There are many science fiction movies that features Pteranodons, pterosaurs, and pterodactyls. Scientifically they’re different but basically they’re all flying reptiles. Here are ten of my favorites, listed in no particular order.
1. Rodan (1956) – Japanese miners dig a little too deep and unearth Rodan and his mate. After much destruction, Rodan is killed by a volcanic eruption and his mate commits suicide rather than live without him.
2. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (2010) – Adele is a writer in early 1900s Paris and has amazing adventures with reanimated mummies, parapsychology, and a pet pterosaur.
3. Jurassic Park III (2001) – This is the one where a divorced couple trick paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant into going to the now-deserted Isla Sorna to find their son. They are menaced by a pterosaur in a giant birdcage-like structure.
4. King Kong (1933) – Filmmaker Carl Denham and a crew go to Skull Island and find the giant ape. Kong saves Ann Darrow from a pterodactyl.
5. One Million Years B.C. (1966) – Sort of a prehistoric Romeo and Juliet with a happier ending. Tumak and Loana are from different tribes. A pterodactyl grabs Loana but she survives.
6. The Land That Time Forgot (1974) – Based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. During World War I, a freighter is sunk by a German U-boat. Some of the survivors and the crew end up on an uncharted island in the South Atlantic where they find several types of dinosaurs including a hungry pterodactyl.
7. The People That Time Forgot (1976) – Sequel to “The Land that Time Forgot”. A rescue party is looking for survivors but their amphibious plane is damaged by a pterodactyl and forced down on the island.
8. The Valley of Gwangi (1969) – In Mexico in the early 1900s, a struggling rodeo discovers Forbidden Valley. The valley has dinosaurs including a pterodactyl and a T-rex named Gwangi.
9. Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968) – An exploration party travels to Venus where they find all kinds of interesting things including a creature that resembles a pterodactyl. This movie is not to be confused with “Women of the Prehistoric Plant” (1966), or “Prehistoric Women” (1967), or “Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet” (1965).
10. When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970) – Two tribes of prehistoric people come into contact. Blonde cavewoman Sanna ends up with dark-haired caveman Tara. Tara is attacked by a pterodactyl but kills it.
11. The Lost World (1925) – A silent film based on a 1912 story by Arthur Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame). Explorers find a land with dinosaurs on top of an almost-inaccessible plateau in South America. The special effects astonished movie goers of the time, many of whom believed the dinosaurs to be real.
12. The Land Unknown (1957) – An expedition to Antarctica is exploring with a helicopter when they collide with a pterodactyl and descend to an underground land with dinosaurs.
13. At the Earth’s Core (1976) – Based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. A scientist creates an incredible burrowing machine. An expedition travels deep under the Earth where they find evil pterodactyl-like Mahars who cruelly rule human slaves.
14. Jurassic World (2015) – This is the fourth movie in the Jurassic series. Another attempt at a live-dinosaur amusement park. Horrifying sequence where a woman is grabbed by a pterosaur, dropped into a giant tank of marine dinosaurs, and then eaten.
15. Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955) – This Czech film has excellent special effects which hold up well even today. A group of young people travel down a river that leads them back in time.
16. Legend of Dinosaurs (1977) – A somewhat obscure Japanese film that features a Rhamphorhynchus flying reptile fighting against a Plesiosaurus aquatic dinosaur. Also known as “Legend of Dinosaurs & Monster Birds”.
17. Caveman (1981) – A comedy featuring Ringo Starr and Shelley Long. Ringo and his tribe-mates steal a pterodactyl egg which doesn’t please the mother.
Some Direct to TV or Video Films
Pterodactyl (2005) – Some American college students have the bad luck to be in Romania when some preserved pterodactyl eggs hatch.
Cowgirls vs. Pterodactyls (2021) – In the old West, a schoolteacher’s husband is snatched by a pterodactyl and so she enlists the help of a prostitute to save him.
Terrordactyl (2016) – A bunch of pterodactyls, plus one really huge pterodactyl, attack Los Angeles. This film is actually quite good.