, with the gwangi raging after cowboy ordeurves and the cowboys regrouping to lasso the gwangi, then the gwangi breaking free to have a life-or-death battle with a oneceratops (or whatever a one-horned triceratops is called). And finally there's the raging gwangi tearing apart the Mexican town (climaxing inside a burning cathedral) where he was brought to be the lead attraction for T. J.'s circus.

Nothing about the movie is first-rate...except these three scenes. They're rousers. Franciscus does an okay job as a generic, happy-go-lucky cowboy hero and Richard Carlson, now 57, has aged into a cross between Pete Postlethwaite and Randolph Scott. He's fine but nothing special as T. J.'s protective circus manager. Gila Golan, however, is a lush young woman who can barely act, much less ride a horse. She made a handful of films. I'd swear she was dubbed.

In some ways, The Valley of the Gwangi, with it's turn of the century setting and cowboys roping a dinosaur, is charming. If only it had better actors and a smarter first-half script.

To see a handful of brave souls do amusing battle with various Harryhausen creatures, try Mysterious Island. It even has Captain Nemo, as well as some considerably better actors, such as Joan Greenwood and Herbert Lom, For grinning, vicious, clattering skeletons waving swords around, you can't do better than Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts.

Along with Ray Harryhausen, the movie owes a lot to Jerome Moross who composed the film score. He uses echoes from his great score for The Big Country to make Valley of the Gwangi more impressive than it deserves, especially in the cowboys-versus-gwangi set piece. So four stars with Harryhausen (and Moross). Three stars without them.

Now if you really want to see how to capture a gwangi, or at least a Tyrannosaurus Rex, I'd recommend you watch Prehistoric Park and the adventures of Nigel Marvin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Western fantasy film boosted by some Harryhausen genius., 15 Feb 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Shot in Technicolor by Erwin Hillier and in Dynamation, The Valley Of Gwangi sees Tuck Kirby (James Franciscus) and a team of cowboys get more than they bargained for when they enter a hidden valley in Mexico. For here, prehistoric creatures reside and the cowboys come up with the idea of capturing a Tyrannosaurus Rex to become the chief attraction in the circus they work at.

The makers of Gwangi never hid their motivations or homages, from the off they wanted to nod towards King Kong whilst pairing the Western and Fantasy genres in the process. The result of which is an enjoyable if unfulfilled movie that again sees Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion creations save the day. Directed by Jim O'Connolly with a screenplay by William Bast, The Valley Of Gwangi suffers not because of its bonkers plot (this is after all why we watch this type of genre offering), but more because of the slow first half that threatens to put the viewer into torpor. Thankfully the film is saved by the afore mentioned Harryhausen who unleashes prehistoric joys on the B movie cast (tho Laurence Naismith is considerably better than the material given him). While the ending raises the adrenalin sufficiently enough to have made the wait worth while. Jerome Moross lifts from his brilliant score for The Big Country with mixed results; it just feels out of place here, even if it's stirring and pleasing to the ears. And the Almería, Andalucía location work in Spain is at one with the material to hand.

Saturday afternoon monster fun to be enjoyed with either popcorn or something stronger from the drinks cupboard. 6/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Western fantasy film boosted by some Harryhausen genius., 15 Feb 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Valley of Gwangi [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Shot in Technicolor by Erwin Hillier and in Dynamation, The Valley Of Gwangi sees Tuck Kirby (James Franciscus) and a team of cowboys get more than they bargained for when they enter a hidden valley in Mexico. For here, prehistoric creatures reside and the cowboys come up with the idea of capturing a Tyrannosaurus Rex to become the chief attraction in the circus they work at.

The makers of Gwangi never hid their motivations or homages, from the off they wanted to nod towards King Kong whilst pairing the Western and Fantasy genres in the process. The result of which is an enjoyable if unfulfilled movie that again sees Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion creations save the day. Directed by Jim O'Connolly with a screenplay by William Bast, The Valley Of Gwangi suffers not because of its bonkers plot (this is after all why we watch this type of genre offering), but more because of the slow first half that threatens to put the viewer into torpor. Thankfully the film is saved by the afore mentioned Harryhausen who unleashes prehistoric joys on the B movie cast (tho Laurence Naismith is considerably better than the material given him). While the ending raises the adrenalin sufficiently enough to have made the wait worth while. Jerome Moross lifts from his brilliant score for The Big Country with mixed results; it just feels out of place here, even if it's stirring and pleasing to the ears. And the Almería, Andalucía location work in Spain is at one with the material to hand.

Saturday afternoon monster fun to be enjoyed with either popcorn or something stronger from the drinks cupboard. 6/10
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 July 2014
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This review is from: The Valley of Gwangi [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Great
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5.0 out of 5 stars brought for a friendxxx, 15 April 2014
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This review is from: The Valley of Gwangi [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
i brought this for a friend he really liked this.not my sort of thing myself but he loved it thanks janexxx
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