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The Secret of NIMH (1982)

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.

Director:

Don Bluth

Writers:

Robert C. O'Brien (novel), Don Bluth (story adaptation) | 3 more credits »
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4,168 ( 514)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Jacobi ... Nicodemus (voice)
Elizabeth Hartman ... Mrs. Brisby (voice)
Arthur Malet ... Mr. Ages (voice)
Dom DeLuise ... Jeremy (voice)
Hermione Baddeley ... Auntie Shrew (voice)
Shannen Doherty ... Teresa (voice)
Wil Wheaton ... Martin (voice)
Jodi Hicks Jodi Hicks ... Cynthia (voice)
Ian Fried Ian Fried ... Timothy (voice)
John Carradine ... Great Owl (voice)
Peter Strauss ... Justin (voice)
Paul Shenar ... Jenner (voice)
Tom Hatten ... Farmer Fitzgibbons (voice)
Lucille Bliss ... Mrs. Fitzgibbons (voice)
Aldo Ray ... 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:

A world of fantasy, adventure and excitement opens up for Mrs Brisby when she discovers... The Secret of NIMH. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 July 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mrs. Brisby and the Rats of NIMH See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$386,530, 5 July 1982, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$14,665,733, 31 December 1982
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Theatrical movie debut of Wil Wheaton (Martin). See more »

Goofs

Both the tractor that almost plowed into the Brisby house and its driver are obviously flickering, poorly photocopied live action footage that distracts from the main animation. 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 »

Alternate Versions

On the MGM KIDS DVD release of the film, the 1982 United Artists logo is replaced with the 1995 United Artists logo. 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

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User Reviews

Decent animated film, with a heavy-going plot but good features along the way.
27 July 2004 | by barnabyrudgeSee 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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