The Secret of NIMH

1982 film directed by Don Bluth

The Secret of NIMH is a 1982 American animated fantasy adventure film about a field mouse who, to save her ill son, must seek the aid of a colony of rats, with whom she has a deeper link than she ever suspected.

Directed by Don Bluth. Story adaptation by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, John Pomeroy and Will Finn (from the book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien)
Right before your eyes and beyond your wildest dreams.

Nicodemus edit

  • [after lighting a candle] Jonathan 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. [While writing words in a book] Jonathan was a dear friend. I am lost in knowing how to help his widow. She knows nothing of us or the plan. [Reloading ink for fountain pen] Perhaps best that I do nothing at present. [As he quickly writes signature] I shall miss him. [Holding and looking at amulet] Jonathan, wherever you are, your thoughts must comfort her tonight. She'll be waiting, and you will not return. [as he puts away amulet in a case, closing it] Farewell, my friend.
  • Jonathan... your wife, I fear, is in desperate trouble. A visit to the Great Owl may indeed be profitable. Go to the Owl then, Mrs. Brisby. Go there!
  • Jenner, I fear could do her harm. He is consumed by a lust for power. Thus far, the amulet has remained safely hidden. But if he finds it... heaven help us.
  • [when he gives Mrs. Brisby the amulet, and again later when she discovers its power] Courage of the heart is very rare. The stone has a power when it's there.
  • [when Nicodemus shows Mrs. Brisby a device in the corner. Two circles of metal set at right angles to form a rough globe, set in an ornate frame. The circles begin to spin, faster and faster. Energy plays across the surface of the globe described by its motion. Finally, the glowing green sphere we've already seen manifests itself. Nicodemus narrates the images] In the beginning, we were ordinary street rats, stealing our daily bread and living off the efforts of man's work. We were captured, put in cages, and sent to a place called NIMH. There were many animals cages. They were put through the most unspeakable tortures to satisfy some scientific curiosity. Often at night I would hear them, crying out in anguish. Twenty rats and eleven mice were given injections...our world began changing. Then one night I looked upon the words under the cage door...and understood them. We had become intelligent. We could read. The miracle was kept secret from the scientists, and in the quiet of the night, we escaped through the ventilation system. The mice were blown away, sucked down dark air-shafts to their deaths. All except two...Jonathan and Mr. Ages. We were trapped by a locked door on the roof. It was Jonathan who made possible the unlocking of the door.

Jeremy edit

  • Uh, yeah, I guess that's enough exercise for one day. Besides, I'm really after this terrific string! I'm working on a love nest for two. You know what I mean? [Mrs. Brisby: Oh, I see. You have a girl.] Well, not really, I mean, I haven't found Miss Right yet. But when I do, the whole world will hear us singing!
  • [repeated line] Excuse me. Pardon me.
  • If I had actually been near a cat, I'd be sneezing my brains out. [as Dragon, the Fitzgibbons' cat, comes closer] See, I'm allergic to—kaa... I'm allergic to—kay... I'm allergic to uh... hmm... hmm... hmm... Ah-choo!
  • Oh, here, you dropped this back there. Nobody messes with ol' Jeremy, boy. Nobody!
  • Right. When you're right, you're right. And you're right.
  • I'm not that bad. I just need a few pointers to polish my style.
  • When we get to the Great Owl, he'll know just what to do about everything!
  • Well, the place looks deserted. I guess we better get outta here.
  • [mesmerized by the amulet] A sparkly!

Auntie Shrew edit

  • Cast not pearls before swine, I always say, and that includes impudent piglets. Good day!
  • [responding to Mrs. Brisby] I came here to inform you that the frost is off the ground, and moving day is at hand. Prepare to move your very, very odd family. Good day!
  • [as the tractor comes] Run! The plow is here! Run for your lives! Run! It's moving day! Run! The plow is here! Run! Run! Get out!

Justin edit

  • It's Jenner. He's at it again. [Mr. Ages: There blows an ill wind.] He's before the Council now. This time, he's attacking Nicodemus openly.
  • The mill. It's falling apart. Hope it stays up there, at least until we're done with the Plan.
  • Friends, tonight we journey to Thorn Valley. We will leave no tracks... no evidence that the rats of NIMH ever existed. Come...
  • Damn! I'll have to come back for you later.

Dialogue edit

[Inside a derelict tractor]
Mrs. Brisby: Mr. Ages? Mr. Ages? Is anybody home?
Mr. Ages: Go away!
Mrs. Brisby: Mr. Ages!
Mr. Ages: What is it?
Mrs. Brisby: Mr. Ages, may I please speak to you?
Mr. Ages: What?
Mrs. Brisby: I said, "May I please speak..." [Mr. Ages appears, coughing behind Mrs. Brisby] [shocked gasp] "...with you?" Oh, thank goodness. I'm so glad you're home.
Mr. Ages: Confounded machine! You never know when it's going to up and blow!
Mrs. Brisby: Yes. I don't suppose you would remember me.
Mr. Ages: Yes, you're Mrs. Brisby. And I'm sorry about your husband's death. Now if you'd excuse me.
Mrs. Brisby: Mr. Ages!
Mr. Ages: Great Jupiter, woman! What do you want?!
Mrs. Brisby: Mr. Ages, I know you don't like visitors, but this is an emergency. Please-
[a sudden explosion shatters the tractor, sending Mr. Ages down in a basket. Mrs. Brisby comes over to him as he nears the basket.]
Mr. Ages: Ma- [coughs] Madam, that is an emergency.
Mrs. Brisby: [worried] Oh, Mr. Ages, my son Timothy is so sick.
Mr. Ages: Timmy? The one with the spider bite? Oh, just give him some pepsissiwa root and-
Mrs. Brisby: [interrupts; more worried] No! No, he's sick with a fever.
Mr. Ages: Well, I suppose I could fix up something.
Mrs. Brisby: Oh, thank you.
Mr. Ages: Follow me, but don't touch anything. Understand?

Jeremy: [after splashing in water] Excuse me. Pardon me. [coughs]
Mrs. Brisby: You keep making all that noise and Dragon will hear you, if he hasn't already.
Jeremy: Wouldn't you sing too, I mean... [flapping his wings and drying himself off] if you felt... [laughs] if you felt the call of the wild?
Mrs. Brisby: I would- [lowers her voice] I would not, if I knew there was a cat nearby. [snapping string with teeth and setting Jeremy's claw free]
Jeremy: But she's out there somewhere, and when I find her, I'll feel it, way down in my wishbone. I- What cat?

[Twice during the film]
Auntie Shrew: Brisby!

Sally Stevens: ♪ Dream by night ♪
♪ Wish by day ♪
♪ Love begins this way. ♪
♪ Night's a friend ♪
♪ With love to send ♪
♪ Each new day. ♪
♪ Bless you heart ♪
♪ Bless you soul ♪
♪ Let your dreams come true. ♪
♪ Future songs and flying dreams ♪
♪ Wait for you. ♪
♪ Love it seems ♪
♪ Made flying dreams ♪
♪ So hearts could soar. ♪
♪ Heaven sent ♪
♪ These wings were meant ♪
♪ To prove once more ♪
♪ That love is the key. ♪
Cynthia: [to Mrs. Brisby] Is Timmy gonna die?
Mrs. Brisby: [responding] No, sweetheart. He's just very sick.
Teresa: What's the matter with him, mother?
Mrs. Brisby: Mr. Ages called it "Pneumonia".
Teresa: "Pneumonia"?
Cynthia: When will he get better?
Mrs. Brisby: Soon. I hope.
Sally Stevens: ♪ As you wish ♪
♪ As you will ♪
♪ Dream a flying start ♪
♪ Love and care ♪
♪ The power's there ♪
♪ Trust your heart ♪
♪ Trust your heart ♪
Mrs. Brisby: [to Martin, Teresa and Cynthia] Off to bed with you now.

Beth: Dear, a man came by today, from NIMH.
Farmer Fitzgibbons: [sleepily] NIMH?
Beth: Yes, the National Institute of Mental Health. He was asking if we had noticed anything strange about the rats on the farm. [closes window shade, rats come running with an electric cable] Well, I said "No, nothing unusual".
Farmer Fitzgibbon: Beth, I have to get up early.
Beth: Oh, it gave me goosebumps to hear him carry on that way. Like the rats might have some horrible disease.
Farmer Fitzgibbon: [to Beth] Good night, Beth.
Beth: I told him you'd call him back.
Farmer Fitzgibbon: [yawns] Uh-huh.
Beth: Yea. Right.
[The rats plug the cable into the bush and the lights flicker through the night]

Auntie Shrew: What did I tell you? Moving!
Mrs. Brisby: It can't be!
Auntie Shrew: It certainly can! I don't suppose you've packed!
Mrs. Brisby: What about Timmy?! The chill in the air will kill him!
Auntie Shrew: Well child, that tractor surely will. For the last time, get your children out of here before it's too late.
[They suddenly hear the tractor in the distance starting up. Auntie Shrew exclaims and runs off in a panic.]
[Rabbits, gophers, moles, birds and multiple other species of animals evacuate. Mrs. Brisby gets her children out of the house, except for Timmy; Auntie Shrew rushes to them.]
Auntie Shrew: BRISBY! Go get Timothy!
Mrs. Brisby: Please! Take the children out of here!
Cynthia: Mommy, mommy, we can't leave Timmy!
Mrs. Brisby: Go with Auntie Shrew. I've got to try to stop that thing!
[Mr. Brisby rushes off to stop the tractor]

[Mr. Ages is grabbed from behind by a disguised rat, who is really Justin, while guiding Mrs. Brisby through the rose bush]
Justin: Reveal thy name...
Mr. Ages: [Recognizes the rat's voice; annoyed] Justin! You featherhead! Get your hands off me!
Justin: Okay, okay! Just a joke! I didn't mean any harm. The meeting's already in progress.
Mr. Ages: What's this all about?
Justin: [Gestures at Mrs. Brisby] Who, may I ask?
Mr. Ages: Oh, yes. She can be trusted. This is no stranger. [To Mrs. Brisby] My dear, may I present Justin, the Captain of the Guard. Justin, this is Mrs. Brisby.
Justin: [Amazed] Not Mrs. Jonathan Brisby?
Mr. Ages: Yes, the same.
Justin: [Takes off his hat and bows] It is an honor and a privilege, m'lady.
Mr. Ages: If we could dispense with the formalities?

Jenner: Hear me! The Thorn Valley plan is the aspiration of idiots and dreamers! We...! [Laughs] We were just talking about you.
Justin: That's refreshing, Jenner. Usually you're screaming about us.
[The rats laugh; Jenner sees Mrs. Brisby.]
Jenner: Who is that?! You know the rules! There are no visitors allowed here!
Justin: May I present Mrs. Jonathan Brisby.
Sullivan: Jonathan Brisby is dead!

Teresa: [long after Auntie Shrew has gone] What are you doing here?
Jeremy: It's a good question, but don't ask. The legs. The legs! THE LEGS! [collapses with a thud]
Cynthia: [mournfully, coming up to Jeremy's beak] Oh, the poor turkey fell down!
Jeremy: I'M NOT A TURKEY! Your mother--
Teresa: Where's our mother?!

[As Nicodemus and Mrs. Brisby leave]
Sullivan: I don't get it.
Jenner: [snickering] With Nicodemus out of the way, what's to stop us from taking over?
Sullivan: Jenner, you can't kill Nicodemus.
Jenner: No taste for blood, huh? [flicks Sullivan on the nose] They've taken the animal out of you.
Sullivan: What if we're discovered?
Jenner: Listen. The Brisby house is a large cement block. In the moving, what if it should fall?
Sullivan: An accident?
Jenner: Of course! Cut the lines, and the weight of it will crush his bones.
Sullivan: It's risky.
Jenner: Once rid of Nicodemus, the plan will die. We can stay here as long as we like.
Sullivan: What about Justin?
Jenner: Leave him to me... [echoing] to me...

[Mrs. Brisby is riding in a boat with Nicodemus and Justin when a rock falls, barely missing them]
Justin: That was close.
Mrs. Brisby: What's up there?
Justin: The mill. It's falling apart. I hope it stays up least until we're done with The Plan.
Mrs. Brisby: "The Plan"? What is "The Plan"?
Nicodemus: Why, to live without stealing, of course.
Justin: It's wrong to take electricity from the farmer.
Nicodemus: [To Mrs. Brisby] My child, we can no longer live as rats. We know too much.

Justin: It was you! You did it! You killed Nicodemus. That was no accident!
Jenner: Yes! I killed him. He wanted to destroy everything! I've learned this much: take what you can...when you can!
Justin: Then you've learned nothing!

Timmy: [from inside his room] Mommy, I'm tired of bed. I want to get up.
Mrs. Brisby: [responding from outside] Well, you're not getting up.

About The Secret of NIMH edit

  • One of our films that we wanted a PG rating was (for) The Secret of NIMH. Funny, even with all the support of the press and the critics, they all commented that there are dark sections of the film that could be frightening to small children. Not really sure you will get the attention of the ratings board or its members, I think they just feel that animation is for children so it's just an automatic gesture, rate it G! I often wonder if the ratings board actually looks at the animated films.
  • Jerry Goldsmith took The Secret of NIMH and showed it to Steven Spielberg. He took a look and said, "Wow, I thought this kind of animation was dead. I've been told forever that you can't do this anymore; it's too expensive". It wasn't the truth. You could do it, and we'd learned that we could do it. It was just the studio mentality that they simply didn't want to spend the money. Steven got very excited and he said, "Would you like to make a picture together?" We, of course, jumped at the opportunity.
  • It was the film that was made in our innocence. That's where we dug down deep. And we didn't know any better, so we rushed in. We did the best you could. On Secret of NIMH, we had two layout people, three background people, and ten animators. That's how we made the movie. All the painting on the cels was farmed out to women all over the city of Los Angeles. They took it into their kitchens and painted it. When I think about how fat the studios have become, I laugh. You have 24 people in the layout department; we're fat with personnel. All the rules and attitudes change in that kind of environment.
  • In fact, we believe that our film, The Secret of N.I.M.H. provided everyone on the film a credit, including the receptionists, and assistants that drove our trucks to run errands. Disney's next film included many more of the animation staff than in their previous films.

Cast edit

External links edit

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