The Croods was released on the 22nd of March (American release date) and the 28th of March (Australian released date). It was produced by DreamWorks Animation SKG and distributed by 20th Century Fox, it is one of DreamWorks Animation's computer animated movies.
Eep (Emma Stone) is a girl in a family of Neanderthal Cavemen (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) living and hunting in pre-historic times, talking about how her family is one of the few to survive, mainly due to the strict rules of her overprotective father, Grug (Nicolas Cage). In their cave home, Grug tells a story to the family, which includes his wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), his daughter Sandy (Randy Thom), his son Thunk (Clark Duke), and his mother-in-law Gran (Cloris Leachman) with a character who mirrors Eep's curious nature. He uses this story to warn the family that exploration and 'new things' pose a threat to their survival, and says to never not be afraid. This irritates the bored and adventurous Eep, and when the family falls asleep after dark, she ignores her father's advice and leaves the cave when she sees a light moving outside. Seeking the light's source, she meets Guy. Guy is a cro-magnon and is afraid of the dark. He gives Eep a shell to call him when Eep refuses to leave with him because of the end of the world. Grug comes and brings Eep back to the cave after they barely escaped from a Bear Owl and got Eep grounded for leaving the cave. the earth quake erupts and destorys the cave and the croods are forced to jump off a cliff to escape a bear owl.
The Croods encounter a "Macawnivore" (a large, macaw-colored machairodont later called 'Chunky') and attacked by a swarm of "Piranhakeets" (deadly red-furred, piranha-like birds). In panic, Eep sounds a horn similar to that which Guy gave her. Guy hears this and rushes to her. Thinking quickly, he creates a torch of fire, which scares the birds away. The other Croods are captivated by the fire, having never seen it before. They steal Guy's torch and accidentally set the land around them in flames. Some giant corn is also lit, which rockets up to the sky, prompting a display of fireworks. Popcorn then falls on them.
During the next day, Guy attempts to run away but then gets caught by Eep. After being told by Gran that the family needed his fire, Grug bottles him in a hollow log to carry him in, then suggests that they take solitude in the cave of a nearby mountain mentioned by Guy. Guy is forcibly persuaded to lead the way and learns of the Croods' way of living, which he thinks of as unusual. After an unsuccessful hunting attempt, Guy, his 'pet' sloth, Belt (Chris Sanders), and Eep build a puppet to fool and lure a Turkey Fish. After the attempt failed, Eep saves Grug from running towards the trap Guy and her set, whilst trying to Eep. The Turkey Fish gets going into the sky and falls to its doom. After that, the family greedily devours the Turkey Fish while Guy terrifyingly watches them while eating his food like a 'proper human'. Grug then tells another of his morale-lowering tales, this time mirroring the events of their day. Guy then tells a story of his own about a paradise he nicknames "Tomorrow".
The next day, the family reaches a path coated in spiked rocks. A freed Guy presents one of his inventions called shoes. He makes some out of all the resources he can find for each family member. This gains him some respect from the others except for Grug, who feels jealous of Guy's cleverness. During the journey however, Grug gets unlucky while attempting to break Guy and Eep up. After Guy's ideas help the Croods on their journey, the family members gain something. Ugga, Gran, and Sandy have their first idea to get past carnivorous plants by hiding under flower heads as they pass, Thunk encounters a Crocopup he calls Douglas, and Eep and Guy grow closer while Grug is stranded in a ravine, forcing Ugga to go back for him. The next day, Grug shows the others some of his ideas (like a snapshot that involves the family being slammed with a flat rock), which fail and humiliate him. They soon reach the mountain, where Grug is unable to convince the family that settling in a nearby cave is a better option. Angry, he attacks Guy. The two become stuck in tar and Guy reveals his family died drowning in it and their last words inspired his traditions of "Tomorrow." Grug has a change of heart towards Guy, and he and Guy trick Chunky into freeing them by pretending to be a female "Macawnivore" in trouble.
As they are about to reach their destination, an earthquake opens a deep ravine in their path. Grug throws each of them across the gap and reconciles with Eep while creating the first hug with her. Grug then throws her across the ravine and is left behind. He takes shelter in a cave and makes a torch. After seeing a blank rock face, he paints a large cave-drawing of the Croods and Guy together. He then encounters Chunky, who attacks him until Grug's torch is accidentally blown out, panicking them both. The newly reformed Chunky lies near Grug, who has an idea. He uses a skeleton carried by the Piranhakeets to transport himself, Chunky, Douglas, and several other animals across the ravine, barely escaping the oncoming "end" destruction. He and the rest of the family settle down in a paradise-like environment. Grug becomes less protective, letting the family be more adventurous and risk-taking, thus bringing happiness to them all.
- Emma Stone as Eep Crood, a cavegirl who is Grug and Ugga's eldest daughter and is filled with curiosity and a desire for adventure. She is the main protagonist
- Ryan Reynolds as Guy, a nomadic caveboy who is not as strong as the Croods, but prefers using his brain and comes up with various ideas and inventions. He is accompanied by a sloth named Belt and is Eep's love interest. He is the deuteragonist and Grug's former nemesis.
- Nicolas Cage as Grug Crood, a caveman who is the well-meaning, overprotective but old-fashioned patriarch of the Croods family. He is the tritagonist and Guy's nemesis
- Clark Duke as Thunk Crood, a caveboy who is Grug and Ugga's son. Thunk is the 6-foot-3, 280 pound, 9-year-old middle child, who is not very bright and has bad coordination but has a good heart. He gets a crocopup named Douglas for a pet. He is the tetargonist
- Catherine Keener as Ugga Crood, a cavewoman who is Grug's wife. She is more open-minded than Grug, but also finds it difficult to keep her family safe. She is the (former) secondary antagonist.
- Cloris Leachman as Gran, a very old (45 years) and ferocious cavewoman who is the mother-in-law of Grug and the mother of Ugga. She is the (former) tertiary antagonist.
- Chris Sanders as Chunky, the Croods' nemesis and the main antagonist
- Chris Sanders as Belt, Guy's pet sloth.
- Randy Thom as Sandy Crood, Grug and Ugga's ferocious baby daughter who still bites and growls instead of speaking. Thom created her voice with creature noises.
- The movie was initially titled, "Crood Awakening" in 2005.
- The difference between the messages in the beginning and the aftermath is, “if you weren't clued in by the animal skins and sloping foreheads, we're cavemen.” and “if you weren't clued in by the suntans and pets, we're not exactly cavemen anymore.”
On April 17, 2013, it was announced that DreamWorks Animation has started developing a sequel to the film, with Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco returning to direct the sequel. However, on November 11, 2016, DreamWorks announced that production for the sequel was cancelled, but on September 19, 2017, DreamWorks and Universal announced that the film was back in production, and under the title, The Croods: A New Age, it was eventually released on November 25, 2020.