Ray Harryhausen | Titan of Cinema

Until Sun 20 Feb 2022

Open daily, 10am-5pm

£14-12 (concessions available)

Advance booking required

Free for Our Friends (booking essential)


Film special effects superstar Ray Harryhausen helped elevate stop motion animation to an art. His innovative and inspiring films, from the 1950s onwards, changed the face of modern movie making forever. This is the largest and widest-ranging exhibition of Ray Harryhausen’s work ever seen, with newly restored and previously unseen material from his incredible archive.

“This is not just special effects. This is art”
The Guardian

Ray Harryhausen's work included the films Jason and the Argonauts, the Sinbad films of the 1950s and 1970s, One Million Years B.C. and Mighty Joe Young.  He inspired a generation of filmmakers such as Peter Jackson, Aardman Animations, Tim Burton, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg, and his influence on blockbuster cinema can be felt to this day.

Titan of Cinema traces Harryhausen’s career as a special effects guru, whose only limits was his boundless imagination. Titan of Cinema shows his creative processes: from embryonic preparatory sketches, through to model making and bringing characters to life who went onto terrorise and delight audiences in equal measure on the cinema screen.

“A landmark exhibition”
Daily Record

At the heart of this incredible display are Harryhausen’s creatures. See truly memorable characters like Medusa, the Kraken, and Bubo the owl, as well as his iconic skeleton army from Jason and the Argonauts. See Harryhausen’s sketches and storyboards as well as original movie posters. Find out just how Dynamation works - the illusion of layering backgrounds and footage of real actors to show them interacting with models on film - which Harryhausen developed and used to incredible effect. And have a go at fighting the mighty Talos and deadly Harpies in our green screen set-up.

“Absolutely amazing exhibition”
BBC Radio Scotland

Make the most of the Smartify app and download before you visit. Listen to our free exhibition audio guide from director John Landis or scan artworks for even more info. You can also have a go at fighting one of the skeletons with our Augmented Reality feature.

Don't miss our Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema Virtual Exhibition Experience, a carefully curated package which includes a series of films, never-seen-before interviews, exhibition footage, film clips and specially created animation sequences which demonstrate Harryhausen’s innovative processes. Book now.

This exhibition is in collaboration with the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday year. This exhibition brings his creations to life once more and celebrates the legacy of a filmmaker who changed the face of modern cinema.

Please note that some of the films explored in the exhibition reflect outdated cultural stereotypes and themes.

If you would like to learn more about Harryhausen or some of the themes raised in the exhibition, the following is a select list for further reading:

Ray Harryhausen

Tony Dalton, Ray Harryhausen: A Life in Pictures, The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation, Edinburgh, 2014
Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton, The Art of Ray Harryhausen, Aurum Press Ltd, London, 2005
Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton, A Century of Model Animation: From Méliès to Aardman, Aurum Press Ltd., London, 2008
Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton, Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life, Aurum Press Ltd, London, 2003
Richard Holliss, Harryhausen: The Movie Posters, Titan Books, London, 2018
John Walsh, Harryhausen: The Lost Movies, Titan Books, London, 2019
Vanessa Harryhausen, Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, 2020

Cinema Special Effects

George E. Turner with Dr. Orville Goldner and Michael H. Price, The Making of King Kong, Pulp Hero Press, U.S.A., 2018
Richard Rickitt, Special Effects: The History and Technique, Aurum Press Ltd, London, 2006

Race and Gender in Hollywood

Ellen C. Scott, Cinema Civil Rights; Regulation, Repression and Race in the Classical Hollywood Era, Rutgers University Press, New Jersey, 2015
Rhona J. Berenstein, White Heroines and Hearts of Darkness: Race, Gender and Disguise in 1930s Jungle Films, Film History, Vol. 6, No. 3, Exploitation Film, published by Indiana University Press, Autumn 1994
Donald Bogle, Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks; An interpretive history of Blacks in American Films, Bloomsbury, New York and London, 2016

TV programmes

BBC Two - Black Hollywood: 'They've Gotta Have Us' (three-part series available on BBC iPlayer)

Event accessibility

Exhibition accessibility

  • Wheelchair access


Gallery facilities

A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org for Modern One and Modern Two.

Parking for visitors is available at both Modern One and Modern Two. A donation is requested of £3 for up to 4 hours and £6 for 4-8 hours. Our payment meters have contactless capability.

Accessibility at the National Galleries of Scotland

  • Wheelchair access
  • Disabled parking
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Bike rack
  • Parking

Getting here

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is located 15 minutes’ walk from Princes Street. It includes two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, set in a beautiful sculpture park.

  • Open daily, 10am-5pm<br> Booking recommended
  • Open daily, 10am-5pm<br> Booking recommended
73 & 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR

Related Products


In partnership with

Supported by


Ray Harryhausen | Titan of Cinema

Ticket prices

Admission is free for Friends, children under 12, and carers of visitors with disabilities, but we recommend that you book your ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.


Type of ticket Monday-Friday (excluding August) Saturday-Sunday (excluding August) August
(every day)
Full price £12.00 £13.00 £14.00
Student £10.00 £11.00 £12.00
Child 13 - 16 £10.00 £11.00 £12.00
Friends free free free
Visitors aged over 60 £10.00 £11.00 £12.00
Visitors with disabilities £10.00 £11.00 £12.00
Unemployed/supported income £10.00 £11.00 £12.00
Art Fund (full price) £6.00 £6.50 £7.00
Art Fund (concession) £5.00 £5.50 £6.00
Children 12 & under free free free
Carer of visitors with disabilities free free free
Ray Harryhausen | Titan of Cinema Virtual Exhibition Experience

Ray Harryhausen | Titan of Cinema Virtual Exhibition Experience

Don't miss our carefully curated Virtual Exhibition Experience package which includes a series of films, never-seen-before interviews, exhibition footage, film clips and specially created animation sequences which demonstrate Harryhausen’s innovative processes.

Get 20% off the Virtual Exhibition Experience when you buy an exhibition ticket. Discount applied at checkout if both items are in your basket.*

Related features

Related features

Explore the work of Ray Harryhausen and his influence with these features and blogs.

Discovering Harryhausen

In these films author and classicist Natalie Haynes and horror podcaster Becky Darke share their childhood memories of discovering Harryhausen. 

The grandfather of stop-frame animation

Exploring the profound influence that Ray Harryhausen had on generations of visionary film-makers.

Art and Ray Harryhausen

A look at the art that inspired special effects titan Ray Harryhausen.

Queer Creatures

Three short films in which curator and educator Dan Vo explores mythologies in the films of Ray Harryhausen through a queer lens.

Ray Harryhausen and Aardman Animations

Peter Lord, co-founder of Aardman Animations on the legacy and influence of stop-animation auteur Ray Harryhausen.

Horror and Harryhausen

We revel in the darker side of Ray Harryhausen’s films and explore some of the films that inspired him and those that he inspired.

Golden Years

Marshall Julius catches up with Caroline Munro, who played a starring role in Ray's 1973 hit The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.

Casting the Doctor

We look at the role that a Ray Harryhausen film played in casting the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker in Doctor Who.

Student Competition

See what animation students across Scotland created in response to our Ray Harryhausen | Titan of Cinema competition.

Ray Harryhausen Shop

Ray Harryhausen Shop

Gifts on the theme of film special effects and modern movie making

Safety information

  • Although it is not an entry requirement, in line with Scottish Government advice, we would encourage taking a lateral flow test prior to visiting us. 

  • We have signed up to Check In Scotland, a voluntary service which enables visitors to quickly and securely provide their contact details to asssist with COVID-19 contact tracing.

  • We have signed up to the Good to Go scheme to show we are committed to meeting current Scottish Government health and safety standards for our buildings, staff and visitors.

  • Admission is via a ticketed entry system. Booking is required at the National and Modern Two and recommended at our other galleries. If you have not pre-booked, entry may be available on the day. Ask a member of staff onsite for details.

  • We have instituted a programme of deep cleaning of the Galleries and will have staff onsite cleaning all touch points throughout the day.

  • We ask that you maintain physical distancing from others during your visit.

  • We ask all visitors over the age of 12 to bring and wear a face covering. Our staff will be wearing face coverings.

  • Hand sanitiser is available in key areas, along with increased cleaning regimes in toilets and other high use areas.

  • We are admitting visitors coming into our galleries via hourly visitor slots at Portrait and Modern One and 15 minute slots at the National and Modern Two.

  • If you or anyone you live with displays symptoms associated with COVID-19, please delay your visit until it is safe to do so.

  • Download Smartify to access our highlights tour, large print labels and get more information about the artworks during your visit.

  • When visiting us, please limit your group to three households or less.

Our Friends

Our Friends

Friends of the Galleries get free unlimited entry to all exhibitions, and enjoy a wide range of exclusive benefits including early exhibition access, special events and 10% discount in our cafes.

What's on

Browse what's on at the galleries below, or filter results to narrow your search.

or those for:
Custom date
Access options