The Land Before Time
Directed by: Don Bluth

Produced by:

Written by:


Music by:

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Don Bluth

Judy Freudberg

(See below)

James Horner

Ivan Bilancio

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

November 18, 1988

69 minutes

United States


$12, 300, 000

$48, 092, 846

The Land Before Time is an 1988 animated film directed by Don Bluth, executive-produced by Steven Spielbuerg and George Lucas. The film centers around the adventures of an Apatosaurus named Littlefoot and his four friends, Cera the Triceratops, Ducky the Saurolophus, Petrie the Pteranodon, and Spike the Stegosaurus. It is the first of a franchise. The franchise concludes with The Land Before Time XV: Legend of the Golden Longneck.


Set in between the Jurassic and Cretaceous, a drought has occurred and to escape it, the dinosaurs have gone searching for the Great Valley, a lushful paradise.

A baby Apatosaurus, Littlefoot, tries to play with a Triceratops, Cera, but her father stops them, telling Cera that "Three-horns never play with Long-necks." Littlefoot's mother comes and takes him away, explaining to him how dinosaurs from different species are not supposed to interact with each other.

During the night, Littlefoot chases after a frog and finds Cera. They play with each other until a Tyrannosaurus rex, called a Sharptooth, attacks. In their effort to escape, Littlefoot unintentionally blinds Sharptooth in one eye, infuriating it. As it's about to kill them, Littlefoot's Mother arrives and battles Sharptooth, which injures her. An earthquake occurs during the fight and Littlefot's Mother knocks Sharptooth into the chasm. During the earthquake, Littlefoot is separated from his grandparents and Cera is separated from her parents.

Littlefoot finds his dying mother, who, in her last breath, tells him the way to get to the Great Valley before dying in front of him. Littlefoot is comforted by a Scolosaurus, named Rooter, and soon after finds Cera, and volunteers to help her her way to the Great Valley. Cera stubbornly refuses, and ends up in the chasm.

Littlefoot becomes friends with a Saurolophus named Ducky and a Pteranodon named Petrie, who follow him on his journey to the Great Valley. At the same time, Cera finds Sharptooth's body, and starts head-butting him. Sharptooth wakes up, and Cera runs away in fear, and runs into Littlefoot and the others. Cera lies to them, telling them she fought Sharptooth, which Littlefoot does not believe as he's convinced Sharptooth's dead. While lying, she accidentally flings Ducky into a patch of grass, where she finds an egg, which hatches into a Stegosaurus named Spike, who joins the group.

The group sleeps inside a huge footprint. Upon waking up, they are chased by Sharptooth, who had made the footprint. The escape through a small hole. Littlefoot and Cera then have a fight when Cera denies the Great Valley existing and calls Littlefoot's Mother a "Stupid Longneck." Cera wins the fight and becomes the new leader of the group, while Littlefoot leaves.

Cera's path causes disaster for the group, with Ducky and Spike ending up trapped on a small rock in the middle of lava and Petrie stuck in a tar pit, with Cera leaving them. Littlefoot comes and rescues them, and find Cera harassed by Pachycephalosaurs. Being covered in tar, the Pachycephalosaurs and Cera are convinced they are monsters, with the Pachycephalosaurs retreating while Cera is ridiculed by the group. She leaves.

Littlefoot and the group hatch a plan to defeat Sharptooth, using Ducky as bait to lure Sharptooth into a lake so they can drop a boulder on him and sink him. The plan nearly fails when Sharptooth jumps up on the cliff that the group is on, but Cera arrives and helps push the boulder, knocking Sharptooth into the lake and apparently drowning him, though he nearly takes Petrie with him.

Littlefoot gives up hope of ever finding the Great Valley, but the ghost of his mother comes and leads him and the group to the Great Valley. Littlefoot reunites with his grandparents, Cera reunites with her father, Ducky reunites with her herd and Spike is adopted by them, and Petrie finds his mother and siblings. The group then has a group-hug.


  • Gabriel Damon as Littlefoot - A kind-hearted young Apatosaurus who is orphaned after his mother dies.
  • Candace Hudson as Cera - a stubborn young Triceratops who accompanies Littlefoot on his journey.
  • Judith Bars as Ducky - A cheerful Saurolophus and Spike's adoptive sister.
  • Will Ryan as Petrie - A paranoid Pteranodon afraid of flying.
  • Frank Welker as Sharptooth - An aggressive Tyrannosaurus who attacks the group constantly.
  • Pat Wingle as Rooter - The wise Scolosaurus. Pat also narrated the film.
  • Helen Shaver as Littlefoot's Mother - Who dies early in the film.
  • Burke Byrnes as Daddy Topps - Cera's father.
  • Bill Erwin as Littlefoot's Grandfather.