The structural, elastic, and thermodynamic properties of the cubic anti-perovskite (R = Sm, Eu, Gd, and Tb) compounds have been investigated using first principles full-potential augmented-plane wave plus local orbitals (FP-APW+lo) method with the generalized gradient approximation. The ground-state quantities such as the lattice parameter, bulk modulus, and its pressure derivative, as well as elastic constants are estimated. Computed equilibrium lattice constants agree well with the available experimental data. The full set of first-order elastic constants and their pressure dependence, which have not been calculated or measured yet, have been determined. The elastic moduli increase linearly with increasing pressure and satisfy the generalized elastic stability criteria for cubic crystals under hydrostatic pressure. The shear modulus, Young's modulus, and Poisson's ratio are calculated for ideal polycrystalline aggregates. The Debye temperature is estimated from the average sound velocity. From the elastic parameter behavior, it is inferred that cubic anti-perovskites are ductile in nature and that the bonding is predominantly of an ionic nature. Following the quasi-harmonic Debye model, the temperature effect on the lattice constant, bulk modulus, heat capacity, and Debye temperature is calculated reflecting the anharmonic phonon effects.