The Mouse and His Child is a 1977 Japanese-American animated film[6] based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Russell Hoban.[7][8]


The mouse and his child are two parts of a single small wind-up toy, which must be wound by a key in the father's back. After being unpacked, they discover themselves in a toy shop where they befriend a toy elephant and toy seal. The child mouse proposes staying at the shop to form a family, which the other toys ridicule.

They accidentally fall out of a window and land in the trash. Once transported to the dump, they become enslaved by Manny the rat, who runs a casino and uses broken wind-up toys as his slave labor force. With the aid of a psychic frog, the mice escape and meet other animal characters on a quest of becoming free and independent self-winding toys.

They rediscover the elephant and seal, who are somewhat broken down. Together they manage to form a family and destroy the rat empire.[9][10]


Character English Japanese
Manny the Rat Peter Ustinov Ichirō Zaitsu
The Elephant Joan Gerber Masumi Harukawa
The Seal Sally Kellerman Shinobu Ôtake
The Frog Andy Devine Kinba Sanyûtei
The Crows Frank Nelson
Cliff Norton
Gorō Naya
The Clock Regis Cordic Unknown
The Tramp John Carradine
Euterpe Cloris Leachman Yukiji Asaoka
Iggy Neville Brand Unknown
Muskrat Bob Holt Kazuo Kumakura
Jack in the Box Robert Ridgely Unknown
Starlings Iris Rainer
Maitzi Morgan
Paper People Iris Rainer
Charles Woolf
Fuyumi Shiraishi
Makio Inoue
The Mouse Alan Barzman[11] Hiroshi Sakamoto
The Mouse Child Marcy Swenson Atsuko Sakamoto
Ralphie Mel Leven Shunji Fujimura
Teller Maitzi Morgan Unknown
Serpentina Cliff Osmond
Bluejay Charles Woolf


Home media

The film was first released on RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video on VHS in 1985 [13] and re-released in 1991 [14] in the United States. A DVD version has yet to be released in the United States,[15] but it was released on DVD in Japan.[16]


Janet Maslin of The New York Times praised the direction, writing and music score, but criticized the darker elements and stated that "83 minutes is a long time for an adult to think about mice".[17]


See also

  • Children's literature
  • 1977 in film

External links