Caveman (film)

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For the 2013 film, see Cavemen (film).
Caveman Movie Poster.jpg
Directed by Carl Gottlieb
Produced by David Foster
Lawrence Turman
Written by Rudy De Luca
Carl Gottlieb
Starring Ringo Starr
Dennis Quaid
Shelley Long
Barbara Bach
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Cinematography Alan Hume
Edited by Gene Fowler, Jr.
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • April 17, 1981 (1981-04-17)
Running time
91 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $15,965,924

Caveman is a 1981 American slapstick comedy film written and directed by Carl Gottlieb and starring Ringo Starr, Dennis Quaid, Shelley Long and Barbara Bach.


Atouk (Starr) is a bullied and scrawny caveman living in "One Zillion BC – October 9th"[1] He lusts after the beautiful but shallow Lana (Bach), who is the mate of Tonda (Matuszak), their tribe's physically imposing bullying leader. After being banished along with his friend Lar (Quaid), Atouk falls in with a band of assorted misfits, among them the comely Tala (Long) and the elderly blind man Gog (Gilford). The group has ongoing encounters with hungry dinosaurs, and rescues Lar from a "nearby ice age", where they encounter an abominable snowman. In the course of these adventures they discover sedative drugs, fire, cooking, music, and learn how to walk fully upright. Atouk uses these advancements to lead an attack on Tonda, overthrowing him and becoming the tribe's new leader. He rejects Lana and takes Tala as his mate, and they live happily ever after.



Filming was mostly done in a protected ecological research area named "sierra de organos" in the town of Sombrerete in the state of Zacatecas, México. The river and fishing lake scene was shot in the Mexican state of Durango, and some scenes were filmed at the Churubusco Studios in México City. The film features stop-motion animated dinosaurs constructed by Jim Danforth,[2] including a Tyrannosaurus Rex which in one scene becomes intoxicated by a Cannabis-type drug, animated by Randall W. Cook.[3] Danforth was a major participant in the special effects sequences, but left the film "about two-thirds of the way" (his words) through the work because the Directors Guild of America prohibited his contracted on-screen credit, co-direction with Carl Gottlieb. Consequently, Danforth's name does not appear on the film.[4]

The film's dialog is almost entirely in "caveman" language, such as:

  • "alunda" – love
  • "bobo" – friend
  • "haraka" – fire
  • "macha" – monster
  • "nya" – no/not
  • "ool" – food
  • "pooka" – broken
  • "ugh" – like
  • "zug zug" – sex
  • "kuda" – come
  • "caca" – feces
  • "ananeea" – not here
  • "anahui" – out to get
  • "gluglu" – drowned

At some showings audiences were issued a translation pamphlet for 30 "caveman words."[5] The only English dialog present is used for comedic effect, when it is spoken by a caveman played by Evan Kim who speaks modern English but is understood by none of the other characters. Being a Korean caveman, by speaking English, he appears to be more advanced than the rest. At her audition, Long said she did not speak any English, but responded to everything with grunts.[5]

Barbara Bach and Ringo Starr first met on the set of Caveman, and they married just over a year later.[6]


The film was released on February 17th, 2015 on Blu-ray Disc over Olive Films.[7]


  1. ^ Apparently in memory of John Lennon who was killed 5 months before the film's release, was Ringo Starr's friend and bandmate with the Beatles, and whose birthday was October 9.
  2. ^ Pettigrew, Neil (1999). The Stop-Motion Filmography. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 111. ISBN 0786404469. 
  3. ^ Pettigrew, p. 114.
  4. ^ Pettigrew, p. 109.
  5. ^ a b Caveman (1981) - Trivia - IMDb
  6. ^ Barbara Bach Fansite
  7. ^ Caveman Roars onto Blu-ray From Olive Films

External links[edit]