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The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986)

A young Cro-Magnon woman is raised by Neanderthals.



(novel), (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Adel Hammoud ...
Vorn (as Adel C. Hammoud)
Tony Montanaro ...
John Wardlow ...
Keith Wardlow ...
Karen Elizabeth Austin ...
Aba (as Karen Austin)
Barbara Duncan ...
Gloria Lee ...


At a time in prehistory when Neanderthals shared the Earth with early Homo sapiens, a band of cave-dwellers adopt blond and blue-eyed Ayla, a child of the "Others". As Ayla matures into a young woman of spirit and courage (unlike other women of the clan), she must fight for survival against the jealous bigotry of Broud, who will one day be clan leader. Based on Jean M. Auel's popular book, there is minimal narration; subtitles translate the Neanderthal gestures and primitive spoken language. Written by Susan Pudlo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


At The Dawn Of Mankind, A Woman Led The Way.


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 January 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ayla und der Clan des Bären  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$1,953,732 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


A planned back-to-back sequel never made it into production. See more »


[last lines]
Narrator: Ayla walked with the Cave Bear. She had spoken out for Creb because she loved him. The sign had finally come. She understood the vision. Durc was of the Clan, and one day he would be their leader. She must find her own people. She must walk alone. Everything she had lived through had prepared her for this journey - and she was not afraid. For the first time Ayla felt the strength of her own spirit.
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Referenced in Sex and Death 101 (2007) See more »


Written by Michael Brook
Performed by Sinéad O'Connor
Courtesy of Virgin Records
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User Reviews

Drama/adventure about a young Cro-Magnons woman who is raised by Neanderthals.
18 May 2012 | by See all my reviews

Prehistoric tale set in Stone Age about cavemen plenty of drama , adventures , thrilling events and speaking a special language and particular primitive movements . At a time in prehistory when Neanderthals shared the Earth with early Homo Sapiens , a band of cave-dwellers travels through uncharted landscapes towards an unknown territory , searching for caves to shelter themselves . During their quest , they encounter and battle various animals as buffalo , lion , wolves and tribesmen in order to survive . Iza (Pamela Reed), Medicine woman of the "Clan of the Cave Bear" meets little Ayla from the "other"'s clan ; the little girl loses her parents , Ayla is taken in by after her own parents are disappeared , tradition would have the clan kill Ayla immediately , but the Medicine women insists on keeping her . Iza as a primitive gamine adopts blond and blue-eyed Ayla , the lost child of the "Others" . As it results out later , she's a bright girl , but has a hard time to keep her place in a clan with different habits . As the scrawny cavegirl named Ayla (a gorgeous primitive babe played by Daryl Hannah) matures into a young woman of spirit and courage , being helped by Creg (James Remar) , she must fight for survival against the jealous bigotry of Broud (Thomas G Waites) , who will one day be clan chief .

This interesting film about primitive humans contains drama , emotions , fights and is pretty entertaining . Ponderous and sometimes slow-moving , the picture failed at box office , however , nowadays being better considered . Based on Jean M. Auel's popular novel with screenplay by prestigious John Sayles , there is minimal narration ; subtitles translate the Neanderthal gestures and primitive spoken language . A planned back-to-back sequel never made it into production . Emotive musical score by Alan Silvestri , though composed by synthesizer . Colorful and brilliant cinematography by Jan De Bont , subsequently become filmmaker . The motion picture was well realized by Michael Chapman . Chapman is deemed one of the best cameraman of cinema , he photographed a lot of successes such as ¨Evolution¨ , ¨Primal fear¨, ¨The fugitive¨, ¨Rising sun¨, ¨Ghostbusters II¨, ¨Shoot to kill¨ and masterpieces for Martin Scorsese as ¨Raging Bull¨, ¨Last Walz¨, Taxi driver¨ . He occasionally directed some films as ¨The viking sagas¨, ¨All the right moves¨ and this ¨The clan of bear cave¨.

Other films dealing with cavemen are the following : ¨One million B.C. ¨(1940) by Hal Roach with Victor Mature and Carole Landis ; ¨One million years B.C.¨ by Don Chaffey with Rachel Welch and John Richardson ; ¨!0.000 B.C.¨ by Roland Emmerich with Steven Strait and Camilla Belle ; and the best is ¨Quest of fire¨ by Jean Jacques Annaud with Everett McGill and Ron Perlman .

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