It is a truth universally acknowledged that dinosaurs are awesome so it’s no surprise that Jurassic Park spawned one of the most successful franchises of all time. When it was released in 1993, Jurassic Park took the world by storm. With its stunning effects, memorable characters, and edge of your seat action, it defined an era of action cinema for a generation and became yet another feather in Steven Spielberg’s cap. And through three sequels, it’s clear that audiences still respond to the thrill that comes from a good ol’ fashioned dinosaur attack. From the dinosaur alliance in Jurassic World to the Tyrannosaurus’s terrifying reveal in Jurassic Park, each entry in the franchise had its fair share of chills, but as in all things, there is one that stands above the herd. And so, with that in mind, we decided to take a look back at the Jurassic Park franchise and rank the most thrilling moments.
12. Spinosaurus Vs. Tyrannosaurus Rex — Jurassic Park III
While the calculated terror that comes with a raptor chase is truly frightening, sometimes you just want to see dinosaurs fight. The idea that a T-Rex could be taken down by this interloper is, quite frankly, ludicrous, but the rumble in the jungle is pretty awesome. Plus, none of the dinosaurs are talking to Dr. Grant (Sam Neil) in this scene, so that’s a definite improvement.
11. T-Rex In San Diego — Jurassic Park: The Lost World
The idea of dinosaurs roaming a remote island is scary enough. The threat of them roaming through your neighborhood (and eating your dog!) is the stuff of nightmares. While transporting the dinosaurs “successfully” across the ocean may stretch your suspension of disbelief a bit (then again, it worked with King Kong — maybe they hired the same freight company?), seeing the massive beast careen through the streets of San Diego wreaking havoc makes it all worth it.
10. Spinosaurus Underwater — Jurassic Park III
What makes the fear of getting eaten by a dinosaur even more real? Adding the fear of drowning! The spinosaurus plagued Dr. Grant and the rest of his group for the entirety of Jurassic Park III, building up a surprising amount of menace. This scene is Jaws meets Jurassic Park, and if that doesn’t make you wet your pants in terror, you’re a braver soul than many. Maybe even most.
9. Indominous Rex Camouflage — Jurassic World
Somewhere along the way, you would have thought that Dr. Wu (BD Wong) would have learned to stop adding things to dino-DNA. However, no one wants to watch an action movie about scientific responsibility, so keep building super dangerous murderbeasts, Dr. Wu!
8. T-Rex’s Parents Come For Baby — Jurassic Park: The Lost World
On a good day, the T-Rex is terrifying. When you’ve accidentally stolen their injured young? Oh boy. Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) was awfully cavalier in her research methods regarding whether or not to touch the dinosaurs (good rule of thumb: don’t), and unfortunately the violent attack on her RV was the price the T-Rex mother demanded. Never has slowly breaking glass been more terrifying.
7. Dilophosaurus Attack — Jurassic Park
Poor Newman. Nedry’s (Wayne Knight) greed was the catalyst for Jurassic Park breaking down, so, in movie rules, that meant that he had to die in a flashy way. While the dilophosaurus may be diminutive in contrast to the other dinosaurs in the franchse, it packs quite a wallop, leaving Nedry screaming for mercy after spitting in his face and then massacring him in his Jeep. Yiiiiikes.
6. The Birdcage — Jurassic Park III
Birds are creepy enough on their own. Bird-like dinosaurs trying to feed you to their young is next level. Add in the gloomy surroundings and Dr. Grant’s panicked “Oh my god… it’s a birdcage” and you’ve got peak nightmare fuel for the next generation of Jurassic Park fans.
5. Indominous Rex Vs. Raptors And T-Rex — Jurassic World
While Claire’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) high heels may have set off an internet firestorm, the idea of the T-Rex and raptors teaming up in a fight is enough to make nearly everyone’s inner child clap with glee. Sure, Owen commanding a legion of velociraptors from a motorcycle is a cool visual, but you just can’t beat a good dino-on-dino-on-dino fight.
4. Clever Girl — Jurassic Park
While Chris Pratt’s Owen may have gotten the velociraptors under his thrall in Jurassic World, Muldoon (Bob Peck) was not so lucky. Muldoon had been striding around the park in his khakis being the voice of reason reminding everyone that dinosaurs, while awesome, are dangerous, and even he was outsmarted. Even with constant vigilance, the velociraptor will almost always get the jump on you.
3. Velociraptors In The Tall Grass — Jurassic Park: The Lost World
So much of the action in Jurassic Park films happen at night and this scene from The Lost World manages to use the cover of darkness to ratchet up the tension. Forget about snakes hiding in the tall grass. Something much deadlier was headed their way.
2. T-Rex Chase — Jurassic Park
Up until this point in the film, viewers hadn’t been let in on what exactly the freshly spawned dinosaurs were capable of. The Tyrannosaurus Rex reveal will go down as one of the most thrilling chase scenes in cinema history, and despite being made over two decades ago, the visual effects still hold up beautifully. Objects in mirror are definitely closer than they appear, because those jaws of death are looking to do some serious damage.
1. Velociraptors In The Kitchen — Jurassic Park
Honestly, there are few scenes in all of cinema that rival this masterpiece of dread. This is seriously Spielberg at his best, as poor Tim (Joseph Mazello) and Lex (Ariana Richards) find themselves in a truly nightmarish scenario. At this point, the arrogance of thinking that they could outsmart a “simple” creature is long gone. While the powerful jaws and giant claws are certainly something to fear, the problem-solving abilities are the most frightening.