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The Land Before Time (1988)

On November 18th, 1988, The Land Before Time was released in theaters! For 80’s and 90’s babies, The Land Before Time and the franchise it created became an iconic and important film that many people fondly remember from their childhood. But what was the true magic that made this humble film with a budget of $12.3 million such a hit at the box office making $84.5 million?

For those unfamiliar, The Land Before Time follows 5 young dinosaurs on an almost impossible mission to find safety from ever-looming threats they face at every turn. They band together, facing trial after trial – sometimes within their own group – and grow along their journey. For any child who was lucky to stumble across this beloved tale – it tackled a variety of topics that many kids may, unfortunately, have to face at a young age.

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The Land Before Time / Universal Pictures

Aside from the masterful story-telling and animation, this film managed to tackle a very serious topic: Loss. This film grapples with Loss with such beauty that it tends to straddle the line of introducing the unfamiliar TO loss while also helping those who may have experienced it UNDERSTAND it. Spoiler: The loss of Littlefoots mother as well his home is something that many kids may have to experience. Littlefoot coping by making unlikely friends along the way in order to survive is something that we all can take away from this movie. Friends that may be different from us, friends that come from different backgrounds, friends that have different opinions and viewpoints – all help us grow into strong individuals – while also helping us to get to where we are meant to be.

34 years later, take some time and revisit this classic tale. You may find that it transports you back to a simpler time. You also may find in your older years some life lessons you may have learned from this film. But a word of caution: You may still need to bring some tissues along for the rewatch.

Image: Universal Pictures

Celebrating the Timeless Classic: The Land Before Time 1

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Danielle H