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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 22,526 users  
Reviews: 138 user | 43 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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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

Plot Keywords:

rat | rose bush | farm | farmer | owl | See All (63) »

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

Supervising Effects animator Dorse A. Lanpher was responsible for most of the effects scenes. He and his and his tiny crew of three effects animators managed to fill the film with the needed sparks, fire, shadows and water. The multiplane techniques he adapted for the project include a pseudo-hologram and the use of backlit animation making every dewdrop sparkle or supernatural amulet glow with a brilliance never seen before in animated films since Fantasia (1940). Shortcuts in the film include the photographing of three-dimensional model sets and objects for transfer to animation and the xeroxing of individual cels although, unlike the later Disney films, the cels are linked by hand to eliminate the animators' original sketchy lines. These time-saving devices do not, however, incorporate the use of TV's limited animation techniques or total rotoscoping. See more »

Goofs

When Auntie Shrew is leaving the den in a huff, Mrs. Brisby's head is briefly seen from her left side with her face colored green, but when she is shown again it is back to the normal color. 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 Robot Chicken: Victoria's Secret of NIMH (2014) 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

Decent animated film, with a heavy-going plot but good features along the way.
27 July 2004 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

In the early '80s a group of Disney animators, headed by Don Bluth, decided to break away from the Disney studio. The Secret of NIMH was the first film they made. Based on a semi-classic children's book entitled "Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH" by Robert C. O'Brien, the film emerges as a decent little animated feature. The story is a bit on the sombre side - probably a bit too serious and complex for really young viewers - but the animation is of a superb quality and the characters are very nicely voiced.

Field mouse Mrs Brisby needs to move her family from their home in a farmer's field, as it is almost time for the farmer to gather his crop with the combine harvester. Inevitably the Brisby home would be destroyed and anyone in it killed during the gathering of the crop. Unfortunately, one of her children, Timmy, is suffering from pneumonia and couldn't possible survive the move. Mrs Brisby is advised to contact the rats of NIMH, a group of hyper-intelligent rodents, to ask for their help. Apparently, her late husband Jonathan was a close friend of the rats and they held him in such high regard that they will do anything to help a member of the Brisby clan.

The story is told mainly through talk, with occasional bursts of action. As already pointed out, this means the film doesn't really lend itself to a very young audience. But older kids, especially those who are willing to listen with the appropriate degree of attention, will find the story interesting. There are other plus points - Jerry Goldsmith's rousing score; Dom DeLuise's amusing vocals as an accident-prone bird; and some very well-conceived "baddies" in the shape of rat conspirator Jenner and savage farm-cat Dragon. The Secret of NIMH is a moderately successful film - no masterpiece, true enough, and not really a serious challenger to the Disney dominance over the genre, but definitely a film that every child should see at least once.


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