The Mouse and His Child (1977)

G  |   |  Family, Animation  |  18 November 1977 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 315 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 3 critic

Adaptation of Russell Hoban's novel about two mechanical toy mice, and their quest to become "self-winding".


(novel), (screenplay) (as Carol Mon Pere)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Manny the Rat (voice)
Euterpe (voice)
The Seal (voice)
The Frog (voice)
Alan Barzman ...
The Mouse (voice)
Marcy Swenson ...
The Mouse Child (voice)
Iggy (voice)
Regis Cordic ...
The Clock (voice)
Joan Gerber ...
The Elephant (voice)
Muskrat (voice)
Mel Leven ...
Ralphie (voice)
Maitzi Morgan ...
Teller / Starling (voice)
Frank Nelson ...
Crow #1 (voice)
Cliff Norton ...
Crow #2 (voice)
C. Serpentina (voice)


Adaptation of Russell Hoban's novel about two mechanical toy mice, and their quest to become "self-winding".

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Animation


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



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Release Date:

18 November 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Extraordinary Adventures of the Mouse and His Child  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Last project of Andy Devine. See more »


Manny the Rat: Two innocents abroad, eh? But for me, you'd be flattened to a fare-thee-well.
See more »


Referenced in Hudson Hawk (1991) See more »


Much in Little
Music by Roger Kellaway
Lyrics by Gene Lees
Sung by Robin Reed
See more »

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User Reviews

Amazingly Moving
12 August 2003 | by (Massachusetts, USA) – See all my reviews

This was one of the first movies I ever saw. I must have been a

toddler, barely able to form words when I first saw it. Up until this

past week, the last time I had seen this movie I was probably five

years old, but in spite of my young age I never forgot it.

Most of the comments I have seen made by others mention things

like, "this movie probably isn't suited for young children", however I

adored this movie as a very young child, and can honestly say that

I think this movie had a profound effect on who I am today.

Some things embed themselves in your memory in a lasting way

that others do not, this movie was one of those things. A simple

cartoon, but so much more. The memory of this movie has always

been with me, and it has always affected me more than many

memories I have of things that I actually experienced. I thought that

I would never see it again and it would remain a memory until I

managed to pick up a copy on ebay last week. When the movie

started after I pressed play on my VCR, it was like stepping back

into time and reconnecting with myself at age four.

I remembered every visual, every spoken word, my memory just

needed to be jogged. This film is amazingly poignant, deeply

thoughtful, and insightful. I feel lucky that I saw it at such a young

age and grew up with its message in my heart.

The movie opens up with a homeless man scrounging through

garbage cans, even though I was only a toddler when I first saw

this movie, I remember immediately feeling compassion for this

character, and for other characters throughout. The thing about this

movie that makes it great is not its ability to entertain, but its ability

to make you feel.

A toy wind-up mouse and his child awaken to consciousness in a

toy shop after hours. "Papa, where are we? What are we?" asks

the child mouse. "I don't know son," is all the father can offer. They

learn that they are toys, and must do what they are intended to do:

be wound up and walk in a circle. The child mouse is distraught;

he doesn't want to go out into the world, he wants to stay in the toy

shop and have a family with the other toys. They fall off of the shelf

and are broken and later taken out with the trash.

In one of the movie's more poignant moments, the mouse child

says, "Papa, is THIS the world?" while they are helplessly caught

in a pile of trash. "I hope not," answers the father.

They wind up being found by Manny the Rat, a wonderfully crafted

villain who enslaves toys to do his bidding until they are old and of

no use. In a particularly horrific scene, an old wind up donkey is

unhinged into spare parts after collapsing from exhaustion. The

mouse and his child spend the rest of the movie trying to escape

from Manny and become "self-winding" so that they no longer have

to depend on someone for their well-being.

The messages in this movie are deep and profound, but the more

general messages are not so symbolic that they are lost on a

child. This movie does so much more than the average "children's

movie", it does not set out to entertain, it sets out to tell a brilliant

story with morals and it succeeds beautifully.

In a time where cartoon villains are usually a mix of the comical,

ugly and detestable, Manny is a breath of fresh air and far more

"real" of a villain. A character driven by greed and power, he also

maintains a shred of humanity, enough that when he meets his

downfall at the movie's end, you still manage to feel compassion

for him. This is not a movie where the child roots for the good guys

and rejoices when the bad guy is defeated. This is a story where

the child sees that there is good in evil and evil in good, and that

love and compassion is the only power that truly matters.

If only more children's movies were like The Mouse and Child and

didn't fall prey to the "short attention span" myths. While I'll admit

that this movie probably isn't for some children, it is miles ahead of

any other children's movie that I've seen in terms of content. If you

want your child to sit still for 90 minutes and have mindless prattle,

catchy songs and potty humor sieved through their brain, then this

movie is not for you. But if you're looking for your child to actually

learn something about life and the world, then you have found

what you're looking for.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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