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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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4,047 ( 99)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

Let unforgettable characters from a new film classic take you on a triumphant adventure to discover... See more »


Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1982 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Het Geheim van 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

In late August 1982, Disney barred several theaters from booking this film as a double-feature with TRON (1982). Disney claimed that the studio wanted their film to be paired with another Disney film. A Los Angeles Times article said that the action was due to bitter feelings over Don Bluth's exit from the company. See more »

Goofs

The first shot of the Brisby home after the move shows no one outside. A couple of shots later, Mrs. Brisby and the children are outside. When Jeremy appears on the following shot, there is no one outside again. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Titanic - La leggenda continua (2000) 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

 
Don Bluth's Best work!
30 December 1998 | by ZeroByteSee 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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