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Although one of his eyes were swollen shut, he was growling softly, enjoying his moment of revenge.
~ The Narrator describing Sharptooth's thoughts in the novel.
Sharptooth is the main antagonist of the 1988 animated Don Bluth film The Land Before Time and its novelization. He is a homicidal Tyrannosaurus rex that seeks to cause death and destruction, and seeks revenge on Littlefoot and the others for damaging his eye.
His vocal effects were provided by Frank Welker.
Sharptooth has four scenes in the film. Sharptooth first appears when he approaches Littlefoot and Cera, who are playing together in a swamp. Sharptooth, who is probably hungry, chases them into a thicket of thorns. He plods through the thorns after them and leans down through the thorns to catch Littlefoot. The young Longneck tries to run but gets caught on a vine. As Sharptooth nears him, he escapes and the thorn-covered vines snap back at Sharptooth's face, severely injuring his right eye and causing him to bellow out in pain. Furious, Sharptooth stands up and resumes his pursuit of the two children, only for Littlefoot's Mother to intercept and face him. In their ensuing fight, Sharptooth is hit several times with her tail, which doesn't really have much effect on him. Eventually, the menace succeeds in jumping onto the large Longneck's back and tears off some of her flesh. He also slashes her neck as well. She manages to dislodge him and knock him back again, but as the herbivores attempt to escape, a massive earthquake strikes the area. Quickly recovering, Sharptooth charges in the direction of Littlefoot and Cera again, partially trying to dispose of the two youngsters and partly in an attempt to save his own life from the raging earthquake. In their panic, the children are flipped onto Sharptooth's foot, and at that moment the quake tears the ground beneath them apart, and Sharptooth slides down the slope with his would be prey on his back. As the children yell for help, Littlefoot's Mother comes to the rescue; she grabs the children and knocks Sharptooth off the edge, sending him falling into the chase below. Littlefoot's Mother dies later that night, probably due to severe infections from the wounds on her back inflicted by Sharptooth.
Later, after falling into the big underground herself, Cera finds Sharptooth's apparently dead body. Cera rams his head repeatedly until he suddenly awakes, having only been knocked out. It is revealed that Sharptooth survived from falling into the chasm. The young dinosaur quickly flees in terror as the beast rises behind her. Shortly afterwards, she meets up with Littlefoot and his new friends, Ducky, a Bigmouth, and Petrie, a Flyer. Cera explains her encounter with Sharptooth, but exaggerates it, making it sound as if she bravely fought him. While Ducky and Petrie believe Cera immediately, Littlefoot is convinced that Sharptooth has been killed. He holds this belief until, one morning, the fearsome beast himself ambushes the gang (by then including a Spiketail named Spike). The children barely manage to escape from Sharptooth through a small hole in a rock wall, which Sharptooth tries to squeeze through while snapping and clawing at the children he is too big to fit through and they escape.
The next day, Cera is humiliated and left the group after they escaped a volcanic region she herself lead them into. Littlefoot, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike happen to see Sharptooth nearby while they are swimming in a deep lake. Littlefoot, guessing that Sharptooth can't swim, comes up with a plan to get rid of him for good. Baiting him with Ducky, they set their plan into motion. Sharptooth chases Ducky to the lake, while Petrie stands on a nearby ledge waiting to give a signal to Littlefoot and Spike, who are waiting to push a huge boulder off of a ledge onto Sharptooth. However, even after Sharptooth accidentally helps Petrie master his flight abilities, the plan is seemingly doomed to fail until Cera returns and helps push the boulder down onto Sharptooth. In a final act of rage and desperation, Sharptooth takes Petrie down with him as he plunges into the lake sinking to the bottom. After moments, the remaining children start to walk away sadly, believing Petrie to be dead. However, the Flyer manages to surface and fly back to his friends, and they all rejoice.
Little of Sharptooth's personality is seen in the film. However, the book that was sold along with the original movie gives more insight on his actual thoughts. Sharptooth appears to be very persistent and indefatigable, given by the fact that he continues fighting Littlefoot's Mother despite the Earthshaker and his multiple wounds, and that he continues to pursue the main characters throughout the movie, even though they would be of little food to him.
According to the book, much of this persistence is derived from vengeance, as he takes pleasure in cornering Littlefoot and Cera after the former had accidentally blinded him in one eye with a thorn. It is evident that he will continue fighting even when it is obviously hopeless, snapping at the children even when his head is trapped in a small tunnel and they are far out of reach. He doesn't stop trying when he is in extreme danger, as he tries to crush Littlefoot and Cera while falling to his apparent doom in the Great Earthshake, and pulls Petrie down with him in his last moments, plummeting into a lake.
It is shown in the book that Sharptooth does not forget grudges he holds against others; it is explained that after he spots the main characters for the second time, he immediately recognizes them and makes a thunderous noise towards them in about of hatred. Even after they escape through the narrow pathway, he continues to claw and snap at them with rage. It is also said in the book that Sharptooth enjoys killing, as it is said that when he finds the entrance Great Valley he sniffs the air with "evil joy", showing that he gets more out of killing than just food.
Littlefoot and Cera stood in the shadow of the most ferocious and deadly creature in the land—Sharptooth!
~ The book's narrator on Sharptooth.
The monster bellowed in pain and reared back from the brambles. Then, with a terrible fury, he plunged back into the thicket, searching for the puny creatures that had dared to injure him.
~ The narrator describing Sharptooth's actions after his eye is hit by the thorn.
Even in his terror, the huge beast saw his chance to crush the tiny creatures who had caused him so much trouble.
~ Sharptooth's thoughts as he is falling down into the "Big Underground".
With another terrible cry, the big beast thundered toward them, his enormous mouth wide open and his one good eye glinting with hatred.
~ Book quote showing Sharptooth's hatred for the children.
A short time later Sharptooth found the entrance to the Great Valley. He growled and sniffed the air with evil joy.
~ Sharptooth finding entrance to the Great Valley.
Sharptooth appears to possess a near supernatural level of strength, durability, and athleticism, even for a Tyrannosaurus, as shown by him crawling through sharp thorns after Littlefoot and Cera with nary a scratch, withstanding multiple blows to the face from Littlefoot's Mother, slamming his head through solid rock with no apparent ill effects, and surviving a long drop into the canyon opened up by the earthquake. He is also shown to be capable of massive leaps, even jumping straight up into the air onto a cliff at the film's climax, as well as apparently being able to see just fine despite having only one good eye.
Sharptooth's relationships with the characters he has been shown to interact with have all been negative. He attempts to eat the protagonists and fatally wounds Littlefoot's Mother. His relationship with Littlefoot is particularly hostile, as he despises him for (although inadvertently) blinding his eye with a thorn. It is stated in the book that he wants revenge on the children for the trouble they've caused him.
Sharptooth has not gotten as much merchandise as other characters but has received a moderate amount compared to other one-movie characters. He is also the only known antagonist to receive merchandise. A hand-puppet of him was distributed at Pizza Huts along with the other main characters during the movie's theater release.
San Francisco Punk Rock band 'Set Your Goals' released a song called "Sharptooth" on their first demo tape, claiming while the song's content doesn't touch on the character himself, they were big fans of the movie as kids.
Sharptooth has appeared in several fanfics, mainly ones about him surviving his encounter with Littlefoot and his friends and wanting revenge.
Sharptooth searches for Littlefoot and Cera.
Sharptooth attacking both Cera and Littlefoot.
Sharptooth fighting with Littlefoot's Mother.
Sharptooth tries to kill Littlefoot's Mother.
Sharptooth falling into the chasm created by the earthquake.
Dried blood is shown around his damaged eye all throughout the book.
Sharptooth was the first of his kind to appear in The Land Before Time media.
As the characters call him "Sharptooth" instead of a Sharptooth, and The Land Before Time book states that he is "the most ferocious and deadly creature in all the land", this could imply that he was the only known Sharptooth around the area the dinosaurs were in at the time.
Sharptooth is seen with his eye shut before it gets hit by the thorn, even though it shouldn't be injured yet. This is most likely a mistake on the animator's part.
Originally, Sharptooth was going to have more scenes throughout the film chasing after Littlefoot and his friends. The developers feared these scenes would be too scary for children, so these scenes were either trimmed or removed.
The scene where Sharptooth's eye is "poked out" was originally much more graphic; scenes from a chase scene, including one where the main characters are trapped underneath him, were also cut.
Occasionally, Sharptooth would open his damaged eye, like when Cera charged towards him, and he managed to open it, and towards the climax, he opened it several times. This may be an animation mistake, or it may be that the swelling on his eyelid had eased, and thus he could open it.