The Jurassic Park movies are rife with great moments, boasting countless unforgettable scenes. A huge cinematic technical achievement, the films act not only as visual eye-sores, but moral warnings on recklessly playing God. Perhaps more importantly, the franchise teaches us that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be as cool as Jeff Goldblum, so don’t even bother.
Joking aside, the franchise’s best moments are hard to whittle down to just 10. But alas, despite this Herculean task, I tried my best to do just that. So, let’s start with the worst of the top 10.
10) Ian Malcolm’s Iconic Quote (Jurassic Park, 1993)
I wanted to include at least one Ian Malcolm scene in this list – and, as you might imagine, it’s a tough decision. After all, Jeff Goldblum’s iconic Chaos Theorist has countless killer lines in the first movie alone. But in the end, I had to go with the moment where Malcolm lectures Hammond on the ethics of his enterprise. He ends it with this brilliant line: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
The moment is powerful because it sums up the question Jurassic Park tries to explore. It’s the classic tale of man playing God and the catastrophe that inevitably ensues when they do so. Malcolm acts as the clear mouthpiece of reason in the movie, doubting that Hammond should get involved in matters he doesn’t know much about. And, as the first film and its sequels prove, he is right.
9) Raptors in the Kitchen (Jurassic Park, 1993)
Could this be the most spine-tingling game of hide-and-seek committed to film? Perhaps. It starts off silently enough, but when the kid accidentally knocks a silver ladle to the floor, it confirms their presence for the Raptors. It quickly escalates into an intense cat-and-mouse chase before the kids trick the hungry creatures into the kitchen cool-room and lock them inside. Truly, an iconic moment in the franchise.
8) The Spinosaurus Attacks the Boat (Jurassic Park III, 2001)
Jurassic Park III isn’t the series’ brightest moment, but some individual moments do stand out. Among these is the moment when the Spinosaurus attacks the boat, whose passengers include Dr. Alan Grant, Billy Brennan and the Kirby family.
It’s one of the most intense scenes in the series, but not just because of the dinosaur. As the creature attacks, Grant desperately tries to call his old friend, Ellie Satler, using Kirby’s satellite phone but the ultimately poor reception means his message is mostly vague and undecipherable static. Admittedly, the drama is somewhat muted by Ellie’s son making a “raaa” sound following the call but it’s still a pretty impactful moment in an otherwise unremarkable movie.
7) “Clever girl” (Jurassic Park, 1993)
The hunter becomes the hunted. Professional hunter Robert Muldoon meets his match when he attempts to hunt a loose raptor. However, as the hunter locks his shotgun onto his prey, another velociraptor appears beside him. Even Muldoon, who is consistently wary of the creatures throughout the film, can’t help but be impressed by the ambush. Hence one of the most famous quotes in Jurassic Park – “Clever girl.”
6) The T-Rex’s Rampage in San Diego (The Lost World, 1997)
An interesting fact about this scene – it wasn’t originally planned to appear in The Lost World. Spielberg decided on the scene just five weeks before production began, telling screenwriter David Koepp that “We’ve gotta do it. It’s too fun not to“. Spielberg was initially saving the scene for a third Jurassic Park film, but in a TIME magazine interview, claimed he went ahead with it for TLW when he “realized that [he] would probably leave that directing job to someone else”.
Perhaps it was best that Spielberg did use the idea while he was in the director’s chair. In a film that is decidedly inferior to its predecessor, TLW‘s San Diego scene is a standout moment. It’s teeth-gritting enough as the dinosaur stampedes through the city streets looking for anyone it can eat – but the tension rises a notch when it recognizes Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Moore among its potential snacks (an intelligent lizard, this one). Cue a chase scene as the scientists attempt to evade the creature in their red convertible. It’s easily one of the franchise’s best monster scenes.
5) Nedry’s Death (Jurassic Park, 1993)
“No wonder you’re extinct!” snaps computer programmer Dennis Nedry when he encounters the venomous dilophosaurus. Ironically, however, despite mocking the dinosaur’s intelligence, it’s actually Nedry’s lack thereof that leads him to extinction. After an unsuccessful attempt to shoo off his green assailant, Nedry gets a spit of venom in his face and is subsequently consumed as a nice, meaty meal. Despite his nightmare end, it’s oddly satisfying to see Nedry get his comeuppance since he is one of the movie’s most pathetic characters. An easy contender for one of the best moments in Jurassic Park movie history.
4) Indominus Rex vs T-Rex (Jurassic World, 2015)
The best way to kill a giant dinosaur? Unleash another giant dinosaur on it. This solution is effectively proven near the end of 2015’s Jurassic World when the Indominus Rex and T-Rex go head-to-head. As if the T-Rex’s sole physical capability wasn’t already a match for his scaly opponent, he also has aid in the form of a Raptor.
The scene is an impressive display of CGI and audio wizardry, making you feel the grandiose power of both titans as they engage in an intense fight to the death. Added tension to the scene comes in the form of Owen Grady, Claire Dearing and the kids as they attempt to avoid being trampled on by the two scaly combatants. It all ends when the Baryonyx leaps out of the water and eats the Indominus Rex, literally experiencing the sweet taste of victory.
3) Raptors in the Grass (The Lost World, 1997)
As far as blockbuster movie sequels go, The Lost World is rather so-so. It doesn’t have the memorable characters of its predecessor and, for a great deal of its run-time, you get the tedious impression you’ve seen this before, albeit done better (i.e. Jurassic Park I). But that’s not to say the 1997 Spielberg-helmed sequel doesn’t have some redeeming moments – the Raptors chasing humans down in the tall grass is one of such moments.
Why is it so good? Well, for a start, it shows us an adrenaline-fuelled tension that even the first movie didn’t have. The way the raptors methodically take out human by human leaves you wondering who will survive and who wouldn’t. The fact that the grass obscures their demise gives the scene a sense of creepiness too as the hunters are well and truly hunted by their superiors. The scene is impressive enough to deserve a spot in the ranking of Jurassic Park’s best movie moments.
2) The T-Rex Jeep Scene (Jurassic Park, 1993)
The crisis at Jurassic Park forces ordinary palaeontologist, Dr. Alan Grant, to battle the very creatures he’s spent his life studying in rocks. The legendary ‘T-Rex Jeep’ scene is a prime example of this in action. Shortly after the T-Rex’s terrifying introduction in which he consumes some sheep and a cowering lawyer on a toilet, he approaches the jeep containing Grant and John Hammond’s grandchildren.
The situation forces Grant to put his dinosaur knowledge to practical use and lure the monstrous lizard away from the jeep with a flare. The scene is incredibly intense because, at first, you’re not sure whether it’ll actually work. But thankfully for Grant and his young friends, it does. He tosses the flare off into the distance and the T-Rex sheepishly follows its trail away from the humans. Phew. You can breathe now.
1) “Welcome to Jurassic Park” (Jurassic Park, 1993)
John Hammond proudly says his iconic line as Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Satler look on in astonishment at a group of brontosaurs idly existing in the movie’s titular park. Narrated by John Williams’ iconic, sweeping score, we the audience can’t help but be as swept along as Grant and Satler while they physically witness some of the very creatures they’ve spent their lives studying in rocks. There’s a sense of majesty and excitement in the score, the expressions of the astounded palaeontologists and Hammond’s line itself – a sense that quickly fades by the movie’s end when the park becomes a horror show. Simply put, this scene isn’t just one of the most iconic Jurassic Park moments – it’s one of the most iconic scenes in cinema, period.
But hey, this list is just my opinion. Given there are countless spectacular moments across the five current films, you’re bound to disagree with me on some of these. What do you think are the best Jurassic Park movie moments of all time? Let us know in the comments below.