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The Land Before Time Deleted scenes (First film)
Sharp
Screenshot of part of the heavily cut Sharptooth scene
Status Partially Found
The Land Before Time A Tribute to the Sharptooth, Original Production Sketches, and Lost Footage01:26

The Land Before Time A Tribute to the Sharptooth, Original Production Sketches, and Lost Footage

A collection of snippets, stills and production sketches from some of the deleted scenes.

Md

The McDonalds pre-release VHS tape, that was believed to have a missing scene. However, this was proven false in 2015.

Don Bluth's 1988 animated feature film The Land Before Time was originally to have a running length of 80-82 minutes,[1] but was cut down to 69 minutes, due to the removal of various scenes that were deemed either too frightening or too difficult for children to understand (plus a few other minor cuts that happened for unknown reasons).

Against Bluth's wishes, a grand total of 19 fully animated scenes were cut from the film before release, namely scenes in which potentially overwhelming images from the encounter with Sharptooth (the Tyrannosaurus rex) were shown, such as close ups of him attacking out of nowhere, and (though possibly just a rumor) a scene of Sharptooth ripping open the back of Littlefoot's mother (which was altered to show the event only in shadow). The theory that the early release tape contained some cut footage seems to have been proven false.[2]
Sharp

Part of the heavily cut Sharptooth fight scene.

In addition to these scenes, the ending was also altered. Originally, Littlefoot was to find the Great Valley on his own after parting with his friends, before returning to his friends and helping them defeat Sharptooth, later entering the Valley with his reunited group. Other scenes cut from the film included one in which Ducky is seen taunting Sharptooth by making faces at him, and one that shows the inclusion of Spike into the gang and the decision to lead him using berries. The rumored scene in which the main characters come upon an oasis inhabited by "crown-heads" (Pachycephalosaurus) and "gray-noses" (Saurolophus), who refuse to share food and water with one another, giving Cera an epiphany on not judging others based on their species was rumored to be part of the film, but was never actually animated.

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. 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.

The original cut of The Land Before Time has never shown up in any form of public release, and it is largely believed that the extra footage has been either lost or destroyed. Despite this, stills from some of the deleted scenes have shown up in the past, some, interestingly enough, in the movie's counterpart storybooks Friends in Need, The Search for the Great Valley, and The Land Before Time: The Illustrated Story. Also, another Don Bluth-directed film, All Dogs Go To Heaven, had cut scenes that were found in 2016, leading fans to believe that the cut scenes for The Land Before Time may show up in the future and are not truly lost.

The Two Main Cuts

When the movie was first screened, it seems it wasn't yet scored, since there are a number of scenes that simply don't fit into the music. Other scenes were removed after it was scored, which is why there are chunks in the music that are missing, like in The Black Cauldron, though normally not to as great of an extent.

The First Edit

-Early in the film, when Littlefoot was still a baby, there was originally going to be a scene where he encounters a Dinilysia (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.
Sharptooth

A cel of Shaptooth attacking the thorn tree. Before the storyboards were released by Mark Pudleiner in 2015, this, as well as an attached cel of Littlefoot and Cera running away, were the only information of the early parts of the Sharptooth scene.

-Through recently released storyboards by one of The Land Before Time's animators, Mark Pudleiner, on his blog in 2015, a good portion of the first Sharptooth attack has finally been pieced together. These scenes were also fully animated, as shown on the cel to the right, but as of now they have not been found.

In order of the storyboards: Cera and Littlefoot notice the ground shaking. The frogs vanish, and Sharptooth is shown walking up to the thorn tree and smashing into it. The kids run out, slip and fall, and his shadow looms over him. They leap away before he can stomp down on them, and run back under the tree. Trying to escape, they climb up the hollow inside but Sharptooth lunges down the top of it, trying to grab them. They fall and run away as he tears up the thorn tree (as seen beside this). The part where Sharptooth rams the tree, where the kids climb the tree, and when he lunges from the top and then completely rips it up is completely missing from the final film.

Then, Sharptooth leaps as the children enter a thicket of briars. Littlefoot gets caught in thorns and when he breaks free, they fly into Sharptooth's eye blinding it. He then starts to search for the children, before Cera runs out into the open. The injury part was supposed to happen before he started looking for the children; this is why he appears injured already when he is searching for the kids. These two scenes in this paragraph were switched around before the film was scored for unknown reasons.

Sharptooth then breaks through the brambles in front of Cera and misses biting her, and later Littlefoot. He then bites the dirt as they make it past him. He then turns and misses another bite, before he bursts out of the thorn bushes and leaps, landing in front of them. They try to turn around and run the other way, but he lowers his tail blocking them off. They both run around the opposite sides of his head as he lowers it down. All of the scenes in this paragraph are not in the film, sans footage of him bursting out of the bushes and scratching off, the kids running, and him leaping. This "scratching off" bit is actually reused animation of him trying to scratch Ducky and Petrie before his death near the end of the film. It was likely added in to make this heavily edited scene make more sense, as opposed to him bursting out of the bushes and leaping in a weird way, preparing to jump in a now different position.

Sharptooth then leaps again as the kids exit the bushes and try to run, before Littlefoot's mother knocks him away with her tail. It seems that in the final film, this second leap is actually the landing of the first leap.

-The film was screened to psychologists, and the Old Rooter scene was added to the movie, since the death of the mother was deemed too traumatic. The original version was originally planned to just fade or cut to the fliers playing with the cherries. This addition of Rooter prevented the entire death scene from being cut out.

The Land Before Time Mother's death restoration02:42

The Land Before Time Mother's death restoration

-One of the best known cut scenes, the discovery of Spike, was cut down a lot. Originally, Cera and Littlefoot fought about keeping him, and Ducky figured out how to get him to follow with cherries: in the final, the narrator seems to reference this scene slightly. It seems to have been cut early on, since it's hard to pinpoint how it was cut. 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. It seems that the cut scene with the group hugging may have fit in here, or a bit later on.

-Sharptooth's death was a nightmare to re-edit, but it seems the scene went on longer, with Ducky having to lure him into the water again. In this deleted scene, Ducky starts pulling faces at Sharptooth, before he lands in front of her, causing her to scream in pure terror.

The sinking scene was also longer, and there was a scene with the group reuniting with Petrie when he escaped, which could have had the hugging scene follow it, since it could also fit in there. Then Littlefoot guided them to the Valley, carrying Petrie on his head. This reused animation from earlier, and it's possible the re-cut may have been done to spare audiences another segment of repeated animation in this film. The movie then continued on as normal.

Cutend5

Part of the original ending, showing Petrie riding on Little Foot's head

The Second Edit (after the soundtrack was created)

-The fight between Sharptooth and Littlefoot's mother. Notably, this scene is only missing 16 seconds of footage (according to soundtrack official and final comparisons) right before the earthquake begins and plays lower, dramatic music. This explains the sudden appearance of the mother's neck wound, and may explain why people claimed that the fight moved to the swamp at some point.

The Land Before Time Sharptooth scene restoration00:18

The Land Before Time Sharptooth scene restoration

-The green food scene is known to be cut, and this was probably just to speed up the pacing a bit. It seems nothing major was cut, but there is 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 seems to be severely cut up, since it's impossible to line up anymore.

The Land Before Time Greenfood scene restoration00:31

The Land Before Time Greenfood scene restoration

-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 could have been a sequence when this song played, perhaps to do with the group separated. It may have fit in after they find the "Rock That Looks Like A Longneck", where the movie does an awkward fade out, where the characters noticeably freeze in place. This never happens at another point, and it's obvious something was cut. It was likely Cera being a jerk about finding the rock first or something. There's potential Cera left the group and stormed off, only for them to be reunited again shortly after, which could explain why tensions were so high in the following scenes.

-What is now the ending of the film happened considerably earlier, but piecing it together is hard. When they reached the Mountains That Burn, they split up. Originally, it would have continued with Littlefoot wandering past the pond they drown Sharptooth in, asking his mother for help, then discovering the valley (this last bit is still used in the movie). There was a scene with him playing in the waterfalls, then, in an unknown scene, he ends up finding the others at the river of fire (potentially his mother told him to bring them, but nothing is known of this moment).

It is noticeable that they eventually ended up on the right path from there, and may have been going the right way. Through a mistake 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? Something was likely cut out with Littlefoot revealing he had found the Great Valley, but the narration regarding these scenes were not. It's also notable that it looks like it's raining outside when she storms off, not a waterfall, so there might be a large amount of footage missing from that point on.

There is also additional missing footage of the plan to kill Sharptooth, with Littlefoot likely explaining the reasoning behind doing this: Sharptooth has found the Great Valley, and they must stop him before he enters. Plants are also growing around the area on the right side when they spot him climbing as well, indicating that the Great Valley is close. The whole gang originally knew it was there, and they needed to defeat Sharptooth first, together.

Valley 2

The waterfall scene, which seems to fit in.

Miscellaneous Stuff

-It's 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's obvious to which that part was most likely a scene that was part of the original ending; when Littlefoot found the great valley himself.

-As Grandpa Longneck's (Littlefoot's grandfather's) voice actor was listed in the credits, there was probably a scene where he spoke in either the beginning or the end, but this is unknown at this point. In the film, he only chuckles.

-There seems to be some footage missing from Ducky's introduction, since there's a huge continuity gap (the tree star vanishes and reappears a few scenes later), but this may have been simply an animation mistake.

-The film contains music that is not included in the soundtrack. Two scenes, particularly the scene where Sharptooth wakes up, and when he attacks the gang later, both play one theme that is not in the soundtrack.

Sequels

Main article: The Land Before Time Sequels: Deleted Scenes

Land Before Time Deleted scenes (Sequels)
Status Lost

-According to Aria Noelle Curzon, who currently voices Ducky as of The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious IslandThe Land Before Time Sequels (II-XIV) also have scenes that aren't included in the final cut. Information about these scenes is extremely rare, the only other evidence of them coming from a still promoting the 11th film, which features a scene not included in the movie. It is unknown if this animation still exists, or if Universal Studios discards it immediately upon deciding not to use it.

Deleted scenes for the sequels may be almost non-existent due to the lower budgets of these follow-ups. It is possible that most footage would not go to waste. As of July 2017, these scenes are lost.

Voices

  • Gabriel Damon as Littlefoot
  • Candace Hutson as Cera
  • Judith Barsi as Ducky
  • Will Ryan as Petrie
  • Bill Erwin as Grandpa Longneck (chuckling only, possibly had a more major speaking role before the cuts) and The Fat Crown-Head (unconfirmed)
  • Burke Byrnes as Daddy Topps/Mr. Threehorn/Cera's Dad/Topsy
  • Helen Shaver as Littlefoot's Mother
  • Pat Hingle as Narrator and Rooter
  • Frank Welker as Sharptooth, Spike, The Grey-Nose (unconfirmed) and Domeheads

Gallery

References

The original story board drawings for the Sharptooth chase scene, showing just how much it was changed[3] [4][5]

  1. Reply to e-mail sent to Mark Pudleiner about cut scenes: http://z7.invisionfree.com/thegangoffive/index.php?showtopic=16016&view=findpost&p=40015439
  2. The rumor of the pre-release McDonalds VHS containing cut scenes debunked. http://z7.invisionfree.com/thegangoffive/index.php?showtopic=14138&view=findpost&p=22077664
  3. [1]
  4. [2]
  5. [3]

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