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We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story is an animated film, produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio, distributed by Universal Pictures, and originally released to theatres for Thanksgiving 1993. It was rated G by the MPAA.

It was based on the 1987 Hudson Talbott children's book We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, which was narrated from the perspective of the main character, a Tyrannosaurus rex named Rex.


The film opens with a trio of violent young birds attacking their youngest sibling Buster (Blaze Berdahl). As Buster leaves his family, he meets an intelligent golf-playing Tyrannosaurus rex aptly named Rex (John Goodman). Rex explains to Buster that he was once a stupid and violent dinosaur, and proceeds to tell the story of how he came to become what he is today.

Millions of years in the past, Rex is a savage creature who terrorizes smaller animals until a futuristic aircraft arrives and interrupts Rex's rampage. Rex is greeted by a small green creature named Vorb (Jay Leno) who feeds him "Brain Grain", a cereal that increases Rex's intelligence. The inventor of the cereal and pilot of the aircraft, Captain Neweyes (Walter Cronkite), brings in Rex, gives him his name, and introduces him to other dinosaurs that have been fed Brain Grain: Dweeb the Parasaurolophus (Charles Fleischer), Woog the Triceratops (Rene Le Vant) and Elsa the Pterodactyl (Felicity Kendal). Neweyes then reveals his goal of allowing the children of the present time to see real dinosaurs, fulfilling their biggest wishes. He informs them that there are two people to keep an eye out for: Doctor Juliet Bleeb (Julia Child), a scientist from the Museum of Natural Historymarker who will aid the dinosaurs, and Professor Screweyes (Kenneth Mars), Neweyes's insane brother. He instructs them to find Doctor Bleeb and avoid Professor Screweyes.

Neweyes drops the dinosaurs off at the Hudson River where they meet a young raft-sailing boy named Louie (Joey Shea), who plans on joining the circus. Upon reaching New York City, Louie realizes that people would panic if they saw live dinosaurs and, with the help of Elsa, flies over the city in search of a good hiding place. During the flight, Louie comes across a girl named Cecilia Nuthatch (Yeardley Smith), who explains that her parents are hardly around. Louie convinces Cecilia to abandon her home and introduces her to the dinosaurs (Louie and Cecilia then quickly develop a crush on each other). When the dinosaurs explain their goal of getting to the Museum of Natural History, Louie decides to disguise them as floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. 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, resulting in a slapstick-filled chase scene. As the dinosaurs lose the cops, Louie and Cecilia venture to Central Parkmarker, where Professor Screweyes is running his "Eccentric Circus". Louie and Cecilia meet Professor Screweyes and cite their desire to join his circus. As they literally sign a contract in blood, the dinosaurs arrive and try to save them. 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", the polar opposite of his brother's Brain Grain. He demonstrates the Brain Drain on Louie and Cecilia, devolving them into apes as he makes the dinosaurs a deal: if the dinosaurs consume the Brain Drain and join his circus, he'd destroy the contract and let Louie and Cecilia free. Reluctantly, the dinosaurs accept the offer.

As Louie and Cecilia return to their human forms and awake the next morning, they are greeted by a circus clown named Stubbs (Martin Short). Upon seeing the dinosaurs returned to their natural vicious states, Louie and Cecilia plan to sneak into that night's show and save the dinosaurs. During the performance, the dinosaurs break loose and try to attack Screweyes. However, Louie steps in and desperately tells the devolved Rex that it wouldn't be right to eat Screweyes. These impassioned pleas serve to return the dinosaurs to their friendly natures. Just then, Captain Neweyes arrives in his aircraft and congratulates Louie and Cecilia. After Stubbs arrives to resign from Professor Screweyes's employ, Captain Neweyes, Louie, Cecilia and the dinosaurs board the aircraft, leaving Screweyes to be devoured by the crows that have been present whenever he has in the movie. The dinosaurs spend the rest of their days in the Museum of Natural History, allowing children to see live dinosaurs. Meanwhile, Louie and Ceilia reconcile with their respective parents. Back in the present day, Rex returns Buster to his family.

Voice cast (in order of appearance)


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 was also a video game adaptation of the movie released for the SNES, Sega Genesis and Game Boy.


The movie got mixed to negative reviews. It scored a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes, and currently a 5.4/10 on IMDB.

Home video release history

  • March 16, 1994 (VHS and laserdisc)
  • August 11, 1998 (VHS and laserdisc - Universal Family Features)
  • May 26, 2009 (DVD)

Aspect ratio

The laserdisc release was presented in its original widescreen aspect ratio. When the film was released on DVD in some international countries, it was presented in the pan and scan format. However, the widescreen version of the film is not available at Hulu. When the film was finally released for the first time ever on DVD on May 26, 2009, it was presented in anamorphic widescreen, being Universal/Amblin's first (and so far, only) animated film to be presented in widescreen on a Region 1 DVD, 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 song "Roll Back the Rock (to the Dawn of Time)" by James Horner.

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 Contact) - 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. Grandparnet 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



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