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The Secret of NIMH (1982)

aka The Secret of NIMH

"Right before your eyes and beyond your wildest dreams."

Directed By: 
Details: 82 mins · English · G (USA)


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Small Nicodemus (voice)
Small Mrs. Brisby (voice)
No_movie_poster Mr. Ages (voice)
Small Jeremy (voice)
No_movie_poster Jenner
No_movie_poster Timothy Brisby
Small Teresa Brisby
Small Miss Right
Small Sullivan
Small Auntie Shrew
Small Martin Brisby
Small Justin
Small Great Owl


No_movie_poster Jerry Goldsmith Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Bill Butler Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Gary Goldman Screenplay
No_movie_poster John Pomeroy Screenplay
Small Don Bluth Director
No_movie_poster Will Finn Screenplay
No_movie_poster Robert C. O'Brien Novel
No_movie_poster Rich Irvine Executive Producer
No_movie_poster James L. Stewart Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Jeffrey C. Patch Editor
No_movie_poster Gary Goldman Production
No_movie_poster John Pomeroy Production
Small Don Bluth Production
No_movie_poster Will Finn Story Contributor
Small Don Bluth Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Gary Goldman Story Contributor
No_movie_poster John Pomeroy Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Robert C. O'Brien Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Jeffrey C. Patch Editing


"Right before your eyes and beyond your wildest dreams."


Mrs. Brisby (Elizabeth Hartman), a shy and timid field mouse, lives in a cinderblock with her children in a field on the Fitzgibbons' 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. She visits Mr. Ages (Arthur Malet), another mouse and old friend of her late husband, Jonathan, who diagnoses Timothy with pneumonia and provides her with some medicine from his laboratory. Mr. Ages warns her that Timothy should stay inside for at least three weeks or he will die. On her way back home she encounters Jeremy (Dom DeLuise), a clumsy but compassionate crow. They both narrowly escape from the Fitzgibbons' cat Dragon.

The next day, Mrs. Brisby discovers to her horror that Farmer Fitzgibbons has started spring plowing early. Although Auntie Shrew (Hermione Baddeley) helps her disable his tractor, Mrs. Brisby knows she must come up with another plan. With the help of Jeremy, she visits the Great Owl (John Carradine), a wise creature living in the nearby woods, to ask for help. He tells her to visit a mysterious group of rats who live beneath a rose bush on the farm and ask for Nicodemus (Derek Jacobi), the wise and mystical leader of the rats.

Mrs. Brisby enters the rose bush and makes her way down to the rats' home, where she is amazed to see their use of electricity and other human technology. She meets Nicodemus, Justin (Peter Strauss), a kind and friendly rat who is the Captain of the Guards, and a ruthless, power-hungry rat named Jenner (Paul Shenar). From Nicodemus, she learns that many years ago her late husband, along with the rats and Mr. Ages, were once part of a series of experiments at a place known as NIMH (which stands for the National Institute of Mental Health). The experiments had boosted their intelligence to human level, allowing them to easily escape. However, the rats have concocted "The Plan", which is to leave the farm and live without stealing electricity from humans. Nicodemus then gives Mrs. Brisby an amulet called 'The Stone', that gives magical power when its wearer is courageous.

Because of her husband's prior relationship with the rats (mostly with Nicodemus), they agree to help Mrs. Brisby move her home out of the path of the plow. But the first thing that they need to do is to drug Dragon to sleep, so that they can complete the move safely. Only mice are small enough to fit through the hole leading into the house; Jonathan was killed by Dragon in a previous attempt, while Mr. Ages broke his leg in another. Later that night, she successfully puts the drug into the cat's food dish, but the Fitzgibbons' son Billy catches her and convinces his mother to let him keep her as a pet. While trapped in a birdcage, she overhears a telephone conversation between Farmer Fitzgibbons and NIMH and learns that NIMH intends to come to the farm to exterminate the rats the next day. She manages to escape from the cage and runs off to warn Justin.

Meanwhile, the rats are in the process of moving the Brisby home using a rope and pulley system during a thunderstorm. However, Jenner, who is strongly opposed to the Plan and wishes for the clan to remain in the rose bush, sabotages the ropes with his hesitant accomplice Sullivan (Aldo Ray), causing the cinder block to fall and crush Nicodemus, killing him and making it look like an accident. At that time, Sullivan feels extremely remorseful for letting this happen. Mrs. Brisby arrives and tries to convince the rats that NIMH is coming and that they must leave immediately, but Jenner, angered by her claims, attacks her and attempts to take the amulet from her neck. Alerted to the situation by Sullivan, Justin rushes to Mrs. Brisby's aid and battles Jenner, who then finally admits to having plotted the sabotaging that killed Nicodemus to take over the group. As Justin manages to defeat Jenner by stabbing him, he addresses the other rats to prepare for their departure from the farm immediately. However, Jenner, despite his injury, attempts to make a lethal blow on Justin with his sword, but the dying Sullivan saves Justin by killing Jenner with a throwing knife behind him.

Mrs. Brisby sees the house sinking in the mud it landed in, but Justin and the rats are unable to raise it from the muck. However, Mrs. Brisby's will to save her children gives power to the amulet, which she uses to lift the house out of the mud and move it to safety from the plow. The next morning, the rats depart to Thorn Valley with Justin as their new leader and Timothy has begun to recover. Jeremy also finds "Miss Right", an equally clumsy crow, and the two fly away together. Then the credits begin showing pictures of the film that are hand drawn.

Release Dates:

DVD : 2007-06-19

DVD : 2001-03-06

DVD : 1998-11-17