Judith Barsi, who did the voice for Ducky, was murdered by her father four months before the film's release. Judith was only ten years old. Her headstone includes her famous line in this film, "Yep! Yep! Yep!"
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas originally wanted the film to have no dialog, like the Rite of Spring sequence in Fantasia (1940). But to make the film appealing to children, they abandoned this idea, and got actors and actresses to do the voices.
Pizza Hut once ran a promotion involving the characters. If you spent a certain amount on pizza, you could receive a free hand-puppet of one of the characters. When the film was first released on video, there was also a commercial for Pizza Hut which played before the movie started.
Throughout production, the film underwent a severe cutting and editing of footage. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas thought that some scenes in the movie would appear too dark and intense for young children. Spielberg told Don Bluth while looking at the scenes from the film, "It's too scary. We'll have kids crying in the lobby, and a lot of angry parents. You don't want that." About 19 scenes comprising of 10 minutes of footage, mostly pertaining to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the five characters in mild peril or distress was cut or trimmed. Bluth was unhappy with the cuts, and fought to keep the footage, but felt like he had to do so, making this film only 69 minutes, one of his shortest. He claims to have a personal copy of the film reel with the whole thing, though no word on whether or not it will ever see the light of day.
The movie refers to animals and/or nature in charming and/or poetic names. These include "green food" for leaves, "The Bright Circle" for the sun, "The Mountains that Burn" for volcanoes, "sharp-tooth" for tyrannosaurs, "tree stars" for particularly beautiful leaves, "flyer" for pterodactyls, "long necks" for brontosauruses, "three-horns" for triceratops, "spike tail" for stegosauri, "The Great Earth Shake" for earthquake, "hopper" for frogs, "big mouth" for whichever species Ducky was, "The Great Valley" for a beautiful valley, and "The Great Circle of life" for life itself.
Studies done long after the film's release revealed that ceratopsian dinosaurs may have been opportunistic omnivores. In other words, Triceratops like Cera may well have been willing to eat meat in real life as well as plants.
There is also a deleted scene where the group finds an oasis, but the two groups of dinosaurs already there get discriminatory and say that only Ducky can drink. These elements still appear in the children's book released with the film.
Over 600 background paintings were made for the film. Most of these depicted beautiful but barren wastelands, which presented a real challenge for the creative team. As one studio press release put it, "The artists had to create a believable environment in which there was almost no foliage." Whenever possible, Don Bluth's illustrators emphasized vibrant colors. This kept their backdrops from looking too drab or monotonous-despite the desolate setting.
The film's second half was not as Don Bluth originally intended. In the original version, Littlefoot finds the Great Valley after he goes off alone and the others go with Cera. He realizes that he has to go find the others because they won't find it on their own, and goes back after them, finding them in the volcano. The Sharptooth scene then happens and he leads them to the valley. This can be detected in the final film. In the scene where Littlefoot is telling his mother he'll never find the Great Valley because it's too hard, the rock they pushed onto Sharptooth is still there in the foreground; and the scene where he looks over the Great Valley shows him standing alone and is closely followed by a shot of Littlefoot and the others sliding to a stop with Petrie perched on his head.
This is the only Don Bluth film of the 80's to not feature a character voiced by Dom DeLuise, an actor who was a regular in a lot of Bluth's films. Though ironically, Dom was featured in Disney's "Oliver & Company", which was released the same year as "The Land Before Time".