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A Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955)

Cesta do praveku (original title)
Not Rated | | Adventure, Animation, Family | 1966 (USA)
One day a young boy finds a fossil of trilobite. Together with his three friends they set off on an adventurous journey through prehistory, up to the beginning of time.


Karel Zeman




Credited cast:
Vladimír Bejval ... Jirka / Jo-Jo
Petr Herrman Petr Herrman ... Toník / Tony
Zdenek Hustak Zdenek Hustak ... Jenda / Ben
Josef Lukás Josef Lukás ... Petr / Doc
James Lucas James Lucas ... Doc (US version) (as James Lukas)
Victor Betral Victor Betral ... Joe / Jo-Jo (US version)
Charles Goldsmith Charles Goldsmith ... Ben (US version)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Petr Herrmann Petr Herrmann
Kerry Mark Joels Kerry Mark Joels ... Doc (voice)


Four young boys visit a dinosaur exhibit at the New York city Museum of Natural History. They then row out onto Central Park Lake where they find a secret cave and paddle into a wondrous prehistoric world filled with the very dinosaurs they had just seen. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Four boys living the excitement every boy dreams about in the most fantastic adventure of any age!


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Did You Know?


A filmmaking class was assigned the task of recreating scenes from various Karel Zeman films using only the techniques available to him at that time. For this film, they recreated the mammoth sequence. To add to the recreation, they cast the original actors to be on the raft. The child actors were now senior citizens and one of the four had already passed away. See more »


The film shows the giant carnivorous bird Phorusrhacos (called by its outdated name "Phororhacos" in the film) living at the beginning of the Paleogene period after the dinosaur's age ended about 66 million years ago. But in reality it was far more recent, living about 20 to 13 million years ago, after the Paleogene. It is possible that the filmmakers confused it with another famous giant prehistoric bird, Gastornis or Diatryma, which did live during the early or middle Paleogene and was also commonly but erroneously depicted as a carnivore during the 20th century. See more »

Alternate Versions

The U.S. version was distributed in two formats in 1960: as a full length feature film, and in a serialized form designed for daily television airings. The serial version ran in segments approximately 5 minutes long. See more »


Featured in Film Adventurer Karel Zeman (2015) See more »

User Reviews

A feast for stop-motion animation fans!
2 March 2002 | by Bruce_CookSee all my reviews

Originally filmed in Czechoslovakia in 1954, the American Museum of Natural History filmed new scenes in 1967 for this remarkable study of prehistoric life which uses high-quality stop motion animation.

The story goes like this: a group of young boys rent a boat at an inner-city park and enter a small cave at the edge of the lake. When they come out the other side of the cave they find themselves on a river in an uninhabited area. As they float down the river each day, they travel progressively further back into the past, encountering wooly mammoths, prehistoric rhinoceros, and numerous dinosaurs -- all of which are extremely well animated, photographed, and matted. Written and directed by Karl Zeman, who gave us the unique film `The Fabulous World of Jules Verne' (release in 1958).

During the 1960s, `Journey to the Beginning of Time' was shown in serialized form on television in some areas (Atlanta, for one), amazing animation fans like me with this unexpected treat. For about two weeks I would stumble out of bed, fix breakfast, and then choke on it while I watched each morning's episode of this remarkable little gem.

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Release Date:

1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Journey to the Beginning of Time See more »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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