The Secret of NIMH (1982) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 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 electricity. The rats and Mr. Brisby escaped from N.I.M.H. and came to live on the Fitzgibbon farm. The rats created a home for themselves under Mrs. Fitzgibbon's rose bush, creating an elaborate habitation of beautiful chambers, elevators, and Christmas lights. However, the rats are unhappy in their dependence on the humans, who they are stealing electricity from, and have concocted a plan to leave the farm and live independently. Because of her husband's prior relationship with the rats, they agree to help Mrs. Brisby move her home out of the path of the plow. However, the evil Jenner and his unwilling accomplice Sullivan, who wish to remain beneath the rose bush, yet plot to kill Nicodemus during the move.

    - Written by MIss Victoria
  • It seems to Mrs. Brisby, the widowed head of a family of field mice, that her youngest son must die, either by the farmer's spring plough or of pneumonia in his flight to safety. In her quest for a cure she frees a young crow from some string in which he has foolishly tied himself, at the mercy of the farmer's cat Dragon. In return for her risking her life to save his, he takes her to the creature all birds know is the wisest: a great owl. Owls eat mice, but when this owl learns Mrs. Brisby's name he sets her on a path to earning a noble solution to her predicament - which is the secret of NIMH...

    - Written by Anonymous
  • A fieldmouse named Mrs. Brisby must move her family to a safe location before the farmer plows the field where they live, but her invalid son Timmy cannot go outside due to his pneumonia. She enlists the aid of some highly intelligent, escaped lab rats that have built a subterranean society inside a rose bush near the farmer's garden. The rats, led by the wise Nicodemus, decide to help her physically move her house to repay a debt of gratitude to her late husband, who made possible the rats' escape from the laboratory. But things become complicated when some of the rats decide to use the situation to kill Nicodemus and make it appear to be accidental.

    - Written by Gibborino
  • 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.

    - Written by Kenneth Chisholm


Mrs. Brisby (Frisby in the original book) is a very shy, timid, and lonely mouse widow whose family is threatened by a premature warm spell...

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