Study Guide

Jurassic Park Quotes

  • Man and the Natural World

    DR. ALAN GRANT: They're moving in herds. They do move in herds.

    Many prehistoric traits can only be hypothesized by archaeologists and scientists. Did dinosaurs have feathers? Were they warm-blooded? Who knows? While it is believed that many dinosaurs moved in herd groups, Alan Grant can only confirm it in Jurassic Park—where he can see the dinosaurs live in their natural habitat.

    DR. HENRY WU: There's no unauthorized breeding in Jurassic Park.

    Yeah, right. Try as they might to thwart nature, the scientists at Jurassic Park ultimately fail.

    DR. IAN MALCOLM: What's so great about discovery? It's a violent penetrative act that scars what it explores. What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world.

    Ian Malcolm makes a good point here: The scientists of Jurassic Park didn't stumble across a live dinosaur; they created them. What they're doing is against nature and just might destroy it—and them—in the process.

    DR. ELLIE SATTLER: These are aggressive living things that have no idea what century they're in and they'll defend themselves, violently, if necessary.

    We think the dinosaurs would be violent no matter what century they're in. They're not flying into a rage because they don't understand UNIX; they're violent because they're naturally destructive predators.

    DR. ALAN GRANT: I don't want to jump to any conclusions, but look, dinosaurs and man, two species separated by 65 million years of evolution, have just been suddenly thrown back into the mix together. How can we possibly have the slightest idea what to expect?

    One big problem here is that the scientists didn't anticipate what to expect. They intended to keep man and dinosaur firmly separated by electric barriers. When the barriers go down, the real battle between man and nature begins.

    DR. IAN MALCOLM: God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs. 

    DR. ELLIE SATTLER: Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth.

    Dr. Malcolm describes an unexpected cycle, which Dr. Sattler brings to a humorous conclusion. Unfortunately, if she doesn't watch her step around those raptors, she might not live to inherit anything.

    LEX: Don't let the monsters come over here. 

    DR. ALAN GRANT: They're not monsters, Lex. They're just animals. They're herbivores.

    This little fact is important to remember and easy to forget. The dinosaurs may seem like scary creatures out of a monster movie, but in reality, in the grand scheme of nature, they're no different than a lion, a tiger, or a bear.

    DR. ALAN GRANT: Now, some West African frogs have been known to spontaneously change sex from male to female in a single-sex environment. Malcolm was right. […] Life found a way.

    Want to know more about this fascinating aspect of nature? Here you go.

  • Ambition

    JOHN HAMMOND: In 48 hours, I'll be accepting your apologies.

    It's an early sign of Hammond's arrogance that he takes the attorney's valid causes for concern as a childish bet or challenge. He isn't concerned with making the park safe; he's just concerned about winning.

    DR. IAN MALCOLM: John, the kind of control you're attempting…it's not possible. If there's one thing the history of evolution has taught us, it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territories, and it crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but there it is.

    One of Hammond's most dangerous ambitions is to control nature. If you read up on our "Man and the Natural World" theme, you know this does not work out at all.

    DONALD GENNARO: We can charge anything we want. $2,000 a day, $10,000 a day, and people will pay it. And there's the merchandise.

    Here we see how John Hammond's ambition (or is it greed?) is contagious. The attorney who is supposed to be doing a safety assessment gets carried away thinking about the earning potential for this fabulous new park.

    DR. IAN MALCOLM: The lack of humility before nature that's being displayed here staggers me.

    For John Hammond, there's a fine between ambition and arrogance, and Ian Malcolm thinks that the old man tends to often step over to the arrogance side.

    DR. IAN MALCOLM: Genetic power's the most awesome force the planet's ever seen but you wield it like a kid that's found his dad's gun.

    This quote from Dr. Malcolm describes Hammond's ambition better than we ever could. When a child wields a gun without understanding it, there are usually deadly consequences.

    DR. IAN MALCOLM: I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power you're using here. It didn't require any discipline to attain it. […] You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it.

    We're not sure if John Hammond ever takes responsibility for all the problems he causes. Do you think he feels guilty in the end for letting his ambition get the better of him? Why or why not?

    DR. IAN MALCOLM: But your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could they didn't stop to think if they should.

    Hammond and the scientists were so selfishly focused on personal glory that they didn't consider any other consequences. They were blinded by the light…of their ambition.

    JOHN HAMMOND: So much for our first tour. Two no-shows and one sick triceratops.

    RAY ARNOLD: Coulda been worse John. A lot worse.

    This is some hardcore foreshadowing here, as things are about to get worse. But here, Hammond is still upset that his park, his greatest ambition, is failing. He still doesn't care that people could get hurt.

    JOHN HAMMOND: With this place, I wanted to show them something that wasn't an illusion. Something that was real. Something that they could see and touch.

    This little quote gives us the root of Hammond's ambition. He was always a creative person, once making a flea circus to attract people. The problem is that imaginary fleas don't hurt anyone—but giant dinosaurs do. (We don't even want to know how terrible giant fleas would be.)

    DR. ELLIE SATTLER: You've never had control. That's the illusion! I didn't have enough respect for that power, and it's out now. The only thing that matters now are the people we love.

    While Hammond is babbling about his stupid flea circus, Ellie has to remind him that lives are at stake. And still, all he cares about is his park.

  • Science

    DR. ALAN GRANT: Maybe dinosaurs have more in common with present-day birds than they did with reptiles.

    Jurassic Park suggested that dinosaurs were related to birds, but it still portrayed dinosaurs as scaly, giant lizards. Today it is believed that dinosaurs may have had feathers, like birds (source).

    DR. ALAN GRANT: We could just tear up the rule book on cold-bloodedness. It doesn't apply. They're totally wrong. This is a warm-blooded creature.

    Scientists today still argue over whether or not dinosaurs are warm-blooded, cold-blooded, or somewhere in between (source).

    JOHN HAMMOND (on video): It's all part of the miracle of cloning.

    Jurassic Park talked about cloning in 1993 as if it was no big deal, but it wasn't until 1996 that science cloned its first mammal: Dolly the Sheep, which lived almost seven years.

    MR. DNA: A DNA strand like me is a blueprint for building a living thing.

    Mr. DNA makes learning about science fun. Considering everything that goes wrong, though, we're surprised no one is devoured by an out-of-control cartoon DNA strand.

    MR. DNA: A hundred million years ago, there were mosquitoes just like today. […] Sometimes, after biting a dinosaur, the mosquito would land on the branch of a tree, and get stuck in the sap.

    People take Jurassic Park seriously and have confirmed that extracting dino DNA from mosquitoes is impossible. On top of that, someone checked out the mosquito in the movie and realized that it's a species of mosquito that doesn't suck blood. While it's sad we can't recreate dinosaurs that way, a mosquito that doesn't suck blood is officially our favorite mosquito.

    MR. DNA: Since it's so old, it's full of holes. [...] Thinking machine super-computers and gene-sequencers break down the strand in minutes. And virtual-reality displays show our geneticists the gaps in the DNA sequence. We used the complete DNA of a frog to fill in the holes and complete the code.

    The frog DNA turns out to be like fixing a leak in a dam with scotch tape. Just as scotch tape wouldn't hold the water in, the frog DNA causes cracks in the genetic code that eventually allow the dinosaurs to change sex and breed.

    DR. ALAN GRANT: Keep absolutely still. Its vision is based on movement.

    Wrong, Dr. Grant. In the book, Michael Crichton says that the frog DNA hindered the dinosaurs' vision, but Spielberg left out the critical detail, making Dr. Grant seem like an idiot and leaving his T. rex wishing he had bifocals.

  • Technology and Modernization

    DR. ALAN GRANT: I hate computers.

    Dr. Alan Grant represents the Luddite faction of visitors to Jurassic Park. He doesn't like technology, and as a result, he's probably the best person for the children to get stuck with when technology fails them.

    DR. ELLIE SATTLER: Dr. Grant's not machine-compatible.

    Dr. Sattler is teasing here, but we see in a later scene that Grant is so technologically inept that Grant can't even buckle his seatbelt on the helicopter. Whoa.

    DONALD GENNARO: Are these characters autoerotica?

    JOHN HAMMOND: No, we have no animatronics here. Those people are the real miracle workers of Jurassic Park.

    This is a funny joke that went over the heads of children everywhere in 1993. Autoerotica would be a different movie entirely.

    JOHN HAMMOND: No drivers. They're electric. They run on this track in the middle of the roadway here. […] Totally non-polluting. Top of the line. Spared no expense.

    We'd hate to see the bottom-of-the-line transport vehicles since these things don't even have a gas back-up. If the power goes out, as it tends to do in a tropical environment susceptible to storms, the passengers are completely helpless.

    LEX: It's an interactive CD-ROM! You just touch the right part of the screen and it talks about whatever you want.

    Today most media is digital, so it's hard to imagine that Jurassic Park would use CD technology in its transports. Wouldn't the CDs skip? Or need to load?

    RAY ARNOLD: Item 151 on today's glitch list. We have all the problems of a major theme park and a major zoo and the computers aren't even on their feet yet.

    Samuel L. Jackson always tells it like it is. Here he describes exactly how difficult it is to get Jurassic Park off the ground. The themes of nature and technology combine, and both are working against them.

    LEX: I'm a hacker! […] I am not a computer nerd; I prefer to be called a hacker.

    We're not sure exactly what makes Lex a hacker. Sure she gets onto a computer at the end, but all she does is open a file. If that's all it takes, as long as you can double-click, you're a hacker.

    JOHN HAMMOND: This is just a delay. That's all it is. All major theme parks had delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked.

    DR. IAN MALCOLM: If the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists.

    This quote is a good combination of John Hammond's arrogance and his disrespect of technology.

    LEX: It's a UNIX system. I know this.

    Lex's classic line inspired a subreddit dedicated to movies, TV shows, and video games that criminally misunderstand technology.