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The Land Before Time
The Land Before Time poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Don Bluth
Produced by
  • Don Bluth
  • Gary Goldman
  • John Pomeroy
Screenplay by Stu Krieger
Story by
Narrated by Pat Hingle
Music by James Horner
Editing by
  • John K. Carr
  • Dan Molina
  • Amblin Entertainment
  • Sullivan Bluth Ltd.
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) November 18, 1988 (1988-11-18)
Running time 69 minutes
  • United States
  • Ireland
Language English
Money made $84.4 million

The Land Before Time is a 1988 movie produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, and directed by Don Bluth. It was released on November 18, 1988, the same day as Disney's Oliver & Company. The movie's success led to 13 sequels being made.

The story

An orphaned long-neck dinosaur named Littlefoot goes off in search of the legendary Great Valley, a place with lots of vegetation where dinosaurs can live in peace. Along the way he meets four other young dinosaurs, each one a different species, and they encounter several problems as they learn to work together in order to survive.


There are five main characters known as the "Gang of Five:"

Littlefoot: The leader of the gang, Littlefoot is a "long-neck," the in-universe name for Brontosaurus. He is brave, and good at making decisions. He lives with his grandparents in the Great Valley.

Cera: Cera is a "three-horn," also known as a Triceratops. She is stubborn and does not trust easily. She is the most aggressive of the group. She lives with her father for most of the movies, but gains a new mother in the 11th movie and a younger sister in the 12th movie.

Ducky: Ducky has been called a "Swimmer," "Big Mouth," and "Duckfoot" on screen, so it is not known for sure what kind of dinosaur Ducky is. She looks most like a Saurolophus, but she is called a Parasaurolophus on the Land Before Time Website. She is the nicest of the group, and trusts others easily. She lives with her mother and father (though her father is not often seen) and says in the sixth film that she is one of thirteen twins, although the original shows tht she is one of four. She also has her adopted brother Spike.

Petrie: A "flyer," or a Pteranodon, Petrie gets scared very easily and is too trusting, but he is loyal and can be brave at important times. He lives with his mother and brothers.

Spike: Spike is the youngest of the group. He is a "Spiketail," which is a Stegosaurus. Spike does not talk, though it was shown in the 4th movie that he can when he wants to. He enjoys eating and lets Ducky sit on his back if she needs to. Ducky is his older sister, since she adopted him during the first movie. He lives with Ducky's family.

Also of note is a "Sharptooth" named Chomper, who was born in the 2nd movie and was so popular with fans that he returned in the 5th movie and the TV series. He is friends with all the main characters, despite his natural instincts telling him to eat them.



  1. The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure, directed by Roy Allen Smith
  2. The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving, directed by Roy Allen Smith
  3. The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists, directed by Roy Allen Smith
  4. The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island, directed by Charles Grosvenor
  5. The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock, directed by Charles Grosvenor
  6. The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire, directed by Charles Grosvenor
  7. The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze, directed by Charles Grosvenor
  8. The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water, directed by Charles Grosvenor
  9. The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration, directed by Charles Grosvenor
  10. The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses, directed by Charles Grosvenor
  11. The Land Before Time XII: The Great Day of the Flyers, directed by Charles Grosvenor
  12. The Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends, directed by Jamie Mitchell
  13. The Land Before Time: Journey of the Brave, directed by Davis Doi

In addition to the movies, there is The Land Before Time: Sing-Along Songs (1997) and The Land Before Time: More Sing-Along Songs (1999)

TV Series

After the success of the original movie and its sequels, a television series based on the movies began airing on YTV in Canada as a test on January 5, 2007. It aired in Canada, Britain, and the United States of America, and had 26 episodes. It then aired on Cartoon Network in the United States on March 5, 2007 where it was animated after the DVD release of The Land Before Time XII: The Great Day of the Flyers. In the UK, it was once shown just on Boomerang, showing every day at 4pm, but it is now programmed on its sister preschool channel Cartoonito. It brought back Chomper as a main character, and introduced a new friend, an Oviraptor named Ruby, who helps the other dinosaurs learn lessons and solve problems.

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