The Last Dinosaur (1977)

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Credits for The Last Dinosaur

The Last Dinosaur
A Japanese flyer for The Last Dinosaur
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Sub-Polar Exploration Ship
See alternate titles
Directed by Alexander Grasshoff, Tsugunobu Kotani
Producer Noboru Tsuburaya, Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass
Written by William Overgard
Music by Maury Laws, Kenjiro Hirose
Production companies Tsuburaya Productions, Rankin/Bass
Distributor Toho-Towa,JP ABCUS
Running time 106 minutesJP
(1 hour, 46 minutes)
95 minutesUS
1 hour, 35 minutes)
Aspect ratio 1.85:1JP
1.33:1US TV
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A lost world!! Ruled by the largest man-eating monster of all!!

— Tagline

The Last Dinosaur (極底探険船ポーラーボーラ,   Kyokutei Tankensen Pōrabōra, lit. "Sub-Polar Exploration Ship Polar-Borer") is a 1977 Japanese-American tokusatsu kaiju film directed by Alexander Grasshoff and Tsugunobu Kotani and written by William Overgard, with special effects by Kazuo Sagawa. Co-produced by Tsuburaya Productions and Rankin/Bass Productions, it stars Richard Boone, Joan Van Ark, Steven Keats, and Toru Kawai. The film first aired in the United States on ABC on February 11, 1977, and was released to Japanese theaters by Toho-Towa on September 10 of the same year.


During an underwater oil drilling expedition, Thrust Industries' advanced submersible drilling vehicle, the Polar-Borer, accidentally burrows into a gigantic underground cavern. The vessel's crew ventures out to explore, with one member, Chuck Wade, remaining behind in the Polar-Borer. However, the crew soon find themselves attacked in the jungle by a colossal predator, a Tyrannosaurus rex. Wade manages to escape in the Polar-Borer, with all of his crew mates killed by the dinosaur. When Thrust Industries' CEO, multibillionaire Masten Thrust Jr., learns of the event, he orders a second Polar-Borer expedition to the strange underground world to investigate the presence of a prehistoric creature there, one on which he will be part of the crew. While as far as the public is concerned the expedition is for scientific purposes and grant closure for the crew members lost previously, Thrust - an accomplished big game hunter who had not faced a challenging hunt in years - intends to hunt the Tyrannosaurus himself and claim it as the ultimate trophy. Accompanying Thrust on the expedition are Wade, Japanese scientist Dr. Kawamoto, and an African tracker named Bunta. Francesca Banks, a journalist, convinces Thrust to bring her along on the expedition after seducing him.

The Polar-Borer is launched from Thrust Industries' oil platform Mother 1, and successfully bores through the polar ice and ocean floor until it surfaces in a lake within a jungle-covered underground cavern. Thrust, Wade, Bunta, and Francesca disembark to investigate, while Kawamoto remains behind to watch over their base camp. While exploring the jungle, they narrowly avoid being trampled by a stampeding ceratopsian. They later come upon a pond, where they find gigantic leeches, as well as a rock which they later discover is a giant turtle. Meanwhile, the Tyrannosaurus that killed the crew of the last Polar-Borer discovers the expedition's base camp, killing Dr. Kawamoto and trashing the camp before making off with the Polar-Borer. The beast deposits its new prize in its lair, littered with the bones of other prey. Suddenly, a Triceratops erupts from underground and charges at the Tyrannosaurus, goring it with its sharp horns. Despite sustaining injuries, the Tyrannosaurus kills its foe by biting down on its neck with its razor-sharp teeth, causing the Triceratops to bleed to death.

Thrust and the others soon find themselves stranded in the underground world, their every move stalked by both the Tyrannosaurus and a tribe of primitive humans. They are forced to camp in a cave and survive using the weapons they salvaged and hunting the local wildlife. Additionally, Francesca and Wade begin developing feelings for each other. When a large party of primitive men corner the trio, Thrust manages to kill their leader with a crossbow made from the ruins of Dr. Kawamoto's camp, convincing the others to stay far away from them from now on. However, a primitive woman takes an interest in the group, particularly Thrust, and follows them to their camp. Thrust is furious when the primitive woman tries to sleep with him and wants her thrown out of the camp, but Francesca decides to let her stay, naming her Hazel. One day as Hazel and Francesca are getting water from a lake, they are attacked by the Tyrannosaurus. They narrowly manage to avoid its attack, convincing Thrust that they need to kill it. Thrust and Bunta begin preparing an elaborate trap for the Tyrannosaurus, when Wade discovers the Polar-Borer in the monster's lair. He and Francesca try to convince Thrust to abandon his hunt and help them salvage the Polar-Borer, but find that Thrust's obsession has consumed him and that he wants nothing more than to kill the Tyrannosaurus himself. Wade and Francesca abandon Thrust to his hunt and manage to retrieve the Polar-Borer from the Tyrannosaurus ' lair using a pulley system, before finally pushing it back into the lake where it originally emerged. Wade begins repairs to allow the craft to escape, but Francesca goes back to try and convince Thrust to come with them.

As Wade nearly completes repairs on the Polar-Borer, the Tyrannosaurus finds and kills Bunta and prepares to do the same to Thrust and Francesca. Thrust is able to spring his trap, which catapults a gigantic boulder into the Tyrannosaurus ' head. While at first it seems to have been effective in bringing the beast down, the Tyrannosaurus soon gets back to its feet and destroys the catapult before escaping. Francesca begs Thrust to leave with her and Wade, but he continues to refuse to go home empty-handed. Francesca pleads with him to leave the Tyrannosaurus alone since it is "the last dinosaur," but Thrust simply replies that so is he. Thrust sees Francesca and Wade off as the Polar-Borer submerges and returns to the surface world. As Thrust hears the Tyrannosaurus ' roar echo through the jungle, he prepares to continue his hunt and is surprised when Hazel approaches him. Rather than shoo her off like before, Thrust finally decides to let Hazel join him, and the two set off into the jungle together.


Main article: The Last Dinosaur/Credits.

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Alexander Grasshoff, Tsugunobu Kotani
  • Written by   William Overgard
  • Executive producers   Noboru Tsuburaya, Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass
  • Associate producers   Kinshiro Okubo, Masaki Izuka, Benni Korzen, Kazuyoshi Kasai
  • Music by   Maury Laws
  • Arranged and conducted by   Kenjiro Hirose
  • Theme song "The Last Dinosaur"
    • Performed by   Nancy Wilson
    • Composed by   Maury Laws
    • Lyrics by   Jules Bass
    • Arranged and conducted by   Bernard Hoffer
  • Cinematography by   Shoji Ueda
  • Edited by   Tatsuji Nakashizu, Minoru Kozono
  • Production design by   Kazuhiko Fujiwara
  • First assistant director   Shohei Tojo
  • Director of special effects   Kazuo Sagawa
  • First assistant director of special effects   Yoshiyuki Yoshimura
  • Visual effects by   Minoru Nakano, Michihisa Miyashige


Main article: The Last Dinosaur/Credits.

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Richard Boone   as   Masten Thrust Jr., CEO of Thrust Industries
  • Joan Van Ark   as   Francesca Banks, newspaper reporter
  • Steven Keats   as   Chuck Wade, Polar-Borer crew
  • Luther Rackley   as   Bunta, tracker
  • Masumi Sekiya   as   Hazel, Primitive Woman
  • William Ross   as   Hal
  • Carl Hansen   as   Barney
  • Tetsu Nakamura   as   Dr. Kawamoto, inventor of the Polar-Borer
  • Don Maloney   as   Captain of Mother 1
  • Vanessa Cristina   as   Reporter
  • Shunsuke Kariya   as   Primal Man leader
  • Toru Kawai   as   Tyrannosaurus
  • Tatsumi Nikamoto   as   Triceratops (front end)

Japanese dub

  • Shuichiro Moriyama   as   Masten Thrust Jr.
  • Michiko Hirai   as   Francesca Banks
  • Katsunosuke Hori   as   Chuck Wade



Weapons, vehicles, and races


Main article: The Last Dinosaur/Gallery.

Alternate titles

  • The Last Dinosaur (最後の恐竜,   Saigo no Kyōryū, alternate Japanese title, translated from English title)
  • The Last Dinosaur: Sub-Polar Exploration Ship Polar-Borer (最後の恐竜 極底探険船ポーラーボーラ,   Saigo no Kyōryū: Kyokutei Tanken-sen Pōrābōra, Japanese video title)
  • Last Dinosaur - King of Monsters (Viimeinen Dinosaurus - Hirviöitten Kuningas; Finland)

Theatrical releases

View all posters for the film here.

  • West Germany - July 7, 1977  [view poster]German poster
  • France - July 20, 1977  [view poster]French poster
  • Japan - September 10, 1977  [view poster]Japanese poster
  • Finland - December 9, 1977  [view poster]Finnish poster
  • Colombia - May 24, 1978
  • United Kingdom - July 7, 1978
  • Australia - July 10, 1980
  • Brazil - December 25, 1980

U.S. release

U.S. The Last Dinosaur TV advertisement

The Last Dinosaur was scheduled for theatrical releases in both Japan and the United States. However, it was decided at the last minute to release the film directly to television in the U.S. ABC aired the film and cut 11 minutes from it, while it was later released unedited theatrically in Japan by Toho-Towa, a subsidiary of Toho. Warner Bros. finally released the unedited English-language version of the film in the U.S. on DVD-R in 2011 through its manufacturing-on-demand division Warner Archive.

Video releases

Toho DVD (2009)[1]

  • Discs: 1
  • Region: 2
  • Audio: Japanese, English
  • Subtitles: Unknown
  • Special features: Audio commentary by director Tsugunobu Kotani and actress Masumi Sekitani, message from actress Sekitani, interview with special effects director Kazuo Sagawa (13 minutes), behind-the-scenes footage narrated by Sagawa, production galleries, Japanese trailer

Warner Archive DVD-R (2011)

  • Region: N/A
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: None
  • Notes: Made-to-order DVD-R. Contains the unedited English-language version.


Japanese The Last Dinosaur Trailer
Japanese The Last Dinosaur
commentary by Tadao Takashima
Warner Bros. The Last Dinosaur
promotional clip
Warner Bros. The Last Dinosaur
promotional clip
Warner Bros. The Last Dinosaur
promotional clip



This is a list of references for The Last Dinosaur. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]


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