From animated classics to monster horrors, crocodiles and alligators are the prehistoric reptiles that pack a nasty bite both in real life and on the big screen. Unfortunately they’ve also been used in countless B-movies and lost some of that primal fear that makes them such formidable hunters.
Out the sea of mediocrity and B-movie blunders are some hidden gems and big screen darlings. So naturally we’ve gathered the team and compiled our list of favourite movies featuring crocodiles and alligators. As always, if you feel like we’ve missed off one of your favourites, do drop us a comment below!
Genre: Animation (Hand-drawn)
Tick-Tock is the antagonistic crocodile that’s been the bane in Hook’s side most of his life. While the film obviously portrays Hook as the villain, it’s the way Disney cleverly humanizes him through his fear of this croc that makes him such an interesting character. Following the loss of his hand to that very same reptile, Tick-Tock is a relentless, hungry machine desperate to bite off the rest of Hook. In true Disney fashion Tick-Tock is given his own quirky mannerisms and funny expressions that help make him such a memorable character.
Thanks to this attention to detail he remains one of the more popular and memorable crocodiles in mainstream cinema history and a worthy inclusion on this list.
Boasting some decent visual effects and a surprisingly good cinematography, 2007’s Rogue delivers a croc movie with a serious bite. The first half does an excellent job keeping our monster out of sight and this helps the movie build up its characters and the level of threat ready for the second half of the film. During this time, Rogue sets the stakes for the movie ahead as our desperate group of survivors band together while trapped atop a rapidly sinking mud island.
Although some may bemoan the short run-time, this only reinforces how much of a thrill ride this movie actually is and there’s some decent pay-off for the early tension too as the crocodile finally lunges out the water. Despite its simplicity, Rogue is definitely one of the better crocodile movies out there.
Out of all the comedic appearances crocodiles and alligators have made over the years, Happy Gilmore is arguably the only one that actually maintains the level of threat this creature poses. Carl Weathers does a fantastic job bringing a genuine wave of fear from his character Chubbs in the face of losing his hand to this alligator. The scenes involving him and the antagonist gator are pure comedy gold and up there with some of the best laughs in the film.
Although the way Happy deals with the Alligator in the end is a bit disappointing, there’s no denying that it’s definitely one of the more memorable additions in movie history and worth mentioning.
Based on true events, Black Water takes place in Northern Australia, deep in the heart of the mangrove swamps. The movie’s plot is very bare-bones and begins with a fishing trip gone wrong and three tourists scrambling for refuge atop a tall tree. With the crocodile ever-watchful, what follows is a desperate bid for survival that envelops the entire picture in a thick veil of tension.
With a visibly small budget, Black Water makes the most of its resources by using as many practical effects and suspenseful hooks as possible. The result is something that has no right to being as enjoyable as it winds up being and something that still holds up to this day thanks to its carefully crafted screenplay.
The plot to Dark Age revolves around a park ranger given the task of dealing with a killer crocodile that appears to have a spiritual connection with the local Aboriginals. The plot has more than a few similarities to Jaws (minus the shark of course) but here the movie manages to fit this in with the Australian setting to deliver a straight-to-movie flick that can stand on its own reptilian legs.
Without giving too much away, the ending is ultimately what makes this movie so good and throughout the movie Dark Age throws out all the stops to combine this compelling ending with a heavy dose of suspense and thrills along the way. It may not be the best croc film on this list but it’s still one well worth checking out.
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Despite being labelled as a horror, Lake Placid is one of those “so bad, it’s good” movies and packs the comedic punch to pull it off. Some of the dialogue is hilariously on-point and the tongue-in-cheek tone extends right the way through the picture to deliver a simple, fun and trashy (in a good way) movie.
Where Lake Placid excels is through its desire to back this up with a surprisingly strong amount of characterisation for all the main cast involved. Alongside that, the movie does a decent job subverting expectations and delivering a very different ending than you may be expecting. Lake Placid is one of the better crocodile movies out there and one well worth checking out if you haven’t already.
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Regarded by many as the quintessential crocodile movie, Crocodile Dundee is a well written and eccentric picture propped up by the unrivaled performance of Paul Hogan as the inimitable Mick Dundee. His portrayal of this character helps to overshadow the simplistic plot which essentially boils down to an American reporter called Linda Kozlowski investigating the legendary Crocodile Dundee and bringing him back to the Big Apple.
Blending drama and light comedy in the best possible way, Crocodile Dundee is one of those rare gems from the 80’s and a movie that certainly holds up today.
On paper, Crawl’s premise has all the ingredients to fail. After all, the idea of combining a disaster and monster movie feels quite clumsy and messy unless handled correctly and in this current age of CGI remakes and tepid movies lacking substantial scares, Crawl was always going to be a gamble. However, this proves to be one that absolutely pays off, delivering one of the more tense and suspenseful croc thrillers seen for quite some time.
The idea is simple; a Level 5 Hurricane floods a suburban house and a young woman called Haley must fight to survive the flooding and subsequent threat of alligators that arrive. That simplicity is rewarded by a surprisingly well written screenplay that keeps things ticking by at a quick pace and produces one very enjoyable movie.
So there we have it, our list of the Best Crocodile and Alligator Movies Of All Time. Do you agree? Are there any noticeable omissions? Do let us know in the comments below and if we missed one of your favourites, we’ll be sure to add it to the list!