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The Secret of NIMH (1982)

G  |   |  Animation, Adventure, Drama  |  2 July 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 25,430 users  
Reviews: 143 user | 48 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.



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

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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)


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


Animation in the grand tradition by a new master, Don Bluth. See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

2 July 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mrs. Brisby and the Rats of NIMH  »

Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Don Bluth, John Pomeroy and Gary Goldman all left Disney to pursue this project, which had originally been rejected by their former employer as "too dark" to be a commercial success. They were followed soon after by 20 other Disney animators, dubbed "The Disney Defectors" by the trade press. See more »


When Mr. Ages is preparing the medicine, Mrs. Brisby is standing next to him in long shots, but is farther away in close-ups. See more »


[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 »


Featured in Trapped (2002) See more »


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

Dark, mystical story is for adults, but endured by children.
18 April 2005 | by (The World Of Movies) – See all my reviews

When I first saw this film, years ago, I was very afraid of many aspects it contained, yet I was also in love with it. As a cartoon, it captures the very familiar values that we have seen in such praised Disney films such as The Sword in the Stone". This one is much darker though, and because so, it also brings forth, a much scarier element that Disney will never have! Being based completely on archetypical formation, the "Secret Of NIMH" is based on the famed children's book "Mrs. Brisby and the rats of NIMH". As the book is very darling, and for children of all ages, the film is put together in a more mature, adult style, with intense moments. Later on in life, I realize that children watching this film is an amazing happening, if I knew then, what I know now about the film, I would have been completely overtaken by the film. Some things are better left unknown in childhood. Most kids today will not appreciate this film, for all the glory in which it was made. There were two direct-to-video sequels. Two. This is unacceptable for a movie of this type. The two latter films were made with light, fluffy, musical touches that did NOT capture anything this film did. The two latter films had NO business being made! The generation I grew up in was able to take this wondrous intensity we were given, today, things are much different, and movies like this one are hardly seen. The "toy story" genre has taken over, and most films that would, otherwise be like this one are laughably awful, without any real heart. Don Bluth was expressing his strong imagination for this one, most "pixar" company films are just money, and offer nothing for anyone except babies in cribs! This movie is a cartoon, a pure adventure, and a treasure full of heart! Don Bluth is a wonderful filmmaker!

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Nostalgia Critic liked it, so... ManWithGoodTaste
maybe this movie was just bad? silverskysurfer3
What was Mrs. Brisby's first name? Geek_of_Geeks
Things that did not work bruno-mailly
Not one but two profane words! rwillams-1
Anyone know why they changed the name to Brisby? jcleveland
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