Well, what can I say. This is Don Bluth when he and his crew were at their golden age. This was the second proof that not only was Animation still relevant, but it was very profitable and (some would argue most importantly) it didn't have to be made by Disney to be good.
I love this movie, it's one of the movies I watched as a kid that I remembered very vividly and with very fond memories. The tone (as usual with Don Bluth) is rather dark, but it's characters more than make up for it. The film has very poignant Tear Jerkers, Heartwarming Moments, and Crowning Moments of Awesome.
The Cast is awesome, Littlefoot is a kid who's pretty much lost everything that mattered to him and it shows. All he has to go on is the story his mother and grandparents told him. Cera is your typical girl who acts all tough, but they add another layer to her by showing that underneath all that jerkiness, she really does care about those close too her. It even hints at her being very insecure about how she really does get scared and how she almost leads the characters to their deaths. She probably was affected by her parents absence just as much as Littlefoot, but refuses to show it.
Ducky is extremely adorable, Judith Barsi(may she rest in peace) does a spectacular job and Ducky is the sort of character you just want to cuddle. Petrie is good as comic relief. So is the least developed character Spike. Note, not being developed much doesn't make Spike bad, it just let's him fulfill his role in the group.
The Villain, T-Rex is very threatening, I mean it freaking shows him killing Littlefoot's mother! Speaking of the nightmare fuel, several scenes in this movie are very notable as well as the abundance of Tear Jerkers. The scene in which Spike is nearly immolated by lava and the group nearly drowns in a tar pit still gives me the chills.
But all the tears and fright that the characters and the audience have to go through to get to the end is well worth it because when the find the Great Valley it is one of the most touching sequences this troper has ever seen. The song "If We Hold On Together" perfectly compliments the film.
As for the sequels, I'll admit, they are a bit of a guilty pleasure to me as I watched them also as a kid. But I'll say right off, the original is the best. All in all, watch this one, it's a gem.