8 Facts About “The Land Before Time”

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Ah, 80s kids, was there anything more traumatizing than The Land Before Time?

I mean, besides Bambi and Dumbo and The Lion King.

Hell, no wonder we all have emotional issues.

But if, like me, you remember going to see The Land Before Time fondly, you’re going to love these 8 long-lasting facts.

8. It was originally 10 minutes longer.


Spielberg and fellow producer George Lucas thought 19 of the original scenes “too scary,” and so they ended up on the cutting room floor.

7. It was supposed to be dialogue-free.

Because, I mean…dinosaurs don’t talk (that we know of). Spielberg had been inspired by the “Rite of Spring” scene in Fantasia but ultimately backed down, fearing that the five friends remaining mum would bore or confuse the audience.

6. A child psychologist helped to develop Rooter’s character.


Littlefoot’s mom dies on screen, and it seems as if it goes on forever. Worried about how children would deal with the scene, producers consulted child psychologists on how best to handle it – and from those conversations, Rooter was born.

“You’ll always miss her, but she’ll always be with you as long as you remember the things she taught you.”

5. The director had previously worked for Disney.

The production company, Sullivan Bluth Studios, has a similar story to what happened when Pixar first launched: Founder and The Land Before Time director Don Bluth grew disillusioned with Disney’s cost-cutting measures and resigned from his animation job there before branching out on his own in the early 1980s.

4. James Horner did the soundtrack.


Yes, the Oscar-winning composer behind Braveheart, Titanic, and Avatar is responsible for your tears in this one.

3. Littlefoot’s original name was Thunderfoot.

There was a popular triceratops in a children’s book with the same name, though, so they changed it.

2. The young actress who voiced Ducky died before the film’s release.


Judith Barsi was only 10, but she had already done 70 commercials and voiced the lead character in Don Bluth’s All Dogs Go to Heaven. She died in 1988 after her father murdered her and her mother before committing suicide.

1.  We almost got the stage adaptation.

In 1997, late Broadway producer Irving Welzer told The New York Times that “the time has come from dinosaurs on Broadway.” The idea, of course, never came to fruition.

I’m not sure I’ll subject my own kiddos to this one (at least not yet). I mean, I’m screwing them up well enough on my own!

Have you re-watched this? Watched it with kids? Tell us how it went!