The Secret of NIMH (alternatively spelled "The Secret of N.I.M.H.") is a 1982 American animated dark fantasy science fiction  adventure  film adaptation of the Newbery Medal-winning book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, written by American author Robert C. O'Brien. The title of the movie was later used for newer editions of the book. It was directed by Don Bluth, produced by Aurora Pictures, and released by United Artists & Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

This film is proud to marketing partners of support from: Screaming Yellow Zonkers brand sugar coated popcorn and SC Johnson featuring Raid. During this time, the studio endured box office bombs such as The Pebble and the Penguin (1995), A Troll in Central Park (1994), and Thumbelina (1994), all of which would later become more successful with several re-releases in theaters and on home video.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Mrs. Brisby, a shy and timid yet very beautiful field mouse, lives in a cinder block 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, 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 must stay inside for at least three weeks, or he will die. On her way back home she encounters Jeremy, 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 her neighbour Auntie Shrew 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, 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, 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, a kind and friendly rat who is the Captain of the Guards, and a ruthless, power-hungry rat named Jenner. 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, they are unable to live only as rats, needing human technology, such as electricity, to survive, which they have only accomplished so far by stealing. However, the rats have concocted "The Plan", which is to leave the farm and live without stealing 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, 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 Mrs. Brisby can do this, as 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 has broken 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, causing the cinder block to fall and Nicodemus to be killed, though it is made to 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, trying to assert himself as leader, calls her a liar, attacks her and attempts to take the amulet from her neck. Alerted to the situation by Sullivan, who is then mortally wounded by Jenner, Justin rushes to Mrs. Brisby's aid and battles Jenner, who then finally admits to having plotted to kill 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, moves in behind Justin to strike a killing blow, but the dying Sullivan throws a dagger into Jenner's back, killing him, before succumbing to his own injuries.

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.

Comments and criticisms on the film

The film garnered critical acclaim for being one of the most vibrantly animated films ever made. The film was Bluth's answer to the growing lack of quality in feature animation predominantly released by Disney. Bluth believed the old techniques were being abandoned in favor of cheaper ones, and the only way animation could survive was to continue traditional production methods. Bluth and a few other animators left Disney to prove this. Bluth subsequently deployed many techniques used by Disney in legendary feature animations such as Sleeping Beauty, and experimented with several new techniques. For instance, to make the glowing letters he used a technique called backlight animation, where the animation cels were laid over a light source to make it look like light was coming out from some areas of the cels. A modern version of the multiplane camera was also invented. The film became a critical success garnering the best reception for a Bluth animated film since Rock-a-Doodle. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, beating two Disney films, The Little Mermaid and The Rescuers Down Under, as well as Best Sound Editing at the 77th Academy Awards.

Despite good reviews, the film only did moderately well in the box office. The film was released around the same time as the Steven Spielberg blockbuster E.T.. A major dispute between Aurora Productions, the studio which financed NIMH, and United Artists which had bought Aurora prior to the film's release and added scheduling and marketing difficulties, may also have affected NIMH's commercial success. The film was also found to be surprisingly scary and violent for many young children despite its MPAA "G" rating, and the Walt Disney Company originally rejected this project because it was perceived to be "too dark" and complicated to be a financial hit. However, the idea was scrapped in favor of All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Nevertheless, the movie garnered a passionate cult following that arose from its successful home video release and also made quite an impact to the animation world in general. Steven Spielberg loved the film so much that he insisted he work with Don Bluth to create An American Tail . Despite An American Tail's greater financial

success, many consider The Secret of NIMH Bluth's best work.


The film was followed up with The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy To The Rescue (in 1998), a straight-to-video release. This movie was made without Don Bluth's permission. This sequel is generally considered to be a disgrace to the first film, due to poor animation quality and an equally poor treatment of the original characters. It also followed the animated cliché of being a musical, which the original film was praised for not following. (The Secret of NIMH has no musical numbers aside from background vocal in one scene and the credits.)

Computers used in the development of the film were four times faster than those used in The Land Before Time and 1,000 times faster than those used in All Dogs Go to Heaven.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Mrs. Brisby


Elizabeth Brisby (Elizabeth Hartman) is a very beautiful field mouse whose husband Jonathan has recently been killed in a tragic accident. Although heartbroken, she pulls herself together in order to take care of their four children. As the film opens, one of her children, Timothy (prone to sickness due to a spider bite), is very ill and is diagnosed with pneumonia by Mr. Ages. Mrs. Brisby is alarmed, as this is an extremely bad time for Timothy to get sick. "Moving Day" has come, when the Farmer who owns the land they live on plows the field after winter. Mrs. Brisby knows the family must move to a new location or risk being crushed, but to move Timothy in his state is highly risky. At a loss for what to do, she is directed towards a mysterious animal known as the Great Owl, who in turn tells her to go to the Rats of NIMH.

Mrs. Brisby does not yet know that, through her husband, she has more to do with the Rats than she realizes. She embarks on a desperate journey to not only save Timothy and her other children, but of self-discovery for both herself and her recently deceased husband.

Mrs. Brisby is a beloved character by many, and is signified by her trademark red cloak. Although similar to the book counterpart, Mrs. Brisby is described as being considerably more fleshed out emotionally in the film. She is shown to be quite times almost manic although a great deal of this is due to her being under extremely trying circumstances. She is nonetheless very courageous inside, her real strength appearing more as the story progresses despite her fears and in addition to her beauty.

Martin Brisby


Martin Brisby (Wil Wheaton) is Mrs. Brisby's eldest son, and the second of four children. Martin has a rebellious personality, and is somewhat disruptive and saucy, although ultimately well-meaning and caring. He is the largest and apparently strongest of the four children. He is slightly overweight at this age, having a husky body. He wears a snug fitting blue t-shirt.

Out of the four children, Martin's character differs the most between the book and movie version. In the book Martin is well-mannered although slightly impetuous, whereas his animated counterpart is loud-mouthed (as proves his shout-out with Auntie Shrew) and a bit of a troublemaker. Don Bluth has supposedly stated once that the mysterious young mouse in the final "frame" of the ending credits sequence is, in fact, supposed to be a slightly older Martin. This mouse's identity has been a cult mystery for ages.

Martin is probably the second most creatively explored member of Mrs. Brisby's children, as far as fandom goes. He is second only to Timothy in this regard.

Teresa Brisby


Teresa Brisby (Shannon Doherty) is Mrs. Brisby's lovely eldest daughter, and the first born of four children. Teresa, in contrast to Martin, is quiet, well-mannered, and highly responsible. Teresa resembles her mother the most in looks, and to an extent in mannerism as well. She also seems to have an insolent side, however she keeps it in check and is much more subtle about it than her reckless younger brother Martin.

Teresa is identified by her simple dress, and a large pink bow tied into her head fur. She runs the house while Mrs. Brisby is away, despite protests from Martin, technically the "man of the house", at least in his mind. Overall, Teresa gives off the aura of a very responsible young adult.

Timothy Brisby


Timothy Brisby (Ian Fried) is the catalyst of the entire story. He is the youngest child. In the story, Timothy contracts pneumonia and is confined to bed. He is very small and thin, a consequence of a spider bite early in his life. This may have stunted his physical growth and health.

Timothy is an active character for a very brief scene in the film near the end, spending most of his time in bed. In the book, however, Timothy has more speech lines. In the book, Timothy is described as being the most potentially intelligent of all of his siblings. The relative lack of character development around Timothy is often considered one of the film's weaker points. Like all of his siblings, his future is an often enthusiastically discussed and interpreted subject among the movie and book's fans. He is probably the most popular of the children in fan fiction. He has played a major role in all of the story's sequels, both book and film.

Cynthia Brisby

Pic detail513a7d3a350de.png

Cynthia Brisby (Jodi Hicks) is the adorable and pretty youngest daughter of Mrs. Brisby. Cynthia is the most unique looking of her four siblings by far; she has cream yellow fur, and wears an emerald green bow around her body. She also differs from her siblings in character, even at a young age.

In the book itself, Cynthia is described as an easily distracted space cadet: "A bit light in the head, and a bit too fond of dancing".


Jeremy the crow, acting goofy as usual.

Jeremy (Dom DeLuise) is a well-meaning but klutzy and somewhat awkward crow who helps Mrs. Brisby in her journeys. He fancies himself a lady killer, and believes his charm to be irresistible, partially due to his vast collection of brightly-colored string. In actuality, Jeremy is in desperate need of eloquence and seems eternally doomed to be something of an oddball. Despite this however, he is very kind and equally very willing to help Mrs. Brisby. There are times where Jeremy is a burden for Mrs. Brisby as much as he is a useful ally. Mrs. Brisby often finds herself humorously trying to distract Jeremy with something else so she can continue her endeavors. In the book, Jeremy is much more straightforward and calm.

Mr. Ages


Mr. Ages (Arthur Malet) is an old, cranky mouse tinker who lives in an abandoned threshing machine on the same field that Mrs. Brisby and her children live in. He is a hermit who hates to be disturbed, and is often very rude to those who do, whatever the reason. Although he seems to be antisocial, he genuinely cares about the well being of others, especially that of Mrs. Brisby's family.

He's not only a tinker of machinery, but also botanist, herbalist, and alchemist, acting as a doctor to many of the animals in the field by curing ailments with very advanced medical treatment. It is later revealed that Mr. Ages is in fact, an escapee from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) along with the rats and Jonathan Brisby. Mr. Ages and Jonathan were a part of the Mouse subjects of the same intelligence increasing experiments the Rats of NIMH were subjected to. They attempted escape with the rats as well, however in the air shafts the mice were blown away down a shaft which suddenly began to suck in the air. Only Jonathan and Mr. Ages were able to escape. This explains his superior knowledge of medicine. Mr. Ages may not live with the Rats, but he knows of them and seems to regularly visit them. He often drugs the farmer's cat Dragon's food bowl so it will remain sleepy throughout the day, making travel safer.

He is crushed by Nicodemus's death, hinting he may have had a good friendship with Nicodemus like Jonathan. It is unknown if Mr. Ages went with the Rats on their exodus to Thorn Valley. In the book, Mr. Ages is considerably better-mannered, but basically fulfills the same role.


Justin, the Captain of the Guard.

Justin (Peter Strauss) is one of the Rats of NIMH, a secret sect of Rats who escaped from a N.I.M.H research center after having been rendered far more intelligent by experiments. Justin himself is Captain of the Guard to the Rats' sentry force. He is very natural and suave, making him a charismatic person. He is close to the Rats' leader, Nicodemus, and had a relationship with Mrs. Brisby's late husband, and thus has sympathy for her and tries to help her throughout the movie.

Justin's persona also differs greatly between the book and the movie. While his personality is similar in both works, in the book Justin is hinted at having sacrificed himself in order to save the Rats from NIMH in the end, by acting as a distraction. In the film, he not only clearly survives, but also has a highly memorable sword duel with a crazed Jenner; the duel is absent from the book. After the clash, Justin goes on to take charge of the Rats of NIMH and leads an exodus to the wilderness of Thorn Valley in order to save them as well as start anew.

The film version shows clear evidence of flirtation and attraction between Justin and Mrs. Brisby, but it appears that a romance never comes to fruition. Justin may have just been behaving chivalrously.



Nicodemus (Derek Jacobi) is the leader of the Rats of NIMH. In the movie, Nicodemus is an old wizard and seer, and is considerably older than any of the other rats. In the book, however, Nicodemus is a middle-aged, but very strong-bodied bandit-like character sporting an eye patch. Both characters serve a similar purpose however, of being a fountain of wisdom for Mrs. Brisby. Nicodemus reveals to Mrs. Brisby the history of the Rats of NIMH, as well as that of her husband. As it turns out, Jonathan was also an escapee along with Mr. Ages, and is also highly intelligent. This trait he has passed on to all his children. Apparently there were many more Mice, however, many were lost down a ventilation shaft which sucked them in during the daring escape from NIMH. Jonathan was small enough to unlock a hatch blocking their exit, and the Rats feel they are indebted to him and his family.

Nicodemus oversees the moving of Mrs. Brisby's home as a loophole to her problem, by moving the family without moving Timothy. This is done with advanced equipment, further showcasing the Rats' talents. Another split from the book to the movie is that in the book this operation is successful. In the film however, it is sabotaged by a power hungry Jenner and Nicodemus is killed. Nicodemus also gives Mrs. Brisby a mysterious amulet, which glows red. It is supposedly a gift from Jonathan, and is one of the movie's most ambiguous details.

Nicodemus dreamed of taking the Rats on a massive exodus to a wilderness known as Thorn Valley, in order to allow the Rats to be self-sustaining. The Rats up to that point, had stolen all their parts and essentials, including electricity, from humans. Nicodemus felt that the Rats were now far more than scavengers, but intelligent beings able to live on their own, rather than leech off of humanity. Jenner disagrees with this, as do many other rats comfortable with their current situation. However, after Nicodemus' death, Justin takes over as leader and leads the exodus to Thorn Valley before NIMH can kill the Rats.


Jenner, wearing his trademarked evil grin.

Jenner (Paul Shenar) is the main antagonist in the plot, although he comes in halfway into the story. He is probably the most different character from book to film, as his character in the book barely appears at all. In fact, in the book, Jenner is not a villain. Here, he disagreed with Nicodemus' decision to move to the countryside and believed staying in the city with its more bountiful supplies was the best way to survive. This dilemma split the Rats, but most sided with Nicodemus. It is alluded to that Jenner and his separatists may have been caught by NIMH and exterminated, although the semi-official sequel to the book proves otherwise.

Jenner's disagreement is carried over in the film adaption, but his character is strongly modified. Instead of having recently left the rosebush community because of his disagreement with Nicodemus (as in the book), Jenner is still living in the Rosebush lair as a prominent member of its community. Jenner is in harsh disagreement with Nicodemus's plan for moving away from the Rosebush and into the unknown reaches of a place called Thorn Valley. The Rats in Rosebush have electricity they steal from the farmer in order to give them power. Nicodemus believes the Rats, if they are to continue as a new race, must begin to run off of their own power and wishes to leave to a more remote location. Jenner believes this to be nonsense, and plots with his friend Sullivan to kill Nicodemus. Whilst Sullivan cannot go through with the murder, Jenner slices the ropes that send the equipment used to move Mrs. Brisby's house away from danger crashing down upon the rat leader, killing him.

Jenner, in the end, is revealed for what he has done, but at catching a glimpse of Mrs. Brisby's amulet, he becomes enraged as he seems to hold it of high value. He tries to attack her, and is in turn attacked by Justin who challenges him in a duel. When Sullivan attempts to help Justin, Jenner cuts him down. In the fight, Jenner reveals to Justin that Nicodemus' death was no accident. After a long duel, Justin stabs Jenner but does not kill him. As Justin turns his back on Jenner, he climbs up a rock and takes his sword with him. As Jenner prepares to kill Justin, Sullivan, who is barely alive, draws a dagger and throws it towards Jenner; the dagger plants itself into Jenner's back as the villain snarls. Jenner then falls from the high rock to his death.

Auntie Shrew

Auntie Shrew, Brisby's serious neighbour.

Auntie Shrew (Hermione Baddeley) is one of Mrs. Brisby's neighbouring animals, and often finds herself taking care of her four children while Mrs. Brisby is busy elsewhere. She has a strict way of things. She means well however, and actually saves Mrs. Brisby from being run over by the plow in the film and book. She finds Mrs. Brisby's family to be very odd, but nonetheless feels compelled to help them. She does however, seem to have a difficult time with the children, most especially Martin who seems to have something of a small rivalry with Auntie Shrew. She fears and hates Rats.


4449437 std.jpg

Dragon is Farmer Fitzgibbons' vicous cat, and Jonathan's murderer.


Sullivan, Jenner's fat henchmen rat.

Sullivan is a fat rat, and meanie. a friend of Jenner's. He is a member of the main council of the Rats, and rather elitist. He ultimately proves to be good-hearted, however. He is depicted as weak willed as Jenner is able to manipulate him in to helping him kill Nicodemus. Sullivan, although he accepts, is unable to carry out the assassination. Jenner sabotages the moving operation by himself and kills Nicodemus. Sullivan feels guilty about this, and helps Justin fight Jenner at the cost of his own life. Sullivan however, has the last laugh as it is his thrown knife that ends Jenner before he can attack Justin from behind during the final confrontation.

His role in the book is relatively minor in comparison.


Farmer Fitzgibbons

The farmer is the owner of the farm, operator of the plow, and Dragon's master.



A massive and very intimidating rat and an antihero who guards the entrance to the Rats' hidden Rosebush colony. He guards it with absolute vigilance, and rarely shows mercy to intruders. In the film, very little about his personality is revealed. His main role is in an intense chase where he attempts to scare Mrs. Brisby away despite her cries for help. This goes to further show the intimidation factor of this gigantic, silent figure with glowing eyes and what appears to be an electrified spear. In the movie it is hinted by Mr. Ages that Brutus, despite his frightening appearance, is something of a pushover, although we never see how Mr. Ages deals with him when escorting Mrs. Brisby back to the colony.

In the book, Brutus is given a little more exposure with spoken lines and a description: "[T]hough his eyes were bright enough, he seemed very young", implying a somewhat naive and inexperienced figure. Despite this, there isn't much more to the character than what is already hinted at in the film. He is a very kind and fair, but somewhat straightforward rat who does not always think about his actions. In Timmy to the Rescue Brutus Can Speak.

Jonathan brisby screenshot by disneygirl987-d4jx4ne.jpg

Jonathan Brisby

Although he never technically appears in the movie other than a brief scene showing a flashback, Jonathan is nonetheless a powerful presence in the story. The father of Teresa, Martin, Timothy, and Cynthia and husband to Mrs. Brisby, Jonathan had led a double life. An escapee of NIMH along with the Rats and Mr. Ages, Jonathan is gifted with heightened intelligence thanks to experiments done to him. Jonathan dies prior to the story's beginning, presumably having been eaten by Dragon. Jonathan usually drugged the farmers' cat Dragon to make it sleepy in order for the Rats and other smaller creatures to travel more safely. His small size compared to a rat allowed him to come into the farmhouse kitchen in order to do this. However, one time he never came back. How Jonathan is caught is a popular subject of debate amongst the story's fans. Regardless, Jonathan's loss is a huge hit for everyone, but it also makes way for Mrs. Brisby to discover a startling truth about her husband.

Jonathan had never told his family about his past or the Rats of NIMH (he presumably met Mrs. Brisby after his escape). His reason for doing this is because the effects of the experiments at NIMH had not only increased his intelligence, but also drastically increased his life span. Jonathan, and the four children for that matter, will age far slower than Mrs. Brisby while she will live the lifespan of a regular field mouse. Jonathan felt so guilty about this that he constantly struggled with telling them about his true origins. In the book he was soon going to tell them, but died before this. Mrs. Brisby went on to discover all this on her own during the story's events.

Jonathan is possibly the most ambiguous character in the story, due to his "ethereal" and looming presence. His relationship with his children and the rats of NIMH is largely speculative, but his longer appearance in the book shows that he was an honorable mouse. A detail exclusive to the movie is the Red Amulet. Apparently Jonathan wanted Mrs. Brisby to have it, showing it was his. The mysterious nature of the Amulet has led much speculation as to how Jonathan had attained it. This is a popular subject of speculation and is often ripe ground for fan fiction.

Name of the movie

NIMH is a reference to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health; the connection is explicit in the film version. The story has elements of animal rights activism, but in the end, the Rats of NIMH simply wish to gain peace and independence by moving away from human settlement, as they consider their theft of electricity from humans wrong.

Coincidentally, nimh is a Scottish Gaelic word meaning "venom" or "poison".

The name Brisby was originally recorded as Frisby but was changed during post-production to avoid potential trademark problems with the word Frisbee.

The Red Stone Amulet

Nicodemus holding the stone

the Stone's inscription

Jeremy calling the amulet a "sparkly"

Brisby wearing the stone

Brisby possessing the fiery magic

Jenner eyeballing the stone

Without a doubt the largest and most glaring difference between the book and the film is the Red Amulet, a mysterious and beautiful red jewel given to Mrs. Brisby by Nicodemus at the request of her late husband. This object is exclusive to the movie only, and single handedly changes the events of the entire story drastically. In the book, the ending is much more anti-climactic and scientific. In the movie however, the events of the sabotage of the house moving lead to the Brisbys' Cinderblock home crashing down into a mud pit, which it slowly begins to sink into. Although the Rats and Mrs. Brisby valiantly try to save the children trapped within, they are too late. In desperation, Mrs. Brisby receives a message from Nicodemus through the now floating Red Amulet, and is temporarilly gifted with a mysterious power akin to telekinesis. With the force of her own will, she lifts the block out of the mud for the film's dramatic climax, though severely burning her hands so much that they are still thickly bandaged at film's end. The origins of the stone are vague, and the Stone itself seems to hold great importance to those who know of it, such as Jenner. It carries only one clue to its function, an inscription "You can open any door, if you only have the key." suggesting it is not a source of powers but merely unlocks inherent but unused powers in the user, hence the telekinesis theory.

Critics of the film who loved the book sometimes criticize this prop, calling it a cheap way for Bluth to make the ending more cinematic. Most fans of both the film and book however, have come to respect the more mystical tone set by the Amulet in the movie as making the film more visually pleasing as well as giving it a unique charisma that perhaps a straightforward copy of the book's events may not have delivered. The book and film are often seen as two different worlds because of this.

However, one may as easily suggest that the amulet is not so much magical in nature, but is in fact another manifestation of the rat's highly sophisticated technology prominently showcased under the rose bush. Interpreting the amulet in this way underscores the science-fiction element of the story and provides a symbolic link between Mrs. Brisby and her husband, Johnathan Brisby, who can be taken as being the inventor of the amulet (Nicodemus says "He meant it for you.") In this view, the amulet is akin to something like the Monolith of 2001: A Space Odyssey; it elevates Mrs. Brisby to a cosmic state of consciousness, allowing her, through the powers of her mind, to transcend the daunting physics of the obstacle before her.

Another simpler interpretation is that the amulet's power is symbolic of the love that Mrs. Brisby has for her children. The inscription "You can unlock any door if you only have the key," when paired with a verse in the theme song which states "For love is the key," seems to underline to the idea that it is her love and courage in the face of adversity which gives the stone its power. Nicodemus himself states: "Courage of the heart is very rare. The stone has a power when it's there." In other words, the stone's power does not originate with the stone, but within the heart of the bearer. In that sense, there may be nothing more mystical to the stone than the power of love.

For some odd reason, despite the Amulet being such a major detail in the original film, it makes no appearance in the film's poorly received sequel; It is not even mentioned.

Cast members

(all voices)

The main characters

  • Elizabeth Hartman - Mrs. Brisby
  • John Carradine - The Great Owl
  • Dom DeLuise - Jeremy
  • Derek Jacobi - Nicodemus
  • Arthur Malet - Mr. Ages
  • Hermione Baddeley - Auntie Shrew
  • Peter Strauss - Justin
  • Paul Shenar - Jenner

The Brisby children

  • Shannen Doherty - Teresa
  • Jodi Hicks - Cynthia
  • Wil Wheaton - Martin
  • Ian Fried - Timothy

The Fitzgibbons family

  • Tom Hatten - Farmer Paul Fitzgibbons
  • Lucille Bliss - Mrs. Beth Fitzgibbons
  • Joshua Lawrence - Billy Fitzgibbons


It should be noted here that "Fitz" is a prefix at times formerly used to indicate an illegitimate son (of a king), and that a gibbon is a lesser ape. In light of these, the family name Fitzgibbons becomes a joking reference to man's supposed descent from apes or ape-like creatures -- which would make perfect sense to another sentient species.

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations from or about: