Dinosaur 13 (2014)



Critic Consensus: It's undeniably slanted and doesn't cover as much of the story as it should, but Dinosaur 13 makes for gripping documentary viewing, flaws and all.

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When Paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research made the world's greatest dinosaur discovery in 1990, they knew it was the find of a lifetime; the largest, most complete T. rex ever found. But during a ten-year battle with the U.S. government, powerful museums, Native American tribes, and competing paleontologists, they found themselves not only fighting to keep their dinosaur but fighting for their freedom as well.
PG (for mild thematic elements, language and brief smoking)
Action & Adventure , Documentary , Drama , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for Dinosaur 13

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (17)

The storytelling raises more logistical and legal questions than it's equipped to answer. But what Miller does have, for anyone unfamiliar with Sue's fate, is a story with a suspenseful climax.

Full Review… | August 20, 2014
Top Critic

In his eagerness to create a David-and-Goliath story, and with his distractingly pro-BHI bias, Mr. Miller fails to ask a lot of questions.

Full Review… | August 18, 2014
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

The fate of some very old bones may not sound like compelling cinema, but when they compose the 65-million-year-old skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex that was 41 feet long and 18 feet high back in the day, all bets are off.

Full Review… | August 15, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

"Dinosaur 13" is "Kramer vs. Kramer" for paleontologists ...

Full Review… | August 14, 2014
Top Critic

These events would have been better handled in a single installment of Dateline.

August 14, 2014
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

"Dinosaur 13" may not be the best documentary, but as a scientific soap opera, it's a doozy.

Full Review… | August 14, 2014
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dinosaur 13


def one-sided but an interesting story about sue. i think they kinda got racked through the coals a bit to set a precedent. However, selling to private individuals or the black market shouldn't be allowed on fossils I'm sorry. They belong in museums. I still think that Indian giver should've gotten in trouble as well and should've had to give some money to those paleontologists because they found it in the first place and did all the work.

Kim Bangert
Kim Bangert

want to get upset with the gov, court system and some rancher in the desert? then this is the doc for you.

Jason Kraynek
Jason Kraynek

"Sue" was the thirteenth Tyrannosaurus rex ever unearthed. You may wonder how a feature-length documentary about Sue could hold your attention; however, the fight for her custody after she was discovered is something that you have to see to believe. The synopsis of "Dinosaur 13" gives the impression that it chronicles a paleontological dig but the focus of this documentary is actually on a ten-year battle with the FBI. The film is very one-sided in its argument against the legal protection of fossils on public land but its narrow perspective will strongly engage your emotions, especially when Maurice Williams lays claim to Sue. One great part of this film is that its main character can easily be visited at the Field Museum in Chicago. Documentaries often tackle events or artifacts of the past that have faded into history, but this one chronicles the journey of something that we can still see today. It follows in the present-a-documentary-as-a-crime-thriller technique that is in vogue and it succeeds. "Dinosaur 13" is as gripping as most action films while presenting historical fact and persuasive arguments. Definitely add this to your list of must-see documentaries, even if you don't have an interest in science and paleontology.

Jonny Priano
Jonny Priano

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