The Land Before Time (partially found deleted scenes of animated film; 1988)

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The theatrical poster.

Status: Partially Found

Don Bluth's 1988 animated feature film The Land Before Time underwent a severe cutting and editing of footage. Around six months before the completion of the film, numerous scenes - most infamously featuring the Tyrannosaurus rex antagonist “Sharptooth” - were toned down or removed, due to being deemed either too frightening or too difficult for children to understand, many of which were in color with sound.

Later, the film was finally completed in the months following these edits, with a final runtime of 80-82 minutes.[1] Further editing and cutting occurred as the film neared its theatrical premiere (for similar reasons as before), as executive producer Steven Spielberg was still not satisfied with the finished film. He continued to edit the film to ensure the movie would not disturb parents or their children. Despite Don Bluth's wishes - 11 to 13 minutes of fully finished scenes were cut from the film just weeks before its premiere in theaters, reducing the running time to just 69 minutes (including credits), making it one of the shortest feature-length films ever released. The original prints and negatives are claimed to have not been saved. The most significant loss at this stage was an alternate ending for the film; originally, Littlefoot was to find the Great Valley on his own after parting with his friends, before returning to rescue his friends and help them defeat Sharptooth, later entering the Valley with his reunited group.

As mentioned, one of the first of the major cut scenes included potentially overwhelming images from the encounter with Sharptooth, the tyrannosaurus rex, which would have featured multiple close-ups of him attacking out of nowhere in the bramble bushes. This particular sequence contained 19 shots (almost a minute of footage) that never made it to the end of production. Others include an extended version of the scene where Spike debuts, as well as the final battle with Sharptooth. Another well-known scene in which the main characters come upon an oasis inhabited by fat "crown-heads" (Pachycephalosaurs) and "gray-noses" (Saurolophus), who refuse to share food and water (giving Cera an epiphany on not judging others based on their species) was also verified to be one of the lost scenes, but it likely did not reach the animation stage.

The Two Main Cuts

When the movie was screened in London in April/May 1988, six months before the completion of the film, it seems apparent that it wasn't yet scored, since several scenes simply don't fit into the music, particularly the extended Sharptooth attack sequence, as well as the Oasis scene (the latter was likely not even animated, however).

Most of the lost scenes were removed by Steven Spielberg and his editor fairly close to the release of the film, after it was scored, which is why there are portions in the music that ends abruptly, are re-arranged, or are missing, similar to several scenes from The Black Cauldron.

The First Edit(s) (pre-scoring)

This section contains the first significant batch of scenes which were cut while in the midst of the film’s production. Most (if not all) scenes in this section had been animated in color, cleaned up, and had audio, but were cut before the film's music score was composed.

Sharptooth Attack Sequence (extended version)

To avoid confusion, the term “shots” in these quotes are referred to as "scenes," which was what they were labelled as during production.

"The Tyrannosaurus Rex, now in color, was unusually dramatic. John [Pomeroy], Gary [Goldman], and myself set out for the meeting at 20th Century Fox's screening facility in London. The unveiling of our work was embraced, as expected with grins, merry laughter, and even applause. As the lights came up, so did Steven [Spielberg] and George [Lucas]. "It's too scary", both remarked. "We'll have kids crying in the lobby and a lot of angry parents. You don't want that." "Let's meet at Elstree Studio tomorrow, they have an editing room there," suggested George. "Good", Steven agreed, "we'll take it down and cut out some of the biting moments." John was speechless, Gary [was] stunned, and I was in retreat, into my head, behind bolted doors. Directing a movie is like birthing children. To see it rushed into surgery, even for commercial reasons, somehow fractures one's enthusiasm. On that day, nineteen fully colored Rex scenes were cut from the movie. I mourned for a week. Were Steven and George right to do it? In hindsight, I think yes. Land grossed $72 million worldwide and became one of the supporting pillars for the animation renaissance. Least you chose to forget, Land Before Time has been followed by six sequels, direct to video, that have generated in excess of $250 million. That you can't forget." - Don Bluth, Toon Talk Magazine, January 1, 2001

In 2010, producer Gary Goldman contradicted some of this statement:

"The scenes were deleted from the work print during a meeting with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas after a screening in late April of 1988, to reduce the more frightening scenes within the sharptooth attack of Littlefoot and Cera through the briars. Most of these scenes were in pencil test, not yet in color. The actual drawings may still be in the film's archive, now at Universal, but there is no negative film of these scenes. So a "director's cut" is completely out of the question. Further, we would have to get Universal, Steve and George to all agree that it would be worth the time and cost to complete these scenes to color, cut them into the negative and prepare a new master color print and inter-positive to strike a new digital master for DVD and DVD Blu-ray production. The chances of that, I believe, are nil. Looking back, I wish that we would have just finished the scenes to color with painted backgrounds and filmed them, just in case there would be a call for an original "director's cut" - but, alas, we did not. Thanks again for your inquiry." - Gary Goldman's reply to a fan on, 2010

Interestingly, Goldman states the possibility that at least the animation drawings from the Sharptooth attack may still exist in a Universal archive, but that the actual film negatives for the scenes were discarded. He also claims that those lost scenes only made it to the pencil test stage before being cut. However, it is now known that the Sharptooth scenes were not simply pencil tests; multiple fully colored animation cels featuring the deleted scenes of Sharptooth have surfaced over the years, and Don Bluth had also previously stated that they were colored. In fact, Goldman later contradicts his explanation in 2017, stating that the Sharptooth scenes were indeed colored, and even had audio:

"Though [the uncut Sharptooth attack] was approved at the storyboard stage. It was at a screening in April or May of 1988 just 6 months before completion of the film at a 20th Century Fox theater in Soho Square, London, with just Don, John, me, Steven and his first wife and George in one of the small 30 seat theaters. The problem is that when [the Sharptooth attack] was edited, cutting 19 scenes out - including audio, by one of Steven’s favorite editors at Pinewood Studios in England, it was mainly the T-Rex shots (scenes to me) of full headshots with wide-open mouths, attacking into the lens of the camera at the child dinosaurs as they took cover in the briars. However, it was less than a minute [of] lost sections of the T-Rex attack and the kids. Steven and George both felt that those scenes would have triggered an audience of 4 and 5-year-olds crying and having their mothers and fathers holding them in their arms in the lobby waiting for a safe time to take their kids back to their seats. Those cuts remained [at Pinewood Studios], the tiny, short cuts were taped together and rolled, and we took them back to Dublin. However, we never saved the prints or the negatives for those scenes, all were animated and cleaned up, many of which were in color." - Gary Goldman, 2017

The initial Sharptooth attack sequence (the chase scene, before the fight) is missing almost a minute of footage. Much of the original footage was more intense than what is in the final film, with multiple close-up shots of Sharptooth attempting to snatch up Littlefoot and Cera in his jaws and attacking out of nowhere on numerous occasions.

Through some storyboards released by one of The Land Before Time's animators, Mark Pudleiner, on his blog throughout 2015, a good chunk of the first Sharptooth attack has finally been pieced together. As noted in two of the above quotes, the scenes were all animated, and many in color, as shown in the still from The Search for the Great Valley book, located in the gallery.

As Sharptooth first appeared, he was supposed to ram headfirst into the dead tree that Littlefoot and Cera are both underneath in the actual movie. In the final film, the kids are chased back under the tree, before then running into the bramble bushes; however, originally, the kids were supposed to attempt to hide by climbing up the hollow inside of the tree, before Sharptooth would then appear from above and lunge at them from the top of the tree, trying to snatch them up in his jaws. They would then fall and run away as he tore up the thorn tree (as seen through the stills in the gallery).

Sharptooth would then lunge at them as they entered a thicket of briars (this is in the final film but happens later). After being permanently blinded, Sharptooth originally would then have screeched in pain and then shake around, attempting to scratch where his eye had been blinded (a few storyboards are missing from this part, so not much is known as of now, but the “scratch” part is in the final film). Enraged, he would have then dove deep into the brambles, aggressively looking for the children, before bursting out and shaking around (this “shaking around” bit also survives in the final film, but only as reused animation during the final battle, where Sharptooth flails around after first recovering from landing into the water). Sharptooth would then have begun to slash and claw at numerous thorn bushes, desperately trying to find Littlefoot and Cera. Eventually, he would calm down, and, as seen in the final film, he would then start to slowly search for the children who had blinded him.

It is important to note that the scene where Sharptooth's eye is blinded was originally supposed to happen prior to his search for the children in the briars; this is why he appears to be blinded already when he is searching for the kids in the final version. These two scenes (the one where Sharptooth is searching for the kids, and the one where Sharptooth lunges and is blinded) were switched around before the film was scored for unknown reasons.

After giving away the position of she and Littlefoot, Cera would originally have been attacked out of nowhere by Sharptooth in a jump scare shot, breaking through the brambles directly in front of her (there is a cell of this which can be found in the gallery). Sharptooth would have just missed biting her, as she ran past Littlefoot. In a close-up shot following this, Sharptooth would also nearly gobble up Littlefoot as well (shown in the color key drawing). Sharptooth would then loom over them, and attempt to bite them, however, both children would have run the other way. Sharptooth would have then turned and missed another bite, before bursting out of the thorn bushes and leaping over them (in the final film, Sharptooth bursting out of the ground and then leaping are instead used as two of the three shots immediately following him being blinded), landing directly above the two kids. Littlefoot and Cera would then try to turn around and run the other way, but the carnivore would lower his tail, blocking them off. They both would then run around the opposite sides of his head (seen in the gallery as another color key and an animation cel).

Sharptooth would then leap again offscreen as the kids exited the bushes and tried to run, before landing right behind them (this last landing is still in the movie). However, in the final film, Sharptooth only leaps one time; the previous two leaps were merged (when Sharptooth leaps into the air, he has the takeoff of the first leap, but the landing is the second one which makes the whole bit abridged). The film then continued as normal.

In addition to storyboards, some animation cels and color keys from the uncut attack sequence have survived. Most of them are featured in the gallery below.

Sharptooth during the Great Earthshake (extended)

There is one additional short scene of Sharptooth that was cut from the Great Earthshake scene as well. The source of the cel below is not known, but it was featured in a couple of YouTube videos from 2012. The cel was assumed fake for a while as the proportions seemed to look a bit strange and didn’t seem to fit in with the music at that time; however, the mid-1987 script draft that was found in 2018 proves its validity. This shot was likely cut from the film around the same time as the earlier Sharptooth chase sequence.

There is also an early production sketch from 1986 that contains an early, rougher version of the shot (not featured in the article as of yet).

Sharptooth's Death (extended)

As evidenced by the mid-1987 script draft, Petrie originally fought with Sharptooth for a longer period of time. In the final film, Sharptooth charges into the rocks, quickly knocking Petrie off of his ledge. However, originally, this would have taken longer. After Sharptooth charged into the rocks, he would have then begun to hit the wall with his head and tail. Ducky was to attempt to distract him by making faces, to no avail (this part can be seen in the official trailer for the film). Then, Sharptooth would keep hitting his head on the rocks, before the film continued as normal. Besides Ducky making faces at Sharptooth, it is unknown as to whether the rest of the extended scene was animated.

In addition, the shot showing Sharptooth's body sinking into the lake was also originally supposed to last longer, as well as an additional shot alongside it.

Mysteriously, the extended fight does not actually appear to fit in properly with the soundtrack, so initially it would seem likely that this was one of the scenes cut earlier. However, interestingly enough, its Pizza Hut hand puppets advertisement and the film's trailer both feature the scene of Ducky making faces, even though the ads were likely created closer to release.

The Second Edit(s) (post-scoring)

"The additional 10+ minutes of cuts came after we finished the film. Steven and the same editor, who had been fast-tracked to get a green card, to move to Burbank and work with Spielberg there at Amblin on the Universal lot on other projects. Steven continued to edit the film to be sure it would not disturb parents or their children. I believe we delivered an 80 to 82-minute film including all credits. The final edited length was 69 minutes, the same as Bambi (1942)." - Gary Goldman, 2017

As mentioned prior, Spielberg had received the completed 80–82 minute cut but was still not satisfied with it, and thus he continued to edit the film. According to soundtrack analysis, 11 minutes of the official soundtrack is absent in the film, another indicator that a large amount of footage was cut from the film by Spielberg's editor. The editing reportedly cost the studio more than $1 million.[2] Some of these scenes made their way into various official trailers, press kits, promotional material, and book adaptations for the movie, due to being cut so close to the movie’s premiere in theaters.

Sharptooth vs. Littlefoot's Mother (extended)

The fight between Sharptooth and Littlefoot's mother was originally going to be longer, and unlike the earlier chase sequence, the battle made it past post-production. Notably, the finalized versions of these scenes are only missing 19 seconds of footage (according to soundtrack official and final comparisons) shortly before the earthquake begins, and the music that was removed from the film is lower and more dramatic. However, this music was originally supposed to play over the footage that does remain in the final film, rather than the music that plays after, as due to the music being cut, the music which plays in the film takes its place over the final footage, instead of playing over the lost footage. Many believed that this extended fight would explain the sudden appearance of the mother's neck wound; however, the May 1987 script does not suggest that any such wound happened.

According to the script, the deleted footage was to feature Littlefoot's mother fighting with Sharptooth AFTER she is bitten by him (a scene which features a close-up shot of her yelling in pain). A cell was discovered in early 2015 that shows this close-up (it can be seen to the right); however, it wasn't until the 1987 script was discovered that the validity of the cell was confirmed.

In order of the script (cut parts highlighted in bold italics): 'Littlefoot's mother reacts to the "death bite". Littlefoot and Cera watch as she is torn open (the camera angle only shows this in shadow in both the uncut and final versions). Littlefoot's mother hits numerous rocks while Sharptooth attempts to bite her, but she manages to hit him with her tail. She sends mud flying at him down a small hill, however, this causes Littlefoot and Cera to get swept up by the mud and thus they slide down and crash into Sharptooth's foot (as seen in the clip below from a trailer for the movie). Littlefoot and Cera get away from Sharptooth and hide in a crevice while the two dinosaurs square off again. Afterwards, Littlefoot's mother hits Sharptooth again and sends him down a steeper hill while she and the children escape the canyon area. The ground begins to shake violently, and cracks develop beneath Littlefoot. Mother is knocked off balance, as well as Sharptooth, who then gets up and begins to run towards Littlefoot and Cera, fearing for his own life.

This scene was cut down heavily in the final film, but was well-edited; for years, the film's trailer, official soundtrack, and book adaptations were the only indicators that footage was cut from the fight.

Some animation cels and color keys survive. More are likely to surface in the future.

Discovery of Spike (extended)

Ducky attempts to lure Spike with berries. This still was included as part of a German press kit for the film, though it was cropped slightly.

One of the film's best-known scenes - the discovery of Spike - was cut down significantly. The extended version has often been referred to as the "Berry Scene" by fans. Originally, Cera and Littlefoot fought about keeping him, after Ducky had figured out how to get him to follow them with cherries; in the final version, the narrator seems to reference this scene slightly.

The extended version of this scene appears in both The Illustrated Story and Friends in Need books, with the latter containing a still from the scene. Originally, it seemed to have been cut earlier (since it's hard to pinpoint how it was cut), but since it appears in press kits and two storybooks, it was likely one of the late edits. In 2020, two previously unreleased tracks from the film's score ("Journey of the Dinosaurs" and "Separate Paths") were released along with the rest of the original soundtrack in a complete album. Some music from "Journey of the Dinosaurs" may have been cut from the film, which would suggest that the music was meant to play during the Berry scene, but this requires additional analysis for verification.

Green Food Scene (extended)

Small bits of the green food scene are known to be cut, and this was probably just to speed up the pacing. It seems nothing major was cut, but there are some slight continuity problems involving Cera: she backs up to ram the tree again for food and then is walking away, teasing the group. The music is also severely cut up, since it is impossible to line up with the official soundtrack release. One shot from the trimmed green food scene can be seen in one of the trailers for the film. Apart from the trailer, a few animation cels survive as well.

Travel Montage

In the soundtrack, "If We Hold on Together" is listed after the "Whispering Winds" track, and before "Foraging for Food" (which was ultimately cut down), and the credits are separate. In fact, the lyrics suggest there was a sequence when this song played. As confirmed by the script, this "Travel Montage" would have originally occurred after the kids found the "Rock That Looks Like a Longneck", where the final movie does an awkward fade-out, and the characters noticeably freeze in place. This never happens at another point, so it is obvious something was cut. The script confirmed that it contained Cera acting like a jerk afterward; she was to act like she had control over the group during the sequence. This behavior from Cera would explain why tensions were so high during the following scenes in the film.

Plan to Kill Sharptooth (extended)

Unlike the extended final fight, the original cut of the plan to kill Sharptooth made it to post-production, and thus it is accompanied by a musical score. This additional missing footage of the plan to kill Sharptooth (as indicated by analysis of the soundtrack and the mid-1987 script draft) would have featured Littlefoot explaining the reasoning behind doing this: Sharptooth has found the Great Valley, and they must stop him before he enters. The whole gang originally knew it was there, and they needed to stop Sharptooth, together. In the final film, during the shot where the gang spots Sharptooth climbing, there are still plants visible around the area on the right side, hinting at the original plan of stopping Sharptooth before he reached the valley.

However, in the final film, the young dinosaurs are not supposed to know that the Great Valley is close, and thus parts of the scene that were tied to the original ending were trimmed out so that there would not be any issues with the plot.

Petrie's Death (extended) and "Hugging Scene"

According to the mid-1987 script and soundtrack analysis, the scene featuring the apparent death of Petrie lasted slightly longer and was followed by a group hug. There was originally a shot of Littlefoot, Cera, and Spike turning around towards Ducky (who is carrying Petrie); a few animation cels still survive.

After Petrie is revealed to be alive, the five young dinosaurs would have embraced in a hug. Littlefoot then would have said, "Now we'll always be together", before the five children would enter the Great Valley as a group. Notably, this "hugging scene" was rearranged in the final version and is instead used as the last shot of the film, albeit editing out the "Now We'll Always Be Together." section. The line survives in the form of a Pizza Hut advertisement from around the time of the film's release, which promoted their new hand-puppets based on the characters.

The original ending (which is featured in the next section) then would have played out, with Littlefoot guiding them to the Valley, carrying Petrie on his head (this is reused animation from earlier, so the recut may have been done to spare audiences another segment of repeated animation in the film).

Original Ending

Last but not least, there is the original ending. It is now known that what is now the ending of the film happened considerably earlier, but piecing it together is difficult.

Before the main characters reached the Mountains That Burn, Littlefoot had split up after a fight between himself and Cera. Originally, this would have continued with Littlefoot wandering past the pond they drown Sharptooth in, asking his mother for help, then discovering the valley (this is still used in the movie, but it makes less sense, as he is meant to be happy after defeating Sharptooth and reuniting with all of his friends, not sad). He then starts to enter, playing in the waterfalls in celebration of discovering the valley, but then realizes that he must find his friends because they went the wrong way and won’t find it on their own. He ends up rescuing them at the Mountains that Burn, and after the final battle with Sharptooth, followed by an embrace with his group, Littlefoot then guides his friends into the Valley.

It is worth noting that near the end, when the spirit of Littlefoot's mother is leading him through the cave tunnel, Littlefoot is smiling as he runs through the cave, though he is supposed to be upset during that scene. So, it is obvious that this part was most likely a scene that was part of the original ending, when Littlefoot found the great valley himself. Also, in the wide shot, when the clouds re-shape to form the spirit of his mother, the pond where they defeated Sharptooth and the boulder they used to stop him sitting where it was (before it was pushed) is visible. This is one of many pieces of evidence suggesting the scene was swapped around.

It is noticeable that they eventually ended up on the right path from the Mountains That Burn and may have been going the right way. In the film, the narrator says that Cera is too proud to admit she went the wrong way: how did she know she was going the wrong way? The script indicates that some footage was cut out with Littlefoot revealing he had found the Great Valley, but erroneously, the narration regarding these scenes was not. It is also notable that it appears to be raining outside when Cera storms off, rather than a waterfall, so it would seem there could be a large amount of footage missing from that point on (the script does not suggest this, though).

The original ending being seen in all three book adaptions of the movie, as well as parts not adding up in the last act of the film seem to suggest that the change to the ending was indeed a last-minute change, possibly one of the final edits made to the film before its theatrical release.

Other scenes

Oasis Scene

The often-rumored scene actually appears in two book adaptations of the film (specifically "The Illustrated Story" and "Friends in Need") as well as the mid-1987 script. It was likely cut before the other scenes in this section since no animation cels have been found to date.

The sequence itself features Littlefoot and his friends coming upon an oasis, guarded by two groups of dinosaurs: "gray-noses" (Saurolophus) and "crown-heads" (Pachycephalosaurs) who refuse to share the water due to them being of different species. Cera would have said that they would all die if they did not agree to share the water, yet both species still did not allow any of the children to drink with them (except for Ducky, who is the same species as the gray-noses).

The Oasis scene was cut from the film to tone down the racism aspect, as the filmmakers felt that it was not something that needed to be repeatedly hammered home, but that the idea of coexistence and working together should still have been a theme in the story.

Littlefoot And the Snake

Early in the film, when Littlefoot was still a baby, there was originally going to be a scene where he encountered a Danaysia (a type of prehistoric snake). The scene was titled "Littlefoot and the Snake". In the scene, it attacks and nearly kills Littlefoot, before his mother arrives and saves him by picking it up in her mouth and flinging it away. This was one of the earliest of all the known cut scenes; storyboards for this scene are all that survive. It is very likely that it did not survive past this stage, and thus the scene was never animated, unlike the rest of the deleted scenes later on.

Miscellaneous / Trivia

  • Some characters' screams were re-voiced using milder exclamations.
    • In fact, in the film, this can be evidenced by the scene where Sharptooth is initially blinded. As Sharptooth is scratching off, Cera is screaming, but then her voice cuts off abruptly, suggesting that the sound of her scream was interpreted as too horrifying for younger viewers and was trimmed.
  • Like in the final film, the five main characters would then all reunite with their families, but unlike the final cut, the original ending's final scene would feature Littlefoot sitting atop a hill, high above the valley. His mother's spirit would appear, and (according to "The Illustrated Story") whisper to him one last time, telling him not to forget her. Littlefoot would reply, saying that he would never forget his mother and that she would be in his heart forever.
    • In the final version, flashbacks of Littlefoot with his mother are shown instead, followed by the hugging shot with Littlefoot and his friends as the narrator speaks his final lines.
    • It is unknown as to whether this final scene actually made it to the animation stage of the film, but some music from the "End Credits" track was cut. It may have been played over the original final scene; though, the song "If We Hold on Together" being moved into the credits was what probably led to chunks of the credit's music being cut.
  • It is worth noting that the deleted footage of Sharptooth ramming into the dead tree Littlefoot and Cera are playing under is actually still intact in the film, albeit it plays much later:
    • During the final battle, when Petrie throws a rock at Sharptooth and laughs at him, the animation of Sharptooth running into the tree is used for when he rams into the cliff to knock Petrie off.
      • This is evidenced by the fact that Sharptooth's left eye is not blinded as he runs into the cliff.
This is taken from the final film's climax, but it is obvious that the quick shot was originally made for the dead tree scene; Sharptooth appears unblinded.
    • Also, some of the deleted animation when Sharptooth bites into the camera inside of the dead tree survives through the close-up shot where Sharptooth is sliding down the hill trying to snatch up Ducky; he is also unblinded in this animation. It can be seen to the right.
    • Finally, yet another piece of deleted scene animation is partly preserved in the final battle, during the shot where Sharptooth is shaking off after first falling in the water; in the original cut, he also did the same thing after being blinded in the eye.
  • In the film, when Sharptooth lands in front of Littlefoot and Cera and attempts to gobble them up, he roars at them beforehand. However, originally, this was not the case.
    • In fact, the bit where Sharptooth roars actually features a completely different background, creating some inconsistencies in the middle of the shot. The roar was probably added to make it seem less obvious that this shot was actually reused later in the film, as during the scene where Sharptooth attacks Littlefoot and his friends after they had slept in his footprint, the same shot appears during the ensuing chase, excluding the roar.
      • The rocks around Sharptooth's feet are even identical in both parts of the film.
  • By mid-1987, the film was about halfway complete. When the work-in-progress film was screened to psychologists at this time, the death of Mother was deemed too traumatic, and so the Old Rooter scene was added to the movie in the June 1987 script revision. The original version was planned to just fade or cut to the flyers playing with the cherries; however, since the filmmakers thought about removing the death of Mother from the film, the addition of Rooter probably prevented her entire death scene from being cut.
  • When Steven Spielberg edited the film after it was completed, some of the music was enhanced, making it sound a little different than the official soundtrack release. For example, the music that plays when Sharptooth attempts to sniff out Littlefoot and Cera in the brambles features some additional instruments, as does the beginning of the fight between Sharptooth and Mother.
  • The shot of Sharptooth jumping onto littlefoots mom’s back (just before the deleted reaction shot) was originally a few frames longer at the end. A cel of one of the frames have since resurfaced, but has yet to be added to wiki.
  • The film contains some music that was not included in the original soundtrack release. One unique track plays twice; first when Sharptooth wakes up after being rammed repeatedly by Cera, and two when Sharptooth returns to attack Littlefoot and his friends after they had unknowingly slept in one of his footprints for the night. This music was eventually released in the complete soundtrack release, on the track titled "Separate Paths".

Speculated/Rumored Scenes

The McDonalds "pre-release" tape.
  • A pre-release tape that was distributed by McDonald's allegedly had a deleted scene included in it. However, little actual proof of this has emerged and based on the few reports of people who have watched it, the tape has no additional footage.[3]
  • It was also rumored that the scene of Sharptooth ripping open the back of Littlefoot's mother was originally more graphic and was altered to show the event only in shadow, and this is partially the case.
    • Littlefoot's mother did originally react to being bitten, before being cut.
    • There were also rumours about blood being shown during Sharptooth's pounce attack; however, there is currently no evidence to support this claim.
  • One long-rumored scene involved the main characters coming upon an oasis inhabited by "crown-heads" (Pachycephalosaurs) and "gray-noses" (Saurolophus) who refuse to share food and water, giving Cera an epiphany to not judge others based on their species. This was confirmed to be one of the deleted scenes as it appears in the mid-1987 script draft. The scene may not have been animated, however.
An extra shot of the Great Valley, seemingly from the other side.
  • There is a still from one of the storybook adaptations for the film, "The Search for the Great Valley", that features an alternate shot of the Great Valley. The angle appears to be from the other side from where Littlefoot originally discovered it.
    • Because the book uses stills from the film as its illustrations, the shot was supposed to be featured in the film at some point, before being cut for unknown reasons. The shot could be from the original ending, where Littlefoot finds the Great Valley after separating from his friends, or it could have shown up when he and his friends enter the valley together. Finally, it could have been from one of the final shots of the original ending, where Littlefoot looks down upon the valley from a hill, as his mother whispers to him one last time.
  • As Grandpa Longneck's voice actor (Bill Erwin) was listed in the credits despite him never talking, there may have been a scene where he spoke at either the beginning or the end of the film, but this is unknown at this point.
  • After Spike is found, it seems Cera left for a while, since she vanishes right before they find the green food. She's very obviously not there in any scene until she starts claiming she found the food and calling it the Great Valley; she probably came back when Littlefoot and Spike were calling the others. However, it is likely that this was simply a continuity error, as the script does not suggest she ever disappeared.
  • There may be some footage missing from Ducky's introduction, since the tree star vanishes and reappears a few scenes later, but this may have been a simple animation mistake.


The uncut version of the film has never shown up in any form of public release, and it is largely believed that the extra footage has been destroyed.

Despite this, stills, animation cels, storyboards, color keys, and other production material from many of the deleted scenes have shown up in the past (and are continuing to surface more frequently on auction sites such as Heritage Auctions in recent years), and some, interestingly enough, appear in the movie's counterpart storybooks Friends in Need, The Search for the Great Valley, and The Land Before Time: The Illustrated Story.

Small snippets from some of the deleted scenes can also be found in pieces of promotional material for the movie that came out before its release; in fact, three out of the nine images sent out as part of the movie's press kit are frames that were ultimately cut from the final film. It is rumored that an unedited copy of the film was accidentally sent to a Finnish broadcasting company, which they then subsequently aired, although this claim has never been verified.

In Hal Hinson's review of the film (published on November 18, 1988, the day of the film's premiere in theaters) he wrote that the film was "only 80 minutes long".[4] This runtime matches up with how long the film was originally going to be at release before it was trimmed down to 69 minutes just weeks before the premiere. Because a film is often screened to critics around a week before its theatrical release, it is possible that a print containing the finished uncut scenes was accidentally sent to them, including Hal Hinson. The status of these prints remains unknown, but unfortunately, pre-release prints of films were often destroyed after screenings to prevent piracy.

As for Bluth, in his 2022 autobiography Somewhere Out There, he debunks the rumors that he had the uncut version of the film:

For those of you who believe I have an uncut version of the movie somewhere in my archives, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’m afraid those cut sequences will never see the light of day. They were swept up from the cutting-room floor and dumped right into the trash. They’ve long been destroyed.





Reconstruction of the initial swamp Sharptooth chase scene (dubbed "T-Rex Attack" in production), as well as the uncut Sharptooth fight scene (dubbed "The Fight").

Reconstruction of the Green Food scene.

A collection of snippets, stills and production sketches from some of the deleted scenes (outdated video).

Scribbles to Screen's video on the subject.

External Links