Earlier this month, one of my most favorite childhood films turned 35 years old. On July 2, 1982, the animated dark fantasy film The Secret of NIMH was released in theaters and it mesmerized viewers. Today, we are dedicating our Throwback Thursday column to this childhood classic film.
The film is an adaptation of Robert C. O’Brien’s 1971 children’s novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. In the film, they changed the main characters name from Mrs. Frisby to Mrs. Brisby in order to avoid copyright troubles but, the story remained the same. Mrs. Brisby is a widowed mouse who is trying desperately to save her family.
It’s moving day, the day which the farmer begins plowing the fields and if she is unable to move her family which consists of four young children mice (one of whom is very sick), they could all be killed. Mrs. Brisby seeks the help of the rats who also reside on the farm but, these are no ordinary rats. They have heightened intelligence and abilities which came to them as side effects from testing conducted in a scientific lab. With the help of her friends, a crow named Jeremy, an older mouse named Mr. Ages and the wisdom and gift, she receives from the elder rat Nicodemus and the Great Owl, she battles her way through conflict to save her family.
As a kid, I can remember being a little scared of the film. It’s a dark film. Mrs. Brisby encounters a lot of dangerous and frightening obstacles. This isn’t a happy, light-hearted cartoon but a cartoon drama (if that’s even a thing). Every scene of animation was strikingly beautiful and the film just drew you in as a viewer.
This film was one of the many from my childhood that, as an adult, I made sure I owned on all home theater mediums. It also wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized who was actually in the film. There are some familiar names who lent their voices to the animation such as Derek Jacobi (who played Nicodemus), Dom DeLuise (who played Jeremy the Crow), Shannen Doherty (who played once of the mouse children, Teresa), Wil Wheaton (who played another one of the mouse children, Martin), and John Carradine (who played the Great Owl). The remainder of the cast included Elizabeth Hartman (Mrs. Brisby), Arthur Malet (Mr. Ages), and Hermione Baddeley (Auntie Shrew).
This film is an all-time classic which you don’t see on television much anymore and, I think that should change. If you haven’t watched the movie in a while, I encourage you to go out and buy a copy and watch the film with your kids and family. The film is available on streaming services as well such as YouTube, Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play and Vudu.
Check out the original trailer for the film and take a nostalgic journey with us back to The Secret of NIMH: