Judith Barsi, who did the voice for Ducky, was murdered by her father four months before the film's release. Judith was only ten years old. Her headstone includes her famous line in this film, "Yep! Yep! Yep!"
The film's theme song, "If We Hold on Together", was sung by Diana Ross and became a huge hit in Japan. It did so well there that it became a karaoke standard.
Pizza Hut once ran a promotion involving the characters. If you spent a certain amount on pizza, you could receive a free hand-puppet of one of the characters. When the film was first released on video, there was also a commercial for Pizza Hut which played before the movie started.
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas originally wanted the film to have no dialog, like the Rite of Spring sequence in Fantasia (1940). But to make the film appealing to children, they abandoned this idea, and got actors and actresses to do the voices.
Throughout production, the film underwent a severe cutting and editing of footage. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas thought that some scenes in the movie would appear too dark and intense for young children. Spielberg told Don Bluth while looking at the scenes from the film, "It's too scary. We'll have kids crying in the lobby, and a lot of angry parents. You don't want that." About 19 scenes comprising of 10 minutes of footage, mostly pertaining to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the five characters in mild peril or distress was cut or trimmed. Bluth was unhappy with the cuts, and fought to keep the footage, but felt like he had to do so, making this film only 69 minutes, one of his shortest. He claims to have a personal copy of the film reel with the whole thing, though no word on whether or not it will ever see the light of day.
It was the highest grossing animated film of all time until The Little Mermaid (1989).
Different dinosaur species reflected in the five main characters: Littlefoot is an Apatosaurus; Cera's species has been the subject of some dispute, although the confusion over what she is has not been as drastic as it has been for the character Ducky. Mainly due to the fact that the character only possesses a nasal horn, while Triceratops also had two horns on its forehead, some have suggested that the character is in fact a Monoclonius, a one-horned member of the ceratopsian order of dinosaurs, to which Triceratops also belongs. However, her father, Topps, has the correct amount of horns for a Triceratops, as did her mother in the original film, and official sources continue to state that she is a Triceratops. Furthermore, in The Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends, during the song "Yellow Belly Bounce", one of the Yellow Bellies comments on her horn, and she states that she's going to develop two more. This is in fact consistent with modern palentological thought, based on the analysis of several juvenile Triceratops skulls, which indicate that baby Triceratops were born with pre-developed horns, and that only the nasal horn was developed in early childhood. The brow-horns would have developed more during the pubic stage; Spike is a a Stegosaurus; Petrie is a Pteranodon, hee is referred to as a pterodactyl, or a Pterodactylus in the bonus features for the DVDs for the first ten The Land Before Time sequels, This is incorrect as Pterodactylus didn't have the type of crest Petrie has, whereas Pteranodon did, However, UV scans did showcase that Pterodactylus had a keratinous crest, albeit somewhat differently shaped. The specific species of Pterodactylus Petrie is assigned to in the bonus feature, Pterodactylus elegans, was reassigned to the genus Ctenochasma in 2004; though Ducky is consistently identified in official material, including the official website, as a Parasaurolophus, there seems to have been much confusion over what she is, with fans often pointing out that the way she is drawn makes her more resemblance of another crested hadrosaur, Saurolophus, and critics frequently calling her an Anatosaurus (possibly due to the broadness of her bill).
This remains the only Land Before Time film not to be a musical, except for the song during the end credits, "If We Hold On Together" sung by Diana Ross.
An astounding 13 sequels have been made, as well as eight games, two sing-a-long videos, and a TV series.
29 species of animals were featured in this film. 5 of them were already extinct by the time the movie was set.
The film's narrator also performed the voice for Rooter. This may have been to underscore the fact that both characters were very wise and insightful.
Old Rooter didn't appear in the original script, but was added to soften the blow of the death of Littlefoot's mother.
Outside the Indiana Jones franchise, this is the only film to be co-produced by both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
While he by no means dislikes the film, Don Bluth credits it with kickstarting his weaker output, as it was his first major exposure to studio interference.
CASTLE THUNDER: The Haunted Mansion thunderclap is heard right at the beginning of the first storm, when it frightens Baby Cera.
The scene where Sharptooth lands on the back of Littlefoot's mother was originally fully visible, but it was changed to shadow.
Littlefoot was originally going to be called 'Thunderfoot', but a triceratops from a children's book already had that name.
In his book "The Art Of Animation," Don Bluth admitted that the film's massive financial success can partially be attributed to the 19-minute cut-out.
During production of An American Tail (1986), talk began of the next feature with Steven Spielberg. He wanted to do a film similar to Bambi (1942), but only with dinosaurs.
Studies done long after the film's release revealed that ceratopsian dinosaurs may have been opportunistic omnivores. In other words, Triceratops like Cera may well have been willing to eat meat in real life as well as plants.
The original film trailer has a deleted bit from the final scene with Littlefoot saying "now we'll always be together!".
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Don Bluth): [children]: Each of the dinosaur children are either orphaned or separated from their parents or in Littlefoot's case dies.
Originally planned for release in fall, 1987. Production was delayed by a year due to the relocation of Sullivan Bluth Studios to Dublin, Ireland.
There is also a deleted scene where the group finds an oasis, but the two groups of dinosaurs already there get discriminatory and say that only Ducky can drink. These elements still appear in the children's book released with the film.
Over 600 background paintings were made for the film. Most of these depicted beautiful but barren wastelands, which presented a real challenge for the creative team. As one studio press release put it, "The artists had to create a believable environment in which there was almost no foliage." Whenever possible, Don Bluth's illustrators emphasized vibrant colors. This kept their backdrops from looking too drab or monotonous-despite the desolate setting.
The production was preceded by extensive research, wherein researchers visited natural history museums in New York and Los Angeles and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
The film's second half was not as Don Bluth originally intended. In the original version, Littlefoot finds the Great Valley after he goes off alone and the others go with Cera. He realizes that he has to go find the others because they won't find it on their own, and goes back after them, finding them in the volcano. The Sharptooth scene then happens and he leads them to the valley. This can be detected in the final film. In the scene where Littlefoot is telling his mother he'll never find the Great Valley because it's too hard, the rock they pushed onto Sharptooth is still there in the foreground; and the scene where he looks over the Great Valley shows him standing alone and is closely followed by a shot of Littlefoot and the others sliding to a stop with Petrie perched on his head.
The scene where Sharptooth is pushed under by the big rock had a scene where Sharptooth was seen looking up to the water, but it was deemed too scary.
One of the only three Don Bluth films to not be a musical. The other two being The Secret of NIMH (1982) and Titan A.E. (2000).
This is the first Don Bluth film and only one of the 80's to not feature a character voiced by Dom DeLuise, an actor who was a regular in a lot of Bluth's films. Though ironically, Dom was featured in Disney's "Oliver & Company", which was released the same year as "The Land Before Time".
In 1997, there were talks of adapting the film into a stage musical by the late theatrical producer Irving Welzer. This idea never came to fruition.
The instrumental "If We Hold On Together" score was re-used in Lorenzo's Oil (1992) and as the theme tune for a Japanese TV show.
None of the cast members appear in every movie. After the first most of them were replaced, and Frank Welker came close, but was absent from The Land Before Time XI.
The Prop Master for the film, Raleigh Richter, would later go on to voice the character of Ducky in the made for TV adaptation.
Will Ryan (Petrie) was in Don Bluth's previous film An American Tail (1986) as Digit.
Rooter upon learning from Littlefoot his mother got killed by 'Sharptooth' comforts Littlefoot by saying 'The great circle of life has begun'. This foreshadows The Lion King (1994) in which the circle of life has a bigger role to the point that the opening song is named after the phrase. Like Rooter Mufusa also explains about the circle of life. Similarly both Littlefoot and Simba also encounter the ghosts of their parents as well.
The only film of the franchise to not be a musical and to be released theatrically all the others were musicals and went to home video.
The eighth animated film to not be a musical, after The Rescuers (1978), Watership Down (1978), The Lord of the Rings (1978), The Secret of NIMH (1982), The Last Unicorn (1982), The Plague Dogs (1982), and The Black Cauldron (1985).