The Land Before Time

  • Review Date: February 9, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 70 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Baby dinosaur buddy flick that started the series.
  • Review Date: February 9, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 70 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although he's told that dinosaurs stick with their own kind, Littlefoot is a friend to everyone. Individual strengths are important to the group's success/survival.

Positive role models

Baby pterodactyl Petrie finds flying too difficult, but with courage finally achieves it. Stubborn Cera thinks she doesn't need any help from anyone else, but sees that she does need her friends and they need her, too. Littlefoot is friendly to everyone.

Violence & scariness

An aggressive "sharptooth" (Tyrannosaurus Rex) kills Littlefoot's mother and chases the young dinosaurs until they drown it. A massive earthquake rips through the ground and separates families.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the youngest viewers may be disturbed seeing the childlike dinosaurs torn from their parents by an earthquake and pursued by a Tyrannosaurus rex. Littlefoot's mother fights the T-rex, is badly injured, and dies. Littlefoot finds his grandparents in the end, though, and his friends are reunited with their families, too.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

While scores of dinosaurs are on the move to find food during a massive drought, a baby long-necked dinosaur is born. His mom and grandparents, coo and ahh and name him Littlefoot. When a rambunctious little three-horned dinosaur named Cera (Candace Hutson) tries to engage the newborn in play, Littlefoot's family discourages him from consorting with her kind of dinosaur. But the kid dinosaurs must unite when a ferocious T-rex kills Littlefoot's mother and an earthquake creates a massive schism separating them from loved ones. Littlefoot and Cera are joined by Petrie, Ducky, and Spike in their journey to the Great Valley, where food and families are sure to await them.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

THE LAND BEFORE TIME is a very simple story, nicely animated, that both gives kids some perky characters to follow and shows them the kind of earth dinosaurs roamed. Viewers see how changes in the earth's climate forced dinosaurs to roam long distances to find food, and how earthquakes, volcanoes, and even other dinosaurs made survival difficult. In the beginning we learn that Littlefoot is the only hope for future generations of longnecks. His friends represent different types of dinosaurs -- such as those that could fly or swim.

Apart from the factual-based content, the movie conveys lessons kids will relate to. The baby pterodactyl Petrie finds flying too difficult, but with courage finally achieves it. Stubborn Cera thinks she doesn't need any help from anyone else, but sees that she does need her friends and they need her, too. Although he's told that dinosaurs stick with their own kind, Littlefoot is a friend to everyone. Each kind of dinosaur has unique abilities that help the group survive.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about dinosaurs. When did they live? What happened to tthem?

  • Follow up these amazing facts with a trip to the natural history museum.

  • Which dinosaur is your favorite? Why?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 30, 2003
DVD release date:December 30, 2003
Cast:Candace Hutson, Judith Barsi, Will Ryan
Director:Don Bluth
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Dinosaurs, Adventures, Friendship
Run time:70 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:all audiences

This review of The Land Before Time was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 3 year old Written byACabral7805 March 16, 2010
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

Classic movie for kids

I loved this movie when I was a kid and my 3 year old loves it now. Some parts are a little scary- when littlefoot's mother is killed by sharptooth. I don't think kids really understand what is happening during that scene and my daughter asked what happened to his mommy and I just explained and she seemed fine. As far as the dinosaurs fighting-I explained to her that there are meat eaters and leaf eaters, etc, and that is the way Dinosaurs are. Truth be told!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 3 year old Written byAmberwrista December 10, 2009
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Why do all kids' movies involve a parent dying?

Started watching this with my almost 4-year-old sister. She loved the first few minutes with the cute baby dinosaurs, but soon it turned scary as the T-Rex chased the babies. I asked if she was alright, and she said she was fine, but as the mother dinosaur lay dying, her lip started to tremble. I immediately shut the movie off and she burst into tears. If your kids are old enough to deal with a very sad death (which is not simply glossed over, we see Littlefoot continue crying for the next few scenes), this would probably be a good movie for them, but be careful with preschoolers.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 3 year old Written bybrundda March 14, 2011
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

childhood anxiety

When I watched this as a child I remember having some serious anxiety from it. Fear of my own mother dying. It was heart wrenching and for some reason I kept wanting to watch it because it affected me in such a powerful way. I am 29 years old and after receiving it as a gift for my 3 year old daughter I decided i would watch it with her since she was begging to watch it. And to my amazement, it made me feel that same extreme sadness, gushing with tears and pain in my heart when the mother dies and Little Foot is trying to understand and deal with his emotions. After even just hearing the music I was reminded of this powerful anxiety that I had and may still have. from it. My husband had to fast forward the scene where the mother dies. I am not going to let my daughter watch it again for fear that she may develop this anxiety. It hurts me so much to think that she would feel this way! So watching those parts again would be like torture for me.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages

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