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The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986)

A young Cro-Magnon woman is raised by Neanderthals.


Michael Chapman


Jean M. Auel (novel), John Sayles (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Daryl Hannah ... Ayla
Pamela Reed ... Iza
James Remar ... Creb
Thomas G. Waites ... Broud
John Doolittle ... Brun
Curtis Armstrong ... Goov
Martin Doyle ... Grod
Adel Hammoud Adel Hammoud ... Vorn (as Adel C. Hammoud)
Tony Montanaro Tony Montanaro ... Zoug
Mike Muscat ... Dorv
John Wardlow John Wardlow ... Droog
Keith Wardlow Keith Wardlow ... Crug
Karen Elizabeth Austin Karen Elizabeth Austin ... Aba (as Karen Austin)
Barbara Duncan Barbara Duncan ... Uka
Gloria Lee Gloria Lee ... Oga


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 | Plot Synopsis


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


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

17 January 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ayla und der Clan des Bären See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,428, 19 January 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)


Color (Technicolor)

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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Alternate Versions

UK cinema and video versions were cut by the BBFC with minor edits to the rape scene. The 2004 Optimum release is fully uncut. See more »


Referenced in A Different World: Those Who Can't... Tutor (1987) See more »


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

And we thought that cavemen yelled "yabba dabba doo!"
20 August 2002 | by Skeletors_HoodSee all my reviews

This is one of the films that I grew up watching, and even now, I love it and admire its beauty as much as I ever did.

First of all, comparing movies to their books isn't something we should do, because they are two different forms of entertainment, and can take different liabilities. What is important is if the movie still tells the basic story, and in the case of the Clan of the Cave Bear, it stuck to the original story in a very suitable fashion. I must admit that when I first saw this movie, I did not know that this was from a book. It wasn't until 15 years later that I read the book, and it confirmed my statement that the movie kept the story intact.

As far as the acting was concerned, I have to admire a cast that had to convey throughout an entire script in a totally different language, and manage to keep it consistent. Watching the film, you can see that certain gestures always mean the same thing, as well as certain grunts and sounds. Folks, that is the result of a lot of hard work, and to put down that part of the film is like looking at the Empire State Building as just the result of an erector set.

The basic story of the movie is to show prejudice against what is new and not understood. Ayla's presence is meant to show the Clan what the future holds, which is the underlying reason why they fear and hate her, though they are unaware of the reasons. Ayla endures many trials throughout the movie in order to gain their trust and approval, which ultimately prepare her for a journey into the world without the Clan.

A movie worth watching again and again. The book is great also, by the way, so I recommend them both.

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