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The Secret of NIMH (1982)

 -  Animation | Drama | Family  -  2 July 1982 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 23,523 users  
Reviews: 140 user | 45 critic

To save her ill son, a field mouse must seek the aid of a colony of rats, with whom she has a deeper link than she ever suspected.

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(novel), (story), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Secret of NIMH (1982)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nicodemus (voice)
...
Mrs. Brisby (voice)
...
Mr. Ages (voice)
...
Jeremy (voice)
...
Auntie Shrew (voice)
...
Teresa (voice)
...
Martin (voice)
Jodi Hicks ...
Cynthia (voice)
Ian Fried ...
Timothy (voice)
...
Great Owl (voice)
...
Justin (voice)
...
Jenner (voice)
...
Farmer Fitzgibbons (voice)
...
Mrs. Fitzgibbons (voice)
...
Sullivan (voice)
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Storyline

Mrs. Brisby, a widowed mouse, lives in a cinder block with her children on the Fitzgibbon farm. She is preparing to move her family out of the field they live in as plowing time approaches, however her son Timothy has fallen ill, and moving him could prove fatal. Mrs. Brisby visits The Great Owl, a wise creature who advises her to visit a mysterious group of rats who live beneath a rose bush on the farm. Upon visiting the rats, Brisby meets Nicodemus, the wise and mystical leader of the rats, and Justin, a friendly rat who immediately becomes attached to Mrs. Brisby. While there, she learns that her late husband, Mr. Jonathon Brisby, along with the rats, was a part of a series of experiments at a place known only as N.I.M.H. (revealed earlier in the story as the National Institute of Mental Health). The experiments performed on the mice and rats there boosted their intelligence, allowing them to read without being taught and to understand things such as complex mechanics and ... Written by MIss Victoria

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Right before your eyes and beyond your wildest dreams. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 July 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mrs. Brisby and the Rats of NIMH  »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The staging of the climactic sword fight between Justin and Jenner was largely taken from the Errol Flynn / Basil Rathbone duel in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) (some choreography, including the villain getting stabbed in the stomach, was literally copied by the animators). Other moments were inspired by fight scenes in The Vikings (1958). See more »

Goofs

The very first long-shot of the rats working the rigging to lift the Brisby home shows the block already hanging from block-and-tackle in the background, yet the very next scene cut shows the block being lifted from the mud. Also the block is never shown to be entirely covered in mud at any time during the movie before the lift. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Nicodemus: Johnathan Brisby was killed today while helping with the plan. It is four years since our departure from NIMH, and our world is changing. We cannot stay here much longer. Johnathan was a dear friend. I am lost in knowing how to help his widow. She knows nothing about us or the plan. Perhaps best that I do nothing at present. I shall miss him. Johnathan - wherever you are - your thoughts must comfort her tonight. She will be waiting and you will not return. Farewell... my friend.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The production storyboards are used for background in the end credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in MarzGurl Reviews: The Land Before Time (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Flying Dreams
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
Lyrics Written and Performed by Paul Williams
Arranged by Ian Fraser
Lullaby Performed by Sally Stevens
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Don Bluth's Best work!
30 December 1998 | by (Alabama) – See all my reviews

Anybody who doesn't like this movie just doesn't love animation. How can a proclaimed fan of feature animation not be dazzled by the extravagance of Don Bluth's work seen in NIMH? Here is a perfect example of what happens when artists are given free reign to just create whatever their vivid imaginations may produce. To me, the greatest triumph of this movie is the art itself. Its greatest flaw is that it was cheapened by a sequel! Why in the name of HUMANITY was a sequel made? A masterpiece of this magnitude should not be so insulted as to be milked for every dollar that the bean counters say it can!

But I digress...

Bluth's use of highly stylized art to influence your emotions is rarely seen in others' work. The whole point of animation is that you are not limited by the bounds of reality, so thorns and cobwebs can be just that much more twisty and foreboding. Owls' eyes can glow- not because they do, but because it just plain looks cooler. The bright and sunny entrance to the rats' lair can suddenly fade to a background of blood red as Mrs. Brisby runs in terror from Brutus' electrified blade. What plot holes does using a lit electric lamp as a diving bell produce? Who cares? The concept just looks awesome on screen! The effects animation is spectacular in this movie as well. The glow of Nicodemus' eyes, the sparkling of the fairy dust ink and the flaming letters of the movie title screen are great, and the radiance emitting from Mrs. Brisby as the sheer strength of her character lifts her home from the mud is fantastic.

If the story were no more than a shabby framework to lace all of this cool art together, it would be good enough, but there's a lot going for it as well. It's not a complicated story, but its message of love, devotion, and courage shown in the meekest of people (mice?) is enough to inspire anyone! Mrs. Brisby's simple wish for the safety of her family drives her to the greatest of courage, despite her apparant simplicity and weakness. She stands as a model for all of us to aspire to.

Animation should never be considered something just for kids. It should not require the characters to burst into song at regular intervals, or the story to be sappy and condescending. NIMH does none of this. It is truly a movie for movie-lovers of all ages. Disney, take a hint!!! Don Bluth, keep making movies like this, and your field will reach an entirely new level of acceptance among older viewers in America.


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